Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year



May the beauty of the New Year
Beautify my heart.
May the purity of the New Year
Purify my mind.
May the simplicity of the New Year
Simplify my vital.
May the intensity of the New Year
Intensify my body.
May the responsibility of the New Year
Glorify my life.
May only the divinity of the New Year
Fully satisfy me.
-Sri Chinmoy


Information about the 12/31/2009 Blue Moon Eclipse found here. Blessed be.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Yule


A Blessing for the New Year
BEANNACHT

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble
May the clay dance
To balance you

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The gray window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colors,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the curragh of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

From: To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, Doubleday, 2008 by John O'Donohue

And, shamelessly borrowed from Sia

Photo found Here

Thursday, December 10, 2009

La Befana



The arrival of La Befana is on the eve of the Epiphany - January 5th to be exact. Legend has it that if a child was good throughout the year, the good witch will swoop down the chimney and leave a small gift. If the child was a real rascal during the preceding 12 months, the kid got a piece of coal.

...there was a time - and it wasn’t that long ago - that Italian children really did get all giddy with the thought of this kindly old witch coming into their homes bearing gifts. La Befana was someone who had more in common with Italy’s all-too-common poverty. Especially in the South.

The origin of La Befana varies. I heard different tales. My grandmother - Bless her – would tell me in her best broken English that “her mother” told her that Befana was an old lady sweeping the floors, and mopping and generally doing the things a cleaning lady does, when the three Wise Men stopped by en route to Bethlehem to ask for directions, and asked her to accompany them see the Baby Jesus. She replied she couldn’t because she was too busy. When she finished her chores, she decided to catch up to the tree Wise Men, but they were gone. So, to this day, La Befana goes out on January 5th in search of the baby Jesus, stopping at every house in hopes that in one of them is the One. In the process, she leaves a gift for the Chosen One in each household along the way. At some point this evolved into a lump of coal for naughty children.


Full article
Photo found here

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Goddess, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. And, give me the strength to get through it all.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New Boss same as the Old Boss

9-11. Scary, scary, scary. Boogie man will get you. Have to go to war. Oh, yeah, and 9-11.

The greatest cause of Terrorism is our endless wars, invasions, bombings, occupations and other means of interfering in the Muslim world, and our escalation will only fuel the anti-American hatred and resentment that -- as even our own Government has recognized -- is the primary fuel of the threat we're supposedly trying to arrest.
Glenn Greenwald

Friday, November 27, 2009


From The Wandering Hearth

Why do we assume that dawn is always a comforting thing? Sometimes when you open up your palm and force the things you've been clinging to so tightly for security into the full light of day, they sit there smoking and blinking madly back up at you, and suddenly...they don't seem so helpful after all. Sometimes the light is harsh, illuminating all the dark corners in truth and sometimes, that isn't such an attractive or comforting thing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bella Abzug

Comment from madamab:

Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel.
- Bella Abzug

Go read Violet's blog.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Comment of the Year

In response to the shit I have been getting on Facebook for my posts on the Stupak amendment to the house's health care bill, I give you the following comment:

I know... lazy, promiscuous people are messing up this country. They should all be taken out and shot. Specially the illegal ones. In fact, it shouldn't even be illegal to shoot them. I hate supporting other people with my taxes. I think they should all be forced to live in an ever expanding ghetto, with no medical services whatsoever. Look... if God wants you to die, or be sick, who are we to intervene? I don't like any social services at all, roads, construction of bridges etc. I bet more lazy dirty people use them than clean All American Patriots like us. In fact... screw taxes altogether, it's every man for himself (and his wife and family of course – single mothers, you're on your own). That way we can cut government down to a manageable size and fund important things like killing people in other countries, and stopping gays from doing anything legally, and any money we have left over we can give to the CEOs of major corporations, because they, after all, are the backbone of this great nation and deserve all the money that they work so hard to deprive us of. (sorry to end that sentence with a preposition!)


Correction: The comment was from my incredible son-in-law!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

UPDATED

Photo found here

The more I think about the Stupak amendment, the more enraged I become. Old, greedy white men controlling our bodies and healthcare choices in a Democratic environment due to so-called religious beliefs. If this happened on Bush's watch, liberals would be screaming from the rooftops. Instead (a seeming impossible thought during the pre-Obama presidency), it is occurring during a solid Democratic majority in the House and Senate. Un-fucking-believable.

If there was ever a time women should rise up and unite, it is now. How dare they? How dare they attempt to repeal Roe v Wade by denying us healthcare? I refuse to accept this. If I have to gather my sisters and march on Washington, I will. I will also work against the re-election of every single Democratic candidate who votes for a bill which includes this provision. Tirelessly and forever. I have a very long memory.

By the way, did you know that there is a healthcare provision in the bill that allows insurance payments for Christian Science prayer treatments? Yep, courtesy of Hatch, Kerry and Kennedy. Kerry and Kennedy!! Insurance payments for scientific, clinical healthcare? Not so much. For spiritually healthcare? Hell, yes. Read it here.

So, we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Healthcare for women is directly linked to pre-conceived notions in what remains in the brain cells of men and women in positions of power, who no longer understand what it is like to live in the real world.

There is no way I am sitting this one out.

UPDATE NO. 1: When I posted the link to the Send a Coat Hanger Petition to the right, my signature was approx. 1,100. When I checked last night, the number of signers was over 4,000. When I checked moments ago, it is pushing 7,000. This speaks volumes. In less than 24 hours, Credo's petition has really taken on momentum and that is encouraging.

UPDATE NO. 2: I received yet another call from the Democrat Congressional Committee. Apparently, they didn't take me seriously last time, when I told them I wouldn't give them one cent and that I was no longer registered as a Democrat due to the hijacking of the election and treatment of Hillary. In that call, the women on the other end of the phone completely understood my position, was gracious and we hung up each, each understanding the others position.

The call I received last night was from a black man. I am mentioning that for factual reasons, not because I am a racist. Pre-Obama, I wouldn't have to put in that disclaimer.

When I gave him my reasons for not donating, mentioning the primary, the Stupak version of the House bill and the fact that Obama had done nothing but travel around the world since becoming President, I was told that Some Say Obama has accomplished the most progressive feats of any other president. When I pressed him, he acknowledged maybe he hadn't actually accomplished them, but he would in time. I was also reminded that Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Apparently, that was meant to appease women everywhere, seal O's commitment to women's issues and is one of the talking points of the Democratic Committee.

The most important aspect of this phone call was the women's health issues in the House version of the bill. I was advised by this jolly gentleman that it is is more important to get a bill through and signed into law. He chuckled with I mentioned the Stupak amendment and assured me that once the bill was signed, it would be tweaked and amended. We just needed to get it there. I guess women are supposed to take one for the team and we will be remembered at some later date. Sure...

The call ended with the admonishment that if I didn't give a donation to the Democrats, the Republicans would win and that would be the end of the world. Well, I advised him that I didn't see much of a difference between the Democrats in office now and the Republicans of the last administration. I went so far as to tell him at this point, Obama was nothing but a third term of Bush. Apparently, if the caller can't convince you that Obama is The One, they try to scare you with the Republican meme. You are either with us or against us. Ho hum.

Frankly, both parties sicken me. Politicians are beholden to corporate interest and lobbyists, fighting for the chance to stick in their thumb and pull out a plum - the plum being the special interests that keep them in their positions of power, far above the fray, unaware of the struggles of middle America. So, Democratic Congressional Committee, don't call me again. No means No.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Democrats. Listen up.


As you'll answer it, take heed
This Slave commit no Violence upon
Himself. I've been deceiv'd. The Publick Safety
Requires he should be more confin'd; and none,
No not the Princes self, permitted to
Confer with him. I'll quit you to the King.
Vile and ingrate! too late thou shalt repent
The base Injustice thou hast done my Love:
Yes, thou shalt know, spite of thy past Distress,
And all those Ills which thou so long hast mourn'd;
Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd.
William Congreve, in The mourning bride, 1697

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Christmas, Swine Flu and Credit Card Rates


As credit cards companies are raising their rates to unspeakable percentages prior to Congress enacting the Credit Card Act of 2009 and thanks to our Federal Government, the executives at CitiBank and Goldman Sacks are availing themselves of H1N1 vaccine ahead of the elderly, the young and pregnant women, you may want to pare down your Christmas giving with these 68 Ideas for Gifts in a Jar.

At least we'll eat.

(photo found here)

Congratulations, Yankees!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Paganism, Just Another Religion

Certainly, there is nothing new about Paganism per se. From Halloween to May Day to Yuletide, said Prof. Diana L. Eck of the Harvard Divinity School, “there’s a way in which all of us, especially in the Christian tradition, follow a religious calendar that is pegged to ancient Pagan festivals.”

But in the grand scheme of the Western world, polytheism was seen as being superseded by monotheism and faith itself by science, leaving Paganism as some kind of atavistic orphan of history. The fact that its practitioners lacked any formal denominational structure added to the religion’s relative invisibility, except as the object of fears or the butt of jokes.

In several ways, though, Paganism was waiting for modernity to catch up with it. The emphasis on the worship of nature in virtually all variations of Pagan faith, and the embrace of a female divinity in many, situated the religion to mesh with the environmental and feminist movements that swept through the United States in the 1970s.

In the 1970s, Wiccan groups began seeking and obtaining tax-exempt status from federal and state authorities, said the Rev. Selena Fox, the founder and spiritual leader of an early, influential Wicca church, Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wis. By the decade’s end, Wicca was included in the handbook for military chaplains and had been written about in such popular books as “Drawing Down the Moon,” (Penguin, 2006), by Margot Adler.
Full NY Times article here

Friday, October 30, 2009

Blessed Samhain



I've cleaned and rearranged my alter and am knitting a Samhain wrap for next year. It has all of the colors of the Autumn trees in the Adirondacks. I am bearing witness without judgment. I have found a wonderful, meaningful morning prayer. I am feeling the thinning of the veil. I am cooking my Mama's squash soup. I am surviving the hardest year of my life and celebrating the year that I have learned the most.

Blessed be. May your Samhain be as bountiful as mine.

Photo found here

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Helen Thomas' Five Presidential Lessons


No. 1
Mr. President, you've probably already realized that your inauguration is likely to be the happiest day of your presidency. If only you could make that feeling last forever. The White House can be one of the loneliest places in the world. Just look at the physical deterioration some have suffered during their years in office.

If you do not want more gray hair, be prepared for a dye job.

Most presidents leave Washington with, at best, mixed feelings toward the place and many with whom they've worked -- especially the press. Perhaps that is why they choose never to live there again after leaving office and visit infrequently.

John F. Kennedy once called Washington a city of "Southern efficiency and Northern charm."

Harry Truman famously said that if you want a friend in Washington, "Get a dog."
Next 4 lessons found Here

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Martha Coakley, Ted Kennedy's Replacement?

This Week Magazine has a interesting story on Martha Coakley, who is a frontrunner for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, Via The Wild Hunt.

Day-care sex abuse case haunts Massachusetts Senate race
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democratic front-runner to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, didn’t prosecute the notorious Fells Acres Day Care case. But when she had a chance to help end the 'travesty,' she took the easy way out.

By Francis Wilkinson

Roman Polanski may not be alone in facing new scrutiny for an old sex crime, though in Massachusetts it's the actions of a former prosecutor, not a perpetrator, that are in question. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is the front-runner in the campaign to fill the U.S. Senate seat held for 46 years by Ted Kennedy. Coakley rose in politics via the Middlesex District Attorney's office, which was the unrelenting engine behind the Fells Acres Day Care prosecution, perhaps the most notorious among the wave of child sex abuse cases that swept the nation in the 1980s.

Coakley did not prosecute the case, which was already under way when she joined the office as an assistant district attorney in 1986. But years later, after the day-care abuse hysteria had subsided and she had won the office's top job, she worked to keep the convicted "ringleader," Gerald Amirault, behind bars despite widespread doubts that a crime had been committed.

Unlike Polanski's guilt, which was convincing enough in the 1970s and seems at least as compelling now, the convictions won by the Middlesex DA in the Fells Acres case have not borne up well. By today's standards, the prosecution of the Amirault family, who owned and operated the day-care center in Malden, Mass., looks like a master class in battling witchcraft. After an initial allegation surfaced under dubious circumstances, parents were summoned by local police and encouraged to grill their young children, predominantly ages 3 to 5. In the scattershot search for evidence, which the children ultimately produced by the truckload, hysteria reigned. Parents shared their fears along with their children's sometimes fantastical revelations. A pediatric nurse and other "experts" then followed up, posing leading, even badgering, questions to the children to produce a portrait of almost supernatural predation.

Children claimed to have been raped by knives that left no wounds. They said they had been tied to a tree on the day-care grounds. They said they had been molested by a man—Gerald Amirault—in a clown costume and spoke of a magic room and a secret room. No teacher, parent or other adult witnessed any of it—despite their regular proximity to the Amiraults and the exceedingly baroque, time-consuming nature of the alleged abuse. Physical evidence was remarkably scant.

The allegations were similar to those produced in other day-care cases, from New Jersey to California, in which charges were ultimately dismissed. Research by Cornell professor Stephen Ceci and others has established that children can be highly susceptible to ideas introduced by adults, and can shape their recollections to suit a grown-up's narrative. (See this ABC News video). As former Massachusetts Attorney General James Shannon wrote in The Boston Globe, Gerald Amirault's "conviction rested largely on the constitutionally defective testimony of the young children."

The fact that the Fells Acres case took place in suburban Boston makes it all the more vexing. While Middlesex prosecutors were pursuing the Amiraults for spectacular assaults involving dozens of victims, Catholic priests in the area were quietly raping local children one by one, without the benefit of magic rooms or clown costumes. Just two years after the Fells Acres prosecution concluded, one of the prosecutors, Laurence Hardoon, opted not to prosecute a priest, Rev. Paul Tivnan, who had molested a young boy for years. Hardoon later explained that it seemed appropriate to provide the priest with treatment, not jail time. In response to a second molestation allegation against Tivnan, church records indicated that Tivnan said he "didn't realize it was so harmful," according to the MetroWest Daily News, a local paper. The Amiraults, by contrast, were each sentenced to grinding prison terms, with Gerald getting the most—30 to 40 years. All three Amiraults adamantly insisted that the charges were baseless and refused to bargain with prosecutors; they paid for their defiance with longer sentences.


Full story is Here

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Real Questions


I don't think Americans are asking the right questions. It isn't whether Obama is tough enough. The real questions are:

Is Obama experienced enough?
Is Obama too beholden to corporate interests?
Is Obama too worried about how his presidency will be seen in history?
Is Obama relying on Rahm and Axelrod too much?
Does Obama understand economics?
Does Obama listen?
Does Obama care?

And, these questions should have been asked and answered before he was in office, not after. Hillary's 3:00AM campaign commercial keeps running through my head.

Saturday, October 17, 2009



Photo lifted from Liberal Rapture, who found it on the internet. Kudos to the maker!

Pagan Republican Running for NYC Council

"It would have been impossible to find a Neopagan like Halloran running for political office twenty years ago, when most Neopagans kept their identities carefully guarded for fear of losing jobs or child custody battles. In neighborhoods all over the country, Neopagan communities have been treated suspiciously and outright persecuted by some Christian neighbors, law enforcement, and government agencies. Since for many Americans, the Republican Party is inseparable from conservative Christianity, Neopagans were surprised that the party stood by Halloran, and took it as a sign that not only is the makeup of the religious left and the religious right shifting, but that the country as a whole is becoming more receptive toward their religion."


Full article available Here

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Remember



There was a time
when you were not a slave,
remember that you walked alone,
full of laughter,
you bathed bare-bellied.
You may have lost all recollection of it,
remember...

You say there are not words to describe it,
you say it does not exist.
but remember,
make an effort to remember,
or, failing that,
invent.
By Monique Wittig

Poem found at Hecate's blog
Bathing Goddesses found here

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Obamas Do Vegas

On the day after Obama won a Nobel Peace award that he did absolutely nothing to deserve, I have been given permission to cross-post a satirical piece written by Tamerlane, via John's blog, Liberal Rapture. Tamerlane's brilliant piece gets much closer to the true character of our Hope and Change president. Too bad the Nobel Committee didn't have the same discerning judgment.


Obama "Disappointed" by Results of Junket to Las Vegas

* Returns on wager of national treasury "less than anticipated" * First couple takes in the sites *24-hour trip costs US taxpayers $15 million * Michelle looks stunning

From our Washington correspondent, Tamerlane, aboard Air Force One:

President Barack Obama returned yesterday from a whirlwind junket to Las Vegas, where he placed a $7 billion wager- all that remained in the nation's depleted treasury reserve- on a hand of blackjack, which he lost. Following the bet, the First Family took in the sites of Las Vegas. Michelle and the girls then continued on for a weekend in Taos, while the exhausted President flew directly to Camp David to recuperate. On Air Force One, a clearly dejected Obama tried to put the lost wager in the best light. Speaking to reporters, Obama admitted that the "return on the bet was less than anticipated," but noted that, as the First Lady had found a great deal on a Louis Vuitton clutch she'd been eyeing for some time, the trip was not entirely fruitless.

Huge Crowd Hears President Express Optimism, Hope

The junket began with high hopes. Thursday morning, President Obama, arriving on Air Force 1a, Michelle, on Air Force 1b, and Malia and Sasha, on Air Force 1c, were greeting at the airport by jubilant Las Vegans. The cavalcade next proceeded to a rally in front of the gleaming edifice of the Luxor. Speaking before a huge crowd-reported by MSNBC at just over 4 million-Obama promised not to be deterred by criticism. "You know, they questioned the other pharaohs, too, their vision. They said, you know, 'He has a funny hieroglyph, he's nubian.' But if those pharaohs had let it get to them, they'd have never invented the pyramids, and we wouldn't be standing where we are today."

President Encounters Ugly Racism

Obama next experienced an unpleasant moment or two. Stopping by New York, New York to grab a bagel mit schmier, Obama was blocked by an angry crowd of racists, shouting and carrying signs in favor of single payer healthcare. The president had riot police disperse the racists with water cannon, only to discover they were out of lax.

Lightheartedness returned to the presidential entourage in the lobby of the Bellagio. Michelle let out a gleeful squeal as she realized that the fountain display had been rigged to go off whenever she walked by. As the First Lady, attired in a stunning sleeveless dress with an ochre & brindle floral pattern, and her trademark pearl necklace and ruby slippers, amused herself, the president proceeded to the main gaming hall. Surrounded by a horde of media, he sidled up to a blackjack table to implement his bold initiative to cut the federal deficit in half. Asked if he was nervous, Obama replied, "dude, it's not like it's my own money."

Wager Goes Awry

Obama placed the entire $7 billion (in the form of one large chip specially crafted for the occasion) on his first deal. The president received two queens, split, then busted. Leaving the table with a shrug, Obama bummed a cigarette off a TV cameraman and wandered off. The press corps soon tracked down Obama in the sports book, nursing a mai tai, where he admitted he had just lost five bucks from his own wallet on the Indiana Fever in the WNBA finals. The president was later overheard asking a teller how many chips she thought he could get for GM.

Obamas Paint the Town "Cool"


America's most beautiful couple enjoyed a relaxing rest of the day with a private performance by Cirque du Soleil followed by dinner at Ruth's Chris, before returning to their luxury suite to take advantage of its 40' jacuzzi, 24' round bed and ceiling mirror. Malia and Sasha reportedly declared as "totally awesome" their adjoining suite, which had been fitted with a water slide, a carousel, and a petting zoo. Bo, the First Family's purebred Portuguese Water Dog, who had been separately flown into Vegas on Air Force 1d at a cost of $370,000, spent the night on the concrete floor of the hotel basement.

The Obamas slept in late, missing their check-out time, which cost the US government an additional $2.7 million. When asked by a racist reporter whether she thought this was right, Michelle snapped, "some first ladies know how to keep their presidents from straying!"

Racists Question Wisdom of Junket

Indeed, the huge cost of the president's junket, estimated at over $15 million has come under fire. It seems the city of Las Vegas was hurt financially, too. A spokesperson for one of the city's crime syndicates notes that even the bet and the room service can't offset the $19.3 billion in tourism revenue lost from the closing of the airport alone.

Even before the junket, Obama endured heavy flak from his own party for his plan to reduce the federal deficit through casino gambling. Sen. Chuck Schumer brazenly called it "not my first choice for deficit reduction," while Rep. Dennis Kucinich went even further, labeling the bet "potentially risky."

Others have questioned the president's strategy of splitting on a 20 instead of standing. Sen. Orrin Hatch called the move "boneheaded." In his weekly syndicated column, Pat Buchanan described the split as "a coward's strategy." Buchanan opined that "real men, like Thatcher in the Falklands, Franco at Guernica, and the Great Elector at Fehrbellin, knew how to gamble aggressively and wisely. Can one honestly imagine a world safe for Democracy today had not Churchill 'doubled-down' in 1940?"

In response to these criticisms, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs stresses that "considerable deliberation preceeded the President's wager." Obama himself first favored placing the whole $7 billion on one roulette spin, figuring he could "scream like that flat-chested girl did in Bourne Identity" [Franka Potente in Run Lola Run] to guarantee success. Rahm Emmanuel suggested a more cautious approach: a succession of smaller wagers on Keno. The president nixed the Keno proposal, saying, "that would take, like, hours." A very animated and gesticulating Joe Biden reportedly urged the president to play russian roulette "same as the VC forced McCain to do in 'Nam." After craps and slots were ruled out, the consensus ultimately was that single deck blackjack offered the best odds.

President Reveals Vulnerable Side

Obama freely admits that the split- "something I saw Al Pacino do once"- was his own idea. Taking a long puff on his Camel, Obama spoke in a revealing sotto voce just audible over the whine of the engines as Air Force 1a made its final approach to Dulles. "It's hard being president, gambling day-in and day-out with the hopes and dreams of the American people." Asked whether he considered himself a "player," Obama chuckled. "I used to clean up at Liar's Dice in college," he mused, "but I guess I suck at blackjack. Oh well." He took another drag and stared out the window. Detectable in his eyes was no brooding, no second-guessing over his failure in Las Vegas. This reporter found Obama's blitheness and utter lack of angst pleasingly reminiscent of Reagan, another great president who refused to take the job seriously.

(c) 2009 by 'tamerlane.' All rights reserved.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Another What the F@%K Moment

I find it ironic that a president who used every trick in his bag to claw his way up the ladder, who threw anyone who got in his way under the bus and is responsible for me changing my political affiliation from Democrat to No Preference has been given the Nobel Peace prize.

According to the commentator on the BBC news this morning, it was his message of hope. You remember, hope and change you can believe in. It doesn't seem to have worked out so well on the side of the ocean.

I must be racist.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Helen Thomas' Spine

On Thursday afternoon, Thomas gave a clinic in fortitude to President Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, during the briefing. "Has the president given up on the public option?" she inquired from her front-row-middle seat.

The press secretary laughed at this repetition of a common Thomas inquiry, but this questioner, who has covered every president since Kennedy, wasn't about to be silenced. "I ask it day after day because it has great meaning in this country, and you never answer it," she said.

"Well, I -- I -- I apparently don't answer it to your satisfaction," Gibbs stammered.

"That's right," Thomas snarled.

"I -- I'll -- I'll give you the same answer that I gave you unsatisfactorily for many of those other days," Gibbs offered. "It's what the president believes in --"

"Is he going to fight for it or not?" Thomas snapped.

"We're going to work to get choice and competition into health-care reform" was Gibbs's vague response.

Thomas took that as a no. "You're not going to get it," she advised.

"Then why do you keep asking me?" Gibbs inquired.

"Because I want your conscience to bother you," Thomas replied. The room erupted; Gibbs reddened.

Actually, conscience isn't the problem for Gibbs and his boss; it's spine.

Read the rest at FDL here

Friday, October 02, 2009

Racism

A borrowed post from John's blog, Liberal Rapture. It sums out exactly how I feel about our president and exactly how people perceive me if I dare to critique The One.

The Sedition Act has been revived for critics of Obama

by 'raindrop'

Barack Obama is president of the whole United States, not just president of The People Who Agree With Him.

So, how can it be that anyone who questions Obama or disagrees with Obama must be, by definition, a "racist"?

Were we "racists" when we vehemently disagreed with President George W. Bush (for doing the very same things we object to Obama's doing now)?

I spent eight years disagreeing with GWBush.

Did that make me a racist?

But when Obama DOES THE SAME THINGS we criticized Bush for doing, all of a sudden that criticism makes us "racists"?

When GWBush engaged in WARRANTLESS wiretapping, we objected.

When Obama voted in favor of extending WARRANTLESS wiretapping, we objected.

When GWBush incarcerated prisoners at Guantanamo where they rotted away for years with no possibility of knowing what crime they were charged with and no ability to have a fair hearing before an impartial judge, we objected.

When Barack Obama NOW incarcerates prisoners at Bagram prison in Afghanistan where they will rot for years with no possibility of knowing what crime they are charged with and no ability to have a fair hearing before an impartial judge, we object.

When GWBush refused to make public the names of the people who came to the White House to help him write legislation favorable to them, we objected.

When Barack Obama now refuses to make public the names of the people who come to the White House to help him write legislation favorable to them, we object.

When GWBush transferred wealth from the middle class to the very wealthy and favored the corporations over the people, we objected.

When Barack Obama transfers wealth from the middle class to the very wealthy and favors the corporations over the people, we object.

When GWBush gave tax dollars to religious groups but changed the law so those religious groups can now hire or DENY people employment based on their religion, we objected.

When Barack Obama gives tax dollars to religious groups but allows those religious groups to hire or DENY people employment based on their religion, we object.

However, in the minds of insane people such as Maureen Dowd. Keith Olbermann, Joan Walsh. Eugene Robinson. President Jimmy Carter. Randi Rhodes and a host of others, our current objections are "proof" we are "racists."

If Obama is president of the entire United States but NO ONE can criticize him without being labeled as a "racist" by the Obama gang, then ALL CRITICISM OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN OUTLAWED as surely as if we still had the infamous SEDITION Act of the early days of this country.

The Sedition Act has been revived for critics of Obama.

The new Sedition Act is enforced -- and will be enforced -- by labeling ANY criticism of Obama as RACISM

Thursday, October 01, 2009

If I hear one more newscaster babbling about Roman Polanski or MacKenzie Phillips, my head is going to explode.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

-Joyce Kilmer

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mabon


Equal hours of light and darkness
we celebrate the balance of Mabon,
and ask the gods to bless us.
For all that is bad, there is good.
For that which is despair, there is hope.
For the moments of pain, there are moments of love.
For all that falls, there is the chance to rise again.
May we find balance in our lives
as we find it in our hearts.
Author unknown

Mabon Lore
Photo found here

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ponderings

The perfect way to start the day is to ground and center.

The death of a family member brings out the worst in some people.

If Hillary was vilified for having voted for the war, how can progressives allow Obama to ramp up a war in Afghanistan?

I've finally decided to get rid of MSM. I am putting up an antenna so that I can get local news, but MSNBC and CNN will never grace my TV screen again. Oh, and it helps that I have XM radio so that I can listen to the Yankee games.

Why are people so self-centered?

What Joseph at Cannonfire has posted.

Everyone should spend time in the woods, listening to nature.

The smell of Pine clears the head and stimulates the mind. So, why do campers start those stinky campfires?

If you mix a drop each of Cypress, Spruce and Geranium essential oils with some Sweet Almond oil, you will have a heavenly scent.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Level of Care

My Mama died on August 11, 2009 - one week to the day after she fell and broke her hip. She had been to the doctor several time as she was having trouble breathing and felt she needed oxygen. However, her "level" was not low enough for insurance to pay for it. Her primary MD wanted her to see a pulmonary specialist, but she was unable to get an appointment for two months. She died before that. She received little rehab for the hip - just what they could do in the hospital. She was finally sent to a center for serious rehabilitation, arriving at 3:00 PM on the day she died. She complained of a pain in her leg and, in hindsight, it was probably a blood clot that killed her.

My Dad has been losing weight for the past 2 years. His "primary" MD told him he needed to lose weight. After several office visits, he was finally given a cat scan and diagnosed with primary liver cancer in April of this year - too late to treat the cancer by conventional standards.

This morning, I watched a segment of C-Span on health care in America featuring one of the many idiots who know better than we what is good for us. He stated that the majority of people in America were very happy with their health insurance and didn't want a change.

It has been my experience throughout this year (from the many appointments and hospitalizations of my parents), that there is no health care as we once knew it. The days when MD's were independent practitioners are gone. Hospitals in my area have an MD on staff who treats hospitalized patients. A primary MD is often affiliated with the hospital, but never sees patients there. One is only allowed to spend a finite amount of time in the hospital, dictated by the insurance company. It doesn't matter if you haven't been cured of the illness that put you there. My mother was hospitalized with pneumonia 3 time in 3 months. Each time she was sent home with antibiotics that didn't quite cure her.

While we are having the conversation on health care for all in America, let us not forget the quality of care the average American is receiving. We rate 37th in the world - behind Costa Rica.

I don't know how we got here. I suspect it is insurance companies and their strict payment policies. I do know that we must do something to change it. With the present spotlight on health insurance, it seems a good time to start the conversation about the level of care that insurance will provide.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Walking to Oak-Head Pond

by Mary Oliver

What is so utterly invisible
as tomorrow?
Not love,
not the wind,

not the inside of stone.
Not anything.
And yet, how often I'm fooled-
I'm wading along

in the sunlight-
and I'm sure I can see the fields and the ponds shining
days ahead-
I can see the light spilling

like a shower of meteors
into next week's trees,
and I plan to be there soon-
and, so far, I am

just that lucky,
my legs splashing
over the edge of darkness,
my heart on fire.

I don't know where
such certainty comes from-
the brave flesh
or the theater of the mind-

but if I had to guess
I would say that only
what the soul is supposed to be
could send us forth

with such cheer
as even the leaf must wear
as it unfurls
its fragrant body, and shines

against the hard possibility of stoppage-
which, day after day,
before such brisk, corpuscular belief,
shudders, and gives way.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Gee, Officer Crowley

Another shameless parental promotion of the many talents of my daughter and son-in-law. They are having way too much fun...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Pearls of Wisdom

As things are not exactly going smoothly in my life, I find that reading some of my favorite blogs gives me the hope, inspiration and general good feeling that life goes on and it is truly a beautiful experience. It is with a never ending sense of wonder that I am able to find such wise, sassy, compassionate and sage women right when I need them, saying exactly what I need to hear.

From Goddess in a Teapot:
Lately I have also been thinking of the many people, places, times, and stories that have, like the tree, spoken to a deeper part of me. Every once in awhile I will hear music or see a performance, or read a lifestory, or encounter a country or a historical era that grabs my spirit and will not let go until I have come to know it as thoroughly as I can. I don’t just experience it, but it sets off ideas, insights, determinations, creative flurries, and changes in attitudes to myself and my world view, sometimes for years at a time.

Many, many people and places are inspiring because of the beauty or artistry of their work or the courage of their deeds, but these muses are different. The connection to them or their work goes beyond a recognition of achievements or a desire to be like them, but rather they are in some way a gateway to the symbolic, otherworldly aspect of my life. There is something about them that shows that a piece of art isn’t simply a creative work, but the entrance to a cave brimming with treasured insights; a lifestory isn’t only a biography, but an allegory about all our life journeys; a country isn’t just a geographical boundary, but sometimes an entirely new universe and way of looking at the world. For a long time I wondered why muses show up in dreams so much more often than people I love and talk to everyday, and then I realized that it is because something about them speaks the language of the inner world.


From Aquila ka Hecate:
In Other News, I have surprisingly only just discovered that Breath can treat physical ailments.
Yes, I know, I'm slow.
The phlegm travelling down the back of my throat into my windpipe was causing me to bark furiously last night, and wake up the rest of the household, to boot. Slow and deep application of Breath, carrying the life essence into every cell of the physical body put not only the cough to sleep, but myself as well.


And, finally from Song!
The ancient song sings again and again, body, heart and soul. And cup and cross where for all the giving, love in those hours made the future, worth the loss. For what lies behind you, is always within you, and before you, so say the sages and lovers for all times.

To believe for a moment that there are no tomorrows of love, is to say the heart has its limits, the sky is a tent, and the sea is a pond with ragged humid shores.

Not your heart. Not your sky. Not your sea. No matter what you believe.

I would live a thousand lifetimes to say to you again and again. ”Life, you are”


Blessed be.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The words of God do not justify cruelty to women by President Jimmy Carter

"Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status ..." (Article 2, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)

I have been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world.

So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when th e convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief - confirmed in the holy scriptures - that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. It is widespread. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths.

Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries. The male interpretations of religious texts and the way they interact with, and reinforce, traditional practices justify some of the most pervasive, persistent, flagrant and damaging examples of human rights abuses.

Read the rest here

Monday, May 25, 2009

Adirondacks

Hello, dear friends! I am presently at our small place in the Adirondacks, smelling the wonderful pines and communing with nature. My posts shall be few and far between this summer, as there are many things demanding my attention right now - some good and some not so good, but that is the nature of life.

Have a wonderful summer!

Cyn

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lessons

Ahh, what would I do without smart witches leading me down the path of life? I know I don't know everything, but what I don't know often surprises me.

Lessons from Inanna include the following:

Lesson No. 1:
One of the most important things we can do as healers is to bear witness: to hold a non-judgmental but discerning space for the person or being who is healing. We need to be able to discern what would help them (an action, a holding, a medicine, a clean needle, a kind word, a pointed observation, a touch), but we cannot sit in judgment, for judgment limits and constrains where healing needs room for natural expansion and contraction. Bearing witness means being able to see things as they are, not as we wish they would be, and to "hold space" compassionately for whatever arises. Much of the work of a healer lies in being present to another, not buffeted by or frightened by their emotions, not sucked in, not closed down, not colluding, not withholding. Being with. And in that being, seeing what else might be needed.
Lesson No. 2:
I began thinking about ancestral memory and what if? What if the wounds I carry are not solely from my lifetime, but also from my mother's, my father's, and grandparents' passed genetically and psychically? What if the multiple abuses I have processed in therapy are from ancestral wounds as well as current, and what if the connections extend beyond even ancestral lineage to some kind of interspecies link?

I feel lighter when I entertain these thoughts and constantly renew my commitment to my path of healing, not only for my family and myself but also for all beings. I am beginning to see that the web of life weaves connections between all of time, space and place. And how each small healing benefits the whole cosmos.
(Janice Young)
And, from my gypsy children, Lesson No. 3:
"I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?"
John Lennon
With a gift from song!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Taurus New Moon

The Freedom of the Moon by Robert Frost

I've tried the new moon tilted in the air
Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster
As you might try a jewel in your hair.
I've tried it fine with little breadth of luster,
Alone, or in one ornament combining
With one first-water start almost shining.

I put it shining anywhere I please.
By walking slowly on some evening later,
I've pulled it from a crate of crooked trees,
And brought it over glossy water, greater,
And dropped it in, and seen the image wallow,
The color run, all sorts of wonder follow.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Obama Man Can

Obama's Spinning Head


What I've learned about Obama in the first days of his presidency. Some of it I already knew. Some, I didn't.

Obama the President:
He talks often and says nothing - I already knew that. He can't rely on his memory or speak "off the cuff" - I didn't know that. He relies on teleprompters of all shapes and sizes, either due to a poor memory or out of fear that he may say something that actually means something, which, if not tested by pollsters, could get him in hot water. His lack of experience is showing.

When he takes a stand, it is meaningless. He has done little of what he promised to do. And, if he says he won't do something or is against it and is hounded enough, he will reverse his stance. If he says something is wrong and poll results tell him what an extremely unpopular point of view that is, he will pass the buck or wiggle around it.

He bowed to the prince. He didn't get a shelter dog. He looks awkward when filmed in real life situations. He condemned FISA and now claims “Sovereign Immunity” Flip, Flop.

Perhaps the torture memos, Meet the Press and Greenwald put it all in perspective for me. This is from last Sunday, with supposed Democrats and Republicans talking about the release of the memos and how to handle them:
What a vibrant, spirited debate that was. And the way they all harmoniously recite the same White House Orwellian script -- look to the glorious future, citizens, for that is where your salvation lies -- is almost as creepy as the OLC torture memos themselves. Too bad for the 2.1 million Americans in prison -- the largest prison population on the planet -- that the profound sense of forgiveness exuded by Obama and our Beltway elites only seems to apply to themselves, and especially to Bush officials who systematically violated the law. For ordinary citizens caught in America's criminal justice system, mercy and understanding are the rarest commodities one can imagine. Perhaps it's time to begin a FREE BERNIE MADOFF campaign based on Obama's oh-so-moving decree that this is a time for reflection, not retribution, and that we must look forward, not backwards.
Emphasis mine.

Obama is trying too hard to be all things to the people he is beholden to. I don't mean his astroturf supporters - he could care less about them. I mean the money people that put him in power. He appears to have no convictions of his own. I can't imagine him digging deep down in his gut and making the hard decisions for the right reasons. He is simply the Big Giant Head of a government gone wrong. I was really hoping to see some sign of a President who would do what was difficult, but right, and suck it up when he made a mistake - not some fake, all knowing Father Knows Best. The bailouts, the budget, more deployment of troops. So much for the Democratic majority. Obama is America's third term of an inexperienced leader, allowing corporate interests to lead him down the path of destruction of our economy.

One thing I can't figure out, however, is his lack of interest. He seems to be trying too hard to convince us he has everything under control, but I think the only thing he really wants to control is his image. That is his number one priority. Obama - Numero Uno.

Friday, April 17, 2009

America the Tarnished

Via Hecate's wonderful blog here, go read Whisky Fire
"You know, I'm not a lawyer, but I have to say, when you seek out or write a legal opinion about whether you can get away with dropping a bug on a guy in a box, you're in a real weird moral place."
We need to address this. If we don't go after the people that made this possible, we have no right prosecuting people who attack America. Bush, Cheney and DOJ attorneys need to be held accountable. Secret law is secret because the ones who use it know it is wrong. I am outraged. Glenn Greenwald agrees.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Goddess Susan Boyle

Via Sia

In our pop-minded culture so slavishly obsessed with packaging -- the right face, the right clothes, the right attitudes, the right Facebook posts -- the unpackaged artistic power of the unstyled, un-hip, un-kissed Ms. Boyle let me feel, for the duration of one blazing showstopping ballad, the meaning of human grace. She pierced my defenses. She reordered the measure of beauty. And I had no idea until tears sprang how desperately I need that corrective from time to time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

My darling...


Basilica. One year ago, you were just a seed, tucked into a peat pot. I watered you and you grew and flourished in the sunshine on the back deck. In time, you graced my bruschetta, my omelets, my summer pasta, and most of all, my fresh tomato - basil - mozzarella salad. You were the mainstay of my marinara sauce, the darling of my kitchen, the belle of the ball. You so outlasted Rosemary and Thyme. Even Sage gave up. It's okay. You have given me the best year of your life. You are so superior to the other herbs - you are my sunshine. But, Basil, it's time to let go. Watching you day after day, trying to grow new leaves, is killing me. Most of your branches are gone, but you are still trying so hard to keep going. We have to end this, but I've got plans to let you go out in style. I have a lovely thin chicken cutlet, some goat cheese and some tender baby spinach that I think you will be happy with. Go in peace, my Basil, and know that you were loved and savored. I shall never forget you and the summer of 2008.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Case for Distrust

Here's something to chew on as you digest your fancy Easter dinner, complete with too many rich foods that you know you shouldn't have eaten, but were just too delicious to pass up. And, I'm a pagan for Goddess' sakes. (Good grief, I have leftovers, too)

Do you trust the Obama administration, or not? For progressives, in many ways this is the fundamental economic and political question of our times.

For example, it isn't difficult to find Nobel laureates, distinguished, progressive blog-friendly economics Ph.D.s, and even people who saw the financial crisis coming who think that the Obama administration's Wall Street bailout plan is a good idea that will probably work. At the same time, it isn't difficult to find Nobel laureates, distinguished, progressive blog-firendly economics PhD.s, and people who saw the financial crisis coming who think the Obama administration's bailout plan is a bad idea. As such, faith in the bailout plan really isn't a question of analytic and scholastic ability, having clean hands on the financial crisis, or whether or not someone comes from an elite world of Villagers. It is simply a matter of trust in the people executing the plan.

Much the same can be said for the Afghanistan escalation, long-term social investment spending, torture and detainment policies, the new defense budget, the value of post-partisanship, the degree of progressivism in Obama administration appointments, and much more. The debate within progressive circles we are experiencing over these issues is primarily based on a question of trust, and only to a lesser extent on analysis, research and facts. It is a debate with which almost anyone who consumes progressive media is familiar: give President Obama a chance, aka trust the Obama administration and stop criticizing it, versus make him do it, aka President Obama's administration will only pursue a progressive policy direction if it is forced to do so by popular pressure. Within progressive circles, these attitudes are demonstrative of either a fundamental trust or distrust of the intentions of the Obama administration.

by Chris Bowers at Open Left

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Song!

Where are you?

Greed


Mortgage brokers are largely responsible for where our economy is today. The mortgage broker industry followed the "everyone is entitled to own a home no matter what their income" crowd. The New York Times has an opinion article entitled Predatory Broker which hits the mark on what I experienced working in the legal field. Real Estate sales people and appraisers also had their hands in the pie. Inflate the values, get the lending and pocket your prize.

Mortgage brokers are supposed to be impartial advocates who search out the best possible deal for prospective homeowners seeking a loan. The mortgage crisis has revealed a different truth. Too many brokers were far more interested in earning fat fees for steering their clients to ruinously priced loans that the borrowers could never hope to repay.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Rock Garden Cat

has developed a bit of an attitude (surprise, surprise), since I posted his photo on my blog. He wants all of you to know that he is not a one trick pony or just another pretty face and that he actually lives a very full life. Hence, he has asked me to post the following:



He is an avid collector of antique toys,



does a hellofa imitation of a bearskin rug, and



he is an accomplished knitter.

Mr (50) Miles (of bad road) is single and wants all of you lovely lady cats to know that "he is looking". You may reach him in care of this blog.




Sunday, April 05, 2009

Hecate: Full Moon Magic


Hecate: Full Moon Magic

... there's a full Moon this week, in Libra, the sign of balance. And if you were casting about for a good magical project, you could do worse than to send some energy to Elizabeth Warren, to work some magic to let her balance out the insanity of Geithner and Summers.

Great advice. We need to use all tools available to stop the insanity.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Obama Paloozza

From the Guardian:

Britain will get its first chance to see Barack Obama this week when a White House cavalcade - complete with armoured limousines, helicopters, 200 US secret service staff and a six-doctor medical team - sweeps into the UK.

Obama will fly into London for his first visit to the UK as president of the United States on Tuesday to take part in the G20 summit in the capital's Docklands area. He will not be travelling light.

More than 500 officials and staff will accompany the president on his tour this week - along with a mass of high-tech security equipment, including the $300,000 presidential limousine, known as The Beast. Fitted with night-vision camera, reinforced steel plating, tear- gas cannon and oxygen tanks, the vehicle is the ultimate in heavy armoured transport.

In addition, a team from the White House kitchen will travel with the president to prepare his food. As one official put it: "When the president travels, the White House travels with him, right down to the car he drives, the water he drinks, the gasoline he uses, the food he eats. America is still the sole superpower and the president must have the ability to handle any crisis, anywhere, any time."

Read the whole article and you'll be wondering what in the world is going on. Did Bush travel like this? With 6 doctors, personal chefs, 200 Secret Service, cases of water, decoy helicopters and a vehicle called The Beast? Seriously, the cost of this trip could probably feed an entire third world country for a year. Isn't this disgustingly over the top? At a time when our economy is failing, jobs are disappearing, people have to choose between paying for their own health insurance or paying their mortgage? Medicine or food?

For me, the definition of a leader is one who inspires others by his or her own actions. Obama is nothing but a grandiose, narcissistic empty suit who holds himself in such high esteem that he feels he isn't accountable to anyone, least of all the people of the United States. After all, we are only the ones footing the bill.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Yes, I am Spring cleaning my blog yet again. The last template was making me feel like I was living in Little House on the Prairie. Not that Little House is a bad thing, but I realized I am a wee bit more simplistic than calico, flourishes and sparkly things.

Back to the topic at hand. While traveling today on my way to buy groceries (OK, two side stops at my favorite second hand stores), I listened to a speaker on NPR radio by the name of Samuel Claiborne. Now, I'm not familiar with Mr. Claiborne and, since it is Friday night, I've no desire to look him up, but I'd like you to listen to what he has to say. Actually, you'll have to read it.

3/27/09: Meet the New Boss...

I see that the left's honeymoon with Obama is still in full swing, despite mounting evidence that he's not going to be a very liberal president at all. I know it's early. I know we can't blame him for Republican partisan slash and burn tactics in Congress. But we can blame him for the company he keeps, and the policies he crafts, and for legacy policies that he upholds rather than repudiates.

Some examples:
The Justice Department announced that it would adhere to the Bush administration's position that detainees imprisoned at a U.S. air base in Afghanistan have no right to challenge their confinement in U.S. courts. Habeus Corpus loses again. Treasury Secretary Geitner was former Secretary Paulson's right-hand man during the crafting of the initial, woeful T.A.R.P. plan - the one that had no real oversight at all for how the money was spent - hence, no easing of the credit crunch, and big bonuses for execs of the bailed out companies. Geitner and Paulson are both veterans of Wall Street. Couldn't Obama have picked someone more Progressive, like Paul Krugman, or former Labor Secretary Robert Reich? Similarly, Robert Rubin, another top architect of the Obama economic plan, helped destroy Citibank while receiving a salary of over 100 million dollars annually. And Lawrence Summers, Obama's chief economic advisor, loves tax cuts and hates infrastructure. Sounds like… Bush! These people are embedded representatives of the culture of unrestrained greed and short-term gain that got us into this mess - do we really want the foxes guarding the hen house again

Obama abrogated his own promise not to hire lobbyists into his administration, citing the financial meltdown as a mitigating factor. Yes, I'm absolutely sure that there are no people outside of the power/money elite that have the skills and background to do the job.

Despite the most catastrophic economic meltdown since the 1930's, no one from the President on down through his administration has talked about our bloated, unsustainable military budget. Instead, all signs point to a heroin-like injection of even more capital into military projects, which will provide some short-term relief, and major withdrawal symptoms later on. This country has been on a permanent war-economy footing since 1939, and we simply can't sustain it. Yet Obama refuses to even speak to the issue.

This financial crisis is actually an incredible opportunity to change this country's direction and to challenge some of the basic tenets of our government and economy that have been taken for granted for years. It's an opportunity that hasn't been seen since the early days of FDR. Unlike FDR, Obama is dealing with a much more intransigent Republican faction in congress which is more intent on bloodying him and the Democratic Party than in saving working people's lives, livelihoods, and dreams. But he's not even speaking to the real problems. He's not even trying to inject new thinking into the old order. Instead, he's surrounded himself with the usual Beltway/Wall Street suspects.

And look at the Stimulus Bill, and compare it to what FDR did; very little money for boots on the ground projects, lots for bloated government apparatchiks and… I can't believe it… LOTS MORE TAX CUTS!). Sure, he needed some Republican votes. But the input from the Obama side itself had woeful little in terms of infrastructure construction and repair. The bill should have created something akin to FDR's massive work programs, targeting infrastructure. Instead, we get incremental, timid, mostly status-quo mediocrity.

No, Obama isn't Bush - don't mistake what I'm saying for that. But there is a whiff of 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss' - or at least, it's feeling a bit more like that than 'change we can believe in'. Same old crew, same old policies, polished up a bit. And the same lobbyists swimming in a stream of money, sucking on the body politic like Remoras. Far from being the most Liberal president in my lifetime Obama seems firmly embedded in the power elite, and towing the line for the Military-Industrial Complex. It's time for the left to make some noise. It's time to stop wishing, and fantasizing, and imbuing Obama with all of our hopes and dreams, and start demanding some action on the ground.
The entire piece is here and I've gotten off my Friday Night duff and done a little Googling while you were reading. Mr. Claiborne is quite a spectacular guy and you can read all about him here.

Class dismissed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Moon, New Beginnings

Because Aries is the youngest of the signs, this is the New Moon for fresh starts, turning over a new leaf or starting a new phase. Aries represents the inner child; that trusting, innocent soul which lives within each of us. Even in the worst of times, and these do seem to be the worst of times, it is important to be aware of the ever-present humor that exists in the darkest moments of our lives. After all, the greatest comedy does arise from the deepest tragedies.

I realize childlike innocence may be hard to conjure up when the global economy is in such disarray, but this is the only New Moon of the year when we get to start all over again. If this past year has left you feeling beaten down, depressed, and physically or emotionally wounded, this is the New Moon to start anew. When darkness comes into our lives, we must remember that the dawn will eventually come.

This year, most of the planets are lined up in a bucket with conservative/fearful Saturn over on the other end feeling very frustrated by an inconjunction to Jupiter/Chiron/Neptune in “radical change” Aquarius, and an opposition to Mars/Uranus in transcendent Pisces. The Mercury/Sun/Moon/Venus conjunction in “just go for it!” Aries doesn’t get a lot of room to flex its muscles. Add an all-too-real Pluto in Capricorn to a seriously responsible Saturn in Virgo and this New Moon in Aries may end up being a battle between fear of change and the inevitability of change.

So here are some ways to conquer fear. Think of this New Moon as the light at the end of the tunnel, the beginning of your journey back to wholeness, not the end of that journey. Aries is all about adventure and the indomitable spirit of the adventurer helps open us to trying something different; something you think isn’t you… but might just be. Reinvigorate your lust for life. We have all become so fearful and risk-averse. Go on an adventure, be spontaneous, or just do something wild and crazy. There is a time and place for play, and this is the New Moon to remember that all work and no play make us very dull people! So use your ritual to figure out how to bring more fun into your life! After all, life is just a big adventure.
Read the rest here

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Betty Ford - Feminist


I watched a Betty Ford documentary last evening on PBS and became reacquainted with the strong, well grounded First Lady who was not afraid to speak her mind. Looking back on her life, I now realize how important she was to the women's movement. Betty Ford spoke out in support of abortion, staunchly supported the ERA, was very public about her breast cancer and not only admitted to the world her addiction to drugs and alcohol, but started a clinic which she participated in, giving strength to those afflicted with the same disease.

In today's political climate, it was almost mind boggling to watch this down to earth couple going about their very real lives. No staging, teleprompters, phony promises, arrogant stances, Greek columns or organic arugula grown on the White House south lawn. In fact, after President Ford was sworn in (upon Nixon's resignation), the family lived in the same home they had lived in for years, cooking and cleaning and parenting, until Nixon's belongings could be removed from the White House and the Ford family moved in.

If you have a chance to watch this on your PBS station, I highly recommend it. Betty Ford really was the real deal and a remarkable women.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Align Center

OSTARA


Winter's barrenness has subsided,
From the death of Winter
Spring's new life.

Spring is coming to the land,
The days grow longer,
Warm breezes begin to stir.

All around us we see signs -
The growing things are beginning anew.

It's the resurrection of the dance of life.
The dance of the stems and stalks
As they push forth from the Earth.

It is the season of creation.
Growth has turned outward,
The land has become fertile again.

The Earth is caressed by
The loving touch of the Mother,
Where her hand passes.

Atoms twine together to create growth.
Buds burst open.
Leaves and vines unfurl.

She creates a vision of the green beauty.
Beauty so breath-taking after
The dark solitude of Winter.

It is this vision that we celebrate
On her day of Ostara
The world recreating itself--

Returning from the death of Winter,
Into the new life of Spring
Through the love of the Goddess.