September 9th, 2008

alan - morning glory center

Good Morning!

I woke this morning thinking of two things,  small-town values, and the balance each of us chooses between "marching to our own drummer" and conformity.

I watched Dead Poet's Society last night, a movie I highly recommend everyone re-visit.   It is about knowing when to step into one's own knowing and truth.  It is about poetry and friendship and true values.

I never lived in a small town, but I live in a neighborhood.   Food travels up and down the street when needed.  We have a yearly block party.  I think people create community wherever they go, or they don't.

I used to think I wanted to live in a small town and then I realized it seemed like roles were more defined.  My perception was that there was less opportunity to create one's self "new."  One is the son or daughter of someone else.   Though when Jon Stewart's "reporters"  interviewed people at the Republican convention about what "small town values" were, no one seemed to know,  I think it is about community, about caring for one's neighbor, and being there for them when they need it.

Today, the small town is the world.  You, reading this, may be in another state or country, and we all care about each other.  I was thinking this morning about the outpouring I received when Bella, one of my cats, was missing.   We support each other in a myriad of ways.

I was reading that the Republican party in Alaska is like the Mafia.  People are afraid to speak out.  They fear for their jobs.  I don't know much about Alaska.  I remember when Alaska and Hawaii became states.  I have always wanted to visit there. I am incredibly  attracted to the beauty, ruggedness, and lack of people, but what I'm hearing about it now is not very flattering.   I know it is dangerous to generalize about a place, but it does seem that a yearly hand-out or bribe by the oil companies would change the integrity of a place, and yet, it also means everyone has a certain minimal standard of living.  It sounds a bit socialist to me, and certainly different than how I envisioned Alaska, and yet, ultimately I think we all enjoy taking care of each other.   That is what is so odd about the Republican rhetoric to me, the disconnect.

Bob Herbert does a beautiful job this morning of re-claiming pride in the word liberal.  I never understood when it became a negative.  Jesus was a liberal for sure.   I ask now that the disconnection that the Republican party espouses fall through the cracks of tolerance.  May the glass ceiling that has been cracked for women, now be a glass basement cracked for tolerance, so we all stand supported on the ground of compassion and the oneness that is this earth.

Op-Ed Columnist

Hold Your Heads Up

Published: September 8, 2008

Ignorance must really be bliss. How else, over so many years, could the G.O.P. get away with ridiculing all things liberal?

Troglodytes on the right are no respecters of reality. They say the most absurd things and hardly anyone calls them on it. Evolution? Don’t you believe it. Global warming? A figment of the liberal imagination.

Liberals have been so cowed by the pummeling they’ve taken from the right that they’ve tried to shed their own identity, calling themselves everything but liberal and hoping to pass conservative muster by presenting themselves as hyper-religious and lifelong lovers of rifles, handguns, whatever.

So there was Hillary Clinton, of all people, sponsoring legislation to ban flag-burning; and Barack Obama, who once opposed the death penalty, morphing into someone who not only supports it, but supports it in cases that don’t even involve a homicide.

Anyway, the Republicans were back at it last week at their convention. Mitt Romney wasn’t content to insist that he personally knows that “liberals don’t have a clue.” He complained loudly that the federal government right now is too liberal.

“We need change, all right,” he said. “Change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington.”

Why liberals don’t stand up to this garbage, I don’t know. Without the extraordinary contribution of liberals — from the mightiest presidents to the most unheralded protesters and organizers — the United States would be a much, much worse place than it is today.

There would be absolutely no chance that a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin could make a credible run for the highest offices in the land. Conservatives would never have allowed it.

Civil rights? Women’s rights? Liberals went to the mat for them time and again against ugly, vicious and sometimes murderous opposition. They should be forever proud.

The liberals who didn’t have a clue gave us Social Security and unemployment insurance, both of which were contained in the original Social Security Act. Most conservatives despised the very idea of this assistance to struggling Americans. Republicans hated Social Security, but most were afraid to give full throat to their opposition in public at the height of the Depression.

“In the procedural motions that preceded final passage,” wrote historian Jean Edward Smith in his biography, “FDR,” “House Republicans voted almost unanimously against Social Security. But when the final up-or-down vote came on April 19 [1935], fewer than half were prepared to go on record against.”

Liberals who didn’t have a clue gave us Medicare and Medicaid. Quick, how many of you (or your loved ones) are benefiting mightily from these programs, even as we speak. The idea that Republicans are proud of Ronald Reagan, who saw Medicare as “the advance wave of socialism,” while Democrats are ashamed of Lyndon Johnson, whose legislative genius made this wonderful, life-saving concept real, is insane.

When Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law in the presence of Harry Truman in 1965, he said: “No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine.”

Reagan, on the other hand, according to Johnson biographer Robert Dallek, “predicted that Medicare would compel Americans to spend their ‘sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was like in America when men were free.’ ”


Without the many great and noble deeds of liberals over the past six or seven decades, America would hardly be recognizable to today’s young people. Liberals (including liberal Republicans, who have since been mostly drummed out of the party) ended legalized racial segregation and gender discrimination.

Humiliation imposed by custom and enforced by government had been the order of the day for blacks and women before men and women of good will and liberal persuasion stepped up their long (and not yet ended) campaign to change things. Liberals gave this country Head Start and legal services and the food stamp program. They fought for cleaner air (there was a time when you could barely see Los Angeles) and cleaner water (there were rivers in America that actually caught fire).

Liberals. Your food is safer because of them, and so are your children’s clothing and toys. Your workplace is safer. Your ability (or that of your children or grandchildren) to go to college is manifestly easier.

It would take volumes to adequately cover the enhancements to the quality of American lives and the greatness of American society that have been wrought by people whose politics were unabashedly liberal. It is a track record that deserves to be celebrated, not ridiculed or scorned.

Self-hatred is a terrible thing. Just ask that arch-conservative Clarence Thomas.

Liberals need to get over it.

alan - purple flowers

A Poem of Abundance and Scent -

I Planned To Have a Border of Lavender

by Paul Goodman


I planned to have a border of lavender
but planted the bank too of lavender
and now my whole crazy garden
      is grown in lavender

it smells so sharp heady and musky
of lavender, and the hue of only
lavender is all my garden up
     into the gray rocks.

When forth I go from here the heedless lust
I squander—and in vain for I am stupid
and miss the moment—it has blest me silly
     when forth I go

and when, sitting as gray as these gray rocks
among the lavender, I breathe the lavender's
tireless squandering, I liken it
     to my silly lusting,

I liken my silly indefatigable
lusting to the lavender which has grown over
all my garden, banks and borders, up
     into the gray rocks


"I Planned To Have a Border of Lavender" by Paul Goodman from Collected Poems

Book Cover

Navigating Live Journal

I am not facile with Live Journal, so while following one thread, I often end up in another, without being quite clear how I got there. The following post comes from the friend of a friend of a friend. She would prefer to remain anonymous, so I suggest you send a prayer of gratitude to the sky and the earth as you read her words.

In other news John McCain has consistently snubbed the Native vote, turning down the possibility of meeting with leaders of various tribes (Obama, on the other hand met with tribal leaders this summer) and now he has sealed the deal with Palin who has fought to end or curtail Alaskan tribe's right to subsistence(meaning native villages count on those fish for survival) fishing in order to expand sport fishing. Because we know poor people's right to survive should take back seat to other people's right to make money and have fun. She has also consistently challenged Tribal Sovereignty time and time again.

For those who are not up on their indigenous politics sovereignty refers to the inherent right of native tribes to govern themselves. This has many repercussions, from the rise of wealth from casinos, to the still controversial right of tribal authorities to prosecute non-indians for crimes committed on Indian land.

Let me frame this in terms of what it means in Alaska. Not only does Palin believe abortion should be illegal EVEN IN CASES OF RAPE AND INCEST. She also believes non-Indians who commit rape on Indian land should not be prosecuted by Indian Authorities.

She also has fought to do away Upik language programs as well as translators for Upiks who do not speak English.

Now lets put this in perspective.

In Sarah Palin's state women are two and half times more likely to be raped, that's more than twice, but nearly 30% of those women had no access to victim's services.

Let's break it down a little more. 34% of all rape victims are Native women. 90% of Native women report that their rapists were non-Indians. So, essentially, when Sarah Palin denies the right of Tribal Authorities to prosecute non-Indians she is authorizing white men to rape brown women without fear of legal reprisals.

But what do you expect? She did say she would force her own daughter (14 years old at the time) to give birth to any theoretical rapist's child. From what I can find she consistently chooses to defend rapists rather than the women they assault. If anyone has any evidence of Palin standing up for rape victims let me know.

Economically McCain scares me even more than Palin. Since Palin's economic policies are rather scattered. Her focus seems to be on promoting a sort of Chrisitan equivalent of Sharia Law. She is involved with the most extremist far right Christians who explicitly wish to see the wall between church and state abolished. On the other hand I still recall how early this year, in the wake of the Bear Stearns fiasco, McCain (who had not yet been Karl-Roved into tucking in his horns) said the answer to the banking/credit/housing trouble was LESS regulation not more. That's what McCain means by reform. (From what I can see this would only bring about a return to the days of the robber barons)

I am mind-boggled at the number of reasons to actively campaign against Palin and McCain. Did they think we wouldn't learn this? Did they really think women would support men getting away with rape? What planet do they live on and why do I keep asking the same stupid question? Ack!

alan - joshua tree bloom

Motherhood -

Sarah Palin loves to use the motherhood card, and yet, knowing she was carrying a child with Down's Syndrome, she flew repeatedly in her last month of pregnancy, something even mothers with the healthiest pregnancies rarely do.   A child with Down's Syndrome is affected by mental retardation as well as heart problems.  Flying at such a time was extremely risky to the health of the baby, and yet, even after she went into labor in Texas when her water broke, she got on an airplane and flew to Alaska.  How insane is that?

The hypocrisy of using motherhood to appear like she cares, appalls.

barack obama


What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick

A theocrat is a theocrat, whether Muslim or Christian.

By Juan Cole

Sept. 9, 2008 | John McCain announced that he was running for president to confront the "transcendent challenge" of the 21st century, "radical Islamic extremism," contrasting it with "stability, tolerance and democracy." But the values of his handpicked running mate, Sarah Palin, more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers. On censorship, the teaching of creationism in schools, reproductive rights, attributing government policy to God's will and climate change, Palin agrees with Hamas and Saudi Arabia rather than supporting tolerance and democratic precepts. What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist?

Read the article here:

barack obama

Katie Couric must go!!

I was shocked to see how biased Katie Couric was when I watched the Democratic Convention, but I must admit that this stuns me.

My friend Patricia Davis wrote the book Harlot's Sauce and now has created Harlot's Sauce Radio to support it. You can read this shocking article at:

It explains how Katie Couric substituted McCain's wrong answer with another one.

What is going on?