Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Unaccustomed to Your Face – When Celebrity Cosmetic Surgeons Attack!

“I'd like to grow old with my face moving.” - Kate Winslet

“I think it's hideous. They scare small children.” - Jerry Hall

Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places - uncomfortably watching Barry Manilow toil, grapple and struggle mightily in a mostly fruitless attempt to unhinge the frozen solid corners of his surgically fused and welded mouth to croon the tune, “I Write the Songs” on a recent episode of the Graham Norton Show turned out to be one such unexpected inspirational place - the result, a blog post of stupendously stupid proportions. It’s insulting, immature, derisive and, mayhaps, a mite mean-spirited – everything we strive for in the modern world of comedy.

So, enjoy this momentary break from the usual fare of progressive proselyting and partisan politics for a little fun at the expense of those who should have known better.

We close with a clip, and a song, from the multiple-Oscar-winning film version of My Fair Lady, Lerner and Lowes, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face."

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

You Say You Want a Revolution – Supreme Court Injustices

The Court Building, where Justice goes to be teased and taunted
"Look what's happening out in the streets.
Got a revolution
Got to revolution…
One generation got old,
One generation got soul,
This generation got no destination to hold
Pick up the cry” – Balin/Kantner

“How far will the Right go in punishing the working people while gifting the wealthier with more power and money, with more clout to dictate national policy, more enjoyment in watching the pain inflicted on those at the other end, the people that they see as lazy and irresponsible?” – Chris Matthews

My friends, the state of our union is not sound. Our beloved and at one time unique and innovative experiment in a government of, by and for the people is on a perilous and precarious perch. We have reached a crossroads that even the great Robert Johnson wouldn’t traverse. 

“Went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees. Down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees… Asked the Lord above for mercy, save me if you please.”

Save us if you please, indeed. Between the 2010 Citizens United, the recent McCutcheon v. FEC and this week's Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius decisions, the corporate subsidiary members of the Supreme Court have bent over so far backwards in favor of moneyed interests over the American electorate, that they could be a headlining act in Tijuana.

And it’s not just this devoted, dedicated, overly-opinionated and ludicrously alliterative, lefty-leaning blogger who frets and fears a future where the voice, vote, needs and desires of our nation’s citizenry will soon be but lost legend and missing mythology in a land lauded over by Monsanto, Koch Brothers Industries and the well-to-do up on Lenox Ave. - the relevance and importance of an individual’s ballot but a vague recollection from some long-distant past like Behind the Green Door on VHS, compassionate conservatives and Dennis Miller.

A very respected body
Add former Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens (for those unfamiliar with the judicial branch, neither the early American naval hero, the Led Zeppelin bassist nor the French existentialist philosopher) to the ever-burgeoning and unambiguously intelligent, thoughtful and exceedingly (if not devastatingly) attractive assembly who are aghast, agog and appalled at these High Court rulings which now allow for the free flow of unlimited funds from the well-healed and the corporate captains of industry into political campaigns, with the real-world results of transforming this once great and thriving representative democracy into an oligarchical aristocracy (let them eat cake.)  Justice Stevens, a Gerald Ford appointee (no raving nycityman-like liberal he, so disregard the lying attacks from our right flank) opined to the New York Times, “The voter is less important than the man who provides money to the candidate. It’s really wrong. And as for John Roberts, he is much more in the direction of protecting the rights of very rich people…”

"Love for Sale, Love that's only slightly soiled. Love for sale."
Yes, the current conservative, activist Roberts’ court would, no doubt, feel much more comfortable and at ease lounging upon the chaises in the marble and mirrored halls of Versailles than on the wooden benches of our country’s courts which they have so sullied.

A new study from Princeton University has determined that this imminent and nightmarish scenario has already achieved fulfillment, meaning that in this land of the free and home of the betrayed, democracy has ceased to exist, passed on, expired and gone to meet its maker, is pushing up daisies, bereft of life, off the twig, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible, shuffled off its mortal coil, snuffed it… this is an ex-democracy! (Thank you, geniuses who constitute Monty Python’s Flying Circus.)

University researchers, Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page examined over 1,800 different policy initiatives leading to the regrettable but inevitable conclusion that the affluent now steer the decision making in our politics regardless of, and very often even against, the will of the majority. Our system of government has evolved from a democracy into an oligarchy in which a wealthy faux-nobility possess the preponderance of the political power. "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence." And when Princeton, an institution of rich, snooty white guys turns against their own and informs us that other rich, snooty white guys have destroyed our very way of life, as Linda Loman can tell you, “attention must be paid.”

The most trustworthy Supremes

It has everything to do with corruption… Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard.” – Justice Stephen Bryer in his dissenting opinion to McCutcheon v. FEC

“You say you got a real solution. Well, you know, we'd all love to see the plan.”- Lennon/McCartney

It’s time for a Progressive Revolution. A people’s revolution. A peaceful revolution. A revolution of ideology. A revolution of compassion. A revolution of knowledge, facts and truth.  A bloodless, weapon-free, thoughtful and pacific revolution.

How do the concerned begin such an earnest undertaking? We must reject the manner of malicious mutiny such as that currently afoot in Nevada where ignorant and violent militia, our own home-bred terrorists, barely capable of thought and speech, having just mastered the use of the opposable thumb and the skill of walking erect, have declared war on the federal government. Theirs is a mindless revolution; ours must be a revolution of the mind.

"Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you" - Jean Paul Sarte (aforementioned existentialist)
Using our reason, our concern, our vote (while it’s still meaningful) and our almost limitless abilities to spread the good word and to communicate with a countless community of the caring - be it with Facebook, Twitter, email, Skype, texting or even well meaning blogs - a powerless individual can become an empowered collective, and what begins as one can become a movement of many to restore and promote the Progressive and true patriotic and American values of rationality, compassion, humanity, equality and tolerance; and to combat the proliferation of lies, deception and hard-hearted enmity that have come to dominate the Right Wing, GOP and Tea Party.

Anybody and everybody can have a voice now; it’s how one chooses to use that voice that is of supreme importance. Countering the corruption and corporate chicanery infiltrating our land's highest court and threatening the foundation of our "shining city upon a hill" is equally of supreme importance. 

Despite the mislabeling of “liberal media” it is the increasingly radical and reactionary Right that dominates all airwaves.  We have to rise above their din of deceptions with our quiet truths. And while this may not be a real revolution, no 1776 or 1789,  perhaps it’s a worthwhile and erstwhile beginning.

From 1969, a pretty revolutionary period in America’s always turbulent history (I know I was sporting Nehru jackets and love beads, man) the Jefferson Airplane are Volunteers of America.

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.