David Rodeback's Blog
Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Grab-Bag: Music, Vouchers, Freedom, and a Conservative Daydream
You might say it's leftover night. I happen to enjoy leftovers.
Here are a few accumulated thoughts on diverse topics.
Hard-Core Longhair Music in American Fork
MFCC and I spent a pleasant and interesting evening at American Fork's Historic City Hall Saturday evening, where American Fork composer Ryan Taylor and his able troupe invited an audience to help judge the finalists in VocalWorks.org's first (we hope annual) competition for sacred art songs and song cycles, Sacred Voice 2007. Actually, they did the same concert with the same purpose the previous evening, too. (MFCC accompanied about half the program both nights.)
Not all of the music was to my taste, but the performers were excellent, as always, and it was interesting to rate each composition, as it was performed, according to several criteria. We heard songs in English, Latin, Hebrew, and Tagalog, by American and international composers. I gave my two highest overall scores to a piece I liked a lot and a piece I really didn't care for -- but my personal taste was not one of the criteria. If you're into this sort of thing, you can listen to the concert and see who the winners were at VocalWorks.org. The winners were not the ones I rated highest, but I was only one of 40 or so people who voted.
Taylor told me that there were about three dozen entries in all; we heard about a dozen which were selected as finalists.
Once again, American Fork's Historic City Hall made an excellent venue for a fine musical event.
A Little of Their Own Back
I'm pleased, in the sense that I'm delighted from my minimal hair to the tips of my toes, to see a serious, professional campaign being waged in favor of the school voucher legislation Governor Huntsman recently signed. While the Utah Education Assocation (UEA) and a front organization, Utahns for Public Schools, use their usual mix of honorable and illegal tactics to promote a petition for referendum on the issue -- as they will later do to sway the voters, if there is a referendum -- people with an interest in freedom and quality education are fighting back intelligently and, we may hope, effectively.
Some of the players on the right side are:
The UEA gripes that the NRTW is an out-of-state interest, as if the UEA weren't itself the Utah front for the NEA ("N" as in "National"). And they nitpick a detail or two of opposing ads, while also calling the opinions the ads express outright lies -- which is their favorite classification for opinions which don't happen to be theirs.
I believe there's a full-color mailer on the way, too -- paid for by something other than my tax money and yours, unlike some recent, rather political mailers from the Alpine School District.
The 30-day deadline for accumulating signatures on the referendum petition just passed yesterday, if I'm not mistaken, and they needed 92,000 signatures or thereabouts. As petitions go, this means that they needed to collect half again, or perhaps twice, as many, so that they will still have 92,000 after verification, which strips the signatures which are duplicates or invalid (e.g. not those of registered Utah voters). The UEA now reports having collected at least 130,000 signatures. If enough survive verification, a larger, very bitter battle will ensue over voters' minds statewide, and there will be a statewide vote on the issue in November.
For what it's worth, I first became a partisan of the Right-to-Work movement as a youth in Idaho, when I watched the dirty tactics of the unions and the state's Democratic governor in opposing right-to-work legislation in that state. It seemed obvious to me then that, in a free country, I should have the right to work in an industry without being compelled to join and fund a private, partly partisan, very political organization in the process -- that is, a labor union. It still seems obvious.
Here's a map showing right-to-work states. The campaign I watched in Idaho failed, but a later one succeeded. And, yes, Utah is a right-to-work state.
Wouldn't It Be Fun to Watch?
You may have noticed, even recently, that the Speaker of the House and some other Members of Congress like to visit America's enemies -- which they see simply as George W. Bush's enemies, not their own -- in countries where US citizens are forbidden to travel. Wouldn't it be fun to see their passports and visas revoked, and them denied re-entry to the US upon their return? I don't suppose it would help them understand that they undermine and embarrass an entire nation, not just a president they hate, but it would be fun to watch. Actually, I don't know that that's how things could work, anyway, and I doubt that Members of Congress are required to pass through passport control or customs. But a guy can daydream.
David Rodeback comments (4/12/07):
On Saturday MFCC blogged about American Fork's Historic City Hall and some events she has attended there recently.
Copyright 2007 by David Rodeback.