August 19th, 2008

Book Cover

Good Morning!

I continue to notice how vibrant the flowers look when the sky is gray, when the sun's light is filtered through the fog.   Yesterday, I went to Land's End for the first time and walked the labyrinth with Elaine.  I have been to the Legion of Honor a multitude of times and walked to the Cliff House and beach from there, but never journeyed down to Land's End.

The labyrinth rests just above the ocean.  It is made of small stones.   Flotillas of pelicans flap and swoop.   I feel such a thrill when I see them because I remember when the brown pelicans were endangered due to DDT.   Now they are prolific and both real and magical as they scoop down close to the water.  It is a visceral blessing to be so close to them.

This tidbit is from an article by Dennis Overbye called The Struggle to Measure Cosmic Expansion.

"Both the telescope and the “constant” are named after Edwin Hubble, the Mount Wilson astronomer who discovered in 1929 that the universe was expanding. It is not really constant. Over cosmic time, gravity tries to slow the expansion while dark energy, as astronomers discovered to their surprise 10 years ago, tries to speed it up. The history of the Hubble constant has seen many hopeful beginnings that have subsequently floundered on the difficulty of divining accurate distances to dim blurry lights in the sky, that is to say, galaxies. Both the 200-inch Hale telescope on Palomar Mountain in California, inaugurated in 1948, and the Hubble Space Telescope, launched 42 years later, were supposed to solve the problem."

Today I am with my own need to go in and out, to sit with the spaces and activity within, and, also reach out to space and people.   It makes sense to me that the universe, too, has a bit of introversion and extroversion going on.   I'm glad the process is studied, and I relax into my own universe today, aware of the gravity that holds me to the ground and the response that lifts.

alan - purple flowers

SF is not Disneyland -

There is an article in the SF Chronicle today that tour buses are coming to the Castro area of the city, and tourists are taking pictures and wandering around as though they are at the zoo, instead of in a neighborhood where people live.

Yesterday, I was at Crissy Field where a stream of Mr. Toad Tours, where tourists ride in a car that looks like it is from Wind in the Willows, and open-air firetrucks went by with voices of the guides blaring out through the serenity.  One was singing a stupid song about "California and the approach of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Do people really need to be told that a huge orange-red span in SF is the Golden Gate Bridge?

Luckily, the national park service was doing a survey so I was able to explain that I think most people come to Crissy Field for serenity, nature, and meditation, and not to listen to idiotic canned blurbs on the city.

I appreciate that the tourists aren't driving around, and that they utilize the tours and rent the bicycles,  though I feel sorry for the panting Europeans who learn very quickly that SF is not Amsterdam.

I have been a tourist and ridden on the top of buses in England, and I see how when one is "on holiday" it is different, and exciting, and stimulating, and it is important to remember that for a good many of the people one sees, the area is home. 

ashes and snow - wings

Poem by Alberto Rios


This is just about light, how suddenly
One comes upon it sometimes and is surprised.

In light, something is lifted.
That is the property of light,

And in it one weighs less.
A broad and wide leap of light

Encountered suddenly, for a moment -
You are not where you were

But you have not moved. It's the moment
That startles you up out of dream,

But the other way around: It's the moment, instead,
That startles you into dream, makes you

Close your eyes - that kind of light, the moment
For which, in our language, we have only

The word surprise, maybe a few others,
But not enough. The moment is regular

As with all the things regular
At the closing of the twentieth century:

A knowledge that electricity exists
Somewhere inside the walls;

That tonight the moon in some fashion will come out;
That cold water is good to drink.

The way taste slows a thing
On its way into the body.

Light, widened and slowed, so much of it: It
Cannot be swallowed in the mouth of the eye,

Into the throat of the pupil, there is
So much of it.  But we let it in anyway,

Something in us knowing
The appropriate mechanism, the moment's lever.

Light, the slow movement of everything fast.
Like hills, those slowest waves, light,

That slowest fire, all
Confusion, confusion here

One more part of clarity: In this light
You are not where you were but you have not moved.

    Alberto Rios

alice springs

a good question -

Where's Al Gore When We Need Him?

By Brent Budowsky, Consortium News. Posted August 14, 2008.

McCain is an environmental sellout. So why isn't Gore challenging him visibly, aggressively and clearly?

Anyone can champion the Earth when it's easy, yet too many remain silent when it's hard.

The forces behind oil are taking charge in the great energy debate -- and the issue of global warming has virtually disappeared from the political campaign, with barely a word from its strongest advocate.

I have supported Al Gore for a generation but am profoundly troubled by his silence and absence from the great debate during this election year.

Gore did not run for President; Gore did not endorse when it mattered; Gore did not push his issues during the primaries; Gore did not challenge the phony gas tax holiday idea; Gore does not challenge the Mother Earth of all flip-flops and sellouts from John McCain, who went from pretending to be a global warming leader to being the great shill for oil company profits.

John McCain is a second-tier Teddy Roosevelt impersonator with zero in common with TR's championing of the environment, trust-busting attacks on corporate abuses, regulation to prevent children from being poisoned by bad food, and the rights of American workers.

Why is Gore not challenging John McCain visibly, aggressively and clearly?

Why is Gore not challenging the American people to take the hard actions that are needed to conserve energy, to save the planet, and to change the world at such a critical moment?

Even Arnold Schwarzenegger has shown real guts in criticizing McCain and praising Obama. If a Republican like Arnold can be so forceful, where's Al Gore?

Why is a right-wing Republican oilman who financed the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry doing much more this election year than the Nobel Laureate?

The occasional emergence for the big speech is not enough. The occasional crowd-pleaser for bloggers means nothing in the real fight.

The awards, the prizes, the movies, the books, the concerts, the standing ovations and venture capital funds (all of which I have supported for Gore) mean nothing, zero, nada, in the real fight at the critical moment.

Oil is defeating the Earth; oil money is now dominating the debate; oil lobbyists are now controlling the agenda. The debate is now about who supports how much drilling.

The defense of the planet has receded when the politics has become hard.

The debate is largely surrendered when the battle matters the most and the leader of the free world is being chosen.

Whatever one believes about drilling, those who try to persuade a hurting public that it matters anytime soon are committing a fraud, a hoax, a sham, a lie to the public.

Now is that time for all good men and women to come to aid of the country, the people, the planet, and the truth.

Hard truths need to be told and a great battle needs to be waged. For me that means a challenge to my friends, such as Gore, as much as a challenge to the frauds, such as McCain.

Oil is defeating the Earth, and Al Gore should roll up his sleeves and wage the fight that this crucial moment demands.

barack obama

You are probably aware.

I know that we all know Jerome Corsi's book on Obama is a pack of lies and yet, I guess I need to keep saying it.  The last sentence of this article is appalling on what kind of man is McCain.   I do think that once there were scruples in the publishing business.  That is no longer so. 

A Book Written to Defeat Obama

By Beverly Bandler
August 19, 2008

“The goal is to defeat Obama,” author Jerome Corsi said in a telephone interview. “I don’t want Obama to be in office.”

Books used to be written to educate, inspire, or entertain. These days they are written to serve as political weapons. And the intellectual standards of book publishers appear to have been degraded significantly.

Jerome R. Corsi has written a “new attack book” titled: The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality The chief editor of the publisher, Threshold Editions, is Mary Matalin, the former Republican operative turned publisher-pundit.

As of Aug. 17, the book was No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list for the second week, being pushed along by a large volume of bulk sales to conservative organizations and an estimated 100 author interviews with talk show hosts.

The "best-seller" status of the book is used to bolster its claims of legitimacy. Threshold has reportedly printed 475,000 copies so far.

The book charges that the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, is “an extreme leftist,” “a stealth radical liberal” who has tried to cover up extensive connections with Islam and radical politics.

Corsi was the co-author of Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, which included accusations that were “ultimately undermined by news reports pointing out the contradictions,” the New York Times reported.

It appears Corsi and Matalin hope that the Obama book will repeat the ’04 Swift Boat anti-Kerry feat.

The book description states that it “explains why the extreme leftism of an Obama presidency would leave the United States weakened, diminished and divided, why Obama must be defeated — and how he can be.”

The book purports to be a “thoroughly researched and documented book” and emphasizes its “[s]crupulously sourced…600 footnotes.”

Corsi attempts to legitimize his book with his Ph.D. credentials prominently displayed on the book cover. But Corsi’s status as a respected scholar has been challenged.

Corsi has been characterized as a “conservative gadfly,” a “fringe author,” and a “lying, white supremacist, propagandist” known for his “paranoid ramblings” and who, in addition to being charged with lying about John Kerry’s military service, made his name for making anti-Islam, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic and homophobic statements.

According to professor of history Joe Palermo, Corsi “staunchly supported the Vietnam War when he was draft age, but he ducked military service with the excuse of being afflicted with ‘hereditary eczema.’ ”

The Chicago Sun-Times calls his "Latest smear against Obama an abomination.”

According to People for the American Way (PFAW), Jerome Corsi is “little more than a third-tier hack prone to spinning out conspiracy theories with an overblown sense of his own importance,” and an author who “has left a trail of wild theories, vitriol and dogma that have called into question his credibility.”

According to PFAW, Corsi posted a series of online comments throughout 2004 that included suggestions that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a lesbian and Muslims worship Satan. He also calls Muslims "Ragheads" and "Boy-Bumpers."

Politico states that Corsi “has left a trail of wild theories [among them the assertion that oil is a nearly infinite resource that continues to generate naturally], vitriol and dogma that have called into question his credibility.”

Significant parts of the book have already been challenged as “misleading or false.”

Media Matters, which is run by former right-wing journalist David Brock, has determined the book “unfit for publication” and lists several of the book’s accusations that are “unsubstantiated, misleading or inaccurate.”

Media Matters reports that it previously documented false and baseless charges Corsi made about Obama’s positions on the Global Poverty Act of 2007 and nuclear weapons, as well as false statements Corsi made concerning Obama’s position on abortion and his memoir, Dreams From My Father, while discussing the book with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

Conservatives have their own concerns about Jerome Corsi. Jon Henke of the conservative Web site, TheNextRight, writes: “The continued tolerance and prominence of Jerome Corsi - his books, columns and appearances - is just embarrassing. It is embarrassing for the Right, embarrassing for Republicans, embarrassing for conservatives and libertarians, embarrassing for all of us.”

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Washington fears that Corsi is “hoping his book will give credibility to the smears you can read for free on the Internet. Only now -- it'll cost you.”

“A rebuttal,” she says, “would only fuel more interest in the book and put more money in Corsi's bank account.”

Another view, however, is that the lack of immediate and aggressive rebuttal of the Swift Boat attacks in 2004 hurt John Kerry and that responding to any and all inaccuracies or lies in Corsi’s book is essential.

The Obama Campaign has produced a 41-page Investigative Report on the Lies in Jerome Corsi’s ‘Obama Nation.’ 

John McCain’s response to the Corsi book has been reported as: “Gotta keep your sense of humor.”

That the humor of the Republican presidential nominee is startling is an understatement.

Writer Andy Borowtiz reported this past July that a smiling Sen. McCain, speaking in a video on his site, says, "My friends, in these trying times in which we live, there's one thing all Americans can agree on: killing Iranians is hilarious."