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September 12th, 2008

alan's flowers

Good Morning!

I would like to present more positive news but listening to the three or four phrases McPain use over and over again with no context or meaning really has me down.

I realized this morning that they can talk about war, but we no longer have the resources for it.  Other countries are no longer going to finance our lifestyle or our debt.  They need to pay attention to their own countries and people.  I'm not really sure why they supported us so long.

I wondered why the housing debacle was ever allowed.  It made no sense, and anyone could have seen the coming collapse.  Now, this morning I read it is a way to disallow voters.   Foreclosed home - no vote.    There was a time when people had to own land to vote.  It seems that privilege is now abused, in what states, Ohio and Michigan, the ones that matter.  I knew they would do something.  They did it twice to elect Bush, had their trick, and they are at it again, and it seems this time the choice is worst than Bush, something I never thought possible.   The McPain team doesn't even know they don't know.  That kind of arrogance has always bothered me, but to see it used in the death knell of this country really feels painful to me today.

Lose your house, lose your vote

By Eartha Jane Melzer 9/10/08 6:42 AM

Michigan Republicans plan to foreclose African American voters

The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP’s effort to challenge some voters on Election Day.

“We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses,” party chairman James Carabelli told Michigan Messenger in a telephone interview earlier this week. He said the local party wanted to make sure that proper electoral procedures were followed.

State election rules allow parties to assign “election challengers” to polls to monitor the election. In addition to observing the poll workers, these volunteers can challenge the eligibility of any voter provided they “have a good reason to believe” that the person is not eligible to vote. One allowable reason is that the person is not a “true resident of the city or township.”

The Michigan Republicans’ planned use of foreclosure lists is apparently an attempt to challenge ineligible voters as not being “true residents.”

One expert questioned the legality of the tactic.

“You can’t challenge people without a factual basis for doing so,” said J. Gerald Hebert, a former voting rights litigator for the U.S. Justice Department who now runs the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington D.C.-based public-interest law firm. “I don’t think a foreclosure notice is sufficient basis for a challenge, because people often remain in their homes after foreclosure begins and sometimes are able to negotiate and refinance.”

As for the practice of challenging the right to vote of foreclosed property owners, Hebert called it, “mean-spirited.”

GOP ties to state’s largest foreclosure law firm

The Macomb GOP’s plans are another indication of how John McCain’s campaign stands to benefit from the burgeoning number of foreclosures in the state. McCain’s regional headquarters are housed in the office building of foreclosure specialists Trott & Trott. The firm’s founder, David A. Trott, has raised between $100,000 and $250,000 for the Republican nominee.

The Macomb County party’s plans to challenge voters who have defaulted on their house payments is likely to disproportionately affect African-Americans who are overwhelmingly Democratic voters. More than 60 percent of all sub-prime loans — the most likely kind of loan to go into default — were made to African-Americans in Michigan, according to a report issued last year by the state’s Department of Labor and Economic Growth.

Challenges to would-be voters

Statewide, the Republican Party is gearing up for a comprehensive voter challenge campaign, according to Denise Graves, party chair for Republicans in Genessee County, which encompasses Flint. The party is creating a spreadsheet of election challenger volunteers and expects to coordinate a training with the regional McCain campaign, Graves said in an interview with Michigan Messenger.

Whether the Republicans will challenge voters with foreclosed homes elsewhere in the state is not known.

Kelly Harrigan, deputy director of the GOP’s voter programs, confirmed that she is coordinating the group’s “election integrity” program. Harrigan said the effort includes putting in place a legal team, as well as training election challengers. She said the challenges to voters were procedural rather than personal. She referred inquiries about the vote challenge program to communications director Bill Nowling who promised information but did not return calls.

Party chairman Carabelli said that the Republican Party is training election challengers to “make sure that [voters] are who they say who they are.”

When asked for further details on how Republicans are compiling challenge lists, he said, “I would rather not tell you all the things we are doing.”

Vote suppression: Not an isolated effort

Carabelli is not the only Republican Party official to suggest the targeting of foreclosed voters. In Ohio, Doug Preisse, director of elections in Franklin County (around the city of Columbus) and the chair of the local GOP, told The Columbus Dispatch that he has not ruled out challenging voters before the election due to foreclosure-related address issues.

Hebert, the voting-rights lawyer, sees a connection between Priesse’s remarks and Carabelli’s plans.

“At a minimum what you are seeing is a fairly comprehensive effort by the Republican Party, a systematic broad-based effort to put up obstacles for people to vote,” he said. “Nobody is contending that these people are not legally registered to vote.

“When you are comprehensively challenging people to vote,” Hebert went on, “your goals are two-fold: One is you are trying to knock people out from casting ballots; the other is to create a slowdown that will discourage others,” who see a long line and realize they can’t afford to stay and wait.

Challenging all voters registered to foreclosed homes could disrupt some polling places, especially in the Detroit metropolitan area. According to the real estate Web site RealtyTrac, one in every 176 households in Wayne County, metropolitan Detroit, received a foreclosure filing during the month of July. In Macomb County, the figure was one household in every 285, meaning that 1,834 homeowners received the bad news in just one month. The Macomb County foreclosure rate puts it in the top three percent of all U.S. counties in the number of distressed homeowners.

Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Kent and Genessee counties were — in that order — the counties with the most homeowners facing foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac. As of July, there were more than 62,000 foreclosure filings in the entire state.

Joe Rozell, director of elections for Oakland County in suburban Detroit, acknowledged that challenges such as those described by Carabelli are allowed by law but said they have the potential to create long lines and disrupt the voting process. With 890,000 potential voters closely divided between Democratic and Republican, Oakland County is a key swing county of this swing state.

According to voter challenge directives handed down by Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, voter challenges need only be “based on information obtained through a reliable source or means.”

“But poll workers are not allowed to ask the reason” for the challenges, Rozell said. In other words, Republican vote challengers are free to use foreclosure lists as a basis for disqualifying otherwise eligible voters.

David Lagstein, head organizer with the Michigan Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), described the plans of the Macomb GOP as “crazy.”

“You would think they would think, ‘This is going to look too heartless,’” said Lagstein, whose group has registered 200,000 new voters statewide this year and also runs a foreclosure avoidance program. “The Republican-led state Senate has not moved on the anti-predatory lending bill for over a year and yet [Republicans] have time to prey on those who have fallen victim to foreclosure to suppress the vote.”

alan - joshua tree bloom

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance!

Papananook posts this, this morning and it brings tears to my eyes.

I think of the journey of Robert Pirsig and his son, and how then his son was killed outside the SF Zen Center
. How ironic is that, and yet, I realize it is to help us, with acceptance of life and death, rise and fall, as each of us lives with integrity and inserts quality into our lives as deeply as possible. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. May we travel and live well, cultivating quality, and accepting the cycles of life and death, lies and truth. I suppose the only way to know truth is to see through and around the lies. Let us thank McPain for the cosmic lessons, the acknowledgment and acceptance of rise and fall.

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There is joy in the universe!!

Papananook in Oregon also reminds me of Mark Morford in SF.


Read the whole list, but I must admit to seeing myself most strongly right here, and now I can laugh at my elitist self.

17. You are, for some godforsaken reason, absolutely convinced all the way down to your most profound sense of what is divine and truthful in this strangled world that violence and bloodshed are rarely the answer, that the irrefutable spiritual laws of the universe confirm that like attracts like and even at a quantum level there is a profound pull toward a divine, benevolent dynamic equilibrium, and therefore constructing a malicious national policy of torture and surveillance and pre-emptive aggression merely shames the better nature of the human animal and invites a particularly violent energy into the national bloodstream and poisons the human heart as it creates nothing but more turmoil and unrest and hate in the world. Man, only an elitist jerk would tolerate a ridiculous run-on sentence like that.

I suppose it is all a joke, and we need to be taking ourselves less seriously and, in that, move beyond this world of duality to the world of Rumi.

"Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there."

Sounds fun to me. I'll bring the wine, beer, tap water, well water, river water, filtered water, and various kinds of designer spring and mineral water too. I'll bring sparkling and flat, a picnic of six million religions we all can share.

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One thing leads to another!

Check out this website, Americans Against Sarah Palin for VP and add a new word to your vocabulary.



The history of the site was posted on August 30.

There are many on the political Right that today believe that the author of impalin.com is politically liberal. However, by mid-November 2008, everyone will realize that McCain’s decision to have Sarah Palin be his running mate was the political equivalent of “impalin” himself on his own double-edged sword. The author is a right-leaning moderate who in August 2008 was happy that McCain chose a political conservative but upset that he betrayed Americans’ trust in his judgment to pick a qualified candidate.

Post-November, impalin.com will dedicate itself to exposing any politician on either side of the aisle that is guilty of “impalin.” Politicians are suppose to make decisions that are for the good of their constituency and when they take acts that are only for their own political gain, they are impalin and deserve to get exposed.
snow and ashes

Lower your blood pressure -

Here is the explanation.

The attached video is of dolphins playing with silver colored rings which they have the ability to make under water to play with. It isn't known how they learn this, or if it's an inbred ability.

As if by magic the dolphin does a quick flip of its head and a silver ring appears in front of its pointed beak. The ring is a solid, donut shaped bubble about 2-ft across, yet it doesn't rise to the surface of the water! It stands upright in the water like a magic doorway to an unseen dimension.

The dolphin then pulls a small silver donut from the larger one. Looking at the twisting ring for one last time a bite is taken from it, causing the small ring to collapse into a thousands of tiny bubbles which head upward towards the water's surface. After a few moments the dolphin creates another ring to play with. There also seems to be a separate mechanism for producing
small rings, which a dolphin can accomplish by a quick flip of its head.

An explanation of how dolphins make these silver rings is that they are "air-core vortex rings". Invisible, spinning vortices in the water are generated from the tip of a dolphin's dorsal fin when it is moving rapidly and turning. When dolphins break the line, the ends are drawn together into a closed ring. The higher velocity fluid around the core of the vortex is at a lower pressure than the fluid circulating farther away. Air is injected into the rings via bubbles released from the dolphin's blowhole. The energy of the water vortex is enough to keep the bubbles from rising for a reasonably few seconds of play time.
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caring for our children -

I believe we each have an inner moral compass.  Each society seems to have basic rules about how we treat others, and, in that, ourselves.

I wonder how McCain can say he endorses something like the following.   This man may be dead before the election if he refuses to look at what this kind of thing does to the physicality of soul.

It is especially ironic in light of that a little education in certain areas might have done Bristol some good. 

I remember when the "touch me" classes came to our local elementary school.  I wondered if they were needed and sat in as children learned about appropriate and inappropriate touch.  The shock came when we then learned there were children who were being touched inappropriately and we needed to get therapists in to help both parents and child.  It is a complex issue and to ignore it is wrong.

When I saw the photographic exhibit of Lee Miller I was surprised to learn she was raped at the age of seven by a family friend and from that, contracted gonorrhea.   Reading her biography, it is clear she never recovered from the horror of it.

Education on proper touch as early as kindergarten might have allowed her a happier life.  It would have taught her about boundaries and that her body is her own.   Oh, her body is her own.   Oh, I see now why the McPain's are so opposed.  


A Message From John McCain

Published: September 11, 2008

The most disheartening aspect of a scurrilous Republican ad falsely accusing Barack Obama of promoting sex education for kindergarten children is its closing line: “I’m John McCain, and I approved this message.”

This from that straight-talker of yore, who fervidly denounced the 2004 Bush campaign’s Swift Boat character attacks on John Kerry’s military record.

What a difference four years makes, especially after Mr. McCain secured the nomination by hiring some of the same low-blow artists from the Bush campaign.

The kindergarten ad flat-out lies: telling voters that Mr. Obama’s “one accomplishment” in education was to favor “comprehensive” sex education for 5-year-olds. “Learning about sex before learning to read?” intones the voice-over, as a blur of respected sources are cited — none of them accurately, as they have proclaimed.

The truth is that as an Illinois legislator, Mr. Obama favored a sensible bill supported by many mainline organizations — including the Illinois Parent Teacher Association, the Illinois State Medical Society and the Illinois Public Health Association — to provide an “age and developmentally appropriate” sex education curriculum for older students. At most, kindergarteners were to be taught the dangers of sexual predators. And parents of children of all ages had the right to withdraw their children from the classes.

Surely, Senator McCain knows that all that change he’s promising for the tooth-and-claw Washington culture must start on the hustings. Yet, the kindergarten ad that he’s blessed signals that his goal is shamefully more of the same.

The way these ads work, this one is already playing over and over on the Web as a free-media “ghost,” in professional parlance — too late for any cynical expression of regret by Mr. McCain. And no regret has been offered.

The lesson for voters is to be wary of all ads from the McCain machine. The lesson for Mr. McCain is that if he really believes in straight talk, he should fire his ad writers and any aide who believes that the best way to win the presidency is to lie to American voters.

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A Republican draft

It seems to me that those who want war should be the ones fighting, but they often have an excuse.

Bush and Cheney love war, but they never actually fought.   I guess they like the idea of war, all that flag waving and such.

I read these words, knowing I, too, feel chills down my spine at the ignorant bandying about of the word "war" by Palin.  

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Palin's suggestion of war with Russia "sent chills down my spine."

"I'm not sure that Gov. Palin understands that right now, if that were to occur, we would have to institute a massive draft," McCaskill said.


The Snow Leopard

There are many books I treasure in my life but two biggies are Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard.  

I am thrilled about the forty year anniversary promotion of one and then open The NY Review of Books to an article by Pico Iyer called The Return of The Snow Leopard.

I have read both books more times than I can count.  I took The Snow Leopard with me to Nepal, where I spent six weeks, four of them in the mountains of the Everest area.   It was one of the Bibles I brought with me and I savored those Matthiessen words by flashlight in my tent.    If you haven't read it, do so. If you have, read it again.   There is so much I could quote from this article, from the book, and so I simply say,

"I grow into these mountains like a moss.  I am bewitched."  

Yes, the photo is of Yosemite, not Everest.  My journey is now closer to home. 

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An excellent article and explanation -

I have had discussions with other women as we wonder why we are so vehemently angry about Sarah Palin, wondering why our gentle natures are brought to the lion's ferocious stance. Kali is on the rampage, in response to Sarah Palin. As I read this, I wonder if we feel guilty we didn't support Hillary more, didn't appreciate how hard she had to fight, the insults she took. We see her softness now and how hard she fought, truly defining the definition of courage, which doesn't mean that you don't feel fear, but that you keep going anyway.

Now, look at what we have compared to what we might have. Sarah shows no emotion. She'd wipe out the planet and not shed a tear.

Again, do we feel guilty for not giving Hillary more support? Did we think we would have another chance? I think this article does an excellent job of understanding what is going on and explaining how Sarah snuck in, and now is going to be stomped out.

She thinks its sport to shoot wolves from planes. Well, she has aroused our blood-lust and hasn't seen anything yet. Those on the side of the wolves are ready to fight.