January 26, 2008 archive

Going Metta

No, smarty pants, it’s not a typo.

I’m not talking about meta as it’s used around here to denote blog talk about blog.

I’m talking about mettā–the Buhddist understanding of unconditioned loving-kindness, compassion for all sentient beings. Before you non-DFHs (are there any of you here?!) click the hell out of here, here’s a lotus blossom, offered in the spirit of mettā. Please stay.

As progressives, Democrats, leftists of all stripes, what really brings us together more than the idea that peace, justice, and equality are the only worthy goals? We may have various conceptions of these grand words and ideas and how to achieve them, but ultimately we all believe in the possibility of a just and peaceful world.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Police question French bank trader

By PIERRE-ANTOINE SOUCHARD, Associated Press Writer

1 minute ago

PARIS – The French trader accused of one of the biggest bank frauds ever surfaced Saturday – in the custody of police, who were questioning him about bad bets that cost France’s No. 2 bank billions of euros in a season of jittery markets.

Financial police in Paris were questioning Jerome Kerviel in a probe into Societe Generale’s allegation against the 31-year-old trader, judicial officials said. They were speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

Kerviel has kept a low profile since the bank said Thursday that Kerviel’s unauthorized trades caused it losses of euro4.9 billion (US$7.14 billion). His picture made the front page of newspapers around the world, and journalists staked out his apartment and those of his family members for days, but they did not catch him on camera – prompting rumors he had fled the country.

The Calling of Names

What if they had a special week and nobody noticed?

Last week was No Name-Calling Week.  From all appearances, at least on the level of the blogs, there wasn’t much notice.  Name-calling is de rigeur.

Which raises a good question.  If adults demand their right to call people names as part of what they think is intelligent debate, why would we expect the children to behave any differently.

It would probably be prudent of me not to mention that fact.  I’ve never been accused of being prudent.

I think about the children.  Big surprise.  I’m a teacher.

Maybe I should be here, instead

I haven’t been here much.  I spend a lot of time over at dailyKos, and I can’t handle being very active on both sites.  

But maybe I should be here instead.

Tomorrow, I will write a diary over there entitled “Memo to admins: Do you want us to leave?” in which I will say why I am considering GBCWing over there.

There are some aspects of dailyKos I really like.  I like a lot of the people. I like playing to the big crowd.  I like how, in an active diary, you can have hundreds of comments and all sorts of interesting threads.  I like the huge variety of diaries

But it’s bad over there.  The candidate diaries suck up more and more oxygen, and good diaries scroll down the recent list into oblivion.  Many people have left, others are thinking of it.

So, maybe I should be here, instead?

The Fight For America: Make it Personal

I’d been away for a while. Offline and watching television and listening to Hillary and Barack. Bleech. And, oh my good god, Bill Clinton has become a political hack. Dennis seems to have disappeared. But it’s hard to miss the American economy’s free-fall.

Tell me something. If I was waiting for the bear and you all were waiting for the bear, how is it that candidates (except John Edwards), Congress, and MSM blowhards seemed to have little concern about this clear and looming economic middle class disaster? Katrina-like in its scope, isn’t it? Well, it’s been my story now for the past 18 months: Democrats are complicit in the rape of the American middle class. Face it. And we citizens are the ones who need to deal with it.

I have a suggestion. Read or reread “Common Sense.” That’s what I’m doing. Because we need to get ourselves in a mind set, build a frame work, for going forward.

We have a heritage here. A history. It is clear. What we need to win is not a seat for a Democrat in the White House, but an awakening of Americans and their stake in America.


from Aaron Russo’s Restore the Republic website

Gulf Coast Civic Works Debate Question: Vote

As anybody who regularly watches candidates’ debates knows, questions about Katrina and New Orleans have been extremely rare, even though this is a valid national campaign issue. Here’s a chance to vote for such a question to be asked during either of the two debates, one Republican, one Democratic, which are slated for Los Angeles on Jan. 30th and Jan. 31st, and will be aired on CNN.

The Problem With Republicanism…It Just Doesn’t Work


The most infuriating thing about Republicanism to me is the fact that we keep trying it, and it keeps not working. American Imperialism doesn’t work. The flip side of the Republican Foreign Policy of bombing various Brown People, Isolationism, doesn’t work either. One of the main reasons Republicanism doesn’t work is because America is ot an island, it never has been. Like it or not, we are part of the greater world, part of the planet. Mishima’s headline and LithiumCola’s essay both talk about this. In perhaps the greatest oxymoron of all, the Republican philosophy of global trade and either bombing brow people or isolationism are incredibly mutually exclusive. That oxymoron is part of what is splitting the GOP now, along with another global issue, which no amount of Karen Hughes type diplomacy can solve, economic migration. Or as the Republicans like to frame it….dirty Mexicans stealing your jobs and threatening your families…or conversely, a cheap labor force to be welcomed and exploited. The Republican dream of American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny just doesn’t hold up on a planetary scale. It’s internal conflicts aside, it simply cannot work on a planet that is now undeniably interdependent. It just doesn’t work. It especially doesn’t work without a Big Daddy figure to weave together the warring factions within the party. Without a Reagan or a faux Reagan like GWBush, the whole thing falls apart.


Pony Party: Glass

On the way to visiting the hospital I took a detour to the RBG ( Royal Botanical Gardens) in the Hamilton-Burlington area to see a glass exhibit. My mother wasn’t interested initially but I heard her tell a friend on the phone how lovely it was. It wasn’t officially open but all the displays were up and we had a nice talk with the director/manager who was catching a quiet moment on a bench enjoying the hypnotically calm atmosphere of the indoor gardens. She told us that due to budget cuts, she had about half the staff she used to and every time they had a new exhibit, they wondered if they could even get it done. It made me realize that one of the unspoken necessities of urban life are public spaces where people can enjoy low cost or free entertainment/education with their family. When gardens, libraries, parks, and other “public spaces” disappear, we become less of a democracy, more of a lemming like consumer organism.

Here are a few pictures. All of the glass items were done by local artists….

When I was a university student on a budget, my then boyfriend and I often went to the outdoor portion of the local RBG gardens for a picnic. He was an artist  (painting,photography, graphic design)and I often acted as his “assistant” finding items that had visual appeal. It never occurred to me I might try and develop my own creative side at that time. I was more into local political activism and thinking I was going to help change the world.







Progressive Blogosphere Challenge: Help Dennis Kucinich Keep His Congressional Seat! w/poll

For those of you who’ve already donated to Dennis’ congressional campaign, thanks!  We know he’s one of the leading progressive voices in Congress, and it would be a shame to lose his voice in the House.


Pony Party: Morning

Well, I got plenty of “winter driving” experience in since most days were built around going to the hospital. I had a particularly charming drive in a white out on slippery roads. I desperately wanted to find another car to follow and discovered that I was the pied piper leading a row of equally cautious cars.

It was a stressful visit but one full of learning experiences, in fact, I have not quite determined all of the lessons the universe decided to bestow upon me. My grandmother got discharged from the hospital the yesterday and we decided that until a suitable retirement/nursing home can be found we are going to get extra care to help her out in her apartment. She is not ill enough for a tradition long term care facility but clearly not quite able to manage on her own for much longer. I left feeling as worried about my mother who confessed that she felt very overwhelmed and was glad I came down just to help out and be a sounding board. Two of my old friends offered to check in on my grandmother on a regular basis. One friend surprised me by being very unavailable, she is resuming her art career and clearly saw me as a distraction. When I was younger, this would have angered or hurt me. I simply accepted that she chose not to see me and move on. Knowing I had an on line home full of kind people who were sending good vibes my way helped tremendously. It could have been much worse.

My aunt and uncle, who are very unstable, called demanding that we let grandmother move in with them. My grandmother rolled her eyes and said she would rather live in the worst nursing home on the planet. Three days later my uncle called again to announce that he was leaving my aunt and that he was drowning. My mother and I rolled our eyes.

I took some random shots of the area around my mother’s place with “ye old back up camera”, not my best stuff and I am firmly blaming the camera….

Oddly enough, it being winter in Southern Ontario, we had snow…


Long shot of my mother’s place from the road. We won’t even have the discussion about the fact that my 68 year old mother lives in an isolated rural area on 65 acres….


Pre-snow at my mother’s place….


The View From Planet Earth

I suppose this is a minor point in the grand scheme of things, but do you remember Karen Hughes?  A Bush friend from his time as governor, she worked as counselor to the President in 2001 and 2002.  In 2005 Bush rehired her as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy.  

Bush’s idea was that Hughes would go around the world as a one-woman PR-circus for the Bush administration.  He thought, or seemed to think, that the main cause of negative world opinions of US policy was not US policy itself but the bad spin it got on, well, planet Earth.

Docudharma Times Saturday January 26

This is an Open Thread: No Hiding Under a Rock Here.

Saturday’s Headlines: Senators Push to Expand Stimulus: Huckabee’s book deal after Jonesboro tragedy still rankles: A Clash of Views On Whale-Loving: Gazans foil Egyptian moves to close border: Kenya’s Olympic hopefuls forced to choose between training and survival

U.S. Race Captures World’s Eye, and Holds It

DAVOS, Switzerland – To look at the reams of coverage in newspapers outside the United States or to follow the hours of television news broadcasts, you might conclude that foreigners had a vote in selecting an American presidential candidate – or, at least, deserved one, so great is America’s influence on their lives.

From Berlin to London to Jakarta, the destinies of Democratic and Republican contenders in Iowa or New Hampshire, or Nevada or South Carolina, have become news in a way that most political commentators cannot recall. It is as if outsiders are pining for change in America as much as some American presidential candidates are promising it.

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