Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Flurry of Thoughts.....

About Cheese
The milk derivative, casein, which is often in “lactose free” and “dairy free” products like soy cheese and yogurt causes cancer to grow in 87% of the poor little creatures labs use for tests.

About the Carnivore
The carnivore has a very short digestive track in order to get the “meat” in and out as quickly as possible, as it will cause all kinds of trouble if it is allowed to linger in the intestines (polyps, cancers, bacteria infections, etc.)

A little something about el Rodeo
As much as we would like to believe that bulls are wild, out of control creatures – making rodeos an expression of bravery for el cowpoke– it is, in fact, a contrived condition forced upon a docile animal. A leather strap is fastened around a particularly sensitive nerve and then pinched causing excruciating pain for the animal. The bronco and steer are simply trying to get away from the pain. Add to this a man with sharpened spurs kicking him in the groin and you begin to get an inkling of how ridiculous and cruel this “sport” really is. Should you attend one of these horror shows, watch - as soon as the idiot gets thrown off, the belt is release and the animal magically stops struggling. Go Rodeo, Houston? Uh-uh. No rodeo Houston.

Hey! If you see me out there protesting with my anti-rodeo posters (made by the vegan guru, Lori) and chanting something clever, honk and say "howdy"!

and finally, Foreign Policy American Style
It seems to me that if you have a stick, and you take that stick and shove it into a busy yet non-attacking beehive, the bees are going to come out and defend their hive. It does not give the appearance of superior intellect if the holder of said stick then turns around, while still jabbing with the stick and says to all who will listen “look! they’re going crazy! They’re aggressive! They're dangerous! Who knows what they have in there! Maybe something that can kill us! We need to kill'em all before they get us!” Thus goes our foreign policy in the Middle East.
Sometimes you read something that reiterates all the sentiments you have. Regardless of how much you might want the words to be your own, they belong to someone else. I wish I had written the following, but then again, the New York Times would be bugging me about deadlines and such, which would seriously interfere with my working out and down time. So, with no further ado, Mr. William Rivers Pitt and......

the REAL State of the Union Address
The Economy:
Since 2000, the number of Americans living in poverty has risen to almost 37 million with more than 13 million being children. Over one in four American families with children make less than $30,000 a year – 46% of African American families and 44% Hispanic families make well below this amount.
Average annual income for Americans fell again in 2005.

Savings has dropped to Depression Era levels.
46 million Americans live without health insurance
The response to this? Vice President Cheney, three days before Christmas, cast the tie-breaking vote on a spending reduction bill that will fall most heavily on the poor, the infirm and the elderly. Funding for health care, child support, and education subsidies for low-income families has been gutted. Medicaid benefits for the poor were cut by $7 billion, and Medicare programs for the elderly were cut by $6.4 billion. Federal student-loan programs were cut by $12.7 billion.

On the very same day, the Senate passed legislation that drastically cut funding for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The Head Start program was hit especially hard: the cuts here eliminate some 25,000 slots for low-income children. All in all, these spending reductions are expected to save $40 billion.

Meanwhile, recently-passed tax cuts ravage the budget far more deeply than these drastic budget cuts. Two tax cuts in particular that went into effect on New Year's Day will cost $27 billion, more than half of what the spending reductions are supposed to save. These cuts will cost more than $150 billion over the next ten years. 97% of the money from these cuts will go to households making more than $200,000 a year. Households with incomes under $100,000 will get 0.1% of these cuts.

If all of Mr. Bush's tax cuts are stopped or allowed to expire, $750 billion will be added to the federal budget. That is more than enough to pay for the programs that have been eviscerated. It won't happen, not with the priorities of this administration, but that is the simple math of the matter.

Mission Accomplished! New Orleans actually drowned in a bathtub:
The first weeks of September brought to all Americans a devastating tragedy. The city of New Orleans was all but obliterated by Hurricane Katrina when levies meant to hold back the waters failed. The failure of these levies came, in no small part, because of unprecedented budget cuts for the Army Corps of Engineers, which was tasked to keep the levies viable.

The tragedy was compounded by the utterly incompetent management of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its head, Michael Brown, whose experience with disaster management came while he was serving as an attorney for owners of Arabian horses. In the weeks to follow, lavish promises were made by Mr. Bush. "We will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives," he said on September 15th.

Those promises have been broken. We have gone from oaths to revive this cherished city to this: "I want to remind people in that part of the world, $85 billion is a lot," said Bush on January 26th. Hundreds of thousands of Americans remain displaced, many holding on by the skin of their teeth in cramped trailers. Thirty million cubic yards of debris remain uncollected - the Washington Post estimated over the weekend that this was "enough to build a five-sided column more than 50 stories tall over the Pentagon." There is not even a plan in place to begin to attack the problem. The Bush administration has left New Orleans to rot, and the next hurricane season is four months away.

Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist once famously stated that he wanted to shrink the federal government to the size where it could be drowned in a bathtub. As evidenced by the budget cuts and tax giveaways described above, many within this government feel as Norquist does. Thanks to their actions, to the cuts in the Army Corps of Engineers budget, to the nomination of useless cronies like Brown to vital positions of civil defense, to a war in Iraq that has bled the budget further and left Louisiana without sufficient National Guard troops to help the population, it is New Orleans that has been drowned in Norquist's bathtub. A major American city has been shattered, and nothing is done about it.

To add insult to injury, the Bush administration utterly refuses to answer any questions on the matter. Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, perhaps the most widely-known Democratic defender of Mr. Bush, is the ranking minority member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Even Mr. Lieberman is flabbergasted by the stonewalling of the White House.

"My staff believes that DHS (the Department of Homeland Security) has engaged in a conscious strategy of slow-walking our investigation in the hope that we would run out of time to follow the investigation's natural progression to where it leads," Lieberman said last week. "At this point, I cannot disagree. There's been no assertion of executive privilege, just a refusal to answer. I have been told by my staff that almost every question our staff has asked federal agency witnesses regarding conversations with or involvement of the White House has been met with a response that they could not answer on direction of the White House."

Mark Folse, a New Orleans native, operates a blog called "Wet Bank Guide." On Monday, Mr. Folse posted a message for Mr. Bush. "I've never lost the deepest allegiance I've ever held: to my city," wrote Folse. "We have always known we were a people different and unique, as divided as we may seem. That sense of identity as a New Orleanian is the powerful bond that draws me on. It is the deep love of country that drives me - of my country, New Orleans and southern Louisiana. It is the irrational emotional attachment to my piece of America that leads men and women to go willingly up Bunker Hill, to follow General Pickett, to volunteer for Iraq."

"A life of assured privilege has protected you from having to take these sorts of risks," continued Folse, "to find the strength to get up and go into the maw of uncertainty, to risk and gamble your own and not other peoples' lives or money. You can pledge allegiance or sing the anthem or give a stirring speech as well as any, but you know you have no allegiance except self-interest."

"If nothing moves you except your own self-interest," concluded Folse, "then consider this. There are hundreds of thousands of us, scattered throughout most of the United States. We are everywhere you and your party will go to campaign: Arkansas and Atlanta and Austin, Dallas and Detroit and Denver, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Baltimore and Boston, Chicago and Charlotte. Many will remain there indefinitely, unable to go home, precisely because you have lied to them and betrayed them. We will not let you escape from the net of lies you have woven. Wherever you turn, you will find us, ready to call you out."

The situation in New Orleans is a problem that will not go away. Men like Mark Folse will make absolutely sure of that.

"Scandal" Is Too Small a Word
The Abramoff scandal directly touches some sixty Republican congresspeople, according to campaign finance records that show where the disgraced lobbyist sent his money. Mr. Bush recently promoted the lead investigator in this case, effectively removing him from the investigation. Despite this, the hard look into Mr. Abramoff's dealings continue. Mr. Abramoff's plea deal has a lot of people in Washington suffering from flop-sweat.

Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the outing of a deep-cover CIA agent by administration officials continues apace, and has already cashiered Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby. According to t r u t h o u t investigative reporter Jason Leopold, Fitzgerald has "spent the past month preparing evidence he will present to a grand jury alleging that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove knowingly made false statements to FBI and Justice Department investigators and lied under oath while he was being questioned about his role in the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity more than two years ago, according to sources knowledgeable about the probe."

"Although there have not been rumblings regarding Fitzgerald's probe into the Plame leak since he met with the grand jury hearing evidence in the case more than a month ago," continued Leopold in his January 10th report, "the sources said that Fitzgerald has been quietly building his case against Rove and has been interviewing witnesses, in some cases for the second and third time, who have provided him with information related to Rove's role in the leak."

None of this will be mentioned in the State of the Union speech tonight. The Bush administration continues to stonewall these investigations with all its might - Mr. Bush has denied ever knowing Jack Abramoff, despite the existence of several pictures showing them glad-handing each other in the White House - and the Republican-controlled congress will certainly do nothing to advance the questions being asked.
In contrast, a portion of the speech will certainly be dedicated to moralistic sloganeering about values. Remember, as high-flown words about truth and justice are spoken, what the Abramoff and Plame scandals represent: a government run by thieves, stroked by swindlers, and staffed by assassins who sing of defending the nation even as they cast us down into greater danger.

And, by the way, the Enron trial started on Monday.

The Middle East
2,242 American soldiers have died in Iraq. Tens of thousands more are grievously wounded. Tens and tens of thousands of civilians are dead or maimed. Scores more simmer in rage and pick up weapons to attack American forces. American soldiers wishing to go around the Pentagon to augment their meager armor have been threatened with the revocation of death benefits for their families. A coalition of fundamentalist Shiite groups has taken over the government, the two main parts of which are notorious terrorist organizations with umbilical ties to Iran. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent to do this. There is no end in sight.
Three years ago, in another State of the Union address, Mr. Bush told the nation that Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons (which is 1,000,000 pounds) of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent, 30,000 munitions to deliver these agents, mobile biological weapons labs, al Qaeda connections, and uranium from Niger for use in a robust nuclear weapons program. Mr. Bush will have to work very hard tonight to tell a lie as vast, dramatic and bloody as this.

Certainly, Mr. Bush will sing the praises of bringing democracy to the Middle East. It is worthwhile, however, to consider what his concept of democracy has accomplished to date. Six months ago, a radical named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president of Iran. Thanks to the intense feelings within Iran's populace about the US occupation of Iraq, Ahmadinejad has been able to unify his country behind the establishment of a nuclear program that frightens the rest of the world. Ahmadinejad's election itself owes a great deal to Mr. Bush's policies on Iraq.

Last week, the terrorist organization Hamas was overwhelmingly elected by the Palestinian people to run their government, leaving the Fatah party shocked and displaced. While the success of Hamas has much to do with Fatah's corruption and lack of progress on several fronts, the slow radicalization of the general population in the Middle East once again can be laid at the doorstep of Mr. Bush. It has been revealed that Bush's decision to disengage from the peace process between Israel and Palestine several years ago was a disastrous choice. Couple that with the occupation of Iraq and the torture of its citizens, and few can be surprised when the general population in the Middle East turns toward more radical elements.

Democracy is a tricky thing. The fact that people in Iraq, Iran and Palestine are afforded the opportunity to vote, instead of suffering the absolute control of a dictatorship, is arguably a good thing in the main. Yet methods matter. When the Iraqi people are given the vote by way of a ravaging war that inflames the passions of the region and enshrines a radical government, democracy becomes its own worst enemy. When that ravaging war empowers a fringe president in Iran, democracy becomes its own worst enemy.

Methods matter. Democracy does not exist in a vacuum. When it is forced upon a population at the point of a sword, that population will see the sword as the best viable option to exercise its collective will. Almost immediately, democracy will be used to elect radicals, and those radicals will dispose of democracy at the first opportunity. The radicalization of governments all across the Middle East has made the world substantially more dangerous. Mr. Bush will speak of progress tonight. The only progress being made is toward a general conflagration.

On the other hand, Exxon Mobil has posted a $32 billion profit for the last year. This stands as the largest single one-year profit in the entire history of the world. Progress indeed.

The Unitary Executive Tapping Your Phone
Mr. Bush and friends have been jumping through flaming hoops to justify the blatantly illegal policy of spying on Americans by way of the National Security Agency. Their tortured arguments in favor of this action, and their flat-footed declaration that the policy will continue, makes confetti of the Fourth Amendment.
More than that, however, it moves this nation one step closer to having an Executive Branch that supersedes all others in power and scope. Not only will Mr. Bush spy on whomever he pleases, but he will also torture whomever he pleases. Put simply, the constitutionally-required separation of powers, the checks and balances that have maintained the stability of this republic, is being destroyed. This will echo down the corridors of our history long after Mr. Bush has left his office.
On Monday afternoon, Senate Democrats failed to muster the necessary 41 votes needed to avoid cloture on the nomination of Samuel Alito. The man will be elevated to the highest court. Beyond the fact that Alito is hostile to a woman's right to choose, hostile to privacy rights in the face of unwarranted police intrusion, and hostile to the poor and disadvantaged, there is the matter of his opinion on the powers of the Executive. In short, he agrees with Mr. Bush.

The Reign of Witches
The state of this union is not good. We are poorer, frightened, faced with the swelling ranks of enemies our leaders have created, and hell-bent to do away with the most precious aspects of our system of government. We are surveilled, propagandized, intimidated. We empower the radicals and disenfranchise the common good. We are fed swill via the television and thus convinced that what they tell us is what we already believe. We are bought, and we are paid for.
The radicals running this country have long desired to destroy the government's ability to govern - they found things like taxes intrusive, which is amusing when one hears them now defending warrantless spying on Americans - and they are well along the path towards success. The budget is destroyed, spent on tax cuts and the Iraq occupation, while millions of Americans suffer the loss of necessary services. The one percent of the one percent is making a killing, and the rest of us are left behind.

If there is hope to be found in all this, it is in the words of Thomas Jefferson, written 208 years ago after the passage of the Sedition Act.
"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."

Monday, January 30, 2006

“Good day sunshine…good day sunshine…”
Yes, it’s a good day. I went to the doc (Dr. Michael “The” Mann – best orthopedic doc anywhere) and the MRI shows a tear to the meniscus. But I can continue with my life, as it appears my knee has ended its mutinous ways and is working with me. Swelling is down, movement is back and I am able to resume with my yoga and aerobic classes and elliptical machines. The Mann said he was proud of me, which is awesome to hear. Makes me want to send him a basket or something. I have a clean car. My finger has deflated to “just a bit” swollen. After spending all day yesterday, no exaggeration, trying to figure out why I could not get online, I finally got it this morning. I am having a delightful tofurky hickory smoked turkey, cheez (yeah, this vegan cheese is actually edible), lettuce, carrot and honey mustard sandwich . And for dessert…vegan chocolate chip cookies! Woohoo! And they taste like c.c. cookies! Not like something that would come out of Barbie’s dream house kitchen. I found the Cherrybrook Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix box (my personal favorite way to cook) at HEB yesterday. Even the boys ate them. Now, don’t scoff. Young teen boys do not entertain graciousness when it comes to taste. Should something meet with their disapproval, there is nothing in their chemical makeup that warrants further consumption. On the contrary, they think nothing of expelling said morsel back into the hand that fed them, grimace arsenically, flash a look of utter disbelief that anyone would consider consuming anything so heinous, and exclaim “ohmigawd what the eff is that??” while making retching noises. It’s not pretty. So when they consume something not normally on the menu, in fact, they sneak handfuls to their room, you know that we have a winner. I love sweets. I have had a very difficult time with the whole vegan thing only because of my personal reliance on chocolate. Milk chocolate (salivate) has always been my passion. But I have found replacements, and slowly but surely I am finding better and better ones. Cherrybrook Kitchen is now on the top of that list.
I am reading three books. Oh, I sound so very literarily (yes! That’s a word….now.) inclined. So very keen on absorbing more information, expanding my knowledge. Yeah. Right. More like, I am so very ADD, I can’t remember where I left the first book I was reading. I start reading another and find the first. Then I am at the doctor’s office and the book that I have put in my bag is, of course, book number three. So very scatterbrained and unorganized, but oh well, they are all very good.
The first – Dominion by Matthew Scully (former speechwriter for bush) – this is the one I have misplaced for the third time. I think it might actually be purposeful. It is about the power of men, the suffering of animals and a call for mercy. I have seen a lot of animal rights stuff – videos, books, pictures, etc. I think it is important to view these things, as painful and gut wrenching as it is, because it becomes a part of who you are when you “witness”. And witnessing creates passion. I am fueled by many of the images that will be with me forever. I don’t like to see living beings in pain or being hurt or living in miserable conditions, but if I don’t look, I don’t make it a part of what I do. Anyway, I find Dominion deeply upsetting. Scully is an excellent writer and his knowledge and research are exhaustive. I can only take it in small doses as it deals with the full range of our assault on animals.
The next is the one I took to the doctor’s office. I was seen within five minutes of arriving (shocking really) so I only read a few pages, but I can tell I’m going to love it. Crimes Against Nature by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is about how bush is the worst environmental president ever as he has essentially opened up ever natural resource for corporate consumption – like an All You Can Eat Buffet. Did you know that the energy industry gave bush and his party 48 million dollars for the 2000 campaign and 58 million dollars since? That’s a staggering amount of money, really. Hard to not see the strings attached to that kind of cash. That’s just in the introduction, so it looks like a real tell all. I love Robert. He says that he has talked to ultra conservatives, republicans and democrats alike and all of them want the same thing. A robust, healthy environment, strong controls and strict enforcement. He is a passionate guy. He has totally devoted his life to the environment. I dig him.
My great friend, Lori gave me both these books to read. It’s awesome when you have a friend who not only cares about the stuff you care about but also reads and researches so that she knows what’s going on. She’s my vegan guru. I dig her. She had to go out of town this weekend and I was given the honor of checking on her mammals. She has three ferrets and three cats. I have never been around ferrets but they are incredible little creatures. Josh was in amazement in their “Matrix” moves, deflecting off the couch, running up his arm to get to a squeaky toy, which they promptly run and put under the bed. Man, her house was clean. My house looks like a bomb has hit it (mom’s expression usually when opening the door to my bedroom growing up). Nice to see I’ve changed so much since then. Sigh.
The last book is Republican Like Me by Harmon Leon. My sister and her partner gave it to me for Christmas. When I got it, I was a little confused. Had she turned? My gay, San Francisco living, labor relations “working for the worker”, left leaning sistas had become (gulp, rubbing eyes with fists) republicans?
Noooooooooo! Arrrrggghh!
Turns out, no. This guy is hysterically funny, and I do so mean “laugh out loud while riding the stationary bike at the gym so that everyone looks at you” funny. He meets with white supremacists at Denny's, goes to gun shows, works for Arnold S. for governor, basically infiltrating the bastions of the right wing and it is absolutely hilarious. It’s one of the best books I read in a long time. Usually I race through books that I love but I’ve been trying to go slow with this one, as to savor it. I keep finding it in Josh’s room which might explain why I intermittently lose track of it. What a great Christmas present.
So, unlike most Mondays, today has been a great day. Even if my house is a mess, life is good.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Power Tools
A lifetime ago…mid 80’s...I had returned from a stint in England for about 9 months and I was back in Houston. I ran into a girl I knew in high school and she invited me to a little get together at her boyfriend’s house in the Montrose. That’s where I met one of the greatest guy friends I have ever had, still have, came to my wedding and my fortieth birthday. It got to be a pretty regular thing that we would get together, about six of us usually sometimes more sometimes less, around ten or so on Friday and Saturday nights and go to either Numbers or a place called Power Tools – in downtown Houston. I loved Power Tools. I mean, I loved it. I would go, on my own, after work at the Ale House on Alabama on Thursday nights and go straight to Power Tools. You walked down into the club – about twenty maybe thirty steps, paid your entrance fee, and entered a cave, with all these little nooks and crannies. Alcoves with couches or seats usually occupied with subversives or artists or other such liberal leaning types. The place was usually pretty filthy so I would put it under the heading of "underground dive". It had different themes from week to week because there was a huge artistic influence with different artwork on the walls.
Loved the art, but I went there for the music and the dancing. The bass shook your insides from the moment you descended and your heart would literally double time to the beat. There were neon painted dancers elevated above the dance floor with blacklights flashing around them, and it was dark. This is where I heard Public Enemy and NWA for the first time, and became totally engrossed. No I didn’t get a grill or bling or anything, but it compelled me to enter downtown before it became trendy alone after ten o’clock at night and emerge around three a.m. This is the time of the Beastie Boys and my personal fave, Funky Cold Medina – Mr. Tone Loc.
The best part was the dancing. On Thursday nights it wasn’t as crowded, and there were always about six to ten African American guys doing organized, impromptu dance which I was fascinated by. Initially I watched but eventually I would start copying on the outskirts and they would move aside and allow me be a part of the group. I never solo-ed, I was never that good, but it was awesome learning the Way, as it were. I never knew any of their names, they didn’t know mine but they always recognized me and let me join.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. Selling gourmet popcorn at the middle school with very conservative, image conscious friend. I actually really like her, she’s been very supportive and kind. But she is so conservative, so very, well, “W” sticker. Anyway, we are talking about different things and she brings up when she and her husband first got to Houston how they loved going out…

“oh, and we loved this place called, oh what was it called…Power…”
“Power Tools???”....my Power Tools? How can this be?
"Oh my gosh yes! That’s it! Power Tools! How on earth…”

Up until I started writing this, I was floored. I could not fathom her setting foot into that place. It would be like my mom getting her tongue pierced..that bizarre. You never know! You just never know about people, I marveled to myself. You assume things and bam! They do something so crazy that blows all assumptions out of the water!


As I was writing I suddenly remembered why we all stopped going. The yuppies and “greeks” as in soros and frat bros. It was the “cool” “hip” inner city “artistic” place to go. With like art on the wall and these dancers, oh it is so rad, man. Sheesh.
I went in on a Thursday and the guys were there, the music was great, but Friday and Saturday, the boys were lined up at the entrance on either side surveying the girls as the walked by, stationing themselves outside the restroom (e-u) hitting on girls as they came out. My Power Tools had turned into a meat market. The dance floor was so packed you couldn’t move. It was all groups of people singing drunkenly, jumping up and down not dancing. The last time I went in there I was walking through the crowd while girls were screeching “ohmigawd I am x-ing so haaaard!” and I was dowsed from head to toe in some idi0t’s beer. I turned around and left.
There are so many alcoves, caves, nooks and crannies in my mind and memory. Someone will mention something or I will see someone, and out pops an experience that I had completely forgotten about. It’s easy to look back with strong feelings of nostalgia, when we all have a tendency to edit from the film of our life that which makes the experience unpleasant or simply not worth remembering. I had a great time, but it was a “fast and furious” kind of time, one which inevitably had to burn out. I’m just glad I didn’t get burned up with it.

I'm having finger issues and typing has been difficult. It's either broken or jammed, regardless, it is impeding the writing process, which will not do, at all! Hopefully, it'll be better in a couple of days......

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I have but one thing to say about the elections in Palestine. Let’s see if Hamas, (also the former name of the Movement of Society for Peace) labeled a terrorist organization, can become part of the system in a constructive, positive way now that it has won so much political capital. It could be an incredible precedent. Instead of alienating, demonizing and forcing groups like this to the fringe, incorporating them into the “mainstream” could make for a completely different path for the future. Something to think about. I am cautiously hopeful.
20 years since Challenger.
I remember being in my mom's living room. Not a big "space" person, I watched casually as it launched. I saw it go up with the trail of white following behind. I saw something come off....that usually happens, right? I thought to myself. Parts that are just dead weight...rocket boosters, etc. I thought to myself, knowingly. I'm so clever. Then the fateful "Y". The split. I sat there trying to get my mind around it. Initially, being "space" naive, I truly thought that it was supposed to do that. But I started questioning almost immediately. "Hey, mom. Come in here." She came. "Is that supposed to happen?" We watched, and within moments knew. Knew from the horrified looks on the families faces who were there to watch their loved ones make history. The solemn voices of ground control and the commentators.

Doing the adventurous, the daring is a risk. Tragedy happens every single moment of every single day. On a personal and a societal level in every culture and every country. But the Challenger tragedy, like the death of John Lennon, JFK, Princess Di, the Twin Towers and similar sudden shocks to the system are gages of our collective timelines. We all remember where we were, what we were doing, who we were with when these sorts of things happen.

I will take at least several moments today to think and reflect on the bravery of those who venture to places I don't even dream of going.
The Young Ones
I drive my son to school every morning. He would ride his bike, but there are no sidewalks since the school was built on the edge of the community. We drive, usually, in disappearing darkness past million dollar bricked in communities, past the most incredible displaced English manor, and an encroaching community of mid-range homes. That’s all the left. On the right is open field. In the misty soft lighting of sunrise, the silhouettes of the cattle come into view. Above, on a telephone line, sits a hawk. I am always captivated by the birds of prey, but that’s another story.
On the field, little social groupings splatter about, lone cows graze and the new guys, the calves, capture my attention and heart. There is nothing that affects me more than the young. Babies, toddlers, kids in general, and young animals. As I drive back from the high school, I watch as the calves suddenly burst into a bucking, frolicking dance and tear around in a circle. It’s a freedom thing, I guess. A feeling of being unrestrained by social constrictions that allows kids to do what I think a lot of us would like to do.
Being a parent has been the most fascinating experience of my life. I remember sitting in the hospital with my first born, after everyone was gone, holding him, spellbound by his every movement, not getting a wink of sleep all night. So began the most long standing, unrelenting love affair of my life. My kids changed my life. They brought out the absolute best in me, and focused my life like a laser. The most impatient person in my family, became patient. The most ungrounded, became grounded. Regardless of what others might want, I have found that being a full-time mom has been an incredible blessing in my life.
Oh, but believe me, no two days are the same, and I have been so frustrated, exhausted and beyond the breaking point that I saw double…in red. It’s strange though, from the time the guys were toddlers and able to speak or function semi-independently, even on a day boiling over with frustration, where absolutely nothing went right, there is always a moment when one of the boys or even both said or did something that redeemed the day. Something that stood out as so exceptionally thoughtful, kind, unselfish, funny or just plain innocently precious. No two days are alike, which frankly is right up my alley since I get bored very easily. We can go weeks without an incident without anything major and then the floodgate opens and we are inundated from all sides with critical decisions, fires to the left right and center. I still get a redeeming moment everyday though. I can’t think of a time that I went to bed frustrated.
Cody wanted to spend his Christmas money on all the hardware to start gaming online. We went to Best Buy and he was thirty-four dollars short. Without prompting, without an IOU, Josh whips open his wallet and pulls out thirty-five dollars. This kind of thing happens everyday. A gesture. A thoughtful act. A kind comment. I’ll take the dogs out for a walk (Cody says when Josh seems stressed over the amount of homework he has). Josh helped me (Cody says when Josh helps him with his homework). Woohoo! Mom look at this (Josh says cheering Cody’s backflip on the trampoline). Sure they are at each other’s throats a lot of the time. I expect that. That’s what happens when someone matters to you. You have altercations. But the undercurrent of loyalty, admiration and love is prevalent all the time. Even when Josh’s eyes fog over with murderous intent, there’s a flicker of love. Even when Cody thrashes his arms to get away from me, races upstairs yelling “a-hole!” and slamming his door….ok..not so much love in that moment. But his anger is quick and fierce. Then gone. He’s like lightening. Josh is more like a thunderstorm, slowly rolling, darkening and persistent. But then the sun emerges and he’s ok.
I have never felt that I missed out on my own life, a career. I had to work for awhile, before Lance came into my life. Every morning I felt as if I was ripping an appendage off. I did not stop thinking about where my children were, what might be happening to them and the fact that the people caring for them were not me. It is one thing to be paid to care for children, it is another to have vested interest. The day I was able to stop working, even though it set us back, way back, financially, was the day I felt the weight removed from my chest. Being separated from something that is supposed to be with you is beyond agonizing. I don’t really know how to convey it any better. I cried so hard my body shook, every time I dropped my kids off at day care. Sounds pretty dramatic, but I might as well have been purposefully smashing my hands with a hammer, it hurt that much. Although, I am a reasonably intelligent person with plenty to offer the outside world, I felt I had more to offer my kids.
We have our moments when I think that yes, I understand why some people hit their kids, drown them like the little rats they are. I am convinced that is when I have a surge of the primitive. The primal instinct of ferociousness. Fortunately, I have a great foundation and a great deal of information regarding children in my frame of reference. Plus I am deeply empathetic. I could not imagine striking a child. The thought of seeing a child look at me with the face of stunned fear is too much. Might does not make right in any instance. I have never raised my hand to my kids. Oh, but I have thought about it. That split second of reaction to some smart alecky comment or action that goes beyond definition, that moment can never be taken back. If I were to react in a way that I know I am capable, and I hit my kid, I could never take that sting back. The physical pain might be short-lived but the ramifications emotionally and spiritually would last a lifetime. I would basically be putting the stamp of approval on them hitting their own kids someday. My grandchildren. Especially for boys, who are physical by nature, it is a dangerous precedent to set.
Not all days are rosy, hallmark or Norman Rockwell-esque. So very far from it. We do not sit at the dinner table together yukking it up and pretending to be engaged in riveting conversation. We eat at the dinner table. Our conversation, thank God, is unrestricted. It mainly occurs when they want to talk now. I am grateful that I have been here directly after school when they want to talk about things that came up or situations they didn’t know how to avoid. Bouncing their reactions or feelings off the maternal wall to gauge the appropriateness for themselves. I am here, but I am keenly aware of developing their independence. They know how to cook. They know how to do their own laundry. They know how to clean a bathroom, a kitchen and living area. They know how to care for a pet. They are developing their independent life skills that will make them good partners as adults. Do they do it everyday? No. Do they object to it on a regular basis? Would they be kids if they didn’t?

I am not their buddy. I am their confidante. I am not their pal. I am their parent. I am not inflexible but I do have high expectations. They get frustrated by me more than often. Oh, well. Sorry. Do I love to have fun with them? That’s one of the best perks of this job. Having fun at every stage in their life. Finding the joy. Finding a way to laugh. Absorbing the sheer unabashed love that I have for them. Moving through their lives slowly, sometimes awkwardly, sometime erroneously, sometime gracefully. It has been an unbelievable experience. I dig my kids.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I have a soft spot for smokers. I smoked for twenty plus years but decided that I wasn’t going to be smoking at forty, so I quit. Sounds so easy. It was so not.
I was rehashing history a while ago with my sister who went with me on one of my many, oh, and I do so mean many, attempts to quit. We went to a hypnotist. I laid back on the couch, my sister sat protectively in a chair behind the hypnotist. He started his soothing talk, swinging a gold object in front of me like a pendulum. You are relaxed (how much did this cost again?) your eyes are getting heavy (what time do I have to be at work?) you are getting slllleeeeppppeeee (better get gas and then take Steph home). This went on for about thirty minutes. I can’t really recall what he said, but I did manage to make a complete grocery and to-do list for the rest of the week. My sister, however, a non-smoker, has no intention of smoking ever again. I remember semi-jogging to the exit in order to light up. I tried Zyban which I nicknamed the Rage Drug because it made me just plain angry. I tried the gum but that just upset my stomach and made me burp. I tried cold turkey but the irritability factor was off the chart, and everyone was throwing cigarettes at me by the end of the first day. I don’t think, looking back, that I really wanted to quit. I enjoyed smoking. I enjoyed everything about it….except the way it made my clothes and hair smell. Rituals revolved around cigarettes, my day, my plans, my involvement all incorporated the minimum standard of one hour between cigarettes. Sitting down in a comfy chair, chatting on the phone with a cup of coffee or tea….ah. Yeah. I loved it.
No amount of “filthy habit” “licking an ashtray” “nail in the coffin” clich├ęs affected me. In fact, it usually made me want to go calm myself or simply just escape with a cigarette. Newsflash! People who smoke…know the ramifications. Anything you tell them, they have heard a million times before. Guilt does not work! I told myself for years that I could quit any time, in fact, I would quit any time smoking impeded my physical activities. I was always able to shimmy around that one. I was addicted. It was the actual product but it was the lifestyle as well. I enjoyed it.
It wasn’t until I started feeling shame. Shame that for all my efforts to make an individual statement against corporations, I was being controlled by one. I was ashamed that I smoked. I decided February 14, 2001 that I would quit with the help of the patch. My husband who was dipping (gag) snuff (hard to imagine that now but oh well) decided to quit too. He was going through almost 2.5 cans a day, which is like six packs of cigarettes. I was petrified because I really felt that this was it, for whatever reason, I didn’t believe that anything else would work for me so I had to succeed. It was a Valentine’s Day gift for my children, my husband and myself. I prayed a lot the night before. Lance used another means to keep him on track..besides the two patches, that is. He is more financially motivated than I am so he started putting the money that he spent on dip and cigarettes in a jar. In less than a week, we had eighty eight dollars in the jar. 88 dollars? In five days? What the heck? No way. But the math was right.
It was not easy. All of my rituals had to be changed. Gone were the days of getting a cup of coffee and a cigarette. Gone were the enjoyable conversations on the phone with my feet up and a cigarette continuously lit by my side. Going and doing something was pretty key – I chose to walk the dogs, instead of smoking. After a couple of days, the dogs, seriously fatigued, looked at me with utter dread when I would grab the leashes. I personally think they were making an effort to avoid me, but that could have been withdrawal. It’s easy to say, oh and after day three it was so much better, because that’s true. But I never thought day three would ever get here. Heck, I didn’t think hour one would ever end! Lance and I started jokingly slapping at the patch like heroin addicts trying to find a vein – come on, work! I was surprised that we were able to do it together. I thought for sure that we would be at each other’s throats. Especially me, since I am the more “passionate” ok, ok, high strung of the two. Three days, literally, felt like a month. It was excruciating.
Once you have finally, finally kicked the physical habit, the mental habit next. “Glory day-ing” the smoking days was huge with me. Ah! Just finished a meal, wouldn’t a cigarette be perfect right now (sigh). Oh! Driving in the car for a long distance, sure could use a cigarette. Every situation brought with it behaviors and habits. I got to a point in March where I could no longer resist the driving desire to just have one more. I got hold of one and like a kid, sneaked around to the side of the house and lit it up, ultra sensitive to any noises, sure that I would get busted. I took a drag. Ah. Joy. Bliss. Heaven. Headache. Nausea. Blaach! I was so ill. All day. Green. It took me back to the beach when Kxx Pxxxx gave me my first cigarette at sixteen, a freakin’ menthol Virginia Slim, smoked it, and got violently ill while sitting then lying on top of some stud guy’s car. Horrible. Best thing I ever did. Not the Virginia Slim, but the sneaked one. Because the glory days ended. Back to reality. I have not craved one since.
One of my main concerns about becoming an ex-smoker was, frankly, becoming an ex-smoker. I’m not real keen on waving my hand in front of my nose, eye rolling and coughing as a smoker passes. The rudeness of that kind of snotty action mortifies me. I remember how I felt when others judged me and I didn’t want to make someone feel that way. Like my mom. My mom smokes and probably always will. I didn’t want to avoid being around her because she smoked. Too high a price if you ask me. I think I would probably have started smoking again if I had an adverse reaction like that.

Lance and I have been tobacco free for almost five years. And here’s my point. Whatever your feelings are about smoking are your feelings, but try to keep in mind that smokers shouldn’t be defined by a vice. My mom is so much more than that. She is a kind, caring, loving, gifted and thoughtful person who just happens to smoke. Don’t look down your nose at people who smoke, especially the polite ones. They are having a hard enough time not feeling like social pariahs as it is. Next time you see someone standing outside a building next to the only ashtray, trying to avoid the freezing rain and driving wind, smile kindly at her. It’ll make her day.
Here We Go Again......
Yesterday in the New York Times an article appeared labeled “White House Was Told Hurricane Posed Danger” and this followed:
“Homeland Security Department report submitted to the White House at 1:47 a.m. on Aug. 29, hours before the storm hit, said, "Any storm rated Category 4 or greater will likely lead to severe flooding and/or levee breaching." The internal department documents, which were forwarded to the White House, contradict statements by President Bush and the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, that no one expected the storm protection system in New Orleans to be breached. "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees," Mr. Bush said in a television interview on Sept. 1. "Now we're having to deal with it, and will."
Other documents to be released Tuesday show that the weekend before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Homeland Security Department officials predicted that its impact would be worse than a doomsday-like emergency planning exercise conducted in Louisiana in July 2004.”

Today, not only is the administration refusing to turn over documents about Katrina or to make senior white house officials available for sworn testimony before two congressional committees investigating the storm response but this administration is also citing “confidentiality of executive branch communications”.

What does this say to you? Well, it does surprise me that the term “national security” wasn’t used, but regardless of the stonewalling, this speaks volumes. He knows for all his bravado, grunting and threatening Neanderthal posturing, he is a tried and true ineffectual leader. I found it difficult to believe that he wasn’t aware of the nightmare that was unfolding at the time in Katrina’s wake. He might be on vaca, but he is briefed, supposedly, on a regular basis. I know that while he is clearing brush from the vast amounts of family property in Crawford, he has some minion trailing him with the goings-on in the country.
The response, when all eyes turned to him and said “lead us”, was to refuse to make eye contact and continue with his agenda.
As arms reached out to him saying “save us”, he plucked a guitar.
And when fingers pointed saying “you deserted us”, he pointed back and said “it was your fault”.
When does teflon w start getting held accountable? How many times does this sort of thing – the refusal to submit documentation, to aid in an investigation, to be truthful – have to happen before we say, you cannot be trusted. You and yours cannot be trusted. He wouldn’t allow an independent committee for the investigation into what went wrong with Katrina, went that route with the 9/11 committee and not exactly the results for which he had hoped. Instead he gets right-leaning demos and republicans to man investigation stations, and guess what? They don’t like it. They don’t like finding something out, and asking for corroborating evidence and being denied. They are going to subpoena not only the documents but also the people involved. You cannot flippantly disregard your responsibilities to the people you are representing. You cannot toss out the term "executive privilege" whenever it suits you. You cannot fail to lead and remain the leader. When does that ever happen? Ever? You cannot break a crystal clear law and say “doesn’t apply to me”.
Supposedly the increase amongst teens engaging in oral sex is attributed to Clinton’s refusal to classify oral sex as sex. What precedent does this set? School zone? Doesn’t apply to me. No stealing? No cheating? Doesn’t apply to me. Leaders lead by example whether they like it or not. Cody is a leader in his grade. When he gets up in class and visits his buddies across the room, everyone else sees it as a cue to do the same. Although everyone is now milling around the room, who is held responsible? That’s right. Because he’s the leader. You get the leader to do the right thing, other people who look to the leader for guidance will follow. Presumably. Scary thought, right now, though.
Can we accumulate a list of what this guy has refused to do, erroneously done, lied about, covered up, done without authority, appointed to key positions, sliced and diced critical programs all the while saying he’s for us? Once that lengthy document is done, being what appears to be a visual nation, will it finally make people realize that this guy is over his head? He is taking advice from the absolute worse possible people with only self-absorbed interests in mind? What will be the straw? What will it take to make good people say (sigh) geez, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do it, but let’s go giterdone. There are so many people that want to believe that he is just misunderstood. They buy into the fear and threat and they want someone who will go and protect them. Fox News reinforces the continuous message by spouting a constant dirge of border threats, predators, molesters, terrorists, shocking this, horrifying that!
Do we really want this kind of leader? Have you ever been so confused about who the heck is leading the country? Why do all those on the right seem so brightened by rove opening his mouth and commenting on domestic spying? Why is what he says so important? Who is he? Was his name on the ticket with bush and mr. Burns? Oops. Sorry. Chaney. No. Yet, he puffs up like those black birds on the side of the road, sticking out his chest, opening his beak in a mock call, wiggling his tail for all the underlings to croon over. Yet, if you notice, the wise birds just make a cursory glance and (was that an eye roll??) go about their business. Time to stop eyerolling. Time to take action. This has got to stop.
Resident in the White House: a note: You said you didn’t know the levees would break. You are quoted. Now there is documentation claiming otherwise. One would think that you would rush to produce the documentation that proves your claim. What’s that expression? Ah! Put up or shut up. Actually, Mr. Resident, put up or get out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What exactly is the war on terror? That is not a rhetorical question, it is one that I have had rolling around my head for about a week. I remember how I felt during the war on communism. Threatened. Frightened. But exactly how do you fight an abstract foe? It’s not like you can look at someone, their passport, voter registration card, student id or drivers license and tell. It is a philosophy. A way of thinking that is not contained by any organized religion or organization. There are places where they seem to congregate, but it appears that terrorism isn’t just being applied to people who want to terrorize, but to anyone that uses alternative, more destructive means to draw attention to their cause. Unfortunately, any time you start diluting in order to broaden the scope, the focus and intensity is lost.
Someone letting minks out of their prisons is not a terrorist. Someone who blows up uninhabited cars and destroys property is not a terrorist. They are vandals and breaking the law, but this does not strike terror in the hearts as did the twin tower disaster, London subway or the Madrid bombings. Dropping a biological or chemical weapon in some form of mass transit, that’s terrorism. Because it is terrifying. I remember watching the second plane go into the tower. It was so surreal. I kept thinking – did that just happen? Your mind starts going into overdrive trying to rationalize the irrational. The image of people throwing themselves out the window will be with me forever. What was the first thing I did once I realized that this was no accident? Got my kids from school. If anything was going to happen, they would be with me. The principal tried to convince me otherwise, but that’s what terror does. It throws us into primitive mode. Survival. Someone trashing an SUV, even if it belongs to me in my driveway, would not make me go into survival mode. It would alarm me. I would feel relatively threatened, but there is protocol in that I can call 911. But there is a huge, gaping difference between true acts of terrorism and some of the things that have happened lately that have been thrown under that heading for alarmist’s sake. There is no protocol for a terrorist attack. It is a shocking and horrifying situation where everyone is thrown into a panic. You can see it on people’s faces in any 9/11 footage. You can remember your own reaction. It is a completely different deal.
But back to my original question. What is terrorism?
“Terrorism” is defined by the US Department of Defense as "the unlawful use of -- or threatened use of -- force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives." (pbs.org)
Does it surprise anyone that “violence against ….. property” is in there? That is so incredibly revealing. We are so involved with things that we put them on the same level as people. You can’t terrorize a picnic bench, a stereo or a car.
I remember when the IRA and the PLO were the big terrorist threats. Especially with the IRA, the bombings and the threat of bombings were extremely stressful. But there are always two sides to every situation. For the most part, the IRA wanted England out of Ireland. Crummy way of doing it, but take a quick peek at history and it turns out that England has long since been a very, very bad guest, always outstaying her welcome. The PLO, again, wanted Israel to sod off, as it were, giving them back their country.
Do I agree with the tactics? No, but here’s the kicker, I understand them. Whenever you have some bad-ass lording over people and country and making everybody miserable, you rarely see them respond to requests for change. Why should they? They are bad-asses. Typically, there is not much military muscle on the other side, so what do you do? You become a freedom fighter! Get rid of the oppressor. That usually involves using whatever means you have available to you, be they Molotov cocktails, rocks, or homemade bombs. Not many see the connection between the attack on 9/11 and other insurgency fighting. But for the most part, the sentiment of the rest of the world is that we (as in the US) don’t respect others, we take what we want, we stomp all over other people’s stuff and their rights, we dump toxic waste in their water, we overtake their economies, making the rules up as we go. Are we like that? The citizenry of this country? No. Absolute polar opposite. But that is how we are construed. Do you think anyone in their right mind would attack the only superpower in a way that the superpower could win? How ridiculous would that be? No. It would have to be covert, swift, devastating and hugely symbolic. And boy was it.
What I cannot understand about all this is Osama. For an administration so focused on “staying the course”…..why didn’t we? If it truly is a war on terrorism, then (ahem) go after the terrorist. It was proven that Osama was involved. We got word of it before, we got word of it after. Dead or alive. Yet he remains, cutting his what? Fifth video? Better than some hip hop stars.
Now we have this expanded net called the war on terror. The war on nightmares. The war on fear. Or rather the fear program. Because that is exactly what it is. It is all around, 24/7. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Good thing we’re in charge, eh? We’ll keep you safe….but first we have to make you feel threatened. Constantly. You don’t want those wimpy guys, those guys who believe in gay marriage protecting us, do ya? They want to sit and diplomatically resolve our differences with the terrorist that want to kill us? Not on my watch, sir, not on my watch! (you can almost see bush saying that can't you?)

I listened to Gush Limpjaw yesterday. What an idiot. Every time he would talk for the progressives, he would lisp. I suppose it was his comical yet feeble attempt to effeminate the liberal point of view.
We don’t disagree with the motives of bush spying on Americans, we just don’t like the procedure.” Lush lisped.
What is up with that? You believe that the laws should apply to all of us, and suddenly your emasculated? Regardless, what was thrown out in defense of illegal spying? National security! Hey, he’s looking out for us. He’s like a vigilant mom with a kid on the internet. Quietly watching over our shoulder.

Gives me the creeps.
I just don’t buy any of this fear-mongering anymore.
I know it’s redundant to ask this question about Iraq, so I’ll ask it about Terrorism….is there a plan? Is there an exit strategy? Is there a time when we won’t be curled up in a ball in the darkened closet with duct tape and plastic sheeting around the door, with our bottled water, our hand cranked radio, flashlight, rocking constantly, reassuring ourselves that it will be alright?
This is what the citizens of superpowers do? I don’t believe there is a war on terrorism. I believe there is a war on terrorizing us and a war on Islam. Plain and simple. There are too many references to crazy Islamic militants, etc. This administration can’t say it outloud yet, because they haven’t quite figured out how to round up the millions of Islamic people in our own country.

How do you fight a belief? How do you battle a value system? How do you wage war against something that exists in someone’s mind? It is not a good enemy. It’s like making clouds your enemy. You cannot get your hands on it. You might get a leader or a second in command, but you will have an infinite number of replacements. Is the current strategy working? The foe that is invisible is impossible to defeat. If you want to change minds that will take more than bullets. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand. Talking and listening and demonstrating through actions and talking some more. Everyone is passionate about their views. Everyone believes they are right. Everyone would die for their country and beliefs. Ok. We get that. That’s ok. We just don’t have to go that route. We have seen it played out over and over again. We have, supposedly, higher levels of reasoning abilities that work. Through diplomacy, listening to other points of view, eventually something within each person, at different times, in different ways will click and see that there are alternatives, that there are better ways. Is that gay? Is that effeminate? I guess I’m gay, because I know it works. It takes an incredible amount of talent, actually. You have to be able to listen. To arbitrate. To patiently negotiate. And you have to be willing to empathize and compromise. Does that make you spineless? Have you ever sat through an arbitration with someone you could not stand on every conceivable level? No room for the weak, my friend. It is exhausting. But guess what? No one dies! No one is maimed! No one’s stuff is destroyed! We can be in a war on terror for the rest of eternity. In fact, that’s how long it will take to win. Or we can be a true superpower and lead by example. Wouldn’t that be golden? That’s not weak. That’s not idealist or unrealistic. It’s what wise people do. Wise enough to know that a war on the abstract is a war that is lost from the onset.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Gotta Go Gotta Go Gotta Go RIGHT NOW!
Have you ever felt like you were just going to blow? You felt it building and you try to reign yourself in, but for whatever reason your blood pressure continues to rise, the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention, you might get a growing knot in your stomach. I’ll use the example of a small child. A precious, darling of a child. You adore this kid, and you do all that you can to protect her but of course you have to trust that others will realize the worth of this prized human being, and tenderly nurture her as you have. You send her to a school, you aren’t crazy about the school but with the wonderful system we have in place, as usual, the money isn’t attached to the person, it is attached to the institution, you send your kid to this school. You hear rumblings of improprieties. You try to investigate but can’t seem to get anywhere. And then you turn the corner to her classroom and you’re in your worse freaking nightmare. Your precious angel of a child being subtly groped and fondled by a sleazy teacher. At what point do you react? Do you run to those involved to get the paperwork started to get rid of this guy? Do you run to a phone and call 911 so the police and come and the creep can shmooze his way out of any charges? Or do you run and do what you have to do to protect your child? The child is this country and its democracy. We have a molester in charge of this country who has sent thousands of our kids to their death in an illegal war, illegally spied on American citizens, run smear campaigns on anyone who speaks out, put incompetent buddies in charge of vital services, lobbyists in charge of the agencies that regulate the very companies for which they advocate, stripped environmental protections to beyond bare bones, has put corporate greed above the needs of the citizens, destroyed our economy and our reputation.
There are times when you say, no more. Yes, the republicans won and have the power. But guess what? 52% of the people in this country believe that Bush should be impeached! 52%! Last time a percentage was used, I believe it was 51%, it was called a mandate. So what is 52%? A direct freakin’ order? Over and over again we heard it said – mandate! mandate! mandate! all over the news. What was the percentage of people that wanted Clinton impeached? 36%? Yet silence from the media on the issue of impeachment. No amount of head bobbing, arrogant dismissal of facts, minimizing of ethical violations or deflection of attention will ever, ever justify blatant law breaking.
It is time for the democrats, the progressives of our nation to say, we pander no more. The people are with us. Their voices are stifled and under-represented, but we can hear them. We now have this thing called “the internet” where thousands upon thousands of independent citizens are connecting the dots, revealing information that is otherwise 86’d by the corporate media, and beating the drum. Alito is a frightening guy. He is the Ted Bundy of the justice pool. Why do you always hear “gosh he was such a quiet guy. Never really had any issue with him at all. Always pleasant. Sure. He was a good neighbor” after some deviant has killed a crapload of people and buried them in his cellar? Because we all know that the evil depicted during our formative years – the ugly, warted, wicked looking person – is not the one to be feared. It’s the guy that you pass every day. It’s the bus driver. The little league coach. They are the ones that fly under the radar. But this Alito guy, he has a record of ruling a certain way. Regardless of how upset his dear wife gets, no matter how harmless he appears, this guy should not be on the Supreme Court.
Simply because the republicans won, does not mean that they can thumb their noses at the majority of people in this country who say –whoa! Wait a minute! I voted you in because you said you are a Christian! You talked about integrity and character! You were going to do the right thing! Well, I hate to tell you folks, but the stuff that republicans do might not be as exciting as Clinton but believe me, it is far more dangerous. You don’t care about spying? Waiting until it affects you or yours, right? Until you go, innocently, to a meeting of an organization that has been infiltrated and your name goes on a list. When the books you read, that your family reads, are scrutinized. When the websites you go to are tracked. When the FBI goes into your house without your knowledge and checks through your stuff. Then it’ll matter. Then you’ll care. The thing is, how do you know it hasn’t already started? Are you that squeaky clean? Or have you fooled yourself into believing the whole “innocent until proven guilty” hymn will be sung for you, because it won’t. Ask any of the number of people who are being held without charge.
I am done. Literally. I am done with all this nonsense and posturing. The people in this country are getting fed up with the lies, the cover-ups, the attempts to distract, and the blatant in-your-face deconstruction of our constitution. How ridiculous is it that the focus is on the whistleblower that revealed what the NSA was doing instead of the illegal acts themselves? How pathetic is it that Abramoff money is being sent to charities as if that somehow rids it of the filth and stench attached to it? How feeble this administration is! That’s the truth about bullies. They are a bunch of hair-twirling mama’s boys that just want to try to look big when they know that they are the weakest of the lot. So, again, I’m done. I don’t want to hear any more from the other side. I am tired of the patent classism and racism spewing from the most vocal of the right. And could the psychosis involved in pointing the finger at Clinton with every fresh, new charge at this administration be any more incomprehensible? I am fed up with the continuous denials of wrongdoing – there are provisions in place for when we are at war and when we are not. You cannot flagrantly disregard procedures and rules under the false guise of national security. You bonehead! You have secret courts to approve this stuff! You have the congress on your side! You have everyone in you flippin’ pocket, and you by-pass because, why? You choose not to read the rules that apply to you? Your team won but, buddy, you blew it. A mandate is a mandate, time to clean house.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Mirror Mirror
From what I gather, there has been quite the hullabaloo regarding Senator Hilary’s comments at an MLK function on Monday. She said that the administration and the house are run like “a plantation” and that this administration will go down in the history books as the worst to a predominantly black group of attendees. I do agree that this administration is the worst ever, but the whole house thing…I don’t know, I'm not in the loop on that whole gig.
I do take issue with the Hillster for her lack of consistency. Ah! The plight of the democrat! What was the Fox News Mantra for Kerry (except the lack of equal time, swift-boating, attacking and negative imagery)? – flip flop flip flop.
I don’t mind her saying what she thinks to this group, just start saying what you think all the time. Don’t say one thing to one group and another to a different group. Of course, you aren’t going to talk about racial equality to a bunch of war vets, likewise you aren’t going to dominate your speech with your stand on education to a gathering of seniors. You absolutely tailor your information to the audience. Public speaking 101. But you don’t fly all over the spectrum saying “good senate” then turning and saying “bad senate”, it makes you look very Sybil-ish.
Let’s say, you have certain beliefs. Let’s take it from my point of view since that’s the one I know best. The issue: animal rights. I can appear somewhat middle of the road on this issue. I will eat with carnivores. I will allow good-natured kidding at my expense. I will nod understandingly as they explain that they don’t eat veal or barely consume red meat anymore. I will say that I understand a carnivore's point of view, because, frankly, I do. But when I am with vegans, I am with my people. I will speak differently to them about the issue than I would to carnivores. Why? Because being right about this issue makes people who are wrong feel badly..hahahahaha! Oh I’m kidding! I adjust my adamant views based on the people around me, because I don’t want to hurt their feelings or make them uncomfortable. Does this mean that I will chow down on a ribeye to be accepted? Hells no! My base principal does not change but how it is conveyed does. I want to be compassionate and open-minded, but I don’t contradict myself in that effort. When it comes to expressing my point of view through my actions, demonstrations, words etc. I believe I am pretty consistent. And that’s where Hillary loses me. Do not try to be a centrist if you are not one. If you are a liberal, be a liberal. There is no reason to cloak your liberalness. It does not make you a baby-killer, a New Age guru, gay or any of the other absurd labels that get affixed to those of us who live to the left.

Gosh, it starts at birth, doesn’t it? The driving desire for acceptance and popularity? We all want to end our speeches to riotous applause, smiles and cheers. Everyone yearns for those moments. But if it entails saying something I don’t believe, then I would rather walk off the stage dodging tomatoes and a cacophony of boos and hisses. Not exactly hovering six inches of the floor by the audience’s adulation but at least I didn’t sell my soul. I don’t consider it to be insulting to be called a liberal. What I do not like is wondering where my alleged leaders actually stand on very important issues. You cannot have it both ways. If you say you are for a woman’s right to choose, say it. If you are against the war, say it. If you want national health, say it. If you think gay people should be able to marry, say it. All the time. And VOTE that way! What happens repeatedly is that demos say no to war, and then vote for it. They say equal rights and then vote against it or vote for someone who is against it. You will never be deemed a good leader if you don’t say what you really think. Even when it's hard. Even when you can be punished or even killed for it. Bush kind of says what he really thinks, but that’s a completely different thing because he lies a lot and he can’t be trusted. But if you say to your peers – oh yeah. I love it here! The house. The senate. Golly they rock. Then you get up in front of people who you know don’t like the people in the house and senate and you start saying – oh yeah. The house. The senate. They suck. You have tossed your paddles over the side and you are now stuck in the creek without them.
Say what you mean. We are tired of apologists. We are tired of lefties pretending to be fence sitters. There’s nothing wrong with being objective and open to other’s opinions. But you have to have your own opinion or you are just a mirror. We don’t need a mirror for a leader, because who knows what the reflection will be next.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Special K
So what is the K Street Project? A fitness program? A response to the British Downing Street Memo? From the repub side, it is described as an answer to the 40-year stranglehold the demos had on the house and the senate. I am often baffled by this kind of response to scrutiny. I have received it not only from my own children but also from every child I have ever encountered, when confronted by a big mistake, problem or mismanagement.
“He started it!”
“She did it first!”
12 years ago, in 1994 Majority Party Whip DeLay wanted to ensure that repubs kept hold of the house and senate. K Street is where most of the lobbying firms and trade associations have their offices in Washington. DeLay launched The K Street Project so that the money flowing from K Street firms flowed only to repubs. Demo lobbyists were replaced by repub ex-staffers. If demos were hired by any of the firms, repubs found out about it and would not pass certain bills or other such legislation that would benefit the clients of that particular firm. DeLay actually had a binder on his desk that specifically stated how much money these companies had given to the repubs and demos. When a lobbyist came in, he would open the book and see how much his company had given to both parties determining if business would be done (this is on the record as something he has admitted). The premise was “I am busy, why should I open my door to someone who isn’t a team player?” Pay to play was the catch phrase. Is this a repub borne strategy? Highly doubtful, but I don’t think that really has much to do with anything. The “he started it” war cry should always followed by “but who finished it?”
There is always going to be networking. I will hire my friends and people I know to be capable of the work and for whose integrity I can account. It will always be that way. I think that most people feel that having others work for you is a lot less risky if you know them and their character. Closed-door negotiations or rather, arm twisting, based on how much someone has contributed to your party instead of the actual necessity or legitimacy of the legislation being discussed has “Katrinized” the entire game of lobbyists and special interests groups. The cover of secrecy is blown off and the ugliness is revealed. And it is ugly. Put aside who’s involved and focus on the facts. People pay money, give gifts, pay salaries to spouses, offer vacations to get something from people we elect into office. It’s nauseating. But let’s not kid ourselves and act like we didn’t know that something like this was going on. We knew. We didn’t know how bad it was, at least, I didn’t. It’s hard to stay on top of this stuff. There is so much information and misinformation, as well as dismissing, minimizing and attacking, it is so difficult to sort out fact from fiction from mere commentary.
We have got to stop reclining in our easy chairs and allowing people to “take care of business”. Everyone, except the Mayor of Sugar Land, that I have ever spoken to has shown disgust for Tom DeLay, for years. I mean, everyone. Even the most right wing neocon. Yet he gets re-elected. Why? We all knew he was a scammer, right? He won because the money, connections and power were behind him.
We are finding out, recently, that money doesn’t necessarily always win. Over the weekend a single mother, ex-political prisoner with no male connection to power was voted President of Chile! A woman president in South America! Un-freakin-believable! Aren’t they like, hugely chauvinistic? What makes this even more staggeringly unreal is that her opponent was a billionaire. All that money didn’t buy him anything but defeat. The moral of this little tiny story is – money does not always win. When people start realizing that the people with the most money are not automatically the best leaders, and start voting in people that REPRESENT them, we all win. Represent, embody, characterize, symbolize. That’s what the people in Washington are supposed to be doing. That’s what we trust them to do. Are they doing it? Most of them are not. Does this make us suckers? Not really. When you have elected officials, you believe that these officials are going to remain aware that you have the power to remove them when they are not doing their job. Regardless of tenure or ties, they can be yanked out. What is the point of a representative, after all, if you have to follow them around every second, checking their work, wiping their nose, ensuring that they are above board? You might as well go yourself and ditch the rep. So we trust that the people in office will remain true to their promise. However, when transparency is a dirty word that is constantly downplayed as something that could hinder our national security, then we get confused. Suddenly, all the inner workings and dealings become so complicated because we have no idea what’s going on or how things are done. When the waters get muddied or the cave becomes so dark we can’t see, we think, well, they get a lot of information that we don’t, we have to trust that they know that they are there to be us. They are there as us – you and me. Tom DeLay is (gag) me! I didn’t ever vote for him, but he is there as me. And I don’t think I’m behaving very admirably. I don’t believe that I am behaving very honorably.
We have got to start holding these guys accountable. We need to inject more citizen action groups that are sanctioned by the federal government to oversee the “business as usual” actions of working government. People from all walks of life, not just lawyers or judges or doctors or professionals, but everyday people. Give them training. For example: a citizen’s lobbyist watch group. Before any lobbyist can present anything to anyone, they have to present to a 12 or 24 or 6 member body that “oversees” lobbyists. Their intent, their proposals etc. are filtered through this group. If this lobbyist gains approval, but deviates from their original proposal then their company is barred from conducting business for, say, five years. I think our country has grown so large and so diverse that we need additional citizens in Washington to oversee the goings-on. It is a lot of pressure to be offered a bunch of really cool stuff and have to turn it down. Expecting the reps to come up with guidelines and provisions and other such restrictions to modify their own behavior is unrealistic. We need normal people who will invest in our democracy by helping out with the extra work. They all don’t even have to be in Washington. There is so much technology that would allow people to be involved from around the country. Politicians are representing thousands of people. It is time we start incorporating more citizens into the system, so that there are more eyes. And with more eyes, comes more understanding, and more transparency. This can reach all the way into Medicaid/Medicare graft and bilking, to additions to bills that for the most part get added on without anyone reading them. Groups of people, rotated in yearly, maybe every couple of years, depending on the work, who in turn feel they have contributed and “get” how our government works, and are therefore more inclined to be able to explain it to others and be more involved. Many people are disgusted with the whole mess. I remember thinking that I didn’t like liars so I didn’t want to be involved with politicians. It took a lot to make me finally realize that these guys are me. Now, I get it. Now I want my tarnished image cleaned up. I know many people could give a rat’s bottom about what the rest of the world thinks of us. But I care. I care because I do believe in diplomacy and I do believe America is a great country. I do believe that united we stand, I just happen to believe that we should be united as a world, not just as a country. We don’t have to go around kicking everyone’s ass to be strong. We cannot spread democracy to other areas of the world when we can’t even get it right here. Stop pointing at the splinter in someone else’s eye and starting focusing on the log in our own. We got a helluva log. Let’s sort that out now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Little Clarification
Alright, I just got through doing a little surfing and I have to clarify a couple of things. Just because I am a vegan does not mean that I am a freak. I am not particularly aware of positive or negative energy in my house or swirling around my loved ones. I cannot say that I have ever actually had the pleasure...or displeasure of centering my Chi. I had out of body experiences when I was really young but haven't had any since I was twelve. I don't see auras. I think they exist but I don't see them. I don't see dead people and cannot communicate with anyone who has passed. I don't feng my shui. In fact, I don't feng anyone's shui. I'm sure it works for some people but I don't know what it is. I don't "unschool". I pay taxes. I don't hear the carrots or broccoli screaming - but if you do, you might want to see someone. I rarely wear tie-dye and I do get my hair cut. I might not be that into makeup, but mostly that's a safety issue. I lived with a girl that wore her makeup 24/7, and one day I saw her without it. It frightened me. I didn't know who she was. If I had owned a gun, I could have shot her as an intruder. I don't want to be shot. So I wear a little makeup just to be safe. I do wear Birkenstocks but only because I had them before I went vegan. Now I don't buy anything leather - because it isn't a by-product of the cattle industry, it is an actual product. I don't wear "peasant" skirts or poofy shirts. I am a shorts and t-shirt gal. I don't kum-ba-ya or have any weird rituals that involves nakedness, circles in the woods or animal parts. I do like candles but I think that's because I am a scents kinda person not necessarily because I am into any candle based philosophies - if they exist. Sure I like patchouli, but so does my mom and she's way conservative. I like being outside. I like camping. But not in the nude. That might frighten fellow campers and I am polite camper. I also don't like the idea of poison ivy getting anywhere where it is inappropriate to scratch in public. I don't do folk music simply because I can't play the guitar. I like to pretend to play the guitar and jam out, but that has started to embarass the boys quite a bit, so I only do that when they are not around. I don't practice witchcraft because I think it's a little silly. I like the whole New Age idea, but when long haired guys who obviously wouldn't get a second look in the major cities are conducting "sex workshops" on the weekend with married couples in a remote location, it kinda creeps me out. I like a good massage. I actually like a pedicure periodically, but not a manicure simply because it's pointless. The color chips within a matter of minutes. I never followed the Grateful Dead, mostly because I didn't really like their music all that much. They're cool, but just not for me. I like Dave Matthews though, and his group is Grateful Dead-ish. I never lived communally. I never went backpacking in Europe (although it is something I sincerely regret not doing and I am encouraging my boys to do it if they want to). I think I've been in a VW Bus once. I don't put flowers in my hair because my hair is so thin that the stems end up making the most hideous knots and the flowers attract all kinds of pestulance that I would prefer to remain far away from my hard drive, thank you very much. I could rasta my hair very easily but choose not to. I would prefer to shoot the peace sign than the finger but can do both with prompting. I don't eat animals because I really like them. Always have. They are innocent. I like that. They are basic. I really like that. And they are misunderstood which I can really, really appreciate.
So I am not a kook. Or after reading the above, maybe I am, but I like the way I'm living so far, and nothing had to be hurt for me, so it's not a bad lifestyle. I am extremely focused on who I am as a person and stepping lightly on the earth...no, not mother earth, just earth. Although I have been accused of being a communist, a socialist, and some other things very angry people are compelled to label me, I am not any -ist. Ok. Maybe an environmentalist, but that's just because I always want the option of running up to the campground or the reserve to recharge and feel better. I don't meditate and I don't "commune" with nature...I don't think. I just think God is so present in the natural world and the closer I can get to God the better I feel.

Diving in with Ice Cube
It appears that others see that the race issue needs further examination. Not the blatant confederacy, KKK, white power type of racism but the continuous, acceptable flow that exists everywhere, every moment of the day. I want to say it’s ignorance but I think that would be ignorant. You can tell. You can tell when someone knows when they are saying something they shouldn’t say. The other day, Cody did a re-enactment of someone about to tell a racist joke or make a racist comment. The swiveling of the head looking right, then left and then the ducking in, moving closer to the recipient for the commentary. It’s everywhere from the seemingly positive (well, you know, Orientals take school so much more seriously) to the obviously negative (blacks and Hispanics bring the property value down. It’s a fact! That doesn’t make me racist!!). Now it looks like a show (created by Ice Cube and Culter - the guy who did The War Room) on FX in March will be diving head first into this taboo arena. Not in a “wife swap” kind of way, which can be quite entertaining simply because the two subjects are so polar opposite, so there’s conflict and of course, there’s always something to be learned from “the other side”. To me, the Trading Races is more like a scientific study goes Hollywood. I could be wrong, as I only caught a little on the news and have only been able to find limited, regurgitated information on the web. Doesn’t it seem that there is one guy out there interviewing, documenting and reporting the news and everyone else just kind of gets his stuff and has one of their people read or write it? To me it does.

Anyway, shockingly, I digress.
Two families. One white, the other black. They live in the same house for a month to six weeks. State of the art makeup artists have each person in the makeup chair for a grueling five hours (it bugs me if I have to spend more than thirty seconds doing the whole makeup gig). The black family is turned into a white family, and vice versa. They go about their business experiencing life “from the other side” and then go home and interact with each other. Stereotyping reaches so many different levels from language to interpersonal relationships to sports to education, it simply does not end. Why? Because no one likes to be caught off guard, blindsided if you will. If you can anticipate someone else’s response or actions in a certain situation you have, in your mind, maybe got the upper hand or can gauge your reaction. No one likes to be “out of control”. Don’t we all do that? When we have to deliver unpleasant news to someone, how many different scenarios do we play in our heads? We try to anticipate. The only way we can anticipate is to use from our own frame of reference and other outside sources. I don’t only go by the information that I have personally experienced but I also try to glean from external sources, trusted sources. It helps to empower us. But much of the time we garner from sources that are less than trusted. Are less than honorable. Simply because we do not know the ulterior motives. We do not realize or want to acknowledge that many of the sources of information today have ulterior motives. Correction. Strike today. This is not a condition that is exclusive to our generation. Rather it has existed since the beginning. I wasn’t there, but I can safely say that it has always been this way. The reason democracy is a great idea is because it involves everyone. As much as those in power want to cast the communist light on those of us who believe we all should be involved in our society, that is the actual definition of democracy. A societal government run by and for the people. Unfortunately, any time you start working with people all of their vices, shortcomings, sinful behaviors, and ulterior motives come into play. That is why it is crucial to have everyone involved. When you only have, say, a certain segment of society represented, democracy is weakened, because so many are left without a voice. But those in power, throughout history, have always wanted to spin a positive light on their leaders’ actions. As it stands currently, information is shared with the masses by only a few people. Because of certain deregulations within the FCC, what used to be a very diverse market is now very very narrow. Only a few rich white guys own all the sources of information – cable news, newspapers, magazines, publishing, satellite etc. Not a good thing. That’s why I listen to community radio – like Pacifica. Ones without corporate ties.
I’ve done it again, haven’t I? Geez. Digression is a disease.
This “Black. White.” premise is promising. You get the titillating tidbits – the guy at the counter telling the black-now-white guy that it’s a good “white” neighborhood actually saying it’s the last bastion. This is not unusual. I would love to express surprise and stagger back holding my hands to my mouth sputtering the words “NO! It can’t be!” I have seen it over and over again. Racist commentary expressed like air through the nasal passages. What I do find perplexing is the assault on political correctness. Say..wha?
The definition:

- Of, relating to, or supporting broad social, political, and educational change, especially to redress historical injustices in matters such as race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.

Why do people find this so objectionable? Why do people balk at the notion of having to think about the offensiveness of their commentary? I would think it is because people want to speak freely, express their honest opinion without having to bowdlerize those opinions because of others over-sensitivity. Or is it that people get really really frustrated having to change anything they are in the habit of doing? Could be a mix of both. I remember driving a neighbor’s kid to school with my boys. He wasn’t my favorite kid on the block, frankly, he was the least favorite. But his mom was working and he needed a ride, so I thought I would help.
I don’t know what brought it up but this kid started in on the infiltration of Asians (from India to China to Japan –hated them all) into our neighborhood. How it used to be such a great neighborhood but now it was ruined. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw his mom and dad sitting in my backseat. I, being my usual diplomatic self, told him that if I heard another racist word come out of his mouth, he was walking. Everyone has just as much a right to live here as he and his family do. Sheesh. Third grade. It wasn’t him. It was what he heard at the dinner table, in the kitchen, in response to news report, in response to a traffic altercation. Kids are sponges and they usually pick up the filth that we adults throw down. Even the most innocent and miniscule germ laden remark is picked up and stored.
On the show, not only do we get the outside world’s response to race but we get the inside view as well. The families chosen are purposefully open minded. It isn’t like they are looking for redneck racists to score on. I believe what they are trying to expose is not the extreme but the normal. What we truly experience every day. What has become the magnet on the refrigerator or the appliance on the counter, something we see repetitively to the point that we no longer register it. The casual barb. I believe at one point the white woman uses the word bitch in a conversation. She is surprised by the negative response, and we see her crying saying “I was just trying to talk black.” These are not people whom one would consider racist or insensitive. It appears the makers of this show made a conscious effort to get people that were acutely aware of social injustices and made an attempt to pay particular attention to their actions. I find that so telling. I don’t think there is a human being in this country that does not have a streak of racism somewhere within themselves. I think the moment you say you are not a racist, you set yourself up to be categorized under the heading “denial”. What causes this is anyone’s guess and I’m sure that there is some governmental study being conducted as I write being funded by our tax dollars that is trying to find the answers. I think that we have all experienced negative incidents with members of the opposite sex and members of other races and religions. Unfortunately, those negative incidents are burned into our training, and depending on when it happened during the formation of ourselves determines the significance. If you are molested as a small child by an uncle, it is almost certain that there will be something in your mind that triggers distrust towards older men. If you are attacked by a group of white men as a teen, you will have strong feelings about groups of white men in the future. Is this stereotyping? Well, if you freak out every time you see a group of white men, there’s a problem. But if you assess the group with a sense of caution, using that experience to make you wise yet not fearful you are not stereotyping. Some incidents are so traumatic, so life-altering it is almost beyond comprehension to believe that one can ever overcome the destruction. But it seems to me that when incidents that occur involving a certain segment of our society are magnified, repeated and emphasized by a biased media that seems to use stereotyping as standard practice, it would cause an incredible burden. Imagine living in poverty, which in of itself is wrought with violence fear and uncertainty. Imagine being a bright teen who takes school very seriously and is desperately trying to make it out of the situation into which he was born. It is exhausting, battling the constant pressure of those who mean you harm, of those pulling at you for your time your attention your efforts your resources. Imagine having to guard the little you have all the time, because there is always someone with less who wants what you have. You can never drop your guard. You can’t dress as you want, perhaps presenting in a more conservative “bookish” way because again, you will be targeted by your peers. So you dress down, you dress as they do. Then you are in the wrong place at the wrong time and your life is over. Because of the actions of others around you, because of the reporting of media sources bias in regards to societal position and race, you are cast as someone you are not. I can not begin to fathom what that boulder looks like from below and how impossible that mountainous incline must seem. To point at a success story and say “see he did it!” is like expressing that two swimmers are equals when one has a rock tied around his ankle. All might seem equitable on the surface, but who knows what lies beneath?
Quite a while ago, my brothers, sister and I got together and decided to get my mom a car phone. The thought of her having car trouble, stranded in the dead of night, on an abandoned road, in the woods….well, we wanted her to be safe. Sure enough, she gets the phone and promptly breaks down. What I remember most about her story was that three separate cars stopped to help her. All of them black.
To me that is so incredibly significant. I have found that to be true on almost every occasion in my own personal experience. I think back to the number of times I have had car trouble, and every time, it has been either a black man or a man from what appears to be modest means that stops to render aid. The cliffnotes should never ever replace the novel. We really need to try to see the individual. Remember, Bundy was a good-looking white guy. You just never know what someone is all about from the exterior.

So, I am looking forward to this show. The more insightful, circumspect shows that cause us to reflect, to consider our own perspectives, the better.