Friday, February 18, 2011

How can a state that can't afford a $600,000 Arts Commission possibly afford a 6 million dollar Governor's Mansion???

My KMUW commentary for today is below, or you can listen here.

If Governor Sam Brownback is really serious about attacking our state’s 492 million dollar deficit, why is he messing around with teensy little amounts like the $600,000 that the state will “save” by obliterating the Kansas Arts Commission?

Come on, Guv. Let’s really get after it. If aesthetics are a luxury we can’t afford in these tight times, and that’s the implication of your Arts Commission abolition, what about the house you live in? I don’t know the true value of Cedar Crest, the Kansas Governor’s Mansion, but I suspect it’s considerably more than the 4.4 million dollars that was spent on renovating it in the 1990s. Let’s be conservative (we like being conservative!) and put a 6 million dollar price tag on it. And sell that sucker to the private sector.

What better way to send a signal to Kansans that you walk the talk, than by selling Cedar Crest and giving that money to the state? Then you can underscore your sincerity by moving into a double wide at Topeka’s Sunflower Acres Mobile Home Village. Heck, maybe the private sector will buy you one of those $29.95 sofa-sized paintings on sale in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Who needs all that pretentious NEA-influenced art made by Volvo-driving, pointy-headed, liberal-leaning so-called artists anyway?

By selling the Cedar Crest Mansion you can put a big ole 6 million dollar dent in the state deficit instead of pock-marking it with that measly $600,000 gained by abolishing the Kansas Arts Commission.

Never mind that the $600,000 actually brought 1.2 million dollars to Kansas each year. Never mind all of those small arts entities in rural areas that will lose funding once there’s no Kansas Arts Commission. Let ‘em raise money by selling Elvis paintings at intersections. That’s the kind of thing that attracts businesses to Kansas. Not theatres, galleries and museums. And certainly not governor’s mansions. For KMUW I’m Richard Crowson.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lying liars.

Oh yeah. Brilliant idea. Let's arm all university students.

So here's a little glimpse of what life on campus would be like if students carry guns as many conservative gun-rights folks are advocating. Yeah. Real good idea there. Turn higher ed into higher dead.

Shooting suspect on Tennessee university campus captured

By the CNN Wire Staff
February 14, 2011 3:06 p.m. EST
One person was shot late Monday morning on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University on Monday.
One person was shot late Monday morning on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University on Monday.
  • NEW: A shooting suspect is arrested at Middle Tennessee State, a spokesman says
  • NEW: The lockdown at the school has been called off, and have police confiscated a gun
  • NEW: The victim was shot in the hand and brought to a local hospital, the spokesman says

(CNN) -- A suspect is in custody about an hour after one person was shot late Monday morning on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, a school spokesman said.

Officials called off a lockdown, which had been in effect as SWAT teams and other law enforcement authorities converged on the campus, after the suspect was detained about 12:45 p.m., said the university's media relations director, Tom Tozer. A gun said to have been used in the incident has also been confiscated.

Authorities were alerted at 11:51 a.m. about a shooting in a basic and applied science building located in a cluster of university structures.

"From what I understand, there were two men who got into an argument over by some of our buildings," Tozer said. "One shot the other in the hand, then took off."

The victim, whose condition was not immediately known, was taken to a nearby medical facility. Tozer said he cannot confirm whether those involved were students.

Meanwhile, police began hunting for the shooter on 25,000-student university's campus, in the central Tennessee city of Murfreesboro. Firearms are not allowed on campus, per school policy, according to Tozer.

The spokesman said that officials believe the situation is now under control.

"We are advising people to proceed with caution with normal activities today," Tozer said.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

KMUW commentary on Satchmo

Just finished the terrific biography of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout entitled “Pops.” It paints an image of the jazz trumpet master as a man of great emotional, artistic and intellectual complexity. That might be surprising to many who only knew him as a clownish, gravelly-voiced pop vocalist with an outrageous ear-to-ear grin.

Anyone who watched Ken Burns’ PBS documentary about the history of jazz knows that Armstrong was a genius on his instrument. It’s been gratifying to see him get the recognition he so deserved for his role in the creation of that most American musical art form.

Reading the story of his life as outlined in Teachout’s book, I was struck by another role that Satchmo played for us all: the roll of spiritual teacher. He was not a particularly religious man in the traditional sense. But here are Armstrong’s words about an encounter he once had:

“Years ago I was playing the little town of Lubbock, Texas, when this white cat grabs me at the end of the show – he’s full of whiskey and trouble. He pokes on my chest and says, ‘I don’t like…’ ”and here Armstrong says the guy used the n-word. Continuing with Armstrong’s words: “These two cats with me was gonna practice their Thanksgiving carving on that dude. But I say ‘No, let the man talk. Why don’t you like us, Pops?’ And would you believe that cat couldn’t tell us? So he apologizes – crying and carrying on…And dig this: that fella and his whole family come to be my friends! When I’d go back through Lubbock, Texas for many many years they would make ole Satchmo welcome and treat him like a king.”

That theme ran throughout Louis Armstrong’s life. He returned love for hatred. What a man. What a life. And what a lesson for us all.


Musical response to Governor Brownback

When I first started doing these commentaries on KMUW I expected that I'd often do song parodies. After all, that's always been a big part of my goofy presence on the station during their fundraising drives. Somehow now, a year and a half after starting with them I find that I haven't done a single silly song. But I couldn't resist while commenting on Governor Brownback's proposal to strip Kansas arts of all state funds. I admit it is not my best song parody. But it is at least as heartfelt as any I've ever done.

Listen here.

Great. Another ideologue in local government.