March 2nd, 2006

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Morning dream -

For some reason, this poem, which just comes, brings tears to my eyes.  She was so real in the dream, and I feel her carrying me now, her sweet smile.

morning dream


again my mother comes to me in a dream in the night

first, I notice the garden is torn up from the rain,

the garden down below,

and then, she is at the door,

and, at first,

I can’t reach her,

but then, she comes in -

how are you, I ask,

how is it - she never really answers

but she looks happy and fine

you can go back and forth I ask

she smiles

and then in the dream I hold a child

and  I carry her as we go down slides

and run round and round -




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Simplicity -

This comes by email today, with no mention of a creator, but I think it says a great deal in very few words.

Three thoughts:

1- Zero Gravity

When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ball-point pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat this problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion developing a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside-down, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 300 C.

The Russians used a pencil.

Your taxes are due again -- enjoy paying them!!!

2 - Our Constitution

They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys.... it's worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.

3 - Ten Commandments

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse is that you cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal", Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and "Thou Shalt Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians! It creates a hostile work environment.
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Keep an eye out - and a tastebud too -

So, the Bush administration is at it again. Here is an editorial from the New York Times today.

The Abusive New Federalism

Published: March 2, 2006

After a murky legislative process distinguished by a lack of any public hearing, the House is ready to rush to approve a special-interest measure for the food industry today. The bill would pre-empt all state food safety regulations that are more protective than federal standards. A bipartisan majority behind this clearly dangerous bill is echoing the industry's line that the goal is simply to end consumers' confusion about varying state regulations that govern warning labels and protective inspections.

If consumers believe that, then we have some bottled water to sell them that no longer warns of arsenic levels, and a salmon fillet that drops the distinction between fish originating in the wild and fish from a farm. Such information and a much larger array of warnings could be expunged under the bill.

Professional associations of state health, farm and consumer officials — denied a hearing before Congress and taxpayers — warn consumers that countless protections on the state and local levels would be gutted in favor of a lowest-common-denominator dictated by food and retail interests. The broad proposal threatens existing food safety programs affecting things like restaurant sanitation and sales of milk and numerous other vital products. The bill would invent a burdensome process by which states would have to petition federal officials to restore the safety regulations they now have.

The driving force behind the bill seems to be the challenge to industry forces posed by California, which is leading the way in demanding consumer warnings about mercury levels in fish, lead in calcium supplements and other hazards. Other states have followed suit. Proponents of the bill in the food industry and Congress claim that their goal is being misunderstood. If so, they should pull the bill back and prove their case at open hearings that treat the public interest as something more than a nonentity.
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Poems -

Some are from yesterday and some from this morning. They, like the clouds, are afloat.

Art as Hearth

Jane gives me
a play by play
of her tour
New York MOMA.
There are no “situations,”
only a viewing of all levels,
as people move,
organic as art.

I, on the west coast, out on my deck,
might also be viewed as art,
as helicopters thump overhead
entertaining tourists,
and offending buzzards,
the bleachers of the sky.
Propellers whirl and flap, flap, flap,
like playing cards on bicycles.

I wonder what people perceive
as they look down on me.
Do they see dots and squares,
a pyramid or balloon,
or do they see me,
a bare chemo head,
offered like a moon,
to spoon.   



The Olive Trees

Viewing the painting by van Gogh,
“The Olive Trees,”
I am caught on the angel in the clouds,
her heart like a pumpkin, or gourd,
waiting to open
to light,
and I’m tangled in the roots
of the trees,
roots like feet stomping the ground,
to make wine,
where all flows into the stream,
and is caught on the lining
the angel, with grace,
untwines -



The Poem

A journey inside
a glass globe where snow shaken
is touched in its fall.  



The Meal

Ingest, salivate
over words at meals, moisten
and taste each sound
as it descends 
to the heart
and gut
where it blends.




my heart this morning
a round ball pumping
the well of being
with hands and feet
that are part of the whole -



how can we not see the roundness
of our being
the circle we make
the circle
of energy
reaching out like Leonardo’s drawing
to connect
hands, head, and feet.
There, are tears -
wonder - 
awe -



This Morning

Two clouds peek over the hill
like eyes
and the way the light is stoked,
at first, I think they are suns,
except they are in the opposite place
like shadow
for shade -
and now they fade -
It was only a moment.
The river glides by -



Sunrise in Ixtapa

the sun touches the rocks
held by the sea
ochre rises
like the beat
of the heart,
blood pulsing
through arteries,
filling the veins.


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Quote -

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
U.S. Poet, essayist and transcendentalist
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Today -

Today, I feel so full, full and empty at the same time, emptying and filling, all at the same time.  One tear comes, just one. 


Here Now

I stretch
one tear,
a kaleidoscope I turn,
seeing color and shape,
one tear -
I am not sad
only empty and full
turning the little pieces
as they burn
in the light
of the sun.

Burn now,
like flames
as they reach.
Jump from log
to log.
Skip on the burning, 
Dance on the heat.

Then, parachute up,
on air.    

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Quote by Leo Tolstoy -

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly, can also suffer great sorrow; but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heal them.”

- Leo Tolstoy
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My feelings exactly -

'No One Could Have Anticipated ...'
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 02 March 2006

The video is gut-wrenching.

There they sit, a whole room full of hurricane experts and disaster managers, shouting down a telephone line at George W. Bush, warning him a full day ahead of time that Hurricane Katrina is a catastrophe waiting to happen. There stands Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center, emphatically explaining that Katrina is far larger and more dangerous than Hurricane Andrew, that the levees in New Orleans are in grave danger of being overtopped, and that the loss of life could be extreme.

There sits the much-maligned FEMA Director Michael Brown, joining in the chorus of warnings to Mr. Bush and giving every appearance of a man actually doing his job. "This is, to put it mildly, the big one," says Brown. "Everyone within FEMA is now virtually on call." Brown goes on to deliver an eerily accurate prediction of the horrors to come within the Louisiana Superdome. "I don't know what the heck we're going to do for that, and I also am concerned about that roof," says Brown. "Not to be kind of gross here, but I'm concerned about (medical and mortuary disaster team) assets and their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe."

And there, of course, is Mr. Bush, sitting in a dim conference room while on vacation in Texas, listening to all the pleas for immediate action on the telephone. With an emphatic hand gesture, Bush promises any and all help necessary. "I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm," says Bush, "but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm." After the delivery of this promise, however, Bush goes mute. No questions, no comments, no concerns. As if to foreshadow what the people of New Orleans received from their leader, Mr. Bush finishes the conference by delivering a whole lot of nothing.

That's the video, 19 hours before the bomb struck New Orleans. It is gut-wrenching because everyone now knows what came next. The storm struck, the waters rolled in, and thousands were left to die. Days passed with no help reaching the city. Images of corpses left to rot in the streets were broadcast around the globe.

It is gut-wrenching, more than anything else, because of this: four days later, when questioned about his flaccid response to the catastrophe in Louisiana, Bush stated, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." Right. No one anticipated the breach of the levees except the Director of the National Hurricane Center, the Director of FEMA, and a half-dozen other experts who implored Mr. Bush to take this storm seriously a full day before the hammer dropped.

No one could have anticipated it? That has a familiar ring to it.

No one could have anticipated the failure of the levees.

No one could have anticipated the strength of the insurgency in Iraq.

No one could have anticipated that people would use airplanes as weapons against buildings.

No one could have anticipated these things ... except all the people who did. We are forced to get into some very large numbers today to accurately assess the body count from all the things the Bush administration would have us believe no one could have anticipated.

No one could have anticipated the vigorous violence the Iraqi people would greet any invaders with, said the Bush administration, except a roomful of now-unemployed generals, a whole galaxy of military experts, several former weapons inspectors, more than a few now-silenced voices within the administration itself, and millions of average citizens who took to the streets to stop the impending disaster they easily anticipated. Add this to the "No One Could Have Anticipated" body count: nearly 2,300 American soldiers, thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

No one could have anticipated that people would use airplanes as weapons against buildings, said the Bush administration. Really?

In 1993, a $150,000 study was undertaken by the Pentagon to investigate the possibility of airplanes being used as bombs. A draft document of this was circulated throughout the Pentagon, the Justice Department, and to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In 1994, a disgruntled Federal Express employee invaded the cockpit of a DC10 with the intention of crashing it into a company building. Again in 1994, a pilot deliberately crashed a small airplane into the White House grounds, narrowly missing the building itself. Also in 1994, an Air France flight was hijacked by members of a terrorist organization called the Armed Islamic Group, who intended to crash the plane into the Eiffel Tower.

The 1993 Pentagon report was followed up in September 1999 by a report titled "The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism." This report was prepared for the American intelligence community by the Federal Research Division, an adjunct of the Library of Congress. The report stated, "Suicide bombers belonging to Al Qaida's martyrdom battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House."

On August 6, 2001, George W. Bush received his Presidential Daily Briefing. The briefing described active plots by Osama bin Laden to attack the United States. The word "hijacking" appeared in that briefing. When he received this briefing, George W. Bush was in Texas for a month-long vacation. Again. He did nothing in response. Again.

For the love of God, even the fiction writers saw this coming. Tom Clancy's book "Debt of Honor," written in 1994, ends with a commercial aircraft being flown into the Capitol Building during a joint session of Congress, virtually wiping out the entire government. The famous Stephen King novella "The Running Man," written in 1982, ends in similar fashion. "Heeling over slightly," reads the ending of the King novella, "the Lockheed struck the Games building dead on, three quarters of the way up. Its tanks were still better than a quarter full. Its speed was slightly over five hundred miles an hour. The explosion was tremendous, lighting up the night like the wrath of God, and it rained fire twenty blocks away."

Add this to the "No One Could Have Anticipated" body count: more than 3,000 people killed in the Towers, the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field, in addition to thousands of Afghani civilians who found themselves collaterally damaged in our attack upon that nation.

Remember the Bush-Gore debate from what seems a thousand years ago? Bush was asked about the responsibilities of an executive in a time of emergency. He said in response, "I remember the floods that swept our state. I remember going down to Del Rio, Texas ... that's the time when you're tested not only - it's the time to test your mettle, a time to test your heart when you see people whose lives have been turned upside down. It broke my heart to go to the flood scene in Del Rio where a fellow and his family got completely uprooted. The only thing I knew was to get aid as quickly as possible with state and federal help, and to put my arms around the man and his family and cry with them."

Thousands in Louisiana and the surrounding states. Thousands in New York, Washington, Pennsylvania and Afghanistan. Tens of thousands in Iraq. Is Mr. Bush crying with them, and their families, because no one could have anticipated this?

There is, perhaps, one aspect to all this that no one could have anticipated. No one could have anticipated that the United States of America would ever be governed by a man so callow, so unconnected, so uncaring, so detached, that tens of thousands of people would die during his time in office because he just didn't give a damn.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.
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Poem of Linda Gregg


by Linda Gregg

"I sleep with thee, and wake with thee,/
And yet thou are not there," wrote Clare
from the Northampton Asylum in 1842,
nine years after his wife's death.
It fills me with tenderness,
the way the sun blots out everything
when it's too powerful. I think of
turning into the things around him.
A table, a chair. A windowsill.
Hieroglyphics that will take years
to read. To make the day rise
out of the heart's darkness.
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Evening -

When a well-read friend told me that Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "Team of Rivals - The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," is the best book she has ever read I was skeptical, but I am immersed in it now, and I must say that this book is an absolute must-read. Not only is it well-written, but this group of men and women and the times in which they lived are so fascinating, that it is hard to put it down. It is surprising to realize how politically involved people were in this country in this time period. Politicians were super-stars. I, too, am enchanted.
My memory of Seward was Seward's Folly, which wasn't, but, still, I am enjoying learning more about this amazing man and his wife. This book shows the complexity of decisions, and the astute political maneuvering of Lincoln, a man who absolutely kept his ethics the whole time. It is definitely a top read. Go for it! It is worth the hard cover price, or get it at the library. You will see that time period, and ours, in a whole new way.

As I read further along, I must say Seward oversteps his bounds, and that Lincoln is well up to the challenge. Amazingly, Lincoln takes the blame for all that occurs in his administration, even when he had nothing to do with mistakes. Again, he is a man of honor. I am saddened to read this, and see how clearly we have no leadership now. I think of Truman with his sign, "The buck stops here." I guess in this administration, Cheney would try and shoot the buck, imported by a lobbyist, and hit a friend instead.