God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Living in San Diego, we don't have a lot of call for winter type clothing--we are not skiiers nor snow bunnies. When we lived in Italy, we did have some things but as that year was record breaking warm, there wasn't much call for winter gear.
Yesterday, in spite of our bad throats, coughs and miserable bodies, we made trips to REI--which we soon realized was costing more than we could justify for 6 days so we left with only handwarmers, which Ken "thinks" will be handy, an ear band for Casey to wear under his knit cap and an ear covering bonnet for me; next was Target which didn't have much that would be useful except gloves for Casey and then, finally, Sport Chalet which worked better. There we bought Casey warmy boots on sale for $20 and cozy mid-weight thermals.
Ken and I bought appropriate footwear last week although I think I will also get a pair of winter wear Ecco to augment the boots--which on their test run resulted in a nasty blister. Now, I need thermal undergarments and heavy duty gloves as cold hands are unbearable.
Although we are still excited about getting 3 of the elusive ceremony tickets, our new Republican congressman was not given the better location for his give aways. We will be in the mall section of the ticketed area--which, I am certain, means that Obama, Aretha and the others will be no more than little dots on the horizon. But, that's OK--we will be there.
If you are going to be there or if you know people who will be, there are two useful sites providing information about the events and planning.
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inauguration Events
This site gives all kinds of information including how to arrive, what to take, routes, etc. You can sign up for e-mail notification of important information.
The City of Washington Inaugural Site
This site provides additional information about both the inauguration and the city.
Additionally, the Washington Post has provided this map of the Capitol Area on inauguration day. It indicates closed metro stops, the parade route, seating , etc. Click on it for a readable view.
So, we are excited--3 weeks from today we will be cold, miserable, stamping our feet, but witnessing history--yeah!
Friday, December 26, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Wouldn't you think that by now I would know that is not the way to elicit any meaningful information. And, if one were to take his answers at face value, it would mean that he has never learned anything from kindergarten onward.
But one day last week he did have something to share which he began relating with gusto and excitement until he stopped mid-sentence, thought and then said:
"Well, with your olderness--but I am not saying you're old as that wouldn't be nice--I think you won't understand what this is about. I am not saying your old, though."
Now, how would you interpret this? I think he was being extraordinarily tactful in his 10 year old way and I love "olderness."
So--those readers who are of the olderness years, take heart--we are not elderly!--Yet...
Monday, December 15, 2008
Our family has its own backseat driver who not only is not female but is not a driver--other than of bumper cars. Somehow at the tender age of 10, Casey has learned all there is about driving, allowing him to supervise each and every minute detail of our time at the wheel--whether the vehicle is automatic or manual. (Since there have been a couple decades since we last raised a ten year old, I need to ask parents of the appropriate age if this is normal.)
As he sits in the back seat, Casey keeps his eye on the speedometer, the steering wheel, passing vehicles of all types, pedestrians, dogs, stop signs and traffic lights--nothing escapes him.
There is a running monologue that goes something like this:
Don't go so fast (this may be when we're at 65 on the freeway as we would never, ever speed!)
Watch out for that dog (who is on a leash, firmly held by its owner and we love dogs.)
Keep your eyes on the road (which is good advice for Ken, but I don't need it.)
Are you sure you're out of neutral? Are you in drive? (as we move forward down the street.)
Shouldn't you put the clutch in and shift to second? (I rue the day I explained clutches to him.)
Push the air-condition button to get the heater. (this morning when it was cold on the way to school.)
Use the auxiliary channel for the IPOD. (How did he know that?)
All of these are true and accurate quotes. With time, I could remember more.
But, today's bit of advice took the prize and inspired this entry which I haven't thought to share before.
It is raining in So Cal this morning--a rare event and our version of bad weather. Actually, there is a storm due later but now it is just wet with drops falling. Sometimes our storms don't materialize so we will wait to see what happens.
But, driving to school this morning there was enough precipitation to use the wipers--which I first had to find as I was driving Ken's BIG car which is very different from my little 1998 Saturn, 5-speed, coupe --with 42,000 miles.
Finally, they were swishing and all was well; I could see and we were safe....when from the backseat came "The wipers are going too fast. You need more drops between them."
Fortunately, the back seat is a far reach and would have required taking my eyes off the road, resulting in another reprimand--which is most certainly not what I want.
So, next time you have your wipers on, remember the advice from the back seat!
Footnote: The rain has come and it is in a fury here. We need waders just to get out on the patio. The wipers will be busy tomorrow--maybe. Or, maybe the sun will be out.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Several years ago, in the Ecuadoran Andes, we stayed at a colorful old small hotel in Quito. Casey was enthralled with the new fangled black telephone--one where he could put his finger into little holes and turn the dial. It was awhile before we discovered that he was dismaying the antiquated switchboard with calls. Of course, he was quite convinced that we needed to modernize and get such a technologically advanced instrument for our home.
Since then there have been several other "aha" moments for him. Today was a new one and it came on a day when a laugh was important and the freshness of a young boy was a gift.
Today the boxes--and there are many, too many--came down from the rafters--40+ years of accumulated Christmas decorations. It used to be that our house would have done well in a Christmas decorating contest. Now we pick and choose a small assortment of the memories for display. The truth being that the thought of putting it all back into boxes come January is great encouragement to be selective.
For years we have collected ornaments: sleds, toys, santas, wagons, drums, angels and scores of other ornaments. Over time these have been augmented by those from our travels here in the US and in foreign lands. Many have names of our children and, of course, Casey. We treasure the memories in all of these and like the "old fashion" look of our red and green trees.
When we were first married, we had the normal glass balls and lots of tinsels and those old clunky tree lights. Sometimes they were all gold and other times we liked the rainbow effect. But then, we moved on.
Today, as we hung the ornaments--searching for branches strong enough for the heavy horns, Casey wondered if we had ever seen "those tree balls." He thinks they are beautiful and wants them for next year. As with the telephone in Ecuador, he was surprised to learn that they weren't new ideas but that in the "olden" days we had actually had them. So, now, the new "old fashion" is us--another A-Ha moment.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Casey, Ken and I drove 700 miles, give or take a few, to spend time with my brother and his family. They live in one of the special places in this great state of California--well, really, it is all great, isn't it? But their little niche, Grass Valley, really is quite lovely and beautiful and God blessed.
Casey loves going there as it is country--like his beloved Tuscany. My brother, Casey's Great Uncle, takes him exploring in the woods and trees. He comes home with buckeye pods, acorns and other treasures which in true entrepreneur spirit (a vocabulary word he lately learned in school), he offers to sell to me. I bit and bid $2.50 which ultimately became $2.00 as he lost one treasure while using his cousin's slingshot.
Casey blossoms in this environment--glows--and is happy and content. I wish we could give this to him but circumstances prevent it. Life does not always work perfectly. His great wish is to return to Italy and live among the vineyards, visiting the piazza and feeling free--a child's life. But, that's not going to happen.
My brother and I are on opposite ends of the political scale so the best way of being together is to avoid such discussions. There is no way, ever, that either of us is going to change or see the other's viewpoint. And, that is OK as some things trump politics--not much, but some! We do share spiritual beliefs and values--just see the means of achieving some of them in different ways. There is a book titled Is Jesus a Republican or a Democrat?. Clearly, we have different answers where really, the answer is "neither."
But, when I see Casey laughing with glittering eyes as he lines up a paint gun to shoot paper targets hanging on trees and shouting when he hits them, I love my brother for what he shares and gives my boy and all else fades away. Family is good.
Now we are home and tomorrow is a new school day. Casey has his Leonardo da Vinci report typed and almost ready--just the bibliography remaining to be done. Other than at first placing The Last Supper in the Duke of Milan's kitchen, he did a pretty good job. Since he actually saw this master piece last summer and it was on the wall of the refectory in the Santa Maria della Grazie convent, this was a strange point of confusion but one easily corrected. Importantly, through perseverance and 16 point font he has managed to get his 3 page, comprehensive report on the great man of the renaissance, completed. Now, if he and Ken can figure out how to make a model from the paddle boat drawings, Casey will be set. And we can all breath until the next Above and Beyond project is due in a few months.
So now we will get the Christmas decorations from the rafters, survey the wrappings left from last year (and the year before) and figure out what new things are needed--not much, I am sure. The next four weeks will be busy ones and then they will be gone and the new year will begin. I think it will be a good one.
Now..for some good reading: Check out Garrison Keillor's reflections on our new president--it's well said. Wow, America is Cool.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Rosa Brooks offers a cogent defense as to why many of the picks were active in the Clinton or G.H. Bush administrations or are coming from strong political/government backgrounds. Some people have postulated that we are being offered retreads and a trip to time past. They seem to want posts filled with fresh faces. The fact is that we need experience now as there is not time to allow for a learning curve. The task of undoing the damage done by the current administration is too great.
The article provides hope that this country can get on course towards recovery and can reestablish the confidence other nations have in us.
I think we are going to witness and participant in one of the great historical trials of our nation. The ride's going to be bumpy and tragic and difficult, a time that redefines who we are--built from our past and leading to our future. I think that future generations will see it as a time when once again the right leader was chosen and he lead well.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
To begin to understand this unusual man whom we elected to lead us, I am learning that it is important to understand the forces which shaped him and the personal odyssey he embarked on to find his place in the world--the quintessential search for self. Irrefutably, Obama's life is more unique than most of us can claim. Even those who share with him a biracial background do not share the twists and turns in life experiences that were not of his making and which formed him. His mother, who seems to have been on her own perennial search for self, loved her son enough to sacrifice for him and yet paradoxically abandoned him to her personal whims and odyssey. His father, leaving to fulfill his destiny in Kenya while the boy was still a toddler, sensed his obligation to his child but did not fulfill that obligation--there were other priorities.
To even try to understand this polished man of today, this man who speaks eloquently, who stands tall, who thinks deeply, who believes in conciliation, who has made our nation realize a dream that lay hidden somewhere in the future, his past must be opened. It is important to see the young boy, on the first day in his new and strange home of Indonesia as he watches his stepfather's servant hold the chicken in one hand and with his knife in the other, slice the chicken's throat then watch as it is thrown to the ground for its final death dance. It is important to visualize the education of a child who spends two years in an Indonesian Muslim school followed by two years in a catholic school before being sent, at ten, to live with grandparents in Hawaii. It is important to read of the struggles, experiments and confusions of a young man seeking and finding the world in which he belongs.
Today we listen to a man who exudes confidence, who has an enviable command of the English language, who uses words to draw people into his universe and vision, who is able to turn opponents into believers. Such wordsmithing is artistry that causes people to ponder the combined beauty of chosen words and the depth of creative thought buried within them.
We hear such a marriage in Obama's speeches and wonder about the speech writer; then we read his books and wonder about the ghost writer.* Surely, this talented man can't also have had the time and talent to write lyrical prose as he engaged the reader in the search for and success in finding self. But, the words are his as he takes us through the experience of exploring his dual heritage--white and black, American and Kenyan.
If SP really wanted to know who Barack Obama is, she should have read his book..and then she might have smothered the question as she admitted to herself that he is a man to admire and far beyond her reaches. She would have had her answer. And, along the way, she would have discovered what the "community organizer" did and just maybe she would have developed a touch of humility.
*Bizarrely, there are far right of right whackos who claim that Ayers was the ghost.
In an opinion piece, WWJD, Joseph J. Ellis writes of Obama's magic with words and a relationship he might have had with Jefferson and Lincoln--were they here today.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
While reading this opinion piece by him, I kept hoping it would not end--I enjoyed it that much. I hope you do, too.
November 14, 2008, 10:00 pm
Electronic devices dislike me. There is never a day when something isn’t ailing. Three out of these five implements — answering machine, fax machine, printer, phone and electric can-opener — all dropped dead on me in the past few days.
Now something has gone wrong with all three television sets. They will only get Sarah Palin.
I can play a kind of Alaskan roulette. Any random channel clicked on by the remote brings up that eager face, with its continuing assaults on the English Lang.
There she is with Larry and Matt and just about everyone else but Dr. Phil (so far). If she is not yet on “Judge Judy,” I suspect it can’t be for lack of trying.
What have we done to deserve this, this media blitz that the astute Andrea Mitchell has labeled “The Victory Tour”?
I suppose it will be recorded as among political history’s ironies that Palin was brought in to help John McCain. I can’t blame feminists who might draw amusement from the fact that a woman managed to both cripple the male she was supposed to help while gleaning an almost Elvis-sized following for herself. Mac loses, Sarah wins big-time was the gist of headlines.
I feel a little sorry for John. He aimed low and missed.
What will ambitious politicos learn from this? That frayed syntax, bungled grammar and run-on sentences that ramble on long after thought has given out completely are a candidate’s valuable traits?
And how much more of all that lies in our future if God points her to those open-a-crack doors she refers to? The ones she resolves to splinter and bulldoze her way through upon glimpsing the opportunities, revealed from on high.
What on earth are our underpaid teachers, laboring in the vineyards of education, supposed to tell students about the following sentence, committed by the serial syntax-killer from Wasilla High and gleaned by my colleague Maureen Dowd for preservation for those who ask, “How was it she talked?”
My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.
And, she concluded, “never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”
It’s admittedly a rare gift to produce a paragraph in which whole clumps of words could be removed without noticeably affecting the sense, if any.
(A cynic might wonder if Wasilla High School’s English and geography departments are draped in black.)
(How many contradictory and lying answers about The Empress’s New Clothes have you collected? I’ve got, so far, only four. Your additional ones welcome.)
Matt Lauer asked her about her daughter’s pregnancy and what went into the decision about how to handle it. Her “answer” did not contain the words “daughter,” “pregnancy,” “what to do about it” or, in fact, any two consecutive words related to Lauer’s query.
I saw this as a brief clip, so I don’t know whether Lauer recovered sufficiently to follow up, or could only sit there, covered in disbelief. If it happens again, Matt, I bequeath you what I heard myself say once to an elusive guest who stiffed me that way: “Were you able to hear any part of my question?”
At the risk of offending, well, you, for example, I worry about just what it is her hollering fans see in her that makes her the ideal choice to deal with the world’s problems: collapsed economies, global warming, hostile enemies and our current and far-flung twin battlefronts, either of which may prove to be the world’s second “30 Years’ War.”
Has there been a poll to see if the Sarah-ites are numbered among that baffling 26 percent of our population who, despite everything, still maintain that President George has done a heckuva job?
A woman in one of Palin’s crowds praised her for being “a mom like me … who thinks the way I do” and added, for ill measure, “That’s what I want in the White House.” Fine, but in what capacity?
Do this lady’s like-minded folk wonder how, say, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, et al (add your own favorites) managed so well without being soccer moms? Without being whizzes in the kitchen, whipping up moose soufflés? Without executing and wounding wolves from the air and without promoting that sad, threadbare hoax — sexual abstinence — as the answer to the sizzling loins of the young?
(In passing, has anyone observed that hunting animals with high-powered guns could only be defined as sport if both sides were equally armed?)
I’d love to hear what you think has caused such an alarming number of our fellow Americans to fall into the Sarah Swoon.
Could the willingness to crown one who seems to have no first language have anything to do with the oft-lamented fact that we seem to be alone among nations in having made the word “intellectual” an insult? (And yet…and yet…we did elect Obama. Surely not despite his brains.)
Sorry about all of the foregoing, as if you didn’t get enough of the lady every day in every medium but smoke signals.
I do not wish her ill. But I also don’t wish us ill. I hope she continues to find happiness in Alaska.
May I confess that upon first seeing her, I liked her looks? With the sound off, she presents a not uncomely frontal appearance.
But now, as the Brits say, “I’ll be glad to see the back of her.”
Saturday, November 15, 2008
This is today's where he clearly states his priority on the current economic disaster.
Monday, November 10, 2008
For Casey, as he has written on his blog, this will be a day that has personal meaning. He sees some of his story in Obama. Perhaps it will be a day that helps him become the man he will be. Minimally, it will be a day that teaches him to dream.
The night before the elections, November 3, I called United--our airline of choice since we have beaucoup miles with them--Casey is even a premier flyer--and put three tickets on hold--figuring that if Obama won, tickets would go fast. We were lucky and able to get business class tickets using miles. So far, so good.
With the election behind us, first thing Wednesday morning, November 5, I made hotel reservations at the Grand Hyatt, a couple blocks from the White House and parade central. Rooms were pretty pricey but we had a free night and points for another night, so we only pay for 4. With free travel and two free nights, we are OK--it averages out not too badly.
Now, the challenge is to get tickets to the inaugural ceremony. Googleing brings up many sites selling tickets upward of $2,000. But, when the fine print is read, one finds that these sites do not guarantee that there will be tickets. The truth being that tickets are free--providing you can get them.
At this point, I have written both senators, our congressman and e-mailed the official site to obtain tickets. Casey has written a letter to President -Elect Obama and included copies of his blog entries about him. Casey's Letter. Our best hope is a friend who cares deeply about Casey and has some "contacts" in D.C. who may be able to help in the quest. We are all hoping for success.
But, if none of this works out, just being there, watching the parade and being a part of the excitement, spending time in the National Mall, wandering a couple of the Smithsonian museums and seeing the capitol of our country will educate Casey in a way books can't do.
His teacher has already assigned him the job of being a roving reporter, sending daily updates to his class mates. Another teacher suggested contacting a radio station to see if he can do "on the spot" interviews. We shall see.
Tonight when I put him to bed, his last question was: "Gramma, did you ever wonder what it would be like to be a kid in the White House?" It seems as if the dreams have begun. It'll be quite a ride to see where they take him.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Our nation has come of age. It is not that we elected a black person as our leader--which we did. It is that, as a people, we chose who should lead our country and the world through this monumentally perilous time and that choice was not based or negated on skin color. Who would have thought that so many people were ready to overcome our convoluted history and move forward to new vistas?
On election night, I heard two things which lifted spirits and spoke to the quality of the men who competed to lead the Nation.
One came from the defeated one-the honorable warrior, John McCain when he said:
I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president.
The power in the last two words is awesome as it speaks to the foundational belief of the United States. The humility in it teaches us all.
The other came from the victorious one--the new visionary Barack Obama when he said:
And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
The burden for conciliation placed on himself in these words reaches to all people. Great humility is found in the donning of personal responsibility.
November 4, 2008, we, citizens of the United States of America, witnessed examples of what each of us can strive to be and what makes our Nation great among Nations.
On another note--a more practical one: If you are wanting to attend the inauguration, there are many sites selling tickets for upwards of $2000. The following link will take you to the Congressional Inaugural Committee which clarifies how to get tickets and makes it abundantly clear that sites attempting to sell tickets are not for real. My hunch is that they are scalpers who will eventually buy tickets from people who get them as described in the link and then resell.
Congressional Inaugural Committee This committee is headed by Senator Diane Feinstein.
This is a quote from that site: "Any website or ticket broker claiming that they have inaugural tickets is simply not telling the truth," said Howard Gantman, Staff Director for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. "Tickets for the swearing-in of President-elect are all provided through members of Congress, and the President-elect and Vice President-elect through the Presidential Inaugural Committee. We urge the public to view any offers of tickets for sale with great skepticism."
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Last night Casey asked if Obama's grandmother was in heaven. This morning his face broke into a spontaneous great joyful smile when he heard Obama say that his grandmother went "home" and that it was a time of joy. "Oh, I am so happy to hear that she is home" said ten-year old Casey. Then he left for school with an infectious smile on his face.
I love this picture from Obama's rally last night in Manassas, Virginia--the last rally of his incredible journey--100,000 people!
Monday, November 03, 2008
In case you don't know, Casey is in the gray shirt on the far right. Mr. Brown told me that he is doing very well.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Once upon a time there were giants in the GOP:
"In poor health, drained from working fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen-hour days, Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois spoke quietly. Twice he gulped pills handed him by a Senate page. In his massive left hand, he held a 12-page speech he had typed the night before on Senate stationery .
"I have had but one purpose," Dirksen intoned, "and that was the enactment of a good, workable, equitable, practical bill having due regard for the progress made in the civil rights field at the state and local level."
He warned his colleagues that "we dare not temporize with the issue which is before us. It is essentially moral in character. It must be resolved. It will not go away. It's time has come." He quoted Victor Hugo, the historian and French philosopher who, on the night he died, entered these words in his diary: "stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come."
Dirksen declared, "The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing of government, in education, and in employment. It must not be stayed or denied. It is here!" His last words were these: "I appeal to all Senators. We are confronted with a moral issue. Today let us not be found wanting in whatever it takes by way of moral and spiritual substance to face up to the issue and to vote cloture."
Never in history had the Senate been able to muster enough votes to cut off a filibuster on a civil rights bill. And only once in the thirty-seven years since 1927 had it agreed to cloture for any measure. This filibuster had gone on for 534 hours. The clerk proceeded to call the roll at
At , Republican Senator John Williams of
Everett Dirksen had single handedly delivered the Republican votes necessary to pass Lyndon Johnson's civil rights bill.
...and so the Civil Rights Act came to the floor for a vote and passed.
....truly Country before Party - The GOP supported Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights bill and Lyndon Johnson went against Southern Democrats knowing he was writing off the South for generations.
Where are those GOP giants today?? The dearth of such men is what is wrong with modern Republicanism.
Posted by: toritto |
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Yesterday I mentioned her critical understanding of the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights. It seems that hers have been abridged by the negative and critical comments of Miss Princess which have found there way into the press.
I refer to her as Miss Princess as apparently that is the way she perceives herself. In the olden days royalty could order "off with his head" Certainly anyone who opposed the king did not look forward to a long life--maybe flaying alive was a deterrent to opposition. Miss Princess seems a throw back to those eras.
Then there have been more than a few dictators who have not allowed a free press or opposition to their misbegotten, evil ideas. We need only to look to the twentieth century to find some of the worst in all of known history.
So, Miss Princess is now aligning herself with this camp; although, even these most evil of people would laugh at her. She sounds more a crybaby than a threat--except evil, weak people have a way of overcoming sometimes.
The ignorance of the meaning of the constitution or the sense that she is above the constitution is beyond frightening in that in a few short days she could be the vice-president of our country and maybe president within the next 4 years. Do you think Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, et al, ever, in their wildest nightmares, conceived of this? Not only a woman, but a dumb one?
A friend sent me a link to an opinion piece on her statement about the abridgment of her rights. It is a good read.
Friday, October 31, 2008
From ABC News
Palin Fears Media Threaten Her First Amendment Rights
October 31, 2008 11:25 AM
ABC News' Steven Portnoy reports: In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by "attacks" from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.
Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama's associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate's free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.
"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."
Now...just how frighened do you think the NY Times is?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
However, I am appalled by the viciousness, bigotry and hypocrisy of many national figures who have become spokespeople for people of faith. I find much of what they do in the name of faith to be hate-mongering and contrary to the teachings of Jesus and God's commands. Their high-minded insistence that if one is not a republican or if one disagrees with them on issues then that person can not be a Christian is emphatically wrong, most certainly steering people away from faith. I find it abhorrent and beyond hypocritical that Rush Limbaugh is a bedfellow and purveyor of truth for these people.
The impetus behind this blog entry is James Dobson, guru of Focus on the Family, who has produced and is distributing an incredible piece of hate, designed solely to inflame and frighten. It contains no truth. Sadly, many people will read it and accept the premises as gospel--forgetting the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is inconceivable to me that anyone professing to honor and follow Jesus could do something so antithetical to what He would do or condone.
My consolation is that such attacks may only appeal to those who already believe and thrive on vitriolic hate and, just maybe, it will be so appalling to others that they will reject the appeal, changing their votes to Obama who has clearly proclaimed his faith.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
John McCain entered this campaign with a reputation that, at least on the surface and as expressed, spoke of a man of conviction. Men and women who worked with him from both sides of the aisle indicate a respect for him and the integrity that was—but is no more.
This man who at times stood for the unpopular position, who voted contrary to expectations, who could claim the title of “maverick” will leave as his legacy actions and decisions that ultimately diminish the man that was.
He will have created a nightmare for his party by having introduced to the national scene an unqualified woman who may, through great hubris and narcissism, see herself as the new standard bearer for her party. This will surely result in new dimensions of intra-party blood letting.
He will have given us Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, who may attempt to project an undeserved 15 seconds of fame into “serving his country” as a congressman. Joe for Congress. Of course, he will need to find a different occupation for the ballot as he isn’t really a plumber. And then…he must first pay his back taxes. But the far right will gravitate to him to make certain that “this great nation,” as Sarah refers to us, does not blossom into a socialist state.
He will have inscribed on the collective conscience the indelible memory of robocalls as an extension of an already scurrilous campaign.
He will have made his disdain for us, the public, abundantly clear by over and over and over again maintaining SP's experiences as a past member of the PTA, mayor of the great urban metropolis of Wasilla and the spurious claim that she is the “most popular” governor in the nation qualifies her to be vice-president of our country. Never mind that less than two years into her term she has been found guilty of unethical behavior in office, has allowed her husband access to state personnel files and to participate in government business, has illegally used private e-mail addresses for government business, has charged the state per diem rates for nights spent in her own home and used tax payer money to pay for her children’s expenses as they accompanied her on trips where their presence had not been requested.
He has offered the most negative presidential campaign in memory. Weekly he, or his misbehaving surrogate, has delivered abominable claims such as his opponent having supported comprehensive sex education in kindergarten, that he has supported no medical attention be given aborted babies born alive and viable, that he consorts with terrorists, implying that he is not a "real" American, that he is promoting increased taxes for just about everyone, that he is a socialist, that he is an "elitist," (which for as long as I can remember has been the territory of the republicans), that he doesn't support the military and..and...and.
Perhaps the lesson to be learned from John McCain this year will be that there is a time to let go of a dream, a time to instill it in someone else, a time to let someone else nurture and form new visions. Perhaps it will be a legacy of knowledge that personal ambition, which isn't of itself a negative, can be corrupting and deforming. Perhaps it will be a legacy that, as this campaign is deconstructed, leads to a new expectation of integrity and honesty in fighting for the respect and vote of the electorate. Perhaps it will be a legacy that recognizes that people want vision, not recrimination.
The result of election 2008 may well be that this man who has prided himself on a record of "crossing the aisle" will now hold no weight on either side as he leaves his party so splintered he will be anathema to his own colleagues.
The final pathos of this election may be a McCain lastly seen as embittered, angry and too old.
As I write this, I am listening to Obama speaking in Ohio, saying with passion and conviction,
"We must unite to bridge our differences--all of us must come together."
"There are no fake parts of this country--we are one nation--all of us proud and all of us patriots."
"Service people do not serve a red America or a blue America, they serve a UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
I listen to a man who believes he can unite the United States and passionately wants such a reality. I watch a man who brings hope and a future for Casey and the children of our country...and, my final thought is "what a lucky woman Michelle is."
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
In the years since then he has gone on with his life, sometimes in admirable ways and other times in not so admirable ways. Both the good and the bad have been chronicled.
However-- if I were a political columnist I am sure I would not subject myself to the vilification for saying this--I am not impressed with McCain’s subtle and not so subtle references to the ordeal he experienced as a POW. The oft repeated phrase …”and I have the scars to prove it” accompanied by his trade mark self-congratulatory smile, irritate me.
I want to yell at him “You can’t keep trading on that. Yes, you survived something terrible that many of us wouldn’t survive, but it wasn’t a heroic act." ...Let me clarify that I believe there is a difference between "hero" and "heroic act."
An heroic act is the deliberate action of aiding someone else while knowingly putting yourself in harm’s way. It is the fireman who enters a burning building; it is the soldier who falls on a grenade to ransom his comrades; it is the mother who falls under the wheel as she pushes her child to safety. It is a deliberate, although maybe reflexive, action. It is not an after the fact behavior.
I do believe that all of our nation's men and women in the armed forces are heroes in the sense that they serve to protect us. The most unrecognized heroes are the veterans who have no legs, no arms, who suffer from PTS, the ones who are never able to lead whole lives and who are ignored or occasionally receive generic recognition by people such as McCain who give tribute in speeches. These are people who are not welcomed back as heroes but are quietly shuffled to anonymity.
Barry Goldwater was different—not that I agree with him or would have voted for him—but he cared and was proactive in the lives of men and women at war. I remember when my in-laws one night answered the phone to find their son on the line, patched through by ham radio operator, Barry Goldwater from
A hero does not speak of heroism--unless it belongs to someone else.
So, John, I remember when you walked down the steps of that plane and came home. I remember the celebration and the awe of the Nation. But....that does not qualify you to be president of our country and should not have a place in what is to be evaluated as we select our next leader.
Your renowned temper, your erratic behaviors, your exchange of principle for ambition, your foisting on this country someone who is grossly unqualified to lead are not the actions of a hero. They are a mirror on desperation. Your scars do not compensate for wisdom and judgment no matter how often you tell us you have them.
My fervent prayer is that racism and scare tactics do not defeat the man who can lead this country to new heights and hope.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
What I do know is that it often runs deep into territory we adults don't realize has been breached. Children think harder, deeper, more profoundly than we imagine. Little minds travel to unknown places as they try to make sense of their worlds and the greater world around them.
Raising Casey brings this home to me more often than I would like. It is so much easier to believe that little minds go no further than toys and fun and good things because then we don't need to have answers for hard questions, confusions and sometimes pain.
But...raising a child is serious business and requires wisdom to answer or explore questions that spin around inside until they finally erupt with "why?" Questions for which we adults often have no easy answer or perhaps no answer at all. These are the times when we realize that all of our accumulated wisdom amounts to very little. These are the times when our hearts break and hurt because we just don't want our little one's heart to feel pain or endure confusion. We don't want to be helpless in providing hope and comfort.
It is at such times that God mysteriously gives us the words that we can't find. We hear ourselves making sense out of confusion and the words lead to an understanding of the question--an understanding of the question that has sifted through our child's mind many times before giving it voice. And with understanding the question and from where it comes and what it means, we begin to know what words are needed to bring solace and help and comfort.
Often those words speak to the question in simple, direct, child-right language that brings the understanding that is needed. Even more times they end up being as simple as "I don't know the answer to your question. I too puzzle over that. But what I do know is that God loves you so much that He will hold your hurts and comfort you. And I know that I love you with a love that only God could have given me for you and I will hold you close and keep you safe."
Sometimes this is all that is needed to restore a peace of heart and I know this because of the grand hug as little arms encircle me. And... finally---I love you, gramma.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Barak Obama for President the LA Times Endorsement
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Right now I'm feeling the need to get back to Italy and Casey for a while.
But........in the meantime, I really enjoyed this twist on The McCain Free White House as it is clever and adds a touch of the unique to this election year. Sometimes it is good to smile and lighten up--I think we need it. Be sure to explore all the menus--particularly the "Having the Talk" section.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Woman: "....he's an Arab."
John: "No, ma’am, he’s a decent family man....
It seems that underlying the void in recognizing the prejudice and racial bias in this interchange is an unacknowledged acceptance in America that Arab equates with terrorist--that any person of Arab extraction is an enemy.
John should have challenged the word but so should have Campbell Brown, Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, Larry King, et al--maybe even Barak. America is composed of all nationalities, including Arab. The premise of our nation is maligned when implications such as this are left unaddressed. An apology is owed to our Arab citizens--decent, family men.
Another Good Read
Khaled Housseini, author of The Kite Flyer and A Thousand Splendid Suns has written a piece that is well worth reading.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
However, in my mind, worse than this monumental economical disaster is the ethics and character decline being so clearly and definitively demonstrated by McCain and Palin. Markets will eventually rebound and the economy will once again be strong but a country divided by hate, one where office seeking aspirants build their base by not just building on but actively creating divisiveness among people will lose its moral leadership of the world and decline will follow.
McCain's Chilling Dance With Death Washington Post.com
Rage Rising on the McCain Campaign Trail
McCain Lets the Dogs Off the Chain
The rest of the world is watching and judging and abhorring our behavior. Some may say "but other countries do worse things." The difference is that we have always stood for more in both our eyes and the world's eyes. Therefore, more is expected.
Obama is a Traitor Cry McCain Supporters The Independent World--London
The Tragedy of This Flawed Hero--John McCain
McCain Unleashes the Attack Dogs Germany Spiegel International
McCain Gives Beat to the Dark Heart of Conservatism Guardian UK
There are more and as I have time, I will link to them.
In the meantime, I just read that Palin is claiming that Obama is putting ambition above country. This coming from the sidekick to the man who has clearly, without question, been doing this for the last month--beginning with the selection of her very own self as his mate.
Also, I was very happy to read that HER campaign headquarters have cleared her of any wrong doing in Troopergate. With that, we all now know that she is an honest woman who does not use private e-mail for government business, did not use her powers of office to try to intimidate a government employee into firing her ex-brother-in-law and did not allow the First Dude access to confidential personnel files. Now---let's see what the report of the true investigation reveals.
John, you once were an honorable man whom even your opponents respected and honored. You have thrown away your good name.
Sarah, you are the poster woman as to why people view evangelicals as hypocrites and worthy of disdain and ridicule. Spewing hate and lies, encouraging cries of "kill him" and "cut off his neck", creating and playing on fears, appealing to the lowest denominator in society is not reflective of Jesus, the man who challenged the hypocrites to throw the first stone, the man you claim to worship as Savior. Hate was not his message.
The political ad released by your campaign today says it all. Your campaign has rejected virtue and morality, replacing them with the vileness of hate mongering and character assassination. You have embraced evil.
I would pray and hope that even my good, close Christian friends would be appalled by and reject this ad and demand integrity and honor from the ticket they are supporting.
Monday, October 06, 2008
I think that kids are growing up faster now—milestones seem to creep up sooner—needs to know come earlier—baby teeth are replaced more quickly. I’m glad that I’m a stay-at-home “mother” this time around rather than the working mother I was the first time. However, I should clarify, I do not regret my career or working life, nor would I do it differently.
Casey is just 10 but already shows signs of eating like a future teenager. I can not imagine what he will be like in just a few years. Coming home from school, where he has already had lunch, he spends at least 20 minutes eating and drinking—milk, juice, yogurt, cookies, maybe some of last night’s left over, a bowl of cereal or what ever else he can scrounge, with fruit as a last resort. With all this, he never has an extra ounce of fat on his body. I think he burns it while he sits. The situation is that I am not sure if all of this eating is because of hunger or if he has found a way of putting off homework time. I strongly suspect it is a combination of the two.
He wants his own cell phone--now, tell my why a 5th grader needs a phone? In my past life as a school administrator, it wasn't deemed appropriate even for a junior high student to tote one. Now, I understand first graders think that it is a necessary school accessory. Casey does not have one.
Then there is that opposite sex thing. My understanding of elementary boy-girl relationships was that girls knew there were boys but that boys, really, were pretty unaware of girls. Boys had too many other interesting things to fill time with—you know, boy things. But, I was wrong.
Casey has two types of girl relationships. The first is “friend.” Several girls in his class qualify here—he really doesn’t seem to make a differentiation between them and his boy friends. The second kind is “girl-friend”--as in future wife. I don’t know how deeply embedded these feelings are and, they do so seem to be fairly transitory, but, they do happen. Encouragingly, he leans to tom-boy girls for his romantic picks.
If you read Casey’s blog, you are quite familiar with charming Camilla in Italy. Last year Cami was Casey’s sister. This year she has become Casey’s girlfriend with hints that they may even have “kissed.” Of course, that hasn’t stopped him from eyeing the ladies here. What I don’t need in the future is a resident Romeo.
Then there is the night when he let out an excited shout from the other room as he discovered hair on his legs. What an exciting night that was—for him. All I could think of was that puberty must be just around the corner. I really am not ready for the little boy to leave us. I want to keep the one who snuggles up on the couch, eating popcorn while watching some silly thing on TV or the one who wants gramma to lay on his bed with him for a few minutes at night—singing nonsensical songs or telling creatively bizarre froggy stories.
What I don't see happening is his being fanatical about doing his school work, using eyes to read or even practicing his karate. The "little boy" still controls his focus and drive. Nothing I say seems to penetrate this priority on play. Hopefully, with puberty, this too will change along with the voice. There are interesting years ahead! And, I look forward to them and the man Casey will ultimately become.
By suggesting that Barack Obama's relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a legitimate campaign issue, Sarah Palin appears to have sunk below the standard espoused by John McCain himself earlier this year.
In an interview with neoconservative columnist Bill Kristol, Palin said: "To tell you the truth, Bill, I don't know why that association isn't discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that -- with, I don't know, a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn't get up and leave -- to me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up."
Doggone it, Sarah, are you annoyed again?
But the fact is, McCain has already made his call on whether he wants to "bring that up" fairly clear. Beyond deciding not to do so himself, he offered some implicit criticism for anyone else who would.
"I think that when people support you, it doesn't mean you support everything they say. Obviously, those statements are things none of us would associate ourselves with," McCain said.
After Hannity listed more potential reasons to make Wright an issue, McCain drew a deep breath and decided not to go there. "I do know Sen. Obama, he does not share those views."
In April, after the North Carolina Republican Party uncorked an attack ad linking Obama and Wright in April, McCain asked that they put it back in the box.
Do you think McCain may be having second thoughts? In the real world, she would be fired for insubordination. But then..........politics ain't the real world.
Do you think McCain may be having second thoughts? In the real world, she would be fired for insubordination. But then..........politics ain't the real world.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Answer: A Pro-Life Democrat, Pro-Obama, Evangelical Christian and Former Congressman from Ohio
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Tony Hall represented his hometown in Congress from 1979 to 2002. Former Ambassador and Congressman Tony Hall is an evangelical Christian and a life-long advocate for hungry people in the United States and around the world. Congressman Hall is the founder of the Congressional Hunger Center, a non-profit organization. He served as Chairman of the House Select Committee on Hunger from 1989 until it was abolished in 1993, then fasted for 22 days to draw worldwide attention to the scourge of hunger. Hall was appointed by President Bush to be Ambassador to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization where he served until 2005.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
And--Sarah Palin's malicious obfuscation at a fund raiser in Colorado today:
"Well, I was reading my copy of today's New York Times and I was really interested to read about Barack's friends from Chicago," Palin told the crowd. "Turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man who, according to The New York Times was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol.' These are the same guys who think patriotism is paying higher taxes. This is not a man who sees America as you and I do -- as the greatest force for good in the world. This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country. This, ladies and gentlemen, has nothing to do with the kind of change anyone can believe in -- not my kids and not your kids."
How the Religious Far Right can condone this kind of evil meaness, deliberate falsification, and fear mongering is incomprehensible to me. WWJD is worn on bracelets, attached to notebooks, proudly proclaimed but seems not to translate into behavior.