Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Friday, July 08, 2011

Ramsey 2011 4th of July Concert

At least I only took photos at this concert.  Charles would have really had issues with me if I’d tried to play and shoot at the same time.  If you know anyone from Ramsey, send them here to see some of the photos!  Will be on parade tomorrow!  Enjoy!

The Handwriting is on the Wall

In another sign that independence and resourcefulness are on their way to the ash heap of history, schools in Eastern Iowa will no longer stress good penmanship.  They haven’t completely eliminated cursive writing, but the time spent stress this once-essential habit will be greatly decreased.

Every summer, my mother made us practice our handwriting because she said it was an art that we could easily forget.  Handwriting is crucial to, first and foremost, our signatures.  Forget how to sign our names and we will be relegated to the illiterate art of “making our mark”, usually an X.  One more piece of our individuality will vanish, like invisible ink.

Without handwriting, people will no longer be able to establish their identity.  Forgers’ lives will be made infinitely easier, of course.  Criminal investigators will have a more difficult time, in consequence, in identifying criminals.

The art of writing also hardwires us to the written language the same way talking does.  Writing words, in our own handwriting, makes it personal for us.  This “indoctrination” is particularly important in our formative years, even if we give up most of the practice of handwriting later in life for printing or typing.

Personally, I found writing in the cursive style a darned nuisance.  By high school, I was printing out words because it was faster, and by college, I was using shorthand, which ironically, is based on cursive writing.  Once I got into the working world, typing was the main form of written communication.  I spent some years as a Dictaphone typist and at one time could write at the speed of speech, which didn’t do anything for my handwriting.

We love our electronic conveniences – our power windows, locks and steering, our computers, cable television, Ipads/tablets, cell phones, digital cameras, microwave ovens, auto-pens, blackberries, copiers, faxes, and garage door openers.  But using all these things, we put our power into someone else’s hands that can turn off the power just like that.  Then what do we do?

The Amish totally refused to live by electricity; they’re completely off the grid.  Survivalists write books about living off the grid.  Draconian measures to be sure.  Living on the grid is fine.  We shouldn’t apologize for living in a modern, technological society.

Still, we need to pay homage to the mechanical way of life, when we used manual typewriters, rotary phones, manual lawnmowers, wrenches, hammers, and rakes, and printing presses.  What will happen if someone turns off the power, outlaws gasoline, and taxes the Internet for those lucky few with alternative power?  Our bicycles, manual typewriters, and analog watches might come in very handy.

Without our handwriting, it will be very easy for a Socialist bureaucracy to justify “stamping” us with some sort of numerical identification – an identification with which it will be all too easy to monitor and control us.  Therefore, practice your handwriting at least once a month.  Your signature is the only thing you can truly call your own.

Like a car with power windows but no manual handles, if something goes wrong, without our individual signatures, we'll be trapped in that socialist bureaucracy, with no way out.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Spews of the World

Reading the obituary of the tabloid of all tabloids, The News of the World, I couldn’t help wondering how the paper could still be alive.  I thought it had died a deserving death in the 1960s, the last time I saw it on the local supermarket magazine rack.  At a very early age, I recall salacious and titillating headlines of the Liz Taylor-Richard Burton scandal.  My mother, a former journalist said that only biddies read that kind of trash and that any resemblance it bore to a real newspaper was merely coincidental.

The News of the World was first published on Oct. 1, 1843, in London by John Browne Bell.  Its audiences were the working classes, who could afford its cost of three pence.  England had not yet repealed the Stamp Act – in England, that is – or the Paper Duty.  Its stock-in-trade was coverage of vice prosecutions with transcripts of police reports on brothel raids and the arrest of streetwalkers.  The paper initially sold around 12,000 copies per week.  Following the abolition of the taxes, the publisher didn’t lower the price and its circulation dropped.

The Bell family sold the paper in 1891 to Lascelles Carr, who installed his nephew, Emsley Carr as the editor.  But it was George Riddell who used local agents to distribute the paper.  Its motto was "All human life is there". The paper's name was linked with sports events as early.  By 1950, the News of the World had become the biggest-selling newspaper in the world with weekly sales of 8,441,000; individual editions sold over 9 million copies.

The newspaper concentrated on celebrity-based scoops and populist news.  It had a reputation for exposing celebrities as drug users or criminals, setting up insiders and journalists in disguise to provide either video or photographic evidence, and phone hacking in ongoing police investigations. Sales averaged 2,812,005 copies per week in October 2010.   On 16 September 2010, it was announced that the online website of the paper would be placed behind a paywall.

If you lie down with dogs, however, you will wake up with fleas.  In fact, it was the fleas who were investigating the dogs.  Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and a journalist working for the News of the World were sent to prison in 2007 for hacking into the voice mails of royal staff in an earlier investigation.  Using their private investigator connections and knowledge, along with some alleged bribe money, the NOW’s reporters supposedly hacked into the voice mails of various crime victims, including the families of some murdered English schoolgirls and relatives of 7/1 victims.
Security personnel note that people in general are too careless with their password identities, choosing the easy way out rather than changing them to unbreakable, albeit unmemorizable, codes, every month or so.
The year 1843 was notable for some unusual events:
The British also exported The News of the World at a time when sideshows were popular, American was expanding westward (to the dismay of the future radio host, Glenn Beck), Greece was in turmoil then, as it is now, Christmas is still a revered and commercialized holiday, we count our calories, we use computer programs to watch YouTube instead of reading News of the World, and that paper has, like the Virginia Minstrels, been assigned to the ash heap of history.

The End of the News of the World comes at a bad time for publisher Rupert Murdoch, owner of The New York Post and Fox News.  He had his eye on England’s BSkyB.  The British government is now holding off on its decision whether to grant Murdoch’s company permission to purchase the company wholesale (Murdoch currently owns 39 percent of BSkyB) until September.  That hesitation may have influenced Murdoch’s decision to close the ancient tabloid.

Murdoch himself eschewed the unseemly paper’s unseemly investigative methods.  The world did not end in 1843 or 2011, but The News of the World has.  Hallelujah.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Hand That Rocks On As the Cradle Falls

The jury in the Casey Anthony trial handed in its verdict yesterday.  They found Casey not guilty of first degree murder in the death of her daughter, two year-old Caylee Marie.  This frankly disgusting trial and concomitant media circus seems to have dragged on for weeks or months.

A strange tale from the very beginning, when mother Casey phoned 911 a full month after her daughter’s disappearance to report her missing.  The child’s body was found by a meter reader in a wooded area a short distance from the house, in a location with no meters around to read.

What was the driver doing there?  Did he play a role in her disappearance?  Probably not.  One might speculate that he needed to relieve himself and stumbled upon the body, or stopped to make a call and noticed a throng of those huge black flies whose presence means only one thing.

Then there was the ensuing investigation, which revealed that the grandmother had reported a terrible odor emanating from the car, a Google search by Casey for the word “chloroform”, and charges that her father raped her as a child.  The baby’s father and a cast of boyfriends came forward to charge that Casey was a party girl, not a future PTA mom, who was dancing the night away as the hunt went on for her still-missing toddler.  Hairs matching the child were found in the trunk of the car, as well as pieces of duct tape.

After Casey accused her father of molestation, Casey and her parents stopped speaking to one another.  Her father and the baby’s father claimed the child drowned in the family swimming pool and knowing Casey’s history with Family Services, helped to cover up the death.  Casey claimed the toddler died from a drugging by Casey’s father.

The manner in which the child was found and the mother’s attitude towards her death led police to suspect that Casey murdered her child.  They charged her accordingly.  But in the end, all the prosecution had was circumstantial evidence.  No evidence pointed directly to a homicide, only a dead little girl, whose death will likely remain unsolved.

The jury didn’t take long to deliberate.  There was no conclusive evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Casey had committed first-degree murder, so she got a pass.  Some say it was parental sympathy, others say it was all about the lack of evidence.  Now reports are coming out that Casey will be the beneficiary of salacious book and talk show deals.  It’s not implausible that the child could have fallen into the pool.  If it had been that simple, though, why cover up her death in this way?

Was Casey trying to beat the charge of depraved indifference, figuring lying to the police would bring fewer recriminations than manslaughter?  Or was Caylee’s grandfather the culprit, an abusive browbeating and threatening his victimized (and mighty strange) daughter?

Casey will hardly find any sympathetic viewers or readers amongst the mothers of America.  American Moms can understand many things – a kid falling into an unprotected pool, even covering up the death for fear of punishment for what was essentially an accident, or even a jury finding her not guilty of first degree murder.  Every Mom knows how two year olds are.  There aren’t enough eyes to keep on them, legs to keep up with them, or arms long enough to grab hold of them before they get into trouble.  But to party away while your child is missing – that’s not a thing your average mother can understand, sympathize with, condone, or forgive.  Not all the psychological analysis in the world can explain away being a callous mother.

Casey got away with either murder or negligence (the latter is more likely).  But she’s not going to get away with being a bad mother in the public’s eye.  Little Caylee is in heaven now, with the angels, and millions of mothers' hearts are aching for her, with one notable exception.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Armed Escort

One of the things I hadn’t noticed in my haste to take the photos – and get back to my place in line – during the Fourth of July parades was that our American flag bearer did not have an “armed” escort.

Carrying an American flag on parade without an escort is a big no-no in flag and parade etiquette. Our current band front advisors literally grew up on the front, guided by a very strict, no-nonsense advisor who has since retired. I knew one day she’d retire so I would listen every chance I got to learn what the band front needed to do. M. knew her flag etiquette backwards and forwards.

“Never let the American flag go down the street without an escort!” she said. If no escort is available, then you don’t send the flag out. That’s all there was to it. So when I looked at the pictures of Monday’s parades, I thought, “Uh-oh! M. won’t like this!”

As I was putting my xylophone away after tonight’s rehearsal, I noticed a spare drill rifle in the closet, which I stowed in the back of my car for future parades, including a parade in Port Jervis this Friday. I am now a proud fake gun owner. I’m “carrying.”

It’s only a prop of course. The escorted defense of the flag in this case is only symbolic. Yet there’s a great probability in our future that we’ll need the real thing to defend ourselves against the encroachments of an overreaching government. Even now, progressives are trying to get the Second Amendment repealed. They’ve made gun ownership regulatively prohibited. Friends who own guns cannot transport their weapons intact; they must disassemble them, place the gun in is case, then reassemble it when they get to a shooting range.

In urban and suburban areas, they cannot use the weapon within a certain number of feet of a dwelling. Gun advocates are correct when they say that the police, at least of today, do not consider it their job to protect the individual – only society. Our judiciary is working on making defense of one’s property illegal as well.

Glenn Beck’s novel, The Overton Window, deals with Second Amendment issues and the forming of militias. He lays the Progressive Plan all out for us, showing us how we’ve been nudged into complacency – forgetting our history, or rather not being taught anything about it to remember, turning our back on principles, fearing to get involved, being satisfied with our lowly lot in life, not wanting to argue, not wanting to rock the boat, accepting our “place” in the Progressive order of things, taking it for granted that there’s nothing we can do about the Progressive scheme for transforming the world.

Beck reveals pernicious truths about the public relations field. How many PR pushers would recognize themselves, if they read his novel? The fact that the Mainstream Media paints Glenn as a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist, thus causing many “normal” people (read “spineless”) to avoid him, just proves the point of his novel. Marginalization works.

Thankfully, he leaves the reader at the end with a list of books to peruse, beginning with Bernays’ Propaganda, which inspired the Nazi propaganda machine. These are books Progressives want their own students to read, not their adversaries. Luckily, we have authors like Glenn and Ann Coulter to provide us with a reading list.

Some of us even find interesting books on our own, such as TV and National Security, which thoughtfully scoured their book lists to find for me, knowing my reading proclivities. Sometimes it’s not so bad when a merchant studies your habits. Thanks, Amazon! Keep on studying my reading habits, please!

Meanwhile, we must keep ourselves armed with knowledge, if not bullets. Lady Liberty should always have an armed escort.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Young Republicans on Parade: Florham Park

Don’t know whether they were all young Republicans, although according to the Harvard Study, if they were out there today celebrating the 4th of July by waving American flags, then they are. But marching along the parade route, camera in one hand and mallet in the other, I photographed Young Republicans on parade in Florham Park, N.J..

Took some takes in between – and sometimes during - marches to satisfy the photographer in me, confusing the crowds and annoying the band at times. It’s terrible being so conflicted, wanting to be a writer, photographer, and musician all at the same time. Did better on the second parade. Played more, but since we stopped more often, was able to get in shots without getting into too much trouble. Couldn’t do this on a judged parade!

But no matter how many hats I juggle, I’m absolutely a 100 percent Conservative American.

Florham Park isn't your typical Main Street parade.  In this parade, the line of march comes to the spectators, who sit in front of their patriotically-decorated homes in lawn chairs and their best Fourth of July attire while the parade winds about their shady (thank goodness) suburban streets.  Here is Florham Park, N.J., on parade:



And the Band Played On

The Ramsey Wind Symphony played the annual Ramsey Fireworks Concert Saturday night as scheduled and on time. It was a red, white and blue performance, and the band was excellent (I can make that report as I was taking photos, not playing).

When the band played the American Sing Along, the band was joined onstage by the children in the audience. The band’s other photographer got shots of that as I was onstage taking photos and joined the kids to help them sing the songs. 

Here are a few photos from the very successful and well-played concert: