BOEHNER LEAVES BARACK WAITING AT THE ALTAR; WOT HOPPIN’? EACH SIDE BLAMES THE OTHER AS ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ GET FRaZZLED … plus … THE PLANET’s JERRI CHAPLIN REVIEWS ART EXHIBIT AT BCC SOUTH
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, SATURDAY, JULY 23, 2011) — The two dominant stories of late, the heat and the debt ceiling crisis, at first seem unrelated. There are, however, X degrees of separation between any two issues or events. “X” in this case = “frazzled.”
The heat wave speaks for itself, although THE PLANET laughs at how overblown the mainstream media plays with H-O-T. Every year — STOP THE PRESSES!! — it gets hot, especially in July and August. Every year, the rock-hard-haired news anchors throw it to their eye-candy “reporters” for the same stories they did last year: frying an egg on the sidewalk, tips on “how to stay cool,” and the inevitable interview with the work crew of a black topping company. The Boring Broadhsheet has wasted many tress telling you what you didn’t already know.
For ordinary people, especially those who either don’t have, can’t afford, or eschew air conditioning, the weather presents an endurance contest. Bodies, minds, and hair can get frazzled. THE PLANET offers a piece of simple advice that has seen us through many a crises: “Suck it up, people!”
Debt Ceiling Talks Collapse; President Orders Congressional Leaders to White House to ‘Do Some “splainin”‘
Frazzled also well describes the recent, sudden, and surprising breakdown in talks between House speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama. Again, it’s the ordinary folks who are most frazzled at the way the two mainstream parties have played politics with the issue.
POLITICO’s Carrie Buddoff Brown has this story today:
s he had done often during their weeks of budget talks, tried to get on the phone late Thursday, but never heard back.
The silence continued into Friday, and White House aides began to wonder. It never took this long for the president to get his phone calls returned, particularly from Boehner. After all, the two chatted regularly, forging a working relationship over the many weeks of debt-ceiling negotiations — two men who were each trying to lead their parties someplace they didn’t really want to go.
Obama finally heard from Boehner’s office at 3:30 p.m. Friday: Expect a call in two hours.
No, the president responded, how about right now?
Not possible, Obama was told, the speaker isn’t available.
It was then that the White House knew the president wouldn’t be announcing a grand bargain on the debt and deficit anytime soon. Maybe never.
The speed with which the the latest round of negotiations collapsed — from signs Thursday morning that Obama and Boehner were nearing a deal to a complete breakdown late Friday — was a stunning reversal in the long effort to reach a compromise between the Democratic president and congressional Republicans. It left the country’s credit rating in jeopardy and the president more than a little peeved.
“I couldn’t get a phone call returned,” Obama said Friday, as if still not quite believing it himself. “I’ve been left at the altar now a couple of times.”
Boehner’s aides say the reason he didn’t call back was simple: They didn’t have anything more to discuss. Obama had pressed for more revenue in the package, and Republicans just weren’t going to go for it, Boehner said Friday.
“Sometimes it’s good to back away from the tree and take a look at the forest,” Boehner said. “And yesterday afternoon, after the president demanded more revenue in this package, I came back … away from the tree to take a look at the forest.”
If there’s any short-term political gain, it might go to Obama, who sounded fed up Friday night recounting his half of the story, painting Republicans as ideological purists bent on cutting popular entitlement programs to protect the wealthy. And Obama made clear who was boss — summoning Boehner and other congressional leaders to the White House Saturday morning.
“We have run out of time,” Obama said. “And they are going to have to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default.”
His hasty appearance Friday night in thecapped a 24-hour period in which Obama went from believing he was on the cusp of an agreement to literally waiting by the phone and ultimately losing the opportunity to seal an historic deficit-reduction deal worth more than $3 trillion.
“I think that one of the questions that the Republican Party is going to have to ask itself is can they say yes to anything? Can they say yes to anything?” Obama said. “I mean, keep in mind it’s the Republican Party that has said that the single most important thing facing our country is deficits and debts. We’ve now put forward a package that would significantly cut deficits and debt. It would be the biggest debt reduction package that we’ve seen in a very long time.”
The negotiations broke down over the same issue that has stalled bipartis
KING’S PHOTOREALISTIC LANDSCAPES SHARE ARTIST’s LOVE OF NATURE
By JERRI CHAPLIN
PLANET VALENTI Arts
(PITTSFIELD, Mass., SATURDAY JULY 23, 2011) — Martha King Watercolors, 11 paintings featured at Berkshire Community College, South County campus on Main Street in Great Barrington, show the work of a photorealistic artist who shares her delight in the landscapes of her birthplace, Hawaii, and the Berkshires, which became her home in 2007.
“Sunrise Back Pasture” takes our eye up the vertical line of trees receding into a grey-green misty background tinged with yellow. In the foreground stand slightly red grasses made red-gold by the rising sun.
Two people walk into a sky of light mauve and blue punctuated with white clouds. They are enclosed in high groupings of rocks dotted with plants and wildflowers in “A Walk Into The Sky.”
Two charming paintings recall Hawaii. “Makapu’u, Hawaii” features a well-known beach spot on Oahu, here depicted with ocean waves breaking over rocks: waves in azure, turquoise, green and green-grey. Spray rises from the curl of each wave and a red-topped lighthouse guards a single sailboat.
In an interview, King explained the inspiration for this painting: “A storm was coming from Moloka’i. It made the sky dark and the ocean light to the point of white, a reversal of the norm.”
Lava flows have now covered over “The Queen’s Bath Swimming Hole,” a deep, freshwater pool between a road and the Pacific at Kalapana on the Big Island. Five young boys take different stances in and around the pool. The most Hawaiian-looking boy is in a stand-crouch under a palm tree. This piece is a fit memorial to the lost pool where royalty once swam.
Water is the theme again in “Housatonic Upstream” and “Housatonic Downstream,” starting at a stream, watching it meander over rocks, framed by weeds of rust and green. “Downstream” portrays a more dark scene, and we compare the river aura to that of the ocean.
King also presents “Early Autumn I” and “Early Autumn II,” scenes of trees, foliage, and a small house where one imagines smoke to arise from the chimney soon. These paintings include the use of watercolor pencils. “The center of the pencil is watercolor pigment,” King said. “It can be drawn on dry paper with water added to the paint, dipped into water first, and in other ways.”
King’s technique is amazingly true, producing paintings resembling photographs in the best way. Admission to the exhibit is free at 343 Main St., Great Barrington, in the lobby of Berkshire Community College South County. The exhibit runs throughout July. Paintings run $195-300. King is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and has taught in schools both in Hawaii and Massachusetts.
Jerri Chaplin is a writer who lives in Charleston, S.C. and Pittsfield, Mass. She’s the author of the forthcoming book of poetry, “Vertically Coastal,” published by Planet Media Books.
AND THUS, WE MOVE ON, TO LEAVE YOU BE, REMINDING YOU THAT “BE” IS THE REALITY OF “SEEM”, OR WHAT’s an EMPEROR FOR?
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE!”
LOVE TO ALL