May 3rd, 2006

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Countdown -

Today is Number Ten. A kindergarten teacher pointed out I now have fingers to count them down. That is so much fun. I'm holding all ten fingers up and tomorrow there will be nine. Yay!

Yesterday, at times, Live Journal was not available, so, it was a chance for a break, and a look at expectations. Today, it is here, as am I. We are back from our break, Live Journal and I.

In cleaning out my closets yesterday, I realized that from now on I am only going to wear what I really like. I used to save things for a special occasion, but every moment is special. I was a nature guide with Mrs. Terwilliger who loved to run around the marsh, sand, and fields, shouting "Something special!" Life is like that, special all the time.

I woke this morning with Mandu resting on me, which is always a good excuse to stay in bed just a little bit longer. I thought about weight. When I studied Sensory Awareness with Charlotte Selver we would pick up rocks and pass them to others, rocks of all shapes and sizes. This morning I begin to understood the importance of that, of using only the energy needed for each task, no more, and no less. She would ask, "Are you all there for it?" I think this experience has given me a better understanding of being all there for something, and also using the amount of energy needed, not too much and not too little, just right. Again, I am like Goldilocks, except without the curls, though they are on their way.

An editorial in the NY Times yesterday pointed out that the $100.00 rebates that the Republicans proposed to ease the price of gas would have to come from borrowed money. To make the rebates happen, 10 billion would have to be borrowed, and it would probably be borrowed from the Chinese. How can this lunacy continue? I do not understand.

Meanwhile despite the debt this country is in thanks to Bush, Congress is “angling this week to cut taxes for affluent investors by more than $20 billion.” It makes no sense, or dollars either, except for a few, and they don’t bother with cents, and still, despite all of this, I am in a lovely mood.

Celebrate a wonderful day. The occasion is special, as are you!
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Good Morning and Afternoon!!

It is a most wonderful day.

I have enough eyelashes that I applied mascara this morning. This is exciting!

Then, I went to radiation and again, set-up was pretty easy. They had country western music on today, and so I lay there, doing my breathing and listening to "She thinks my tractor is sexy." Well, we all learned something new. I relaxed so much listening to that song that they had to completely re-adjust me for the second part. My body just sank right down into the table. It is fascinating because there has been a different CD on everytime I go. Yesterday was Enya. My first time was Chopin, but today was the first time of country. I see now why parts of this country are sunk a bit low in the saddle. Listen to that music and let go. I could really feel it once it was pointed out. Of course, a song about a tractor being sexy and the guy on it, also being sexy, well, you, too, would sink right into the table and let go.

I changed back into my clothes and walked out and the woman, Barbara Rose, was again there with the harp. I told her what it meant to me to listen on Monday, about the sadness that came up, just sadness, no story. She said she was playing an old Hebrew song. Today, she was just plucking what felt right to her. I have never come out of the dressing room and stayed but there is a young man who comes and does that. He works on the puzzle. I sat and listened and talked to her. It seems they are starting a program to have people play the harp for those in the hospital. She went back to Philadelphia to learn, but they will teach people here, and you volunteer to play in the ICU or when people are recovering from surgery or in the radiation waiting room. I suggested she play in the chemo room. I told her about the view of Mt. Tam.

She played one place where the chemo patients sit in a circle looking out, each looking at their own section of garden. That sounds lovely too.

She said how wonderful it feels to her, to play the harp. You hold it next to your chest. It is called a Therapy Harp, and if you are going to use it to help others, you get a discount. I asked how much a harp like that costs. $2000.00. This week my brother sent me a check for $2176.94 from a savings account we overlooked when my mother died. What would you do with it? I have been trying to figure out how to use that money to honor her. The last check lit our garden. Perhaps, I will buy a harp with this one. They are hand-made, and take five to six months to make once you order. I am going to check out the web-site right now. It is Westover Harps.

I have wanted a Cecil Brunner rose since Wendy and I stayed in a place with one in Elk, CA. Well, today, I found one. It was like a puppy reaching out to me and asking to be taken home. The fog is in, and there isn't much sun, but Elk is hardly a sunny part of the world, so I am hopeful that beautiful, pink roses are soon to scent my life.

The world is rich and beautifully balanced. I am in delight.
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Awareness -

John Berger wrote this on Vincent Van Gogh:

    (For him)

    The chair is a chair, not a throne.

       The boots have been worn by walking.

    The sunflowers are plants, not constellations.

    The postman delivers letters.  The irises will die.

       And from this nakedness of his,

    which his contemporaries saw as naivety or

       madness, came his capacity to love, suddenly at

    any moment, what he saw in front of him.

       Picking up pen or brush, he then strove to

    achieve that love.  Lover-painter affirming the

    toughness of an everyday tenderness we all

    dream of in our better moments and instantly

               recognize when it is framed. 
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Freedom of speech -

This article in the NY Times today celebrates freedom of speech, and the importance of ensuring it is not curtailed.

Pardons Granted 88 Years After Crimes of Sedition

Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana will posthumously pardon 78 people convicted of sedition during World War I.

By JIM ROBBINS
Published: May 3, 2006

HELENA, Mont., May 2 — When Steve Milch found out recently that his great-grandfather, an immigrant from Bavaria, had been convicted of sedition in Montana during World War I, he was taken aback. It was something no one in the family had ever talked about.

Clemens P. Work of the University of Montana wrote a book about the sedition convictions, leading to the pardon ceremony scheduled for Wednesday.

For the past 88 years, a lot of secrets have been kept in Montana families, especially those of German descent, about a flurry of wartime sedition prosecutions in 1918, when public sentiment against Germany was at a feverish pitch.

Seventy-nine Montanans were convicted under the state law, considered among the harshest in the country, for speaking out in ways deemed critical of the United States. In one instance, a traveling wine and brandy salesman was sentenced to 7 to 20 years in prison for calling wartime food regulations a "big joke."

But the silence — and for some families, the shame — has ended. The convictions will be undone on Wednesday when Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a descendant of ethnic Germans who migrated here from Russia in 1909, posthumously pardons 75 men and three women. One man was pardoned shortly after the war.

Forty-one of those convicted, including one woman, went to prison on sentences from 1 to 20 years and paid fines from $200 to $20,000.

"I'm going to say what Gov. Sam Stewart should have said," Mr. Schweitzer said, referring to the man who signed the sedition legislation into law in 1918. "I'm sorry, forgive me, and God bless America, because we can criticize our government."

Dozens of relatives of the convicted seditionists will be at the State Capitol to witness the signing of the pardons, with some traveling from as far as Florida. Marie Van Middlesworth, the 90-year-old daughter of one of those convicted, Fay Rumsey, will be coming from Medford, Ore. She was among 12 children put up for adoption when the family farm failed after her father was imprisoned.

Mr. Milch said the official acknowledgment, even after so many years, offered comfort and closure to the families.

"The whole Milch clan is appreciative of making things right," he said.

The pardon ceremony is a result of a book by Clemens P. Work, director of graduate studies at the University of Montana School of Journalism, called "Darkest Before Dawn: Sedition and Free Speech in the American West" (University of New Mexico Press, 2005). The book chronicled a contentious period in Montana history when people were convicted and jailed for voicing their opinion about the war.

"It was an ugly time," Mr. Work said.

After reading the book, Jeffrey Renz, a law professor at the University of Montana, asked Mr. Work what he intended to do about the convictions. Mr. Work had no plans, he said, "but I told them in my box of dreams I hoped these people would be exonerated."

Professor Renz's students took the project on as part of a criminal law clinic. Some contacted family members of the convicted seditionists, and others researched the law, leading to a petition for pardon being sent to the governor last month.

The sedition law, which made it a crime to say or publish anything "disloyal, profane, violent, scurrilous, contemptuous or abusive" about the government, soldiers or the American flag, was unanimously passed by the Legislature in February 1918. It expired when the war ended, Mr. Work said.

During that time, though Germans were the largest ethnic group in Montana, it was also illegal to speak German, and books written in it were banned. Local groups called third-degree committees were formed to ferret out people not supportive of the war, especially those who did not buy Liberty Bonds.

"They leaned on people to ante up and buy bonds, and if they didn't, they were disloyal and considered pro-German," Mr. Work said.

Farida Briner said she was told that a committee showed up at her father's farm. "They threatened to hang him and tar and feather him," Ms. Briner said. Her father, Herman Bausch, was taken to town, interrogated and later convicted. He spent two years in prison.

Officials encouraged neighbor to inform on neighbor, and one person's accusation was often enough for an arrest.

Mr. Milch's great-grandfather, John Milch, was turned in by an undercover agent named Eberhard Von Waldru, who was working for the prosecutor in Helena, the state capital. Mr. Von Waldru went into a German beer hall and drew out people's feelings on the war. His testimony was used against Mr. Milch; his brother, Joseph; and six other men. All were convicted, and four went to prison.

John Milch was sentenced to three to six years, but the law had expired by the time he was to begin serving his term. Joseph was fined $1,800.

Steve Milch said that although his family was not aware of the arrest, they did know about the anti-German sentiment of the time.

"There was a story that a mob of people was going around asking Germans to kiss the flag," Mr. Milch said. "My great-grandfather told them he didn't kiss anybody's flag, whether it was American or German."

Mr. Milch also had another surprise in store. He discovered that the great-grandfather of another lawyer in his firm was the Helena prosecutor who hired Mr. Von Waldru. "His great-grandfather prosecuted my great-grandfather," Mr. Milch said.

Mr. Work, who was conducting research for the book when the Sept. 11 attacks occurred, said he had found the similarities between 2001 and 1918 to be eerie.

"The hair on the back of my neck stood up," Mr. Work said. "The rhetoric was so similar, from the demonization of the enemy to saying 'either you're with us or against us' to the hasty passage of laws."

Twenty-seven states had sedition laws during World War I. Montana's became the template for a federal law, enacted by Congress later in 1918. More than 30 Montanans were arrested under the federal law, though none were convicted, according to the Montana Sedition Project, which Mr. Work directs.

Mr. Work and other historians believe that the harshness of the Montana law was influenced by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, which dominated the state economically and viewed the law as a way to deal with labor unrest. Many of those charged with sedition were immigrant laborers.

But blame should also be laid at the feet of Governor Stewart, Mr. Work said.

"In the last 100 days of his term, he commuted 50 sentences, including 13 murderers and 7 rapists," he said, "but not a single seditionist."
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Who could be surprised?

Here is an editorial from the NY Times today on our new, favorite subject, gas.

Editorial
Foolishness on Fuel
Published: May 3, 2006

Americans can be forgiven for thinking that the outcry over gasoline prices has finally persuaded Congress and President Bush to rethink their opposition to making meaningful improvements in fuel economy standards, largely unchanged for 20 years. Last week Mr. Bush practically begged Congress for the authority to raise these standards; a House committee then urgently scheduled a hearing.

This is mostly theater. Mr. Bush can raise the standards on his own, subject to later Congressional veto. He does not want to do that. What he wants is the authority to change the current system — in effect, to rewrite the underlying fuel economy law.

Under present law, the passenger cars produced each year by an automaker must average 27.5 miles a gallon. Mr. Bush wants to replace that easily understood standard with a more complex system under which vehicles would be divided into categories and assigned mileage standards based on size — but with no firm fleetwide target.

This is essentially what Mr. Bush did earlier this year when he unveiled the first broad overhaul since the 1970's of the mileage rules governing S.U.V.'s, minivans and pickup trucks. The administration says the new system will improve fuel economy for these vehicles by about 8 percent by 2011 — a trivial gain measured against the need, and suspect in any case because the more complex the system, the easier it is to manipulate. Ten states, including New York, filed suit yesterday to force the administration to toughen the standards.

Representative Sherwood Boehlert, a Republican from upstate New York, has suggested a simpler, more transparent approach. While building some flexibility into the system, he would abolish the distinction between S.U.V.'s and ordinary passenger vehicles and require a fleetwide average of 33 miles per gallon. This, he estimates, would save about 2.6 million barrels of oil a day by 2025, nearly a third of the current consumption for cars and light trucks.

If that sounds radically ambitious, consider this bit of history: In 1990, two senators — Slade Gorton, a conservative Republican, and Richard Bryan, a liberal Democrat — proposed raising fuel economy standards to 40 miles a gallon over 10 years. They actually got 57 votes for their proposal, which lost to a filibuster.

Had it passed, we would probably be consuming half the gasoline we use now and be in better shape to deal with today's price squeeze. There's still time to prepare for the next one.
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(no subject)

I am reading about Silbury Hill. It is worth googling. I take this from the website stonepages.com.

Silbury Hill, part of the complex of Neolithic monuments around Avebury in Wiltshire (which includes the West Kennet long barrow), is the tallest prehistoric man-made mound in Europe and one of the world's largest. On a base covering over 2 hectares (5 acres), it rises 39.6m (130ft) high. It is a display of immense technical skill and prolonged control over labour and resources. Archaeologists calculate that Silbury Hill was built about 4600 years ago and that it took 18 million man-hours to dump and shape 248,000 cubic metres (8.75 million cu ft) of earth on top of a natural hill. Every man, woman and child in Britain today could together build such a mound if they each contributed one bucketful of earth.

The base of the monument is 167m (550ft) in diameter and it is perfectly round. Its summit is flat-topped and 30m (100ft) wide. We know that the construction took two phases: soon after work was started, a re-design was ordered, and the mound enlarged. It is constructed in steps, each step being filled in with packed chalk, and then smoothed off. There have been three excavations of the mound: the first when a team of Cornish miners led by the Duke of Northumberland sunk a shaft from top to bottom in 1776, another in 1849 when a tunnel was dug from the edge into the centre, and a third in 1968-70 when professor Richard Atkinson had another tunnel cut into the base. Nothing has ever been found on Silbury Hill: at its core there is only clay, flints, turf, moss, topsoil, gravel, freshwater shells, mistletoe, oak, hazel, sarsen stones, ox bones, and antler tines.

Moses B.Cotworth, at the beginning of this century, stated that Silbury was a giant sundial to determine seasons and the true length of the year. More recently, the writer Michael Dames has identified Silbury Hill as the winter goddess but he finally acknowledges that the monument remains a stupendous enigma.
According to legend, this is the last resting place of King Sil, sitting on a fabled golden horse. Another legend states that the mound holds a lifesize solid gold statue of King Sil and yet a third, that the Devil was carrying an apron of soil to drop on the citizens of Marlborough, but he was stopped by the priests of nearby Avebury


Whatever you think it is there for, it is enchanting to consider this mound of soil.  It makes me want to fly a kite and discover electricity and how to make light.  I google Ben Franklin and discover this.   It is at mos.org.


Franklin's Kite






Probably the most famous experiment to do with lightning is that of Benjamin Franklin and his famous kite.

What Franklin was investigating was whether or not lightning was an electric phenomenon. This seems fairly obvious to most of us today, but we must remember that in Franklin's day the largest sparks they could make were under an inch long! Since lightning is several miles long it is not so obvious that they can be the same.


 The question often arises whether or not Franklin actually did this experiment, and the answer is we do not know for sure. One thing, however, is certain: if he did do an experiment like this, he did not do it the way it is often shown. That is, he didn't tie a key to the kite string, fly it in a thunderstorm, and wait for it to be struck by lightning! Such an experiment would be very dramatic--and quite fatal.


There are safe ways to do similar things, however, and Franklin, in his various writtings, shows that he was quite aware of both the dangers and the alternatives.


 Franklin realized that if lightning was electricity, then it must be an awful lot of the stuff, and that it must take a long time to amass in the storm. Therefore, he suggested, fly the kite early in the storm before the lightning comes near you.


He had several variations on how to show electricity was present--you could draw sparks from a key tied to the string, or you could attach the string to a Leyden Jar, which is a device for collecting electricity (a capacitor). If the jar was empty before flying the kite and full afterwards then that is good evidence that thunderclouds contain electricity.



One could Google all day. It is a new form of play.



which brings me to this - another editorial in the NY Times today.

Editorial
The Battle of the Box

Published: May 3, 2006

In their struggle for dominance, neither Microsoft nor Google wants to give an inch. Right now the exact inch they are fighting over is visible in the upper-right corner of a small but growing number of computer screens. It's called a search box, and it is just one battleground in a much larger conflict between two premier high-tech companies.

Microsoft recently released a "beta" or test version of its latest Internet Explorer Web browser. Other browsers, like Firefox or Apple's Safari, already have search boxes. They allow users to enter search terms without first going to the trouble of entering the Web address for a search engine.

Say you wanted to buy a bicycle. Instead of going to www.google.com and typing "bicycle," you type it right into the little box. The browser launches the search from there and displays the results on a Web page, basically cutting out a step in the process. The rub, according to Google, is which search engine the browser uses.

Google contends that Microsoft's real motive in adding the search box to its browser is to shift as many users as possible to its own MSN search engine. In essence, Google is accusing Microsoft of the same old tricks that got it in trouble with the government in the first place, leveraging its operating- system monopoly to elbow out competitors.

Microsoft's past bad behavior makes it an easy target for criticism, but this is a far cry from Microsoft's attack on the Netscape Navigator Web browser. Microsoft counters that computer makers and users generally choose the defaults and many users already have Yahoo or Google. It's easy to change, Microsoft contends, and Google has directions on its sites to walk users through the easy steps.

This is really just a flare-up in a larger rivalry. It is called competition, and that's a good thing. Competition should lead to lower prices, better products and improved service. In that case, the customer wins. Microsoft has announced that it will spend $2 billion more next year than its previous estimate. If the company doesn't innovate faster, if it continues to roll out major products at its recent snail's pace, Google will overtake it once and for all.

The government should act something like a referee in a boxing match, staying out of the way unless one of the two starts fighting dirty. That means making sure that Microsoft stays within the boundary of its settlement with the government. It also means keeping an eye on Google, which is just learning to throw its considerable weight around. Let's have a good clean fight.
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Tonight -

Tonight I think about the words "Sleep tight." I have always loved those words, but today, I am thinking that perhaps, it might be, "Sleep loose." Why would we sleep tight like a little bud? Can dreams enter easily that way? Isn't the full flower more able to beckon the bee and have it's pollen spread on the bee's knees? I am thinking I will sleep loose tonight, spread out a bit, and lie on my back, and visualize myself as a wide-open flower, though not too wide. I want my petals to stay attached. I don't want to be completely bare.

I like my petals. I think of them as like the pieces of pie in the game of Trivial Pursuit. When we have interacted with all the parts of ourselves, then, there we are - completely round, and able to enter the center, and wait there, ready to interact and play with those happening by.

Sleep mobile tonight.