November 22, 2009 archive

Sunday Train: Revisiting 5 Lessons Learned from America was made for HSR

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence, crossposted from MyLeftWing

I return to 2007 for “America was made for HSR” (Agent Orange links retained as the other blog I was posting to at the time is no longer up)

Wow, what a ride. Sometimes on Thursday …

Thursday 22 March 2009, that is …

… it felt like the America was made for High Speed Rail diary was going 200 mph itself. And I kept the ride going, cross posting the diary on the Euro and Booman Tribunes. And based partly on comments here and partly on comments there, kept polishing up the map.

Like the first diary, this is only a sketch, and 200mph routes are not the be-all and end-all of passenger rail, and this isn’t a silver bullet … but damn if it isn’t one silver BB that is cool as all hell.

Now, I’m going to say the lessons follow below the fold in no particular order, so that if you see an order, I can call it serendipity, and if you don’t see any order … I told you so. …

… (and anyway, any excuse to use the word serendipity is a good excuse, it’s such a lovely word … and you’d never believe how I stumbled across it … but that, dear readers, is another story) …

… with some additional reflections from late 2009.

String Around the Spiritual Finger

If you are expecting anything normal, please skip to the next essay … oh wait, this is Docudharma, scourge of the intertron!


String Around the Spiritual Finger

If compassion were

a person standing before me

or an animal, a tree,

or a chair or even a computer

or an I-pod,

I would bow before her, him, it

with some real confidence.


So write something

to effect you are not pure

but covered with slung shit,

encrusted, all sorts of gross images

till it can be seen, felt,

smelt, tasted, heard.


Then a shift of vision

to the lotus which grows

from that very exact same shit

and the vision I had a thousand

lifetimes ago about being

mired in that vile manure but

of my own free will

looking directly up at the

White Tara deity,

embodiment of compassion

from that foul pool

of obscuration and hopelessness,

and willingly feeling

I was contributing

to that compassion,


looking miraculously

upward, it was

no different than

standing in midtown

or wall street

walking down the street

never even thinking to

look up and then

you look up

and everything is

entirely different,

your view has


a crazy thing!

so understand

and remember:


to Tara is

homage to


1/22/09 – I didn’t have anything to blog about, but I wanted to drop in and make my dharmaniac mark for this is what I’m up to lately and what’s on me mind

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

31 Story Final.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Setting Afghan exit date defeatist: defense panel

by Michel Comte, AFP

Sat Nov 21, 3:58 pm ET

HALIFAX, Canada (AFP) – Despite fierce public pressure to end the war in Afghanistan eight years on, politicians and experts on Saturday decried calls for setting an exit date they say would embolden the Taliban.

“History shows us that if you set dates for when you’re going to leave, the enemy waits until you leave,” US Senator John McCain said at the Halifax International Defense Forum in easternmost Canada.

“I think benchmarks are important,” he said. “But if we set a date for when we are going to withdraw, I don’t want to go, if we are going to set a date so that the Taliban and others can just sit back and wait until we leave.”


About a dozen days ago, we presented at our Women’s Studies lunch gathering a film about the California Indian basket weavers, as part of our ongoing effort at educating about and promoting eco-feminism.  Our theme for the year is Women Saving the Planet.  We’ve had speakers about saving old-growth forest and “green halloween” and the 350 movement.  And we’ve shown some films in series, including Taking Root:  The Vision of Wangari Matthai, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Blue Vinyl, and Jane Goodall: Reason to Hope.

And this other short film available here, entitled From the Roots:  California Indian Basketweavers.

As is sometimes my reaction, after learning more about the subject, I made some graphical art.

Names of the Dead, the Damned, and the Dispossessed — We are Number 1!

Real people … who we knew and loved … who died unnecessarily in the U.S.

Real Life Stories of Americans


“My daughter got sick with cancer after her husband lost his job. She never told anyone she was sick because she knew the financial hardship it would cause and eventually the hospital would take their house for unpaid medical bills. We lost her in the following spring … We read her diary and learned all she was feeling and thinking. Now I wonder how many others are just like her in this America? And how many before her?”

Deaths due to Preventable Diseases: Dead Last

Rankings 1st to 19th. France, Japan, Australia, Spain, Italy, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, Austria, Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Britain, Ireland, Portugal, United States…

Open Sky


Phila. Inquirer still printing war criminal John Yoo’s opinions

I wonder if the Philadelphia Inquirer will start printing opinion pieces by Charles Taylor or Robert Mugabe soon.  Probably not, because their crimes were committed in Africa, at a safe distance from the editors’ board room, where the editors can comfortably judge these war criminals’ actions.  They aren’t intellectuals who justified torture of prisoners in America, like John Yoo.

In any case, they’re printing Yoo’s op-ed pieces now.  They are giving credibility to him and destroying their own credibility.  And, surprise, today John Yoo is saying that there’s no real reason to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a federal court in New York City.

The Massacre For Which Thanksgiving Is Named (Pt.2)

and out of that heightened violence came the massacre for which Thanksgiving is named.

I am the jobless. Please help.

NOTE: This is my own version of the entry produced the other day by MinistryOfTruth.

I’m not homeless (not yet), but every day holds over it the threat of existence on the streets.  Although I’ve been technically unemployed since December of 2007, nearly two years, my official period of unemployment goes back to March 2006 – at least.  This is because my last “official” job was for a telemarketing firm that laid me off after four weeks in 2006.  My last actual job was as an Americorps VISTA (a volunteer position that offers a monthly stipend), which went from December 2006 to December 2007.  Since then, I’ve been enrolled in classes at the Parma campus of my local community college.  I’ve had to subsist on what money I get from financial aid as my sole source of “income.”  Often, I must raid the student food bank just to get myself through the weeks between semesters.

I have no car, public transit options are increasingly limited, and the longer I go without work further cripples my chances of obtaining employment.  No one wants to hire someone who can’t get a job.  It’s a vicious catch-22 situation.  I’ve had exactly one interview this year, with a bagel restaurant, and that went nowhere.

Like MinistryOfTruth, I need a job – BADLY.  It has to be in Cleveland’s west side or Middleburg Heights, Ohio, along bus routes.  At this point I couldn’t care less what job it is.  I just need one I can get out to in a timely manner so the manager will deign to hire me.  The problem is that I don’t know what else I can do besides what I’ve been doing, which is to keep my résumé updated and keep filling out applications.  I can’t relocate, because I haven’t got the money.  I can’t get a job because no one will hire me. I’m thirty-five, always broke, jobless, and ever on the brink.  I can’t keep doing this.  So, like MoT, I’m asking you for help.

Obsolete Theory

OK, so the earth is older than 6000 years.  God didn’t make the earth in six days, resting on the seventh.  Then Darwin said we evolved from apes over some millions of years.  Now you tell me mankind has had three very advanced civilizations which got wiped out, we are heading for the fourth wipe out in 2012 and that the elite controlling secret societies have known about this all along.

Docudharma Times Sunday November 22

Sunday’s Headlines:

Partisan divide widens as Obama considers Afghanistan policy

Celebrities lead charge against Scientology

An NYPD surgeon learns the random nature of wounds

Forced labour and rape, the new face of slavery in America

The accidental uprising: How ‘corpse’ killed Communism

The Large Hadron Collider back in business

As deaths in Afghanistan rise, so does the growth of opium

Mumbai terror attacks hotel manager leads defiant survivors

Egypt’s President Mubarak enters Algeria football row

Botswana fishermen fear tourist invasion will destroy Okavango wilderness

Iran to conduct military exercise aimed at protecting nuke sites

Al-Qaeda in Iraq regaining strength

The President of the United States, 2009

Every man is guilty of all the good he didn’t do. — Voltaire

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