shutdown…a matter of semantics

An expert on prison sieges likened the current U.S. government shutdown to prisoners who hold the institution hostage. Those in authority must negotiate with the prisoners in order to return the establishment to normalcy.

So far there’s a lot of dancing around by both sides…the President and his supporters…and Baynor and his motley crew of supporters and challengers.

The Health Care Law is just that…the law. 

Tea Party reps don’t like the law, so they’re holding Americans hostage with the shutdown. Representative Ted Cruz and his followers are trying with all their might to reopen the discussion on Obamacare. They’ll even do so on the backs of millions of citizens who now find themselves furloughed and unable to pay their bills.

In the summer of 2013, Cruz embarked on a nationwide tour sponsored by The Heritage Foundation to promote the congressional effort to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, arguing that a shutdown of the government would not be a disaster for America or the Republican Party.[77][78]

On September 24, 2013, Cruz began a speech on the floor of the Senate regarding the Affordable Care Act relative to a continuing resolution designed to fund the government and avert a government shutdown.[79][80] Cruz promised to keep speaking until he was “no longer able to stand.”[81] The fourth-longest speech in United States Senate history, Cruz yielded the floor at noon the following day for the start of the proceeding legislative session after twenty-one hours nineteen minutes.[82][83] Following Cruz’s speech, the Senate voted 100–0 regarding a “procedural hurdle toward passing a stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown.”[84] Cruz was joined by 18 Republican senators in his effort to prevent stripping out a clause that would have defunded the Affordable Care by voting against the cloture motion, leaving the effort 21 votes short of the required number to deny cloture.[85]

It’s unclear which Americans the right-wing extremists in Congress represent. The quick answer seems to be…the wealthy who are at the helm of the Tea Party…and folks who prefer the America of old, perhaps pre-FDR and his New Deal. Since the Depression is a relic of the past, the younger right-wingers might feel our country is exempt from another. Or they might be willing to risk sinking into another Depression as long as they can take care of their own. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to return to the good old days? 

The March 1944 eruption of Vesuvius, by Jack R...

The March 1944 eruption of Vesuvius, by Jack Reinhardt, B24 tailgunner in the USAAF during World War II (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, the world has erupted like Mt. Vesuvius, and there’s no pouring the magma back down into the crater…no matter how hard we try. Like the lava that dries and hardens, mankind and all its virtues and faults, are part and parcel of the landscape. 

I think the Tea Partiers are looking to…

…return to the garden of eden…before eve tempted adam to take a bite…

………hugmamma.

English: Man Made in the Image of God, as in G...

NYC…underwater

 

New York City

New York City (Photo credit: kaysha)I worked in NYC for nearly a decade, from the 70’s to the 80’s, and lived on the east side for almost a year.

It’s hard for me to fathom The Big Apple coming to a screeching halt. Can anyone recall the last time NYC was brought to its knees?

The Great Depression?

After Sandy takes her leave…how long before New Yorkers are…up and running?

…my thoughts and prayers…are with them…

………hugmamma.

“witch doctors,” do you believe?

With Halloween just around the corner, I’m reminded of something that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. I’m in the midst of reading Orson Welles-A Biography” by Barbara Leaming. Written with his complete cooperation, it really is “a dazzling, intimate portrait of a legend.” Never one of my favorite actors, I must admit that I’ve altered my opinion after reading 396 pages of the 630 page book. Welles was really the genius he was touted to be! Unfortunately his diverse talents overextended him physically and mentally, so that his failures were as huge as his successes, both personally and professionally. But I’ll leave that for another post.

Through a series of fortuitous events, 20-year-old, recently married Orson Welles made his New York directorial debut in the midst of this country’s Great Depression. In 1935, Hallie Flanagan, head of Vassar College’s Experimental Theatre Workshop, was appointed as national director of the Federal Theatre  project. As part of FDR’s Works Progress Administration, the FT was charged with providing work for the nation’s unemployed theatrical professionals. Because Flanagan “was not a member of the Broadway commercial establishment, but an academic with a taste for experimental and regional theater,” and because, by rule, 10% of actors, musicians, playwrights and technicians “could consist of theater people who had not been receiving relief, thereby ensuring the presence of expert professional talent to counterbalance the inevitable amateurs who found working in the theater more appealing than a government construction project,” Orson found himself among this elite class of professionals.

Charged with mounting a classical production, Welles, upon his wife Virginia’s suggestion, chose to stage   “an all-black Macbeth by transposing its action from Scotland to Haiti, a startlingly new setting with important artistic advantages, not the least of them the rich possibilities for music and decor. … Preferring not to anchor the action too firmly in Haiti he had in mind a mythic island more like the fantasy setting of The Tempest than any actual place. But as Orson saw it, there was a significant gain in realism as well: by alluding to Haitian voodooism the production could make credible the role of the witches that modern audiences of Macbeth often have trouble accepting.”

At Harlem’s Lafayette Theatre,  Orson’s Macbeth opened to a mixture of  gang members, respectable black bourgeoisie, and Manhattan’s chic downtown crowd. When the curtain rose on “the intricate jungle settings, piquant costumes, and sensuous lighting,” the audience broke into “wild applause and gasps of pleasure.” And the critics’ reviews were just as ebullient. Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times wrote with enthusiasm  ” ‘As an experiment in Afro-American showmanship the Macbeth fairly rocked the Lafayette Theatre, …If it is witches you want, Harlem knows how to overwhelm you with their fury and phantom splendor.’ ” The New York Daily News’ Burns Mantle hailed Macbeth as ” ‘a spectacular theatre experience. …the most colorful, certainly the most startling, of any performance that gory tragedy has ever been given on this continent.’ ”

In contrast, Percy Hammond of the Herald Tribune wrote ” ‘What surprised me last night was the inability of so melodious a race to sing the music of Shakespeare,…The actors sounded the notes with a muffled timidity that was often unintelligible. They seemed to be afraid of the Bard, though they were playing him on their home grounds.’ ” One of the African drummers, who accompanied the ranting of the three witches, made a voodoo doll in the critic’s likeness, hanging it in effigy and sticking it with pins. When told by the lighting director that Hammond was entitled to his opinion, the African replied ” ‘He’s bad man.’ ” Humoring the man over beer and pretzels at a local bar, Orson agreed to his drinking companion’s decision to put a curse on the critic.

“The African made one stipulation: the responsibility for Hammond’s death would be Orson’s alone. As a pretzel disappeared into his mouth, Orson nodded agreement. The rest of the company, Orson among them, watched with amusement as the voodoo practitioners blessed their drums before pounding on them backstage for several days. He barely gave it another thought until, shortly thereafter, he gasped to learn that Percy Hammond had just died.”

One of these times I’ll tell you about my “big-aunt,” who was a “Kahuna,” a Hawaiian witch doctor.

makes you wonder…hugmamma.