Halloween season has been in progress for weeks now. I have taken to long to post on it, but better late than never. I will start with my favorite horror genre of all time. When I was growing up I never idolized superheroes. The only heroes fictional heroes I ever had were Atticus Finch and Karl Kolchak.
iI consider Kolchak to be a progressive hero. He fought the establishment and in one episode, “Primal Scream”, he fought an oil company. Instead of fists he used his brain, writing ability ( the pen is indeed mightier than the sword), connections in low places, and more courage than I or most people have.
I was introduced to him a birthday party 38 years ago where we watched the above- mentioned espisode of ” Kolchak: The Night Stalker.” I fell in love with the show immediately.
I later found out that, of course, the series was preceded by two TV movies. The first of these, “The Night Stalker”, was broadcast on ABC in 1972, and was the most watched TV film ever up to that point. It is definitely a classic, what one critic one called a brilliant combination of comedy and horror, one that I watch every year. This unique drama is food for thought, especially for a progressive activist.
Without further ado, here is “The Night Stalker”
This insanity known as a shutdown is only the latest foolishness from the Republican Majority that rules the House of Representatives with an iron fist. These clowns literally ignore the rule of the majority and serve their base out of fear of being challenged in their primary. This is because the “GOP” has gerrymandered house seats so severely over the years that most of their members are immune to challenge from outside the party. These seats are so secure that those wishing to challenge an incumbent from within the party need not fear losing the seat to the Democratic Party as a result. In fact, the republicans retained control of the House despite the fact that the democrats won the majority of votes nationwide for seats in that body.
A party winning an election while losing the vote is OUTRAGEOUS! This must never happen again. Gerrymandering must become a thing of the past. The time has come to take districting at all levels of government out of the hands of politicians! The question is what and/or who to replace them with.
Another calamity that befell us in the 2010 Elections was the rise of the Republican Party’s atrocious rogue governors. Here is a list:
Rick Scott (Florida)
Scott Walker (Wisconsin)
Tom Corbett (Pennsylvania)
Rick Snyder (Michigan)
Chris Christie (New a Jersey)
Pat McCrory (North Carolina)
Jon Kasich (Ohio)
Paul LePage (Maine)
All of these have tried to implement voter ID requires and otherwise restrict voting. They all need to be shown the door next year.
Pride Days are being celebrated in Gainesville this week. They began on October 18th (last Friday) and end on the 27th (Sunday). Here is a list of events, mostly taken from the Pride Guide, in case your haven’t seen a one:
Tuesday night : The film “Beautiful Boxer” at the Hippodrome. This feature is about the real life story of Parinya Charoenphol and is sponsored by LGBT Affairs of the University of Florida.
Wednesday night: Be More Heroic, an anti-bullying campaign, is being held at Ustler Hall at the University of Florida. This event is co-sponsored by UF APIA Affairs, The River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, and UF Intercultural Engineers.
Thursday night : “Living History.” This presentation will be held at the Pride Center (3131 NW 13th Street) by the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida (HRCNCF).
Saturday Afternoon : Pride March. Starts at noon. Marchers assemble at NW 7th Street and the South Side of W University Avenue in the parking lot next to the Ayers Medical Plaza. The March will then proceed to the Bo Diddley Downtown Plaza.
Saturday Afternoon : Pride Festival. Runs from 1 to 9 P.M. on the Bo Diddley Downtown Plaza with many local venders and tabling by activist groups. Sponsored by the City of Gainesville. “A Kids Space” also available.
Sunday Morning: Pride Service at the United Church of Gainesville (local branch of the United Church of Christ):
The shutdown continues. Some “moderate” Republicans, definitely an endangered species these days, may want to vote to end the shutdown, but their leadership is still terrified of angering the Tea Party. The din of their knees rattled must be deafening.
Boehner and company must at least be also feeling a little heat from the majority’s disapproval of the shutdown. According to The Gainesville Sun, they are planning to change their focus to the deficit and cutting social programs. This is a battle they probably think that they can win. We must do all we can to keep the county from falling for their typical debt paranoia demagoguery. After all, the deficit is going down. Further, taking money out of the system is bad for the economy.
This economy is not working for most people as it is. The last thing we need is for it to be made even more unfair for people not at the top, but that is what the Republicans are trying to do. They have got the majority of the public to go along with this by making them afraid of the poor and government efforts to help the poor. The problem is the middle class and non-union working class people do not pay attention to comments on how the poor are hurt by deregulation and cutting social programs, but metaphorically rise out of their seat when they hear allegations that they will be hurt by programs to help the poor. The “GOP” built opposition to “Obamacare”, for example, by claiming that it would cause the rates of those already insured to rise and that jobs would be lost. That is the bead-and-butter of the right wing: making those who “have” fear those who “have not”.
Now they have added the threat of a default on the national debt to their politics of fear. They have plumbed a new depth in their campaign against President Obama and against social programs, but still have the gall to blame it on Democrats. This message is helped by the media, who, in fear of being accused of bias and in desperate pursuit of conservative viewers who left them for Faux News, have had the temerity to claim that both sides are responsible. We must relentless put forth the truth. If we do so, a bit of sunlight may poke through the clouds.
This time Republicans have gone too far. This latest outrage must be the last. Shutting the government down unless they get their way is not only abominable, it is childish. Those big babies do not deserve their seats in congress. We must all rise up and remedy this appalling situation now and for all time.
First, we put the pressure on the right-wing fools who got us into this mess. Send them tons of petitions, e-mail, and tweets demanding that they end the shutdown until they comply or vomit their last meal, which ever comes first. I, for one, will send at least one email each day.
Secondly, we do everything we can to lay these clowns off the way they have caused federal workers, and perhaps some in the private sector, to be laid off. Support their opponents. Make the shutdown artists sweat buckets and perhaps defeat some of them.
Third, we must end once and for all the system of gerrymandering that has allowed the GOP to etch a majority for their party in the U.S. House of Representatives into the landscape. In particular we must end the practice of politicians drawing district lines at all levels of government. We must create and fight for alternatives. A panel of judges and/or academics is one possibility.
Finally, we must end the dominance of money in our, and it should be ours, political system. Redoubling the effort to repeal the wretched SCOTUS decision in the Citizens United case is urgent. That is just the beginning. We must restore the finance reform laws that said court has been gutting for 39 years and then go further: full disclosure by both candidates and contributors, limits on corporate contributions, no corporate contributions without the approval of the stockholders, stricter limits on lobbying, among other things. We must be relent less about this from now on. The time has come to sweep the halls of government clean.