September 2, 2008 archive

This is my story – I hope that it finds you

Note #1:  This is a highly personal diary but it touches on some important issues like education, prison reform, the drug war, the death penalty, war and peace, and man’s inhumanity to man.  To the extent that it is self-indulgent, I beg your forgiveness.  

Note #2:  I’ve been reluctant to post this for both personal and political reasons.  The personal will become obvious as you read, the political being all that’s going on right now such as the police state bullshit in MN, the repub convention and their ‘oh we’re so serious about governance’ choice of Palin for VeePee.  But it occurs to me that there’s always going to be a lot going on, so I probably should just post it now that it’s not quite ready.

Part I – Words Are Like Poison

I believe that we all have a story to tell…here’s mine.

I wrote about growing up as an Army brat in An American Tale.


Life as a military dependent was a fascinating way to grow up and contributed much to the formation of my personal point of view.  I would take nothing for the value I have derived from my interactions with other cultures.  It taught me that deep connections are often made between profoundly different people, suggesting what has become a theme in my life – that we are all more alike than we are different.  

Online Sex, Anyone?

A Spanish Teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

‘House’ for instance, is feminine: ‘la casa’.

‘Pencil,’ however, is masculine: ‘el lapiz’.

One of the students asked, ‘What gender is ‘computer’?’

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether ‘computer’ should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.  

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something Pink

The same old stuff from Congress; a sabre-rattling resolution threatening Iran.  A new marriage. A cell phone borrowed from a protester to call Congress.  And Code Pink.

An auspicious start for that new marriage.  And an Iraq Moratorium event to shake things up a little in Brooklyn.

As the Iraq Moratorium prepares to start its second year with actions across the country on Sept. 19, here’s a report from one of the many held in August:  

THE GRANNY PEACE BRIGADE: CONFRONTING THE UNSPEAKABLE, SUPPORTED BY THE UNCONSCIONABLE, ONE PHONE CALL AT A TIME: House Congressional Resolution 362 – sponsored by Rep. Ackerman and co-sponsored by NYC Reps. Towns, Fossella, Weiner, Maloney, & Engel – evokes disappointment, fury, and phone calls from constituents.

Let the word go forth: the good people of New York City aren’t one bit happy with the language and intent of this nasty piece of business*. On Thursday, August 7, several Grannies, CodePink women and members of Brooklyn for Peace set up shop at Brooklyn Borough Hall to sound the alarm and ask constituents to call their representatives and the response was so terrific, we went back for an encore on August 15th. Once again, Brooklyn welcomed us. Calls were made, conversations were started, voters were registered, and here are a few of the moments we’ll certainly remember:

On the 15th, Iraq Moratorium day, our first call is made by that Politically Endangered Species, a man in a suit! As faithful followers of the phone-a-thoners may recollect, this is not our strongest constituent base and we hope this is the start of a trend.

Two women from Yvette Clark’s district, giddy with excitement when they discovered ‘their girl’ missing from the Wall of Shame. “You just tell her we love her to bits and we’re proud of her,” they tell her office.

A man shakes his head over Rep.Towns’ support of H. Con. Res.362. “The man came to my church,” he says. “He seemed like such a good man. What’s happening here?” We wonder the same thing.

A young couple, just married in Borough Hall, pose for their wedding portraits right near our table. We offer them our congratulations, Granny buttons and we register the bride…to vote!

A young mom from Anthony Weiner’s district drops by. Her small son has autism and it is a full-time job getting him the support he needs. She calls Weiner’s office, tells the staffer she wants to register her distress at the congressman’s support of H. Con. Res. 362, and wants to see him front-burner domestic issues for ‘real people’. The office hangs up on her. Note to Rep. Weiner: you’ve got one very angry constituent on your hands – and she is not about to keep quiet.

We are told that Rep. Edolphus Towns and members of his staff were covertly checking out our table. If indeed this was the case, we sure are disappointed he didn’t want to engage us in some discussion.

– Fran Sears with Phyllis, Caroline & Joan P

– photos by Eva-Lee Baird

Four at Four

  1. It seems Hurricane Gustav has spared its worst from New Orleans, The Times-Picayune reports that evacuees are being told that Re-entry will be Wenesday at the earliest. “Public officials across the New Orleans area cautioned evacuees to stay put because the region is not yet ready to begin accepting people. Power remains out across wide swaths, and storm debris still clutters local roadways.”

    The NY Times reports that New Orleans exhales after being spared a direct hit. “The levees in New Orleans were tested by a heavy storm surge but held, even though the repair and reconstruction work from Hurricane Katrina, is far from finished.” For hours, storm water lapped over the weak floodwall on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, but the Ninth Ward neighborhood only had “ankle-to-knee-deep water on the streets it was protecting”.

    McClatchy Newspapers add that Gustav spared Gulf oil rigs, so crude prices likely to drop. Evidence suggests that the category 2 hurricane spared the region’s oil rigs. “Gustav forced the shut down of 1.3 million barrels per day of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. That complete shutdown amounted to a full quarter of U.S. oil production and about 15 percent of natural gas production nationwide.”

    However, the NY Times notes there are more potential hurricanes coming. Behind Gustav: Hanna, Ike, and Josephine.

  2. McClatchy Newspapers report the Absence of Bush and Cheney cheers Republican delegates. Although the Republicans didn’t want to talk about their absence on record, “yet inside and outside the convention hall, they mostly agreed that Bush is a political problem for… McCain, and that it was better that TV screens Monday evening didn’t feature delegates cheering him on.”

    “The only bit of good news at all brought by Gustav is that it caused the cancellation of both Bush and Cheney speeches. Every Republican was rather dreading these speeches to begin with.”

    Meanwhile The Guardian and other news agencies confirm that Sarah Palin was member of party calling for Alaskan secession from the United States. “Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence party (AIP) before becoming an elected Republican official, and recorded a video message for the AIP convention this year. The party’s chief goal is securing Alaska a vote on seceding from the US, a goal that AIP leaders believe the state was denied before it became part of the US almost 50 years ago.”

Four at Four continues with a truce between Obama and Murdoch’s Fox News and Alberto Gonzales escaping criminal charges for improper handling of classified material.

Progressive vs. Conservative

At the root of the word progressive, and at the root of being a Progressive is the word progress. At the root of the word conservative is the conserve, the concept of keeping what we have. But what we have now is an unsustainable way of life. A way of life increasingly based on not keeping what we have, but on taking what others have to preserve a concept of American exceptionalism. A concept that dictates that we destroy others to take their resources for ourselves. Not to survive, per se, but to conserve what certain Americans see as a divine right, the “American Lifestyle.”

A lifestyle based on a confusion of concepts, a deliberate confusion. The Conservatives have convinced Americans that the ideals of freedom consist not of the liberties of Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Assemble, Freedom of the Press, Freedom from Unreasonable Search and Seizure, etc. The Conservatives seem to consider those as outdated. Not the Freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution that lead to real liberty and toleration and individual expression and the equality of all men and women no matter what race, creed, color or orientation. The Conservatives have convinced America that Freedom means…the freedom to consume.

The modern Conservative creed of freedom is based on one main concept, the freedom from the civic responsibility of paying taxes. The freedom to keep and spend their money that would go to the betterment of the society in which they live, on for instance, gas guzzling SUV’s. On the American Lifestyle of consumption. The consumption of not just America’s resources, but the worlds. Americans comprise less than 5% of the world’s population, yet consume around 30-35% of the worlds resources, to fuel the American Lifestyle. Lifestyle based wholly on the consumption of oil. A resource that America is for all intents and purposes, out of. And so, to preserve the American lifestyle, Americans MUST obtain the Lifestyle’s lifeblood….oil. But the lifeblood is not just running out in America, it is running out in the entire world. The American Lifestyle is unsustainable.  

The relevance of Bristol.

Crossposted at Daily Kos and My Left Wing.

I’ve got to be with Wolcott on this one, who is apparently standing with Lawrence Auster on this one::

The issue is whether McCain should have chosen as his vice presidential running mate-and thus required the Republican party to approve that choice-a woman who has all these issues going on in her family.

McCain has put the conservative base in a position where it has to bend itself out of shape to maintain its support for the Republican ticket.

Now, I personally am delighted that McCain–maverick that he is–chose a candidate that, within hours of the selection, has exploded into a veritable pile of soap-opera-ish stories and sagas. I like watching the Right scramble about, trying to find new and exciting ways to justify their deeply held beliefs and morals (chuckle) with their unending quest for power.

But some have deemed portions of Palin’s life to be “off limits,” especially in the case of Bristol’s pregnancy.

I have to vaguely disagree.

Scott Ritter & Ray McGovern on McCain, Palin and the Iraq War

This one needs no intro from me. They speak quite eloquently on their own…

September 2, 2008 – 18 min 8 sec

Scott Ritter and Ray McGovern on Palin and what McCain knew about false info that led to Iraq war

(Pt. 1

The Gods Must Be Crazy

Cross posted at dkos

After the stellar week that was the Democratic Convention it was only natural that the following week would be a profound disappointment.

Every day of the Democratic Convention went off without a hitch. Each speech was better than the last. Each speaker gave the speech of a lifetime. The fireworks went off on cue unlike the memory of the balloons that got stuck, and people cried with joy, happiness and pride for what their country could produce.

I watched every day and was enthralled by the ability of every speaker to deliver a well-crafted, inspiring speech.

The Republicans could not match it.

Open Thread


Give us this day our daily thread.  

Lower 49 Meet Wasilla Alaska

A Photo Safari of Wasilla, Alaska – Home of Sarah Palin.

Docudharma Times Tuesday September 2

Another one bites the dust

Another one bites the dust

And another one gone, and another one gone

Another one bites the dust

Tuesday’s Headlines:

‘These people want to go home’

Al Qaida has free movement in Pakistan, top official concedes

State of emergency declared in Thailand after protest turns violent

Europe issues cautious warning to Russia

Wagner hits a note of peace over Bayreuth

Iran, U.S. step cautiously toward dialogue

Students flock to Jordan to study in tamer Mideast

Americans adopt HIV-positive kids from Ethiopia

Zimbabwe ‘retains aid controls’

Can Mexico’s Calderón stop the killings?

Japanese PM Yasuo Fukuda resigns

ncreasingly unpopular 72-year-old steps down after less than year in office amid deadlock in coalition government

Justin McCurry in Tokyo,

Monday September 01 2008 14:26 BST  

Japan’s beleaguered prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, resigned today less than a year after taking office in a shock move that threatens to plunge the world’s second-biggest economy into a new round of political turmoil.

Faced with poor poll ratings, policy deadlock and mounting economic problems, a grim-faced Fukuda said he had decided several days ago to step down to avoid creating a “political vacuum”.

Fukuda’s resignation leaves the door open for Taro Aso, an outspoken rightwinger whom Fukuda made secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP) in last month’s cabinet reshuffle.

Disclosures on Palin Raise Questions on Vetting Process



Published: September 1, 2008

ST. PAUL – A series of disclosures about Gov. Sarah Palin, Senator John McCain’s choice as running mate, called into question on Monday how thoroughly Mr. McCain had examined her background before putting her on the Republican presidential ticket.

On Monday morning, Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, issued a statement saying that their 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, was five months pregnant and that she intended to marry the father.

Among other less attention-grabbing news of the day: it was learned that Ms. Palin now has a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state’s public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede; and that Mr. Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.


New Orleans Levees Tested As Gustav Lashes Gulf Coast

By Jacqueline L. Salmon and Spencer S. Hsu

Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, September 2, 2008; Page A01  

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 1 — Hurricane Gustav smashed into Louisiana’s Gulf Coast on Monday, unleashing torrential rains and 110-mph winds that sent waves of water splashing over this city’s levees. But early indications were that the weakened storm caused far less damage than feared, and New Orleans appeared to have avoided a disaster on the scale of Hurricane Katrina three years ago.

As the storm made its way inland, federal, state and local officials expressed confidence that the levees protecting New Orleans would hold, sparing the city from catastrophic flooding. U.S. Coast Guard helicopter overflights late Monday afternoon confirmed that there were no levee breaches so far, according to Marty Bahamonde, spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

It is a city built of bones,

and daubed with flesh and blood,

in which old age and death,

pride and hypocrisy

are the inhabitants.

–Dhammapada, verse 150

Phenomena XXXIV:  dying



At some instant

one day

the words will cease to flow

their creator (or vessel)

having passed through

the Door

between herenow

and therethen

The words left behind

the ideas they expressed

the actions they instigated

will be all

that remains

to weigh the meaning

of this particular existence

Regret is extinguished

if the words

have expressed


concern and care

and a life lived well

–Robyn Serven

–September 21, 2007

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