Posts Tagged 'fund raising'

Please…enough already

Please…enough already.

I’ve worn down the delete key of my old HP PC by banishing hundreds of political messages to the trash bin. Messages that warn me that Republican Armageddon will arrive right on schedule on November 4…unless I send money.  Lots of money.  The world will come crashing down on us if my deficit-saddled candidates don’t meet their October fund-raising goals.  And I’m solely responsible.

But things can’t be all that bad, can they? This morning I saw a CNN footer crawl across my bloated political message laden screen that announced “candidates are having a very tough time finding available ad space on TV.”  Big surprise.

More importantly, why is everyone so down in the mouth about the Democrats’ chances of keeping even one back row seat in the 2015 Senate? Live with it I say. It’s your turn in the barrel.  A much improved economy, healthcare for millions, military exits from places we never should have been, and a surprisingly robust stock market have no bearing on the voting habits of the general public.  TV has seen to that.

And then there’s the House of Representatives. There’s not a chance that the House might even seat one surprise Democrat victor.  Everyone knows that the Republicans have a lock on that asylum.  The Democrats have thrown in the towel and the bathtub.  Fugedaboudit.

And what’s up with that eerie silence of late in both the House and among the Senate minority Republicans about their god-given moral assignment to repeal Obamacare.  Accustomed as I am to their single-mindedness about the issue, I find myself missing the vitriolic speeches about the days of death panels, government control of my body and the first step toward a Communist takeover.

Perhaps the ebola virus has taken center stage. Along with the obvious…that it’s all Obama’s fault.  The two cases of the dreaded pestilence could surely have been prevented had the President been on duty in that Texas hospital emergency room when the first of what surely will be tens of millions of cases turned up.  You won’t have to rely on Hollywood manufactured Zombie movies anymore.  They’ll be right at your doorstep.

Fortunately, this morning I was relieved of any concern that something might actually get done in the newly constituted, Republican majority Senate. On Tuesday, in a rare instance of stark realism, the about-to-be Senate leader Mitch McConnell admitted that Obamacare could not be repealed since the Republicans will not, save a miracle conjured up by Pat Robertson or Billy Graham, have the required sixty seats to ram through the as yet unannounced Republican version of a new, more wonderful, healthcare system. But then all hell broke loose in the Conservative ranks.  How dare Mitch, that normally reliable Luddite, even for a moment consider such a logical, but never-to-be-spoken-of possibility.

“Ooops, my bad”, he said. Remembering that he was up for re-election in less than a week, Mitch regained his other-world composure and quickly announced that he was “fully committed to the repeal of Obamacare.”  Shocking.  In brief, he would do so through the previously despised (when the Democrats did it) slippery procedure called Reconciliation.  Requiring only a simple majority in the Senate, Mitch would send blizzards of bills to the President that would, if signed, assure the continuation of the Government (budgets, appointments, housekeeping stuff) in the Republican mode (you know, banning abortion, stopping gay marriage, easing pollution regulations, liberalizing banking rules, loosening consumer protections, strengthening the military and maybe impeaching the black guy.)  And, attached to those bills would be a few succinct phrases that would also dismantle Obamacare.  Aaaah, a breath of fresh air.

Forced to watch the Government descend into nothingness should he not sign the bills, the black guy could cave and Obamacare will be the first victim of its own death panel. A barrage of vetoes by the reclusive (or is it dictatorial) foreign born alien would assure the Republicans of two years worth of talking points that blame the Kenyan sitting in the Oval Office for everything from the disgrace of an unprepared military to a lack of toilet paper in the Senate visitors’ gallery.  Then again, maybe a lack of toilet paper is just the right accompaniment for a constipated Congress.

So, my friends. Not to worry.  We will have the same sort of gridlock for the next two years.  But at least we won’t have to worry about good government interfering with the circus-like atmosphere of nominating the 2016 presidential candidates.

Save Libbey Bowl…why?

The first year that Sweetie and I moved to Ojai we attended the Music Festival.  We had no idea what to expect, including the Libbey Bowl wooden benches imported from Spain after Torquemada had finished with them.

We sat close to the front, not wanting to miss a dulcet tone, a memorable phrase, a catchy tune.  Warmly placed between what turned out to be veteran Festival goers, we patiently waited for the program to begin.  A middle-aged man emerged to polite applause, plunked himself before the impressive Steinway and began to play.  It’s been years since we experienced his performance and perhaps my memory is a bit clouded, but I swear he was playing with his elbows.

Sweetie and I looked at each other, screwed up our faces and wondered if this was a joke.  When the artist concluded his performance, those around us rose as one and amid thunderous calls of bravo, bravo proceeded to acknowledge what, in their opinion, had been an extraordinary performance.  We agreed, but not in the same sense they did.

Since that time we have attended other Music Festivals.  Being quick learners, we have moved to the lawn.  A place where you can snooze and, if necessary, make a relatively secret exit.  Try as I can, I find it nearly impossible to appreciate the avant-garde music that is the staple of the Festival.  Sure, there are moments when I’m able to minimize my search for good-looking women, ignore the high-backed chairs that screen my view of the distant performance, and enjoy the clandestine imbibing of the fruit of the vine.  At those infrequent times, the music can almost be, well, OK.

So why do we park three blocks away, shlep heavy lawn chairs, and race for a decent piece of grass year after year?  I have yet to figure it out.  The closest I can get is that it’s an Ojai thing.

Last year we heard that the old bowl was falling apart and that a mere $3,000,000 was needed to save it.  My first reaction was akin to let ’em eat cake.  Here we were mired in the midst of an awful recession, folks were losing their jobs and contributions to feed the hungry had fallen to bargain basement levels.  Why in the world would anyone think that saving the old bowl merited a prime position among other deserving community activities?  I argued with Don about the merits of the venture.  I vowed to keep my checkbook in my pocket.  I felt mildly self-righteous.

 And then a funny thing happened.  I looked around and saw signs.  Not just one sign in the Ojai Ice Cream store window surrounded by a gaggle of other signs.  No, everywhere I looked I saw Save the Bowl signs, plaques, and banners.  The only thing missing was sky writing.  Bottles and cans appeared at the check-out counters of the local merchants…with dollars and dimes floating in them.  Wherever I went, the talk was about the bowl.  The Ojai social calendar was filled with events that could save the old lady from destruction.  Events that could raise thousands or, bless them, events that could, on a good day, raise maybe a hundred.

People were engaged.  They were on a quest.  Smiles appeared where only glum faces had once been.  Sweetie and I made an obligatory appearance at a neighborhood meeting to discuss the bowl, its importance and the need for bucks.  Guests included folks from all economic levels.  Esther Wachtell made a compelling argument.  Jeff Haydon was at his usual likeable, knowledgeable, down-to-earth best.  Esther laid out the numbers.  The annual revenue generated for the local economy, especially from those who come from far away.  The other events that once used the bowl.  Events that have gone away but could be lured back.

I was converted from a nay-sayer to a yay-sayer.  Sure, the economy is on life support.  Unemployment is tenacious.  Lots of worthy causes compete for our dollars.  At the same time, there are some special  things that bring us together as a community.  That lift our spirits.  That make us smile.  That make us say it’s an Ojai thing.


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