It’s Not A Liberal or Conservative Issue

It is my general feeling that amending the United States Constitution is something that should not be suggested lightly. There’s a whole slew of proposed amendments that never really went anywhere.

Still, I’m mulling over this e-mail I got from Uthaclena which reads in part: “As you are undoubtedly aware, the Supreme Court recently decided that Corporations are Persons who are entitled to spend as much money on ‘free speech’ to effect elections as they like. I believe that most Americans, be they Liberal or Conservative, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, or Independent, thinks that this is ludicrous. The ruling legitimizes the business of BUYING elections, which is already a grave threat to our democracy. This is an issue that should unite us despite the partisan contention of the last decade.”

Well, yes. When I commented on the court case initially, my view was what it was, one commenter suggested, because I was liberal. I AM a liberal, but the issue was that the Court seemed to cede power from the people to the corporate state. It seemed radical. People complain about the “activist” court when some “progressive” ruling down. Well, this was the height of judicial activism. Along with the Griswold decision to essentially allow eminent domain for “economic” reasons, this court has put the people last.

So I’m feeling inclined to support such a measure.

“Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Congressman John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, have co-sponsored a bill to send a Constitutional Amendment to the States for ratification that would allow corporation’s influence to be limited. The proposal reads:

111TH CONGRESS, 2D SESSION
H. J. RES. ___
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States permitting Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations engaging in political speech.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Ms. EDWARDS of Maryland (for herself and Mr. CONYERS) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on __________________

JOINT RESOLUTION
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States permitting Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations engaging in political speech.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

‘ARTICLE—
‘SECTION 1. The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds for political speech by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity.
‘SECTION 2. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.’.

You can voice your support of Representative Edwards here.

But more importantly, contact YOUR OWN Congressional Representative and ask them to support this resolution so that it can move forward. If you are uncertain who your representative is or how to contact them, use the locator.

The source article can be read here.

(WARNING! Leftie blog!! ;-)”

ROG

January Rambling

Busy month coming. Black History Month at church, and I’m doing two adult ed sessions. One will be helping to hone my presentation at the Underground Railroad Conference in Troy, NY at the end of the month.
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The one weekend I won’t be doing BHM stuff, I’ll probably be here.
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Finally gave blood on January 18. I was scheduled to donate two or three times before that, but just didn’t feel up to it. The four months between donations is the longest I’ve gone since I had to pass for a year when I got rabies shots. The weird thing is that twice in a row, I got reminder cards about my donation six to eight days AFTER I was scheduled to donate; unhelpful AND a waste of money.
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I was in the home office. There was this thin book that was falling off the shelf. Turned out to be The Connoisseur’s Guide to the Contemporary Horror Film by the late Chas Balun, an item I hadn’t thought about in years. When I was working at this comic book store called FantaCo, we sold many, many copies of the item. I went over to Steve Bissette’s site to let him know about this, and wouldn’t you know, but that he had just written about Chas and that very booklet! How odd.
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ABC-TV is plugging this new show called The Deep End, about some young lawyers. The voiceover says, “From the network that brought you Grey’s Anatomy”, as though network affiliation is a reason to watch the show. Yet it DOES remind me of Grey’s in that there’s a guy under water; Meredith Grey practically drown a couple seasons ago. I shan’t be watching; hey I got 85% of my DVR capacity used up.

This reminds me of a poster SamuraiFrog wrote about, the text of which was “from the studio that brought you THE PROPOSAL.” as though anyone would go to a film for that reason. Goofy.
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This incredible machine was “built as a collaborative effort between the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of Engineering at the University of Iowa. Amazingly, 97% of the machines components came from John Deere Industries and Irrigation Equipment of Bancroft, Iowa.
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A resource guide re Haiti.
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Anyone know the shelf life for amoxicillin capsules? Wayne John wanted to know.
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Another SF-found piece, on gay marriage, a satire.
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Thom Wade reminds me why I’m not a Mormon
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The Brand Identity Guru says The Bachelor and Bachelorette Brands Can’t Be More Racist. I don’t watch, but I’d be interested in the thoughts of those who do.
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Was Jack Benny in the movie Casablanca? Mark Evanier doesn’t think so, but he’s not sure.
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What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2010 under the law that existed until 1978 . . . Works from 1953.
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Hard to find music and movies.
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Salon finally figured out the joy of the Kennedy Center Honors. See also Kennedy Center Honorees at the White House.
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Scholar Ladies a video response to Single Ladies by Beyonce.
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Finally, the wife is trying to keep the daughter away from aspartame, the stuff in Equal and the other little blue packets, at least in the US, at least it is most of the time. And the stuff shows up in the darnedest places, such as packaged fruit cups one sends the daughter to school with.
But I’ve discovered that the DelMonte fruit cups, e.g., uses sucralose, the substance in Splenda and the other items in the yellow packet. Anyone aware of health issues for children with sucralose?

ROG

A Meme of Firsts

Via SamuraiFrog:

1. Who was your FIRST date?
Difficult to say. I don’t recall dating Martha as much as hanging out with her with my friends, then with her more than my other friends. Eventually we kissed a lot.

2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?
Yeah, but not often. I went to her wedding. I’m reasonably sure that her husband doesn’t know we dated. I used to think that was weird. Then there was this other woman I dated considerably later on; I was going to mention her in this blog actually, but she preferred that I didn’t. She’s comfortable with the fiction that her husband is the “only one”, despite the fact that she was married before. HER husband knows we dated, and in fact recognized me from a drawing of me as a duck that the late Raoul Vezina drew. So maintaining a fiction about the past I’ve learned to recognize as important to some people. I suppose that includes me.

3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?
I don’t remember what, but I remember where: it was in a bar on Clinton Street in Binghamton. I was 18, the legal age. My sister was singing there, if I recall correctly and I don’t think I had to pay for the drink. It was almost certainly a mixed drink; I want to say Tom Collins.

4. What was your FIRST job?
I’ve answered this before (newspaper deliverer or library page). The first job I had where I was making any real money was working at IBM in Endicott, near Binghamton. I had graduated from high school in January 1971, and I worked there from March through August. My job was to do these three processes. First was to put this coating over these circuit boards. The second (and the most difficult) was to bake them in these ovens, making sure not to bend the pins or have the coating get on the pins. The third task was to bake this plastic holder onto the circuit boards.

Irritatingly, the first shift did a lot of the first task, leaving the second task to me. And I really had to do it, because the coating would start riding up the pins if they weren’t baked within 10 or 12 hours. They didn’t like me because I would do the first task so fast that the company raised the rate for that job, something like from 60 to 80 boards per hour. That WAS a tactical error on my part.

I was on the second shift, which ostensibly was 5:12 p.m. to 2 a.m ., with a 48-minute lunch. But I hardly ever worked that shift. It was usually 5:12 p.m. to 4 a.m., and then from 12 noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Not only did I save lots of money for college because of the 16 hours of overtime per week – and because I was generally too tired to go out – I managed to lose 30 pounds because I was too tired to eat.

In the summer, there was a guy – I wish I remembered his name – who was a son of an IBM bigwig; he was quite intelligent and as bored as I was. So we would get into his Aston Martin and drive as far away as we could for 20 minutes, then reluctantly drive back.

First time I ever gave blood was while I worked there because I could get paid at work while taking of the hour to donate.

5. What was your FIRST car?
No idea. It was the S.O.’s and it was red and had push button transmission. I once knocked over a Dumpster while driving it; I wanted to go forward but went into reverse.

6. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
I had gotten chosen for this Governor’s Conference on Children and Youth when I was in high school, and there were seven of us from the Binghamton area who flew to Albany in a plane with perhaps a dozen seats. It was during a lightning and thunderstorm on the way up. Met Nelson Rockefeller for the first time.

7. Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk?
My first best friend was probably Ray Lia from second grade. We were in Cub Scouts together; his mom was our den mother. I didn’t see him much in high school; he went to North High instead of Central, because it offered some technical courses he wanted. I pretty much lost track of him until 1976, five years after high school, when he invited me to be in his wedding. I escorted his mom to her seat, which as nice. I caught the garter, which wasn’t. We exchange Christmas cards, though most of the writing is by his wife Pam. He is, as of about a month ago, one of my Facebook friends.

8. Whose wedding did you attend the FIRST time?
I have no idea. When I grew up in the church, most of the weddings were open to all the parishoners. So I went to a lot of weddings as a kid. I even sang at a few, notably I Love You Truly, a truly horrific piece of claptrap. I know I attended my sister’s godfather Elmer’s wedding to Barbara in that period.

As for which of my friends married first whose wedding I actually attended, I’m not at all sure. My sister got married on Halloween 1975; a definite contender.

9. Tell us about your FIRST roommate.
That would be Ron Fields. At New Paltz in 1971-72, there were only two black males in Scudder Hall, a grad student in biology (Ron) and a freshman poli sci major (me), and somehow we ended up as roommates. I’m pretty sure it was no accident. Ron was fine. He did have one great idiosyncrasy that amused me and others; he recorded every cent he spent in a notebook. “Soda, 50 cents,” etc. One day, he bought a used car. “Car, $1000.” It cracked both of us up.

One day in March 1972, the phone rang fairly early in the morning. It was my father, but Ron didn’t let on. He did prompt us to clean the room, then conspired with a friend of mine to get me out of my room so that my family and friends could surprise me that weekend for my 19th birthday. Kentucky Fried Chicken, as I recall.

10. If you had one wish, what would it be (other than more wishes)?
Either the ability to fly or to transport.

11. What is something you would learn if you had the chance?
If I had time, I’d become more computer savvy; I just muddle through.

12. Did you marry the FIRST person you were in love with?
No, and we tried to make it work more than once.

13. What were the first lessons you ever took and why?
Piano lessons when I was eight with Mrs. Hamlin. I was not at all good, but I still remember a lot of those intro lessons by heart. It was also useful in singing, so it wasn’t a total waste.

14. What is the first thing you do when you get home?
Take off my shoes. Keep the carpet clean.

ROG

What I Am

My old friend Uthaclena (and by OLD, I mean more than a week older than I am) got all philosophically musing on us recently. Worker, son, husband, father, this-and-that. These are not just voices – these are personae and skill sets, some greater, some lesser, a psychic closet of costumes and masks from among which we may select.

I am a son, brother, husband, father. But I have, either by my own doing, or those imposed on me, been defined by other roles.

Bus guy – not only is CDTA a primary form of transportation for me, but I’m pretty good at answering questions about the best way to get from here to there by bus – or IF one can get there. Assuming I’ve ridden the route more than a couple times, I can pretty much suss out the system.

Bicycle guy – though I barely rode for a year for various reasons, there are folks who know me from one two-wheeler or another.

Cereal guy – I swear there are people in my building who don’t even know my name but could tell you what I have for breakfast (or occasionally lunch) each weeekday: Cheerios and/or Spoom-Size Shredded Wheat.

JEOPARDY! guy – it’s sorta like the Oscars. OK, more like the Golden Globes.

Luddite guy or alternatively, computer guy – the former is most definitely true. I remember someone who was talking about compression of my iTunes folder; I was just happy I could figue out how to download music at all. And don’t get me started about my cellphone. Yet some people who are even more inept technologically than I am keep asking questions that even I can answer.

Blog guy – less from this blog as from the other blog, even though I’ve been doing this one for over three years longer. It helps that occasionally, the text has appeared in the newspaper, providing a faux sense of authority.

Black guy – often I’m the only black male in a situation. So if someone who didn’t know me by name were to ask who I was in a group, he or she might ask: “Who is that balding guy?” Well, they could, but it’d probably be more efficient, and not at all racialist, to ask the more obvious question.

I took one of those personality tests a while back, and I’m an INFP:
Extraverted 16% Introverted 84%
Sensing 47% Intuition 53%
Thinking 32% Feeling 68%
Judging 16% Perceiving 84%
Some people are surprised that I am as introverted as I score; I am not.

So, to quote the musings of a fellow March Piscean, a Roger named Daltry, who are YOU?
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Here’s something really silly:
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Created by OnePlusYou – Free Dating Site

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

death (5x) breast (3x) dead (2x) vulva (1x)
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My sister asked, and I don’t know. Does anyone know who produced “Daily Bread”, shown here?

ROG

Friends

I’ve been thinking about the notion of friends a lot recently.

There are people who I’ve been friends with for over 50 years, longer than some of you have been alive. I’ve known them since kindergarten. But what happens when one of them has…changed dramatically? Are you still friends, just because he attended your ninth birthday party? Especially if you haven’t been in touch much in for the better part of 30 of those years.

I have a friend, whose birthday was last month, turning 56 (thus just a bit older than I). We’ve been friends with since the first day of college, September 12, 1971 (but who’s counting?) But the vast majority of people from college I have no real interest in seeing; it’s not antipathy, more meh.

I’ve been in Albany 30 years and I’ve made some good friends. On the other hand, there are people one sees at church and work that I can say that I hardly know at all, though I see them often.

Fred Hembeck is an example of a good friend who I lost touch with but got back in contact with via the Internet. (When IS that show in April, Fred?) He has written a moving piece about the loss of his good friend Charlie; I didn’t know Charlie, but the tale has such universality that I think you ought to read it here (March 9, 2009).

I’ve discovered that one can develop a friendship through regular participation in something. For a time it was hearts. For some time, it’s been racquetball.

Somehow, I’ve managed to develop friendships with a couple of my exes.

Then there are those people you haven’t even met, but through their blogs and other communications, you get to know rather well. Greg Burgas, an interesting fellow out of Arizona via Oregon and Pennsylvania, was musing on that aspect too – and mentioned me specifically as a friend. And I feel similarly inclined. I know about his wife, his daughters, the accident one of them had, where he’s lived, how he missed a friend’s wedding, his taste in music. I feel an obligation – well, maybe too strong a word – but a desire to please him if it’s reasonable. Recently he said he wished I wrote more on race, and directly as a result of that, I wrote this post.

Thee was this bilious audio of Richard Nixon talking about All in the Family and homosexuality that I found on Evanier’s page that I knew three people might appreciate; two of them I have never met. So this line of “friend” gets murky.

Here’s something that makes it murkier: Facebook. Just in the past week, I have suddenly discovered that I’m now “friends” with a whole new batch of people. Some of them I’m thinking: weren’t we friends before? Interestingly, I noticed that one of them, who I’ve known for years, wrote “in a relationship – it’s complicated”; I queried about this but received a cryptic “noyb” reply.

Back in 1974, I saw Billy Joel in New Paltz. The opening act was a guy named Buzzy Linhart, who was primarily a songwriter. He told us ad nauseum all the people he had written songs for, including this one by Bette Midler: