Saturday, June 7, 2008

Blog #39: Hillary leaves, and age is a drag

We have held up our Saturday morning posting which is usually done in the 7:30 to 9 am CDT time slot so as to cover the bowing out of Hillary Clinton from her campaign for the White House. Perhaps it is symbolic that Chelsea Clinton was the first to step out of the automobile and enter the building, then followed by the two Clintons. It was a happening. It did happen. Hillary Rodham Clinton gave the warmest and most enthusiastic speech I have heard her give on this day, June 7, 2008, as she announced the suspension of her own campaign for presidency. She thanked her backers for all they had done, but she minced no words in her support for the Barack Obama presidency. And she promised to work hard and do whatever it was going to take to lhelp make that dream a reality. In short, she went out with both fire and grace, and I’m pretty sure she made all of her supporters as happy as could be expected given the circumstances, and probably the Obama campaign was equally happy. Or should be. Cheers to all.
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There are not an awful lot of advantages to being old that I have found. It is very disconcerting to discover that certain of your faculties that you have grown accustomed too are on the verge of throwing in the towel. This has been known to send alarm bells careening around your psyche. Suddenly things that you have taken for granted all of your life have slowed, or in some cases have left you altogether. And you hasten to adapt to this new state of your being as best you can, all the while wondering what is going to strike you next. Believe me, sitting around wondering what the hell is going to befall you next is no damn fun.

However all is not completely negative in regards to getting old. One clear advantage to my being 82 is the amount of change I have gotten to witness throughout the span of my life. I was lucky. I grew up in the age of radio. I remember sitting in my family’s living room listening to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s booming tones as he reassured Americans that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” soothing words said to quiet the panic as during the depression many American’s rushed to their banks to withdraw their money only to find the banks closed tighter than a drum. I remember sitting in the living room and hearing the gravelly voice of King Edward of England tighten up as he announced that he was abdicating the throne of England “for the woman I love. ” And on another evening the voice of a radio announcer named Herbert Morrison was providing radio coverage of the landing of the dirigible Hindenberg at Lakehurst, N. J. when he became suddenly hysterical as the giant hydrogen filled craft suddenly burst into flames crashing to earth with its passengers. "Oh the humanity!" was the phrase that came from that coverage. (There is a fascinating video combining his broadcast with newsreel footage at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F54rqDh2mWA)

I got into radio for a time after World War II just in time to watch radio fade into irrelevance as a brand new medium was ushered in. A moving picture on a tiny little black and white, grainy screen had added an entirely new dimension to the sound signal that had been radio, and the new technology known as television was born in the wake of Word War II. However this birth was at the cost of no small loss, for our imagination was replaced by that compelling little image, the viewer was no longer free to picture in his/her mind whatever the sounds and words indicated. Television went through it’s own series of evolutionary stages, first to larger screen sizes and then in more sharply defined images, and finally the sixties ushered in color, and television as we know it today was born. Today’s television is taking another step forward, as it is on the verge of going digital, and large screen high definition sets are slated to gradually replace the picture tube television sets that began the era.

And during roughly the same period recorded sound experienced its own evolutionary span, as the 78 phonograph record was gradually replaced by the high fidelity longplaying record revolving at 33 1/3 rpm, and one speaker sending out a mono signal was replaced by two sending out a stereo signal, a signal which more closely mimicked how our ears hear sounds in real life. Each of these developments represented a distinct improvement over the listening experience that preceded it. 78 rpm records pressed into a shellac surface had had a constant hiss as the needle traversed the surface of the discs. Vinyl, on which lp records were pressed, was noticeably quieter, the hiss done away with almost entirely, although imperfections on the vinyl surface generated ocassional clicks and pops. But music didn’t stop there, it went digital which brought us t0 the era of the compact disc, a technology completely silent which digitally reproduced the audio sound produced at the time of recording. And compact discs are presently in the process of being replaced by both legal and illegal computer data downloads via the internet. And that rifles us ahead to the present day miracle in the area of communication, the personal computer and the world wide web.

This is indeed an era of miracles, and it is exciting to be a part of it. From the comfort of our home we now have instant access to more information than is to be found in the world’s libaries. We have access to a good part of the recorded music of the world. And the world’s art is being reproduced on computer screens. In short, this is indeed an age of miracles, and they are not static, they are continually happening seemingly at breakneck speed.
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Well, Barack Obama won the nomination for president of the Democratic party by a nose. Or you could say by a nose hair. Hillary Clinton has pointed out that she won a majority of the big states, and would thereby have been the stronger candidate, a line of reasoning that was listened to very carefully in the closing days of the campaign as she won one primary after another. But her late surge was a tad late, and Obama’s delegate count was too close to the magic number to be denied, and so his anointment as the candidate was inevitable.

What will Hillary do now? That, of course, is a question only she can answer, and the world expects her to make her intentions clear in just a few hours. There are some who say that very divisive race has damaged the party, but methinks that is just wishfantasizing on the part of Republicans. I think the race brought the best out of both of the candidates, and I think Hillary will do everything it takes to make sure the party comes together. We will learn later this morning, and I for one will be watching CNN to find out.

I mean, what else is our choice? A Republican candidate, formerly a maverick, who because he must run as a Republican is having to forgo many of his maverick ways to don the mantle of his party, and adopting the Bush White House’s stance on the war, the economy, and who if elected will stack to court with more conservatives who will “happily dance on the grave of Roe v. Wade” if the conservative balance is increased. As opposed to a Democrat who believes that the government should be run for the benefit of the middle class, not the wealthy. And who sees what the war is doing to our economy, and who will search untiringly for a way out of it. John McCain served his country well during the Vietnam war, but he spent much of it in a North Vietnamese prison, he didn’t see that terrible effect that war had on our population back home, as did other veterans like Chuck Hagel and John Kerry. McCain is from a military family, he thinks that if we had stayed in Vietnam we would have won that war, just as he thinks that we should stay in Iraq until we win, no matter how long that takes.

Even though I still feel that Hillary would be the stronger candidate, and would have done the best job after being elected, based on her prior experience as first lady and as the Senator from New York, I will concede that Obama is a skilled orator, perhaps the most skilled since Bill Clinton himself, and that he is attracting people other than traditional Democrats to the polling places. I can’t help but hope that Obama picks Hillary as his running mate, I feel that she well deserves the place she carved for herself on the ticket, and that she deserves a place in the Obama administration akin to Cheney’s in the Bush administration, only of course to devote her influence to doing good for the country in areas like health care, not turning over the nation’s purse strings to the military-industrial complex.

Tuesday’s night of politics gave an interesting glimpse into the future of the campaign. John McCain spoke first from New Orleans, as if to distance himself from the Bush Administration’s neglect of Louisiana after Katrina. He sounded old and tired and was obviously reading from a teleprompter. And his ideas were as old and tired as was his demeanor. And it was a stale script in which he sought to distance himself from Republican traditions while at the same time affirming as many of them as necessary so as to snooker the Republican conservative vote.

Hillary Clinton was next, rousing her crowd to peaks not seen before on TV, at least by me. If only Hillary had been able to project her personality so forcefully earlier on there’s no telling how the race might have come out. And finally, Barack Obama, cautiously claiming winnership, though careful not to tread too heavily on Hillary’s toes. Obama is smart, he realizes that if he is going to win the general election he is going to have to go after the voters Hillary has amassed. Together we will win, apart we will have four more years of Bush, McCain. Can the country stand another four years of this no citizen government? I very much doubt it.

Meantime the job for the rest of us is to vote in November, and not just for a Democratic presidency, a Democrat prez won’t mean a damn thing with such a closely drawn Congress. No, there needs to be a clean sweep of the halls of Congress, with as many Republicans replaced as possible. Thank the good Lord the framers of the Constitution ordained a complete change of the House of Representatives, and the cleansing of a third of the Senate every two years. The only way change our government for the better is for us to do a clean sweep of Congress. Turn the Republicans out to pasture. Period. Exclamation point! See you at the polls in November.
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John McCain has been obsessed these past weeks trying to talk Barack Obama into traveling to Iraq with him and talking with General Petraeus about the future of the war. Could it be that McCain is beginning to hear rumblings of American electorate disatisfaction, and is afraid that Obama and the Democrats will win by a landslide in November? McCain’s precious war will be in grave danger in that event. Obama coninues to resist the bait, saying he is likely to make such a trip after his position as a candidate is secure, but only in order to assess bringing the troops home. This elicited a fresh retort from the McCain campaign. "It is disappointing that Senator Obama would travel to Iraq for the first time in over two years, and instead of listening and learning from our troops, he would insist upon an immediate withdrawal," said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers.

However such trips are heavily stage-managed by the Defense Department to control the message and the imagery, warned Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.), who has visited four times. McCain's own heavily guarded visit to a Baghdad market last year was widely ridiculed when the truth about it came out. Democrats counseled Obama against taking the bait. "Frankly, his policy is about bringing our troops home sooner and safer, and that is a message that is resonating with the American people," Tauscher said. "I wouldn't do anything to validate Senator McCain's attempt to change the subject and create this red-herring debate."
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Isn’t it interesting how in this world we see what we want to see. Take pregnant girls under the age eighteen. How many of those did those CPS agents see, or claim to have seen, during that raid they made on the FLDS compound two months ago? And how many of those young ladies turned out to be 18 and older. In fact one they had classified as underage turned out to be 22. Which gets back to my point that often we see just what we want to see. I guess the raid and sudden taking away of all the children is just a memory now, although albeit a terrifying one for the younger children, since now they are all back with their parents. However, according to a news report not very many of them have returned to Yearning for Zion ranch.

In case you have forgotten in one unbelievable mass orgy of historic proportions a so-called family court judge ripped 460+ children from their parents and bussed them to foster homes all across the state of Texas. It took two months for the higher courts to react to this highly questionable deprivation of parental rights, but after careful deliberation both Texas high courts ruled that the initial seizure had been illegal, and the judge was ordered to vacate her original order turning over care of the children to the state, returning them to their parents. She and the CPS put various caveats on their order allowing the release of the children. But what really blows a skeptical mind is the fact that Judge Walther, who had originally ordered the children removed from the ranch and bussed to the four corners of the state at the behest of the CPS, had directed that if the parents wanted their children back they could jolly well go and get them themselves. The judge’s final ruling: “The state taketh away, but if you want ‘em back you can jolly well go and get ‘em yourself. And at your own expense.” Would that seem to indicate that the judge and the CPS are sore losers?

Now we are sure it wasn’t a case of vindictiveness or poor losership that caused the judge and the CPS to require that if the parents wanted their children back they could jolly well travel far and wide at their own expense and pick their children up themselves. I’m sure the judge did it taking pity on the poor taxpayers of the state of Texas who have been paying through the nose for the transportation and care of lo those many children for the two months or so since their illegal removal. And wasn’t it sweet and caring of Judge Walther to think of all of us taxpayers, albeit at this late date. However, if the judge was so concerned about the p0cketbooks of Texas taxpayers, why did she have the state rip them from their family situations and send them all over the state in foster care in the first place? What kind of family law did the judge study which teaches that a judge has the right to take children away from their parents in such numbers on hearsay evidence alone, make that no evidence at all, and without giving the parents any kind of legal redress at the time.

Only after the higher courts required her to vacate her order did she relent and return them to their parents, but if the parents wanted their children back they were required to travel to the various homes where the children were lodged. That certainly saved the state a bundle, I’m sure. And I’m equally sure that the parents are so grateful for the return of their children that they will not utter one word in protest. But it seems to me a cheap shot and yet another example of how completely unfeeling the court and CPS were as they attempted yet again to avoid responsibility for their original violent removal of the children. The court taketh away, why should not the court bringeth them back to the place of their removal? Another good question to tack onto a suit against the CPS if the FLDS decides to go that route, which I very much doubt they will.

Anyway, we can all thank our lucky stars that it’s over and done with. The children are reunited with the parents they were born to. And the judge and the CPS probably feel somewhat vindicated by being able to attach conditions on the return of the children which give the CPS agents access to them at all times, and of course we can’t forget the satisfaction they must have felt in devising the humiliation of requiring that the parents pick their children up themselves, no matter how far flung they might have been. That surely must have taken some of the sting out of that Appeals Court order. Ah well, that chapter is closed, and as the old saying goes, All’s Well that Ends . . .
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If there are any of you who are hooked into Nick Scipio’s work in progress, Summer Camp, Book 4, Christy, you will be happy to learn that he has posted chapter 12 this past week. Chapter 11 had been posted back on March 25. I have never read a work in progress before, and I can tell you it is a bit frustrating to get it one chapter at a time, and then to have to wait several months for the next chapter to arrive. However, I for one am cheerfully doing it, and am enjoying each chapter as it comes along. I am also reading Russell Hoisington’s Wynter and Brinkley in progress, part one of which has materialized, and am reading Wizard’s Trailer Park, the Fifth Year, the first part of which surfaced sometime late last year.

If you are not offended by erotic literature, and might actually prefer literature that doesn’t stop at the bedroom door, but attempts to explore the why’s and wherefore’s of this most basic of human experiences, then you should check out these authors. All of these fine novels are available at: http://storiesonline.net/home.php which after you arrive click on the author’s pages, they are listed by their first names, N for Nick Scipio, R for Russell Hoisington, W for Wizard. Thanks to the web this is where one branch of serious literature may be found. If you are not a member of the storiesonline site you might have to sign up to get complete access to each author’s content. However, membership is free, the stories come to you well formatted, and I have found the works of all three of these authors to be excellent reads, well worth the time and trouble.

Be sure to read their books in the proper order, as the stories are continous events in the lives of the characters. Nick Scipio’s Summer Camp series begins with Book One, Susan; Book Two, Gina; Book Three, Kendall; and the work in progress, Book Four, Christy. Russell Hoisington’s Wynter series begins with Wynter, Wynter & Jimmy, Wynter & Cinnamon, Wynter & Hailey, and the one in progress, Wynter & Brinkley. Wizard’s Trailer Park series begins with The Trailer Park, after which comes The Trailer Park, the Second Year, the Third Year, the Fourth Year, then The Trailer Park, the Road Trip, before the current, the Fifth Year, part one. Due to the quirks of the author’s alphabetical listings these stories do not necessarily appear in the proper order on their author’s site, which is why I have gone to the trouble to list their proper order here.

Plus, the storiesonline site is loaded with many other fine authors and when I have the time I plan to go trolling for other authors to go with my big three, there are aplenty there, even including Uncle Pan’s page, for those who like their fantasies young and exotic.
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One of the most memorable scenes from the movies was the fireplace scene in Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. Keep in mind, the movie did not give any hint of the significance of the sled, leaving it completely to the mind and imagination of the each moviegoer. This was monumental at the time, for movies traditionally held you by the hand and carefully explained every little thing of importance. I was an usher at the Tower Theater in Houston as the Citizen Kane made the rounds, and the crowds came a’plenty and as they walked out of the theater you can bet one and all they were discussing the meaning of that scene. Orson Welles, who had come to RKO fresh from scaring much of the country to death by way of radio and an adaption of H.G. Wells’ War of the World. As a result he was able to obtain a contract which gave him complete control over every aspect of the film. He studied films at the time, and incorporated many trailblazing features in it. Lighting was one important factor, Welles lighted each scene himself, much to the consternation of the electrician’s union, and characters were lit according to the emotional needs of the scene. In what was another innovative quality of the film was its use of “deep focus.” That is, everything from up close to far away was in sharp focus. Welles’ radio experience had him experimenting with the soundtrack. But the “hook” of the film, the thing that captured the imagination, was Kane’s last spoken word, “rosebud,” and the fireplace scene in which his childhood sled is burned. If our YouTube gods are smiling, it should appear here:


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And so we leave you for another week. If anything happens during it we will pop in telling of it. In the meantime, get involved in politics, and involve your friends. This is a unique point in the history of our republic, the breezes are blowing our way, Let us hope that we all respond as we should respond, and turn this country on its ear.

The Real Little Eddy

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