Spotlight: Taylor Davis

Taylor Davis

Spot_light_LeftA talented American violinist, Taylor is also an arranger and composer best known for music of the video game genre featured on YouTube as ViolinTay. She makes her own arrangements of music from films and musicals as well.

Born in Western Springs, Illinois in 1987, her music genre runs the gamut of anime, classical crossover, classical, film score, and pop – her primary instrument being violin, she plays piano as well.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Americana: Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier

This patriot needs little introduction because he is the one of the best known historical figure and folk hero in American history …

Davy Crockett_03David “Davy” Crockett [August 17th 1786 – March 6th 1836] was a frontiersman, soldier and politician. He was dubbed the King of the Wild Frontier and legendary tales followed after his death and even during his lifetime. He was a representative for the state of Tennessee in the US House of Representatives, served in the Texas Revolution and died at the Battle of the Alamo.

Growing up in the eastern part of Tennessee, he gained a reputation for storytelling and his hunting prowess. After being commissioned as a colonel in the militia of Lawrence County, Tennessee, he was elected to the Tennessee state legislature in 1821. In 1826, Crockett was elected to the US Congress, where he strongly opposed many policies of popular President Andrew Jackson, especially the Indian Removal Act, which caused his defeat in the 1834 elections. Angered he departed to Texas a Mexican governed state and in early 1836, he became a part of the Texas Revolution and was killed at the Battle of the Alamo in March of 1836. He was a living legend to Americans that became popularized in tales in almanacs and subject material for stage plays.

Continue reading

Spotlight: Senator Ron Johnson, Wisconsin

Senator Ronald Harold “Ron” Johnson is a junior United States Senator for Wisconsin and a member of the Republican Party and associated with the Tea Party movement – and my senator.
When no other congressional representative would help in my battle for veteran’s benefits for injury compensation recorded in military health records, Senator Johnson and his staff were there. The outcome did not come out the way it should have, but that was because of trickster legislators changing the rules in 1996. 
With that personal reference set aside, I would like to present Senator Johnson’s policies and congressional voting record for others in Congress to examine, over-and-above political rhetoric and media bias. Briefly, his biography:

Johnson was born in Mankato, Minnesota, the son of Jeanette Elizabeth (née Thisius) and Dale Robert Johnson. His father was of Norwegian descent and his mother was of German ancestry.[7] After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he married Jane, the daughter of the businessman Howard Curler, co-founder of Curwod Industries, now part of the multinational Bemis Company. Johnson worked as an accountant for Jostens, a high school- and college class ring supplier, as well a sports-championship ring supplier, including for the Super Bowl, while attending night school for an MBA. He completed his classes, but did not receive his degree because he did not finish his thesis. In 1979, Johnson moved to Wisconsin with his wife, and both started working for PACUR, a custom sheet extruder company, with his wife’s brother, Patrick Curler, for whom the company is named. … The 2010 U.S. Senate campaign was Johnson’s first run for elective office. He was described as a “political blank slate” because he had no history of campaigning or taking a position as an elected official.[1]… As of November 1, 2010, Johnson had contributed more than $8.2 million to his own campaign, representing 64% of total campaign contributions.[14]… After being elected to the Senate, Johnson “sold every liquid asset so there would be absolutely no chance for conflict of interest.” Johnson was not required to sell these holdings.[17]

Ron and his wife, Jane, have three children, all of whom are graduates of the University of Wisconsin.
Senator Johnson’s Record in Office as US Senator of Wisconsin

We would have been far better off not spending any of the money and let the recover happen as it was going to happen.

  • In general, Ron Johnson opposed increased government spending and the federal stimulus; instead supporting a broad reduction in federal tax rates, simplifying business regulations, and free-market health care solutions.
  • During the continued controversy over global warming (not climate change), Ron Johnson did not denounce that unusual weather and climate patterns were occurring, but stated that scientists who attribute global warming to man-made causes are crazy, making the theory as lunacy. He stated, which many reputable scientists agree, that climate change is due to

…sunspot activity or just something in the geologic eons of time.

Johnson believes that Cap and Tradelegislation could cost an average Wisconsin family as much as $1,600 per year and would put Wisconsin businesses at a huge competitive disadvantage, damaging our economy for many years. He cosponsored the Energy Tax Prevention Act in order to block the EPA from imposing new rules on carbon emissions.
  • Johnson is opposed to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and in an op-ed article written for the Wall Street Journal, Johnson mentioned his personal experience with his daughter. The act would, Johnson stated:

lead to rationed care, lower the quality of care, increase medical costs, and severely limit medical innovation … this law will add trillions of dollars to our nation’s debt and deficit. …

He is the cosponsorof legislation to suspend implementation of PPACA while legal challenges to the bill are decided.
  • In the argument over more drilling in the United States and its territories and less foreign oil, Senator Johnson was asked about his policy concerning offshore drilling for oil in the Great Lakes, and replied:

We have to get the oil where it is, but we need to do it responsibly. We need to utilize American ingenuity and American technology to make sure we do it environmentally sensitively and safely.

However, in his election campaign, Ron Johnson stated that his answer did not mean he supports drilling in the Great Lakes. However, he also conceded that America’s dependence upon foreign oil creates both security and economic threats to the nation. He is a cosponsor of legislation to encourage job growth, reduce energy costs, and increase tax revenue by expanding domestic oil production.
  • In the area of social issues, Senator Johnson is opposed to same-sex marriage. In a 2010 article at Wisconsin Gazette (August 11th 2010), Johnson defined freedom …

On his website, Johnson declares himself “a pretty traditional guy” and goes on to say that he believes “marriage is between one man and one women.” He assures visitors to his site that he will “take these principles with him to Washington and will stand up to those who would attack these cherished traditional values.”

Partial Comment by GOP aide
The article was not objective concerning Johnson’s policies on the issue. RedState website also sided with Roll Call’s choice of interview of aid who made the comment in image left. He was unjustly attacked with rumors as sources. 
Ultimately, social issues should not be argued at federal government level, but by the individual state levels that are closer to the People. State governments, for example, are in charge of marriage licenses, therefore that government entity must decide. In this, I have voiced my opinion to the office of Senator Johnson. In addition, if the tax code system were changed where income tax was based on a flat tax with NO deductions – this whole argument would be moot. If the state government wants to change the concept of a marriage tradition, which is as old as humanity; than do so in a state referendum vote. It probably would not pass, but then the same-sex couples could just live in common law marriage. Issues like same-sex couples adopting children (or fostering) would have to be dealt with by individual state government as well. The issue of same-sex marriage falls more into the category of religious beliefs, another subject that should not be involving government at any level, unless there is an issue concerning the First Amendment. There are standards of moral and civic values that every society deals with and the government should not interfere unless someone’s rights and liberties (not rights/liberties that interfere with other people’s rights/liberties) are involved. The federal government takes on more power than it is constitutionally allowed, and does not delegate authority to the state governments as intended by the creators of the US Constitution and its amendments.
Ron Johnson’s record of voting is HERE. He is due for reelection in 2016. You can TRACK HIMat the GovTrackwebsite.
His official website is HERE.
Ron Johnson has been politically classified as a moderate, but I am working on changing that to more of a constitutionalist, especially since he has advocated the principles of the Tea Party movement, of which many Republicans have politically used the movement, but failed to enact on policies and actions they have claimed to uphold. Overall, Senator Johnson’s congressional record is above average compared to other so-called Republicans. 
He and other members of Congress need to push harder for a flat income tax system with NO deductions, reducing class nonsense, unfair deduction allowances, intrusion upon personal lives via IRS, reduction of tax fraud, reduction of cost of implementing tax system, No death tax and capital gains/dividends tax, et cetera.
Tax cuts and other quick and special legislation is only a finger in the dike to repair the crack in the federal tax system. Only temporary fixes have occurred.

Lighthouse Spotlight: Ray Douglas Bradbury

Ray D. Bradbury died on June 5th, 2012 at the age of 91, living a long life as an icon in the science fiction literary world. He was one of the key writers that brought modern science fiction into the mainstream of the world.
Los Angeles Times wrote in an obituary:

Bradbury had the ability to write lyrically and evocatively of lands an imagination away, worlds he anchored in the here and now with a sense of visual clarity and small-town familiarity.

Washington Post wrote of how is visions of the future became reality, such as the idea of ATM banking, earbud and Bluetooth headsets from his book Fahrenheit 451, (1953) and concepts of artificial intelligence in Sing the Body Electric (1969), which was the 100th episode of the TV series The Twilight Zone.

He influenced so many artists, writers, teachers, scientists, and it’s always really touching and comforting to hear their stories.

Author, Stephen King paid tribute to the author crediting Bradbury with influencing him on his website:

Ray Bradbury wrote three great novels and three hundred great stories. One of the latter was called ‘A Sound of Thunder’. The sound I hear today is the thunder of a giant’s footsteps fading away. But the novel and stories remain, in all their resonance and strange beauty.

Steven Spielberg, a legend in his own right, stated that Bradbury was his

Muse for the better part of his sci-fi career … On the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination he is immortal.

Bradbury wrote 27 novels and over 600 short stories with more than eight million copies of his works published in 36 languages being sold all over the globe.
In 1949, the year of my birth, Bradbury published his first book The Martian Chronicles whose title was suggested by the Doubleday editor, Walter Bradbury, not related. The story was ideas he jotted down in some notes beginning in 1944 intending to create a series of books about Mars. After the editor accepted it, Bradbury received a check for $750. The short stories in the series were connected into one book length and has become a science-fiction classic that was later the theme in a film.
Ray was born Ray Douglas Bradbury on August 22nd1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. His mother was a Swedish immigrant who married an American telephone lineman of English descent. The actor Douglas Fairbanks, for whom his mother was a fan, inspired his middle name, Douglas. His childhood experiences provided a backdrop for many of his fictitious works later. In his early stories mentions “Green Town” it is a symbol of his home life in Waukegan.
Between 1926 and 1933, the Bradbury family moved back and forth between Waukegan and Tucson, Arizona, experiencing the economic disaster of the Great Depression. In 1931, at age eleven, he began writing stories. In 1934, the Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles, California. According to Wikipedia entry, Bradbury was related to the American Shakespeare scholar, Douglas Spaulding and descended from Mary Bradbury, tried at one of the Salem witch trials of 1692, but was not hanged as the others. [Becoming Ray Bradbury, p. 202] Mary Bradbury was married to Captain Thomas Bradbury of Salisbury, Massachusetts.
When the Bradbury family arrived in Los Angeles they only had $40, but after renting a place to stay, Ray’s father found a job and it looked as if they were there to stay – much to the thrill of young Ray. He went to the Uptown Theater in Los Angeles, whenever he could sneak in to watch previews once per week. The young Bradbury encountered stars like Norma Shearer, Laurel and Hardy, Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich, and Mae West accompanied by her bodyguard. [Playboy Interview]
Literature was Ray Bradbury’s forté throughout his youth both reading and writing. He was interested in “the arts” – drawing, acting, and writing. His earliest influence was Edgar Allan Poe.
At age twelve he began writing traditional horror stories, trying to imitate Poe until he was about 18. He had been reading comic books and enjoyed stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs and the adventures of his character, John Carter. Ray listened to the radio show Chandu the Magician, and would write each show’s entire script from memory after it was off the air. He spent much time in the Carnegie Library in Waukegan when he was younger, reading books by H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Later, in his twenties he broadened his reading literatureto include authors like poets Alexander Pope and John Donne.
Although he had been tagged as a “science fiction” writer, he disagreed in an interview and proclaimed himself not a science fiction writer, but instead a “fantasy” writer stating:

I am not a science fiction writer, I am a fantasy writer. But the label got put on me and stuck.

Ray attended the Los Angeles High School where he took poetry classes with Snow Longley Housh, as well as short-story writing courses taught by Jeannet Johnson. The teachers recognized his talent and encouraged him to further himself. [American Writers, MacMillan Library Reference, 1996]
Despite that encouragement, Bradbury did not attend college, instead, he sold newspapers and spent a lot of time at the library. Bradbury recalled:

Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for ten years.

He said in an interview with The Paris Review:

You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do – and they don’t.

It was in the UCLA Powell Library’s study room where typewriters could be rented that Bradbury wrote his classic manuscript The Fireman, which later was published as Fahrenheit 451, published at the cost of $9.80.
In the 1930s, he also submitted stories to the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society and pulp magazines like Weird Tales.
In a review of one of his books, he was described as a Midwest surrealist, and once again, he stated as to what genre writer he considered himself:

First of all, I don’t write science fiction. I’ve only done one science fiction book and that’s Fahrenheit 451, based on reality. It was named so to represent the temperature at which paper ignites. Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal. So Martian Chroniclesis not a science fiction. It’s fantasy. It couldn’t happen, you see? That’s the reason it’s going to be around a long time – because it’s a Greek myth, and myths have staying power.
Wikipediaentry:
Several comic book writers have adapted Bradbury’s stories. Particularly noted among these were EC Comics‘ line of horror and science-fiction comics, which often featured Bradbury’s name on the cover announcing that one story in that issue would be an adaptation of his work. The comics featuring Bradbury’s stories included Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Crime Suspense Stories, Haunt of Fear and others. Bradbury remained an enthusiastic playwright all his life, leaving a rich theatrical legacy as well as literary. Bradbury headed the Pandemonium Theatre Company in Los Angeles for many years and had a five-year relationship with the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena.[52]

PERSONAL LIFE
Ray Bradbury was married to Marguerite McClure (1922 to 2003) from 1947 until her death. They had four daughters. Mr. Bradbury never had a drivers’ license. He lived at home until he was twenty-seven, when he got married. Maggie, as Ray affectionately called his wife, was the only woman Bradbury ever dated. In 1946, in an Halloween issue of Mademoisellewas much about the relationship between Maggie and Ray. Charles Addams was the first to illustrate Bradbury’s stories and became close friends, collaborating on a story about the Elliott family, which resembled the illustrator’s own Addams Family. They had planned to write together the family’s complete history, but it never came to be because they went they separated. Ray Bradbury was also a close friend of the animator Ray Harryhausen, being friends since 18 years old, sharing love for science fiction and life-long friendship. Over 70 years they would keep in touch with each other at least once per month.
During his later years, Bradbury experienced a series of illnesses and the death of good friends. He was especially grieved when Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek creator, died after being friends for thirty years. Roddenberry asked Bradbury to write for Star Trek, but he stated that he never had the ability to adapt other people’s ideas into any sensible form.
In 1999, Bradbury suffered a stroke, which left him in a wheelchair. Despite this health setback, he continued to write and his last published work was an essay for The New Yorkerpublished one week prior to his death. Until 2009, Bradbury had been a regular attendant at science fiction conventions. He was a strong supporter for public libraries and helped raise money to prevent the closing of several in California because of budget cuts.
[Personal Note: California (Mexifornia) state government thought it more important to provide welfare to illegal immigrants than maintain important educational institutions like libraries]
Wikipediaentry:

 He exhibited skepticism with regard to modern technology by resisting the conversion of his work into e-books and stating that “We have too many cellphones. We’ve got too many Internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now.

In December of 2011, publishing rights for Fahrenheit 451 came up for renewal and Bradbury conceded to allow the book to be transferred to e-book format and downloaded by his beloved libraries. It remains the only title book in the Simon & Schuster catalog where that is possible.
On his headstone in his burial place at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles it reads, simply: “Ray Bradbury, 1920 – Author of Fahrenheit 451”.
Ray Bradbury was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation.
He inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create.
His notable works were – Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screenplay for John Huston’s classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, nominated an Academy Award for best writer. He adapted 65 of his stories for The Ray Bradbury Theater television series and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. In 2005, Bradbury published a book of essays entitled Bradbury Speaks, in which he wrote:

In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I’ve worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior.

Bradbury liked to recall meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932 as a young lad. At the end of his performance, Electrico reached out to the 12-year-old boy and touched him with his sword, and commanded: “Live forever!”
It was when he started writing every day.
Indeed, Mr. Bradbury will live forever in the books and stories he wrote, and libraries will be his legacy and haven for future writers.
Ray Bradbury and his life story is a testimonial for the value of self-teaching and the inspiration for youth of generations to come. He remains as one of my literary heroes, and proof of the importance of knowledge through avid reading. Mr. Bradbury was part of that world of the mind.
The depth and breadth of the mind is like the universe – always expanding and endless possibilities. 
I never had the privilege of meeting or corresponding with Mr. Bradbury, but his writing certainly inspired me and fulfilled my interest in fantasy literature, just as J.R.R. Tolkien

Americana: Jane Addams

ADDAMS, JANE

(1860-1935)

Jane Addams_01Jane Addams was a settlement house founder and peace activist and one of the most distinguished of the first generation college-educated women in America who rejected marriage and motherhood in favor of a lifetime commitment to the poor and to social reform. Inspired by English reformers who intentionally resided in lower-class slums, Jane Addams, along with a college friend, Ellen Starr, moved in 1889 into an old mansion in an immigrant neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Hull-House, which remained Addams’ home for the rest of her life and became the center of an experiment in philanthropy, political action, and social science research, was a model for settlement work among the poor. Addams established a nursery, dispensary, kindergarten, playground, gymnasium, and cooperative housing for young working women. As an experiment in group living, Hull-House attracted male and female reformers dedicated to social service. Addams claimed that she learned as much from the neighborhood’s residents as she taught them.

Quickly she found that the city and state laws needed reformation in order to meet the needs of the neighborhood. Jane challenged both the boss rule in the immigrant neighborhood of Hull-House and indifference to the needs of the poor in the state legislature. She and other Hull-House residents sponsored legislation to abolish child labor, establish juvenile courts, limit the hours of working women, recognize labor unions, make school attendance compulsory, and ensure safe working conditions in factories. The Progressive Party adopted many of these reforms as part of its platform in 1912. At the political party’s national convention, Addams seconded the nomination of Theodore Roosevelt for president and campaigned actively on his behalf. She advocated woman’s suffrage because she believed that women’s votes would provide the margin necessary to pass social legislation she favored.

Americana: Samuel Adams

ADAMS, SAMUEL

(1723-1803)

Samuel Adams was an American revolutionary political leader and the son of a Boston merchant and minister. Adams was a graduate of Harvard College, 1740,
where he publicly defended the thesis that it is lawful to resist the Supreme Magistrate, if the Commonwealth cannot be otherwise preserved. This was the central theme of his career.

He began a career as a brewer and newspaper publisher, but these failed, so he turned to preoccupying himself with politics, which was his
passion. Following his extended experience in Boston town affairs, Adams rose to prominence in the Massachusetts assembly during the period of
opposition against the Stamp Act in 1765. He was an organizer of Boston’s Sons of Liberty, and played a major role from 1765 until the end of the War of Independence in Patriot opposition to what he believed to be a British plot to destroy constitutional liberty.
Continue reading

Americana: John Quincy Adams

ADAMS, JOHN QUINCY
(1767-1848)

John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States, a diplomat, a congressman, a US Senator, and a secretary of state. He was the eldest son of John Adams and was considered the most gifted becoming the second President of the United States and enjoyed many opportunities that prepared him for public service.

In 1802, John Q. Adams was elected as a US Senator from Massachusetts, a member of the Federalist Party; however, he was too independent (like his father) to follow rigidly the political party forum. During the international tensions that resulted from the Napoleonic Wars, he supported the policies of the Jefferson administration. He stood contrary against the position of his political party, which resulted in his replacement as a senator. He resigned, however, before the end of his term; but was appointed a series of diplomatic posts soon after. He was one of the commissioners
who arranged for the Treaty of Ghent that ended the War of 1812. Continue reading