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Friday, November 7, 2014

Next on the list.

Let's see. Step three hundred seventeen. Plug lead E7 into jack B47. Check. Step three hundred eighteen. Remove cap from light-pipe cable and insert into port F1. Check.

Finished yet? Nearly ready.Oh, my goodness. Didn't know you were reading this. Bet your eyes are glazing over. I'm just working through the instructions for this do-it-yourself project studio. It came in a big, flat box, some assembly required. In fact, quite a bit of assembly required. That explains the bargain-basement price. That fellow in Bangalore seemed very anxious to unload this little gem. At least he was an engineer - I am, at best, technically challenged, and at worst, a danger to public safety. Have you ever manually wound a transformer before? I know I haven't.

Typically I would leave such menial tasks to Marvin (my personal robot assistant), but as you may have noticed from the last few postings, he has been making himself quite scarce. Last week he took a trip to Cincinnati to visit the National Museum of Robotics and Animatronics. Didn't even know such a thing existed. Anyway, he was gone for about five days, came back with a few scratches and a cardboard pirate hat for his trouble. I know ... it sounds suspicious to me as well, but there are certain questions you just should never ask of your personal robot assistant.

Why are we building our own studio? Well ... the one we have right now is getting a little long in the tooth. I expect you know this, as I've mentioned it often enough. Big Green has recorded one album (2000 Years To Christmas) on an eight-track Tascam DTRS system, two albums (International House and Cowboy Scat: Songs in the Key of Rick) on a Roland VS-2480 with various peripherals. The eight track machine is basically a doorstop. The VS-2480 is 13 years old and is not well. It's choked with projects and has no practical means of exporting data. We are still recording on that system, but just around the edges ... gently, gently. Hence ... the do it yourself studio. Either that or a Kickstarter Campaign. Still scratching our heads on that.

Head scratching, step three: Press nail of index finger on scalp and move finger back-and-forth.

Failing up.

I've heard a lot over the past few days about how the Republicans were able to do so well in Tuesday's election. What is uncontroversial is that the Congress of the last two years has been an unmitigated failure, with fewer bills passed by the House than in any session in living memory. They put forward draconian bills that they know will never go anywhere. They work a week and take two weeks off. They demonize their opponents and make compromise a four-letter word. Where did they go right? Not sure, but the mid-term electorate has spoken, and they have rewarded failure with two more years of power and Republican leadership in the Senate.

It's THIS guy who worries me.That can only serve as an endorsement of the GOP's strategy of doing absolutely nothing and letting nothing be done by anyone else. Here we are, at a time when interest rates are at historic lows, letting our national infrastructure rust away when we could be rebuilding it under very favorable terms, putting people to work, and investing in the future. Instead, we've opted for austerity at both the federal and the state level, laying off people instead of putting them to work, squeezing the air out of the economy years after the financial crash.

So, sure ... this means more reactionary policies than before. You know, Inhoffe in charge of the Environment committee in the Senate; McCain presiding over Armed Services, Fox in charge of the henhouse committee, and so on. But hey ... we've been through this before, right? If you want to work for positive change, here are a few things to look for:

  • "Free" Trade - Lori Wallach of Global Trade Watch is warning that the fight over the TPP will take place in the House of Representatives, initially over fast-track authority. What you can do: Call your representative, Democrat or Republican, and ask where they stand on this issue; then tell them to do the right thing if they're not already.
  • War in Syria - The Republican Senate will want to double-down on American military involvement in Syria. What you can do: We need to raise our voices against this and do it now.
  • Social Security / Medicare / Medicaid - The president will likely try to work with the GOP Senate to hammer out a version of his beloved "Grand Bargain", giving away the store on Social Security and using the trust fund to pay for tax cuts, etc. What you can do: The president and our senators need to hear from us. Call them, email them, send up smoke signals.

Don't give up. Organize. It's the only thing we have ... and the only thing we've ever had.

luv u,

jp