September 24th, 2008

ashes and snow - wings

A Vision -

We in SF are delighted that our new Academy of Sciences is re-opening this month.   With the new De Young and SFMOMA and the Legion of Honor we are well-set as to offerings.   This review describes the new building which many of us here have been watching be built these last few years.

It helps offset the news.   Carter put solar panels on the White House.  Reagan took them off.  Solar power companies have sprung up but they needed the boost of a tax incentive.  If McCain was elected, the company my son works for would definitely go under, but now with the financial crisis, the lift they need will most likely not be there, and now both sides approve off-shore oil drilling.  We see who is in control, and where the money and support go, but why is not understandable to me.   The Bush family makes money off oil, but why couldn't they invest a little in solar power and wind and then make money off of that.

Anyway here is something cheery to balance the news. 

Architecture Review

A Building That Blooms and Grows, Balancing Nature and Civilization

The new California Academy of Sciences is capped by two spheres covered with plants.


SAN FRANCISCO — Not all architects embrace the idea of evolution. Some, fixated on the 20th-century notion of the avant-garde, view their work as a divine revelation, as if history began with them. Others pine for the Middle Ages.

But if you want reaffirmation that human history is an upward spiral rather than a descent into darkness, head to the new California Academy of Sciences, in Golden Gate Park, which opens on Saturday. Designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano on the site of the academy’s demolished home, the building has a steel frame that rests amid the verdant flora like a delicate piece of fine embroidery. Capped by a stupendous floating green roof of undulating mounds of plants, it embodies the academy’s philosophy that humanity is only one part of an endlessly complex universal system.

This building’s greatness as architecture, however, is rooted in a cultural history that stretches back through Modernism to Classical Greece. It is a comforting reminder of the civilizing function of great art in a barbaric age.


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alice springs

Bill Clinton -

I have always felt that if Bill Clinton had campaigned genuinely for Gore and Kerry, we might have had a different result, but he wants Hillary which makes sense in one way, but is inexcusable when it comes to the people of this country and the nation and the world as a whole.  He has let us down as well as his pants, and when I first read Maureen Dowd this morning, I was baffled.  I thought she must be trying to be funny, but I have now checked on-line and Clinton is acting like Palin is something other than a joke.  I have often felt that Clinton is a closet racist.  I keep reading that people are not going to vote for a Black, and I am astonished by Maureen's column this morning, which does seem to be true as I check it out.

Hillary kept going when she didn't have a chance and gave ammunition to the McCain camp.  What astonished me is that the Clinton's seem to think there will be an election in 2012 if McPain wins.   Anyone who looks logically at the difference in qualifications between the candidates knows the fix is in if McPain wins.   Honesty in elections may be gone, and we are now handing all financial power and control over just as was intended when this was all set in motion who knows how many years ago.  

This is the conclusion of Maureen Dowd's column this morning.

Republicans, who have won so many elections painting Democrats as socialists and pinkos, have now done so much irresponsible deregulating and deficit spending that they have to avoid fiscal Armageddon by turning America into a socialist, pinko society with nationalized financial institutions and a financial czar accountable to no one and no law.

And Governor Palin spends so much time ostracizing reporters who might quiz her on NATO or the liquidity crunch that her press strategy is beginning to smack of Putin’s — but less lethal.

Even if she blows off the First Amendment — and lets McCain’s Rove, Steve Schmidt, demonize the press even though she disdains women politicians who whine — Bill Clinton is still a fan.

Besides talking about what a great man John McCain is on “The View” and “David Letterman,” Bill praised Palin at his Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York and will receive her there on Thursday.

“I come from Arkansas. I get why she is hot out there,” he said authoritatively, adding: “People look at her, and they say, ‘All those kids. Something that happens in everybody’s family. I’m glad she loves her daughter and she’s not ashamed of her. Glad that girl’s going around with her boyfriend. Glad they’re going to get married.’ ” He said voters would think: “I like that little Down syndrome kid. One of them lives down the street. They’re wonderful. ... And I like the idea that this guy does those long-distance races. Stayed in the race for 500 miles with a broken arm. My kind of guy.”

On “The View,” he said he understood that some women might vote for Palin on the basis of gender, even if it was against their economic interest.

“You can’t tell someone else that the ground on which they make their voting decision is irrational,” he said primly.

Well, actually you could, if you weren’t still sulking and plotting for 2012.

barack obama

Sojourners -

Years ago I heard Jim Wallis speak at Grace Cathedral.  He is a true Christian and has created an organization that works for true Christian values.   If you agree, click and sign today.

Dear Cathy Edgett,

As people of faith, we believe that our national budget is a moral document – how we spend our money indicates our national priorities. Congress is about to add $700 billion to our national debt to “rescue” the economy from collapse – without independent oversight of how the money is spent and with a blank check of power to the Treasury Secretary.

Ask Congress: What are you prioritizing, the needs of private companies or the common good of all Americans?

The proposed bailout of Wall Street banks gives $700 billion and unprecedented power to one man –  Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury. If such large sums of taxpayer money are being risked, our elected representatives must have meaningful oversight and taxpayers should benefit more than companies.

The U. S. economic system is in grave danger, and Congress should address the situation quickly. However, any bailout bill must:

  • Reject any blank check authority to Secretary Paulson
  • Include real accountability, oversight, and transparency for any money authorized.

Assuming Congress can draft a comprehensive bill that includes meaningful changes in the regulatory system, then the bill must also include:

  • A commitment that any funds spent by the treasury to bail out investors must be matched by at least a 10 percent tithe to support millions of Americans who have lost their homes and those still at risk of foreclosure.

Contact Congress today and tell them: No $700 billion without oversight AND investment.

Congress is working to pass a bill this week – spending a little less than 7 days to draft the largest government bailout package in history. With anxiety in Congress and pressure from the White House, taxpayers may be held responsible for gambling on Wall Street, without any guarantees that it won’t happen again.

Tell Congress: Draft a sensible bill for long-term reform that includes support for Americans most at risk of foreclosure.

It is not yet clear what the best long-term solutions might be to this crisis, so Congress must weigh its options carefully, not approving a poorly negotiated bill of such large proportions. Wisdom from the book of Proverbs is a good reminder to heed:

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” –Proverbs 15:22, NIV

Our government has committed grave errors in recent years because it acted out of fear. It should not make the same mistake again. As Christians, we ask you to join us in praying for wisdom for our leaders during this important time.

In solidarity,

Elizabeth, Adam, Nate, and the rest of policy team at Sojourners

laurel and hardy

Jon Carroll -

We all know that football is an important part of higher learning.  What would college life be like without the "big games" and the rivalries?   Also, it brings in a great deal of money.

I was appalled when I read that those who sat in trees in Berkeley to protect them are now being sued, like they have any money.

What matters though is Cal will have their football.

Here is Jon Carroll today on the subject.

Shame! Shock! Yes, for all those who wondered why the 80-year-old oaks next to Memorial Stadium at the University of California couldn't have been just left standing, the administration of California has now allowed the publication of the exclusive photographs of the hellhole that is the Memorial Stadium.

Those trees died just in time. Now the renovations and expansion can begin, and strong young men, many of them getting full scholarships to one of the world's great universities, will not be forced to endure such hardship. And all without a state-of-the-art weight room! Joe Kapp weeps.

Fortunately, a lawyer for the university announced that he was going to "throw the book" at the tree-sitters who sat in the way of progress. Dissent is one thing; actually doing something to support those dissenting views: quite another. Rather than sitting in the trees, the protesters should have written a novel about what it would have been like if someone had sat in the trees. That's what academic freedom is all about.


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evening -

Today was time with Zach.    We went to the bay and played in the mud and made footsteps and squished and a little boy came over with a teeny-tiny crab that could fit in even Zach's small hand, so we looked for crabs and placed them back and clams squirted us, and the little boy's young sister and Zach kept saying how the crabs love us, and I was in bliss, and then, we got very wet and very muddy and it was so much fun.  We also had a little discussion of life and death, as some of the crabs hadn't quite made it through the low tide.

Zach commented that he loves the sound of the birds as they take off in flight.   We saw and heard many pelicans splash for a fish and we let our shadows cross as we ran and chased. 

I came home and had a wonderful dinner with Steve who returned with uplifting news on China and Japan and how well they are doing and he seemed less aware of the power of the McPain smears, and we watched the Friday night Bill Maher and last night's Jon Stewart where Bill Clinton did come out strongly for Barack and I was feeling my fatigue from the fire and life and then, I came to the news which I had missed where McCain now wants to postpone or eliminate Friday night's debate.  What kind of chicken shit is that?

At Blackie's Pasture where I went today with Zach is a statue of Blackie, a horse, and below his rear on the ground in the proper place is a rock that looks like a huge hunk of shit.  Who would have thought a clone of McCain would be sitting in Tiburon by the bay.