December 25, 2008 archive

It’s Time to Start Preparing Our Children

What we are experiencing here in America, and the world over for that matter, is the inevitable collapse of the consumerist culture. For years we have gorged ourselves on the upside of consumerism but now we all must suffer the downside of this system. The consumerism system relies on three things. The first is that the system must be in a constant state of economic expansion. The second is that the planet must have an infinite supply of resources to supply the ever expanding amount of goods needed to support the ever expanding economy. The third is that the people must be trained to live in a state of constant consumption. See the Story of Stuff to learn more about that and watch Money as Debt for an explanation of how the ever expanding wad of credit that fuels the consumerist economy has no real value.  

Action: My Christmas Wish? End Slavery

Note: I originally posted this last year but the problem is still the same so I thought I’d post it again. Some of the dates are wrong and some links may not work but it should still give you a overview of this pressing moral crises and how we can help.

“None of us is truly free while others remain enslaved. –Archbishop Desmond Tutu

This Christmas people around the world celebrate. But take some time to think about the problems of the world. For example. Think about this.

27 Million People Live in Slavery.

Even today our fellow humans live enslaved. That’s why I am a abolitionist. And despite being Jewish. I am making a Christmas wish and goal to end slavery. 2007 marks the 200 year anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain so what a better year to make a commitment to end slavery? Thankfully we can take simple steps to help end slavery. Keep on reading to learn how.

Four at Four

  1. The CS Monitor reports Survivalist businesses surge in uncertain times. “Once seen as a radical and paranoid ideology, survivalism is expanding as a business, and growing fast.”

    “The number of businesses marketing survival products is hard to pin down, in part because many are smaller, family-owned operations. The market for survival goods like agricultural tools, seeds, and emergency food, moreover, blends with growing consumer demand for homesteading products. Still, the emergence of preparedness-specific businesses and marketing suggests that survivalism is going strong.”

  2. McClatchy Newspapers report ‘Tis the season for making whoopee.

    The Christmas-New Year’s period produces a year-high spike in sexual activity and conceptions in the United States, according to biorhythm researchers and makers of sex-related products.

    They attribute the increase to holiday leisure and New Year’s resolutions to have children. New Year’s irresolution fueled by alcohol and partying is another contributing factor…

    As expected, the holiday urge surge also expresses itself as a peak in U.S. births in September, according to David Lam of the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center in Ann Arbor.

Four at Four continues with a look at the Bush legacy, Afghanistan is an untenable situation, and a sharp drop in stock fraud prosecution.

The Road Less Traveled: Melissa Etheridge on Rick Warren

This kind of gives me a little more open minded view of Rick Warren. Not much, mind you, but a little…

The Choice Is Ours Now

Melissa Etheridge

Huffington Post, December 22, 2008

I hadn’t heard of Pastor Rick Warren before all of this. When I heard the news, in its neat little sound bite form that we are so accustomed to, it painted the picture for me. This Pastor Rick must surely be one hate spouting, money grabbing, bad hair televangelist like all the others. He probably has his own gay little secret bathroom stall somewhere, you know. One more hater working up his congregation to hate the gays, comparing us to pedophiles and those who commit incest, blah blah blah. Same ‘ole thing. Would I be boycotting the inauguration? Would we be marching again?

Well, I have to tell you my friends, the universe has a sense of humor and indeed works in mysterious ways.


I told my manager to reach out to Pastor Warren and say “In the spirit of unity I would like to talk to him.” They gave him my phone number. On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn’t sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn’t want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. He invited me to his church, I invited him to my home to meet my wife and kids. He told me of his wife’s struggle with breast cancer just a year before mine.

When we met later that night, he entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future.

Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world’s attention. We have the capability to create change, awesome change in this world, but before we change minds we must change hearts. Sure, there are plenty of hateful people who will always hold on to their bigotry like a child to a blanket. But there are also good people out there, Christian and otherwise that are beginning to listen. They don’t hate us, they fear change. Maybe in our anger, as we consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our hands. Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en mass and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.

Maybe if they get to know us, they wont fear us.

I know, call me a dreamer, but I feel a new era is upon us.

I will be attending the inauguration with my family, and with hope in my heart. I know we are headed in the direction of marriage equality and equal protection for all families.

Happy Holidays my friends and a Happy New Year to you.

Peace on earth, goodwill toward all men and women… and everyone in-between.

State of the Potential Union

December 25, 2008: A report.


6,871,059,884 humans.

Nearly seven billion people, how are they divided (pun intended) by belief system? A rough estimate.

Christians 2.1 billion

Islam 1.5 billion

Hinduism 900 million

Buddhism 376 million

Chinese folk religion 394 million

Primal indigenous 300 million

Sikhism 25.8 million

Which seem to leave well over a billion humans unaccounted for.

They are also divided by geography, technological opportunity, economic wealth and class. Another rough indicator of those divisions can be observed here, by which areas and populations have the wealth and technological sophistication to produce large amounts of electric light…


A Christmas Card

Merry Christmas, happy Hanukah, and etcetera to everyone at Docudharma.  Peace on earth and good will to all.  

Open Thread


Gather round ye open thread.

Feed the world.

Docudharma Times Thursday December 25



Christmas Headlines:

Planning for Obama’s inaugural bash is no party

Pope greets Christmas with appeal for children

Eight killed in Ukraine explosion

Saudi women’s group assails judge over 8-year-old’s marriage

Bethlehem Enjoys A Festive Christmas

Amid Taliban Rule, a NATO Supply Line Is Choked

Mass grave plundered at site of Taleban prisoners’ massacre

Somalia president expected to resign

Guinea coup leaders tighten grip

O holy fiesta! A Mexican Christmas Eve

Coal Ash Spill Revives Issue of Its Hazards


Published: December 24, 2008

KINGSTON, Tenn. – What may be the nation’s largest spill of coal ash lay thick and largely untouched over hundreds of acres of land and waterways Wednesday after a dam broke this week, as officials and environmentalists argued over its potential toxicity.

Federal studies have long shown coal ash to contain significant quantities of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and selenium, which can cause cancer and neurological problems. But with no official word on the dangers of the sludge in Tennessee, displaced residents spent Christmas Eve worried about their health and their property, and wondering what to do.

Thousands of candidates may complicate Iraq’s provincial elections

By Mohammed al Dulaimy | McClatchy Newspapers

BAGHDAD – Iraqi voters next month will see 14,500 candidates vie for 440 open seats on provincial councils, an outpouring of interest in a new phase of Iraqi self-government that could make for a baffling ballot.

The Jan. 31 poll will be the first in a series of votes in Iraq next year that include elections in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, a national referendum on the new U.S.-Iraq security pact and nationwide parliamentary elections.

The provincial council elections will bring new blood into local governing bodies that were filled by political blocs in Iraq’s 2005 elections. They’ll also give national parties a local toehold to advance their agendas



Army Officials Say Many More Active-Duty Troops Are Needed

By Ann Scott Tyson

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, December 25, 2008; Page A04

The Army needs to add at least 30,000 active-duty soldiers to its ranks to fulfill its responsibilities around the world without becoming stretched dangerously thin, senior Army officials warn.

“You can’t do what we’ve been tasked to do with the number of people we have,” Undersecretary of the Army Nelson Ford said in an interview last week. “You can see a point where it’s going to be very difficult to cope.”

Already, the Army lacks a strategic reserve of brigades trained and ready for major combat, officials said, and units being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are receiving new soldiers at the last minute, meaning they have insufficient time to train together before crossing into the war zone.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Great Ball of Fire

Alternate Analysis


that you perceive

my state of mind

so utterly


than I do

My time is spent

mostly amused

rolling my eyes

at the weirdness

of the human


While I bide time

waiting for the

blind to see

the deaf to hear

and the heartless

to start to feel

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–April 18, 2006

Late Night Karaoke

Happy Holiday’s

Pretenders 2000 Miles

Use of Force and Excessive Force

While reading Digby, I found an article written on the use of excessive force by police officers.

So… what is the proper use of force?

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