The GOP and their NRA masters are in full panic mode

It was exactly one week ago that gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you no doubt know that seventeen students and teachers were killed and 14 more were taken to hospitals.

There are thousands of stories on the subject, of course. I don’t really have anything to add. I do, however, want to make an observation or two about some of the political fallout.

Students from M.S.D. High have been on a highly-visible crusade since the shooting stopped to get our elected officials to do something about our non-existent gun laws. And in the last three or four days, students from many other places have begun to join in.

That’s been very inconvenient for our Rethuglican legislators and Governors. And for their NRA masters who fund all those reelection campaigns.

High school students know that  politicians literally don’t care whether they live or die. They can see–it’s been crystal-clear for a very long time–that every last GOP elected official, whether in State houses or in Washington, will toe the NRA line to the last detail even if their own kids were cut down in the hallways at Hometown High.

The students see this and they don’t like it.

It should surprise no one that a tipping point has come, and the kids who have dodged bullets and watched friends bleed out are ready to do something about the whole sick situation. Even if the corrupt, uncaring people who are elected to represent them are not.

Poor Rethuglicans. They don’t know what to do. 

They’re just trying to mouth the right sentiments, vomit up the talking points handed to them by their PR consultants and hope it’s going to stop.

No, not the shootings. The protests.

They don’t get it. They don’t get it now. They’re not going to see the light after the next massacre, either.

They won’t get after they’re turned out of office by voters of all ages, backgrounds and party affiliations. But that’s how this chapter in the never-ending saga of gun violence in America will end.

This chapter. There will be many others, of course.

Kids know that their lives matter less to our decision makers than NRA dollars. Less than gun industry profits. Less than holding fast to this recent interpretation of the Second Amendment that any citizen can own and parade around with any weapon of their choosing. Even military-grade weapons that are designed for the express purpose of killing a lot of people in a short period of time.

I don’t expect them to do anything about it as a result of students’ protests.

I expect that we’re going to get a lot of new legislators. Soon.

Right after the mid-term elections coming up on the 6th of November.




“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

So Where Did 2017 Go?

It’s a given that the farther we are along life’s path, the more time appears to accelerate. I’m thinking that most of this is a matter of perception. But it still comes as a bit of a shock that we’re in the waning moments of 2017.

How did we get here so fast? How is it that each year hurtles by at warp speed? Where does the time go? Where has my life gone?

I know I’m not the lone ranger here; lots of folks who, like me, have survived for six decades or better get into this psychological space regularly. But still, my head is whirling around and it truly seems like something is terribly wrong in the universe.

I’m in this space again as we have gotten so close to the end of the year. Now that those year-in-review things have begun, and folks are checking to be sure that they’ve booked a New Years Eve event, I feel like I’m on some inner precipice, staring into the abyss of time and feeling like I’ll fall over the edge at any moment.

I suppose one strategy to deal with this is to live one’s life in such a way as to make the most of each fleeting moment. And to prioritize our lives so that we spend the most of those finite moments doing the things that matter most. I get it. Doing that each day does not come easily for me, but that is the goal; that’s my New Years resolution. Again!

Meanwhile, I’d be so grateful if the gods of time would please, please, oh please just slow the whole damn thing down just a wee bit. Please!

What is Labor Day and Why Do Americans Celebrate It?

Monday, Sept 4, 2017

Ben writes: Let me wish all of you who work for a paycheck a happy–and very easy–Labor Day. Don’t forget that we stand on the shoulders of workers who fought–and sometimes died–to give us things like safe working conditions, a 40 hour work week and overtime pay. Our struggle is not over by any means. But for today–just take it easy!

We’ll be back at work soon enough. Working for our wages, but for other things, too; at the top of that list is respect. A living wage would be nice. A little gratitude, a little recognition, and little respect. These things are not too much to ask.

Accept the thanks of one worker to another. We do great things, don’t we? Yeah, we’re the ones who keep the wheels turning and the lights on and folks fed. And starting tomorrow, we get back to work. But for right now, take it easy and reflect on why there’s a day for workers like us.

Labor Day became a national holiday after a bloody strike by railroad workers in Chicago.

Source: What is Labor Day and Why Do Americans Celebrate It?

A Visit to the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum

A Visit to the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum

I wanted to do something different with the time I had over the 4th of July weekend this year. I opted to visit the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in the end even though I made the final choice at the moment I saw the sign about 250 ft ahead of me! (The visit has been on my list for a very long time, however!)

They have quite an assortment of aircraft from every war or conflict I can think of. You can go through the five different exhibits at your own pace or go with a guide. One of the last stops on the guided tour is the restoration hanger; you must be accompanied for that one. There are several restoration projects going on right now, including the nose section of a B-52.

One of these days I want to take the C-47 ride! And no, that’s not included in the cost of regular admission! It’s now officially on my bucket list! I’m gonna do it! Here’s a look at the Tico Belle, who shall one day carry Bulldog over the skies of East Central Florida:

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The museum has had their spot at the Space Coast Regional Airport for many years and there are entrances on US 1 and on SR 405. Finding it isn’t hard. But I venture to say — based on my visit — that the museum could use a few more guests to come through. And don’t forget that they sponsor a first-class air show at S.C.R.A. every spring. The date had to be moved up a bit this year because of a conflict, but making this event is one way to support this worthy non-profit and its museum.

One more thing about this event: the show has been called The Tico Warbird Airshow from its inception but the name going forward is The Space Coast Warbird Airshow. Same event, same very able folks behind it.

For complete information about the annual Space Coast Warbird Air Show coming in April of 2018, just click here.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Miscellaneous note: if you’re wondering where the Tico comes from in former name of the annual airshow or the name of the AP authority, it’s from Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority. The Space Coast Regional airport sits in Titusville, very close to Cocoa and serves both communities as well as the greater Space Coast region.

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

It’s June 1st and I Have No Idea How We Got Here

It’s June 1st and I Have No Idea How We Got Here

It’s a given that the farther we are along life’s path, the more time appears to accelerate. I’m thinking that most of this is a matter of perception. But it still blows ol’ Bulldog’s mind that June 1st is here.

How did we get here so quickly? How is it that 2017 is hurtling by at warp speed? Where does the time go? Where has my life gone?

I know I’m not the lone ranger here; lots of folks who, like me, have survived for six decades or better get into this psychological space with regularity. But still, my head is whirling around and it truly seems like something is terribly wrong in the universe.

I’ll get over it. I’ll most likely be in this space again, though, as we get close to the end of this year. When those year-in-review things begin, I always feel like I’m on some inner precipice, staring into the abyss of time and feeling like I’ll fall over the edge at any moment.

I suppose one strategy to deal with this is to live one’s life in such a way as to make the most of each fleeting moment. And to prioritize our lives so that we spend the most of those finite moments doing the things that matter most. I get it. Doing that each day does not come easily for me, but that is the goal.

Meanwhile, I’d be so grateful if the Chronos and his minions would please, please, oh please just slow the whole damn thing down just a wee bit. Please!

John Glenn, Space Pioneer, Has Passed at 95

John Glenn, Space Pioneer, Has  Passed at 95

I did take note when Arnold Palmer passed back in September. Today the news is of another towering American icon: fighter pilot, Astronaut and former Senator John Glenn.

We boomers who came of age in the ’60s followed his every exploit and idolized this pioneering space traveler as much — quite possibly more — than any other American from that time in our history. My idols from boyhood were Mickey Mantle, Ethan Allen and John Glenn. That was my “holy trinity” of American heroes! And I stand by those choices today, though we’re many moons past the Friendship 7 mission…

John was 95 and saw — and created — so much amazing American history in his long and wonder-filled life. To read a good and thorough obit from Mr. Glenn’s hometown paper, The Columbus Dispatch, follow this link.

His wikipedia entry is also a good read for those of us who remember and loved this giant. That can be read here.

Godspeed, John Glenn.

 

 

PBS Story on the U.S.S. Oklahoma and Pearl Harbor Is Worth a Look

We marked the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor yesterday. I saw an excellent PBS production focusing on the event from the point of view of the U.S.S. Oklahoma and her crew, specifically. It was certainly worth an hour of my day.

It piqued my interest because I’m a Navy vet and because I lived in Oklahoma for most of the late ’70s. And because I’m a serious history buff with a special interest in WW II. Anyhow, many reasons to like that show. Of course, I’ve never seen a PBS production that wasn’t well-worth my time.

It focused on two elements of the story of this most-infamous day in American history that would be new to most viewers: why the Oklahoma was the only vessel on “Battleship Row” to capsize after the attack and the fact that the remains of seven of her crew were identified and returned to their families in recent years.

If you have an interest in military history, especially the WW II era, you’d no doubt find this to be of interest. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing it yesterday on WUCF in real time. And you can stream it for the next seven weeks by following this link.