It doesn't get any better than this...ever.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
My fellow Americans: We are a country in debt and in decline — not terminal, not
irreversible, but in decline. Our political system seems incapable of producing
long-range answers to big problems or big opportunities. We are the ones who
need a better-functioning democracy — more than the Iraqis and Afghans. We are
the ones in need of nation-building. It is our political system that is not
Friedman's advice: vote for the presidential candidate who you think can reverse the decline. Who is that?
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
This is a decision that will cost innocent lives, cause immeasurable pain
and suffering and turn America into a more dangerous country. It will also
diminish our standing in the world, sending yet another message that the United
States values gun rights over human life.
We still execute people at the same time that we refuse to provide health care to about 50 million of our own citizens, we now proudly tout our "right" to kill each other with guns, we invade and occupy foreign countries on false premises, kill hundreds of thousands of civilians, and the list goes on and on. As a country we are barbarians. This is how we are viewed by other more civilized peoples.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
PHOTO: Peonies and roses in bloom in our garden
Monday, June 23, 2008
"The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of
these things — bad language and whatever — it's all caused by one basic thing,
and that is: religious superstition," Carlin told the AP in a 2004 interview.
"There's an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts
of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt
and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body. ... It's
reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have." - from YahooNews
Yes, "wonderful" religion has caused more grief over things sexual including the demonization of gay people, yet so many gays still cling to religious beliefs in spite of the oppression that they suffer at the hands of organized religion. It's like being a gay Republican! George Carlin was right. Not me: no religion, no thanks!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
If I can't trust Obama to understand what is at stake in California and do
the right thing with all of the historical and intellectual perspective he
brings to this election - then why would I believe for one moment that he will
act on my behalf on an array of issues once he is elected?
From Raw Story, here's the scoop on this:
"The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation," Senator
Russ Feingold said
today. "The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which
effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have
participated in the President’s illegal program, and which fails to protect the
privacy of law-abiding Americans at home. Allowing courts to review the question
of immunity is meaningless when the same legislation essentially requires the
court to grant immunity. And under this bill, the government can still sweep up
and keep the international communications of innocent Americans in the U.S. with
no connection to suspected terrorists, with very few safeguards to protect
against abuse of this power. Instead of cutting bad deals on both FISA and
funding for the war in Iraq, Democrats should be standing up to the flawed and
dangerous policies of this administration."
So much for Obama and change. He is beginning to look like another version of Bill Clinton - doing what is politically expedient rather than what is right.
PHOTO: Another blossom that lasts for too short a time - our peony bush.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Congratulations to all of my gay brothers and sisters who are marrying now or in the coming weeks and months!
PHOTO: One of our beautiful bearded iris blooms - which we get to enjoy for all too short a period in June each year
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I admired Russert for his journalistic dedication to political neutrality. I could never be as kind as he was to some of the crackpots of the far right that he dealt with on the show. But that was how he saw his job. He will be missed.
PHOTO: An outdoor concert In Oviedo, Spain.
Friday, June 13, 2008
So yesterday, for the third time, the high court made clear that the Decider has
no authority to trash the fundamental principles of American jurisprudence. In
ruling 5 to 4 that foreigners held at Guantanamo Bay have the right to challenge their detentions in
federal court, the court cited the Constitution and the centuries-old concept of habeas corpus.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's majority opinion seems broad and definitive
enough to end the Kafkaesque farce at Guantanamo once and for all.
and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary
times," Kennedy wrote. Again, it's amazing that any president of the United
States would need to have such a basic concept spelled out for him.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
PHOTO: One of the distinguishing features of Gothic architecture, the "flying buttress," which allows for the soaring interiors of cathedrals like the one in Leon, Spain.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
"The most important thing now is to hold on to the win in California.
Marriage in California will transform the national debate on the freedom to
marry. It will do that because the decision is well-reasoned constitutional
law from the most influential state court in the nation. It will do that
because California is an American trendsetter. But marriage in California
will do those things only if we can hold onto it. There is a proposal on
the November ballot to ban marriage between lesbian and gay couples. That proposal would put into the California Constitution a clause that only allows
heterosexual marriages . The fundamental freedom to marry would be denied to
lesbian and gay couples, and the concept of treating people differently
would be written into the California Constitution. We think we can
beat this because Californians don’t want unnecessary government intrusion into their lives and don’t want people treated unfairly under the Constitution
So please, send whatever you can to Equality for All
(http://www.equalityforall.com), the campaign to defeat the initiative and
preserve the freedom to marry in California."
No matter where you live, even if you live on Fire Island, where too many people think that all the money raised for good causes MUST stay "on the island" (how provincial!), now is the time to donate whatever you can to keep marriage equality a reality in California.
Monday, June 9, 2008
PHOTO: Cathedral rose w \indow in Leon, Spain
Saturday, June 7, 2008
If you are having trouble reading it, I'll help. The poverty level in 2003 was 12.5% and in 2004 it moved to 12.7%. 1.1 Million MORE people were in poverty than the prior year or 37 million total. Those stats aren't cherry picked or made up, they're right off the White House Econ site. And by the way, if you'd like to recognize some stats that matter, household income took a small loss. Not good because apparently it can mean the difference between eating/seeing a doctor and living below the poverty line.
Still think our chief executive should be thinking about our economy? If this were a company, most of the management would be seeing legal council about now. Wake up America, this is serious fuck up of epic proportions.
Louise and I go round and round on voting because I won't vote for the lesser of two evils. I won't vote for a candidate on one side because the other side is so much worse.
So I wrote back to Louise that I'm considering voting for Obama...BUT:
If the Senator were fully supportive of marriage equality, I would be much more inclined to vote for him. However, he does not support the right of gays and lesbians to legally marry. In this he is actually behind the curve. Marriage equality has been in effect in Mass. for several years now, and in a few short weeks gays and lesbians anywhere in the country will be able to marry legally in California. But the political calculation trumps even what has already been recognized in two states as right and just. That is unfortunate and leaves many gay men and lesbians feeling that they cannot support Obama. It's not just me. You can read the gay blogs and the disappointment is obvious. That he is so much more desirable on other issues than any Republican doesn't help much. We need a leader with the courage to do what he knows is right when it comes to gays and lesbians.
Have you noticed that gas costs have skyrocketed, unemployment is up substantially, costs for normal people are going through the roof and our stock market looks like a carnival ride?
Have you noticed that $600 to to families so they could buy more garbage at Walmart from China hasn't worked?
The point I am making is that GW Bush and crew and 8 years of Republican rule got us here. Not the Democrats, not Senator Clinton or Senator Obama but Republicans. And now we're getting precious little from them except finger pointing at Democrats.
Essentially the lies and skewing of reality has stopped because we're spending too much and not building enough as a country. My point is over. Now the question is what can we do about our economic mess?
PS The only one's (as far as I can tell) that are uncorking the champagne bottles are oil companies, Saudis and some hedge funds. I wonder if the rest of us have to go "eat cake"?
Thursday, June 5, 2008
"Bolthouse Farms, founded in 1915, is a vertically-integrated farm company located
in California's San Joaquin Valley
and headquartered in Bakersfield,
California. According to the business research company Hoover's, Bolthouse Farms is
one of the United States's leading
producers of carrots. Madison Dearborn
Partners has a 57% stake in Bolthouse that was acquired in 2005, the
remainder of the company is still family-owned. The company has attracted
controversy due to their Conservative Christian political associations and due
to their handling of a botulism outbreak originating from their product."
Bakersfield carrot farmer William Bolthouse donated $100,000 to an initiative aiming to fight gay marriage — a measure that will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot along with the presidential race. Source: http://people.bakersfield.com/home/Blog/politicsanyone/27751
 Bolthouse Foundation
Bolthouse Farms company profits are used to support the The Bolthouse Foundation, which supports groups including Evangelical Christian organizations.
Controversy surrounds the foundation as it, along with figures such as Blackwater Worldwide founder Erik Prince, are major donors for the Alliance Defense Fund that is itself criticized for their perceived legal team offense against Separation of church and state (as defined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution), their stance against homosexuality, their focus on proselytism, as well as their opposition to birth control and sex education amongst other reasons.
The controversy surrounding the company has led some Bolthouse consumers to boycott Bolthouse Farms products
From the Bolthouse Farms web site:
The purpose of this Company is to glorify God through our business
transactions, our work, and our relationships. It is further our desire to bring
honor and glory to the Name of Jesus Christ by following God's Word in all of
our dealings with employees, suppliers, and customers. God's Work as contained
in His Inspired Scriptures will be the final authority in all Corporate matters
concerning direction, decisions, and disputes.
PHOTO: The part-shade section of the garden here at Liberty Bell, our beach house on Fire Island
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
PHOTO: Beautiful Iris in our beach house garden
If I were her, however, I think I would prefer to remain in the Senate, which is likely to be solidly under Democratic Party control, as will the House Of representatives, rather then play second bananna to President Obama.
If I were Obama, I would not want to run with Mrs. Clinton, and have to deal with all the baggage she would bring, most notably her husband, whose behavior becomes more and more bizarre and unseemly for an ex-president as time goes on.
One thing is clear: Obama needs to try to bring closure to the Democratic primary campaign if he can. However, Mrs. Clinton can continue to contest the nomination right up to the convention. Pundits are split on whether or not she will do this, and on her motivations for not conceding. The next few days will be interesting to watch.
PHOTO: One of my favorite flowers, the Foxglove. I'm trying to get them started in the garden here at the beach so that they come back by themselves each year.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Wagoner announced the moves in response to slumping sales of pickups and SUVs brought on by
high oil prices. He said a market shift to smaller vehicles is permanent.
shares rose 43 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $17.87 in midday trading.
Imagine that: the US stock market actually rewards GM for being years late to realize the need for more fuel efficient cars! I realized it four years ago when we sold our big SUV and bought a fuel efficient, 4 cylinder, manual transmission Saturn. Actually, I realized 35 years ago during the first gas shortages and the first "energy crisis."
IT'S ABOUT TIME.
Photo: A detail of the really old stained glass at Leon.
...a majority of Californians (51 per cent) now supports same-sex marriage!
Only 42 per cent disapprove. But 62 per cent of born-again Christians in
California oppose permitting gay and lesbian couples to marry. I don't mind
these 62 per cent being born again, but why did they have to come back as
Monday, June 2, 2008
As for Obama, he did the politically necessary thing by resigning from his church, even though much truth is spoken in that church, truth that is especially relevant to African Americans. The church will go on, and Obama will go on - down their separate paths, as Rev. Wright said.
It's too bad that you have to sell your soul to be elected to office in this country. Idealism is too soon shattered by political realities. If Obama is elected, I hope he can maintain some of his idealism through the political battering that he will endure as soon as he steps into the oval office. Call me cynical, but I don't have high hopes. By the way, read Gary Hart's spot on article on idealism vs. pragmatism over at Huffington.
PHOTO: The stained glass in the Gothic Cathedral at Leon, Spain is some of the finest I've seen anywhere and rivals even Chartres, after which this magnificent cathedral was initially patterned.