Monday, April 27, 2009

Florida, the elder state

Hippocrates Lament

Paramedics in Gloves,
Our Health Care Systems in Taters,
Lawmakers forgetting what Matters,
With the grip of Big Pharma,
HMOs with Bad Karma,
Plain as the nose on my face, the Olfactors,
Our most pressing need is More Doctors.

Meeno Shel Silverstein

The movie that is moving us closer to a truth about Americas shortcoming.

from todays NY Times:

WASHINGTON — Obama administration officials, alarmed at doctor shortages, are looking for ways to increase the supply of physicians to meet the needs of an aging population and millions of uninsured people who would gain coverage under legislation championed by the president.

“We’re not producing enough primary care physicians,” Mr. Obama said at one forum. “The costs of medical education are so high that people feel that they’ve got to specialize.” New doctors typically owe more than $140,000 in loans when they graduate.

Old and Young Alike... they have special needs from us in betweens.

I have been taking care of my dear aging mummy who called me last week at 2 a.m. to say "I've fallen and I can't get up". By the time I got to her place, the Rescue guys had busted through her front door like tazmanian devils with the swift prerogative of those who save lives. They are angels with dirty faces. Dear mamasita is in a pickle with multiple fractures and now with 24 hour care... and hopped up on pain-killers. She will recover, but dear old-bones will never be the same. Thanks be to mary mother of god, that her mind is still ok and that her mouth works just fine... to the detriment of my auditory nerve.

Everyone knows the swamp, aka Florida, is a favored resting ground for the silver-years crowd. It is a nice place to ride off into the sunset. It may also be the epicenter (as with the housing market bubble crash) of the health care system collapse. If we don't find the medicine to fix it, to socialize the health care system, our very selves are in peril. Not surprising with the condition South FL is in today, a costly urban nesting ground, fewer people are retiring here.

When it comes to elder care, there is no shortage of loving hearts and able-bodies in need of jobs, work that is not only socially redeeming but would also heal our notions of humanity. Our collective bags of bones are at the mercy of the winds of change.

Meanwhile we shall laugh to keep from crying.

Lick in a Good Way.

Making light of a bad situation. Who doesn't love a sit-com. One of my stock questions for people in the very real world of health care providers is: Do you watch/like the TV show SCRUBS? Answer is an overwhelming, Yeah!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the elephant in the swamp

We report, you decide. Op-ed from our favorite deflated munchkin.

Empower democracy, rein in tyrants

April 21, 2009

Herald OpEd

Sunday marked the conclusion of the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. This meeting could have offered a valuable opportunity to stand up to the region's despotic leaders who claim that their radical visions -- rather than the voice of the people -- should usher in a new age in our hemisphere. It could have offered an opportunity to move forward on further agreements toward the realization of the Free Trade Area of the Americas. But that was not to be.

With U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set to appear before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, it is critical that we press for the United States to advance a vigorous agenda that reflects America's long standing commitment to freedom and democracy as the bedrock of our policy in Latin America.

Democratic institutions in the hemisphere are under increasing assault from internal and external actors. Nicaragua's November municipal elections were widely recognized as illegitimate. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez has moved beyond attacks on property rights and freedom of press to an explicit and concerted campaign against his opposition. Bolivia and Ecuador have resumed their baseless accusations against the United States and continue to advance their authoritarian agendas.

Preying on the anti-American and anti-democratic sentiment promoted by the regimes of these countries, a realignment is taking place with rogue regimes such as Iran and Cuba. Using Chávez as his personal broker, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has joined forces with several of the above-mentioned countries to denounce U.S. democratic standards and threaten regional security objectives.

This planned assault on core democratic values and free market principles continued at the summit. Even responsible nations failed to counter the paltry moral equivalency arguments raised by repressive leaders and their enablers.

In fact, the summit discussions remind me of the farcical Durban 2 Conference taking place this week in Geneva. These forums have been hijacked by repressors, tyrants and regime leaders who deprecate democratic principles and ideals.

Several countries in the region used the summit to advocate, not for the rights of the Cuban people, but for the Cuban regime's undeserved return to the inter-American system. But the United States must not allow the picture of this hemisphere to be painted by those who despise liberty, nor by those who wish and work to do us harm. Rather, we must stand up for freedom and make support for our democratic allies the central tenet of our policy in the Western Hemisphere.

Security issues throughout the region are having a direct impact on the ability of responsible nations to advance democratic principles. From narcotrafficking to organized crime, Islamic radicals to the FARC in Colombia, and the influence of tyrannical regimes from Iran to Syria, the hemisphere is in critical need of a comprehensive model of partnership and responsibility that binds leaders to the obligations outlined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter and other such accords.

The United States must not falter in our expectation that countries we work with adhere to these values. Programs like the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compacts should be leveraged to ensure Americans are getting a return on our investments in the hemisphere.

In the aftermath of the summit, it will be up to Secretary Clinton to implement the U.S. agenda and up to the Congress to decide where taxpayer funds are most needed. With great economic challenges at home, we must ensure that our resources are focused on strengthening, supporting and empowering our democratic allies, rather than wasted on efforts that only benefit tyrants and oppressors.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, is the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

never forget... under whose watch.

Not quite free at last... from the tyranny of the tea-party bags.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Fines Doubled

Perpetual Progress Principal: the end is near, but never here.

If you like the way our highways are in a constant state of construction, making the motoring public today pay today for a future dream auto-utopia that will never come, then congrats, the Port "Trucks Only" Tunnel Project Dwntwn appears to be moving forward and downward. But if FDOT takes forever to finish what they seem to want to do, how long will it take them to do a project that they don't want to do?

in the Harold today, my emphasis is boldface:

Miami's port tunnel project back on track The Associated Press MIAMI, Fla. -- Plans for a tunnel that will provide cargo trucks easier access from the Port of Miami to Interstate 95 and other highways have been revived. On Thursday the Florida Department of Transportation agreed with demands made by Miami-Dade County officials and vowed to move ahead with the original construction deal. The decision is a reversal from earlier this month, when top DOT officials told county leaders that the best way to handle the deal would be to reopen the project to construction companies worldwide - which supporters said would delay completion.

That's code for "we don't want to build your tunnel.

We need a tunnel like we need a hole in the sand... for our heads.

Unrelated, but in the same google news today:

Blue Gold in the Wetlands: How the county treats banks that treat their neighbors like dirt.

Water is back on for Miami condo The Associated Press

MIAMI, Fla. -- Water is flowing again at the 310-unit Miarassou Condos in Miami-Dade County.

County officials shut off water to the residents earlier in the week because the condo's association bounced a check and failed to pay a $109,000 past due bill.

Condo residents say the problem stems from a large number of foreclosures - roughly a third of the units are bank-owned or in foreclosure.

After the county turned off the water, residents allegedly tampered with the meter to keep it running illegally. On Thursday evening, the county and the association agreed on a payment plan, and the water was turned on again.

Who is driving this county that is ignant?


Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Cuban Duchamp ?

"Isn't it fascinating to realize that no image, no form, not even a shade or color, 'exists' on its own; that among everything that's visually observable we can refer only to relationships and to contrasts?"
Maurits Cornelius Escher (1898-1972), Dutch graphic artist.

2001 a Space Odyssey - the monolith

In 1968 Arthur C. Clark Sci-Fi writer inspired film-maker Stanley Kubrick.
As with the film, no words are necessary.

2009 a Miami Oddity - the weeping monolith
Bert Rodriguez asks the question, for whom does the monolith cry?

It cries for we the people.

1917 R. Mutt by Marcel Duchamp turned the art-world on it's DADA.

"In my day artists wanted to be outcasts, pariahs. Now they are all integrated into society."
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), French-born American.

Ebony And Ivory 2009
rice pudding, chocolate fudge in toilets by Bert and Leyden Rodriguez.
Confections Charity Exhibition at O.H.W.O.W. Gallery. benefit the Daily Bread Food Bank.

1913 the ready-made is born.
Duchamp is fixated on the spinning wheel.

Live to Ride Another Day.
2008 Bert is fixated on cycling... then some dumb-ass Florida driver does a hit-n-run.

1950 The Female Fig Leaf. Duchamp cast a butt in bronze.

2008 My Most Memorable Feature.
I cast Bert's nose to be used in vintage wax casting souvenir machine.
Currently plugged in and ready at the Bass Museum.

Go to Wet Heat Project to view their video on Bert and other local luminaries.

2007 Advertising Works. and how!
Bert created an exhibition by renting all of the existing wall space at the Snitzer Gallery to any corporation that chose to advertise.

"Why do people think artists are special? It's just another job."
Andy Warhol.

2008 In Your own Image.
Bert asked 138 people to add hilarity to his flattering mug-shot.
The entire set is on view at the Bass Museum on Miami Beach.

2009 What a Tree Feels Like.
Bert at his best, buried naked from the neck down ( in sterilized soil).
Bert Rodriguez, Pop Dada Cubanstyle.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Screw Guns

I am the proud owner of a screw-gun, a nail-gun, a heat-gun, a glue-gun , grease-gun and several other guns replete with enough ammo to get me through most jobs. I wield them with deft unapologetic. Each of my lovelies are kept safe and in fine working order, they never let me down. My guns are used to make stuff, to make a living not a killing. I have no use for guns that destroy with dumb lead slugs. I'll leave those toys for the folks who have nothing better to do than stockpile hunks of metal designed to hurt others and intended to comfort their most inner baseline psychosis, the thought that a mob is surely coming for them someday soon.

Charlton Heston is the Face, Bushman is the Brand.

If you want to understand the why's and WTFs , look no further than the NRA and the clowns/apes who uphold their principals "over their dead bodies". Look and listen more with alarming disbelief at the Eliminationist loud-mouths, not in the fringe, but currently on mainstream TV. Listen , if you have the stomach, to the crazies on Fox; Gloom Beck, Jerk O'Reilly, Rube Limbaugh, Same Hannity and what's her face Mann Coulter.
Their contrived hate-talk is intended to entertain and radicalize the American Right fringe.

There is an element in our culture that is whak. Michael Moore got it right in Bowling for Columbine. "...It is a film about the state of the Union, about the violent soul of America. Why do 11,000 people die in America each year at the hands of gun violence? The talking heads yelling from every TV camera blame everything from Satan to video games. But are we that much different from many other countries? What sets us apart? How have we become both the master and victim of such enormous amounts of violence?

The PopeMobile - Luxury Lunatic Edition.

Many our friends around the world look at America's love affair with violence and make the necessary arrangements when visiting our glorious developed nation. They know what we seem to refuse to accept, that in a civilized society there are safeguards for avoiding tyrannical tendencies and jack-boot thuggery. But then there is the little matter of stun-guns. Tasers don't kill people, people do.

When we visit them in the Old Country, they make the necessary arrangements also.

But this blog is about the swamp... and this post is also about Guns in Art.
Florida leads the nation in rampant irresponsible gun sales and there is an unnerving tilt by ordinary folk towards packing heat. The "law under my pillow" crowd is alive, well and trigger-happy. Then there are the rest of us who are feeling a bit edgy on the side-lines.
Ironically and without pity the artist as spectator will find endless material to express the profound impact that fire-arms have on our psychic collective. A painting of a gun is not a gun, it can not hurt you physically but it can and will at best affect you mentally. Are there really only two kinds of people; those with guns and those with shovels?

In a nutshell: Bad-ass equals Dumb-ass.


Friday, April 10, 2009

anti-lock spring brakes

H a p p y E a s t e r 2009

The previous pope was A. O. K., can't tell you why but I just liked him as the spiritual leader of 50 million catholics.

The new guy... not so much.
Can't tell you why, he's just creepy.

Hew looks like the kind of pontiff that could hypnotize bunny rabbits, chew their heads off.

I like rabbits allot. So it was wonderful to visit my cousins in Arbelais (south of Bogota Colombia) to check out their bunny rabbit breeding hutch.

They are so cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute, makes me want to hug 500 million Chinese people.

If there is one artist who captures the essence of life, death and rebirth better than Alex Grey, let me know.

The previous president yucked bigtime... but the current is A. O. K.


Oh yeah, and a purrrfect Passover to all.