Tag Archives: movies

Riding Off Into the Sunset

This is a troubling time for the people and institutions who will endure but for many parts of society and many people it is farewell to the world of the living. Farewell to continuing existence in this reality. Musicians like Ellis Marsalis, Bill Withers, John Prine, Joe Diffie and the others we have been losing cannot be replaced. In American popular culture we have the concept  and film trope of heroes and cowboys riding off into the sunset. Many icons here and in other countries will be doing that here and now. There is too much of this kind of loss going on in the USA for me to even attempt to keep track of the same kinds of losses elsewhere.

Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels

I am sitting on my couch typing on this Easter Tuesday morning my arm is in a sling from hurting myself in me sleep. That happens about once a year and that is why I own a sling. Despite all the physical work I  do in a typical year it is usually a sleeping injury that puts me in this condition. I hope that you all are doing alright who are reading this. I am starting to show some signs of wear and tear. I am also aware of all of those who are leaving us in this pandemic. The losses of important influences seem to pile up more each day. But we also know that some of our world will stay the same and all of us have some ties to traditions and institutions forged in tough times.


This is a time for dealing with the fact that life is not ever likely to be quite the same after the pandemic.  My life has been about moving beyond  various phases for a long time. It has not been a wasted life but it has not been a life that has led to much solid success. But it does seem that familiar virtues lie the heroic dedication of health care workers facing disease and the generosity of people to charities are on view, I personally am grateful for the largess of the government of my country to the millions including me whose lives have been upended. I am grateful to President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for finding the way to work together. Today, I hurt my shoulder and have all the stress of the pandemic accentuated by my physical injury but I am not facing financial crisis yet because of Unemployment Insurance benefit expansion and the Economic Impact Payment. I am grateful to have this relief. There are many other people getting other benefits as employers, spouses and employers for which I am not eligible. But I am getting old and tired and am grateful to get my piece of the pie. Maybe I can survive this crisis with a semblance of having my life intact.

Earlier in this blog I spent a lot of pages on grandiose plans and proposals for reform and radical change. I am too tired and run down to think much about those failures. I just think mostly about my life as a series of moments, days and experiences that might make up a life’s work and journey that I am not ashamed to have traveled.

The images in mt mind may be a review of life just before it ends…

or a pause before the journey and the work resume,

Tonight I am noting but not yet reacting to the fact that the United States has stopped funding the WHO. I am noting but not yet reacting to the fact there are real breaks in the supply chain. I am noting but not yet reacting to the fact that I am struggling to deal with the prospect of extended isolation. I am noting but not yet reacting to the cost some errors a few people in my set of connections made just before the crisis that are now amplified by these events, I have not gotten around to thinking about what all these disparate thoughts mean when they are called into the same context.

I do have to say goodbye to the resumption of my school schedule, The Governor of Louisiana has indicated that the school year will not open in the normal sense again for this academic year. I am trying to figure out all the ins and outs of the pandemic for myself. Substitute teaching for the Vermilion Parish School Board has been part of my life and income for 8 of the last 20 years.

The journey of a person through the years of life is not ever all that simple. I have been remembering the low lights and  highlights of my life. In my own case, the world today is very interesting but also not much my concern. I am not so much looking to change anything as I a looking to set my house in order on the way off the stage. I am not even at all confident that I can do that effectively.


I still find the need to comment on the great events of the day, I still believe what I believe and surmise what I surmise.  I have never  been so incredibly sure that my time for the shaping of larger events has come largely to an end, For me the focus must be on my personal final chapter or two for the remainder of my time on this earth.

This sense of how a crisis could come suddenly was in my lecture at the LHA  annual meeting when I spoke about the Cajun response to 1930. A sense of sudden sweeping crisis  was present in  what I wrote in this blog  just before the election of Donald Trump. I wrote this as part of one of my last posts before I started letting this blog go without  even trying to keep it going.

Back in 1860 few if any Americans expected the cataclysm which was about to engulf the nation. Even once they conceded that war was a formal likely hood on paper and maybe probable on the field most Americans believed that if started it would end quickly with their side victorious. James Chestnut, South Carolina’s senator and the famous Confederate diarist Mary’s husband, offered to personally drink all the blood shed in the struggle. What happened was an all out clash of millions and an ordeal of years. William J. Cooper Jr.’s book, We Have the War Upon Us does a good job of capturing the sense of that precipice on which America stood. Perhaps the most important lesson to learn from the last year or so before the actual shooting started is how unexpected it seemed to so many.

There is no way to reach any really clear assessment of the Obama Presidency just yet. He may have saved us from a Great Depression, maybe not. He may have done much better in the War on Terror than his predecessor who allowed the attacks on 9/11 which changed us so much. Or he may be responsible for disasters which have engulfed Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Iran, Israel, Libya and Tunisia and other countries in a struggle which will endure for generations. He may have solved the fundamental problems of our healthcare crisis or he may have plunged us deeper into a new healthcare crisis. Certainly there will be no answers that satisfy those who are the most demanding observers and analysts right now. But the election is not in fifty or a hundred years. The election of the next President of the United States is Tuesday. There were fewer prominent Democrats on my ballot than I ever remember seeing in so many races and I usually vote for at least a few Democrats but this time I voted almost entirely for Republicans. However, I did vote for Chris Keniston for President of the United States. His Veterans Party will not take the White House however. So who will take it? Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will almost certainly take the Presidency. I am not happy with who we leave behind nor either option to which we now proceed. But I do hope that we will have a peaceful transition to a new administration.

Tonight, I am responsive to who I always was but I want arrange record and prepare for my relatively near exit. I do not want to jump much into the fray that matters, I am tired and the sky shows many signs of sunset.

Cops, Women, Movies and What I might blog about more if I were really a celebrity….

When the Aurora  theater shooting was perpetrated there was a whole series of issues in the way the event was handled that I found very upsetting. I wrote some things about police handling of the investigation that were among the angriest and most offensively worded things that I have ever written. It was a desperate attempt to attract more attention to reforming police procedure, reporting on mass shootings, reporting between agencies and public police relations. Of course I got no response from any of the parties I tried to offend — not the police, the mainstream media or the sort of half-breed institutions  that act as part media and part police. No response except some evidence that some isolated elements in both media and police took offense and put me on their enemies list. Fair enough, I have earned lots of enemies but although I hate reading those words I  still think that if I was not so universally ignored it might have prevented some of the horrors of police – public connections and relations that have plagued us ever since. Yes that is egotistical, but if you read this blog regularly you already know that I am fairly egotistical. Insulting the most capable group in society of inflicting harm was not a choice I made lightly even in the heat of anger.

O. J. Simpson’s legal team demonized the police so he could get away with murdering his wife and her associate or lover — his tactic succeeded despite the lack of any relevance to anything. I suggested that the police needed to disprove that a man dressed entirely like a cop, in a place cops were known to work and who shot with skill was not in fact a cop. I suggested that this lack of confronting that issue was inexcusable. I did it in ways that were over the top. But my goal was to start a discussion — I failed to achieve my objective where Simpson’s attorneys did achieve theirs. I never said a cop did it and I laid out the facts that Holmes probably did it and said so clearly to those few who can actually follow an argument they do not like.  But I achieved no discussion whatsoever of how to handle situations when a cop may have run amok. That was around this  time of year in 2012. All of the corrosive events since then may make many people (whose point of view I can’t respect) feel that such criticism contributed to the bad will sense. They are basically fools and self-deluded cowards but many of them hate people like me on sight so this won’t gain me new enemies really — they sense that I dislike the status quo they don’t wan’t criticized  as soon as they see me. Still I would apologize for how angry those words were if I thought it meant anything.
When the Lafayette theater shooting occurred in 2015 and the killer was not dressed like a cop in the view of hundreds of witnesses and the reporting was in my mind sane I said nothing negative about the cops or the cop reportage media industry. I focused on the victims and shared reported links about them such as this and this which emphasized their great human beauty as people. I also shared other links like this. Until this sentence I have never mentioned that Train Wreck is a disturbing movie which many people would find offensive and hard to watch in any of my other treatments of this topic. That is true although as I wrote with empathy in the Charlie Ebdo massacre I never took up the Je Suis Charlie Ebdo tag. I actually think Amy Schumer has some serious things to say in the film and they need to be said. I am not at all sure she says them in a way that deserves major feature film distribution acroos America. But until now I did not mention that and I did focus some attention on the killer and his horrible points of view which led to this crisis. A post or two on that shooting made this blog. So my criticism harsh as it was had a very specific context. Positive posts about police have appeared here , here and here. But that first post which I do not link but which is still here on this blog and elsewhere will haunt me for the rest of my life with a long and more complete line of ghosts than most people have.

So two lovely women who are part of the Acadiana community which I have loved and lived in were killed at a movie about women’s issues that were offensively portrayed by a man whose whole life was devoted to offensive behaviors and thoughts. the cops and media handled it well and that scarcely lessens the tragedy. That is not the kind of writing I would like to do about women, movies are cops but it beats the Aurora piece. I have blogged about the Louisiana Story and the Blob which have been big parts of my life. I have also blogged about other movies such as here  for LA LA Land,  here for a local film and here for the classic Belizaire the Cajun and here for other films. Films are a major interest of mine.

In my brother’s recent foray into feature films I had a chance to shoot the pictures below of an attractive young woman, Dasha Nekrasova a Belarus native who grew up in Las Vegas and lives in Los Angeles and is making a movie in Louisiana. It reminds me of a time when I was able to think of cops, women and movies all in a different and more hopeful way than I can now. It reminds me of a time when my past life was less complex. That being said I was never the kind of person cops look like and say “he is a good citizen and we want to be on his side” with any kind of universality. I have a certain instinct for trouble, am usually unhappy and they usually sense both things pretty quickly.
I have never really known what it is like to move forward in life without feeling that terrible tension between what was going on and what is tolerable in the world but I am trying to understand things better. All the good things in life get more distant to me as I age even when they are present. But I did  feel connected to something better seeing this girl/woman telling an American story.


Peacework and Wargames: The Visions We Share

It may be a sign of megalomania or of a lack of focus. But I do write notes and posts that sort of treat the whole world at a given moment. I am writing this note in that extremely ambitious scope of trying to see roughly where the world is right now. That is of course far too much to do in so few words. In addition to constraints of length it imposes too many demands of other kinds on me and on my readers. Yet I feel drawn and compelled to this attempt to glimpse the current state of the world. Once again I sort of want to set down where the world is just at this moment before Spring in 2013.
This is one of the more shapeless and rambling notes and blog posts which I occasionally write. The unifying theme among the motifs and issues discussed in this Facebook Note and Blog Post is simply that in late February of 2013 there is a relevance to me in each of the things I discuss here. In other words these are the things on my mind which I do not deem too personal, secret or trivial to include in something like this.

I am going to discuss four subjects and also try to interrelate them a little bit. These subjects are:

1. The legacy of Pope Benedict XVI and his role as a retired Pope.
2. The economic future of this country, my state and region and the world as these things relate to a few specific political and social issues.
3. The changing face of military power.
4. The 2013 Academy Awards Presentations and the State of the film industry.

It is perhaps possible to suggest a theme beyond time alone. These questions mostly arise at the same time but I am also looking at all of them from the point of view of awareness of fundamental things. It is not a trivial challenge for any group or institution to keep a correct and vital connection with the real dynamic roots and essential vital energies that keep it alive. I will be looking at how the Catholic Church, Hollywood, the US military and the economy are challenged to remain properly connected to their real energies…

There will be many developments over time which will reveal the real legacy of Pope Benedict XVI more completely than it can be revealed now. However, I think some things can be well understood already. He accomplished something very significant simply by being the second consecutive non-Italian Pope. Alone Pope John Paul II could have been an anomaly but two makes a pattern. There is also the fact that he was able to bring a great deal of experience from a broad sampling of pastoral and doctrinal problems to bear as he sought out the new evangelization and the new ecumenism. However, I think the greatest legacy of the recent pontificate in recent terms will be in the field of liturgy which in turn relates to Christian unity and other matters in a fairly direct way. I think including the Anglican use and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite of the Mass have made the Church more Catholic and complete in ways that are really significant…
A relevant link to understand the role and significance of the extraordinary form can be found just below.


Benedict XVI has reminded the world’s Catholics of the richness of community which exists in the worship of the church. This are the liturgical Rites of the Catholic Church?

It has been no mystery to the Church leadership that three major groupings of Rites exist in the Catholic Church with one of them divided into what constitutes almost two major groupings. All the Cardinals in the Conclave are likely aware that from these four parent rites over twenty liturgical Rites (Western and Eastern) have developed which are in union with the Holy See. But for a large percentage of the majority of Roman Catholics these realites are remote enough. Many have little or no knowledge of worship beyond the Roman Rite. Practical fellowship in the many rites which in turn constitute the Antiochian Rite (Syria) and the Alexandrian Rite (Egypt) rarely occurs for most of them. The Byzantine Rite is only slightly better known and few know it derived derived as a major Rite from the Antiochian, under the influence of St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom. More freedom and harmony with these rites and with the Orthodox Christians to which they often relate in many ways was one of the goals of the Second Vatican Council. Things have improved in that regard over the last fifty years and Benedict XVI has made a contribution in that regard but his main effect on these matters has been indirect.

In much of the world the use of particular words in the Catholic mass may not seem very important and even the gathering of 115 men in red hats to elect a Pope may not seem significant. But the ritual is important, the voice is often heard and people know that the Pope is a leader of opinion and ideals for many with whom they currently share the planet. In a bit I will turn to the Academy Awards which also are a compelling ritual and also symbolize a powerful voice in the world and also are very much of interest to many people who would not have to be interested in them. It is easy for certain people to believe that political and economic news is more compelling than it is. Modern people tend to think that all the pageants of royalty and tribal politics were superfluous extras and that the modern era has got it right. But there is quite a bit of evidence that such rituals were vital to maintaining even a minimum of the healthier kind of interest in government. That same general area of evidence leads us to believe huge numbers of the wrong people are alienated and disconnected as regards much of the political and macroeconomic world. There are many among America’s strongest allies and worst enemies who see in the current and concurrently running second terms for Obama in the White House and for Ban Ki-Moon at the UN a season for steady progress for world peace and prosperity as well as opportunity for their own country’s progress. Russia is able to undertake key social and economic reforms as it grows into a new position, China builds up its military, North Korea is perfecting the atomic warhead and the ICBM and Brazil is flexing its regional economic muscle. In the United Kingdom there has emerged strong support from all major political parties for increased funding towards and the official establishment of the External Advisory Service in the EU as well as other initiatives by Europe to act as a single power able to make real progress on promoting peace and development in conflict-affected zones and fragile states.
The efforts of various powers around the world comes out in a context of enthusiasm by Europeans and Asia’s little dragons (the relatively small trading powers for foundations of a better world order. There is a context for such efforts which all nations have agreed to and in which famous Americans of means have played a major role. Ted Turner, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet among others have really made an impact in the efforts to give effect to the agreements which were reached under the term Millennium Development Goals. The millennium is well under way now and 2015 was a benchmark year in this plan so little discussed and reported in this country. About a billion of Earth’s people live in countries where the social, political and economic order is largely defined by repeated cycles of political and criminal violence. The Millennium Development Goals such as halving extreme poverty, providing universal primary (or elementary) school education and stopping the spread of AIDS have proven very difficult to achieve where multiple low grade civil wars are shaping the live of the poor and those seeking to interact with them. Largely because of violence which often has global dimensions the many millions in conflict are making little progress and no fragile state or conflict-affected region is likely to achieve a single Millennium Development Goal. The United Nations, the European Union and many other institutions clearly indicate that for these millions to progress their states must undergo structural change. Many countries with little chance of positive reform must develop more capable civic and state institutions, transform their security and justice sectors and be in a position to deal with various parties and factions long at war of one kind or another to bring about demobilization and reconciliation. These reforms would be necessary before the current world order would breathe life into weak economies and foster new relationships between the citizen and the state in each of these countries and nations. One cannot help but wonder if all the distance between these Goals and reality is just an accident or whether perhaps the order we currently live in does not support these goals at all.

However, the same powers that have sought these reforms sense that they are not succeeding as well as could be hoped. Britain’s Conservative political leaders and Prime Minister can smell and taste the geopolitical winds enough to feel the need for security and will consider spending considerable monies made available by this move for a stabilizing internationalism and an expansion of the UK’s aid budget to be used on more old fashioned kinds of military peacekeeping and even more purely conventional defense-related projects.
The UK which has quite a bit of experience building Empires is both really interested in a better world and really aware it must remain engaged in a world where China, Russia, new organizations and international Islamism or very much engaged. For each of these powers armed humanitarianism is part of the total world strategy Britain will not be left out and is allocating 30% of the UK aid budget to fragile and conflict-affected states. This development will involve some defense profile as well. The Brits have declared that their world strategies and interest are enhanced and their engagement effectiveness is improved when the Ministry of Defense, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development work together, “sharing expertise while co-ordinating policy and strategy.”
In this complex world America has a government that does not draw up budgets, does not understand how to compare debt. Our public indebtedness is about one hundred trillion and not sixteen trillion dollars. It does not understand the international networks that can fuse and separate and has not really allocated sufficient resources to countering the kind of weapons postulated in the film Red Dawn which would take the whole internet off line, fry CPUs and jam communications simultaneously. We see the world adjusting to new patterns of reliance, we know carrier killer missiles with small warheads on mobile launchers can be rained down from space with amazing speed and we see that a new generation of projectiles hunt conventional rocketry more effectively than ever before but largely we do not adjust to these challenges but instead focus only on the lessons of recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We see that our own social cohesion is under strain but really keep increasing the strain and not really securing the future and not thinking of what an American solution ought to be in deep terms.

I believe our models for economics and military projections are flawed badly. If we do not do a lot better soon there will be consequences. The solution does involve being alarmed but does not involve seeing the whole world as made up of full-fledged enemies. That approach would be one of many that would produce the same bad result. The result would be what?

The United States of America is moving towards a series of catastrophic military disasters. The country will awaken sooner or later to a future of having been entirely overrun by its enemies. The time for reform and appropriate action is quickly coming to an end.

Things are going to get a lot rougher than most people are prepared to deal with I fear. There is little else to say about the situation’s overall status and stature. There is a lot to say about what exactly I mean by that. However, for this note the short paragraphs above will have to do…

I now want to discuss the Oscars which I watched with interest on Sunday, February 24, 2013. The struggle for any kind of recognition this year was very intense. The year saw a lot of films that were at least of decent quality and many that had some ideas to work with as well.

I have not posted or written as much about the movies this year as I sometimes do. I did post a status after Dad and I went to see The Impossible in Abbeville one night. I also posted a review of Blood on the Bayou. I indicated similar things about both very different movies. I thought they were (on somewhat different scales) very good, solid picture and sound and well acted throughout. I also thought this was a great year for movies. The films seemed varied & excellent and on a year when I was able to go to more movies than I have in most recent years. It was also a year when I saw more movies than most but not all years of my life.

I have seen quite a few memorable movies in the last twelve months. The biggest one I missed was Amour. Other movies I have enjoyed were: Lincoln, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild (on DVD), Anna Karenina, Parental Guidance, The Cirque de Soleil Movie, Jack Reacher, The Hobbit, Blood on the Bayou, Django Unchained, Dark Knight Rises, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Atlas Shrugged Part Two, Skyfall, Hunger Games and Red Dawn. Then on DVD for previous years I saw for the first time Hugo and My Week with Marilyn. Movies besides Amour which I missed were Flight, The Master, Brave, Wreck-it Ralph and Moonrise Kingdom. However, I did see Moonrise Kingdom on DVD. I also thought the Twilight : Breaking Dawn Part Two did not deserve the Razzies but it was not the best even of that franchise. I was happy to see that Kristen Stewart held her head up at the Oscars and made a stunning presentation of herself after her Razzy as worst actress. The truth is I like The Avengers and the Hobbit and I did really like the Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron work as well as most of the film titles Snow White and the Huntsman. The Twilight film joined with these films in selling a great deal of the popcorn and soda which along with the kids movies sales provide a place for all of us to watch the big screen filled with light.

Hollywood is a huge industry in America and it is our best claim to the kind of influence other people have a hard time stealing in a very competitive world. I support the movies by subscribing to Netflix, going to films and discussing them partly out of patriotic concern for a great American institution. But we all have our limits, I still chose not to see most of the movies that came out and I go to discount day matinees whenever possible. We live in a dangerous and intense world but sometimes the way we spend our leisure matters more than we might think. I thought this was a good year for a film with themes like those of Argo to be featured. I am glad it won best picture and hope we will use it and the other three political nominees Les Miserables, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty to remember that we cannot pretend governance doesn’t matter – it always does in the end.

Gala Event at the Lafitte Cinema was Hugely Successful

Abbeville is a small town. It is not as small as the hometowns of Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Saint Benedict or many others who come from very small towns and remind us that Abbeville is a city and not a village in official classification.  Abbeville is more in the size class of Neil Armstrong’s Ohio hometown but it is substantially bigger. Wapakoneta, Ohio has a museum honoring the First Man to walk on the Moon and his great adventures. Abbeville last night had a crowded and busy reception and Gala showing of the 1988 film The Blob with Shawnee Smith and Kevin Dillon. I had worked on the film as did many of my friends and there are lots and lots of frames of great Abbeville locations that looked beautiful on the big screen.

We had a good evening and it would have been difficult to fit twenty more bodies into the reception-friendly areas of the Lafitte Cinema prior to the showings themselves. Of course, musicians and caterers took up some of the room.  Really a good time was surely had by most and possibly by all.

Note: Chris Rosa wrote a piece on this event and I am the one he quotes as Frank Summers Jr. This appears in the Abbeville Meridional Friday, November 19,2010 issue and starts on the front page.

The Blob: A Gala Fundraiser at the Lafitte Cinema

My mother and I will be going to a gala fundraiser showing of the Blob tonight in Abbeville. I recently went with my sister and her children to the Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets, walked around Jackson Square, went to the Aquarium of the Americas and to the New Orleans City Park as well as a ferry trip to Gretna and back across the Father of Rivers from the French Quarter. That day was a new experience that was full of reminders of old experiences. I treasured the time Sarah, Alyse, Anika, Soren and I spent doing those things.

Tonight will be an experience closer to home and celebrating things that are closer to home. The funds raised will be to the benefit of a scoirty preserving the Frank’s Theater which is where a key scene in The Blob was made. This historic cinema also premiered the Flaherty classic Louisiana Story which among other credits has a Pulitzer Prize  winning score and soundtrack. The Blob was made in Abbeville ( in large part) in 1988 and I worked on the production as a gun-toting white-suited extra. Watching it now almost 23 years later in this context will be fun I hope.
Despite my often dismal point of view there is a pattern of recycling and enhancing patterns of past joys which has stood me in good stead in life.

I don’t know if there are tickets still available but anyone wishing to get tickets for tonight November 17, 2010 at 7:30 may be able to get them online by going to the Lafitte website, clicking on Showtimes, clicking onthe Buy Tickets button next to The  Blob and then following directions: http://www.abbevillemovies.com/index.asp

The Mental Ferment for Men (and Women) who Might Foment an American Revolution: Part One

In the United States today well over ten percent and something less than a quarter of likely voters currently identify themselves when asked about party membership as members of the Tea (or TEA, i.e. “Taxed Enough Already”) Party.  These people include some decently high number of folks who are willing to speak about an American Revolution such as the one we had two hundred years ago. There are tours going across the country as the Tea Party Express. There are rallies, conventions and town hall meetings. While many discount the potential of this movement in this country they represent the largest and most potent movement of their kind in a long time. I am doing a four part posting on the potential American Revolution as it might be abd as I would like to see it.

Revolutionary Iconography is part of the TEA Party experience...

There are not two constitutional transitions or transformations which are or ought to be about the same things.  Whatever the greivances and causes may be which are to lead to a real set of basic changes they should both honor the heritage of  the eighteenth century and recognize the differences between the current situation and the situation that confronted the revolutionary generation, the strivers for American Independence and the founding fathers framing the Constitution.  I do not think many of hthink the British Monarchy is on the top of our target list as foes of our development now whereas that is how things ended up in those days.  America will have and does have it troubles with the UK but that is a relationship worth trying to improve at this point. The same analysis would have been entirely defeatist in the first revolution.
The Current Queen of England and Scotland's United Kingdom with Eisenhower

I don't think any two constitutional changes are the same. The British Monarchy is not our target here.

 There are  in addition to these people I think of Americans like my old college buddy Andy who ran for governor of a state other than mine in 2008 as a Libertarian. His principal slogan was “reboot the government”  I believe.  Andy is of course a computer guy — one of the real ones.  Glen Beck is featuring a regular segment in his show called “Refounding America”.  Mr. Beck’s show is really quite popular and successfull. Of course President Obama himself was elected on the slogan of  “Change You Can Believe In!” There is the fact that Massachussettes elected its first Republican Senator in a very long time. It might be the case that America is ready to look at real change as a possibility.  It is always at least  a little scary when a large and powerful country reaches the point where real change is perceived as necessary. That is even more true when the geopolitical order and social order of the times is such as ours is today.   Sometimes it is very scary indeed.

I am also aware of the huge crowds of Hispanics who not so long ago marched in the streets protesting imigration policy and the sense of persecution growing among Mexican Americans as they perceive the policies of the United States.   If one factors in our vast national debt, huge production of waste, decaying infrastructure,  rates of incaceration, porous borders, fiscal crises in so many places and many other woes it seems clear that we are in a place of real crisis and that some sort of revolutionary transformation may well be necessary.  I think that this change will have to come from other places than what is the mainstream of our current social order or else it will only make things much worse.

Above all there cannot simply be a struggle between shrinking government  and more entitlements of all residents to all kinds of government services. America is soul-sick and not on a path that can lead to the places America needs to reach to have a real chance of socio-political survival and the level of progress needed to support the survival of its people over the moderately long term. With a society such as hours there is a bloating and softening of the social fabric before the really big shocks to the state and the national structure take place.

I thin that America has begun to take notice of its social decay in movies like “The Blind Side” and “Precious, Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” which have attracted an audience and will be discussed at the Academy Awards tomorrow night. It is possible  for America top address many of its problems while still honoring its traditions and not tearing itself apart. But the time to act keeps running out and the chances of choosing the path we need to choose is not a very likely chance.

What will not work is the color blind, impersonal, nondiscriminating, cowardly and crime-loving concept of justice which our courts have imposed on the nation and the States over the last several decades. I believe that relatively radical action very soon can produce a real chance of justice.  This reconstitution of America should create family associations with many privileges asssured by law. Such  associations will take over some of the responsibilities of a federal budget with greater austerity measures than have been seen for a long time. These associations will also support autonomy and wellbeing for women who want to support and build the strong families that make society strong.  There shall also be a transfer of lands into new jurisdictions and a reworking of the system of apportionment and representation. We can stop pretending that Guam and American Samoa and Puerto Rico have representative governance when they don’t. We can stop pretending that millions of ilegal aliens are not both unfairly treated and a grave threat to this society. They need not be our enemies for us to make that admission.  We also need to create compacts between groups of States and other jurisdictions which are similar to the the Tennessee Valley Authority in some ways but are larger and are able to do more to promote regional welfare and interests. Then there some facts about military reservations and the District of Columbia which need to be addressed. We will need to rework the Congress and redraw the map a little bit. That will include a viable and vital constitutional future for existing American Indian nations.   All of this will be made much harder by years and ecades of pushing a destructive and poisoonous obsession with calculator democracy in its simplest form on to a world that has often suffered from it. The military in the US is not perfect but it is one of our greatest assets. We have to find more of a constitutional role for this social institution in our socio-political regime. WE HAVE TO ADDRESS MANY VERY SERIOUS PROBLEMS.

Right now we still have resources to deal with these problems. That will not always be the case. Soon there will be no chance to solve them. Part Two of this posting will deal withhow we have to try to understand our constitutional and revolutionary heritage more clearly and effectively. Part Three of this posting (should I get to it) will discuss how we might make those changes which can at least address all of our major problems and preserve the best of our revolutionary heritage.

Entertainment and Childhood

I took my nieces and nephew to see the three dimensional version of the movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs it was a cleverly written adaptation of  a popular children’s  book and had both a well written screenplay and excellent voice actors. The quality of the 3D experience was really excellent.  I really enjoyed the visit with my homeschooled (for this year) nieces and nephew who could go to a matinee. The film was a first for me. I had seen 3D I-Max (or imitators I am unsure now) films, 3D films at World’s fairs and have looked at 3D films in correlation with scientific seminars but had never seen a major commercial feature entertainment film in three dimensions at a theater or movie house. I enjoyed that experience .

We drove back to our place in the country where they live in a different house than I do on the same property. I know they enjoy the dogs, horses and fish here at Big Woods. They are also very well traveled.

However, today I remembered my own childhood which had its own joys and sorrows. I went to the wake of the grandfather of one of my closest early childhood friends. I remember riding minibikes at that family’s ranch, going out on their boat The  Escape for deep sea fishing and listening to the man I knew as Mr. Revis tell an occasional war story. My buddy and I did not always get along in those days and we have drifted apart over the years. Our grandfathers were in business together, Dannon and I went to school together and our mothers were good friends.

I was an avid freshwater fisherman as well as an occasional deep sea fisherman when I was a kid. I remember on time I was out at the back of my Dad’s family’s Lac Misere Farm fishing and my grandfather and Mr. Revis flew by in a light plane. They dropped me a shake and a cheeseburger as they flew by. It would be a better story if I could say the packages arrived perfectly in good order but in that living experience of food falling from the sky it was rather like the 3D movie. There was some damage although I did catch the food and drink more or less. It is remarkable enough that I got some eating and drinking out of the expereience. That was certainly an unusual experience. However, it was in keeping with the personality of the men who served in the military during World War II. Revis Greene Sirmon was the “Scatterbrain Kid” as was his plane when he was a fighter pilot. His zest for life and willingness to take chances were telltale signs of his years as a fighter pilot in combat. Whatever else he was he could take the time to bring some magic to a kid’s life. I hope he rests in peace and that the country and world he leaves behind becomes a better and not a worse place.

Healthcare Lessons from FDR

I just watched the wonderful HBO film on DVD titled Warm Springs  with my parents on a quiet Friday night. Joseph Sargent’s direction of witing by Margaret Nagle is joined by very fine acting by Kenneth Branagh as Franklin Delanoe Roosevelt and Cynthi Nixon’ fine portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt. Numerous other good performances make it an exceptional piece of work and that includes the Kathy Bates portrayal of the full-time pgysical therapist at Warm Springs. This film is titled for the hotel and spa in Georgia which FDR visited on the recommendation of a friend and then ended up buying and converting into a full service regular facility for providing warm water therapy to those stricken by polio.

I was impressed by this movie’s excellent and humane treatment of a period and aspect of FDR’s life which was largely hidden while he was president and has been slow to emerge. I knew many of the broad facts and the movie was consistent with those brad facts and therefore I felt the odds were the wrting was farily historical. His experience as Secretary of the Navy and in other fields of endeavor had already shaped him. But to a significant degree his struggle in this healthcare question shaped his later behavior in the Presidency and the character he brought to those issues,

While a graduate student at Louisiana State University Iwas privileged to write a review of Pare Lorentz’s posthumously published memoirs FDR’s Moviemaker: Memoirs and Scripts and to read carefully and write about the life of the man who made documentary films for FDR. This man did make films about healthcare and the issues of healthcare reform. However he never made a film about Warm Springs even though FDR died there. I think that the shame of illness, deformity or disease cannot just be lightly dismissed. We must prefer health to sickness in oder to remain sane. But I looked at the movie this evening and simply felt more convinced than ever that the autonomy and empowerment of the struggle were just as important as anything else about the Warm Spring stories. We need a healthcare plan that enrgizes and allows all people to struggle and work hard for their health and wellness. We certainly cannot afford to make it easy to do everything anyone would like to do. But we can help the brave to struggle and be enlightened by the fires of their courage. We must not allow human beings to be reduced on ly to file numbers and entries on actuarial tables when we are trying to understand all of what  human health means and how we are to care about promoting that health and wellness.