September 14th, 2008

ashes and snow - wings

Good Morning!!



We shared a beautiful day yesterday.  Somehow everyone was thinking they were the one responsible for food so we shared an abundant array and I gave Jeff a game that is like Trivial Pursuit with the questions all about food, which we all enjoy, so we all had a rollicking good time.  People dropped in and we laughed and laughed and there was only the occasional comment about Palin and Wasilla.

I wake, determined to turn the house toward fall, change candles to russet and amber and put another comforter on the bed and clean out closets and drawers.  The fog is in and we are softly wrapped.

Then I decide to quickly touch the news button.   There is an article in the NY Times today on Sarah and how she hires her friends and lashes her foes.   Also, she invites her husband into the running of the government and shares emails in a way that is certainly suspect and possibly illegal.   You certainly don't want to be on her bad side.  This "lady" has no problem with the gut and kill.

Then, there is this from an editorial in the NY Times.   Equanimity, I keep saying to myself.  "Is that so?"

from the NY Times:

On Friday, less than a week after the government took control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the White House announced that there is no reason at this time to account for the companies in the federal budget.


That is great news for officials who prefer to hide the cost of the bailout since it is due, in large part, to their failure to adequately regulate the financial markets and steward the economy. But it is an insult to taxpayers, whose money is at risk, and it is a reckless gambit.

The Congressional Budget Office reported on Tuesday that the government’s finances are deteriorating rapidly: the budget deficit for this year is expected to reach $407 billion, more than double last year’s shortfall, and to exceed $500 billion in 2009. The takeover of Fannie and Freddie, necessary though it is, will add to the deterioration. Airbrushing that away will only open the door to uninformed — or negligent — decisions on spending and tax cuts.

The White House says that the extent of the government’s control of Fannie and Freddie does not warrant including the companies’ operations in the budget. That is absurd. The government has seized the companies, firing their executives and installing new ones, offering to invest up to $200 billion in the companies if necessary, and most significant, making an ironclad promise to pay their trillions of dollars in obligations, if need be.


And on it goes. 

Friedman, Rich, and Dowd await my browse.   Can I keep a Sunday float as I read of distortion and lies?

I proclaim we each continue a childlike teeter-tottery toddler walk toward balance and resolve.

Frederic Bourdin - "When you fight monsters, be careful that in the process you do not become one."

He also said, "Human maturity: this means rediscovering the seriousness we had toward play when we were children."

When I watch two and a half year old Zach play, he is serious.   I remember my own childhood play.  

May we greet the world with the gravity of innocence as we explore and test the boundaries of this world.











barack obama

Strength -



We have to have a strong economy to have a strong country.   Palin can talk about going to war, but we don't have the resources to do so.

I'm not sure why corporate bailouts are A-OK to the Republicans, but helping the "little guy" is a no-no.

I know you could read this on your own, but I place Thomas Friedman here anyway, as I think we need to keep what he says foremost in our thoughts.


Op-Ed Columnist

Making America Stupid

 
Published: September 13, 2008

Imagine for a minute that attending the Republican convention in St. Paul, sitting in a skybox overlooking the convention floor, were observers from Russia, Iran and Venezuela. And imagine for a minute what these observers would have been doing when Rudy Giuliani led the delegates in a chant of “drill, baby, drill!”


I’ll tell you what they would have been doing: the Russian, Iranian and Venezuelan observers would have been up out of their seats, exchanging high-fives and joining in the chant louder than anyone in the hall — “Yes! Yes! Drill, America, drill!” — because an America that is focused first and foremost on drilling for oil is an America more focused on feeding its oil habit than kicking it.

Why would Republicans, the party of business, want to focus our country on breathing life into a 19th-century technology — fossil fuels — rather than giving birth to a 21st-century technology — renewable energy? As I have argued before, it reminds me of someone who, on the eve of the I.T. revolution — on the eve of PCs and the Internet — is pounding the table for America to make more I.B.M. typewriters and carbon paper. “Typewriters, baby, typewriters.”

Of course, we’re going to need oil for many years, but instead of exalting that — with “drill, baby, drill” — why not throw all our energy into innovating a whole new industry of clean power with the mantra “invent, baby, invent?” That is what a party committed to “change” would really be doing. As they say in Texas: “If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got.”

I dwell on this issue because it is symbolic of the campaign that John McCain has decided to run. It’s a campaign now built on turning everything possible into a cultural wedge issue — including even energy policy, no matter how stupid it makes the voters and no matter how much it might weaken America.

I respected McCain’s willingness to support the troop surge in Iraq, even if it was going to cost him the Republican nomination. Now the same guy, who would not sell his soul to win his party’s nomination, is ready to sell every piece of his soul to win the presidency.

In order to disguise the fact that the core of his campaign is to continue the same Bush policies that have led 80 percent of the country to conclude we’re on the wrong track, McCain has decided to play the culture-war card. Obama may be a bit professorial, but at least he is trying to unite the country to face the real issues rather than divide us over cultural differences.

A Washington Post editorial on Thursday put it well: “On a day when the Congressional Budget Office warned of looming deficits and a grim economic outlook, when the stock market faltered even in the wake of the government’s rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, when President Bush discussed the road ahead in Iraq and Afghanistan, on what did the campaign of Senator John McCain spend its energy? A conference call to denounce Senator Barack Obama for using the phrase ‘lipstick on a pig’ and a new television ad accusing the Democrat of wanting to teach kindergartners about sex before they learn to read.”

Some McCain supporters criticize Obama for not having the steel in his belly to use force in the dangerous world we live in today. Well I know this: In order to use force, you have to have force. In order to exercise leverage, you have to have leverage.

I don’t know how much steel is in Obama’s belly, but I do know that the issues he is focusing on in this campaign — improving education and health care, dealing with the deficit and forging a real energy policy based on building a whole new energy infrastructure — are the only way we can put steel back into America’s spine. McCain, alas, has abandoned those issues for the culture-war strategy.

Who cares how much steel John McCain has in his gut when the steel that today holds up our bridges, railroads, nuclear reactors and other infrastructure is rusting? McCain talks about how he would build dozens of nuclear power plants. Oh, really? They go for $10 billion a pop. Where is the money going to come from? From lowering taxes? From banning abortions? From borrowing more from China? From having Sarah Palin “reform” Washington — as if she has any more clue how to do that than the first 100 names in the D.C. phonebook?

Sorry, but there is no sustainable political/military power without economic power, and talking about one without the other is nonsense. Unless we make America the country most able to innovate, compete and win in the age of globalization, our leverage in the world will continue to slowly erode. Those are the issues this election needs to be about, because that is what the next four years need to be about.

There is no strong leader without a strong country. And posing as one, to use the current vernacular, is nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig.



cirque du soleil

Maureen -



I always enjoy hearing from Maureen.   I read in the New Yorker that Palin's speech at the Inauguration was actually written before she was chosen and then they adapted it for her.  The attack route was ready and they found the dog, pig, barracuda, whatever animal she evokes in the moment.   I have always wondered why ignorance is celebrated in this country, why our children have to downplay their intellect to "fit into" the public school, and why our leaders are supposed to be our barbecue buddies,  though Bush, McCain and Palin would NOT be welcome at any barbecue I attend.  Our barbecue gatherings appreciate diversity and not preservation of a white race of supremacy.  I think McCain-Palin take us back to some very scary stuff.


Op-Ed Columnist

Bering Straight Talk

 
Published: September 13, 2008

Anchorage


I’ve been in Alaska only a week, but I’m already feeling ever so much smarter about Russia.

I can’t quite see it from my hotel window, but, hey, I know it’s out there somewhere, beyond all the stuffed bears and cruise ships and glaciers and oil derricks.

The proximity of the country from which William Seward bartered to buy Alaska for $7 million — Seward’s icebox — is so illuminating that I suddenly realize that we would commit a grave error by overestimating Russia’s economic strength. After all, it represents only 2.8 percent of the world’s G.D.P., even though its gross domestic product has ballooned from $200 billion in 1999 to $1.7 trillion this year.

But I overanalyze.

An Arctic blast of action has swept into the 2008 race, making thinking passé. We don’t really need to hurt our brains studying the world; we just need the world to know we’re capable of bringing a world of hurt to the world if the world continues to be hell-bent on misbehaving.

Two weeks after being thrown onto a national ticket, and moments after being speed-briefed by McCain foreign-policy advisers, our new Napoleon in bunny boots (not the Pamela Anderson kind, but the knock-offs of the U.S. Army Extreme Cold Weather Vapor Barrier Boots) is ready to face down the Russkies and start a land war over Georgia, and, holy cow, what business is it of ours if Israel attacks Iran?

The trigger-happy John McCain has indeed found a soul mate. Trigger squared. In Fairbanks on Thursday, at a deployment ceremony for her son who is going to Iraq, Governor Palin followed the lead of McCain and W. in fusing Osama bin Laden’s diabolical work on 9/11 and the mission in Iraq. She told the departing troops, “You’ll be there to defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the deaths of thousands of Americans.”

Asked by Charlie Gibson what insight into Russian actions her Alaskan proximity gave her, Sarah blithely replied: “They’re our next-door neighbors. And you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.”

Being a next-door neighbor is not quite enough, though. If Sarah had been reading about the world she feels so confident about leading rather than just parroting by rote what Randy Scheunemann and the neocons around McCain drilled into her last week — Drill, baby, drill! — she might have realized that as heinous as Russia’s behavior toward Georgia was, it was not completely unprovoked. The State Department has let it be known that it warned McCain’s friend, Misha, the hotheaded president of Georgia, not to send troops in to crush the rebellion in two breakaway states.

And she might not have had to clench her jaw and play for time when Gibson raised the Bush doctrine, the wacko preemption philosophy that so utterly changed the world.

The really scary part of the Palin interview was how much she seemed like W. in 2000, and not just the way she pronounced nu-cue-lar. She had the same flimsy but tenacious adeptness at saying nothing, the same generalities and platitudes, the same restrained resentment at being pressed to be specific, as though specific is the province of silly eggheads, not people who clear brush at the ranch or shoot moose on the tundra.

Just as W. once could not name the General-General running Pakistan, so Palin took a position on Pakistan that McCain had derided as naïve when Obama took it.

“We must not, Charlie, blink, Charlie, because, Charlie, as I’ve said, Charlie, before, John McCain has said, Charlie, that — and remember here, Charlie, we’re talking about John McCain, Charlie, who, Charlie, is John McCain and I won’t be blinking, Charlie.”

She tried to finesse her previous church comments about Iraq, asking worshipers to pray “that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.” Earnestly repeating after her tutors, she said she had meant to echo Abraham Lincoln, that in war we must pray that we are on God’s side rather than that he is on ours. But her original comments sounded more W. than Abe — taking your policy and ideology and giving it the hallowed mantle of a mission from God.

Sarah has single-handedly ushered out the “Sex and the City” era, and made the sexy new model for America a retro one — the glamorous Pioneer Woman, packing a gun, a baby and a Bible.

Her explosion onto the scene made Obama seem even more like a windy, wispy egghead. Like W., Sarah has the power of positive unthinking. But now we may want to think about where ignorance and pride and no self-doubt has gotten us. Being quick on the trigger might be good in moose hunting, but in dealing with Putin, a little knowledge might come in handy.



barack obama

Strength -



In the last few days, I have been thinking about how most of us have learned that relationships take a bit of "work."  I was raised in the days where you got married and lived "happily ever after."   My husband and I had absolutely no tools when we married, no communication skills, no real ability to bring forth more deeply what we thought and felt so we could share it with the other.  

We have now learned how to understand ourselves a little better, and, in that, each other.  The process was not pleasant.  It was not fun.  It hurt.   It is hard to look at ourselves and our projections.  

What I see in this election is that we have taken our freedom for granted.  We assumed we would have it forever.  We would pass it on to our children and grandchildren.  We vote and stay informed.  We congratulate ourselves on that.  We are now faced with an election more ludicrous than the last one.   We thought Bush was a buffoon and we could not lose.   Here we are now with an even more ridiculous scenario.  

Many of us now know more about relationship with ourselves and others.   We have spent time and money in this exploration.  I am aware this is an "elitist" thing to say.   Those with "small town values" have no need of any of this, because they "know" right and wrong, and they are right and we are wrong.    Of course it also appears no one is quite clear what small town values mean, unless it is the narrow-minded and closed, shadowed place of which Deepak Chopra speaks.  

I think it is time to shine a huge light on this country and what it does and what that means.  

I spent two weeks in Hong Kong last October and visited Macau.  What I saw of their industry, enthusiasm, and infrastructure frightened me as to what is not happening here.  It is time to demand accountability of our politicians, and vision, unity, and forward-thought in our leaders.  It is time for Barack Obama and Joe Biden and we must work in a united, kind, and compassionate way for that.

We cannot become them, cannot sink into narrow-mindedness, arrogance and blindness.   We cannot allow rhetoric that says because we can see Russia, we know it.  

When "they" pray for rain on Barack's Denver speech of August, 28th, and instead the temperare is seventy-two degrees and the weather is clear, and the rain falls on the Republican convention, they suddenly become silent about the weather God, and we must mantra the words of Frederic Bourdin, "When you fight monsters, be careful that in the process you do not become one."

Let's mantra there!

The sun is shining.  The air is clear!!











barack obama

Evolution -




And here we are, continuing to learn.



Student

by Ted Kooser


 

The green shell of his backpack makes him lean
into wave after wave of responsibility,
and he swings his stiff arms and cupped hands,

paddling ahead. He has extended his neck
to its full length, and his chin, hard as a beak,
breaks the surf. He's got his baseball cap on

backward as up he crawls, out of the froth
of a hangover and onto the sand of the future,
and lumbers, heavy with hope, into the library.



"Student" by Ted Kooser from Delights & Shadows. © Copper Canyon Press, 2007. 



barack obama

Imagination!



Today I am reminded of this poem and these words by Diane di Prima.

"the only war that matters is the war against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it."



Rant

Diane di Prima

You cannot write a single line w/out a cosmology
a cosmogony
laid out, before all eyes

there is no part of yourself you can separate out
saying, this is memory, this is sensation
this is the work I care about, this is how I
make a living

it is whole, it is a whole, it always was whole
you do not “make” it so
there is nothing to integrate, you are a presence
you are an appendage of the work, the work stems from
hangs from the heaven you create

every man / every woman carries a firmament inside
& the stars in it are not the stars in the sky

w/out imagination there is no memory
w/out imagination there is no sensation
w/out imagination there is no will, desire

history is a living weapon in yr hand
& you have imagined it, it is thus that you
“find out for yourself”
history is the dream of what can be, it is
the relation between things in a continuum

of imagination
what you find out for yourself is what you select
out of an infinite sea of possibility
no one can inhabit yr world

yet it is not lonely,
the ground of imagination is fearlessness
discourse is video tape of a movie of a shadow play
but the puppets are in yr hand
your counters in a multidimensional chess
which is divination
& strategy

the war that matters is the war against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it.

the ultimate famine is the starvation
of the imagination

it is death to be sure, but the undead
seek to inhabit someone else’s world

the ultimate claustrophobia is the syllogism
the ultimate claustrophobia is “it all adds up”
nothing adds up & nothing stands in for
anything else

THE ONLY WAR THAT MATTERS IS THE WAR AGAINST
THE IMAGINATION

THE ONLY WAR THAT MATTERS IS THE WAR AGAINST
THE IMAGINATION
THE ONLY WAR THAT MATTERS IS THE WAR AGAINST
THE IMAGINATION
ALL OTHER WARS ARE SUBSUMED IN IT

There is no way out of a spiritual battle
There is no way you can avoid taking sides
There is no way you can not have a poetics
no matter what you do: plumber, baker, teacher

you do it in the consciousness of making
or not making yr world
you have a poetics: you step into the world
like a suit of readymade clothes

or you etch in light
your firmament spills into the shape of your room
the shape of the poem, of yr body, of yr loves

A woman’s life / a man’s life is an allegory

Dig it

There is no way out of the spiritual battle
the war is the war against the imagination
you can’t sign up as a conscientious objector

the war of the worlds hangs here, right now, in the balance
it is a war for this world, to keep it
a vale of soul-making

the taste in all our mouths is the taste of power
and it is bitter as death

bring yr self home to yrself, enter the garden
the guy at the gate w/ the flaming sword is yrself

the war is the war for the human imagination
and no one can fight it but you/ & no one can fight it for you

The imagination is not only holy, it is precise
it is not only fierce, it is practical
men die everyday for the lack of it,
it is vast & elegant

intellectus means “light of the mind”
it is not discourse it is not even language
the inner sun

the polis is constellated around the sun
the fire is central

Diane di Prima

 

 

From Pieces of a Song, City Lights Books, © 1990 by Diane di Prima

alice springs

Imagine!



Nor do I hear in my imagination the parts successively, I hear them all at once. What a delight this is! All this inventing, this producing, takes place in a pleasing, lively dream."


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart



barack obama

Double Standard!


This comes by email tonight.  It is sobering to see it so nicely laid out.  On the last one, I don't believe anyone blamed Elizabeth Edwards for her husband's behavior. 



* If you're a minority and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a "token hire."
* If you're a conservative and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a "game changer."

* Black teen pregnancies? A "crisis" in black
America .
* White teen pregnancies? A "blessed event."

* If you grow up in
Hawaii you're "exotic."
* Grow up in
Alaska eating mooseburgers, you're the quintessential "American story."

* Similarly, if you name you kid Barack you're "unpatriotic."
* Name your kid Track, you're "colorful."

* If you're a Democrat and you make a VP pick without fully vetting the individual you're "reckless."
* A Republican who doesn't fully vet is a "maverick."

* If you spend 3 years as a community organizer growing your organization from a staff of 1 to 13 and your budget from $70,000 to $400,000, then become the first black Preside nt of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new African Amerian voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law
professor, then spend nearly 8 more years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, becoming chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, then spend nearly 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of nearly 13 million people, sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you are woefully inexperienced.

* If you spend 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, then spend 20 months as the governor of a state with 650,000 people, then you've got the most executive experience of anyone on either ticket, are the Commander in Chief of the Alaska military and are well qualified to lead the nation should you be called upon to do so because you r state is the closest state to Russia.

* If you are a Democratic male candidate who is popular with millions of people you are an "arrogant celebrity."
* If you are a popular Republican female candidate you are "energizing the base."

* If you are a younger male candidate who thinks for himself and makes his own decisions you are "presumptuous."
* If you are an older male candidate who makes last minute decisions you refuse to explain, you are a "shoot from the hip" maverick.

* If you are a candidate with a Harvard law degree you are "an elitist-out of touch" with the real
America .
* if you are a legacy (dad and granddad were admirals) graduate of
Annapolis , with multiple disciplinary infractions you are a hero.

* If you manage a multi-million dollar nationwide campaign, you are an "empty suit."
* If you are a part time mayor of a town of 7000 people, you are an "experienced executive."

* If you go to a south side
Chicago
church, you r beliefs are "extremist."
* If you believe in creationism and don't believe global warming is man made, you are "strongly principled."

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.
* If you have been married to the same woman with whom you've been wed to for 19 years and raising 2 beautiful daughters with, you're "risky."

* If you're a black single mother of 4 who waits for 22 hours after her water breaks to seek medical attention, you're an irresponsible parent, endangering the life of your unborn child.
* But if you're a white married mother who waits 22 hours, you're spunky.

* If you're a 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton, the right-wing press calls you "First dog."
* If you're a 17-year old pregnant unwed daughter of a Republican, the right-wing press calls you "beautiful" and "courageous."

* If you kill an endangered species, you're an excellent hunter.
* If you have an abortion, you're a murderer (forget about if it happened while being raped.)

* If you teach abstinence only in sex education, you get teen parents.
* If you teach responsible age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

* If you're a Republican senator who solicits gay sex in an airport bathroom, you get to return to your job in the Senate and are encouraged to run for re-election.
* If you're a Democratic Senator who is out of public office and have an affair, your political career is over and your wife who has terminal cancer is to blame.


 

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
– Theodore Seuss Giesel

 

Book Cover

Eve Ensler -



Eve Ensler says it well!!


Drill, Drill, Drill

by Eve Ensler  



I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, "It was a task from God."

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?