Cleveland Corruption – R U Sorry Yet 4 Not Voting?

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I live in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland has always been high on the list for stand-up comics, television series, movies, newspapers, cartoonists, authors, weathermen, musicians, and yes, even athletes, to take potshots at. Most of it has been very good natured and done with love for the simple reason that so many in the entertainment field and publishing world grew up here. Some of the put-downs have been not so loving, such as the comments LeBron James made about Cleveland when he decided to abandon the team, fans, and city who have done so much for him while asking so little. And then some of the attention has been due to situations involving the environment, crime, or politics where we have essentially shot ourselves in the foot. Of course, we’re not the only city in the U.S. that has had their share of environmental disasters, infamous crime sprees, or political corruption – nor is Cleveland necessarily the worst of those cities. But the story that’s been rocking the headlines this week is a real doozy in that just about every single major local politician, several judges, well-known attorneys, labor union leaders, and numerous contractors have been served (or are about to be served) with Federal indictments for serious charges ranging from bribery, accepting bribes, “selling” verdicts, embezzlement, abuse of office, and on and on. Yesterday, the FBI made a great show of leading the County Commissioner, Jimmy Dimora, out of his house not merely in handcuffs, but in chains, just in time for the local news.

Make no mistake, I find morally abhorrent all corrupt practices by anyone who has been elected or appointed to a public office or by an attorney or judge who have taken an oath to honor the law and our legal system. Such persons sit in a fiduciary position which means that they have a sworn duty to serve ALL of their constituents with an even hand and are personally responsible for the harm they’ve caused to the people as a result of any breach of their fiduciary duty. By law, they are required to be held to a “higher standard” than us civilians: meaning that they are required to be able to genuinely hold themselves up as honorable and moral role models, both in deed and in perception. I feel no compassion for those who choose to ignore such duty and who instead use their positions for their own personal gain, be it for power, financial benefits, sexual favors, or jobs for their deadbeat relatives just to keep their spouse happy. Public humiliation, such as the spectacle of a “Perp Parade”, should be de riguer for any and all persons who have arrogantly abused their publicly held positions of trust. Why? It is not as if such humiliation would serve as a deterrent or cause such people to suddenly get a flash of insight about the harm they have caused to others, as those who indulge in such activities are at the very least, sociopaths, who are incapable of seeing beyond their own nose. The real point of public humiliation is that it allows the start of the healing process for the victims of those narcissitic, scheming ingrates in whom we had placed our trust, our city, our schools, our jobs, our homes, our quality of life, and our regional pride.

I am grateful that the Feds did not succomb to the “politics as usual” which would have deferred the indictments until after November’s election. Not so amazing is the fact that the names of many of those indicted are likely to still be on the ballots, due to time and cost restraints and due to the fact that it is too late for any “replacements” from the same party to throw their hat in the ring. While I believe there are some excellent people up for election, many are newcomers who don’t have established name recognition. It will be interesting to see how the registered voters here handle this election. Will anyone vote for the now disqualified encumbants? Will they choose to vote for alternatives that they’ve read up on and feel good about casting their votes for? How many will indiscriminately vote for anyone and everyone but the dishonored old-guard? Or will most of our citizens stay home, leaving the fate of our city to “someone else”, as they did in the September primaries when the turn out was 16.48% (only 160,00 out of 960,000 registered voters) ?

Whether you live in Cleveland, Ohio; Broward County, Florida; Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania; or anywhere else in the United States, take this year’s election as an opportunity to take back control of our country, states, and cities by voting for candidates that you would not hesitate to trust with your live and your children’s lives, as that is ultimately what is at stake. If you leave it to chance by either choosing not to vote or by voting by faces, names or parties rather than by thoughtful consideration, then forever hold your tongue with complaints about taxes, school, jobs, health care, and the economy. The right to complain (as well as the right to help determine how our laws are applied and how our government’s run) comes at a price. That price is to be a responsible voter not only every 4 years, but in every election.

Tirade and Lecture Over. 😉 Thanks for bearing with me.

Tonight’s freebies are from my archive of original Art Deco inspired designs which I’ve never displayed before. Enjoy!

But first…

NEW FEATURE: BACKGROUND LINKS

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

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Small on Talk – Big on Icons

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This is one of those days. Just too weak to sit up and my brain’s too foggy to concentrate. So tonight’s posting is going to be short and (hopefully) sweet. I promised my son that wouldn’t give in when I feel like this and that I’d make myself do something everyday to keep myself positive and useful. Hope you guys enjoy tonight’s icons.

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

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The Democratization of Art

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While this may be no big revelation to trained art historians, as an untrained neophyte researcher, when I first began to look into Art Deco (beyond merely knowing I liked it) I had no idea it would lead me into such a vast array directions deep into the psycho-sociological history of humans, psychology of art, and factual history of 19th, 20th, and 21st Century politics, religion, science, industry, environment, aesthetics, war, peace, color theory, and more. It seems that the more I learn about Art Deco, the more I learn and understand about society itself and how we got to this point in time. Unlike any other art movement before it, the influences which form the genre exemplify diversity at its’ best as no single social class, religion, gender, political ideology, economy, geographical location, or culture seems to have been left out. All have contributed to it and all have been equally recognized by it. But also unlike any other art movement before it, Art Deco does not honor its’ influences in the manner of reverential exaltation but through whimsical parody, making and having fun with all we hold dear. It is perhaps because of this aspect that art snobs proclaimed Art Deco to be nothing more than a trivial fad that will quickly run its’ course, or in the words of Paul Greenhalgh, former-head of research for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England,“Art Deco is a terribly easy movement to insult. It has maintained that most damning of all qualities — fun.” He further noted that, “The avant-garde has never really forgiven it for being successful.”

“Tropical Art Deco” is perhaps the most fun of all with its’ happy ice-cream colors, rounded “melting” edges, and playful, oversized forms. While certainly it has been heavily influenced by prominent, homosexual artists and associated in general with the Gay community, the glorification of the South Beach, Miami historic architectural district exemplified by the 1980’s television show “Miami Vice” and its’ overtly heterosexual star, Don Johnson’s fashionable, often pastel, wardrobe by designers Versace and Armani, Art Deco has transcended boundaries to be enjoyed by all.

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

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South Beach Goodies

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The South Beach community in Miami Beach, Florida is in many ways a fantasy world of it’s own. It is much well-known for it’s richness in historical Art Deco architecture as it is renown for it’s fabulous restaurants, high-energy night life, as it is celebrated for it’s luxurious ocean-front hotels and beaches populated with the wealthy, the famous, and the beautiful. The area first developed as a winter-resort destination spot when millionaires such as Harvey Firestone,J.C. Penney, Harvey Stutz, Albert Champion, Frank Seiberling, and Rockwell LaGorce built their mansions between 1920-1929 on the three-mile stretch of Collins Avenue know as “Millionaire’s Row”. Fascination with Art Deco struck the area with a vengeance in the 1930’s and the area continued to flourish and it’s population explode through the 1940’s and ’50’s. But after Fidel Castro came to power over Cuba (less than 200 miles from Miami) in 1959 and permitted the Soviet Union to position missiles aimed at the United States in 1962, a decided chill set over South Florida and the former hotspots fell out of favor and began to rapidly decay out of neglect and social upheaval.

At the end of the 1970’s, South Beach was declared a Historic Landmark, a designation intended to protect the Art Deco character of the neighborhood by setting strict architectural guidelines for any renovations or new construction. The influx of of over 140,000 refugees from Cuba as a result of the Mariel boatlift enriched the community through these new residents who brought with them a multitude of artistic talents, dedicated work ethics, loving families, and strong determination to achieve the American Dream.

Over the last 30 years, Movies and Television shows filmed in and about the area such as “Scarface”, “Miami Vice”, “CSI Miami” and, of course, the evening news following live the bizarre murder and hunt for the killer of fashion designer Gianni Versace in front of his South Beach mansion, exposed both the glamorous as well as the seedy side of of South Beach life and added to the new interest and myths.

It is the spirit of the area, the people, the landscape, sunshine and fun that served as inspiration for my “South Beach Icons” series. Enjoy!

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

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Series to be continued…