BREAKING NEWS: Gun Violence Continues In America

Just minutes ago, as I post, there was yet another mass shooting in America.

Two people were killed and four others were injured in a shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  

This weekend we saw more gun violence from an angry white male in California who used an AR-15 weapon.

An AR-15 is a weapon of war. It was developed for the U.S. Military to be used for jungle warfare during Vietnam. It’s designed to kill as many people as possible — and as quickly as possible. These weapons have NO place in our communities or in the hands of civilians. Prosecutors say the 19-year-old charged with opening fire in a California synagogue legally bought the semiautomatic rifle he used. That is the problem.

At the Poway Weapons And Gear Range, about eight miles from the synagogue, parts are sold to make AR-type rifles compliant with state law. If an AR-type firearm is “featureless” or features a fixed magazine, it is legal in California.  A rifle without a pistol grip, a thumbhole stock or other features can be compliant with the law in California, which tightened gun restrictions in 2017.

Those who owned a semi-automatic firearm with features such as a pistol grip before the law changed were required to register the gun as an assault weapon.  The AR-15 is a version of the M16 that used by service members in the Vietnam War.

Why do we allow military assault weapons to be owned by private citizens?  Why do allow our fellow citizens to be mowed down almost daily from these types of weapons?

Larry King With A Sturgeon Bay Connection

Broadcast legend Larry King experienced a health scare this past Thursday and underwent a heart procedure.  But the broadcaster is expected to make a full recovery and will be released from the hospital soon.  That information was put out, after more alarming and false headlines were reported, about the man who kept America talking and thinking late at night on radio.   I am most pleased with the good medical report.

I was a caller into King’s Mutual Radio talk show one evening in the mid-80’s–while I was also on the air doing a separate broadcast from the WDOR radio studio in Sturgeon Bay.  While spinning the discs and give time and temp I was also monitoring King’s program.   Finally, his producer said in the phone I would be the next caller.  I was feeding the King program through one of the studio’s reel-to-reel tape machines so my national moment with King could be recorded.  (BTW, when was the last time you read the words reel-to-reel?)

I thought of that multi-tasking juggling act as I heard about King’s health.  During this time I am also working to master some new technology which will be used in a podcasting adventure I will be undertaking this year.  It is a long ways from my listening to Larry King with cheap headphones as a teenager late at night in Hancock, Wisconsin.  The need for lively and stimulating conversation remains the same since the air waves were harnessed.   It is just the methods used to get the broadcasts from a sender to a receiver that has changed so remarkably.

With King’s health matter, and my podcast idea, it struck me that a truly delightful interview would be for King to wing his way over the decades with stories about how broadcasting techniques evolved in his lifetime.    Now that would be an interview to record!

And conduct!

This Is Why Overture Hall In Downtown Madison Matters–“Symphony Of A Thousand”

Not for the first time do I express deep delight and profound gladness that Madison has Overture Center for the Arts, which contains the most impressive Overture Hall.   Over the years I have pressed for city funding and am glad programming allows for a wide variety of performances to be staged, and ticket prices to reflect all varying sections of our population.   Every place in America–that already does not have such a facility–would love to have what downtown Madison possesses.

And this weekend a musical production will take place which will lift the roof off due to thunderous applause. 

The chorus for “Symphony of a Thousand” is so big, there’s only one place in the Overture Center for its 300-plus singers to do their vocal warm-ups before a concert: the loading dock.

The orchestra is so huge, the side “choral towers” in place for a more typical concert have to be pushed back to make room on the Overture Hall stage.

That’s some of what it takes to squeeze more than 100 orchestral musicians, two adult choruses, a children’s choir and eight guest vocalists into Madison’s largest symphony hall to perform Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in E flat — better known as “Symphony of a Thousand.”

“It’s a real blockbuster,” said Beverly Taylor, choral professor at UW-Madison and director of the Madison Symphony Chorus, who’s been rehearsing the 165-member Madison Symphony Chorus and the 140-member UW Choral Union separately for the event since January.

Mahler’s eighth, to be performed three times in the 2,159-seat Overture Hall by the Madison Symphony Orchestra from May 3-5, is a monumental undertaking, selected to close out MSO conductor John DeMain’s 25th season with the orchestra.

Over the years James and I have not always taken a yearly vacation, but we always have season tickets to the Madison Symphony Orchestra.  I will be first to acknowledge my learning continues with classical music, but never has a performance failed to refresh, amaze, or emotionally move me while watching and listening.   That is the power of an orchestra.

Madison has every reason to be proud of their continued faithfulness to Overture.  In return, the consistency in fine performances at Overture has never lost faith with those it serves.

We Will Not See This Again In Our Lifetime—Living History

If you have read only one book about Japan, or taken only one world history course on this region of the world, then you too can feel the enormity of this event.  Simply Powerful.

Emperor Akihito during a ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Tuesday. CreditCreditKyodo, via Reuters

Three decades after he ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne, Emperor Akihito on Tuesday became Japan’s first monarch in more than two centuries to abdicate, passing the symbolic role to his eldest son in a brief, unadorned ceremony at the Imperial Palace.

Akihito, 85, the son of the wartime emperor Hirohito, relinquished the throne to Crown Prince Naruhito, 59, who will receive the sacred imperial regalia in a ceremony on Wednesday morning. The last emperor to abdicate was Kokaku, in 1817.

Political Correctness Taken To New Level In Madison

Monday during the 5 P.M. local news on WMTV in Madison a news report was aired concerning Governor Tony Evers signing his first bill into law.   The anchor said the bill dealt with the ‘r’word.  The story meandered for a few sentences with no detail at all other than a bill will become law, along with a corresponding executive action.

I turned to James wondering what the ‘r word was, but also stating how dreadful writers can be with local news programming.  With that I pulled up their online news site to discover, as Paul Harvey might say, the rest of the story—as it were.

Evers is scheduled to sign a bill into law for the first time, enacting a proposal barring the term “mental retardation” from state agency rules and regulations.

The fact is the term ‘mental retardation’ was often used in our state and nation.  Was it the best term to use over the decades?  No.  Should it be remedied in our state rules and regs?  Absolutely.

But to not even know how to use the term, in a news story about the very term itself, is one of the most bizarre attempts at political correctness that I have encountered.  When a professional news operation can not be more forthcoming by reporting a story using all the facts, for fear that some may be somehow offended, then it is time to ask if we have lost our common sense.

There are times and places when certain words must be used to give the full extent of a story, or to make a complete point.  That does not mean the word is being used as a weapon or in a mean-spirited way.  Sometimes certain words have to be used to make a complete informed news story.

When political correctness and a less than artful news writer meet… makes for a sloppy news story.