31 December 2008

The Death Of The Old Year


Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,
And the winter winds are wearily sighing:
Toll ye the church bell sad and slow,
And tread softly and speak low,
For the old year lies a-dying.
Old year you must not die;
You came to us so readily,
You lived with us so steadily,
Old year you shall not die.

He lieth still: he doth not move:
He will not see the dawn of day.
He hath no other life above.
He gave me a friend and a true truelove
And the New-year will take ‘em away.
Old year you must not go;
So long you have been with us,
Such joy as you have seen with us,
Old year, you shall not go.

He froth’d his bumpers to the brim;
A jollier year we shall not see.
But tho’ his eyes are waxing dim,
And tho’ his foes speak ill of him,
He was a friend to me.
Old year, you shall not die;
We did so laugh and cry with you,
I’ve half a mind to die with you,
Old year, if you must die.

He was full of joke and jest,
But all his merry quips are o’er.
To see him die across the waste
His son and heir doth ride post-haste,
But he’ll be dead before.
Every one for his own.
The night is starry and cold, my friend,
And the New-year blithe and bold, my friend,
Comes up to take his own.

How hard he breathes! over the snow
I heard just now the crowing cock.
The shadows flicker to and fro:
The cricket chirps: the light burns low:
‘Tis nearly twelve o’clock.
Shake hands, before you die.
Old year, we’ll dearly rue for you:
What is it we can do for you?
Speak out before you die.

His face is growing sharp and thin.
Alack! our friend is gone,
Close up his eyes: tie up his chin:
Step from the corpse, and let him in
That standeth there alone,
And waiteth at the door.
There’s a new foot on the floor, my friend,
And a new face at the door, my friend,
A new face at the door.

By: Alfred Tennyson

28 December 2008

RIP ~ Delaney Bramlett



1 July 1939 ~ 27 December 2008

26 December 2008

Thread of Life by Christina Rossetti


1

The irresponsive silence of the land,
The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
Speak both one message of one sense to me: —
Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band
Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
But who from thy self—chain shall set thee free?
What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?—
And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
And sometimes I remember days of old
When fellowship seemed not so far to seek
And all the world and I seemed much less cold,
And at the rainbow’s foot lay surely gold,
And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.

2

Thus am I mine own prison. Everything
Around me free and sunny and at ease:
Or if in shadow, in a shade of trees
Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds sing
And where all winds make various murmuring;
Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;
Where sounds are music, and where silences
Are music of an unlike fashioning.
Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,
And smile a moment and a moment sigh
Thinking: Why can I not rejoice with you ?
But soon I put the foolish fancy by:
I am not what I have nor what I do;
But what I was I am, I am even I.

3

Therefore myself is that one only thing
I hold to use or waste, to keep or give;
My sole possession every day I live,
And still mine own despite Time’s winnowing.
Ever mine own, while moons and seasons bring
From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanative;
Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve;
And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing.
And this myself as king unto my King
I give, to Him Who gave Himself for me;
Who gives Himself to me, and bids me sing
A sweet new song of His redeemed set free;
He bids me sing: O death, where is thy sting?
And sing: O grave, where is thy victory?

(Artwork: Winter by Alphonse Mucha)

24 December 2008

Christmas Eve 2008

Holy Cow it's Christmas Eve. I've just finished all the cards I am going to send. Everything just seemed to take a little longer to get into the groove this year, despite my diligent planning. This may be the last year I send Christmas cards. So many of my friends and relatives have already stopped the practice. Oh, there will always be those stalwarts who send one every year like my aunts and my mom, who can always be counted on to give one of those chronological exposés on all that they did in the past year, travels and visits made, babies born and so forth. Still, not only has the practice of sending Christmas cards fallen off, but it could hardly be considered very "green" by today's standards. Oh well, as I bought three boxes at an after-Christmas sale last year I have now used them all up. If I send any next year I think it will be a more traditional correspondence, or homemade cards recycled from old cards.

I have saved many cards throughout the years. Mostly those most dear to me. Especially the ones friends send with pictures of the children growing up. I still have the handmade cards my late grandmother made with liquid embroidery. I like to look them over every year. They are a touchstone to Christmas Past. But as I get older, maybe I don't really need to save everything. It's a hard choice for me between sentimentality and simplicity. But maybe some can be reincarnated into something someone else can enjoy for a moment.

And now we have eCards. But they're so ... digital. There's nothing to hold. To feel the presence of your distant loved one by holding the very card they touched, laboured over, chose, hopefully inscribed and carefully addressed all with you in mind is as sweet as a beloved's kiss under the mistletoe. The feel beneath your fingertips of an embossed snow scene, or a gilded Madonna. To hear a bit of news from afar. Perhaps even a faint smell of perfume or kitchen that provokes a long forgotten memory. When a digital card can accomplish all of that then maybe I will warm to it.

So, for now, whether you are having a Charles Dickens sort of Christmas or a Charlie Brown Christmas (and in this economy you can guess which one I'm having) I'd like to wish all my readers and all the world a peaceful Christmas holiday season.

22 December 2008

Gloucester Cathedral Choir - In the Bleak Midwinter



I found this video over at The Anchoress blog. Nothing says Christmas to me as much as English choir boys and candlelight.

The poem by Christina Rossetti is one that many years ago I used when I sent homemade Christmas cards and it has always been one of my favourites.

If this doesn't center you, I'm afraid nothing will.

Enter with a quiet heart.

19 December 2008

Guest Blogger - my brother

My favorite 19th century social critic of industrial capitalism,
Charles Dickens, once wrote, "like you, I hope for better things. I
will pray for them, and believe that they will arrive." (Florence to
Walter as he leaves. Dombey and Son, 1846. Dombey and Son is a story
about the destruction of the family cause by greed and industrialization. )

Many Americans, as well as many around the world, believe that the
better things they've been hoping for have arrived. A new president
has inspired hope for some and fear for others. Which reminds me of
another Dickens's tale, and another analogy. As Christmas is just
around the corner, I think about "A Christmas Carol" and how the
Spirit of Christmas Present warns Scrooge to beware of the children,
Ignorance and Want.

"'Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,' said Scrooge,
looking intently at the Spirit's robe,' but I see something strange,
and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a
foot or a claw.'

'It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,' was the Spirit's
sorrowful reply. 'Look here.'

From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched,
abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet,
and clung upon the outside of its garment.

'Oh, Man. look here. Look, look, down here.' exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish;
but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should
have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest
tints, a stale and shriveled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and
twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat
enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no
degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the
mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way,
he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked
themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

'Spirit, are they yours.' Scrooge could say no more.

'They are Man's,' said the Spirit, looking down upon them. 'And they
cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This
girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of
all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom,
unless the writing be erased. Deny it.' cried the Spirit, stretching
out its hand towards the city. 'Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it
for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end.'

'Have they no refuge or resource.' cried Scrooge.

'Are there no prisons?' said the Spirit, turning on him for the last
time with his own words. Are there no workhouses?' "

- A Christmas Carol, 1843

These orphans are yours and mine as they belong to Man. When Dickens
spoke of Want he was probably referring to the poverty at that time of
industrialized London. And although we still have problems with
poverty in this country I feel that "want" has also come to symbolize
greed. Our children have left the workhouses for the shopping malls.
How often do we see kids fill these malls with desire for the latest
fad? How often do we see kids who have never worked a day in their
lives driving cars? And they don't want a cheap, sensible car, but an
expensive luxury car. No, prudence is no longer a virtue. We have
become so wealthy we no longer understand the difference between want
and need. It is this lust for vogue that propels the wars we detest
and behind them poverty rates are increasing, including the wealthiest
countries in the world.

Then there is Ignorance, the child Scrooge is warned to be especially
wary of. Ignorance, or the voluntary lack of education, has become a
complete resistance to learning. Ignorance is the cause of intolerance
and the foundation of repression. We have become so sophisticated that
we no longer value literacy, science, or the arts. Our children attend
school but basic test scores are dropping. To a great extent this has
happened because there is one thing Ignorance is capable of doing
without instruction; produce more ignorance.

I remember after Sept. 11th there was the question circulating the
media, "Why does the rest of the world hate us?" The "rest of the
world" replied that it was due to our greed and ignorance. And not
just that we are greedy and ignorant, but that we were arrogant about it.

The answers will be found in how you and I see the world, our
environment and our fellow inhabitants. Lets take advantage of this
new hope and seek out those opportunities that will allow us to take
responsibility for our actions. As the New Year begins let us begin to
make others and ourselves conscious of our charity, mercy,
forbearance, and benevolence.

Good luck, happy holidays and have a great year.

18 December 2008

16 December 2008

My first follower

I am so excited to welcome my first "follower". Judging by her Blogger profile it would appear that she is well-traveled (yes I am instantly envious) and she likes to blog (something I should aspire to myself) and she likes to make SoulCollage® (ah, a kindred spirit). Some other things I can tell about her is that she likes Gibran and Amelia Earhart (as do I). I do hope to learn her name soon, but for now she is "Traveler One". Based upon my analytical powers I suspect that she found my site from another SoulCollage® site, which makes me feel ashamed because I have neglected my SoulCollage® art for quite some time. But I promise, as soon as the holidays are over and the new year is underway, I will be back at my SoulCollage® art projects. I have some great images I've collected in recent weeks and some good ideas for cards.

But for now, I am just so pleased to have a follower. My first follower. Welcome Traveler One.

And I leave you with a quote attributed to Albert Camus:

"Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend."

15 December 2008

Amazing Peace




Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to
avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done
to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension,
Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness
high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence
and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged
as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth,
brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches,
breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft.
Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now.
It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound.
We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war.
But true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Peace.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth's tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.

We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.


Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.

- Maya Angelou

13 December 2008

12 December 2008

10 December 2008

09 December 2008

08 December 2008

Imagine



Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

~John Ono Lennon
1940 ~ 1980

03 December 2008

In Memoriam

Odetta ~ 31 December 1930 - 2 December 2008


Portrait by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

01 December 2008

Christmas Fancies by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago.
And etched on vacant places,
Are half forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know –
When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow.

Uprising from the ocean of the present surging near,
We see, with strange emotion that is not free from fear,
That continent Elysian
Long vanished from our vision,
Youth’s lovely lost Atlantis, so mourned for and so dear,
Uprising from the ocean of the present surging near.

When gloomy gray Decembers are roused to Christmas mirth,
The dullest life remembers there once was joy on earth,
And draws from youth’s recesses
Some memory it possesses,
And, gazing through the lens of time, exaggerates its worth,
When gloomy gray December is roused to Christmas mirth.

When hanging up the holly or mistletoe, I wis
Each heart recalls some folly that lit the world with bliss.
Not all the seers and sages
With wisdom of the ages
Can give the mind such pleasure as memories of that kiss
When hanging up the holly or mistletoe, I wis.

For life was made for loving, and love alone repays,
As passing years are proving for all of Time’s sad ways.
There lies a sting in pleasure,
And fame gives shallow measure,
And wealth is but a phantom that mocks the restless days,
For life was made for loving, and only loving pays.

When Christmas bells are pelting the air with silver chimes,
And silences are melting to soft, melodious rhymes,
Let Love, the worlds beginning,
End fear and hate and sinning;
Let Love, the God Eternal, be worshipped in all climes
When Christmas bells are pelting the air with silver chimes.

28 November 2008

Seals & Crofts ~ Hummingbird



I was in the optomestrist's office on Wednesday as I broke my glasses, and I heard this song come over the muzak. I hadn't thought about it for years. What a great song. Necessary to this blog. Enjoy.

23 November 2008

Vatican forgives John Lennon for Jesus remark

11/22/2008 3:00 PM, Reuters

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican's newspaper has finally forgiven John Lennon for declaring that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, calling the remark a "boast" by a young man grappling with sudden fame.

The comment by Lennon to a London newspaper in 1966 infuriated Christians, particularly in the United States, some of whom burned Beatles' albums in huge pyres.

21 November 2008

Good morning, on July 7
Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us - I can live only wholly with you or not at all - Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits - Yes, unhappily it must be so - You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart - never - never - Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life - Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men - At my age I need a steady, quiet life - can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day - therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once - Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together - Be calm - love me - today - yesterday - what tearful longings for you - you - you - my life - my all - farewell. Oh continue to love me - never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
ever thine
ever mine
ever ours

Ludwig Van Beethoven 1827

Double-Dose for Friday

Ok, I couldn't resist posting these two videos that caught my attention this week. The first is a pathetic and sad example of how f***'d up SP remains. I mean, ok, those of us barbarians who still eat turkey, know where it comes from and all that, it's not pretty, I am not proud, but for her to give an interview with that slaughter going on in the background and for her to be ok with that, to me, shows poor judgment and a profound lack of any presence of mind. As a celebrity-politician, she has not one inkling of projecting a favourable image of herself. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that if she and McCain had won the election I think I would be in line for volunteering to have what is being done to those poor turkeys done to me.



The second video is a sad and pathetic example of how low President Bush has fallen in terms of respectability among the leaders of the free world. No one would shake his hand? WTF? Cooties? It seems somewhat surreal to me. What a complete embarrassment he has made of himself and by association all of us.




It just makes me VERY THANKFUL to be looking forward to our new leader in President Barack Obama come 20 January 2009. I just don't know how much more of this I can take.

19 November 2008

Wordless Wednesday



Because I've been feeling poorly for the past few days, I needed something to get my red blood cells functioning again, and so I thought of James Brown's Sex Machine - Get On Up. I still can't for the life of me figure out why Viagra's marketing division hasn't jumped on this one yet.

Enjoy.

09 November 2008

07 November 2008

Election Night

Alice Walker Open Letter to Barack Obama



An Open Letter to Barack Obama
Alice Walker on expectations, responsibilities and a new reality that is almost more than the heart can bear.
TheRoot.com
Updated: 10:55 PM ET Nov 4, 2008

Nov. 5, 2008

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker

© 2008, Alice Walker

06 November 2008

A Non-Violent Revolution



Here's a link to the site.

Still I Rise ~ Maya Angelou


You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise

Up from a past rooted in pain
I rise

A black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling, bearing in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise

Into a daybreak miraculously clear
I rise

Bringing the hopes that my ancestors gave,
I am the hope and the dream of the slave.

05 November 2008

Hope

“Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird—
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

- Emily Dickinson


Hometown Front Page

This is the Day that the Lord hath made

"This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
~ Psalm 118:24

I knew I would get emotional last night and I finally did. When I finally realised it wasn't a dream. It was a dream coming true. Still, maybe I expected more from myself emotionally. I saw plenty of other people crying. I was teary-eyed throughout Obama's acceptance speech in Chicago. It wasn't until this morning that I forgave myself for my less-than-over-the-top reaction. For I realised that I've been believing this shit all along. I was completely in the tank from the first time I ever heard him speak. For the past four years I've watched him, listened to him, believed in him. I have also learned from him. I've watched him exude a dauntless spirit in the face of adversity. And at times when things would look the blackest (no pun intended), when I was exposing, with the help of the FactChecker and Snopes, the lies upon lies sent with the viral vileness with which they were intended from many of those most dear to me. When Barack Obama said "I can take four more weeks of this but the American people can't take four more years of Bush policies." I was breathed fresh life giving air. I was uplifted. I know I gained strength from him. I hope he gained strength from us.

Frankly, after the Democratic Convention I was completely fired up. And when McCain chose then unknown Palin, I thought he'd conceded right then and there and yet I thought I sounded arrogant to say that out loud. But really, what was he thinking? That was a very careless and dangerous decision. And she may have brought out the worst in his supporters. I thought McCain was gracious in his concession speech last night. I still believe many of his supporters are cretins. And they are probably proud of the fact that I do. The death rattle of an ugly beast can be a terrible thing to witness.

I have believed in this possibility for all of my life. From the time I was six years old and my mother, my little brother and I had to be escorted by police out of our home in the middle of the night when the riots from DC in '68 spilled into my neighborhood in Alexandria. My mother was naturally afraid being a white woman home alone with two children. I was more afraid of having to leave our dog Freckles behind. I grew up keenly aware of the racial divides all around me. But I always believed we could rise above it. And last night I believe I watched that happen. So I felt more of a sigh of relief than anything else. Believe me the tears have been shed for many years. Last night I saw my brothers and sisters come together. Young, old, black, white, brown. Rich and poor and middle class. Men and women. All coming together for a common purpose to become a voice for CHANGE. Now.

Today I feel quietly grateful. I will revel but I will not gloat. For there is much work to be done still. But what a glorious day it is.


**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~

Early on when I started this blog I said it would not be a political rant because there already were plenty of those. But ever since Barack Obama announced his candidacy, I have been exercising my right to free speech about it. Because if there is anything that this blog is it is a record of my passions. And I became passionate about this candidate, this election, this country. I was not a Hillary convert and I was never undecided. I was one of a million when I made my first donation as one of the first million to do so. Today I am one of millions. Tomorrow I will (probably) go back to music and poetry posts and the like. Or not. What's more capricious than a hummingbird?

04 November 2008

Open Letter to the World...

You're Welcome!

I Voted





Today I voted for hope and against fear.
Today I voted for change and against the status quo.
Today I voted for peace and against aggression.
Today I voted for the middle class and against socialism for the wealthy.
Today I voted for health care for all.
Today I voted for my children's future.
Today I voted my Christian family values.

May God bless Barack Obama.
May God bless America.


You Decide


You Got to Believe 100%

31 October 2008

Nice guy that Obama

This was posted over at Leisha's Random Thoughts, thank you for the story and translation.

Mary lacked money to fly home to Norway – he saved her love

ÅSGÅRDSTRAND (VG): Mary was a newlywed and ready to move to Norway, but was stopped at the airport because she didn’t have enough money for the trip. Then a stranger turned up and paid for her.

Mary Menth Andersen was 31 years old at the time and had just married Norwegian Dag Andersen. She was looking forward to starting a new life in Åsgårdstrand in Vestfold with him. But first she had to get all of her belongings across to Norway. The date was November 2nd, 1988.
At the airport in Miami things were hectic as usual, with long lines at the check-in counters. When it was finally Mary’s turn and she had placed her luggage on the baggage line, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness.
-You’ll have to pay a 103 dollar surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway, the man behind the counter said.
Mary had no money. Her new husband had traveled ahead of her to Norway, and she had no one else to call.
-I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions, says Mary.

Although she explained the situation to the man behind the counter, he showed no signs of mercy.
-I started to cry, tears were pouring down my face and I had no idea what to do. Then I heard a gentle and friendly voice behind me saying, That’s OK, I’ll pay for her.
Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before.
-He had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive. The first thing I thought was, Who is this man?
Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man.
-He was nicely dressed, fashionably dressed with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants, says Mary.
She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.

The piece of paper said ‘Barack Obama’ and his address in Kansas, which is the state where his mother comes from. Mary carried the slip of paper around in her wallet for years, before it was thrown out.
-He was my knight in shining armor, says Mary, smiling.
She paid the 103 dollars back to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway. At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid community worker* in Chicago, and had started his law studies at prestigious Harvard University.
In the spring of 2006 Mary’s parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president, but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter in which they told him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they thanked Obama for helping their daughter 18 years earlier.
In a letter to Mary’s parents dated May 4th, 2006 and stamped ‘United States Senate, Washington DC’, Barack Obama writes**:
‘I want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I’m happy I could help back then, and I’m delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in Norway. Please send her my best wishes. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States senator’.
The parents sent the letter on to Mary.

This week VG met her and her husband in the café that she runs with her friend Lisbeth Tollefsrud in Åsgårdstrand.
-It’s amazing to think that the man who helped me 20 years ago may now become the next US president, says Mary delightedly.
She has already voted for Obama. She recently donated 100 dollars to his campaign.
She often tells the story from Miami airport, both when race issues are raised and when the conversation turns to the presidential elections.
-I sincerely hope the Americans will see reason and understand that Obama means change, says Mary.


*Not at all sure about this part of the translation. The Norwegian word used is 'miljøarbeider', I don't know what the exact English word for that is or even if there is one, and I don't know enough about Obama to say what job of his they're talking about.
**This is my translation of the reporter's translation of the letter. From English to Norwegian and back to English. So obviously it is not correct word for word.

And here she is with her husband and the letter.

Music Friday

In honour of the upcoming election, two videos come to mind.





Enjoy. Now get out and V*O*T*E

29 October 2008

28 October 2008

As McCain Cancels, Obama Rallies




Never let it be said that I have failed to give an unbiased presentation of the various news articles that capture my attention. For here is an official FOXNews aka "FauxNews" piece that I thought I'd share.


As McCain Cancels, Obama Rallies
by Bonney Kapp

CHESTER, PA - Dressed in blue jeans and a black jacket, Barack Obama braved the cold rain falling in Pennsylvania, and held his scheduled rally - outdoors. “A little bit of rain never hurt anybody,” he quipped to the 9,000 who showed up in ponchos and futilely holding umbrellas.

Just an hour away in Quakertown, the rival ticket cancelled their own outdoor rally due to inclement weather. Unfazed, Obama incorporated the conditions into his speech.

“I just want all of you to know if we see this kind of dedication on election day – there is no way that we’re not going to bring change to America,” he said as the soggy crowd cheered.

Obama delivered his “closing argument” speech in full - even though his teleprompter seemed to give out midway due to the rain. Glancing down at a hard copy of the speech on the podium, he accused John McCain of embracing George Bush’s policies. “John McCain has ridden shotgun as George Bush has driven our economy towards a cliff, and now he wants to take the wheel and step on the gas. And when it comes to the issue of taxes, saying that John McCain is running for a third Bush term isn’t being fair to George Bush,” he said, arguing that not even the unpopular president would support even more tax cuts for the wealthy that McCain is touting.

In what is likely to be his final campaign event in the Keystone State, Obama urged his supporters to be as resolute in the coming days as they were today, braving the elements.

"Pennsylvania, that’s what hope is about – the belief deep down inside of us that we can do better than we’re doing right now, that there're better days ahead, if we’re willing to work for it. If we’re willing to shed our fears and our doubts, if we’re willing to reach down deep inside us, when times are tough, when it’s cold, when it’s rainy, when it’s hard - that’s when we stand up, that’s when we reach for a better future. And if all of you are willing to be just as determined as you are today, if all of you go out on election day, if all of you get your friends and your neighbors, your co-workers, if you are determined to bring about a better America, then I promise you this, we will not just win Pennsylvania, we will win this general election and you and I together, we’re gonna change this country and change this world."
**************************

It makes me just want to say one more thing...RAI AI AI AI aiaiaiannnnnn....I don't mind.

24 October 2008

American Prayer

Glassic Gaye

Barack Obama for President

Ok, if you're one of those who believe the New York Times is just another liberal media elitist, then you've probabaly already made up your mind about who you're going to vote for. But just in case you're one of those as yet, heretofore "undecideds" this editorial offers one of the most concise and comprehensive arguments for who should become the next President of the United States. Read on.

New York Times
October 24, 2008
Editorial
Barack Obama for President

Hyperbole is the currency of presidential campaigns, but this year the nation’s future truly hangs in the balance.

The United States is battered and drifting after eight years of President Bush’s failed leadership. He is saddling his successor with two wars, a scarred global image and a government systematically stripped of its ability to protect and help its citizens — whether they are fleeing a hurricane’s floodwaters, searching for affordable health care or struggling to hold on to their homes, jobs, savings and pensions in the midst of a financial crisis that was foretold and preventable.

As tough as the times are, the selection of a new president is easy. After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States.



Mr. Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change. He has shown a cool head and sound judgment. We believe he has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation’s problems.

In the same time, Senator John McCain of Arizona has retreated farther and farther to the fringe of American politics, running a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism. His policies and worldview are mired in the past. His choice of a running mate so evidently unfit for the office was a final act of opportunism and bad judgment that eclipsed the accomplishments of 26 years in Congress.

Given the particularly ugly nature of Mr. McCain’s campaign, the urge to choose on the basis of raw emotion is strong. But there is a greater value in looking closely at the facts of life in America today and at the prescriptions the candidates offer. The differences are profound.

Mr. McCain offers more of the Republican every-man-for-himself ideology, now lying in shards on Wall Street and in Americans’ bank accounts. Mr. Obama has another vision of government’s role and responsibilities.

In his convention speech in Denver, Mr. Obama said, “Government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.”

Since the financial crisis, he has correctly identified the abject failure of government regulation that has brought the markets to the brink of collapse.

The Economy

The American financial system is the victim of decades of Republican deregulatory and anti-tax policies. Those ideas have been proved wrong at an unfathomable price, but Mr. McCain — a self-proclaimed “foot soldier in the Reagan revolution” — is still a believer.

Mr. Obama sees that far-reaching reforms will be needed to protect Americans and American business.

Mr. McCain talks about reform a lot, but his vision is pinched. His answer to any economic question is to eliminate pork-barrel spending — about $18 billion in a $3 trillion budget — cut taxes and wait for unfettered markets to solve the problem.

Mr. Obama is clear that the nation’s tax structure must be changed to make it fairer. That means the well-off Americans who have benefited disproportionately from Mr. Bush’s tax cuts will have to pay some more. Working Americans, who have seen their standard of living fall and their children’s options narrow, will benefit. Mr. Obama wants to raise the minimum wage and tie it to inflation, restore a climate in which workers are able to organize unions if they wish and expand educational opportunities.

Mr. McCain, who once opposed President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy as fiscally irresponsible, now wants to make them permanent. And while he talks about keeping taxes low for everyone, his proposed cuts would overwhelmingly benefit the top 1 percent of Americans while digging the country into a deeper fiscal hole.

National Security

The American military — its people and equipment — is dangerously overstretched. Mr. Bush has neglected the necessary war in Afghanistan, which now threatens to spiral into defeat. The unnecessary and staggeringly costly war in Iraq must be ended as quickly and responsibly as possible.

While Iraq’s leaders insist on a swift drawdown of American troops and a deadline for the end of the occupation, Mr. McCain is still talking about some ill-defined “victory.” As a result, he has offered no real plan for extracting American troops and limiting any further damage to Iraq and its neighbors.

Mr. Obama was an early and thoughtful opponent of the war in Iraq, and he has presented a military and diplomatic plan for withdrawing American forces. Mr. Obama also has correctly warned that until the Pentagon starts pulling troops out of Iraq, there will not be enough troops to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Mr. McCain, like Mr. Bush, has only belatedly focused on Afghanistan’s dangerous unraveling and the threat that neighboring Pakistan may quickly follow.

Mr. Obama would have a learning curve on foreign affairs, but he has already showed sounder judgment than his opponent on these critical issues. His choice of Senator Joseph Biden — who has deep foreign-policy expertise — as his running mate is another sign of that sound judgment. Mr. McCain’s long interest in foreign policy and the many dangers this country now faces make his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska more irresponsible.

Both presidential candidates talk about strengthening alliances in Europe and Asia, including NATO, and strongly support Israel. Both candidates talk about repairing America’s image in the world. But it seems clear to us that Mr. Obama is far more likely to do that — and not just because the first black president would present a new American face to the world.

Mr. Obama wants to reform the United Nations, while Mr. McCain wants to create a new entity, the League of Democracies — a move that would incite even fiercer anti-American furies around the world.

Unfortunately, Mr. McCain, like Mr. Bush, sees the world as divided into friends (like Georgia) and adversaries (like Russia). He proposed kicking Russia out of the Group of 8 industrialized nations even before the invasion of Georgia. We have no sympathy for Moscow’s bullying, but we also have no desire to replay the cold war. The United States must find a way to constrain the Russians’ worst impulses, while preserving the ability to work with them on arms control and other vital initiatives.

Both candidates talk tough on terrorism, and neither has ruled out military action to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But Mr. Obama has called for a serious effort to try to wean Tehran from its nuclear ambitions with more credible diplomatic overtures and tougher sanctions. Mr. McCain’s willingness to joke about bombing Iran was frightening.

The Constitution and the Rule of Law

Under Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the justice system and the separation of powers have come under relentless attack. Mr. Bush chose to exploit the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, the moment in which he looked like the president of a unified nation, to try to place himself above the law.

Mr. Bush has arrogated the power to imprison men without charges and browbeat Congress into granting an unfettered authority to spy on Americans. He has created untold numbers of “black” programs, including secret prisons and outsourced torture. The president has issued hundreds, if not thousands, of secret orders. We fear it will take years of forensic research to discover how many basic rights have been violated.

Both candidates have renounced torture and are committed to closing the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

But Mr. Obama has gone beyond that, promising to identify and correct Mr. Bush’s attacks on the democratic system. Mr. McCain has been silent on the subject.

Mr. McCain improved protections for detainees. But then he helped the White House push through the appalling Military Commissions Act of 2006, which denied detainees the right to a hearing in a real court and put Washington in conflict with the Geneva Conventions, greatly increasing the risk to American troops.

The next president will have the chance to appoint one or more justices to a Supreme Court that is on the brink of being dominated by a radical right wing. Mr. Obama may appoint less liberal judges than some of his followers might like, but Mr. McCain is certain to pick rigid ideologues. He has said he would never appoint a judge who believes in women’s reproductive rights.

The Candidates

It will be an enormous challenge just to get the nation back to where it was before Mr. Bush, to begin to mend its image in the world and to restore its self-confidence and its self-respect. Doing all of that, and leading America forward, will require strength of will, character and intellect, sober judgment and a cool, steady hand.

Mr. Obama has those qualities in abundance. Watching him being tested in the campaign has long since erased the reservations that led us to endorse Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries. He has drawn in legions of new voters with powerful messages of hope and possibility and calls for shared sacrifice and social responsibility.

Mr. McCain, whom we chose as the best Republican nominee in the primaries, has spent the last coins of his reputation for principle and sound judgment to placate the limitless demands and narrow vision of the far-right wing. His righteous fury at being driven out of the 2000 primaries on a racist tide aimed at his adopted daughter has been replaced by a zealous embrace of those same win-at-all-costs tactics and tacticians.

He surrendered his standing as an independent thinker in his rush to embrace Mr. Bush’s misbegotten tax policies and to abandon his leadership position on climate change and immigration reform.

Mr. McCain could have seized the high ground on energy and the environment. Earlier in his career, he offered the first plausible bill to control America’s emissions of greenhouse gases. Now his positions are a caricature of that record: think Ms. Palin leading chants of “drill, baby, drill.”

Mr. Obama has endorsed some offshore drilling, but as part of a comprehensive strategy including big investments in new, clean technologies.



Mr. Obama has withstood some of the toughest campaign attacks ever mounted against a candidate. He’s been called un-American and accused of hiding a secret Islamic faith. The Republicans have linked him to domestic terrorists and questioned his wife’s love of her country. Ms. Palin has also questioned millions of Americans’ patriotism, calling Republican-leaning states “pro-America.”

This politics of fear, division and character assassination helped Mr. Bush drive Mr. McCain from the 2000 Republican primaries and defeat Senator John Kerry in 2004. It has been the dominant theme of his failed presidency.

The nation’s problems are simply too grave to be reduced to slashing “robo-calls” and negative ads. This country needs sensible leadership, compassionate leadership, honest leadership and strong leadership. Barack Obama has shown that he has all of those qualities.

Drill Drill Drill - Eve Ensler

23 October 2008

Opie and Andy, Richie and the Fonz

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Imaginary conversation over a breakfast table in Alaska

"Mommy, do I have to give back the clothes and shoes I got for you being President, uh, I mean Vice-President?"

"Well, yes you might dear, because the socialist, liberal, media elite says you can’t have them."

"But why Mommy? I really like these new clothes. They’re so much nicer than the flannel-lined Wranglers you make me wear at home. And I hate wearing Willow’s hand-me-downs."

"Well, darling there’s nothing wrong with hand-me-downs, you’re lucky to have a big sister to share clothes with."

"Do Willow and Bristol and Trig also have to give back their new clothes?"

"Yes, I suppose they will Sweetheart. You see the nice Republican Party gave you the clothes but the mean ol’ nasty Democrats, who aren’t real Americans anyway are making you give them back. It’s how they spread the wealth around."

Willow has now joined the conversation.

"But Mom, we learned in school that socialism is when the government provides all of your needs. Isn’t that what the Republicans did when they bought us all these nice clothes?"

"No darling, that was an “economic stimulus package” in which we supported the economy by buying stuff far beyond our own means."

"Oh."

"Mommy can I have some moose bacon for breakfast?"

22 October 2008

Police Sniper Tower in NYC




Erected in expectation of impending post-election riots.
The writing is on the wall people, dare I say anything else?

Arrest Rove

Thanks to Wonkette for bringing this to my attention:

"This is a truly great clip, my friends, truly great, because it involves Karl Rove behaving foolishly. He was holding some sort of discussion panel thing this morning with former Democratic Sen. George Mitchell — in the communist port town of San Francisco. “Oh boy!” is right. First some crazy drunk lady walks on stage and tries to handcuff Rove, and as soon as she makes her move, he SWATS her hands away like a baby while staring straight ahead. And then another hippie goes nuts in the audience. Finally, Rove says some whiny thing, pretending to be offended, and literally everyone laughs at him and Mitchell is like, “shutup, fraud.” All in all a fine session of political discourse."



Loose Lips Sink Ships Mr. Rove. You should be hanged for treason, sir.

Obama Speaks to 100,000 in St Louis

13 October 2008

Put Away Falsehood

"Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are all of the same body."

Ephesians 4:25

Put Away Falsehood

A Mother's Promise

11 October 2008

Frank Schaeffer: McCain's attacks fuel dangerous hatred

McCain's attacks fuel dangerous hatred

By Frank Schaeffer
October 10, 2008

John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.

At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, "Kill him!" At one of your rallies, someone called out, "Terrorist!" Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee - an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.

Shame!

John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.

You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.

John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that surround the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post-9/11, to call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we are a bitterly divided country on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty of crazy people out there.

Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.

John McCain, you're walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out "Terrorist" or "Kill him," history will hold you responsible for all that follows.

John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people - forever.

We will hold you responsible.


Frank Schaeffer is the author of "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back." His e-mail is frankaschaeffer@aol.com.

John McCain: "Obama is a decent, family man."

Just the facts...

In Letter to 'NYT,' Man Who Prosecuted Weather Underground Hits Linking Ayers to Obama

By Greg Mitchell

Published: October 10, 2008 9:00 AM ET

NEW YORK In a surprising a letter to the editor published in The New York Times today, the chief prosecutor of the Weather Underground in the 1970s expressed outrage over the linking of Barack Obama to Bill Ayers by the McCain campaign, adding, "Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen."

William C. Ibershof also corrects a charge in the Times: "I do take issue with the statement in your news article that the Weathermen indictment was dismissed because of 'prosecutorial misconduct.' It was dismissed because of illegal activities, including wiretaps, break-ins and mail interceptions, initiated by John N. Mitchell, attorney general at that time, and W. Mark Felt, an F.B.I. assistant director."

Felt, of course (you may have already forgotten), was also known as a guy called "Deep Throat."

The full letter follows. For constant coverage of the media and the campaign go to our new blog at:
The E&P Pub

*
As the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s (I was then chief of the criminal division in the Eastern District of Michigan and took over the Weathermen prosecution in 1972), I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child.

Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen.

Because Senator Obama recently served on a board of a charitable organization with Mr. Ayers cannot possibly link the senator to acts perpetrated by Mr. Ayers so many years ago.

I do take issue with the statement in your news article that the Weathermen indictment was dismissed because of “prosecutorial misconduct.” It was dismissed because of illegal activities, including wiretaps, break-ins and mail interceptions, initiated by John N. Mitchell, attorney general at that time, and W. Mark Felt, an F.B.I. assistant director.

William C. Ibershof
Mill Valley, Calif., Oct. 8, 2008

10 October 2008

Believe

Trying to turn it around

Ok. I am making an effort to turn the thrust of my blog posts back around to the positive. The vitriol of the past week has made me ill.






I only have one small disagreement with Barack Obama. And that is that I think it CAN get any worse. I think McCain/Palin could be the worst thing to ever happen to this country.

Barack Obama 2008

Shift Happens

Did you feel it? Did you feel the world shift ever so slightly yet tremendously, significantly? It happened yesterday afternoon at exactly 3:48 PM PST. Yes indeed, it truly did. No I'm not talking about another California earthquake, I'm referring to a comment I overheard, made by my staunch Republican boss to someone on the phone. He was discussing the economic state we're in and he said "If Obama wins, I will be personally better off financially." Oh, sure he still touts the Republicans and had earlier in the day tried to (unsuccessfully) convince me that McCain's health care plan would give me $5000 (despite his taxing of the health care benefits my boss does provide which far exceeds that $5000). Still, he said it. I'll repeat, "If Obama wins, I will be personally better off financially." This is a multiple business owner, Wharton School graduate, who eats, sleeps and walks, bottom line. He reads the WSJ, both print and online versions daily, owns several properties, is invested in the stock market. He checks his company's P&L daily. While I disagree with his personal politics, I respect his financial acumen.

Now, I've heard talk about a so-called "Bradley Effect" where polls didn't match election results because some people who claimed to have voted for Tom Bradley for California Governor, in the privacy of the voting booth actually voted for someone else. Well, maybe that might happen for Obama. But I think that the exact opposite is likely to happen far more. Forget about the Republican base who have shown themselves to be a bunch of hateful, fearful, neocon, backward cretins. Nothing short of Armagedon is ever going to change them. But some fiscal conservatives, who vote more than their faith and fear are going to quietly pull the lever for Barack Obama. And then go back to their daily lives of watching market indices and scooping up foreclosed properties to add to their portfolios, and bulking up their bottom line. At least that is what I am praying for.

08 October 2008

Open Letter to John McCain

Dear Senator,

As a United States citizen (10th generation) I am asking you to stop anyone in your campaign as well as yourself from calling (by outright statement or insinuation or by association) Senator Obama a terrorist. This can set a very ugly precedence when our elected officials are being called terrorists by other elected officials as well as their supporters. I would hope for greater decorum from elected officials and presidential candidates. I deem such behaviour to be nothing less than 21st century McCarthyism. I ask you to stand up to, and cease such blatant smears against Senator Obama.

Watch out America - We're on a very dangerous and slippery slope



I sounded the alarm earlier, and it does not appear to be going away. America is dangerously close to a military take down. Our rights will be trampled if we fail to act. If we tolerate slurs of "terrorist" from the right wing machinery, they will continue to whip this thing up. They will not only take over this election, but toss all of our civil rights right out the window.

This is a threat to each and every one of us from the current administration. What do we do in the face of a threat? Run away? I think not. Dangerous times indeed.

02 October 2008

Wake Up America!

Just Another Tricky Day

I received this from a friend on the internet. Her niece went up to New Hampshire to volunteer for Obama. She wrote this yesterday:

"One of the most remarkable moments of my day, however, was witnessing a 20 something year old veteran who just returned from Iraq transform from the McCain 'New Hampshire for Victory' Veteran Coordinator to an Obama volunteer. It sounds unreal, but all happened between 10 am and 6 pm today. The first time he stopped in the office, Corey, the Veteran, was taking a break from his work at the McCain office to talk to his girlfriend, who happened to be volunteering for the Obama office. As he was clearly an atypical character, we began asking Corey what sort of work he was doing for McCain. He expressed dissatisfaction with his work there because his boss was trying to pressure him to write an op-ed piece on McCain's 'victory' in the debate and in support of Palin as the VP, two positions that he was uncomfortable in taking. Abby, one of the field coordinators offered to give him information, specifically about veteran affairs, the issue that he was clearly most interested in. He looked over Obama's policy and began talking about how his superiors were telling him he had to vote for McCain saying that they would lose their benefits under Obama. He confessed he really didn't have confidence that McCain would protect them because in his experience as a New Hampshire militia in Iraq he was rarely given sufficient protective gear, and the gear he was given was leftover from Vietnam War because NH has no supplemental funds from taxes to pay for new equipment. As he was perusing the information about Obama he made a number of jokes about how he was such a rebel because Republicans are not allowed to do research. He also expressed frustration at not being able to find a job solely because employers were not interested in investing in him given that he could be shipped off to war at any point. He did eventually left our office to 'go back to the darkside' but later in the evening, when I was in the middle of my list of calls, I turned around and saw that Corey was being trained by the field coordinator for Obama phone banking. Apparently he had gone to a veterans for McCain phone banking, was the only person there until his supervisor showed up 40 minutes late. He asked her a couple questions about McCain's Veteran policies, to which she gave him some half-truthful answers and he quit on the spot. Needless to say, he had the best line for calling the NH Republicans on his phone list -- 'I'm a Republican veteran calling in support of Obama ... ' Quite remarkable." Today she reported that the vet had come back to continue volunteering for Obama.

I have tried to verify this via Google but could find no link to ascertain its veracity. Still, I have no reason to doubt this story. It's just a word of mouth kinda thing. Take from it what you will.

One note I wish to make is that this is not the first I've heard of "ghost-writers" being recruited by the McCain campaign to fabricate letters using pre-established code-words and catch-phrases to be sent to Op/Ed newspapers in every major American city.

And finally, one last thing. I drove by my bank yesterday, you know the one with the wild west stage coach as their logo, and I saw three people standing in line for the ATM machine and I immediately got a clammy feeling and flashed on that scene in It's A Wonderful Life of the run on the bank. I can report happily that apparently, at least for the moment, my meager savings account appears to be safe. For the moment.

25 September 2008

What has McCain found in Sarah Palin? by Conservative George Will



Washington Post

George Will: What has McCain found in Sarah Palin?

By GEORGE F. WILL

Thursday, Sep. 4, 2008

The word experience appears 91 times in the Federalist Papers, those distillations of conservative sense and sensibility. Madison, Hamilton and Jay said that truths are "taught" and "corroborated" by experience. These writers were eager to "consult" and be "led" by experience. They spoke of "indubitable" and "unequivocal" lessons from experience, the "testimony" of experience and "the accumulated experience of ages."

"Accumulating" experience is "the parent of wisdom" and a "guide" that "justifies," "confirms" and can "admonish." America's founders were empiricists and students of history who trusted "that best oracle of wisdom, experience," which is humanity's "least fallible guide."
George F. Will Logo

A telling touch, that "least fallible." The founders represented the sober side of the enlightenment. They knew, as conservatives do, that all guides are fallible. Hence conservatism's inclination to discern prescriptions in traditions, which are mankind's slow adjustments to the accretion of experiences.

So, Sarah Palin. The man who would be the oldest to embark on a first presidential term has chosen as his possible successor a person of negligible experience.

Any cook can run the state, said Lenin, who was wrong about that, too.

America's gentle populists and other sentimental egalitarians postulate that wisdom is easily acquired and hence broadly diffused; therefore, anyone with a good heart can deliver good government, which is whatever the public desires. "The people of Nebraska," said the archetypal populist William Jennings Bryan, "are for free silver and I am for free silver. I will look up the arguments later."

Sen. John McCain's opponent is by far the least experienced person to receive a presidential nomination in the 75 years since the federal government became a comprehensively intrusive regulatory state and modern weaponry annihilated the protection the nation derived from time and distance. Which is why McCain's case for his candidacy could, until last Friday, be distilled into two words: Experience matters.

McCain, who at 72, is 22 years older than Alaskan statehood, is 27 years and six months older than his running mate, who was 8 when Joe Biden was elected to the Senate. But in 1856, James Buchanan, 65, was 29 years and eight months older than his running mate, John Breckinridge, who was 35. Buchanan could run with that stripling because Buchanan was the most qualified person to run for President, before or since.

At least he was if varied experience in high offices fully defines who is "qualified." But it does not. Buchanan had been a five-term congressman, then ambassador to Russia, then a two-term senator, then secretary of state, then ambassador to Britain. Buchanan then became, perhaps, the worst President.

Clearly, experience is not sufficient to prove a person "qualified" for the presidency. But it is a necessary component of qualification.

So are two other attributes. One is character. Richard Nixon was qualified by his experience as congressman, senator and vice president, but disqualified by character. The second is a braided mental rope of constitutional sense and political common sense.

In his Denver speech, Barack Obama derided the "discredited Republican philosophy" that he caricatured in four words -- "you're on your own." Then he promised to "keep ... our toys safe." Among the four candidates for national office, perhaps only Palin might give a Madisonian answer -- one cognizant of the idea that the federal government's powers are limited because they are enumerated -- if asked to identify any provision of the Constitution, other than the First Amendment, that imposes meaningful limits on congressional or executive authority to act.

If so, she would be a good influence on Washington, including McCain. But is there any evidence that she has thought about such matters? McCain's selection of her is applied McCainism -- a visceral judgment by one who is confidently righteous. But the viscera are not the seat of wisdom.

In 1912, McCain's Arizona became the 48th state. In 1959, Palin's Alaska became the 49th. Western conservatism has the libertarian cast of a region still steeped in an individualism natural to the frontier's spaciousness. But American conservatism depends on what it calls "fusion," the collaboration of libertarians and social conservatives concerned that liberty unleavened by restraints creates a licentious culture. Palin supposedly is fusion in one person.

Many cultural conservatives, who are much of the GOP's base, consider McCain's adherence to their persuasion perfunctory. By his selection of Palin, he got the enthusiasm of the base. But what has he got in Palin? In coming days, he and we will learn from a stern teacher, experience.

George Will's e-mail address is georgewill@washpost.com.

Sarah Palin Voodoo video (short version)

Paulson and the end of Posse Comtatus

This week the Bush appointed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson sat before the United States Congress and asked for a "line of credit" to keep the country from falling deeper into a recession (the same recession that up until about a week ago BushCo denied we were in). To me, he looked like the proverbial rich kid who spent all of his hefty allowance, wrecked the family car and is now asking dad to give him the credit card. I think he should be grounded and sent to his room.

This crisis was in part created by the former Goldman Sachs-CEO. In his last report at Goldman Sachs, Paulson received a compensation package of $38 million.

Also yesterday, John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, said he is "suspending" his campaign in order to focus on the economic crisis. Apparently, doing more than one thing at a time is too taxing for the elder statesman. Yet I see a deeper and much more sinister game plan starting to take shape. There will be no presidential debates, and ultimately no election all based on this man-made disaster called the failing economy. Rumours have circulated also, that if Obama is not elected the Bush Administration foresees rampant public outrage. There will be chaos and fighting in the streets. Therefore, we come to the next news item.

You tell me, do these disparate factors have anything in common?

The end of Posse Comitatus preventing U.S. Army operations inside the United States.

Read the Army Times article here

Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1

3rd Infantry’s 1st BCT trains for a new dwell-time mission. Helping ‘people at home’ may become a permanent part of the active Army
By Gina Cavallaro - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Sep 8, 2008 6:15:06 EDT

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.

But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.

“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.”

The command is at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., but the soldiers with 1st BCT, who returned in April after 15 months in Iraq, will operate out of their home post at Fort Stewart, Ga., where they’ll be able to go to school, spend time with their families and train for their new homeland mission as well as the counterinsurgency mission in the war zones.

Stop-loss will not be in effect, so soldiers will be able to leave the Army or move to new assignments during the mission, and the operational tempo will be variable.

Don’t look for any extra time off, though. The at-home mission does not take the place of scheduled combat-zone deployments and will take place during the so-called dwell time a unit gets to reset and regenerate after a deployment.

The 1st of the 3rd is still scheduled to deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan in early 2010, which means the soldiers will have been home a minimum of 20 months by the time they ship out.

In the meantime, they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.

The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.

“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body.

“I’m not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds ... it put me on my knees in seconds.”

The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced “sea-smurf”).

“I can’t think of a more noble mission than this,” said Cloutier, who took command in July. “We’ve been all over the world during this time of conflict, but now our mission is to take care of citizens at home ... and depending on where an event occurred, you’re going home to take care of your home town, your loved ones.”

While soldiers’ combat training is applicable, he said, some nuances don’t apply.

“If we go in, we’re going in to help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris, restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it’s kind of a different role,” said Cloutier, who, as the division operations officer on the last rotation, learned of the homeland mission a few months ago while they were still in Iraq.

Some brigade elements will be on call around the clock, during which time they’ll do their regular marksmanship, gunnery and other deployment training. That’s because the unit will continue to train and reset for the next deployment, even as it serves in its CCMRF mission.

Should personnel be needed at an earthquake in California, for example, all or part of the brigade could be scrambled there, depending on the extent of the need and the specialties involved.
Other branches included

The active Army’s new dwell-time mission is part of a NorthCom and DOD response package.

Active-duty soldiers will be part of a force that includes elements from other military branches and dedicated National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams.

A final mission rehearsal exercise is scheduled for mid-September at Fort Stewart and will be run by Joint Task Force Civil Support, a unit based out of Fort Monroe, Va., that will coordinate and evaluate the interservice event.

In addition to 1st BCT, other Army units will take part in the two-week training exercise, including elements of the 1st Medical Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bragg, N.C.

There also will be Air Force engineer and medical units, the Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Initial Reaction Force, a Navy weather team and members of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

One of the things Vogler said they’ll be looking at is communications capabilities between the services.

“It is a concern, and we’re trying to check that and one of the ways we do that is by having these sorts of exercises. Leading up to this, we are going to rehearse and set up some of the communications systems to make sure we have interoperability,” he said.

“I don’t know what America’s overall plan is — I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they’re called,” Cloutier said. “It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home.”