November 2nd, 2007

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Evening - Morning!

It is 1:30 AM and I am wide awake.  I went to Larkspur today to get my hair cut.  Steve usually cuts my hair and I usually avoid Larkspur as my mother lived there, and I find it sad to re-visit the memories, but today, I wanted to be there, today, The Day of the Dead, the day the veil is thin.

I parked in Corte Madera and walked to Larkspur along pumpkin-filled streets.  Halloween was obviously beautifully celebrated there last night.  It was easy walking unlike where I live.  An older woman walked ahead of me on the bike path and when I caught up with her, she stopped to chat.  I was reminded of my mother.  I ate lunch at the Ward Street Cafe, a charming place, and received a wonderful haircut from Simone.  She had just returned from two weeks in Mendocino and was happy to just cut my hair while I sat there with my eyes closed, feeling tired. 

When I got in the car, there was a flash, like a shooting star, but in the car.  Who knows what it was, but I choose to believe my mother checked in to say hello.  

I am going into the city tomorrow.   My friend Terry and I are taking a shamanic journeying workshop and decided we didn't want to be driving, so we will be tourists and walk about the city and have a full day workshop on Saturday and again on Sunday.

These feel like special times to me.  I feel Tony close.   I feel that when someone I know dies, they hold the portal open for me a bit, and it is the time of year, when the veil between the living and the dead is considered to be thin.

I don't know why I am awake tonight, but I am.  I am awake in peace, comfort, calm and the shared arms, roots, branches, and legs of love.

I give thanks for living cared for and blessed.
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up in the night -

The good thing about being up in the night is that the morning paper comes about 1:30 AM so I am now up on the Friday New York Times.  Well, I guess it is 4:30 in NY.

Paul Krugman points out today in his column that Rudy Guiliani out and out lies.   It is amazing that the press covers him and doesn't point out that what he says is untrue.   Read it here.
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Energy Efficient!!

I come to a cat-warmed seat.   Ah!!

There is an article in the Wall Street Journal on the new $100,000 Lexus Hybrid.   Yes, 100,000.  It is called pale green.  The article by Jeff Sabatini suggests that if one is interested in being dark green they walk, bike, or take the bus.   He ends with this comment.

    "Would that we could save the planet while reposed in the back seat of a chauffeured limo, air-conditioned seats reclined, watching a Live Earth concert on DVD and writing a check for carbon offsets.  Reality dictates otherwise."

    Yes. While I don't ride in a chauffeur-driven limo, I am guilty here, and though I attempt mindfulness, my carbon footprint is huge.  At least I will be driving my car a short way  today and parking it and not moving it until late Sunday afternoon.  I look forward to traversing the city on foot.

    Beautiful weather is again predicted and this Sunday will finally bring all computer clocks and watches back in-line with the rest of the world.
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Jon Carroll -

Here is Jon Carroll's column for today.  It does boggle the mind.   Lead poisoning.  Isn't that what led to the downfall of Rome?   Hello.

Jon Carroll:

As you may have heard, Nancy A. Nord, the acting chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has been begging lawmakers not to approve several pieces of legislation that would (a) increase her department's budget substantially, and (b) increase maximum penalties for violators of health and safety regulations.

It's unusual when a bureaucrat actively lobbies for less funding, so I suppose we should take a moment and thank her for trying to save the taxpayers' money. OK, done that? Now let's spend the rest of the column ridiculing her.

Her opposition to the increased funding is ideological, and is in line with the Bush administration's belief that less government is better government - unless you're talking about domestic surveillance or covert foreign operations, in which case, more government is better government, and government we don't even tell you about is best government.

But consumer product safety? It's an insult to the American people.

Nord specifically objected to a provision that would ban lead from all toys, saying that it was impractical. "Impractical," in this case, appears to mean "would cause corporations to spend money." Perhaps Nord believes in a form of passive eugenics. Leaving lead in children's toys would result, within 50 years, in a generation of stronger children who had built up a natural immunity to lead.

If kids die, they die. The ones who come through will be the citizens of a better tomorrow, members of (dare we say it?) a master race.

(Is that unfair? Probably. On the other hand, we're talking about an administrator who does not want to administer, a person in charge of consumer safety who is utterly indifferent to consumer safety. Maybe a little overheated invective is precisely what's called for.)

Parents must be vigilant! Neglectful and undereducated parents are not the problem of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Indeed, the only problem currently faced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission is the continued existence of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Imagine how much money could be saved if it just disappeared!

There was a wonderful circularity to her arguments. For instance, Nord objected to a provision that would grant protection to whistle-blowers at private companies. Such protection would, she said, "dramatically drain the limited resources of the commission, to the direct detriment of public safety."

But of course, she strenuously opposes any attempt to increase the limited resources of the commission. She can't do her job because she doesn't have enough money, and she doesn't want any more money, because then she'd have to do her job. It's like, "We don't much like whistle-blowers, and we don't want any money that would force us cozy up to whistle-blowers. We would, on the other hand, like some money to take away their whistles."

Many times in her remarks, Nord complained that the proposed regulations would be "unnecessarily burdensome." But isn't that the point? Aren't regulations suppose to place a burden on companies to improve their products? If the regulations are unnecessary, they're not burdensome, because the companies are already doing everything right. On the other hand, if they are burdensome, they're also necessary.

But "unnecessarily burdensome" is the mantra of big business, the "om mani padme hum" of the Republican Party. The faithful repeat it regularly to stave off do-gooders. The trouble with do-gooders is that they force good down the throats of the American people. Suppose the American people want bad? They should have a choice.

Nord also complained about the suggestion to raise the penalties for failure to comply with commission directives. Such a law, she said, would "flood the agency with every consumer complaint." The one thing the Consumer Product Safety Commission does not want is consumer complaints. So time-consuming. So labor-intensive. So, what's the word, burdensome.

According to the New York Times, the commission has been losing staff since its peak in the 1980s. Today it has about 420 employees, about half of what it had two decades ago. It has exactly one employee in charge of toy safety. It has 15 inspectors assigned to cover all imports. That's all imports. Most of what we buy was made in China, no matter what it says on the label. In fact, the labels were made in China too. So what we have here is a failure to regulate.

It can, of course, be argued that Nord is merely following orders. Had she supported the proposed laws, she would have been shuffled off to the twilight world occupied by former Bush administration employees who disagreed with the dictates of the inner circle. It's a very large twilight world right now, and filled with interesting people. Nord could do worse.

Sorry about the tainted tuna, but really, you shouldn't be eating tuna anyway. Your death will serve as a warning to others. Have a great afterlife!

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Me, too!!

"I want to know the thoughts of God;
  the rest are details."

                    -- Albert Einstein

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Bill Clinton -

Jeff just called to tell me that Bill Clinton is doing a book-signing on Van Ness at 2:00 today.  He said there is already a huge line.

Now, I know why it was so hard to get a hotel room this weekend.  Big doin's surround!!