July 24, 2008 archive

Four at Four, at Five

Special guest host?  Nah, It’s just me.

Special edition?  You bet.  We’re in Central time now, folks.

Welcome to the Four at Four, at Five (Four Central).

  • An earthquake in northern Japan injured more than 100 people as a popular highway was pelted with falling rocks.

    Most of the injuries were minor and none was life threatening, said a National Police Agency official on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

    The earthquake caused strong shaking for about 40 seconds in many areas of northern Japan, witnesses said. Life quickly returned to normal, however.

    “Everything — including gas, phone lines, water, electricity — is running normally,” said Takanori Hiyamizu, a city hall official in Hachinohe, one of the cities closest to the epicenter. “The damage from the quake was very minimal.”

  • The remnants of Hurricane Dolly threaten to flood the Rio Grande valley in Texas, after the storm dumped upwards of 12 inches of rain in the area and continues to deluge the area as it moves inland across the state.  So far there have been no casualties, though many homes have been damaged and about 155,000 200,000 people are without power.

    The prospect of heavy rains and a storm surge of sea water pushing back upstream spurred concern that levees holding back the Rio Grande could be breached, causing widespread flooding.

    Pat Ahumada, mayor of Brownsville, said he expected the levees to hold.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry has put 1,200 National Guard troops on alert and issued a disaster declaration for 14 low-lying counties. Perry has asked President George W. Bush to declare a federal disaster for the storm-damaged area.

    He seemed perfectly content to watch Louisiana drown, we’ll see what his reaction is when Texas is in trouble.

  • Recent numbers from the housing slump indicate that the problems are not going away any time soon.

    Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell in June to the lowest level in a decade as tumbling real- estate prices and consumer confidence signal no end in sight to a housing recession now in its third year.

    Resales dropped 2.6 percent to a lower-than-forecast 4.86 million annual rate from a 4.99 million pace the prior month, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The median home price dropped 6.1 percent from June of last year.

    The housing slump may deepen further after mortgage rates climbed to the highest in a year this month and turmoil engulfed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which account for more than two- thirds of new home-loan financing. A record 18.6 million homes stood empty in the last three months as the industry’s recession reverberated through communities, separate figures showed today.

    The NAR report “is, unfortunately, not telling us about an end” to the slide, said David Resler, chief economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York. “Housing is going to be a non-contributor, if not a drag, on the overall economy.”

  • Concerned that a child’s name would leave her emotionally scarred, a New Zealand judge made a child a ward of the state to change her name.

    A lawyer for Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii said the girl is so embarrassed by her name that friends know her as “K.”

Impeachment: Shutting Out Ralph Nader

Original article via counterpunch.com.

NN08 – Part I – Old Friends/New Friends

NN08 was everything I hoped it would be and considerably more.  I saw many old friends from last year, met face-to-face many old friends whom I had not met before and made many new ones as well.  There is something totally amazing about meeting an online friend in meat space for the first time.  In the Paradise restaurant on 6th Street in Austin on the first night of the conference I witnessed it happen five times back-to-back one right after another.  It was pure magic.


**UPDATE Meltdown? Bad Loans? Lender’s REAL dirty little secret

As most of you know who have read some of my diaries and comments, we are in Chapter 13 and in a battle with WaMu, our lender to keep our home. This has been quite the adventure and a real eye opener. When our problems with WaMu started in the fall of 2006 we were pretty sure we weren’t the only ones, fact is we aren’t, but we also had no idea and my guess is neither do you. Follow me below the fold for a sneak peek into Mortgage Lenders REAL dirty secret, the one that is more dangerous and pervasive than sub-prime loans.

Conflict ..or ..Opportunity?

Why am I drawn back over here whenever what appears to be conflicts arise?  Because I am absolutely fascinated by the process of human communication and always have been, more on an intuitive level, than an intellectual level. It works much better when I am an observer, not a part or participant in the group experiencing the “conflict”.

Somehow, even as a kid, when listening to adults fight, the actual words they uttered sort of floated past my attention: instead, I’d be drawn to how the feelings, or how the “energies” between them seemed to dart at each other, like arrows that could

pierce..weapons that or had to be shielded against, or even shot back. I’d see that this created so much chaos and static, pretty soon no one could really hear WHAT anyone else was saying, not really, or even really discern good intent from bad intent anymore.

I started to notice that the more the people involved CARED about each other, and the shared structure built together, the more painful and upsetting it seemed to be to all concerned when “conflicts” couldn’t be resolved, and threatened the shared structure or mission, and relationships that had already formed with each other. No one wants to lose a place that feels like a “home”  or the  “like spirits” with whom they have found some sense of “belongingess”.  Everyone is so alone now, in so many ways: to feel this threatened adds loads of fear, whether identified and admitted or not. Fear makes us much more vulnerable, especially when NOT acknowledged or owned.

That fear can make us more vulnerable, as tensions rise and we try even harder to be heard and understood by each other,  and thus, we get much more defensive. Someone may say something the same way the alway have, for example, but suddenly it seems to have a grown a sharp point and looks like an arrow aimed at me! Twice as scary and shocking, when fired by someone we thought we knew and trusted.

If we am vulnerable, that “arrow”  can pierce, and we bleed, whether the other person intended it as a lethal weapon or not. We feel attacked, and when humans feel attacked, most of us we “REACT” emotionally, if we have an investment in each other.

Many times it’s a reflexive defensive response, because anger, which not always easy to deal with well, often feel safer and more protective, and in a way “stronger” than admitting the so called “weaker feelings” like hurt or pain, in the presence of a perceived “attacker”! (whether that is their intent or not.) Because by now, in close knit group in the middle of painful conflict..no one involved is able to really “hear each other” very well by now, because of the (normal!) emotional static and chaos. Misinterpretations, misunderstandings, distortion of communicative intent..become inevitable..the harder people try to hang onto each other and to the shared “mission and place.”

Some folks, however, have reached a point within themselves, where they can admit openly that these things “hurt” and cause them pain, and dare to do so. Others, who still (subconsciously) view see these as “weaker” or self serving or attention getting, or in any case not useful,  may misinterpret this reaction also.  Round and round it goes, with the principles and involved onlookers each feeling more and more misunderstood, misinterpreted, dismissed, angry, hurt, rejected, unwanted, stressed out, frustrated, exhausted, sad,even hopeless, about being able to “save” what was precious to all.

Some know they have to leave: that this process is costing them way too much to continue. Sometimes this feels like a very real death , and we grieve it hard. It IS a death of sorts, for some of us. (I still feel sadness over having to leave the “pond”, as it was once, for me. It felt like my online “home-place and family” for so long.)

I think this is ALL  about learning how to be being fully human.. together.

As we ARE right now, right WHERE we each are each are right now, in our individual  personal/intellectual/emotional/spiritual maturation and evolution.

I think the rise of these kinds of “Community Blogs” are one NEW way we’ve been given to work on this TOGETHER.  

Think about it.

Until the internet, most of us who post here would never have even known the others even existed, much less have come to know each other, or to CHOOSE each other, in places like this!

Ok..so here we all come, each a still imperfect “work in process”, at all different stages and ages, with ALL our similarities…AND ALL OF OUR GLORIOUS DIFFERENCES!

For me, discovering Community Blogs..signaled the FIRST TIME EVER  where in time, I discovered  I honestly could be…ALL OF WHO I REALLY AM, and that people DID actually exist in this world, who COULD accept me and like me ANYWAY!

(What do you think my chances WERE of being accepted here in this place full of older generation hard core ultra conservative religious fundies, being this whistle-blowing loud mouthed liberal activist oddly gendered lesbian grandmother who has a beautiful red headed three yr old grand daughter with..TWO MOMMIES?  And an elder who absolutely will NOT go to church, wear polyester, dye my hair blue OR play freakin’ BINGO on Fridays??!!)  

Oops, back to the topic at hand. Come play some “What IF” with me? It’s my favorite game.

What if..what clearly is being viewed by many good people here, here as a very disturbing “CONFLICT”, that seems to be threatening this space you have all built,  is really NOT A CONFLICT at all, BUT AN OPPORTUNITY that everyone invested here CHOOSE, on one level or another.

What if it’s really some kind of GRADUATE SCHOOL for those who READY TO LEARN NEW WAYS to come together and STAY TOGETHER, long enough TO CREATE CHANGE?  

(Because it can’t BE any clearer, that we as humans,  have yet to LEARN THIS!)  

What if this REQUIRES chaos, as a REVIEW of what IS NOT WORKING, (FOR EACH of us, individually) so we can see it more clearly, become more willing to LET GO OF WHAT DOESN’T WORK (individually, first!) ..so we can each, and then together, get free enough to try NEW AND DIFFERENT  ways of staying together?

What if.. it’s not ONLY absolutely, perfectly OK to have different perspective on things in this world..but totally ESSENTIAL that there BE these different perspectives??

What if the different perspectives ARE NOT EVEN THE PROBLEM AT ALL, and the real lesson being presented  is “HOW can we LIVE TOGETHER WITH OUR DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES..AND STILL GET ON WITH THE WORK?

Wow. One hell of a tall order, for me, anyway!

It meant I had to figure out how to stop focusing on and reacting to how everyone ELSE is communicating with ME, (and how it AFFECTS ME)…and START focusing on on how I communicate with OTHERS, by listening to how it is affecting THEM, via their reactions to me!  

Could I figure out a better method of communicating my AUTHENTIC intentions and meanings, in ways that WERE clearer to those I want to communicate with?  

Oops, there I ran into ANOTHER internal barrier.  I began to realize that I didn’t always KNOW what my own authentic intentions and meanings even WERE, before I hit the comment or publish button! Much of my work was coming mostly from my head and the thoughts in it at that moment, without me even pausing to ask myself THIS ONE ESSENTIAL QUESTION:

.”What IS MY AUTHENTIC INTENTION for this piece of communication I’m about to send, that is of use to the greater good of all concerned?  

Once at this point in my own “internal investigation”, I felt really “sobered”, by seeing more fully the full scope of the responsibility I held, as a committed “Online Community Blog Member” , if I  wanted to add as positive a contribution as possible,to the overall greater good of the community I wanted to be a part of, and whatever shared mission we had.

I am finding this whole business of placing the “common good of all concerned” on an equal priority basis (inside of me I mean)  with  “serving my own needs”.. to be a fascinating challenge in all my relationships. There’s no way to DO this, unless I know what the hell my OWN AUTHENTIC needs and intentions ARE, as best I can, and geezus..does this take some real time and effort and intensely HONEST COMMUNUICATION with my own “higher and lower selves!”

As an Uninvolved Observer with no horses in this race, I’ve read most of the comments of the past few days..and you know..I nod my head in equal understanding of ALL the perspectives shared, no matter HOW they appear to “conflict” in meaning..because I CAN SENSE THE AUTHENTIC SHARED INTENTIONS…even if you can’t!   Tell me if I’m wrong.

I see a bunch of very special highly intelligent  people who all signed on here, to build a online place where you could join hearts, minds and spirits and to seek and find ways together,to make this world a better place for all of us.  (how am I doin?)

I see communication lines getting tangled up simply because we are all merely human, and can only operate with what we know and are aware of about ourselves and about each other,  at the moments of communication. I see people interpreting this as an overall “NEGATIVE” EVENT here, that could threaten the well being of this Community.

And of course it could! We’ve all seen these things “implode”. But they did exist awhile, didn’t they?  Someone knew they were needed and created it and others “came” and stayed as long as they could.  

That in itself..to me..is solid progress, towards learning new ways to come together in common cause for the greater global good.  

Now comes the next phase for this new form of coming together.

Once we finally find each other, and get the place built,


That’s when, I think, those truly invested in the cause (who are ready to do this)   will be guided INWARD for a time, to come to see what each needs to learn about the self, that might possibly need to be seen, tweaked or changed in order for us to be ABLE to see past our own needs, fears and confusions, at least far enough to keep the common good up there where it has to be, as a priority for any authentic community to thrive.

If I am right about this, then the next question for each of us really is this.

Am I ready to enter this advanced stage of self reflection, flexibility and personal growth it will take for me to stay here and be an effective part of designing NEW WAYS TO STAY TOGETHER WITH LIKE OTHERS?, given as challenging and hard as this is clearly going to BE?!

Me, I know how much energy this takes, and I know mine is now limited, so I will probable continue this more comfy role as some sort of “Itinerant Blogger” who drops by here and there, now and then in friendly places where I feel welcome. And I do feel welcome here to share what are really ONLY my own observations and interpretations of things from my current perch in life, no more, no less. And I find what’s going on here absolutely fascinating.

Let’s Look At The ‘surge’

I wasn’t planning on posting anything today, have too much to do and other thoughts on my mind.

But yesterday I watched, as many have seen by now, someone who should have a much better understanding, above that of its citizens, what this country’s policies are and their implementation.

McClatchy  has a couple of reports  that hit on a couple of the Points of the ‘surge’:

Teamsters Go Green: Leave Pro-Drilling Group and Now Oppose ANWR Drilling

This is big.

Great news for all of us who seek a Blue/Green Alliance!  The Teamsters today left the ANWR coalition, a group in favor of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Jim Hoffa has just announced that the Teamsters are pulling out of the coalition supporting drilling in ANWR and are shifting their support to efforts to build coalitions with green groups to create a sustainable energy economy around sources like solar, wind and geothermal.

We are not going to drill our way out of the energy problems we are facing-not here and not in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” Hoffa told labor and environmental activists at an Oakland, Calif., summit on good jobs and clean air. “We must find a long-term approach that breaks our dependence on foreign oil by investing in the development of alternate energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal power.”

Hoffa Rejects ‘Drilling Our Way Out’ of Energy Crisis, Demands Long-Term Policy Solutions

More, after the fold.

(also on dkos and other places)

Pony Party

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~♥~ Pony Party is an Open Thread. Please don’t wRECk the pony. ~♥~

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Pony Party


~♥~ Pony Party is an Open Thread. Please don’t wRECk the pony. ~♥~


Docudharma Times Thrusday July 24


Gives Speech




Hold a

Whine Festival

Thursday’s Headlines:

Another Peek Inside the Brain of the Electorate

Iraqi forces aren’t quite ready to take charge

Egypt’s child protection law sparks controversy

The night Karadzic rocked the Madhouse

Welcome to Putin’s summer camp …

With a jig President al-Bashir plays peacemaker in Darfur

Food Price Catastrophe In Africa  

Suspicion, terrain foes for U.S. in Afghan surge

Olympics: Protesters will be kept in pens during games  

Peru’s García unpopular despite boom

China Presses Grieving Parents to Take Hush Money on Quake  


Published: July 24, 2008

HANWANG, China – The official came for Yu Tingyun in his village one evening last week. He asked Mr. Yu to get into his car. He was clutching the contract and a pen.

Mr. Yu’s daughter had died in a cascade of concrete and bricks, one of at least 240 students at a high school here who lost their lives in the May 12 earthquake. Mr. Yu became a leader of grieving parents demanding to know if the school, like so many others, had crumbled because of poor construction.

Plan Would Use Antiterror Aid on Pakistani Jets


Published: July 24, 2008

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration plans to shift nearly $230 million in aid to Pakistan from counterterrorism programs to upgrading that country’s aging F-16 attack planes, which Pakistan prizes more for their contribution to its military rivalry with India than for fighting insurgents along its Afghan border.

Some members of Congress have greeted the proposal with dismay and anger, and may block the move. Lawmakers and their aides say that F-16s do not help the counterterrorism campaign and defy the administration’s urgings that Pakistan increase pressure on fighters of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in its tribal areas.


‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy is reexamined

Lawmakers review the 1993 law that prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military.

By Vimal Patel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

July 24, 2008  

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military is being harmed by prohibiting gays and lesbians from serving openly, a congressional panel was told Wednesday, the first time lawmakers have examined the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy since the law was passed in 1993.

Opponents of the policy told a House Armed Services subcommittee that it is hurting the military by barring the enlistment of otherwise qualified people and requiring the discharge of highly trained personnel who have publicly acknowledged their sexual orientation.

Several recent polls show that Americans are significantly more accepting of allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly, and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, has said he would work to repeal the law. His expected Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, has said the policy should be maintained.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

May the evil man become good

and may the good man find peace.

May he who has peace become free

and may he who is free make others free.

–ancient, traditional prayer of India

Phenomena VI: praying



New dawns

have come and gone

The years assembled

Decades folded

upon themselves

Time dwindles

Could once

just once

before I…

just once

while I…

one precious time

could such a dawn

bring forth

a better day,

one not ending

in horror

Could there be

some glorious light

before darkness

falls again

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 5, 2008

Why the push to failure?

Cross posted on

The Economic Populist

A Community Site for Economics Freaks and Geeks

Failure in war can be a bad thing.  Failure in business can be a personal loss, and in some instances a detriment to the economy.  With the recent calamity hitting the two largest mortgage lenders, not to mention other large American business concerns, it seems to a select few that failure is indeed a viable and good option.

A gamble with very high stakes is being openly promoted by adherents to a free-market orthodoxy.  These individuals, gaming on anger and the perceived loss of utility of these given enterprises, are pushing the public onto this wager.

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