July 30, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. Barack Obama has made this promise before, but I think it’s good that he’s repeating it. The Associated Press reports Obama pledges review of White House powers instigated by Bush. Obama promised his administration would review George W. Bush’s executive orders and excise any that “trample on liberty”.

    Obama “talked about how his attorney general is to review every executive order and immediately eliminate those that trample on liberty,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.

    “He indicated there would be a review in his administration,” said Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the House majority whip…

    Obama did not indicate who his attorney general would be, or any other member of his Cabinet. To lawmakers who asked about his Cabinet plans, Obama said: “Get me elected, and then I’ll worry about the Cabinet,” according to Nadler.

    Of course this begs the question, what if Obama finds Bush’s executive orders do not “trample on liberty” and, actually, he rather likes them? Will Congress do its job this time around?

  2. McClatchy Newspapers ask Does John McCain have a Cuba embargo problem? “The pending merger of American beer giant Anheuser-Busch and a Belgian company that brews and sells beer in Cuba is thrusting John McCain into the middle of thorny Cuba-U.S. relations. McCain’s wife, Cindy, owns the third largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the country – which means she would stand to profit by partnering with a company that is in business with the Cuban government.”

    Of course McCain insist there isn’t a problem, not because the ridiculous U.S. embargo of Cuba should end, but because there is a “rigid firewall” between McCain and Cindy Lou’s business. He’s a kept politican. And besides, it’s just business™.

    The real story is not Cindy Lou’s business connection to a multinational beverage company with holdings in Cuba, but Cindy Lou’s wealth and how her father made that money and the family’s ties to organized crime.

Four at Four continues with two stories about the environment from the Pacific Northwest.


US lawmakers apologize for slavery

US lawmakers Tuesday offered the federal government’s first formal apology for the “fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity” of slavery and the legal segregation of African-Americans.

The resolution, passed in the House of Representatives by voice vote, “apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery” formal segregation laws known as “Jim Crow.”

Lawmakers also said they were committed to rectifying “the lingering consequences” of slavery and segregation.

Well…that was quick!

House panel votes to find Rove in contempt

“It is regrettable that it has become necessary to pursue this course, but Mr. Rove has left us no option,” Chairman John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, said in noting that the committee has been trying for months to get Rove to appear under oath.

Cool! Now all Nancy has to do is…….D’OH! Lucy, put that football back!

For GOP, Stevens Indictment Is Latest in a String of Setbacks

Ted Stevens’s indictment yesterday could not have occurred at a more politically inopportune time for the senator from Alaska or for his fellow Republicans.



Although a spokesman said yesterday that the senator’s reelection campaign “is continuing to move full steam ahead,”


Senate Republicans had planned to spend the week hammering Democrats for not pushing energy legislation allowing for more domestic oil drilling. Yesterday, as Republicans assembled at their political headquarters for a talk about the campaign season ahead, they learned that their most senior colleague had been indicted on corruption charges related to energy executives.

emphasis ….by editor

Nothing like indictment to build steam in a campaign!

Do Religions Arise to Control the Spread of Diseases?

The science editor of The Telegraph, Roger Highfield, reports on a new study by two biologists from the University of New Mexico. The scientists’ theory is that Religions thrive to protect against disease.

Religions thrived to protect our ancestors against the ravages of disease, according to a radical new evolutionary theory of the genesis of faith…

It seems that people became religious for good reason – actually to avoid infection by viruses and other diseases…

The study is the research of Corey Fincher and Randy Thornhill. In their introduction, they ask: “Why does the country Cote d’Ivoire have 76 religions while Norway has 13, and why does Brazil have 159 religions while Canada has 15 even though in both comparisons the countries are similar in size?”

True eye shines

Every once in a while I run across something on the internets that goes deep and touches my soul. That was my experience when I read a post by Nezua at The Unapologetic Mexican titled We Stand In No (Every) Place.

So here’s a bit of it.

True eye shines

Every once in awhile, someone speaks on the internets in a way that goes deep and touches the soul. For me, Nezua did that yesterday in a post at The Unapologetic Mexican titled We Stand In No (Every) Place.

So here’s a bit of it.

Pony Party

Is this what it’s all about? Really?

~ Happy Hump Day! Don’t rec the pony.~

Return of the Gunboat

Original article by John Ross via counterpunch.com.  Sub-headed: Fourth Fleet Steams South

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water….

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

What I know,” the Buddha said,

“is like the leaves on that tree;

what I teach is only a small part.

But I offer it to all with an open hand.

What do I not teach?

Whatever is fascinating to discuss,

divides people against each other,

but has no bearing on putting an end to sorrow.

What do I teach?

Only what is necessary to take you to the other shore.

–Siddhārtha Gautama, The Dhammapada

Phenomena X: Separation


The Only Thing

Sitting around a campfire

we could select a problem

and jointly figure out

how to solve it

if we wanted to

But we are too many

for such a gathering

and to form

such an intention

and we have changed

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 21, 2008

Pony Party: Magic Bus

Magic Bus on WhoTube

I’m not really here.  It’s Magic! — On The Bus

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 McCain backs off his no-new-tax pledge

By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer

1 hour, 11 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s signal that he may be open to a higher payroll tax for Social Security, despite previous vows not to raise taxes of any kind, is drawing sharp rebukes from conservatives.

McCain’s shift has come in stages, catching some Republicans by surprise. Speaking with reporters on his campaign bus on July 9, he cited a need to shore up Social Security. “I cannot tell you what I would do, except to put everything on the table,” he said.

He went a step farther Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” in response to a question about payroll tax increases.

My Friend, a WWII veteran, asked:

“Have those people who support this war ever been at the receiving end of a bomb? Do they know what war is?  War is: your house is gone, no water, no electricity, your roads are blown up and….your family is dead.”

The conversation started not about war, but about Peace.

We had just come from a planning meeting to discuss planning the plans for a “Peace Event.”

I am usually restless, squirming in my chair, at peace meetings.

This night was a particular challenge, as a decision needed to be made as to whether this event was going to be about ‘Creating peace within ourselves, as a way to greater peace’ or ‘peacefully demonstrating against our military culture’.  

It was a lively discussion, no decision was reached.

It was the conversation afterwards during dinner that resonated.

D.F., my 87y/o WWII veteran friend, knows struggle; WWII, the Labor Movement, Civil Rights, he has been around.  

Over dinner he puzzled, “Have those who support this war ever been at the receiving end of a bomb? Do they know what war is?  War is: your house is gone, no water, no electricity, your roads are blown up and….your family is dead.”

He wasn’t looking for an answer more stating reality for those of us who did not truly know war….which was everyone at the table besides him.    After a complicated meeting about Peace I think he didn’t want us to lose sight of why we were doing it.

“Sometimes people use the call to inner peace as a reason not to take action against injustice, let’s not do that,” he added.  

Later he suggested, “We don’t really know how to act together as a society. The Cold War scared people, taught them to shut up, not question or challenge government, and look where it has gotten us.”

Then he went on to ask/state, “How do you hold your candidate accountable when he falters in a way that improves his candidacy and does not give ammunition to his opponent?”

We did not come up with a concrete answer to this question over chopped steak (his) and a veggie reuben (mine).

As we left he smiled at me, wonderful lines of wisdom creasing his face.  “Call tomorrow and we’ll work on the unanswered question,” he said with a wink.

What is the point of this diary?  I am not sure, it is my first on this site.  I am just happy to share some insights from a wise old friend with anyone willing to listen.  



Meher Baba (1894-1969).

Meher Baba lived and traveled in company with a circle of close disciples whom he termed his “mandali” (Sanskrit for ‘circle’), both men and women from whom he demanded absolute obedience. He and his mandali voluntarily assumed a life of extreme simplicity. From 1925 to the end of his life, Meher Baba remained silent, communicating by means of an alphabet board or by gesture. Meher Baba spent long periods in seclusion, often fasting, but he would intersperse these periods with wide-ranging travels, public gatherings, and works of charity, including working with lepers, the poor, and the mad. He gave many discourses, which have been collected by his followers.

Why did Meher Baba maintain silence?  He wrote:

Man’s inability to live God’s words makes the Avatar’s teaching a mockery. Instead of practicing the compassion he taught, man has waged wars in his name. Instead of living the humility, purity, and truth of his words, man has given way to hatred, greed, and violence. Because man has been deaf to the principles and precepts laid down by God in the past, in this present Avataric form, I observe silence.


Which brings me to the book and movie The Diving Bell and the Butterfly:

On December 8, 1995, Elle magazine editor-in-chief Bauby suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma. He awoke 20 days later, mentally aware of his surroundings but physically paralyzed with the exception of some movement in his head and left eye. The entire book [The Diving Bell And The Butterfly] was written by Bauby blinking his left eyelid, in July and August of 1996. A transcriber repeatedly recited a French language frequency-ordered alphabet (E S A R I N T U L etc.), until Bauby blinked to choose the next letter. The book took about 200,000 blinks to write and each word took approximately two minutes. The book also chronicles everyday events and what they are like for a person with locked-in syndrome. These events include playing at the beach with his family, getting a bath, and meeting visitors. The French edition of the book was published in March, 1997. It received excellent reviews and sold 150,000 copies in the first week and went on to become a number one bestseller across Europe. Ten days after the book was published, Bauby died of pneumonia


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