Well, I’m Not Pessimistic-Pessimistic …

… but I am, these days, a little more down than up.  Particularly over the union-busting going on in so many states, and peoples’ refusal to see what lies behind it.  Republican governors and Republican-dominated state legislatures aren’t trying to save money by busting public employee unions and cutting back on education and services funding.  The money saved won’t go into other parts of their budgets; they’re going to hand the money over to corporations and the rich in the form of larger tax breaks.  In a word, they’re taking yet more of our money to give to their rich friends.  And in the process, they’re trying to eliminate unions, which traditionally drum up votes for Democratic candidates in state and national elections.

Despite the huge crowds turning out to support public employee unions in midwestern states, I think the Republicans are going to win this round, as they have already pretty much won in Wisconsin.  Do teachers’ unions … and other public employee unions in the states where Republicans are trying to take away collective bargaining rights … have strike funds?  I bet they don’t.  The only way public employee unions can hold onto what they have now is to go on strike for the duration, and not only that, but to commit serious sustained violence against the scab workers who’ll be hired to replace them.  They have to be serious, deadly serious, and willing to go to jail.  I don’t think that’s in the cards.

So yeah, I’m a little pessimistic right now, but things will swing back eventually.  At some point people will have to realize the extent to which they’re being robbed by the crooks in power.  We will, won’t we?  And then we’ll rise up!  Right?

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I listen to NPR and am lucky in that I live in a community with a large enough listener-subscriber base to keep its local NPR affiliate going even if Congress cuts off the small amount of money it currently gives to NPR at the national level.  Actually, an even larger community, Phoenix, is just up the road, and they have a thriving NPR affiliate, KJZZ, which comes in loud and clear here in Tucson.  Not only that, KUAZ and KJZZ schedule their spring and fall fund drives on alternate weeks, so that you can switch stations during sponsorship drives … but of course you still contribute, right?

Years ago I briefly considered retiring to my home town, Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  One of the deciding factors against going there was that Cape didn’t have an NPR station (the nearest one was in St. Louis, too far away for radio reception).  I think Cape has NPR today, but I doubt they have enough of a subscriber base to keep it if national NPR is defunded.  I imagine most small-town NPR affiliates will fold.  And then people will be stupider and less well informed, with predictable political effects.  Oh my, why doesn’t NPR at least fight back?

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I know where Arizona can save money without impacting education in any way.  Every school district in the state is “unified,” whatever that means (frankly I don’t think it means anything).  Every school bus has the word “unified” on its side, as in “Tanque Verde Unified School District” or “Tucson Unified School District.”  All that black paint has to cost something.  What if those buses just said “Tanque Verde Schools” or “Tucson Schools” instead?  Would the school districts still be unified?  Sure they would.  Think how much we could save!  Hundreds of dollars at least, probably thousands.  Let’s get on that, Governor Brewer!

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So, on to happier personal news.  I’m checking out as a volunteer docent at the Pima Air & Space Museum, the third-largest air museum in the United States.  Eventually, I hope to lead tram and walking tours through the open air and hanger displays, talking about the history of aviation and some of the more than 300 aircraft on display.  The checkout program is rigorous and will take a couple of months to complete.  By the time I’m actually leading outdoor tours, probably this fall, the radioactive fallout from Japan should have stopped … see, I’m still capable of optimism!

Donna’s sister Georgie is visiting from Michigan, and while she’s here, helping Donna with her flower garden out back.  Yesterday Donna, Georgie, and I celebrated Polly’s birthday with a great meal, and this weekend we’re all going bicycle riding.  Next Thursday I’m riding the motorcycle to Las Vegas for a few days.  While I’m there my son Gregory’s planning to borrow a motorcycle so he can ride with me on a day trip to southwestern Utah and back.

When I get back, it’ll be time to treat our redwood gates, the fence around the pool pump, the slats in our flatbed trailer, and our old park bench out front.  The Arizona sun will destroy anything, but putting protective stain on the wood once a year delays the process.  Other pressing maintenance projects: draining and refilling the spa, replacing the pool heater.  The joys of home ownership never stop.  The idea of moving into one of those condos where they take care of everything for you gets more attractive by the year.

Busy busy busy.  I’d better get back to work.

© 2011, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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