Reaching into the New Year…

FoggyMag
Foggy Mag

Welcome to an update for the February edition of Central Standard Time. As promised, there will be more in the coming weeks.

New contributor, Glenn Estry, joins the crew with a wonderful offering in Food #2… Glenn’s Mussels.

The Studio Rat returns with a memory of mad obsession in “We’re Rolling.” What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Please re-visit the outstanding essays in this month’s edition. I am happy you are here.

February’s cover image is another from Paul Chen. This is what happens when one of Chicago’s finest videographers walks the streets on a foggy day. More of the city can be seen on his page.

The world moves forward on the coattails of the obsessed, the driven, the inspired and tenacious humans around us. Beings unable to put down the pen, the paintbrush, the instrument, the book, the stats; they stay up later than they should and rise early to refine their physical being and mental processes. Here are some of the obsessed and driven people we know. Sit with us, then write your own story.

Marc Piane reflects on nature and nurture in “Origin“.

I encourage everyone to visit and pledge to the Marc Piane MS Fundraiser:

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?px=5297905&fr_id=29358&pg=personal

 

Don’t miss Brule Eagan’s “A Radio Life.” My buddy has too much fun and he’s not finished.

Steve Buschbacher recently underwent a knee replacement. He immediately underwent the best physical therapy, his drum kit and Philadelphia band, Bluestime, in “Feeding My Soul.”

Erin Denk returns! I wouldn’t stop asking (the poor woman rolls her eyes). Though I asked for good reason. Erin’s amazing art is a given and her writing is always a gift of insight. Check out “A Creative Life.”

Billy Denk also relented to my requests and penned “Inspiration.” My first impression of Bill, the musician, will always be remembered as a constant flow of invention, his story reveals how it happened.

We travel with Tom DeMichael through the sacred time of Sixteen-inch Softball, the clincher. The more you played, the softer it became. The farthest I ever saw this powder-puff get hit, Tom was at bat. I don’t know a greater embodiment of the sport, but “Why Baseball?

In Search of the Lost Chordis John Zielinski at his finest. It’s about the need to create.

Uh oh! Chef Geoff has a knife in his hand and he’s headed for the kitchen. We celebrate the return of good meals in Food #1.

Grab a mug of your favorite beverage. I’m down with Kenya AA right now, the world is good. Have a seat at the virtual table and join the conversation. As always, feel free to speak up and let the writers know your thoughts. You can CONTACT me, anytime.

Some nights I lie awake and think of audio signal paths, wondering if anyone else is this insane. Of course… too many to count.

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Reaching into the New Year…

FoggyMag
Foggy Mag

Welcome to an update for the February edition of Central Standard Time. As promised, there will be more in the coming weeks.

New contributor, Glenn Estry, joins the crew with a wonderful offering in Food #2… Glenn’s Mussels.

The Studio Rat returns with a memory of memory and mad obsession in “We’re Rolling.” What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Please re-visit the outstanding essays in this month’s edition. I am happy you are here.

February’s cover image is another from Paul Chen. This is what happens when one of Chicago’s finest videographers walks the streets on a foggy day. More of the city can be seen on his page.

The world moves forward on the coattails of the obsessed, the driven, the inspired and tenacious humans around us. Beings unable to put down the pen, the paintbrush, the instrument, the book, the stats; they stay up later than they should and rise early to refine their physical being and mental processes. Here are some of the obsessed and driven people we know. Sit with us, then write your own story.

Marc Piane reflects on nature and nurture in “Origin“.

I encourage everyone to visit and pledge to the Marc Piane MS Fundraiser:

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?px=5297905&fr_id=29358&pg=personal

 

Don’t miss Brule Eagan’s “A Radio Life.” My buddy has too much fun and he’s not finished.

Steve Buschbacher recently underwent a knee replacement. He immediately underwent the best physical therapy, his drum kit and Philadelphia band, Bluestime, in “Feeding My Soul.”

Erin Denk returns! I wouldn’t stop asking (the poor woman rolls her eyes). Though I asked for good reason. Erin’s amazing art is a given and her writing is always a gift of insight. Check out “A Creative Life.”

Billy Denk also relented to my requests and penned “Inspiration.” My first impression of Bill, the musician, will always be remembered as a constant flow of invention, his story reveals how it happened.

We travel with Tom DeMichael through the sacred time of Sixteen-inch Softball, the clincher. The more you played, the softer it became. The farthest I ever saw this powder-puff get hit, Tom was at bat. I don’t know a greater embodiment of the sport, but “Why Baseball?

In Search of the Lost Chordis John Zielinski at his finest. It’s about the need to create.

Uh oh! Chef Geoff has a knife in his hand and he’s headed for the kitchen. We celebrate the return of good meals in Food #1.

Grab a mug of your favorite beverage. I’m down with Kenya AA right now, the world is good. Have a seat at the virtual table and join the conversation. As always, feel free to speak up and let the writers know your thoughts. You can CONTACT me, anytime.

Some nights I lie awake and think of audio signal paths, wondering if anyone else is this insane. Of course… too many to count.

Reaching into the New Year…

John Hanc

Welcome to the February edition of Central Standard Time. I am so glad you’re here. There is much more planned for the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

February’s cover image is courtesy of Paul Chen. This is what happens when one of Chicago’s finest videographers walks the streets on a foggy day. More of the city can be seen on his page.

The world moves forward on the coattails of the obsessed, the driven, the inspired and tenacious humans around us. Beings unable to put down the pen, the paintbrush, the instrument, the book, the stats; they stay up later than they should and rise early to refine their physical being and mental processes. Here are some of the obsessed and driven people we know. Sit with us, then write your own story.

Marc Piane reflects on nature and nurture in “Origin“.

I encourage everyone to visit and pledge to the Marc Piane MS Fundraiser:

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?px=5297905&fr_id=29358&pg=personal

 

Don’t miss Brule Eagan’s “A Radio Life.” My buddy has too much fun and he’s not finished.

Steve Buschbacher recently underwent a knee replacement. He immediately underwent the best physical therapy, his drum kit and Philadelphia band, Bluestime, in “Feeding My Soul.”

Erin Denk returns! I wouldn’t stop asking (the poor woman rolls her eyes). Though I asked for good reason. Erin’s amazing art is a given and her writing is always a gift of insight. Check out “A Creative Life.”

Billy Denk also relented to my requests and penned “Inspiration.” My first impression of Bill, the musician, will always be remembered as a constant flow of invention, his story reveals how it happened.

We travel with Tom DeMichael through the sacred time of Sixteen-inch Softball, the clincher. The more you played, the softer it became. The farthest I ever saw this powder-puff get hit, Tom was at bat. I don’t know a greater embodiment of the sport, but “Why Baseball?

In Search of the Lost Chordis John Zielinski at his finest. It’s about the need to create.

Uh oh! Chef Geoff has a knife in his hand and he’s headed for the kitchen. We celebrate the return of good meals in Food #1.

Grab a mug of your favorite beverage. I’m down with Kenya AA right now, the world is good. Have a seat at the virtual table and join the conversation. As always, feel free to speak up and let the writers know your thoughts. You can CONTACT me, anytime.

Some nights I lie awake and think of audio signal paths, wondering if anyone else is this insane. Of course… too many to count.

THE ILLINOIS ABYSS

Here we go! The Illinois gubernatorial election approaches with an overload of baggage. The term of Bruce Rauner has been an unfolding disaster. We are in massive debt; “downstate” passionately desires Chicago to secede from the rest of the rest of Illinois (up to the point of revenue generation); public education slides toward bankruptcy; Mike Madigan exercises a refinement of “Boss politics” (a Daley family legacy); and the state infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes. Pensions are at risk and no one can figure out how to pass a budget. Every poll I’ve seen ranks Illinois as one of the worst run, most corrupt states in the union. Charming.

We need to stop and reflect on the consequences of being a Blue Dog/Democratic state. It has done the people of Illinois little good. More than the classic tax-and-spend characterization of Democrats, the party, by accident or intent, stumbles over itself at every crooked turn. Springfield is a snake-pit of no-bid contracts, deal making, and kickback opportunism. Four of the last seven governors have been jailed. Rod Blagojevich (D) was convicted of numerous corruption charges in 2011, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat. Dan Walker (D), governor from 1973 through 1977, pleaded guilty to bank fraud and other charges in 1987 related to his business activities after leaving office. Otto Kerner (D), governor from 1961 through 1968, spent three years in prison after being convicted of bribery related charges. George Ryan (R) was found guilty and jailed for fraud and racketeering charges as both Secretary of State and governor. A tenured felon.

How can we forget the venerable Secretary of State (’65-’70), Paul Powell (D)? Though his salary was never more than thirty thousand dollars per year, when he died, his room was found to contain eight-hundred thousand dollars in cash and checks kept in shoe boxes, briefcases, and strong boxes, as well as nineteen cases of whiskey and one million dollars in racing stock, leaving an estate of 4.6 million. During his tenure, fees for automobile licensing and registration were made to “Paul Powel-Secretary of State” or simply “Paul Powell.” That made it simple!

Party affiliation pales in the presence of the black hole of corruption that permeates our state. Republican State Rep. Jeanne Ives faces fellow Republican Rauner in the primary. At a recent event, she argued the solution to the state’s gun violence was having “more fathers in the home.” While this is tone-deaf to the complexity of the issue, it doesn’t appear to be color-blind. Some of the Democratic contenders are State Senator Daniel Biss and Chairman of the University of Illinois board of trustees Chris Kennedy. The spigot of campaign spending from candidate J.B.Pritzker borders on obscene. The historic truth is “money does not make for sound governing policy.” Toss in a handful of insignificant and third-party aspirants, you have a circus.

The only event with as much entertainment value is the coming Chicago mayoral election. Big fun ahead!

 

  • J. Tortorici

Welcome the New Year!

Good-night,-Loen!
Godnight, Loen!

The image you see above is from Martynas Milkevicius. His presence speaks to the times as we share a vision from half the world away. How fortunate we are to feature his gallery on the KIOSK page. The global community is real, and now.

I found a common thread of optimism weaving its way through the essays this month. We will survive the recent onslaught of electric-shock treatments to our cultural frontal lobe. These political troubles will pass. A populist voice is awakened and we are talking about the world. There is an air of activism at large.

This blog is made to go with coffee, of course.

John Zielinski knows ornithology. True… and not just the Charlie Parker standard. His essay “For The Birds” extols the virtue of community and survival.

Steve Buschbacher asks “Are We Selfish?” and talks values. How were you raised?

Brule Eagan takes on “The Annual Challenge” of New Years in free-form.

What better time of year to talk baseball? Tom DeMichael has the latest from winter camp and thoughts for both Cubs and Sox fans, “Buh-Buh-Baseball – What’s New, Year?

Is reality subjective? Marc Piane tugs at our brain muscle in his essay “A Thought for the New Year.”

At “The Publisher’s Desk” I reviewed a recent field trip. “This Place” was a day well-spent in reflection.

We stride into the New Year with energy and a sense of determination. The world moves forward through the hands of the obsessed. These are people who can’t put down the pen, who can’t stop painting, alone practicing their musical instrument hour after hour, driven people, compelled to read and learn, speak and listen.

Such are the contributors in this month’s issue of Central Standard Time. Contemporary views from the urban, the urbane, the wry and seasoned, creative practitioners in every discipline grace these pages for you… the reader.

Write to the publisher – jstortorici@gmail.com. I invite your input. Don’t forget the coffee.

HR13247: The National Defense Education Act of 1958

dwight_d_eisenhower_
Dwight David Eisenhower

by J. Tortorici

In the ongoing experience of a civil society, we need debate. Our Constitution celebrates collective will and decision-making as we argue to our highest, and lowest, personal principles. Throughout our partisan history, there are occasional moments of bi-partisan brilliance. Here is one lesson for modern times.

In the post-World War II environment, the industrial and engineering might of a victorious free world was firing on all cylinders, and warm. Fear and dogma then brought us a Cold War. The subsequent arms and space race was only symptomatic of a greater conflict. The coming age would belong to the nerds, and my nerds had to be better than yours. The educational high ground, the future, needed to be won.

Advances in the matrix of man and machine were moving at an exponential pace. The shallow depth of institutional mathematicians and scientists in the United States was being soaked up by emerging private sector technology. Uh oh! Not only were defense issues in immediate peril, there was no fuel in the tank, no pool of university level instructors. No farm team. The ultimate goals of this cultural shift could not be achieved overnight. A plan was needed to spread the seeds of an educational revolution. Enter Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, and liberal Alabama politics. You read that correctly.

Representative Carl Elliott and Senator Lister Hill were both Democrats from Alabama. “Dixie-crats” was the fraternal moniker and their segregationist beliefs were entrenched. Both men were signatories to the infamous “Southern Manifesto.” The document condemned the Supreme Court’s 9-0 decision in Brown vs Board of Education ordering school desegregation. Yet, they championed relief from the plight of rural post-war Alabama.

Senator Hill distinguished himself with legislation for assistance in constructing facilities for the mentally ill, increased support for medical research at the nation’s medical schools and other research institutions. He sponsored the Rural Telephone Act, the Rural Housing Act, and the Vocational Education Act. Congressman Elliott wrote the Library Services Act, which brought mobile libraries (bookmobiles) and continuing library service to millions of rural Americans. They served their community in spite of what history now labels the American apartheid.

Eisenhower was justifiably rattled by dramatic Soviet scientific achievements, particularly in nuclear technology and the development of the Sputnik orbiter. The United States needed a profound response. In reality, the scientific community’s pressure for science and math education started long before Sputnik. The academic community was being overshadowed by the weaponized doctrine of Curtis LeMay, bomb them into the stone-age. Not only was this an institutional dog-fight, it was a developmental crossroads. Congressman Elliott and Senator Hill were hell-bent on achieving federal education aid in any form, for whatever reason, in service to their agenda of raising the quality of life for their constituents. Here was an opportunity.

An extraordinary, multi-layered, cooperative vision broke the log-jam of opposition to federal aid in elementary and secondary education. Designed to overcome a perceived national failure to produce enough qualified scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to compete with the Communist bloc, the effort resulted in the National Defense Education Act of 1958 (NDEA). HR13247.

The alliance President Eisenhower forged with these esteemed gentlemen from Alabama moved the NDEA through Congress quickly. The legislation provided aid to education in the United States at all levels, public and private. NDEA was instituted primarily to stimulate the advancement of education in science, mathematics, and modern foreign languages, but also provided aid in other areas, including technical education, geography, English as a second language, counseling and guidance, school libraries and librarianship, and educational media centers. The act provided institutions of higher education with 90% of capital funds for low-interest loans to students. NDEA also gave federal support for improvement and change in elementary and secondary education. The act contained altruistic statutory prohibitions of federal direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution. Sibling initiatives DARPA and NASA were legislative partners.

President Eisenhower felt it was essential to strengthen the American education system. In the end, it was also implemented to meet the basics of an elevated national security. This act was an attempt to raise the literacy of our nation so that Americans could comprehend the increasing technology of the day, much as fifty years earlier, public education was instituted to meet the needs of the industrial revolution. Eisenhower believed that a plan such as this would help society as a whole and suffice its needs.

The National Defense Education Act and stimulated $877,000,000. When quoted on the bill Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “This act, which is an emergency undertaking to be terminated after four years, will, in that time, do much to strengthen or American system of education so that it can meet the broad and increasing demands imposed upon it by considerations of basic national security.” The bill revolved around student loans and fellowships. Primarily, these loans were reserved for prospective college teachers. Also the states received funding students and equipment in the science, math, and foreign language fields. In return, the states were obligated to deposit more than $400,000,000 over the course of the program. These loans ranged from $1,000 to $5,000. This borrowed money was to be repaid after the student had graduated. The parameters included a ten year pay period with a 3% interest rate!

This was a bill that, from the beginning, was believed to be insufficient. President Eisenhower proclaimed, “Much remains to be done to bring American education to levels consistent with the needs of our society.” The New York Times wrote, “…it would not do all that was necessary in a scientific world.” With this lingering over the legislation, another thought also arose, it was absolutely necessary. America was now competing with other countries to pioneer innovation as a world super-power. Inaction would have been a national disaster.

Insufficient? In little more than a decade, we walked on the moon. In my lifetime, we advanced from Explorer 1 to a photographic survey of our solar system… and beyond. The vision of 1958 has come to pass. Once more we are faced with an existential threat to our national security… and the (computer) nerds are at center stage. The United States requires a fresh vision, a progressive plan for educating a new generation of Americans to meet the scientific and security demands of a global society. It will take effective governance to achieve anything meaningful and we are fortunate to have examples of our own success.

The recent special election in Alabama matters. It marks the beginning of a return to the balance and sanity needed to move forward. We need to keep the momentum alive and demand foresight from our leaders.

The future is at hand… we have only to reach for it.

 

Majors and Minors

– J. Tortorici

Enigmatic counselors and “dark ministers” of the political system have an enduring history in America. My liberal’s dismissal of Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and their ilk, is rooted in remembering genuine, diabolical giants of the Washington power drama. Over the decades, perspective is revealing.

One of my first memories of world events involved the Dulles siblings, John-Foster and Alan. Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John-Foster, built Cold War alliances, most prominently NATO. With his brother, Alan, head of the CIA, he helped instigate Operation Ajax, the 1953 Iranian coup d’état, and the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état. Alan oversaw the U-2 spy aircraft program, and the Bay of Pigs Invasion. After President Kennedy abandoned the Bay of Pigs, he forced Alan Dulles out of government service. Thus began one of the premier conspiracy sagas surrounding the Kennedy assassination.

Robert McNamara was the classic hero/villain conundrum. He was an author of an imaginative global nuclear strategy known as “MAD” (Mutually Assured Destruction). As Secretary of Defense under Kennedy and Johnson he escalated the United States involvement in the Vietnam War, yet advocated the use of a blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis, averting a nuclear confrontation. I highly recommend “The Fog of War” for his unique view of global power politics.

Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, USMC, oversaw an illegal arms program (from the basement of Reagan’s Whitehouse) with Iran (designated State Sponsor of Terrorism) and Nicaraguan rebels, the Iran-Contra scandal.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is a contemporary legend. Rumsfeld played a central role in planning a response to the September 11 attacks, which included two wars: Afghanistan, the seat of terrorism; and Iraq, an inspired, erroneous WMD conflict. His tenure then became controversial for prisoner abuse.

Imagine the cost in human life and physical resources this gallery represents. It is not arbitrary to say “immeasurable.” These were cabinet secretaries, administrators, and principals of the National Security apparatus… the major league of decision makers with high executive function. Their influence and the consequences of their decisions were so profound as to effect the course of history in ways we continue to experience.

No, the Bannon coterie, including Stephen Miller and Kellyanne Conway, appear like so many Dick Tracy villains by comparison. Strip away the bravado and hyperbole, little of purpose remains… and I always worry less about the guy needing to tell me what a bad-ass he is. For the time being, they have access to the halls of power, and history proves these characters will fade along with the aberrance of their views. Consider the fate of so many that had the same access, the same bombast, the same imagined elevation, whose existence is now more ignominious than influential. Their ideas were not durable.

Perspective, indeed. Time is an ally. Every organization, General Electric down to your local Cub Scout Pack, reflects the tenor of its leadership. In spite of all the media exposure, we are dealing with a farm-team of limited political acumen and untenable schemes. Deep governmental skills elude them, they refuse to be “coached,” in many ways to our good fortune. Their limits become our safety net.