“Terms of His Surrender”

July 30, 2017
WWCK Air Staff -- 1981

WWCK Air Staff (1981) — Michael Moore on Far Right (Only Time Ever)

I sold popcorn with him at the University of Michigan (Flint) student theater when his annual income was less than I paid in taxes. Years later, legal papers estimated his net worth at over fifty million dollars, the bulk of it accidentally earned when Walt Disney chickened out at the last minute and allowed him and partners to acquire, release and distribute a new film Disney had bankrolled. That was “Fahrenheit 9/11” — the highest grossing documentary of all time. Michael Moore had just turned 50.

Mike and I first met in the early ‘70’s when religious leaders in Davison, Michigan were attempting to throw me (“Satan’s Pied Piper”) and my rock concerts out of town. They also wanted to shut down Michael’s “Davison Hotline” – an organization dedicated to helping troubled area teens. It didn’t help that Mr. Moore had just been voted onto the Davison Board of Education at the age of 18, becoming at the time the youngest person ever elected to public office in the history of the United States.

Michael Moore became our “Director of Sunday Programming” on WWCK-FM in Flint for many years, hosting “Radio Free Flint” Sunday mornings with twelve incoming lines ringing off the wall. This is when WWCK became the highest-rated Rock & Roll station in the country. Mike played no small part. I paid him with free airtime to promote his fund raising activities, including sold-out concerts with the late Harry Chapin, who donated all proceeds to “The Flint Voice” – Mike’s alternative newspaper.

In 1987, Michael started working on a movie about Flint, personally handling every aspect of preparation, production and promotion. My major contribution was obtaining some TV credentials from Toledo so he could film the closing of a major Flint assembly line and sending him my personal copy of “Jingle Bells” by The Singing Dogs. This can be heard in the final minutes of “Roger and Me” as a Flint family is tossed out of their home Christmas Eve, brilliantly juxtaposed against a festively attired General Motors Choir singing traditional carols at a lavish corporate banquet in Detroit. Mike thought he might get ”Roger and Me” on “Frontline” if he was lucky. The rest is history.

After “Bowling for Columbine”, which won a 2002 Academy Award as Best Documentary, “Fahrenheit 9/11”, “Sicko”, “Slacker Uprising” and “Capitalism: A Love Story” in 2009, the election of Barack Obama brought about a seeming resurgence, however temporary, of mainstream progressive thought and Michael was no longer the almost singular “voice of the America left” he had inadvertently become.

When I contacted Michael after surprisingly seeing him on MSNBC with Chris Hayes shortly after Donald Trump announced his run for the presidency, Mike said that was his “first time in a live TV studio in years.” Now he’s super charged up, mightily motivated and on the move.

Last Friday, Michael Moore’s first Broadway show, “The Terms of My Surrender” opened for a 12-week run at the 1,018 seat Belasco Theater. Seats are quickly selling out. Additionally underway is a follow-up to “Fahrenheit 9/11” in cooperation with Bob and Harvey Weinstein, founders of Miramax. They’ve purchased worldwide rights to “Fahrenheit 11/9”, which will deal with the aftermath of Trump’s election commencing the day after voting ended and the insanity began. Mike also returns to television this fall for the first time since 2000 with “Michael Moore: Live From The Apocalypse” on TNT.

 When you’re hot, you’re hot.

Thanks, Mr. President, for giving my old pal work.

That’s one done, ten million to go.

 

 

“Hands to Yourself”

December 10, 2017

georgia_satellites_letitrock_full

 “Don’t hand me no lines, and keep your hands to yourself” – Georgia Satellites (1986)

 

It’s too late to do much about it anyway.

But I’d like to believe I’ve had more than my fair share of forbidden flesh in the 76 years I’ve been spinning around our sun. I’m still just not sure how much fair might be and exactly what’s forbidden.

As an Irish Catholic lad attending parochial school in the early ‘50’s, I can tell you what I was originally told was forbidden flesh. Everything. Even my own.

Desiring pleasure brought the same guilt as finding it. “Wanting to” was “doing it” with an identical penalty – burning in the flaming fires of hell for all eternity. And – what burns the hottest – is the part you’ve sinned with. I’m not making this up.

There was even a fancy word that summed it all up. “Concupiscence.” That was defined in the catechism (“rule book”) as “a natural desire for sensual evil.” Father Dan Berrigan, S.J. thought this was stupid and had us write “or good” after the word “evil” in our Theology textbooks at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. That took care of that. I decided way back then that appropriate sexual conduct comes down to responsible behavior, common decency and mutual consent.

The indisputable fact remains that males of our species are genetically predisposed to initiate an act that rhymes with “Tex”. See? Echoes from the past still haunt my psyche. But romantic mechanics in getting things started have happily evolved upward through time from a hair drag in the cave to a bent knee lowered in humble petition — King Kong to Prince Harry.

Nevertheless, we now witness a sudden cascade of caustic castigation as accusations of impropriety are levied against dozens of iconic male figures, such charges offering easily definable variance in severity of offense despite nonsensical demands for “zero tolerance” in certain batty circles. Please. A passing posterior is not the Ark of the Covenant. One shouldn’t die for touching it. A sound slap? Sure.

What a roll call. Among the better-known accused Media types are Dustin Hoffman, Russell Simmons, Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Ben Affleck, Nick Carter, Louis C.K., Richard Dreyfuss, Sylvester Stallone, and even Garrison Keeler. Skinny-dipping in Lake Wobegon?

There are politicians, preachers, cops and teachers. Sailors, jailers, priests and tailors. Young and old, brave and bold. George H. W. Bush, our 41st President, claims his favorite magician is “David Cop-a-Feel.” Really. Trump frump Sarah Sanders says her boss, currently President by divine misfortune, does not lie — especially about women.

In my mind there’s a vast difference between the criminal activities alleged of casting couch lizard Harvey Weinstein and a few ill positioned squeezes by Senator Al Franken at the Minnesota State Fair. That “playful” picture on the plane leaving The Gulf in the old dark comedy days didn’t help matters any. Rod Stewart was right. Every picture does tell a story, especially if it’s not the one intended.

Senator Al was sacrificed on the altar of political expediency by sister senators of Democratic persuasion who wanted a better shot at Judge Roy Moore without being encumbered by a bothersome brother. Even though Franken had been an outstanding advocate of women’s rights since his earliest days in office, he had to go. From a tactical perspective, this is probably true. In other ways, I’m not so sure.

It seems that some ladies can be as rough and tough as the boys.

That’s fine with me and comes as no surprise.

I remember those nuns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Dates of Infamy”

December 3, 2017

Trump?Time

 

“December 7, 1941–a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt — “War Message to Congress”

Today, December 7, 2017, marks the 76th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War Two, a conflict that resulted in the deaths of tens of millions and a narrow escape from global despotic rule. We’re still speaking English in Oakhurst. This need not have been so.

Tomorrow is the 37th Anniversary of the shooting of John Lennon in front of the Dakota, his residence in New York City, an assassination which brought to an end the remarkable career of a musical master and working class hero. Have we ever actually given peace a chance?

In less than two weeks, on Tuesday, December 19th, we confront the 1st Anniversary of the Electoral College officially verifying the November 8, 2016 election of Donald J. Trump as 45th President of the United States, sealing our fate to be led by a lunatic until such time as the madness mercifully stops or we all end. Let’s add these to our list of infamous dates.

I find myself struggling to write the same thing in different ways. Our beloved country is turning “tribal”, normally referencing a group of distinct people existing before the development of nation states. Now it defines modern day separatism and largely accounts for the tawdry triumphs of Trump – raising taxes on the poor and middle class, taking health insurance away from 13 million, raising average premiums 10%, increasing the federal deficit by several trillion dollars and desecrating every traditional institution that comes within reach of his puny putrescent paws.

Prominent British anthropologist Steven Corry defines “tribal people” as having followed certain ways of life for many generations, regard themselves as largely self sufficient and reflect attitudes clearly different from the mainstream, dominant society. The immediate clan is elevated to a position of highest allegiance. Group thought is supreme, regarded as a measure of character, connection and safe guidance. It’s going along to get along. It’s surrender of the soul. It’s acceptance of witless external direction that can change a pedophile to a parson in the wink of an eye. Praise the Lord and Saint Roy Moore of Etowah County, Alabama.

Sports tribes are fine, unless we forget there are quite a few meanings of the word “game” all the way from “an activity providing entertainment or amusement” to “an object of attack, ridicule or pursuit.” Eileen and I were treated to examples of both when we attended Game 4 of the 1968 World Series at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.

A group of St. Louis fans made the mistake of displaying Cardinal sportswear as they walked in front of ice-cold Stroh’s guzzling Tiger fans. The visitors were thoroughly doused in beer from head to toe – and it wasn’t even Bud. One fact does remain. They became game at the game. Thank you. Thank you. Next show’s at Midnight. Tickets in the lobby.

Last Friday (12/1/17) had to be a day of infamy for Donald the First with his former favorite General, Michael Thomas Flynn, copping to a Federal felony and singing like a canary. Adding insult to injury, “Two Scoops” found out about it watching “Fox & Friends.” He thought being President meant you knew stuff first. “The first shall be last.” Matthew 20:16. Look it up in the Bible, Mr. President. It’s that big black book next to your crayons.

“Forty Years and Malcolm — Gone”

November 26, 2017

Malcolm

Although his younger brother, Angus, was their public face, Malcolm Young was the founder, leader and guiding force behind Australian super group AC/DC. Malcolm passed away earlier this month at the age of 64. Michigan’s WTAC was first radio station to play the band in America. That’s why they came to Flint on December 5, 1977 — exactly 40 years ago next week. It was my last “Peter C. Rock & Roll Presentation”.

I picked up AC/DC at the airport. A major snowstorm had moved into the area earlier in the day. Roads were becoming blocked by snow. Attendance would be limited by conditions. The group was still virtually unknown. Who cared?

I killed every light in the theater. Atmospherics were utterly dark and ominously promising. It started with a single, pounding, thundering bass note droning in constant repetition. The screaming lead guitar came out of nowhere. It was “Live Wire”.

Four spotlights instantly flooded the stage, all focused on a remarkably strange, rapidly moving, seemingly possessed apparition. He wore knickers, dressed as a proper English schoolboy with necktie and knapsack. His name was Angus Young.

They played for over ninety minutes. I paid them a thousand dollars in cash. They wanted to try some “Arby’s Roast Beef”, so we stopped at the nearest location. They loved the Arby’s sandwiches, both as food and projectiles. I dropped them off at their hotel.

A few months later the boys were back in town. I traveled to the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak and caught them opening for Thin Lizzy. The Aussies were excellent, but I noticed sound mix peculiarities near the middle of their scheduled set. Several security guards rushed onto the stage and attempted to conclude the performance. It was all fiercely fast.

One uniformed enforcer made the tragic mistake of grabbing lead singer Bon Scott’s arm. A violent head butt sent the uninvited transgressor flying backward. Chaos reigned. More police poured out on the stage. The group formed an immediate protective circle, rapidly expanding as several members of Thin Lizzy joined the fray. Feet flashed. Fists flew. Foreheads filled faces.

A phalanx of record company and management personnel jumped into the midst of the mêlée and separated participants, much to the relief of those authority figures still unmarred. Confusion was everywhere. It was clear the group had no idea of what had triggered so unpleasant an incident. The band members had reacted with instinct, not intent. It turned out to be a noise thing.

Neighbors near the theater had been complaining. The city of Royal Oak had passed a local ordinance proclaiming any sound level over 100 decibels as “noise” and thus a nuisance. An official “Decibel Deputy” had arrived on the scene and, standing next to the AC/DC sound board at the very back of the building, had clocked the lads in at a stunning 125 and climbing. Security police dragged a mystified sound technician off the monitor platform and proclaimed arrest. This is where the sound mix got screwy. The cops then ordered the performance to stop. That’s when the stage went wild.

Calming cash miraculously sprang forth – properly placed. Pacified heads prevailed. Charges forgotten and sound restored, the group returned to their set.

I sent a formal telegram to AC/DC the following day apologizing for all the “dainty little ears” they had encountered in our fair Michigan. They responded with a note expressing appreciation. The “Battle of Royal Oak” had ended with several encores.

R.I.P. Malcolm Young.

Rock in Peace.

 

 

 

“Good Morning Little School Girl”

November 12, 2017

moore-gun-photo1jpg-2e60caa23f59831e

“Good Morning Little School Girl.

Can I go home with you?’

Alvin Lee and Ten Years After (1969)

Ten Years After – “Little School Girl”

She was 14.

The 32 year-old Assistant District Attorney took her to his shack in the woods for illicit sexual sport. Twice.

That’s the unproven charge.

There’s backup. Three other teens-at-the-time confirm that he “went out” with them. A former colleague said Saturday that it was “common knowledge” the Alabama Republican dated high school girls back then, adding that “everyone we knew thought it was weird.”

 What’s clear is that former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore may well be elected to the U.S. Senate on December 12th if his supporters have their say.

State Auditor Jim Ziegler can’t see what all the fuss is about; suggesting child molestation is positively God ordained. He sermonizes, “Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist. Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became the parents of Jesus. There’s nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

Alabama Marion County GOP Chair David Hall chimes in, “It was 40 years ago. I really don’t see the relevance of it.”

 Many down home folks interviewed by the national press said anyone was better than a Democrat no matter what. Boys will be boys.

Who wouldn’t fall under the charm of good old boy Roy when he whips out his tiny little gun in mid speech and waves it about with a jaunty flourish? Who’s not impressed with Roy Moore’s Christ-like condemnation of homosexuals, Muslims, same-sex marriage, and the Kenyan born Barack Obama? What if he personally pocketed over a million dollars in a five-year period from his nonprofit Christian legal organization “The Foundation for Moral Law”? His wife is the President. The Foundation paid for his health-care benefits, travel expenses and bodyguard. It also employed two of his children on a full-time basis. The Lord helps those who help themselves.

If ignorance is bliss, a term coined by eighteenth-century English poet Thomas Gray, Alabama might be the Alhambra – a palatial complex in Grenada, Spain, once described by Moorish poets as “a pearl set in emeralds.” Poet Gray adds, “When ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.”

 It’s not just Alabama.

Recent polling by the Annenberg Policy Center indicates large segments of the American population are tragically clueless and could care less. More than one in three could not name a single right guaranteed by the First Amendment. Only 26% knew all three branches of government and a third could not identity any the branches – not one. A full 25% believe Congress should muzzle the press when it “threatens national security”.

 Facts would seem to have little relevance to an uninformed public in which many citizens can’t tell an elf from an elephant.

Such voters are easily misled, incapable of critically analyzing issues and vulnerable to the lure of wild demagoguery – the kind that promises everything and delivers nothing.

The nightmare of this Donald Trump presidency did not emerge from a vacuum. It oozed like a blistering sulfur bubble from the depths of downright dumb.

We are collectively on a train to nowhere and getting there fast with no survival at arrival.

I believe Roy Moore is a pathetic pedophile as much as Donald Trump is a perilous Putin fan. Evenly evaluating the obvious should bring the same conclusion to any fair mind.

Let’s stop the preaching and start impeaching.

 

“Getting the Led Out”

November 5, 2017

led-zep-ticket

They turn 50 next year.

It was and remains the very best concert ever.

Such lofty placement atop the hierarchy of Rock & Roll is surely a matter of subjective taste, but the band was really on that night and played for an uninterrupted three hours and forty-five minutes. It was precision and perfection.

I had been curious as to how closely they could duplicate their heavily produced studio sound. It was surpassed in every instance. I was concerned they might be a little fatigued from their long road tour and/or excessive consumption of various substances rumored to offer relaxing measures of succor and solace during their travels.

It was at exactly 8 p.m. on Friday, January 31st of 1975, that the lights at Olympia Stadium in Detroit dimmed and four tall figures strolled confidently onto the stage. Launched with a roaring, soaring explosion of sound, the mighty Zeppelin took flight.

Led Zeppelin had been formed nearly seven years earlier in July of 1968 by guitarist Jimmy Page, who had just left The Yardbirds. Page added singer Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham from the little known British group “Band of Joy” and completed his assembly with a leading British session musician named John Paul Jones as bassist and keyboard player. Led Zeppelin had quickly stormed into the forefront of heavy Rock with the release of their first album.

Keith Moon of The WHO had suggested the band’s name.

As was true of WHO, Led Zeppelin had always been essentially a musical trio with Robert Plant limited primarily to vocal contribution.That the sound had always been as big as it was with only three basic players had been an awesome realization.

I had always believed there are a number of consciousness levels accessible through and evident within Led Zeppelin music. Zeppelin’s primary definition and function as a “Rock & Roll Band” was beyond dispute, offering an enormously evident primal beat that powerfully throbbed throughout their more high volume efforts with unfailing distinction. They were incredibly tight as a unit and could sweep through dimensions of intensity with total command. Their highly accomplished use of acoustical instrumentation offered yet greater focus, depth and unique musical originality. And I found them supremely spiritual. Through Led Zeppelin, I sensed a timeless magic finding expression and release.

In the ancient blood of some flow the genes and genius of masters, teachers, physicians and priests from a time when Druids walked the land and even long before. Celtic mysticism enveloped the night. With both conscious and subconscious awareness, masterful words unveiled an absolute reality, both universal and beyond. Lyrical poetry and sweeping imagery spoke of many parallel worlds — all joined. With vibrant sexuality, flesh and spirit became as one in an exuberant celebration of timeless existence and exaltation. In Led Zeppelin, rock music offered eloquent articulation of the unknown as merely unrecalled, expressing passionate human desire in both physical and metaphysical terms.

I remain amazed that this unique transcendence has never been fully appreciated nor extensively explored.

Zeppelin never stopped. In addition to all of their most familiar material, the group introduced large segments of a soon-to-be-released double-album. It was thus I first heard much of “Physical Graffiti” with virginal ears as they first introduced “Kashmir” to an American audience.

That night in Detroit I was ruined for life. The measure of excellence established on stage by Led Zeppelin became the absolute standard.

As of 2017, “The Song Remains The Same.”

 

 

 

“His Excellency Lord Cavanaugh”

October 29, 2017

Lord Cavanaugh

It’s getting fever swamp crazy.

Trump’s in raw panic mode. Keep him away from the codes.

Recalcitrant Republicans are circling their wagons in wild abandon. The center no longer holds. Honest hope is gone.

Except.

We can always unplug and “leave this world for a while” as Tom Petty enticingly suggests in “Free Fallin’” “Not necessarily stoned, just beautiful” echoes Jimi Hendrix.

I have often suspected a strong personal genetic predisposition to altered state adventure. It’s come in handy more than once as a matter of internal intuitive guidance. Right now it’s telling me to leave terrifying politics behind for everyone’s sake and free fall into associated memories. No problem.

It was twenty-five years ago this week that Eileen and I returned to America after spending our first extended time in the Emerald Isle.

1992 was the 100th Anniversary of my Great-Grandfather’s death. He had left Ireland during The Great Famine years in 1848 and had crossed the North Atlantic to the green fields of America. He lies buried under a fine Celtic cross in a little churchyard just north of Syracuse. His name is engraved in sharp and bold lettering, still clearly distinct with a century and a quarter gone. “Peter Cavanaugh.”

Family records indicate the subject of the following newspaper story in the New York Times was quite possibly this original Peter, who was said to head 20 miles south from Fulton, N.Y. to the fair city of Syracuse, where he would spend much time and treasure indulging in various pleasurable pursuits while consuming copious quantities of “The Holy Water.”

And telling tales.

I am passionately persuaded this was my most recent incarnation.

From The New York Times   – September 12, 1884

A REAL LIVE IRISH LORD

HE APPEARS AS A TRAMP IN SYRACUSE

Syracuse, N.Y., Sept. 11. 1884.

Lord Cavanaugh, a tall man with a military carriage, stepped up to the railing before Magistrate Mulholland today and denied he was a vagrant as Detective Becker, who arrested him last evening, charged.

The detective said Cavanaugh had been annoying tenants in the Wieting Block by going into various offices and representing himself to be a dentist, physician and lawyer, according to the profession of the person in whose presence he happened to find himself. This the prisoner stoutly denied, declaring at the same time that he had only been seeking suitable employment, and had made no statements as to his qualifications which he was not fully prepared to substantiate.

To a reporter he said he was the son of Lord Chief Justice Cavanaugh of India, who died at Gibraltar a number of years ago, and that his mother still lives in India. He was born, he said, in Waterford, Ireland 35 years ago and was graduated from Trinity College.

He entered the British Army and was promoted to a Captaincy in the Eleventh Zouaves. He sold his commission for £ 450 and afterward served as a private. He declared that he went through the Zulu Campaign, was under General Roberts in Afghanistan, and became a coffee planter in Southern India, but was unsuccessful.

Then he returned to Dublin and was a writer for the Freeman’s Journal. Thence he went to Quebec where he did newspaper work. From there he went to Montreal and finally came here. He has been in this city for a month. He denied that he is a drunkard, but admits he occasionally takes a glass of beer.

The New York Times — September 12, 1884

 “What dreams forget – the whiskey remembers” – Eric Church – “Creepin’” (2012)

“Blind Faith”

October 22, 2017

McC--Lynn       McClintock Town Hall Meeting — Minarets High School Gym

“Blind Faith” — An English blues rock band, composed of Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech – one of the first “super groups” from the late 60s. .

“Blind Faith” – Unquestioned confidence or trust in a particular system of belief or given leader in which faith may equate to acceptance without readily evident rational proof, perhaps even contradicted by generally recognized reality.

“Blind Faith” – An astounding display of unqualified obeisance accompanied by dog-like loyalty demonstrated by Fourth District Congressional Representative Tom McClintock last Thursday night during his Town Hall Meeting in O’Neals. Upon the altar of political expediency, before a scattered crowd of concerned constituents and bored security guards, Thomas M. McClintock offered his eternal soul to Donald J. Trump, praise his name.

It seemed to come out of nowhere.

A gentleman asked Tom in a respectful, diplomatic tone what would happen if the President went nuts and started a nuclear war. McClintock said there was no need to worry since such a thing could never happen.

He then proceeded to offer several minutes of polished prose explaining why numerous constitutional safeguards, levels of command authority and traditionally accepted safety guidelines would protect us all. Tom spoke with casual, persuasive confidence. He may even have quoted Lincoln, Jefferson or Thoreau – someone of classic stature. That’s standard in the McClintock playbook. I’m not sure — being thoroughly shaken by what came next. It’s like when you’re in an accident and just remember part of it?

All legalities aside, the questioner further pressed for a simple “Yes” or “No” on whether Trump could technically pull the trigger. It was then McClintock reluctantly admitted — in these exact words; “I believe he could — but he wouldn’t.”

Echoing the immortal words of Larry Verne in his 1960 classic, “Please, Mister Custer” – Please, Mr. McClintock, I don’t want to die!

Anyone who chooses to think a mad man is incapable of insanity may be legally free to offer his faith blindly, but should not be allowed to conveniently abandon our safety with it. Save the solicitous sanctimony for suckers, Tom. This is for life on the planet. It’s sudden death hardball.

Against this unnerving blind belief that Trump is not clearly and presently dangerous in terminal terms, other frightening specifics on the immediate McClintock horizon are rendered pale by comparison.

A vote for McClintock means you are:

  • Supporting a Republican budget that will slash social spending to disproportionately reward the rich with billions of dollars at the expense of the poor, sick and elderly. The Middle Class will be left in the still shrinking middle, heading ever downward with increased velocity and no meaningful cut in taxes. Regulations? Who needs ‘em? Take down those traffic lights.
  • Endorsing without qualification a mumbling, bumbling, narcissistic oaf who permanently stains and tarnishes all he touches with egregious arrogance, fumbling foolishness and graceless grabs. I agree with Tom Woods, author of “The Seven Signs of a Sociopath.” Donald J. Trump is a malevolent toddler.
  • Aiding in the eventual gutting and/or elimination of many social safety nets, even those dating back more than seven decades to the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his “New Deal.” In time this would even include Medicare and Social Security. Health care? It’s cash or crash. If you don’t earn for it, you will yearn for it. No pay. No play. Those who have get more – while those who don’t stay poor.

Horses wear blinders. Congressional Representatives shouldn’t — unless they’re the south end of a horse heading north.

 

 

 

 

“Tell Tom Tonight”

October 15, 2017

McClintock-Tom-757x1024

Your presence is needed to guide our nation.

Join us tonight for a Town Hall Meeting in O’Neals with our 4th Congressional District Representative, Tom McClintock. He wants your thoughts.

6 PM is the starting time in the Minarets High School Gymnasium at 45077 North Fork Road in O’Neals, but I’d get there plenty early. A bunch of folks are coming. It’s only 20 minutes from Oakhurst. Head south on 41, then turn left on Road 200. Go two-tenths of mile and there you are. Mapquest says if you reach Road 8063 you’ve gone 1.9 miles too far. Look for all the cars.

Regardless of where you consider yourself politically, Tom McClintock exclusively represents you and your neighbors on the Federal level. That’s how a Democratic Republic works. He is your most important local voice in Washington. His official words and actions should reflect your will – choosing people over party when necessary and treasuring collective security far past personal gain.

Only a fool would deny our current President is —— unique. Tom McClintock is no fool.

Should you concur with my general summary that Donald J. Trump presents a clear and present danger and is brutally unfit for the presidency, it is critical you make your resistance, persistence and insistence evident tonight.

Here’s the hard part.

Let’s keep it cool.

The last thing we need are loud mouth, loutish, wanna-be “activists” who like to scream, whistle, stomp and shout as a means of political expression. Passion not tempered by propriety is the mark of a – — moron.

Opposing viewpoints are certain to emerge tonight. We should listen with respect in order to expect the same.

Mr. McClintock is fully aware these are not normal times. Although the Fourth District has elected many more Conservatives than not since Half Dome was whole, four viable opposing Democratic candidates have already emerged and are actively engaged in hoping to bless Tom with early retirement.

By alphabetical order they are —

Regina Bateson — Regina was a class valedictorian at Granite Bay High School, later earning a BA from Stanford University and an MA and PhD from Yale. She also studied abroad in Latin America, where she learned to speak Spanish fluently. As a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department, she studied terrorist travel and border security.

Roza Calderon – Ms. Calderon is a geoscientist, activist and single mother who believes “we need leaders who represent real people’s needs over party interests.” She advocates combating climate change, providing Medicare for All and building an inclusive economy.

Jessica Morse – Having spent over a decade as a national security strategist, Jessica is a fifth generation northern Californian. As Advisor to the Commander of the U.S. Military Headquarters for Asia and the Pacific, Jessica strengthened the U.S.-India defense relationship using renewable energy. She has a Masters Degree from Princeton University.

And Rochelle Wilcox — Rochelle earned a full scholarship to law school at the University of Utah, where she graduated first in her class.  She is currently a partner in one of the top-rated First Amendment practices in the country, working for businesses in a variety of industries and involved in dozens of cases fighting to make sure journalists have the protection they need.

One of the above will eventually emerge as a consensus Democratic candidate fully supported by the other three. But Republican Tom gets our ears tonight. Let’s have our voices resonate with reason, not roar like rhinos.

As my old Irish-American Grandfather used to say – “You get more with sugar than you do with spit!”

Something like that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A Very Cool Group”

October 6, 2017

snowline_dedication_2008

The darkened bar was surrounded by intense players, collegiality and attention to the game harshly intruded upon by a stranger of unknown origin and unappreciated purpose.

He wanted to meet “Steve the Clamper” and quickly learned such a request was inappropriately phrased and indelicately presented.

When I decided I wanted to write a column on “E. Clampus Vitus”, folks around town who knew said Steve Schermerhorn was the guy with whom to speak. They also disclosed where and when to find him. They were right.

After observing that he knew I was in “The Sierra Star” and mentioning that he appreciated what Dr. Bill Atwood wrote each week, Steve added that he especially liked those opinions expressed by the late J.R. Froelich and other conservative writers. I felt right at home.

Although he’s a “Greybeard” and “Ex-Noble Grand Humbug”, Steve is actually a bit younger than I. Showing respect for an elder and quickly bonding through our mutual appreciation of Led Zeppelin, I asked that he send me a few notes about his group. I have decided to simply pass along much of what Mr. Schermerhorn provided since it is assuredly authentic, quite inclusive and self-explanatory.

Here’s Steve:

“The Grub Gulch Chapter of E CLAMPUS VITUS is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada at the end of the Gold Chain Highway. Our chapter encompasses all of Madera County. Called the Order of the Rose, the original Grub Gulch Rose was growing wild near the gold rush town of Grub Gulch. The town was named this because any miner who would stop and work was almost guaranteed to gather enough gold from the river to stake him on his way to the gold fields further north. Today our Chapter continues to uphold the traditions set forth by our forefathers.
Since the major ore producing mines have all but played out, the Clampers of today are dedicated to the preservation and recognition of these historic sites. This is accomplished through the erection of monuments.

There are 56 monuments in Madera County.

  • Grub Gulch Chapter #41-49 was Chartered in 1979.
  • ECV motto, “Credo Quia Absurdum”, “Because it’s absurd I Believe.”
  • There are currently over 600 members in this Chapter.
  • All members are Officers, and all Officers are of Equal Indignity.
  • Our President is called “Humbug”, The Treasurer is the Gold Dust Receiver, the Cook is “The Gutrobber”. Other board members may be referred to as: “Greybeard”, “Clamp Patriarch”, “Clamp Matrix”, “Playtrix or Vitrix”, “Damn Fool”, “Doorkeeper” and “Hangman.”
  • ECV was born in the mining camps of California.
  • Based on absurdity, and shunned by the pompous “Stuffed Shirts” of the Odd Fellows, Moose or Elk, Clampers would adorn their red union suits (long underwear) with the cutout bottoms of a bean can. They would parade about and make fun of the upper crust. This was referred to as wearing the tin. Today Clampers wear red shirts depicting the union suits once worn in the camps as well as adorning our vests with badges, buttons and ribbon to represent the tin.
  • ECV is still the number one fraternal order that continues to steadily grow year after year. Currently there are over 43 Chapters of ECV throughout 9 States. Exact numbers of Redshirts is said to be around 50,000.”

Thanks, Steve!

And guess who created and operates the worldwide website www.eclampusvitus.com?? Steve Schermerhorn! Right here in Oakhurst!

You’ll find tons of California Gold Rush links, dozens of localized monument site pictures and much more intriguing Clamper Information.

“Ipsum Fasciculum Frigus” – A Very Cool Group!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Counting Your Vote So It Counts”

September 30, 2017

rebecca_martinez

The next meeting of the Oakhurst Democratic Club will be held this coming Saturday, October 7th, at The Best Western Plus Yosemite on Highway 41. An “All You Can Eat” hot breakfast buffet for $8.00 will be available at 8:30 AM with the meeting and program starting at 9:30.

Rebecca Martinez, Madera County Clerk/Recorder/Registrar and former President of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials, will speak on “Counting Your Vote So It Counts.” This will include a discussion of recent changes in election law, voter system modernization and a recap and review of the November 2016 election.

Ms. Martinez has just completed a series of community workshops aimed at familiarizing Madera County voters with a proposed new county wide balloting system.

Rebecca “Becky” Martinez is a lifelong Madera County resident, a devoted mother, and a proud grandmother.

After graduating from Madera High School, Becky started her career of public service with Madera County in 1973 in an entry-level position where her work ethic, attention to detail and dedication to duty earned her several promotions.

In 1990 Rebecca was elected the Madera County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters, the first of seven times Ms. Martinez has been elected to this position. Until September of 1998 Ms. Martinez held the position of ex-officio Clerk of the Madera Superior Court. Ms. Martinez holds the distinction of being the longest serving elected official in Madera County, an honor she is mindful of every day as she continues to serve the residents of her community.

From July of 2008 through July of 2010, Rebecca served as the President of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials, the statewide association of County Clerks, Clerks of the Board of Supervisors and Registrars of Voters. In July of 2010 Secretary of State Debra Bowen presented Ms. Martinez with the National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award in recognition of her “intelligent, open-minded and enthusiastic dedication to making our democracy work better.”

In November of 2014, Ms. Martinez was appointed by the President of the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials to the transition team for newly elected Secretary of State Alex Padilla. As a part of the team, Ms. Martinez was asked to provide essential input as Secretary Padilla transitioned from the position of a State Legislator to the role of California’s Chief Election Official.

Becky has two children and three “perfect” grandchildren that she enjoys spending her free time with. In addition, Becky enjoys traveling with friends and family and serving as a member of the Madera Noon Chapter of Rotary International where she has chaired the Rotary Health Day event and was selected as Rotarian of the Month.

Chief Assistant Clerk/Recorder/Registrar Justin White will assist in the presentation.

The Oakhurst Democratic Club is pleased to welcome Ms. Martinez to Eastern Madera County. All are invited on Saturday regardless of party affiliation with questions encouraged from those in attendance.