November 24th, 2006

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Happy Day after Thanksgiving!!

How odd to say Day After Thanks Giving.   Shouldn't each day be one of Thanks Giving?

I am happily embraced in grace and tranquility even as I check in with the news today.  If you want to dip, here are Keith Olbermann and Molly Ivins.

May you be peace and ease today, while rippling like a sea otter in waves of awareness.
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Here's Ellen Goodman!

Ellen Goodman: Men Are From Mars, Women Want to ‘Make Things Better’

Posted November 22, 2006

By Ellen Goodman

BOSTON—Allow me to use my grandmother-of-two voice. This is a bit more low key and benign than Nancy Pelosi’s famous “mother-of-five voice.’’ Toddlers and tryptophan tend to mellow me out.

Nevertheless, during this holiday interregnum between the election and the installation of a new Congress, a grandmaternal word or two to the Democrats may be in order.

There’s already been a surfeit of talk about the role of women in this election. Alas, this was not The Year of the Women Redux, although Speaker-elect Pelosi has broken the “marble ceiling’’ and has the bruises to show for it. Yes, there will be more women in Congress than ever before, but so far the percentage has only gone up from 15.4 to 16.4485981. Hold the applause.

This was, however, the year women provided the Democratic margin of victory. If men had been the only voters in Missouri, Montana or Virginia, we’d have a Republican Senate. This is also the year in which women drove the agenda.

Pollster Celinda Lake, who coined the terms “soccer mom’’ and “security mom,’’ hasn’t found the right moniker yet for women in 2006. She tries out two of them—“change moms’’ and “had-enough women’’—and then settles for an explanation: “Women solidified around change a year ago and didn’t budge.’’

They were the first to think the war was going sour and first to believe the economy was going downhill. And, at the family heart of the matter, a majority of women unhappily concurred that their children were going to be worse off than they are.

What most triggered men to get out and vote Democratic? A desire to “send a message to Bush.’’ The top vote-getting message for women was “let’s make things better for the next generation.’’ In less grandmotherly words, Lake says, “Men wanted to punch him in the nose and women wanted to make things better.’’

So if women drove the agenda, what will make things “better’’?

At the top of everyone’s mind is Iraq. But the commander is still in chief and Washington seems to be waiting for Godot, excuse me, James Baker, to come up with a magical solution.

Beyond that, women voters aren’t asking for a debate about gays in the military or reinstituting a draft, thank you Charlie Rangel. Nor are they asking for an intramural party wrangle.

Women worrying about a diminished future for the next generation are looking for a broad, overlapping domestic agenda. Some pieces can be found in the to-do list assembled for the Democrats’ “First 100 Hours’’: raise the minimum wage, fix the Medicare prescription drug program, halve interest rates for student loans and bury the dead horse of Social Security privatization.

If the new leaders make the deadline, they will offer something we haven’t had in a long time: hope. But still an appetizer.

The post-election survey done by Ms. Magazine and the Women Donor Network showed surprisingly that a majority of women listed rebuilding after Katrina as a top priority for the next Congress. Katrina was a turning point for women who saw the government’s reaction as cold indifference. Katrina also became a stand-in for the issues of poverty and division.

Women are more united than divided. They tend to see connections between people not unlike those—pumpkin or pecan pie eaters, octogenarians or toddlers—who assemble around their own family tables. No matter how much we read about the infamous mommy wars, women also concur on the need for help in balancing work and family. 

So for many, the biggest concern still is healthcare. As Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, one of the new breed of young moms in Congress, says, “I don’t want the next generation of moms hand-wringing over how to deal with the sniffles and waiting until it turns into pneumonia.’’ It’s past time to make healthcare available to all kids.

As for education, especially early education and child care? The desire to truly “leave no child behind’’ tops terrorism on the female list. And for women who share a family-table view of the world, economic security includes the increasingly elusive retirement security.

Democrats won’t have much time to prove that the “sea change” on Capitol Hill changes enough. Nor does Speaker-elect Pelosi. The good news from one of the post-election surveys is that voters are three times more likely to see female politicians as trustworthy. The bad news is that only 21 percent of all voters see even female politicians as trustworthy.

It’s been a long time since Americans have looked to the government with expectations. Now, we’re making a list. And checking it twice.

Ellen Goodman’s e-mail address is

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from Truthdig -

Town Outlaws Flying Foreign Flag


Posted on Nov 24, 2006

The town council of Pahrump, Nevada voted last week to make it illegal to fly a foreign flag—unless an American flag is flown above it.

  • The irony: Pahrump was featured in a recent “Studio 60” episode on NBC, in which a Pahrump judge chastises L.A. entertainment types for making fun of places like Pahrump as backwards and provincial.

  • CNN:

    This is where we’ve arrived in this country: You have the constitutional right to burn an American flag, but you can get into trouble for simply flying a foreign one.

    At least you can in the 30,000-person town of Pahrump, Nevada, which is close to Las Vegas and even closer to stepping over the line with an idiotic, intolerant and insulting ban on foreign (read: Mexican) flags. The town council voted last week, 3-2, to approve an ordinance that makes it illegal to display a foreign flag—unless an American flag is flown above it. Scofflaws face a $50 fine and 30 hours of community service.

    Pahrump resident Michael Miraglia proposed the ban because, he said, he got upset when he saw immigrant activists marching through U.S. cities last spring, waving Mexican flags. Mr. Miraglia told USA Today that he was especially miffed that “we had Mexican restaurants closed that day.”

    So that’s what started all this—the fact that some guy couldn’t get his burrito fix. It’s our cultural schizophrenia. Americans love Mexican food, even if they don’t always love Mexicans. They never ask themselves: If they succeed in getting rid of all the Mexicans—as some would, no doubt, like to do—who’s going to make the food?

    It does amaze!


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    Billy Collins on Thanksgiving -

    The Gathering

    Published: November 23, 2006

    Outside, the scene was right for the season,
    heavy gray clouds and just enough wind
    to blow down the last of the yellow leaves.

    But the house was different that day,
    so distant from the other houses,
    like a planet inhabited by only a dozen people

    with the same last name and the same nose
    rotating slowly on its invisible axis.
    Too bad you couldn't be there

    but you were flying through space on your own asteroid
    with your arm around an uncle.
    You would have unwrapped your scarf

    and thrown your coat on top of the pile
    then lifted a glass of wine
    as a tiny man ran across a screen with a ball.

    You would have heard me
    saying grace with my elbows on the tablecloth
    as one of the twins threw a dinner roll
    across the room at the other.

    Billy Collins is the author, most recently, of “The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems.”


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    Philip Levine - and giving thanks -

    The Morning After

    Published: November 23, 2006

    November 25, 1932

    This light of heaven or merely Michigan
    in the house on Pingree where I wakened
    to the beat of rain. Morning, my father
    still home, in the kitchen drying dishes,
    his tie loosened, his sleeves rolled over
    delicate wrists. My father, still young,
    reciting "Danny Deaver" and laughing
    at such nonsense, laughing at his love
    for the terrible songs he sings off key.
    His eyes hold mine a moment and wander
    off; he sees the future, my life and his,
    what's left of it, my father singing
    of the deer and the antelope, the melody
    trailing off as the bright room spins.