Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gail Collins: Only the Good Get Rich, FolkWorks Weekend Calendar

Only the Good Get Rich
Gail Collins
NY Times Op-Ed: September 1, 2012
As the Republican convention fades into oblivion, the one thing everybody is still talking about is, of course, the party platform.
Honest. You should see the tweets.

The convention was so full of opportunities to catch a glimpse of celebrities like John Sununu and Rudy Giuliani that I didn’t get around to the platform until the flight back from Tampa. But it was so worth the wait. Really, I could hardly take my eyes away from it long enough to watch the flight attendant demonstrate how to use a seat buckle.

As you’d expect, there were paeans to things Republicans like (phonics, Israel, coal, English, defense spending, transparency for everything except political donations) and denunciations of the stuff they hate (Obamacare, mass transit, the Law of the Sea Treaty, Venezuela, teachers’ unions, Obamacare). But you may be interested to know that the proven methods of improving school performance are high standards, accountability and “renewed focus on the Constitution and the writings of the Founding Fathers.”

Some of the recommendations are stunning. Besides the inevitable tribute to the Second Amendment, the platform goes to the trouble of specifically mentioning that Republicans are against limiting the sale of those extra-bullet magazines for guns that maximized the victim count in the mass shootings in Tucson, Colorado and Wisconsin.

Please, keep that in mind. Wherever there’s a gun capable of spraying 100 bullets, there’s a Republican platform behind it.

But the most startling sentence is in the preamble, where the Republicans announce they are the party with “a positive, optimistic view of an opportunity society where any American who works hard, dreams big and follows the rules can achieve anything he or she wants.”

People, do you think the Republican hierarchy really believes that working hard and playing by the rules is a guarantee of big-dream fulfillment? This is a worldview you usually only hear before the first elimination round on “American Idol.”

No wonder they don’t like food stamps and unemployment compensation.

The platform provides some welcome hints about what the Romney ticket stands for. We do need help on that point because when it comes to actual plans, Romney-Ryan has been pretty opaque.

Leaving Tampa, we knew no more about the big Medicare issue than when we arrived. The biggest Republican talking point is that the Obama health care reform will, in the words of Mitt Romney, “hurt today’s seniors.” That’s all about the $716 billion in projected long-term savings, except that Ryan had the same cut in his budget plans and what the heck are we supposed to make of that?

Fortunately, Fortune magazine asked the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, that question during the convention, and Cantor was able to clear it all up thusly: “The assumption was that, um, the, the, ah, again — I probably can’t speak to that in an exact way, so I better just not.”

So, O.K.

The big, if-not-quite-articulated, message in Tampa was that in a free economy, everybody will get what they deserve. There is no need to worry about the vast, growing gap between the richest and the rest, or the shrinking middle class, or the fact that America currently has one of the worst rates of social mobility in the developed world.

Untrammeled, the business sector will create plenty of jobs, and the hard-working big-dreamers will jump in, amass wealth and achieve success. You cut taxes, reduce regulation and let the magic happen. It’s that or what Paul Ryan called “a dull adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.”

Listening to the convention speeches, it was easy to get the impression that every high-ranking Republican in the country had parents who were truck drivers or convenience store workers who moved up entirely through their own efforts. Also, there were a lot of grandfathers who worked in the mines. Republicans love mines, particularly coal mines. This is partly because of their big donors, but the fact that environmentalists hate coal makes coal mines even more adorable.

And the miners themselves are always sympathetic figures because they work hard and play by the rules. As a result, their biggest dreams have been realized, and they are able to spend their lives underground developing chronic pulmonary disease.

Shortly before the convention, Mitt Romney had pressed the coal theme with an appearance in Ohio, where he stood with a group of sooty miners whose sad, solemn faces seemed to underscore their concern about big government. Also, some of them later told the news media that they had been required to show up and weren’t paid for the day.

* * *

From:] On Behalf Of steves1818
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2012 4:52 PM

FolkWorks Weekend Calendar:

LISA HALEY AND THE ZYDEKATS at South Pasadena Public Library (South Pasadena)


HAPA with AOLANI KAEKA at The Coach House (San Juan Capistrano), SOHo Restaurant and Music Club (Santa Barbara)


VAGABOND OPERA at Levitt Pavilion at MacArthur Park (Los Angeles)

STEVE MARTIN & THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS at Pantages Theatre (Hollywood)

With Pawed People / The Show Ponies / Coke n' Waffles / The Salty Suites at CTMS Center for Folk Music (Encino)

E HULA MAU Terrace Theater Long Beach Performing Arts Center (Long Beach)

STRAWBERRY MUSIC FESTIVAL at Camp Mather (Groveland)

JOEY ABARTA at Coffee Gallery Backstage (Altadena)

MAHALO BASH CONCERT at Terrace Theater Long Beach Performing Arts Center (Long Beach)

THE WOODY SHOW at Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum (Topanga)

B. B. KING / THE TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND at Hollywood Bowl (Hollywood)

JOHN HIATT at Belly Up Tavern (Solana Beach (San Diego))

Video of the Week (scroll to bottom of

Eric Bibb and others at Transatlantic Sessions 2012

Folk on the Radio:

Folkscene (KPFK 90.7FM) Sunday 6-8pm (fundrasiging)

Global Village (KPFK 90.7FM) Weekdays 11am-1pm (fundrasiging)

American Roots (KPFK 90.7FM) Saturday 6-8am (fundrasiging)

Bluegrass, Etc. (KCSN 88.5FM) Sunday 6-9am

Americana Matinee (KCSN 88.5FM) Sunday 9am-12pm

Tangled Roots (KCSN 88.5FM) Sunday 12-3pm

Bluegrass Special (KSON-FM 97.3 and 92.1FM-San Diego) 10pm-12am

-->Please check FolkWorks Music on the Radio for complete listing of Southern California folk


The reward will undoubtedly arrive at a later date.

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