Wednesday, November 23, 2011

LIES, INJUSTICE AND THE UNAMERICAN WAY





My sister bless her heart is probably more conservative than mom and I are. She posted a link on my Facebook page this morning and I followed it. Went looking through the postings and found something that I did not need to see on the day before Thanksgiving. But, the cartoon looked familiar. I'd seen something like it within the last couple of days. I was right. The original cartoon with Jim Morin's byline was published in the Eugene Register Guard yesterday. The Miami Herald probably published it the 20th. It didn't take long for someone to photoshop it, take out Morin's byline and come up with this: abomination is the kindest term I can come up with.

And this is the website I found the second cartoon on. Ironically they use the name Truth, Justice and the American Way. You'll have to scroll down a bit to find this posting but feel free to leave your opinion.

Cross posted in Walking With Hope. But, when I see stuff like this, hope looks a long, long, way away.

Monday, November 21, 2011

In Anticipation of Thanksgiving...

Thursday is Thanksgiving, and I have much for which to be thankful. There are the usual, major things, beginning with a great family, and good health. And then there are the everyday, material things...enough food to eat, a roof over my head, a job. Cool weather...it seems like just yesterday we were sweltering in Dallas, in the Endless Summer, but tonight I'm bundled up in my gameroom, glad to be inside, because outside there is a driving, cold rain beating against the roof and windows. I haven't turned the heat on yet, and the house is decidedly cool, but I'm cozy in my footed, one-piece pajamas, snuggled beneath a throw and a comforter.

I'd planned to take PTO this week, because I very much need the break, and taking 3 days PTO to get 9 days off in a row is my kind of bargain spending. But today, Monday, I ended up working a horrendously long day, because I simply had too much work to not spend today working. Which means this was yet another day that I also didn't get to go test drive cars. It has now been a month since I totaled my Honda Fit in a fender bender in the parking lot at Target, and I'm still in a rental car. I have to find a new car this week. It's not a lack of trying on my part, but since dealerships are closed on Sundays, and since I work long hours Monday through Friday, my test drives have been limited to Saturdays, one of which I was down and out with a stomach bug.

I hate to admit it, but all of this had me feeling rather sorry for myself, until I read a letter in one of the car forums where I've been lurking, seeking advice on the purchase of a car. I felt incredibly spoiled, reading that letter. It was from a woman just a little younger than me who was asking for advice about buying a car. She was trying to decide between 2 cars, and asked if anyone on the car forum could advise her which would be the better deal.She still had a teen at home, although she said she would soon be an empty nester, and the car was mostly for going to the grocery store and doctor appointments. Each of the cars she was considering had 100,000 miles on them. The dealer had told her that one of them had been in an accident, but she wisely read the Carfax report, and it had, in fact, been in two accidents. Both of the cars needed some very basic repairs that the dealer was working on. She wrote that her absolute limit was $7,000, and added that she hated haggling.

A couple of guys from the forum gave her some very sound advice. One of them said that from the descriptions she'd provided, she ought to be able to get either car for about $5500, and not have to pay more than that. He steered her toward Edmunds, and told her in no uncertain terms not to tell the dealer that she hates haggling. One of the other guys told her what sort of repairs would be routine on both of the cars, considering their age.

It's true that she and I have very different needs insofar as cars are concerned. I gather she lives in either a small town or a community with excellent public transportation, since by her own description, she only needs a car for light, occasional driving. I have a daily commute of over a hundred miles, a combination of city and highway driving. In the 3 1/2 years that I owned my Fit, I put just under 80,000 miles on it. So I need a reliable car with good gas mileage. This is one of the reasons I look at new cars: I know they lose a couple thousand dollars in value the moment they're driven off the lot, but the standard warranty on small cars (the only sort of car I'm considering) is 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first, and with the driving I do, 36,000 miles will always come first, specifically, about 18 months after I've made my purchase. It doesn't make sense for me to get a car with a lot of miles, that's already beyond the warranty.

And yet I feel guilty, contemplating the purchase of a new, or almost new car, when there are so many people out there like this woman, hoping for a bargain in a car with a 100,000 miles on the engine. We take so much for granted...

cross posted at Talking to Myself

Monday, October 31, 2011

On Hounds From Hell

This morning, I drove over to the dike to take a walk and talk to the wildlife. I had taken about a dozen steps along the graveled earthen ridge when I looked up to see a twenty-pound Jack Russel terrier about thirty yards ahead, crouching at his owner’s feet. Then, like lightning, he took off, snarling, hell bent for leather—right at me. The male half of the young couple who I assumed to be in charge of the dog (or not) laughed, made a half-hearted attempt to call off his mutt, and then just ambled forward as if nothing in the world were amiss; while I—fearing for my ankles or my butt or whatever part of my flesh the crazed little mongrel might decide to sink his teeth into—waved my arms, stamped my feet and hollered in my best “Bad Dog” mom voice, “No! Get out of here! Bad dog!”

The dog veered at the last second and trotted off into the weeds behind me. Unconvinced that the attack had been aborted, I turned to keep an eye on the little bastard; and out of the corner of my eye, ascertained that a second terrier had broken away from the people and was now also hurtling down the gravel path at me. The young couple strolled amiably toward me and looked slightly amused as I reprised my screaming, hand-waving, foot-stomping act, in two directions now, as by this time I was badgered from before and behind. I looked up angrily at the inexplicably unfazed young couple, who were by now about fifteen feet away.

“Maybe you should put a leash on these dogs!” I sputtered, still dancing and clapping to keep their pets a safe distance from my ankles.

The amiable expression disappeared from the young man’s face and he sneered at me, “Get over it!” Two leashes dangled limply from his hand.

In the ensuing few moments, he got control of his animals; acting all the while like I was some kind of head case for being so upset by his cute little dogs. Once he had the little devils safely tethered, I moved to go around the party and continue my now completely ruined walk. The young man was still looking at me like I was out of my mind.

“I have no problem with cute little dogs,” I informed him. “But when a dog comes charging at me with his teeth bared, that is not a good thing.” And I walked on.

Last I heard, he was whining something about, “Yeah, look at him!” As if his dog were so adorable and so inoffensive he could not possibly frighten a sane person.

WTF is it with people and their dogs?

I have a dog. I love my dog. But she’s A D.O.G. Not an animated stuffed animal. Not a child. Not a cute, cuddly four-legged package of fur with all the rights, privileges, needs and cognitive powers of a small human being. She doesn’t need to come into stores and restaurants with me. She doesn’t need to ride in airplanes, taxis, trains or city busses. She doesn’t need to come to crowded outdoor (or indoor!) events so she can be with me and “play” with the other dogs. She would, in fact, HATE doing any of those things and, though she does not like to be left at home, she is a lot happier there, in her familiar surroundings, than she would be if I dragged her everywhere I went.

And I would no sooner take her to one of those dangerous, germ-infested encampments of canine gang psychology—the “Off-Leash Dog Parks”—than I would incarcerate her in a cell in a dirty kennel and lace her water bowl with distemper virus.

I treat my dog like a dog. We go for rides, we go for walks, we play ball, she gets doggie treats. I don’t feed her from my dinner plate, because I don’t want her to get fat and ill—obesity is mortally dangerous to dogs. She doesn’t sit on the furniture and she doesn’t sleep in my bed. We take her to the vet, we keep her clean, we keep her free of fleas. And we love her. We cherish her, protect her and discipline her. Most people in our circle understand that our dog is a member of our family and is pretty damned spoiled. But she’s still a dog. And we respect that.

Dog owners have gone completely around the bend. They get a dog because they demand that something unconditionally love and be totally dependent upon THEM. Then they attach the poor animal to themselves by an impossibly short umbilical, insisting that the dog wants and needs to go everywhere and do everything the owner does. Not one millisecond of thought is wasted on the dog’s actual needs or preference. Or what might or might not be good for it. Humans have the bigger brains (theoretically.) Why are we not using them to understand how to truly enhance our pets’ lives, rather than building fantasies about how much they love us and need to be with us every minute of every day? Trust me—that kind of sick dependency does not come from the dog.

Then there is the subset of people that believes that controlling a dog in any way is somehow cruel or repressive. The relationship between humans and canines is not one big “Born Free” moment, people. We haven’t gone out into the woods, captured dogs and forced them into servitude. Thousands of years ago, humans and canines hammered out a mutually beneficial relationship. Each species has adapted behaviors to grease the wheels of the relationship; but though we’ve been in partnership for millennia, communication and bonding between the two species is imperfect at best. An uncontrolled dog can still pose a threat to humans…this is even more true since we have chosen to play god and breed dogs for aggressive behavior.
Dogs are pack-oriented animals. A dog’s behavior toward its pack is not an indicator of how it will treat strangers. To eliminate the fear that an encounter will end in bloodshed, dogs need to be under control when there is a chance of them coming into contact with non-pack members. If the human does not have verbal control over the dog, there had better be some kind of physical restraint used. This is known as a leash. It is not a torture device. It protects both humans and canines from the unpredictability of their behavior toward each other.

But we’re not concerned about our pets’ welfare, are we? We just want to puff ourselves up with that feeling of largesse and magnanimity we get when we let our companion run free and unfettered. And don’t nag us about the well-being of other people! If they’re frightened, intimidated or attacked by our pet, they need to “get over it.”

So now, I will either have to stop taking my walks when there is any chance that some fool with an unleashed dog is going to be claiming the territory, or I’ll to have to pack an umbrella, a walking stick, a can of mace or a grenade to ensure that I can complete my relaxing encounter with nature without fear of puncture or mutilation.

Yeah. Right.

Cross-posted at Coming to Terms...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

HE STILL HAS A DREAM



Thank you Mary Ellen, thought I'd pass it along.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A CHRISTIAN NATION?



This was on Facebook the other day, but I lifted this from another blog. What can I say? We have candidates outdoing themselves to prove their bona fides to the Christian Right, with a self described faith that has no resemblance to what I grew up with. And doesn't even seem to be in the same universe as the material I've been reading.

Back in the eighties Bill Moyers did several programs on religious subjects, including what has some to be known as Christian Reconstruction or Dominionism. I dug out my old tape the other day. As far as these folks are concerned this country's religious heritage began and ended with the Puritans and John Calvin. No mention of the Quakers, Anglicans, Catholics or any other groups who also settled this country. And I'm discovering that when it comes to some the rights we take for granted; access to a jury, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, you can thank the Quakers.

Enough for now before I thoroughly depress myself.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why NOT To Eat Bread

One of the facts of 21st century life that helped make me an ex-restaurant owner was having to deal with the preponderance of ridiculous food fads and media driven prohibitions that are out there. It got to where I wanted to shoot the radio or TV every time another “food-borne-illness” report came out. When tomatoes killed a guy in Texas, suddenly every sandwich in the restaurant was going out with “no tomatoes” (which didn’t really bother me much, since fresh tomatoes grown outside of their normal season are gross and tasteless.) A salmonella-in-spinach scare torpedoed sales of the most popular vegetarian offering of my concession business for over a year; though we make the filling with frozen spinach (which is blanched), and the things are cooked in a 400° oven for twenty minutes to boot, you couldn’t talk folks out of their paranoia.

In the waning days of my term as a restaurant owner, the food fad that drove me absolutely crazy—and not only persists but is picking up steam—is the anti-gluten craze. Yes, I understand that the inability to digest gluten was found to be a problem for a subset of people with painful digestive malfunctions that had eluded diagnosis until celiac disease was recognized as the cause. But in the past few years, everyone with any kind of digestive complaint seems to have hit upon gluten as the source of their problems. Gluten has become the dietary devil. The demand for gluten-free this and gluten-free that borders on hysteria.

Bread has been around for something like 30,000 years, folks. Bread and bread-like products were independently developed by hundreds of cultures once human beings figured out they liked grain and it wouldn’t poison them. A food crop with a rich history, one whose cultivation symbolized the transition of mankind from hunter/gatherers to farmers, has suddenly been labeled poison by a hysterical portion of our pop-culture. Just goes to prove the kind of havoc that a lot of people with a little information can wreak.

Of course, I really don’t care if you choose to eliminate gluten from your diet. Knock yourself out, if that’s what you think is going to solve all your health problems. Because of the mysterious connection between our minds and bodies (which is the thing upon which we should really be concentrating if we want to advance our ability to heal sickness), merely believing in a particular health regimen can make it work. Like people who bury potatoes in their back yards to make their warts go away.

But, here’s the problem engendered by our fanatically entitled society: once I’ve decided that something is bad for me, I demand that the entire market place tie itself in knots to pander to my issues. If I’m going gluten-free, the whole world needs to figure out how to make it easy for me. Subway had better cough up gluten-free bread. Pizza Hut had best figure out how to make gluten-free pizza dough. Oh and, by the way, I don’t want to have to PAY more for any of this stuff…

But I digress. The whole reason I began this piece is because a couple of days ago, I had an experience that provided me with a sort of epiphany about America’s bread issues. When I left to go on vacation back in August, I decided I would take with me some extra bread I had left over from the restaurant to feed to the birds on the beach. So I grabbed it out of the freezer, tossed it in a box and threw it into the back of the pick-up. That was a month ago.

Last Friday, I suddenly remembered that I had neglected to unpack the back of the truck when I got home. There was nothing but a bunch of tools, tarps, and camping supplies back there—things that I don’t use when I’m not camping. But…oh no. There WAS that box of bread. Ewwww.

With distinct trepidation, I opened up the back of the canopy and crawled into the truck to retrieve what I was sure was going to be a mass of smelly, powdery green stuff, unrecognizable as bread. What I found was undoubtedly worse than that. Not only was the bread not moldy, it was almost pristine. It wasn’t even stale. I probably could have unwrapped a couple of slices and made a perfectly passable sandwich. It scared the hell out of me.

So I submit to the gluten-fearing American public: It’s probably not the wheat that’s screwing up your health. It’s what we’re doing to it before we eat it that makes it poisonous. And unless you consume nothing but what you have grown, prepared and cooked yourself, you are not saving yourself from anything.

Monday, September 19, 2011

JUST TRY AND PROVE IT

Serious health problems appear to be developing in areas near natural gas fields There have been reports of problems for years, but they were in states like Colorado where the population is still fairly low. Now they're drilling in places like Pennsylvania and near Fort Worth, Texas. The science is lagging behind. The companies claim that the materials they use for fracking are proprietary and won't reveal them. Their message appears to be until you can prove we're causing the problem "frack you."

The article is far to long to post, please follow the link and spread the word. Time to dig out my copies of Ecotopia, Ecotopia Emerging, and the Monkey Wrench Gang.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

SCARY PERRY

What is it with these ultra conservatives? Once of our greatest protections is our independent judiciary. Protecting even those idiot ultra conservatives. We went to direct election of senators because using the legislatures to select senators was turning into free for alls in the states.

Rick Perry has many ideas about how to change the American government’s founding document. From ending lifetime tenure for federal judges to completely scrapping two whole amendments, the Constitution would see a major overhaul if the Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate had his druthers.



Perry laid out these proposed innovations to the founding document in his book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington. He has occasionally mentioned them on the campaign trail. Several of his ideas fall within the realm of mainstream conservative thinking today, but, as you will see, there are also a few surprises.

1. Abolish lifetime tenure for federal judges by amending Article III, Section I of the Constitution.

The nation’s framers established a federal court system whereby judges with “good behavior” would be secure in their job for life. Perry believes that provision is ready for an overhaul.

“The Judges,” reads Article III, “both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

Perry makes it no secret that he believes the judges on the bench over the past century have acted beyond their constitutional bounds. The problem, Perry reasons, is that members of the judiciary are “unaccountable” to the people, and their lifetime tenure gives them free license to act however they want. In his book, the governor speaks highly of plans to limit their tenure and offers proposals about how to accomplish it.

“‘[W]e should take steps to restrict the unlimited power of the courts to rule over us with no accountability,” he writes in Fed Up! ”There are a number of ideas about how to do this . . . . One such reform would be to institute term limits on what are now lifetime appointments for federal judges, particularly those on the Supreme Court or the circuit courts, which have so much power. One proposal, for example, would have judges roll off every two years based on seniority.”

2. Congress should have the power to override Supreme Court decisions with a two-thirds vote.

Ending lifetime tenure for federal justices isn’t the only way Perry has proposed suppressing the power of the courts. His book excoriates at length what he sees as overreach from the judicial branch. (The title of Chapter Six is “Nine Unelected Judges Tell Us How to Live.”)

Giving Congress the ability to veto their decisions would be another way to take the Court down a notch, Perry says.

“[A]llow Congress to override the Supreme Court with a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, which risks increased politicization of judicial decisions, but also has the benefit of letting the people stop the Court from unilaterally deciding policy,” he writes.

3. Scrap the federal income tax by repealing the Sixteenth Amendment.


The Sixteenth Amendment gives Congress the “power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” It should be abolished immediately, Perry says.

Calling the Sixteenth Amendment “the great milestone on the road to serfdom,” Perry’s writes that it provides a virtually blank check to the federal government to use for projects with little or no consultation from the states.

4. End the direct election of senators by repealing the Seventeenth Amendment.


Overturning this amendment would restore the original language of the Constitution, which gave state legislators the power to appoint the members of the Senate.

Ratified during the Progressive Era in 1913 , the same year as the Sixteenth Amendment, the Seventeenth Amendment gives citizens the ability to elect senators on their own. Perry writes that supporters of the amendment at the time were “mistakenly” propelled by “a fit of populist rage.”

“The American people mistakenly empowered the federal government during a fit of populist rage in the early twentieth century by giving it an unlimited source of income (the Sixteenth Amendment) and by changing the way senators are elected (the Seventeenth Amendment),” he writes.

5. Require the federal government to balance its budget every year.

Of all his proposed ideas, Perry calls this one “the most important,” and of all the plans, a balanced budget amendment likely has the best chance of passage.

“The most important thing we could do is amend the Constitution–now–to restrict federal spending,” Perry writes in his book. “There are generally thought to be two options: the traditional ‘balanced budget amendment’ or a straightforward ‘spending limit amendment,’ either of which would be a significant improvement. I prefer the latter . . . . Let’s use the people’s document–the Constitution–to put an actual spending limit in place to control the beast in Washington.”

A campaign to pass a balanced budget amendment through Congress fell short by just one vote in the Senate in the 1990s.

Last year, House Republicans proposed a spending-limit amendment that would limit federal spending to 20 percent of the economy. According to the amendment’s language, the restriction could be overridden by a two-thirds vote in both Houses of Congress or by a declaration of war.

6. The federal Constitution should define marriage as between one man and one woman in all 50 states.

Despite saying last month that he was “fine with” states like New York allowing gay marriage, Perry has now said he supports a constitutional amendment that would permanently ban gay marriage throughout the country and overturn any state laws that define marriage beyond a relationship between one man and one woman.

“I do respect a state’s right to have a different opinion and take a different tack if you will, California did that,” Perry told the Christian Broadcasting Network in August. “I respect that right, but our founding fathers also said, ‘Listen, if you all in the future think things are so important that you need to change the Constitution here’s the way you do it’.

In an interview with The Ticket earlier this month, Perry spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said that even though it would overturn laws in several states, the amendment still fits into Perry’s broader philosophy because amendments require the ratification of three-fourths of the states to be added to the Constitution.

7. Abortion should be made illegal throughout the country.

Like the gay marriage issue, Perry at one time believed that abortion policy should be left to the states, as was the case before the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. But in the same Christian Broadcasting Network interview, Perry said that he would support a federal amendment outlawing abortion because it was “so important…to the soul of this country and to the traditional values [of] our founding fathers.”



Very, very scary; yes? But, what can you expect from sombody who barely managed a C avarage in a field that had nothing to do with politics or statesmanship.

Monday, September 5, 2011

POLITICS AND RELIGION CAN MIX-NOT

I found the online article on the LA Times website. I'm including a link to the paper. It has some good comments and some suggested reading that looks good. LA Times link

I'm also linking to the Amazon page for her book. I found one of the publisher's critiques really interesting. Charlotte Allen's Amazon page.

This was in the editorial section of the Sunday paper. Hate to say it but the Guard is definitely going downhill. Decided it was worth it to post the text rather than the link. Some of what she says is true, sort of. BUT, RICK WARREN, JIM WALLIS, AND THE FOLKS AT TIKKUN OLAM ARE NOT RUNNING FOR OFFICE, RICK PERRY ET AL ARE.

POLITICS AND RELIGION CAN MIX

An election year is just around the corner, and right on schedule, we're witnessing the return of the liberal obsession with conservative politicians' religious beliefs.
Every time a Republican candidate for high office surfaces who is also a dedicated Christian, the left warns in apocalyptic tones that if you vote for him, America will sink into a "theocracy." Long ago these fear-mongers warned us about Ronald Reagan. Then it was George W. Bush, and after that, Sarah Palin. Now it's Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Elect Perry or Bachmann, this year's warnings go, and make way for "Jesusland" — a country in which adulterers will be stoned, creationism taught in the schools and gay people sent to reorientation therapy.
In a recent New Yorker profile of Bachmann, Ryan Lizza characterized the Minnesota congresswoman as "a politician with a history of pushing sectarian religious beliefs in government." Around the same time, Salon's Alex Pareene accused Perry of "purposefully evoking some of the most radical far-right movements and ideas of the last 200 years." A few days later, Michelle Goldberg, who in 2006 wrote a theocrats-under-the-bed book titled "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism," warned in the Daily Beast that both Bachmann, a Lutheran, and Perry, a lifelong Methodist, "are deeply associated with a theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism known as Dominionism."
You might wonder what on Earth "dominionism" is. That's because the word wasn't coined by dominionists (partly because it's unclear whether there actually are any) but by writers who worry about dominionism. The word derives from a passage in Genesis in which God gives Adam and Eve "dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the Earth." It's a stretch from there to the idea that the Christian right has a secret plan to take over America, but plenty among the paranoid intelligentsia have been willing to make that stretch.
Sara Diamond, who wrote the 2002 book "Facing the Wrath: Confronting the Right in Dangerous Times," concluded that dominion theology — the notion that "Christians, and Christians alone, are biblically mandated to occupy all secular positions" — is ubiquitous in evangelical circles.
Her position was enthusiastically adopted by many of her fellow intellectuals, who already were freaked out by the Bible-reading George W. Bush. Books such as Goldberg's "Kingdom Coming," Chris Hedges' "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America," Kevin Phillips' "American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century" and James Rudin's "The Baptizing of America: The Religious Right's Plans for the Rest of Us" flowed feverishly from the presses. On the Internet, Andrew Sullivan coined the word "Christianist," and bloggers across the country echoed each others' daily alarms about the coming fundamentalist jihad.
Lately, the alarmist left has focused on Rousas John Rushdoony, a Presbyterian minister who died in 2001. Rushdoony, part of a Calvinist offshoot known as Christian Reconstructionism, believed that biblical law, including the eye-for-an-eye mandates of the Old Testament, should form the basis of government.
But linking Rushdoony to present-day evangelicals involves connecting a dubious series of dots. In the case of the New Yorker's Bachmann profile, the dots included the fact that she attended law school at Oral Roberts University, where professors taught her to seek "legal means and political means" to change laws that conflicted with biblical values. It also pointed to her admiration for the evangelical theologian and best-selling author Francis Schaeffer, who died in 1984. No matter that Schaeffer specifically condemned Rushdoony's proposal that Old Testament law should govern America.
As for Perry, well, um, he led a prayer rally Aug. 6 that was protested by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Oh, and he prayed with some Pentecostal preachers who have been accused by his critics of being closet dominionists. "Close to" and "associated with" are favorite phrases in the vocabulary of the religion-fearing left.
To listen to those warning of dominionism, you'd think there was a tidal wave of millions of theocrats poised to crash over American democracy.
Such groups as Campus Crusade for Christ, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Feminists for Life have been characterized as dominionist fronts.
Most recently — and hilariously — New York Times religion columnist Mark Oppenheimer postulated that Christian Reconstructionism might have been behind the recent anti-public union demonstrations in Wisconsin. After all, Gary North, Rushdoony's son-in-law, has argued that the Bible forbids public employees from organizing.
It is hard to figure out why no one in the liberal media seems to mind, say, that one of President Barack Obama's spiritual advisers, the progressive evangelical Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine, also has a political agenda — income redistribution and greater social spending — that he says is influenced by his Christian values.
Many Jews believe that the rabbinic concept of tikkun olam, or "repairing the world," is a mandate for bettering society at large. Yet when conservative-voting Christians seek to implement their values in the public square, using the language of their faith, they're feared like carriers of bubonic plague.
The opponents of the religious right would gain a bit more credibility if they didn't feel compelled to manufacture a vast conspiracy called dominionism and throw around words like "theocracy" every time the GOP threatens to win an election. You know what they sound like? Their opposite number from the 1950s: the John Birch Society.
Charlotte Allen is the author of "The Human Christ: The Search for the Historical Jesus."


Well, there it is folks. Really over the top. She seems to overlook one thing. Those in office represent us all, in theory. That means we have the right to ask them what they believe and how those beliefs are going to affect the rest of us. Governor Perry evidently attended a meeting with fundagelical leaders to have his bona fides vetted and answer questions. Trouble is, everybody who attended agreed not to talk about what went on. This is not a good thing. Also some of these groups may be skating very close to the line when it comes to keeping their tax exemptions.

Labor Day 2011 - Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves...

I took Friday off, and for the first time in a long time, I really did take the day off, meaning that although I brought my laptop home, I didn't open it. This is a good thing, because no matter how much I work right now, I can never really be current. In a little over 3 years, my case load has doubled, in addition to which for the past 3 weeks I've been assigned a significant portion of the work of one of my colleagues who is out indefinitely with a broken wrist. Management offers only the stick, not the carrot, and all of us get the stick, no matter what.

I am deeply unhappy with my job. The atmosphere is grim, and getting grimmer. But looking for another job is depressing, because in this economy, there's not a lot out there, even for workaholics like myself, or maybe especially for workaholics like myself: I'll be 62 on September 11. So to take the day off on Friday was good; it was exactly what I needed. I worked on my flower beds out back, no small task in this summer, now officially Dallas' hottest summer on record, with 68 days over 100 degrees so far, 40 of them consecutive. All of the annual bedding plants I put in this spring were dead by the first week in July, as were many of my perennials, killed by the awful combination of horrendous, relentless heat and drought. I'd pulled them all up and the beds were empty, but it was too hot to work on them. Friday, I finally finished putting down landscaping fabric and then mulching the empty beds; Saturday I put in a new row of yellow mums, having found them for $1.25 per pot at Home Depot. I also splurged and spent $32 on 8 glorious hanging baskets of petunias. I transplanted all of those into my own baskets and pots, and for the first time since early spring, my patio is an inviting place, with pots of blooming petunias in red, pink, white, and purple. Today I repainted the deck outside my front door. For a little over a year, it's been a hideous sort of rust color, a bad calculation on my part after I bought a gallon of solid stain without bothering to try a sample can first. Today, after trying 4 different samples, I settled on a wonderful, understated, subdued taupe, which looks great; I've done 2 coats and now I'm just waiting for it to dry hard before I put my pots of flowers back on it.

I'd love to be retired, because I could get used to this. If I enjoyed what I were doing; if I felt that my job made any sort of difference whatsoever, I wouldn't mind working, but I know better and even if I didn't, all of us are regularly reminded of this fact by management (I'm not kidding). Personally, I'm in the position of the kid who makes good grades and doesn't get into trouble, but who is treated as if she's a juvenile delinquent because some of her classmates are juvenile delinquents. That's not a way to make me want to stay, not that I delude myself that management gives a damn whether I leave or stay. It's no good to whine about it; in the end, the choice is mine, to move forward or stay in this miserable situation. Well, it will probably take a while, but I've begun looking. There's something better out there; it's up to me to find it. To cheer myself on, I imagine giving my notice and holding exit interviews, in which I tell various men above me (the company has become a very big Old Boy network once again) what I really think of them and their so-called management techniques.

Happy Labor Day.

Cross posted on Talking to Myself

Friday, August 5, 2011

POLLS OR BE GLAD AMERICA ISN'T RUN LIKE A BUSINESS

Now we know why members of congress held their noses and passed the legislation to raise the debt ceiling. It’s August and the members needed to take off for their customary August recess. There was a time when it took a lot longer to get home to shake hands with the voters. No TV, no cell phones, no twitter, no facebook, no jets that can get you from one coast to the other in hours instead of days. And no air conditioning. I’ve read that DC was considered a hard ship post for most European diplomats back in the days before central air. It’s hot, it’s humid. I think they had to drain a swamp to build the city. The country is still on the ropes and one branch of the elected hired help pretty much takes the month off.

Polls released last night and early this morning have a damning message for that branch of the elected hired help. The voters are not happy campers. I’m not sure this bunch is any worse than the reps that came before them. After all, nobody’s gone after their opponents with a walking stick since a member of the South Carolina delegation beat Charles Sumner senseless with his walking stick, in chambers, before the Civil War.

How could the members of congress make us a little happier? Well they could skip that August recess for starters. We’ve got jets now. You can go home on Thursday, shake hands with the voters and still be back to work on Monday. Plus you have cell phones, high speed internet and air conditioning. Cut back on the other time off that seems to coincide with major holidays. Take the same time off that most working Americans receive. Which isn’t very much.

It wouldn’t hurt to announce that the only pledge an elected official needs to make is made when the oath of office is taken. And it would also help to remember that just because you won it doesn’t give you the right to ignore the opinions of the voters who supported the other candidate. Especially in a three or four way race. Yeah, you got biggest total, but the combined totals of the other candidates is larger than yours, so a little humility would go a long way. Oh, and thank your lucky stars that we don’t run the country like a private business because right now your performance reviews would be bloody dismal.

Cross posted in Walking With Hope.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On Using Your Head

In reference to Jackie's comment on the previous post:

I don't think folks can't remember. They just don't want to. They're too lazy.

With the bombardment of 24-hour-a-day media, where millions of opinions are thrown around as if they are facts--with no burden of proof put upon anyone--these lazy folks can just pick their "history du jour."

Especially if it speaks to their own personal fears, prejudices or desires.

And don't those media geniuses know that!

A couple of days ago, I promised Cynthia I would post something here that she had posted on Facebook. It speaks perfectly to the point I am trying to make:

One of the things I love about political discussion on fb is the links that people share. Media has changed so much that it's too easy to read only the niche sources that suit our own political beliefs. I do not believe that objective reporting exists anymore. Even when articles and entire sites, papers, magazines stick to factual reporting, what is left out or under-reported reveals bias. It’s imperative that we read what is outside of our political comfort zone. It’s the only way we can remain the informed citizenry a democracy must have to survive. The liberal/conservative split in media makes this much harder and has contributed to a greater fracture of the overall culture.


More than ever, we need to use these great brains endowed upon us by the Creator for more than just media play-back machines. We need to analyze. Remember. Understand.

Now, listen to your old Aunts Lisa and Cynthia: Get out there and think!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Is There Something In the Water...

...or is it Kool-aid...?

When Bill Clinton left office, there was a BUDGET SURPLUS of $236 billion. Which the Bush Administration immediately blew by cutting taxes to the rich, starting two wars, and sending out regular checks to us peons in order to buy our complicity.

Bush left us with a $1.3 trillion deficit, and an economy so broken that President-elect Obama was pressed to make policy decisions to staunch the bleeding before he even took office.

Now, suddenly the deficit is the "liberals'" fault.

C'mon, folks. Let's stop re-writing history and actually go back in our own memories to what really happened. Ten years is not so long a time that we should be hard put to remember...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

HOUSEKEEPING MEASURES

Random thoughts.

At the risk of being considered a traitor to my moderate to left leanings, maybe this would be the equivalent of lancing multiple boils if raising the debt ceiling hadn’t been considered a “housekeeping measure.”

Maybe we would have had this discussion a lot sooner if John and Joan public had seen the deficits ballooning after the Bush tax cuts and the decision to fight two wars off the books. The story we got on Iraq was that money from Iraqi oil was going to pay for that war. Yeah, right. Except that our handpicked candidates to run Iraq after the war couldn’t hold the country. And as if the Iraqis wouldn’t have a say in how their revenues would be spent.

Yes, raising the debt ceiling authorizes borrowing to pay for what congress has already authorized. But if raising it hadn’t been a “housekeeping measure” we might have asked some hard questions a lot sooner. Where are the jobs those tax cuts were supposed to create? Are they in America? Or are they in India and China?

It’s been sixty plus years since WWII, can’t the Europeans defend themselves by now? Alexander the Great, the Russians and the British have all tried to “tame” Afghanistan, they all failed. Something tells me that the best we can do is try to leave the country no worse off than we found it. Iraq was cobbled together from pieces of the British Mandate after the fall of the Ottomans. In the end the Iraqis will have to decide if they are going to be one nation or not. Again, maybe the best we can do is try to leave the country no worse off than we found it.

Oil companies are making record profits. Why do they need subsidies? We’re growing so much subsidized corn we can afford to dump it in other countries at a price below what their farmers need to stay on the land. Or we use it for animal feed. How much can we save if we end those payouts?

I forget who the senator was but he had a saying “a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.” And we appear to have barely avoided the financial equivalent of treating a sprained ankle by amputating the whole leg at the hip.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

THE BRIDGE ISN'T OUT......YET

It appears that we may not go over the cliff, at least not this time.

Trouble with spending your way out of a recession is that you have to have something to spend the money on. From the thirties to the sixties we did it by building dams, levees, locks and freeways that provided, for better or worse, opportunities for development and entrepreneurship.

Local example. Not too long after my folks were married there was a flood so bad that dad had to park in Glenwood and hoof it across the river on foot. Ah Glenwood, a little hole in the wall between Eugene and Springfield. Used to be a lot of trailer parks located there. Because every time there was a heavy rain shower everybody packed up and moved to higher ground.

Between the late forties and early sixties the Army Corps of Engineers built four dams on the Middle Fork of the Willamette and six dams of various sizes on the McKenzie and its tributaries. These dams provide some electricity, but they’re mainly for flood control. For better or worse this opened up large sections of land next to rivers between Eugene and Springfield for development. Two large malls and all the businesses that surround them have been built. There are housing developments, apartment complexes, small businesses and retirement complexes that couldn’t have been built without those dams.

Much of the infrastructure needs repair, but the era of the big digs is pretty much over. It can provide jobs but not on the scale of the original projects.

So, as we try to create new jobs we may have to look a lot closer to home. Oregon has built up quite a wine industry. Large enough that the wineries can supply other services; event venues and restaurants. In turn, these provide a market for locally grown meat and produce. It’s finally sinking in that if you want to save the land you have to save the farmer. If you want to save small business you have to give them your business.

Friday, July 29, 2011

DON'T USE MY TAXES

There’s a story on HuffPost about a poll taken that shows that a majority of Americans don’t support defunding Planned Parenthood. One comment basically said “don’t expect me to support you with my taxes.”

Well bub or sis if you don’t want to support anyone else with your taxes, I suggest that;

You stay off any roads from the street in front of your house to the freeways. Most of them were built with tax money.

Don’t fly anywhere. The air traffic controllers are paid with tax money.

If you live in the Columbia/Snake River, Colorado River, or TVA drainage systems don’t use any electricity. The dams were built with tax money.

Don’t buy any out of season produce. Almost half of the nation’s produce comes from California irrigated with Colorado River water from those tax supported dams.

Don’t buy any products that could have come through the Mississippi River, Great Lakes, Saint Lawrence Seaway network. Many of the levees, locks and channels were built with or maintained with tax money. Same for any products that come through the Columbia/Snake river network. The locks are part of the tax payer built dams.

Don’t buy a house with an FHA mortgage, it’s government administered. I could continue. Guess you’d better go hide under a rock.

On Creating Monsters

The Republican party seems to have made a dire miscalculation. One that appears poised to do it in.

Since the Reagan Era, Republicans have pandered to the far-right wing. Gave the nutcases just enough attention to make them believe their interests were being taken care of by the good ole GOP. The 'Pubs threw them a bone now and then in pre-election rhetoric, then ignored them after the votes were tallied.

Now it's harvest time, and though the Republican Party diligently tried to apply Round-up to the fields after every election, they are going to have to reap what they have sown.

Unfortunately for mainstream Republicans (and everyone else), wingnut rhetoric and a few legislative bones now and then are no longer satisfying this constituency. They have formed the Tea Party, ostensibly an ultra-conservative wing of the more centrist-minded GOP. But they are now the tail wagging the dog.

John Boehner finds himself in a position where, even though his party has seized control of a nearly-deadlocked House, he cannot control or direct its actions without caving to the ultra-right wing agenda. He doesn't have the votes.

So the Republicans can't get anything passed.

The Democrats can't get anything passed.

And Congress is a stone around the President's neck.

Our thanks to the GOP for setting the stage for the most stagnant, putrid legislative session in memory.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On Balance

What the world needs now…is not love sweet love. What we need is balance.


“Balance: 3.) harmony; a state in which various parts form a satisfying and harmonious whole and nothing is out of proportion or unduly emphasized at the expense of the rest.”
I am probably ultra-sensitive to this fact since I let my own life get so out of balance. What started out as the exhilarating challenge of realizing a dream quickly descended into an all-consuming obsession with the work and the worries and the insanity.

I remember trying—for about the first three weeks, it seems—to maintain something that resembled my “old life.” But as I became inundated by the pure magnitude of what I had gotten myself into, I became convinced that “total immersion” was probably the only way I was going to get control of the café. I watched my old life and its priorities disappear like a diamond ring down a shower drain. Keeping my house clean, my lawn mowed, my flowers watered? Tracking what I ate and when? Walking the dog, petting the cats, feeding the birds? Being with family, being with my husband? All these things that made up the fabric of what I had thought was a non-life became expendable; fluff for which I had no time or energy. All of my focus, all of my resources, swung ‘round to be centered on one thing: the restaurant. One of my sisters called the cafe “the job that ate your life.” Indeed. It took about 48 months of sloughing off part after part of my old self and penetrating deeper and deeper into a maze that I ultimately realized I was never going to solve, to make me understand that I had had a life, once. And I wanted it back.

Now, I’ve chucked the café and thrown myself into the work of reclaiming my life. I revel in getting out of bed whenever I feel like it; I happily grab hold of some project that has needed doing for, say, five years or so, and bang away at it until it’s done, even if it means staying up half the night or missing a couple of meals. Or I sit and do nothing. Because I can. I’ve utterly thrown over self-discipline for a kind of bohemian schizophrenia. I do whatever I feel like whenever I feel like it. Truthfully, it was kind of nice for awhile, but I’m beginning to realize that this is not right either. I’ve swung too far in the opposite direction from the unrelenting barrage of challenges that comprised my life for five years. It’s hard to feel like you’ve accomplished something when you really don’t have to do anything. And I’m still out of balance.

So it’s easy for me to see what’s going on in my life as a microcosm of the rapidly degrading culture of the United States of America. Everything is “Extreme.” There is no balance.

The halls of Congress have become a 21st-century Coliseum; an arena which hosts spectacle after spectacle in the Clash of Ideological Titans. Not a moment’s thought is wasted on the efficacy of forming a “satisfying and harmonious whole.” It’s just two enemies hammering away at each other, neither willing to settle for anything less than all the marbles. Government? Legislation? Providing for the common good? Meaningless. It’s all about winning. Though I’m not sure either side has any idea what the prize is supposed to be.

And every two years, the hapless voting public, convinced by the puppet media that they have been duped, abused and led to the brink of disaster by whichever party has laid claim to a tenuous upper hand, mindlessly stampedes as far as it can cringe in the opposite direction. The scales tip way too far the other way, never pausing at anything approaching the middle. Balance loses out again. And, thus, so do we all.

Balance. How do you sell it? It’s not a sexy concept. It’s not excessive enough for today’s American consumer. In fact, it’s entirely the opposite. How do you sell calm, reason, harmony—these things for which our society is so desperate—in a world where “extremeness” has become everything?

I wish I had the answer. I’m having a hard enough time finding balance in my own life, surrounded as I am by a society constantly pushing toward too much. I can only hope that the world will tire of “extreme everything.” History proves that the pendulum will swing the other way. Slowly and steadily, I hope, as tough as it will be to wait it out. If only we could get that pendulum to stay in the middle once it gets there. Or at least restrain its tendency, of late, to swing about quite so wildly.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Disheartened...

I believed the housekeeper.

This is saying something, because I'm a born skeptic with a highly sensitive BS meter, in addition to which I've spent years, professionally, honing my innate abilities to doubt, analyze, and deconstruct anything with which I'm presented, with the goal of being to be able to sort wheat from chaff, which, most of the time, I'm able to do.

But not this time. No, this time, it appears, those of us who believed this woman was a victim were DUPED. The NYTimes reports that 28 hours after accusing Mr. Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, the housekeeper had a conversation with a boyfriend who's in jail in Arizona. Because he's in jail, the conversation was taped. The Times reports that in this taped conversation, the woman spoke to her friend "in a unique dialect of Fulani", a language from her native Guinea. The conversation had to be translated, which took awhile, but finally, this past Wednesday, the Manhattan district attorney's office received the translation. As soon as they listened to it, the case began to fall apart, beginning with the woman saying to her friend,
"Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing”.

There's more.

During questioning in the past 6 weeks, she's admitted that the story she told to get into this country was false; soldiers didn't enter her home and beat her and her husband because of their opposition to the regime; her husband didn't die in jail; she wasn't gang raped in Guinea. Nor is she the destitute housekeeper with whom so many could sympathize. Investigators discovered she lied about her income to maintain her public housing, and claimed a friend's child as her dependent to increase her tax refund. She has consistently claimed that Sofitel was her only source of income, but investigators confronted her with bank records showing thousands of dollars in deposits in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania to an account in her name.

In the phone call, she told her boyfriend she knew what she was doing, but did she, really? I hope not, because for starters, she's made it that much harder for anyone who is truly victimized to come forward, including...if she was raped by DSK, and now we will never know...herself.

cross posted at Talking to Myself

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Summer! Friday Photo

I have not been happy about this poor little blog lying fallow as it has... The last several posts have been pictures.

Which is nice, but not very meaty.

I exhort you ladies out there to...give us a hand here. Please?

I personally am going to crank out a political post sometime in the next few days.

But until then, here's another picture: (It IS Friday, after all...)

027

Monday, June 13, 2011

Best Bumper Sticker I've Seen In A Long Time



Some intellectual snobs thumb their noses at bumper stickers...

But sometimes they say exactly the right thing in exactly the right way.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Photo Almost Friday

Well, it will most likely BE Friday before anyone sees this. In fact, it's already Friday East of the Mississippi...

And here is something I wish we were seeing a little bit more of out here in the Pacific Northwest.

cropped sun

Oh well. At least it's not raining (right now...)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

HEN AND CHICKS

A little black and white experiment. We planted these a few years ago and they just sort of sat there stared at us. Seem to have hit the magic whatever and this year we have the hen and an almost perfect circle of chicks. They're pretty in color but the black and white really brings out the texture of the plants.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Photo Friday!

Here it is...Friday. And it occurred to me that I actually DO have pictures that are not a year old. I took some pictures on my beach retreat. Of course, they are all sunset pictures... But you won't mind my sharing one, will you?

030
Oh yeah...it's huge. But we can all look at it and wish we were (still) there.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A CULTURE OF DEATH?

Sorry Lisa, didn't get back to check your comments on this until now. So here we are. Two I want to put my fist through the wall and howl posts in one day.

This was printed in the Eugene Register Guard yesterday. Blachly and Triangle Lake are located in the Coast Range of Oregon. The cut off from Highway 99 heading west is about fifteen miles north of Eugene. One of the chemicals, atrazine, is banned in most of Europe and has been lined to various birth defects, cancers and infertility. And it's in most of our water, even if you aren't downwind from a clear cut. Day Owen is also one of the founders of the local Pitchfork Rebellion.

Triangle Lake residents alarmed by pesticide test results
By Day Owen
Appeared in print: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, page A13
________________________________________
My urine — and the urine of 20 of my Triangle Lake area neighbors — was tested and came back positive for two of the most dangerous pesticides: 2,4-D and atrazine.

It is probable that nearly everyone who lives in our coastal mountain logging community also is poisoned. We are now going to offer free tests for children at Triangle Lake School.

Our recent tests were conducted by one of the world’s premier experts: Dana Barr, who for two decades ran the labs at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. The analytical chemist is a researcher at Emory University, specializing in chemical exposures.

For seven years, we begged the state of Oregon unsuccessfully to test our urine. We knew that the timber industry helicopters that were spraying pesticides from the sky near our homes and schools were making us sick. We got zero help.

The stumbling block was that the pesticide industry is so powerful in Oregon that it exercises considerable control over state government. The agency in charge of investigating pesticide complaints is overseen by the Pesticide Division of the Department of Agriculture, which is heavily influenced by the pesticide industry.
Last year, we petitioned the federal Environmental Protection Agency for redress. It sent an investigator from the CDC, Capt. Richard Kauffman, to look into our allegations of foul play. His report on PARC — the Pesticide Analytical Response Center, overseen by the pesticide division — was scathing.

After seven years of being treated like dirt by Oregon government, we decided to take matters into our own hands and asked Barr to test our urine. Her results proved us right, but we are not celebrating.

Vindication is not sweet when every organ in your body hurts. The yearly spring spraying season has begun, and the amounts of 2,4-D and atrazine in our second urine samples taken in April have gone way up. Many of us are very sick.
L
awyers.com, a resource for environmental lawyers, lists the dangers of atrazine: increased risk of breast and prostate cancers; birth defects and fetal deaths; low birth weights and premature births; and increased toxic effects when combined with other chemicals.

2,4-D, is also more toxic when combined with other chemicals. Now they are combined in our bodies — along with who knows how many other herbicides that our budget does not permit us to check.

Almost no research has been done on the synergistic effect of several herbicides in the body, but it is believed to create a far more toxic brew than any one pesticide alone.

2,4-D is found in just 2 percent to 4 percent of the general population. But like atrazine, it was found in 100 percent of Triangle Lake residents tested so far.
Here is what we are now asking the state to do. Note that we are especially interested in fixing structural flaws in the spirit of Oregon’s legally mandated policy of best management practices.

We ask that the governor lead an effort to move PARC back under the authority of the state Public Health Division.

We ask that the governor move the authority to establish pesticide buffer zones around homes and schools from the Department of Agriculture to the health division. Pesticide lobbyists previously caused that authority to reside solely with agriculture. That is a glaring structural flaw for two reasons: Agriculture has no expertise in health and environmental toxins. And significantly, it has a financial conflict of interest because it is linked to the pesticide makers.

We ask that the governor order an investigation into exactly how the atrazine and 2,4-D entered our bodies. Both herbicides recently were sprayed aerially near our homes, and we want the governor to confirm the obvious: The stuff drifts farther than industry admits.

Oregon must repeal the part of the Oregon Right to Farm Act that prohibits a county from enacting a pesticide buffer zone.

We believe we have a cancer cluster in our region. We want that studied.
We want meaningful pesticide reform, beginning with adoption of a strong precautionary principle. Whatever steps are necessary to prevent trespass of pesticides into our bodies against our will must be taken, even if that means banning them entirely.

We demand that Oregon alter its rules that currently permit three members of the state Board of Forestry to have financial conflicts of interest.

Unless the above-named structural flaws are remedied, we will file a class action lawsuit alleging that the state of Oregon has failed to abide by best management practices. You can’t put the fox in charge of guarding the henhouse, yet that is exactly what Oregon has done.

Day Owen is the founder of the Pitchfork Rebellion, a forest dwellers support group that can be contacted at P.O. Box 160, Greenleaf, OR 97430.


It's strange, or perhaps not so strange that our so called culture of life seems to be restricted to the question of abortion. Failing to supportt our families, poisoning our land, our animals and our neighbors with pesticides and herbicides. We're spending billions to treat the diseases linked to the contamination, but doing nothing to end the contamination because too often the people who are supposed to deal with the problem used to work for or are being paid by the companies causing the problem.

Originally posted in Walking With Hope

GULF COAST SYNDROME

This link is courtesy of Cynthia and Mary Ellen on Facebook. Gulf Coast Syndrome in the Colorado Springs Independent. And remember that it's our current speaker of the house who attempted to reprimand the president for "picking on BP" when he insisted that the company put up some cash to support the costs of the clean up. Not nearly enough it seems. And BP is posting record profits this year. So, for what it's worth, I'm posting this link where ever I can think of.

Want a real kick in the face. The dispersant BP used over here in the colonies is banned in the UK.

Just Wondering...

Three days ago, this story made news:
Former Palin Aide Pens Scathing Tell-All

Less than 24 hours later, that article mysteriously disappeared from online news leaders, to be replaced by this one:
John Edwards facing Criminal Charges

I’m no huge John Edwards fan, and I’m aggressively uninterested in anything having to do with Alaska’s former governor. But we all know they represent opposite sides of the political spectrum.

And it seems to me it is no coincidence that the Palin story vaporized, and abra-cadabra, the Edwards headline materialized in its place.

Is there anyone out there who still believes that old “Liberal Media” bullcrap?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

seriously...who could resist him?














I'm looking for the Dos Equis man.


Seriously, who could resist him?

Here are some of the phrases used to describe him:

His blood smells like cologne

His hands feels like rich brown suede

His beard alone

Has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body...

His charm is so contagious vaccines have been created for it…

His personality is so magnetic he’s unable to carry credit cards…

He’s been known to cure narcolepsy just by walking into a room

He can speak French…in Russian (my personal fave)

Every time he goes for a swim…dolphins appear

The police often question him

Just because they find him interesting

He is the only man to ever ace a Rorschach test

Even his enemies list him as their emergency contact number...

When it's raining, it's because he thinks something sad...

He’s a lover, not a fighter...but he's also a fighter, so don't get any ideas...

He once had an awkward moment…just to see how it feels

He lives vicariously…through himself

If he were to give you directions, you'd never get lost

And you’d arrive at least 5 minutes early


He is...the most interesting man in the world...


Yep, that's the man I'm looking for.


Judging by his pic, I'd say he's about my age (I'm 61).


But if he's like many men my age, including former IMF head, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, age 62...he's probably not looking for me.


No, he's not looking for me; he's probably looking for a 30-something. And really, who could blame him? Almost all of us are better looking when we're younger; no one could deny that. So I understand looking at a younger person, and admiring their physical beauty. But here's where most women have so much more common sense than most men: as we get older, we realize that we've aged. When I look in the mirror, I'm happy with what I see, but what I see is a 61-year-old woman.


When Dominique Strauss-Kahn stepped out of the shower last Saturday and looked in the mirror, what did he see? Maybe he didn't see himself at all; just the reflection of the 32-year-old housekeeper, who had come into the suite thinking it was unoccupied...


His first story was that he wasn't there; he was having lunch with his daughter; it didn't happen.


But after a CSI team showed up and cut away a section of carpet said to contain certain...ahem...forensic evidence, the story has changed: it seems Monsieur Strauss-Kahn did indeed have (rough, oral) sex with the 30-years-younger housekeeper, but it was consensual sex...


Yeah, right.


Nevermind that the housekeeper has reportedly worked at the Sofitel for three years with an unblemished record.

Nevermind that she is a devout Muslim.

Nevermind that DSK is approximately twice her age.


Everyone knows that all women are attracted to powerful, older men. I personally have been longing to get together with a rich guy twice my age, but since I'm 61, I know the odds are against it. Shoot, even if I'd be willing to settle for someone 30 years older than I am now, what are the chances? But I digress.


I've been reading the comments people have left on the web about this, and I've learned quite a few things. It couldn't have happened because the housekeeper is apparently around 6 feet tall. I confess, I have absolutely no response to this argument, because I don't understand what her height has to do with anything.


It couldn't have happened, because DSK, being the powerful, attractive guy that he is, could have simply hired a woman for sex. Huh? He's accused of sexual assault, which has nothing to do with sex but everything to do with power, rage, subjugation...


It couldn't have happened, because he went to lunch afterward, before he went to the airport. Uh-huh. That doesn't prove anything, except maybe that he's a cocky, arrogant SOB who thinks he's above the law.


I could go on and on, but I won't, because I find it depressing.


But not everything in this story is depressing.


I applaud the housekeeper, for going to security immediately and reporting what happened.


I applaud her colleague, who had the presence of mind, when he got the call from DSK inquiring about his cellphone (which the colleague did not have) to lie and say yes, he had it in hand and would be happy to have it delivered immediately to DSK, just tell him where...which is how the police got the flight info


I applaud the Port Authority police, who boarded the Air France flight and apprehended DSK


I applaud the NYC police, who handcuffed DSK and took him into custody...


cross posted at Talking to Myself

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Forks Over Knives, or How To Save Your Own Life

So, life (thank the goddess) goes on, and I seem to have less and less time or inclination to sit at the computer. Well, no, the truth is that I quite often have the inclination, but since for the past almost seven months now I have been exercising more and more often than in the past forty or fifty years put together, and have become convinced of the real dangers of spending too much time sitting in a chair, I don't very often act on that inclination. I do miss spending time writing things longer than emails or Facebook status posts however, and since we're all going to be raptured (or the Chosen will be raptured, and I guess the rest of us will just fall into the Great Void) when Judgement Day happens on Saturday, I thought I'd spend a little time on the old blog today (with frequent intervals to get up and jog around the house, mind you).

It's really too bad about that judgement day business, especially if it really happens.  Gail and I have been spending so much time and effort on getting healthy and fit at this late day in our lives, and wondering why we waited so long -  be a damn shame to waste it on getting tossed into la nada by worldwide earthquakes and so forth.  I personally would really like to go down a few more sizes and maybe run a 5K race for a worthy cause of some sort before it's all over.  Maybe even a marathon eventually.  Well, I guess we'll see.

In the meantime my more immediate goal is to be able to see a movie whose progress I've been following for a while now.  It's called Forks Over Knives, and it's about the benefits of exactly what Gail and I have been doing since her Coronary Artery Disease diagnosis in September, eating a plant based, nutritionally dense, vegan diet.  We've also been doing yoga, working out on the treadmill and weight machines at our local Y's, and as soon as the outdoor pool is open (Memorial Day, and we can't wait), swimming, daily.  The movie apparently doesn't deal much with exercise, according to Roger Ebert's review "...Although regular exercise, especially walking, is invaluable, the film shows only a little exercise and focuses singlemindedly on nutrition."  Ebert is most enthusiastic about this film, and says what we have found to be true during our Medical System Journeying after Gail's diagnosis: " 'Forks Over Knives' is not subtle. It plays as if it had been made for doctors to see in medical school. Few doctors seem prepared to suggest proper nutrition as an alternative to pills, stents and bypasses." No doctor has recommended the path we've taken; quite the contrary - the recommendations are all for invasive procedures and/or medications. The reactions to our telling them our plan has universally been snorts of derision. So, we took the initiative to read the very doctors featured in this movie, T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyne, and embark on our own vegan adventure.

I've been writing about this adventure in this blog since we started, and think it's time for a little update. Gail, who was not really overweight to start withbut did have some of the dreaded belly fat,  has lost fifteen pounds, her cholesterol has dropped many points, her blood pressure is now very low normal, and she never has any angina, even when racing away at high speeds and inclines on the treadmill.  I, who was quite overweight, have lost almost fifty pounds and my blood pressure is closer to a good normal reading than it has been in my entire adult life.  I won't have a physical and tests until November (first apptmt I could get), but I am expecting my cholesterol to be lower than it has been since I started having it tested in my forties.  It has always been high, and doctors have wanted to put me on medication for years now. So, Gail and I are living proof of this movie's premise, laid out here by T. Colin Campbell himself: 


For more than 2,800 years, the concept of eating plants in their whole-food form has struggled to be heard and adopted as a way of life. However, recent evidence shows that more than ever a plant-based diet is not something to be ignored. In fact, eating a plant-based diet has become an urgent matter from several perspectives. Not only will it improve your health -- and the evidence behind this claim is now overwhelming -- but it will also dramatically reduce health care costs, as well as reduce violence to our environment and to other sentient beings.

The fact is our nation's economic stability, already crumbling due to the repeated bursting of bubbles such as technology and housing, has been hard hit by spiraling health costs that seem to have no end in sight. Despite this, as a nation, we are sicker and fatter than we have ever been. The epidemic of obesity and diabetes, especially in the young, forecasts an economically unsustainable public health challenge with the gloomy prophecy that today's children may not outlive their parents.

Who will protect the public? Not our government: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's nutrition pyramid is laden with food that will guarantee millions will suffer ill health. Not the American Dietetic Association, which is controlled by food corporations. Not the insurance industry, which profits by selling plans to the sick. Not the pharmaceutical industry, which pockets billions from chronic illnesses. And not the medical profession, in which doctors and nurses receive virtually no training in nutrition or behavioral modification, and are handsomely rewarded for administrating drugs and employing technical expertise.

What can save America is a plant-based diet, which will help individuals recover their good health, and which in turn will set our health care system right (as well as our economy). However, for this plant-based diet to take hold, the public must be endowed with nutritional literacy, the kind of knowledge that is portrayed in the new documentary, "Forks Over Knives."

"Forks Over Knives" focuses not just on the research that both of us have been engaged in over the last four decades, whether in China and Cornell or at the Cleveland Clinic; it also traces the journey of several Americans as they move from a lifetime of eating mostly animal-based and processed foods to a whole food plant-based diet, and the extraordinary medical results that follow. It is educational, entertaining, and literally life-saving.

See this movie if it comes to a theatre, or even a town, near you. It would be so great if this movie actually provided the impetus this country needed toget itself off the track of degenerative illness and onto one of real health care.(Cross-posted from Quid Nunc.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Photo Not Friday

I will be too busy this Friday to post much of anything, I imagine...

But I'm posting this picture in honor of some things into which I will soon have a lot more time to invest.



This pic isn't from this year, but I've had the unusual pleasure of the company of his kind all during this past winter. They have helped get me through some bleakish months...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Something For Which We Have All Been Waiting...Or Not

OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD: NPR

While I understand there is no way that this event can go unmentioned here at "Women On..."

I need to confess:

My first reaction was not "Justice has been done."

My first reaction was not "An evil man has been removed from this earth."

My first reaction was not "Glory Hallelujah!"

No.

My first reaction was, "Oh My God. It will be SOOOO interesting to see how this plays out for the president in the next few days."

I am at once hopeful...

...and hiding under my bed with my fingers in my ears.

Events of the past decade have led me to be almost certain that the media, politicians, pundits, and people of this great country are on the threshold of a Great Opportunity... to make total asses of themselves.

If only it could be some other way.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shed a Tear for Wisconsin

Wisconsin's Political Split Hardens Into Great Divide

This is what happens when partisan legislators throw away the rules of "government by the people" and decide that the way to make policy is "my way or the highway."

Let's face it, folks...we have forgotten how our own government works. How it was designed to work from the very beginning. All this flap about what "the founders" had in mind when the Consitution was created... James Madison was one of those hallowed founders. And this is what HE had to say about the process of forming that document:

"No man felt himself obliged to retain his opinions any longer than he was satisfied of their propriety and truth, and was open to the force of argument." (Italics mine.)

There WAS no "my way or the highway" built into the foundation of our government. There never was intended to be. The Founders knew that government by the people promised to be a laborious process of proposal/debate/compromise. It took them four months of that precise process to create the document that now has everyone arguing which side has more honor and reverence for it.

Evidently, in someone's mind, Wisconsin wasn't adequately engaged in the partisan battle sweeping the nation. It appears that Governor Walker took it upon himself to rectify that situation. So now, the renegade actions of one strong-arm petty dictator have significantly deteriorated the quality of life in the state of Wisconsin.

Putting aside all the accusations and counter-accusations, not considering who might be wrong and who might be right in this situation, the people of Wisconsin should be asking themselves, "Is this what we elect a governor to do? To set us at each others' throats? To turn neighbors into enemies overnight?"

I'm thinking the answer is probably a resounding, "NO!"

Sunday, March 6, 2011

THE QUAKERS PART I

As I work my way through these English immigrants I’ve discovered that there’s something you can’t escape. Religious history and political history are Siamese twins. You can’t understand the one without the other. And it’s our loss.

Each section of Albion’s Seed has maps that show which part of England the majority of the members of the migrating group came from. Most of the Quaker immigrants came from northern counties including Yorkshire and Lancashire. As I was looking the maps, the highlighted regions seemed awfully familiar. They were. The counties that were home to the majority of Quaker immigrants overlap the paths the Irish monks took on their way to Europe. A path that took them through what became northern France and southern Germany all the way to the heel of Italy’s boot.

Those monks and missionaries planted their respect for the Creator and their belief that the believer could have a direct and person experience of God. Perhaps that belief wasn’t so unusual in mystics like Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Ekhart and Francis of Assisi. They all spoke of the Inner Light. Quakers also taught the Inner Light, but they went further in their beliefs. For a Quaker no intermediary between believer and Creator was necessary. No ordained ministers, no bishops. And at that point they parted company with just about everyone else in England.

Like all new believers, the early Quakers were eager to share what they had experienced. They ran into immediate problems. They claimed the right to preach where they would and refused to tithe to the Anglican Church. The one got them pilloried or imprisoned. The other led to confiscation of crops, stock and property. Often the value of what was taken was more than they owed the church. Quakers also believed in equality before God and probably got into more trouble for refusing to remove their hats when the met up with social superiors. Most Quakers also refused to swear oaths either to the King or in court.

Enter William Penn. The son of an admiral in favor with the court of Charles II he converted in his early twenties. He managed to get himself arrested almost immediately for attending Quaker meetings. Young William traveled with George Fox not only in England but in Europe. He soon turned his hand to writing for the church. He turned out more than sixty pamphlets or short books, almost half of them on liberty of conscience.

One of the reasons I took more time with the Quakers had to do with a 1670 court case. Penn was arrested with William Meade and charged with preaching to a crowd of more than five people. They were denied the right to see the charges against them and the judge directed the jury to reach a jury without the defense being allowed to present a case.

The jury returned a not guilty verdict. They were “invited” to change their verdict. The jury refused. The impasse continued over several days. When the jury continued to refuse to change their minds, the judge committed the defendants and the jury to Newgate prison. Penn and Meade for contempt and the jurors because he could I guess. One of the juror’s petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus. After all he hadn’t committed a crime, he just refused to change his mind. Eventually, after some polite judicial back and forth over just which court he needed to go to for the writ, it was granted. The justices also ruled that juries had the right to be free of intimidation. The right to habeas corpus in cases of unlawful detention was also upheld. Even though the trial was held in seventeenth century England, these rights found their way into American law.

Cross posted in Walking With Hope.