In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
Just a Note . . .

to let you know that I have had, or will have, so many operations that I can’t even remember them. They’re no great thing, but I want to be sure that you all feel terribly sorry for me.

The first thing that I can remember happening is that I tripped over a carpet at the bank and fell flat on the floor, without even having time to put my hands out to break the fall. (I intend to sue the bank for property rights to the security film.) Anyway, I fell very hard on my right hip (the one I shattered a few years ago), and right knee. The blood from the knee quickly worked its way down to the bottom of my foot, leaving bruising all the way. My hip still hurts, so we will watch it, but it may not have done any further injury to the previous injury.

Next came a biopsy to a lump on my left eyelid, which turned out to be a basal cell carcinoma, and she didn’t get it all, so she will be sending me to a specialist for a second operation.

Next came several treatments for my arthritic spine, followed by a more invasive operation in which they severed some of the nerves in my spine. My pain has already begun to lessen, and I am standing straighter, though working with either a stroller, a staff, or a cane. I hope that portends a better future.

Next comes my operation on and around the thumb on my right hand. Something was done in a previous operation having to do with the nerves, but this time it will be more involved. There will be a carpal tunnel release, surgery to the thumb to replace the basal tendon, and on the joint above that.

I am crying so hard that I can hardly see through my tears to write down how pathetic I am. (At least I didn’t break my thumb, which is what my dear friend Judy did to hers, so I’d better dry my tears and shut up.)

The only really bad thing is that my right hand and thumb will be out of service for a while. Anyway, I’ll write when I can. Carl is looking for a new mouse for such injuries. In the meantime, I’ll have plenty of time to read your stuff.

Obama Grabs Headlines

Click on this!

I double dare you!

And then, keep on clicking!

Scroll some, and click some more!

Test of Faith, Addendum

Test of Faith Addendum

In my previous blog titled Test of Faith, I mentioned the article about the Gulf War which recounted the war atrocities committed by American soldiers. Here is the link:

Written by Patrick J. Sloyan, the title is What Bodies? It was printed in November 2002.


Tough Times

Gasoline prices going down right now are a help, but many other important commodities are going up, and chief among them are groceries, which everyone needs. It has occurred to me as an atheist socialist that the people hit hardest by these times are those at the lower end of the income ladder. So I decided to give a raise to my housekeeper and my gardener. Both were surprised and each told me no one else had made such a gesture. My housecleaner said none of her employers had offered financial help with her operation for breast cancer either, and she rides the bus and walks the rest of the way to work. For many people in her position, the easiest approach in this land of opportunity will be to just let their employees go.


Test of Faith

This country, once thought to embody freedom for all citizens, regardless of color, origin, or belief, has turned into a religious oligarchy with Christianity at the zenith. Other faiths are tolerated as long as they are led by some supernatural being. Actually, that may have been an a myth which we were all encouraged to accept as true.

Those who do not believe in such a myth, whatever they think, are both suspicious and unacceptable to membership in this “democracy.” Regardless of their education, experience, intelligence, and just plain goodness, nonbelievers somehow just don’t fit in if they are “known” for what they are.

And so it has come to pass that the main theme of this election has become religion. And as the myth continues to grow, those with education, experience, intelligence, and just plain goodness who find solid ground without the necessity of the certitude of salvation by God take on a malevolent cast. They are comingled with but unwelcomed by many who worship their God in the hope of receiving their own personal salvation. And many of the believers, especially those known as evangelical Christians, and their crusade, like Sen. McCain’s, must be military, with enemies who must be conquered and destroyed in order to satisfy the Word of God.

It is not a welcoming, accepting form of worship; there is an onslaught of evil which must be conquered and converted by the forces of good, or utterly destroyed if it cannot be convinced or converted to the Will of God. Thus, the lives of our soldiers are sacred and surrendered to the Christian God, while those of the enemy (also created by God) are as nothing. (Incidentally, long before the two years during which I have had a computer and have become an old-lady geek, I read a magazine article, and possibly wrote about it, I read a horrifying description of Bush One’s armies moving across the Sahara(?) Desert, digging ditches in the sand with bulldozers to bury the dead enemy (with the same bulldozers), among them many who were still alive but injured and unable to help themselves. I’ll try to find it for you in the days to follow.) Oh, God, I love religion!

Now that the election is over, I rejoice in the election of Barack Obama with millions
of other people, and place all of my trust in his education, experience, intelligence, and just plain goodness to lead us into a century of great of intellectual and spiritual growth
which does not require membership in any specific belief other than caring for the earth and all of its inhabitants, whether animal or mineral.

What worries me, however, is the continuing involvement of religion, especially the evangelical Christians, who will allow no belief in any philosophy other than theirs, and insist that the rest of the nation be governed accordingly. The rights of women to deal with their own bodies as they see fit, and the right of other humans to end their own lives as they near death, with the help of supporters if necessary. But the attempt to refuse gays who love each other very much, and are devoted to their own God the right to dignify their union in their own church, is probably the meanest intervention of all. If their pastor is also your pastor, and he is willing to perform the ceremony, then you might want to change pastors. In most cases, you do not even know the people involved. If their marriage would sully your church, it would seem best to try another church, or even another religion.

The attempts across the country to codify these various attacks on the rights of others is what I would call heresy. Even if none of these legal attempts by others make it into (or out of existing) law, you should kneel and pray to your God for forgiveness for even considering them.

The Republican Party has some evolving to do

I've just read a very important article by William Edelen in the Santa Barbara News Press. The editorial article is titled "Republican Party has some evolving to do". Here's a brief exerpt from the article and a link to it on the News Press website. However, you will need to register on the website to read the remainder of the article. I believe it's worth it to register to read it.

November 2, 2008: Sarah Palin has said that she does not believe in evolution. Neither does the Republican Party, which has not evolved since Reagan in pandering to and groveling before the Christian fundamentalist movement. But no one has gone so far as to choose a born-again Christian fundamentalist to be one heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States -- a nation formed by Jefferson, Adams and Madison, who were not Christians but Deists. One Republican senator, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, had the guts to say it in plain language, that putting Ms. Palin one heartbeat away from the presidency was the "height of irresponsibility and an insult to the American people." Ms. Palin says she wants creationism taught in all public schools. She does not believe in global warming and says whatever is happening is "God's plan." She believes that the Bible is infallible, without error. More»


It’s funny how awareness, singular or plural, comes to mind, as is the case with my sitting down to write this story. I have found, on this occasion, that I have lived through several separate phases of history. The older you get, the more there are, some not connected to each other or to other people, but all incorporated into life as you experienced it. I grew up on a ranch near Sheridan, Wyoming, in the northeastern corner of Wyoming. Sheridan, at that time, was probably one of the major “cities” in the state, with a population of about 25,000 to 30,000.

Our ranch was approximately 15 miles from town, on roads both asphalt, and gravel.
The telephone lines did not go in until we moved there, so that our neighbors at last moved into the great 20th century. We all shared the line as you share the lines in your home, and have to wait until the line is not busy in order to use it. Our phone number was 28.

I believe I wrote recently about “rounding up” buffalo in the Big Horn mountains with the Crow Indians, which consisted mainly of chasing the herd back across the border onto their reservation. The man who was in charge of the trip and who had invited my family was Willis “Papa” Spear, who had long in the past been governor of Montana. There are two of his stories which have stayed in my mind. One was the time that his aunt once answered her ranchhouse door when she was home alone. But she had armed herself with a rifle, as all people did in those days, and killed the Indian who was standing there. (In these days, or at least up until a few years ago, the stranger might have been in need of help. But I don’t believe many people in those days would have safely taken time to think of that possibility.)

In another instance, Papa Spear as a young man, was pursued by Indians and saved his own life by diving into a creek and breathing through a reed until they had given up and gone on.

On another occasion, when we were at a rodeo on the Crow Reservation, Max Big Man was pointed out to me, although we did not meet. As a child, he had been an observer and survivor of the Custer Massacre. And thus, all of these ties, however brief or fleeting, connect me, born in 1923, to people and events which did not outlive the 19th century.

But I digress. It was another event entirely that came to mind and impelled me to sit down and write this blog. It is about a trip I took back in the forties with my brother-in-law, Paddy “Pat” Ryan, one of the first three rodeo cowboys to be enshrined in the Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame.

In his older years, Pat traveled around during Rodeo season, judging the contestants rather than being one himself. Back in the early 40’s, he and another rodeo cowboy were going to a town called Ekalaka, Montana, to judge their rodeo, and I was invited to go along. So we crowded into the front seat of his pick-up and started off on one of the most unusual, unexpected, and exciting adventures I have ever been on. We left Sheridan early in the morning and drove for many miles on the two-lane highways which connected all the states. If we passed another car on this long journey, I would be very surprised. In those days, you just did not meet other cars on a consistent basis. From the “freeway” we had been on, we turned onto a gravel road, which in turn became a dirt road. After some time, we stopped at a wire gate in a fence running parallel to a long mesa, and drove through. No signs anywhere, of course.

There was no road on the other side, just prairie grass, but Pat pressed on, moving uphill at the same time he was driving along the mesa, and at last we could see another wire fence along the top. Eventually we came to another gate at the top of the hill, opened it, and drove to the other side of the mesa, from which we looked down on a tiny town with a lot of people moving around at various speeds and at odd angles. You could tell that it was rodeo time.

Ekalaka was (and I hope, still is) an inland town. That is, it was not connected to the rest of the world with any roads, or other means of communication. There were no electric anythings except for a two-way radio in the sheriff’s office. Its street was a dirt road that adjusted to the weather, and it’s sidewalks were boardwalks. The buildings were one-storied. It looked exactly like the small towns in early western movies, and it very well may have been one of them.

The only jewel that I do not remember having seen in early movies, except the stairs going upstairs from the bar, was the hotel. This hotel was on the first floor, with a long hall leading to the back, and it was loaded with cowboys and whoknowswhatelse in those rooms. The only room left for me was the lobby, only slightly larger than a bathroom, with a small couch and two old chairs. The accoutrements were carefully arranged for me by the hotel owner, with the two chairs backed up to the couch and covered with coats to give me “privacy.” The slight interruption of feet passing to and fro past the head of my “bed” all night long was as nothing as compared with the luxury of my quarters. The reason for all this attention was undoubtedly due to Pat’s reputation as a very famous cowboy leader.

The reason for our trip, of course, was the rodeo, and so we set off the next morning on the rickety boardwalk. We had hardly left the hotel when a very drunk man fell of the walk into the street in front of us. Pat stepped forward to help him up, but the man brushed him off, saying “I’m just going to have another fight in a few minutes anyway, so it won’t make any difference,” which encapsulated the joyous spirit of the occasion.

The rodeo took place in a corral at one end of Main Street (if it even needed a name), and the only creatures who were not having any fun were the cattle, who were kept in a smaller corral at one side. And so, every once in a while, they would break through their wooden prison and dash off into the countryside, with the cowboys racing after. This happened at least three times during the rodeo. If the “audience” had been paying for tickets, you can bet that these added attractions would have cost more.

As for the trip home, I can’t remember a thing about it. How could anything possibly surpass the trip out and the privilege of having been born in the early twentieth century when people knew almost everyone they encountered and found humor and good fellowship in simple things?!


The Real Issues in the 2008 Presidential Election

McCain's Refrain - I'm a Fighter

And from there on, in most, if not all of his speeches, this has been his central theme. He has said he will fight for his party, for his country, and against “those countries that don’t like us very much.” And there’s the rub. His personal history includes a military family and an agonizing five year imprisonment in a Vietnamese prison, so it is not surpising that his philosophy is as it is.

He has chosen Bush’s technique of gathering followers, which is to assure the American population that he will protect us from our enemies. In order to reassure Americans, we have to have enemies, and what better method than being bellicose in America’s relationships with other nations. The reasoning is that Americans will feel safe under his protecting wings, and the rest of the world will be reminded that we are the greatest nation in world history, which will add a demeaning touch toward relationships with foreign countries.

Obama, on the other hand, has stated that his foreign policy will definitely be for the benefit of the United States, but that it will include an open mind and extended hand toward other nations in this world.

Political Smiles

The variation in smiles, particularly those of the people involved in the present run for president and the people around them, are both very interesting and very revealing. When greeting a crowd or giving a speech, Obama’s smile seems to radiate back to the crowd as individuals and almost as personal friends, this in contrast to the view of many that he is arrogant and distant.

Joseph Biden, Obama’s choice for vice president, has been in Congress for many years, and shows it when he speaks, as well as engaging the audience with beautiful teeth and a wide smile.

McCain’s smile, on the other hand is one of breathing in the adulation of the multitude, either as the war hero he is, or the future savior of the country. There is no warmth reflected back to his audience.

His vice presidential nominee, on the other hand, radiates the style of an on-stage comedienne, trolling for laughs, mostly at the expense of Obama and the Democrats, rather then sharing with the audience what her duties and philosophy would be as vice president.

If You Could Be a Train, Which Train Would You Be?

A White Addendum to Black in America

White Can’t remember if I have put this on the computer before, but it’s worth another go.

As a daughter of a rich family in Wyoming, I was sent to a rich girls’ boarding school in Virginia from 1939 to 1942. My next door roommate was Edsel Ford’s daughter, Dodie. You get the picture.

In the evenings, the students would sit in our windows listening to the black employees singing old Negro hymns as they finished their long hours of work. Several times a week the staff would take the students on horseback rides through the countryside.

On one such ride, with 20 or so horses in a long row, we passed a decrepit old house that had never seen paint, and an old black woman came out on her porch to watch us go by. She swung her trunk out using her arms, because her legs had been amputated at her body.

I do not know what she was thinking, but I know what I was thinking. Here were the rich white girls from the boarding school, riding their steeds English-style, parading their privilege past HER HOME and CONDITION, chatting with one another and enjoying the day.

Nor do I know what the other girls were thinking. But I DO know that almost 70 years later I remember that day with shame.

Things I Have Learned the Hard Way

Things I Have Learned the Hard Way

I was honored to be invited to speak to a class of fifth and sixth graders yesterday, and found myself absolutely delighted and encouraged by their questions, so here I am, unable to think of anything else until I write back to one of the questions which I could not answer at the time. The question was “Did you ever do something you were ashamed of?” I guess you don’t remember such things because you are so sorry for what you did, but I dreamed of two of them all night, and here they are.

The first happened while I was a little girl, 4 or 5. I went to a neighbor’s house with my doll buggy to play with one of my friends. We played with toys in her toy chest, one of which was a tiny candleholder – the kind you put on a birthday cake. I just loved it.

But when I left, my doll buggy was missing, and of course with a little girl’s mind, I reasoned that the disappearance was her fault. And so, the next time I went to her house, I stole the candleholder.

I have no idea what happened to my doll buggy, whether we found it again, or someone actually did take it, or whether she ever found that the candleholder was missing. No one else ever heard about this incident. I don’t even know whether I returned it myself. But I knew inside myself that what I did was wrong, and I have remembered it for over 80 years.

My second mistake was one which I should have known better than to have done. As a teenager, I was visiting a ranch where everyone hunted, and I was taken out to hunt birds. At some point, a porcupine was crossing the road ahead of us, and and one of the men got out, put his rifle to its head, and shot it. That was bad enough, but I was given a rifle and and my very first lesson in killing something. A grouse ran across the road and into the brush, and I shot at it. But we looked all over for it and never found it. It did not fly up, so I never knew if it was dead or dying alone. How could I have done such a thing?! Not only are almost all birds and animals nonaggressive, they don’t have any way of knowing that they are about to be killed In many cases, they don’t even know you are there, and they have no way to protect themselves from bullets and the many other ways that humans can kill them.

It was especially hard for me to write this second story, for which I will never forgive myself.

Now Let Me Get This Straight

America is the very name of Freedom, the Beacon of Democracy and the power of the individual to think and worship as he wishes. Are we all together on this?

According to Sarah Palin, however, this is only true if you think and worship as she does.
She has chosen to bear a special needs child, which is fine, especially since her child will be luckier than most because his parents are privileged. Her faith leads her to believe that all life is precious and deserves to live, and thus Barack is to be vilified for he believes that the right of abortion lies with the woman bearing a child, with the exception of a partial-birth abortion involving the health of the mother.

For those of us who believe strongly in the right to abortion for numerous reasons, including rape, poverty, the life ahead facing an abnormal child, the decision should be that of the mother, or her surrogates if she is unable to make a decision. Another possibility is the decision to encourage the adoption of such children, but I don’t see a helluva lot of people with such children so adopted.

And this last thought leads me straight to McCain, the leader who proudly maintains that he would rather lose an election than a war. He must have killed hundreds of people in the good old days of war, and he is a strong supporter of the numerous incipient baby (odd that that name came to mind just now) wars of Bush’s Magnificat. Assuming that he also supports Palin’s religious views of the value and purpose of life, how does he work this all into his own well-thought-out values surrounding the taking of hundreds of thousands of human lives of all ages and perfection and promise?

And by the way, when McCain and Palin ask members of their audiences who have fought (or at least enlisted) in past or present wars to raise their hands, I don’t see a helluva lot of courageous and dedicated hands waving in the air.

New Thoughts About the Election

Don’t let McCain ask Palin to drop from the ticket. She is the best example we have of McCain’s own lack of judgment. What was supposed to have been a brilliant coup (picking an unknown woman for his vice president because she was a woman and a great cheerleader) was instead a carnival mirror magnifying his complete lack of qualification even for the title which he presently holds.


Horse Tales

When we moved to Wyoming in 1932, we spent the first summer living on a small ranch in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains near the tiny town of Story while our home was being built on our ranch. It has been so long since I have been out of California, or even out of a city, that I don’t know if folksy small towns still exist in the West, but I hope they do. Story was a very folksy tiny town, and as easterners who originally came out as dudes, we loved it. One of our closest friends was a little girl who lived in a ramshackle house with a treasure we did not have—a player piano which only worked with foot power, and a collection of much-used rolls of early century music.

The house we lived in was comfortable except for the bane of my existence, hordes of insects. It was a time of extensive drouth over much of the West, with few means of coping with them. My brother and sisters enjoyed chasing me with grasshoppers, because they revolted me. There were also swarms of Mormon crickets moving across the land from time to time. And we had no electricity, only kerosene lamps, sitting in pans of soapy water, in which the clouds of moths would drown horribly. (It is strange that in my later life I have been able to overcome my revulsion with my compassion for everything living, even rescuing flies and spiders.)

We had a corral and a small saddlebarn for our 5 horses and one shetland pony just over a small rise from the house. The saddlebarn was about four feet off the ground, with two large wooden steps leading up to the room in which the saddles were hung on wooden supports. To the left was one more step down into smaller room where feed for the horses and the bridles were hung.

One day, when we came back from the general store, we went down to check on the horses and found them milling about, apparently disturbed by something. Upon looking around, we found that the wooden steps into the saddlebarn, as well as the small step into the tack room had been destroyed. Upon going back into the corral, we saw that our two leader horses, Tex and Spot, were both looking into the air. They reminded me of two vaudevillians, and I swear to God I could hear them whistling.



Coming to a theater near you!
Do you smell something burning?

Heckuva Job, George

As I sat down to write, I heard Condoleeza Rice dressing down Russia as a failed and dangerous state, having the temerity to sell arms to other countries, acting aggressively against other nations, etc., etc. all truly inspirational as the philosophy of this greatest nation in the world (all kneel!)

But I was, in fact, starting to write about the humdrum matters of American everyday life. As a computer dunce, I want to ask some questions and then let those who know how to find the answers do the heavy lifting for me.

1. Have you noticed lately that almost all of George’s speeches to the public are shorter, a little less rah! rah!, alone, and in the safety of the White House? And he doesn’t even give them with his sleeves rolled up to emulate hard labor! (In this connection, I wish to hell that Obama would stop rolling up his sleeves too, especially because I love him and intend to vote for him.)

2. Money is money in my failing mind. So why doesn’t anyone in Wall Street or in the government mention the various costs of our numerous and upcoming wars initiated by our War President, as Dubyah proudly dubbed himself? Or are those billions in unrelated funds? And if so, can anyone tell me what those funds are, where they came from, and to whom are they going?

Thoughts Brought on by 9/11

The horror of the events of 9/11 will stay with us beyond our lifetimes. Strangely enough, that day and its events have brought to my mind memories widely separated by time and approach, but at the same time connected by violence.

The most recent, of course, is the annihilation of numerous buildings and thousands of lives on 9/11. Our great president Bush, apparently having been forewarned of such a catastrophe, declined to act upon it. Nevertheless, he now takes credit for saving this country from further attack. He is the only president I am aware of who has taken credit and is credited by fathful followers with having saved us from an UNKNOWN SOMETHING THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED.

The second thought, unrelated except by horror, is of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. How many people even know those names? Do we observe a Day of Remorse in this country?


Memories and Nightmares

As I recall, Bush invaded Afghanistan in his search for Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of 9/11, a search which has come up empty for the past five years to date. And then he invaded Iraq, which turned out to be a harder nut to crack. So he sent to Afghanistan for back-up troops to help out in Iraq.

Now we are told Iraq is said to be getting better, and possibly able to take care of itself. The Iraqis have hoped we’d go away for years. Though a possible success in Iraq is being touted by Washington, it is still tentative. Nevertheless, Afghanistan is going to hell again, so Bush is sending troops from Iraq back to Afghanistan, or at least those bound for Iraq to Afghanistan instead.

Sen. McCain has based his biography and his campaign on his personal courage in the War in Iran, with almost no mention of the courage of his fellow soldiers and prisoners in that war. And he has been applauded by his audiences more for his time in Iran than for any service he has contributed to the nation during his time in Congress. In addition, since war has worked so well for his personal prestige, his entire approach to the world is, and will be based upon the leadership of an empire to whom the rest of the world must defer. His statement that we are presently forced to buy oil “from people who don’t like us very much” is a telling example of his attitude toward the rest of the world, an attitude which we should seek to correct.

McCain’s selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as a runningmate was and is a truly frightening move against the very base of our Constitution. If he vetted her as little as is said, he himself is not ready to be president. If he didn’t know he was choosing an evangelical, he has unwittingly turned a very possible successor as president into a major threat to this country. And if he did know that she is an evangelical, he has gravely endangered this country by putting it under the control of an extremist sect.

In this connection, sincere nonbelievers have their own individual values, and they do not proselytize because their values are carefully developed by each individual and are valued as such. Yet they are precluded from running for high office.

I Figured It Out

The past week has been one of much to think about. The Republican Convention and McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate have been real shockers. I always thought he was independent, and I had no idea he was so deeply religious. Now I find that he must be very closely related to the evangelicals in his thinking; otherwise he would never have chosen someone from a sect that believes Alaska has been selected by God as the haven for True Believers in the End of Days who might very well end up becoming president of a DEMOCRACY before his term is over! Would he?! Funny he never mentioned this side of his character and qualifications.

It’s also about groups of people who share different ways of looking at the world and the people in it. These characteristics show up very well in the conventions. For example. the Republicans go in for humorous belittling of their opponents. They have had a jolly old time with Obama’s recommendation that we can save gas for our cars by keeping our cars in good repair and our tires inflated. This suggestion happens to be valid, by the way, and would conserve a great deal of gas (as well as animal and human lives if humans could learn to think outside of themselves by also slowing down.) Once again, making fun of Obama for a suggestion with which many others agree is a strange way in which to promote yourself, without bothering to treat the subject seriously.

If you notice how the candidates and their supporters differ in style, you will find that as human beings Republicans are inclined to find humor in sneering at others rather than to find meaning (either shared or recognized) in mature discussion or objective observation.

So far, I have heard Palin talk a great deal about the plane she sold on eBay and Obama’s automobile tires, and she has let it be known that she disapproves of same-sex marriage, birth control, and a woman’s right to choose. On the other hand, with the revelation that her 17-year-old unmarried daugher is pregnant, her campaign has risen to the challenge and said that this was a private family matter and none of our business. Doesn’t it bother you somewhat that as president or even vice president she might very well try to end the rights of same-sex marriage, birth contnrol, and a woman’s right to choose, totally overlooking the fact that they also are private family matters and none of our business?


Oh - There's Something About Those Old Time Republican "Family" Values

Not to mention that unique GOP sense of humor!

This was Chelsea Clinton in 1998:

This is what John McCain said about a teen-aged girl in 1998:

Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.
That was only ten years ago. When is this old man going to grow up?

Watching McCain Revealed

I watched this program on CNN tonight for the second time. But this time I watched it more closely, and he really revealed himself to me.

Of course, since this was a program filmed to advertise the man and his life, it was not meant to concentrate on peripheral figures, but it brought to the fore his most loathesome characteristics.

He was, and is, a spoiled brat who is consumed with his own courage and nobility. He wasn’t the only one to suffer in a war, and surely others have suffered more. But he manages to smile his little courageous smile every time his exploits, whether noble or ignoble, are discussed. All of us have made mistakes of varying degrees, for which most of us carry a commensurate amount of guilt thereafter.

But the thing that really cooked it for me was when he was asked about the breakup of his first marriage. He expressed no regret for his betrayal of his first wife, simply said “I take full responsibility,” and smiled his little smile of courage and nobility.


The Magnificent Clintons

Despite that I am and will remain an Obama voter, there are not enough superlatives to heap upon the Clintons, both of them. There was absolutely no sign of rancor or clenched jaws in either one of them, just graciousness and total support of Obama. Try doing what they did at the convention if you had been as intelligent and qualified as each of them is for the office of President, and what a disappointment it has to be to both of them that Hillary lost by a hair.

Add to that that their speeches the past two nights could not have covered more important things to think about with more depth or understanding. Both will go down in history.

This wonderful pair still has much to do for this country, and the country will continue to need them.

It Woulda Coulda Shoulda Been


Best. Speech. Ever!

Captions, Please!

Reactions to Back to Back Interviews

According to reports I saw on CNN yesterday, many people were impressed with Sen. McCain’s rapid, fairly short answers to questions asked of him, saying that he seemed to be right on top of the topics discussed, especially as to right-to-life values. At the same time, they felt that Obama was unsure of himself and rather fumbling for his answers.

I urge anyone who found McCain well grounded and Obama unprepared to find the interviews on the computer and look at them again. My reactions were the exact opposite. McCain had obviously been prepared by his handlers to give his answers in a machine gun manner, hurling them off the tip of his tongue and enumerating each with
unalterable, non-inclusive certainty.

Sen. Obama, on the other hand, spoke to his questioner in measured tones, considering the topic from all angles, without haste to impress his audience with curt replies, but as a compliment to the public by including our many views in his answers.

With regard to war and the threat of war, McCain, like Bush before him, is a little ahead of himself with his proclamation of victory in the present war, as well as American and world support for future wars. Also re the war in Iraq, no matter how many more people are killed on both sides, down to the death of the last Iraqi, and the total destruction of their land by our superior forces, according to my personal beliefs as an atheist, the United States can never achieve a victory which was plotted and carried out by this country under the leadership of George Bush and Dick Cheney against an innocent country without just cause.


In Case I Have Offended Any Christians . . . .

. . . . as in my post yesterday, I want to explain why I keep getting off on that subject. As you know, there has been a great deal of back-and-forthing regarding religion with the upcoming election in mind.

There is always established religion discussed in the ether on all available channels, especially on television in the form of Sunday programs, but there is nothing to my knowledge on a regular basis about atheism except as it is denounced by religious groups.
We nonbelievers are pretty well considered without any positive value systems, which is not true, except for those I would call “nonthinkers.”

What has me so upset—and, yes, frightened—is that various Christian groups, especially evangelicals, are determined to control those who think differently on subjects such as abortion, birth control, and same-sex marriage by engraving only Christian views in our Constitution and national laws. Atheists and other nonbelievers are not attempting to control the beliefs of others on those subjects because we can understand that there are other equally plausible ways of looking at them (although many of us feel that unfettered overpopulation of the world can lead only to disaster, if not in our time, certainly in the future).

Because we live in what is supposed to be a democracy, we do not attempt to control the lives of those who believe that life is sacred, but we also believe that we should have the same rights regarding our lives and those of our progeny.


Suicide of the Human Race

I do not know enough about other religions, but I do know enough about the Christian faith in all its permutations to realize that it is and will be the major force in the death of the human race. Following are some of its major means at hand for suicide, unbeknownst to its most loyal followers.

First, and most unalterable, all life forms on Earth will eventually die. You can argue that there is life after death, but that is not what I am most interested in. I am thinking about life, including incipient life on this earth and how human beings control what happens to it on this earth.

Second, Christians have usurped the rights of nonbelievers and are working hard in this country and around the world to see that we will all, including those of other beliefs, as well as nonbelievers, be ruled by their religious canons. They are working at this very time to establish as constitutional law their belief (regardless of the harm it can do) that “all life is sacred and must be preserved regardless of any consequences.” There can be no abortion for any reason, because that is against God’s will. There cannot even be birth control according to many believers. And most egregiously, there cannot even be a right to die. (Oddly, it’s alright to kill others or be killed in battle.)

Many babies are born with terrible physical malformations that they will suffer from all their lives. And untold millions are born into a world of misery and want. (Many of the faithful believe that God wanted them that way because He is testing them for noble service in heaven. I doubt that many of those born into misery look upon such luck as good fortune rather than as a punishment which they do not deserve.) And it often seems that true believers who serve the unfortunate may also be looking for personal approvement by God.

There is uncontrovertable evidence that the world is now changing rapidly. (To think that George W. Bush has had eight years in which he could have done much to try to save the Earth, and instead, he has done the most to ruin it!) We are faced with catastrophic climate change, the food is running out, oil and its uses have blinded the people who use it most to any thought of the future. What is the world going to do on the day the last barrel of oil runs out? Most of those who are more fortunate than we need to be are unwilling to change our lifestyles. We are not making any serious attempts to prepare for that eventuality. Why should we, we won’t be here anyway?

And why do you suppose that there are so many wars and coming wars ahead of us? You don’t have to be very bright to figure that out. Like all other animals and creatures, we will either fight each other for what is left of food and shelter or die of want.

In the 21st Century, Nations Do Not Invade Other Nations and Commit Aggression

News for the Iraqis!

Hypocrisy ,"O" ,Hypocrisy

First, because both Sen. Edwards and Pres. Bush have said similar spiritual things, I want to bring both into this missive. Sen Edwards’ present predicament led to his recent pronouncement that he has spoken to God about his sins and God has forgiven him. Whew! I am so glad to hear that, as for a while there I thought God might say that what he had done to his family, and what he could almost have done to his country were inexcusable. I do hope, and predict however, that he will seek no future political office.

In a similar vein, one of Bush’s least prescient remarks, made early in his presidency, was that he had looked into Putin’s eyes, and that he had seen his soul. Today, however, Bush, speaking to Putin and to the American people, told Putin that, “nations don’t invade other nations in the twenty-first century, and commit aggression.” This statement was repeated later today by Condoleeza Rice.

This was followed shortly after by a speech on the subject by John McCain, of all people!, with similar dire warnings to Russia on behalf of Georgia. When he was asked about his reaction to Obama’s statement about the current dangerous situation in Georgia, McCain refused to answer the question, saying that this was no time for politics. He then launched into a long description of his own antipathy to Putin, followed by strangely political-sounding comments to the effect that the next president is going to have to have both courage and experience in martial matters in order to cope with the very dangerous future ahead of us.


Freedom Versus Liberty in a Democracy

I am beginning to think that a nation, such as ours, with a mixture of peoples from other national backgrounds, other values, other dreams, and especially other religions cannot succeed as democracies. In fact, just the growing blanket of human beings over the face of the earth begins to smother any possibility of successful governance by humans from now into the future.

Religions, and other forms of belief cannot find common ground, because they are the most important aspects of what makes human beings human, and they, therefore, cannot mix except on some values attributable to all of us. Established religion with its belief in a god or gods is probably the most motivating value of all. It is also the least malleable to force or change.

Those of us nonbelievers, who are called by various titles, such as atheists, heathens, God-haters, and other unsavory names, on the other hand, have values of our own, many, with the exception of the belief in a god, similar to many of those who are devout worshipers.

Religion and philosophy are too important to human beings to be governed, one over the others, in a mixed society where leaders can be chosen on the basis of religion sheerly by the numbers of one group over another. In a democracy, therefore, religion just cannot have a role in government anymore than can atheism.

As a result of a president who has used religion in the most venal manner to accomplish his designs, we have become, not a democracy, but a continent full of people who cannot and will not accept the beliefs of others. Rather than voting for conversion or exclusion, the votes of those who have done well, would do better by directing our votes toward the needs of those who have not.

Dana Milbank Gets Purged by Keith Olbermann!!!

Dana Milbank has been canned from Keith Olbermann's Kountdown program on MSNBC. Milbank's offense has to write that,

Barack Obama has long been his party's presumptive nominee. Now he's becoming its presumptuous nominee.
..... Some say the supremely confident Obama -- nearly 100 days from the election ..... has become a president-in-waiting. But in truth, he doesn't need to wait: He has already amassed the trappings of the office, without those pesky decisions.
A mere suggestion that Obama's world victory tour is a little premature and possibly might feed into the Republican mantra that Barack might be a meglomaniac gets someone 86-ed from a liberal news program. No wonder Milbanks referred to Olbermann as a "whiner"! He obviously found Kountdown more confining than CNN!

Today's Big News - Iraq Is Getting Rich

And almost everyone is furious! I may be all alone here, because I understand that even my beloved Democrats are mad.

What they’re so mad about is that they think Iraq should be paying for its own rehabilitation, instead of leaving so much of the cost to the United States.

Well, the way I see it, their war (at least at first) was OUR war. We invaded and bombed the hell out of them, using lies concocted by our highest governmental officers as the excuse, destroying much of their archeological treasure, killing thousands upon thousands of their citizens of all ages, and reducing much of their property and territory to ruins, as well as leaving thousands of our own men and women either dead or maimed. Considering the amount of money they are presently raking in from their oil fields, it seems highly likely that what our government, in particular, is so mad about, is that they were hoping to rake alot of that money in for themselves.

But it was OUR war, for our purposes (to spread democracy as we presently refer to it, and Christianity) and to get rich quick. So now, the U. S. thinks that Iraq should be paying for the war that WE started?! True, the war has spread from our original fake rescue, which had not even been sought by the Iraqis, to a myriad of battles between other factions who live in that part of the world.

We deserve to be paying reparations for redevelopment of the area we have desecrated. We don’t deserve to leave like heroes from a land in which our leaders, driven by their own enormous ambition, have mired our courageous and deceived armed forces.

They don’t want us there anymore. If we no longer feel the obligation to at least help to pay for the morass we have made of that part of the world, THEN NOW IS THE TIME TO JUST GET THE HELL OUT!

The Time of the Last Great Warning

If there had been a different president during the past eight years, would it have made any difference, or will George W. Bush take credit for the final stages of the earth? He was a heavy drinking, not-very-bright playboy who found salvation through his extremely religious wife, a combination that is fraught with possibilities, both positive and negative. In this case, what we got was blooey!!!

Bush, as you can tell, is now working his a-- head off trying to do the things he should have done before, and fixing things it’s too late to fix now so that they will be left for the next president to take the blame for. The things he is most interested in saving are those things like offshore and Anwar drilling, which will make rich people richer and satisfy those who don’t know any better and don’t realize or care that using more oil now will only use more of it at the expense of those who will come after we are gone.

What are our descendants supposed to do without the treasure which we have wantonly raped from the earth? And where will they go to worship their God or gods, to the treeless masses of land which used to be home to millions of animals, birds, fish, and insects? And what, if any, creatures who used to be human will survive? Will they go to the open pits and useless mountains of what used to be fertile earth, from which we have sucked the last minerals?

If you believe in a god, will he be proud of what humans have done with what they originally found and achieved, and will you believe that your god did a really good job when he created us?

Greed and Poverty, the inseparable partners, have the earth almost totally in their hands. Their mottos are, respectively, What the Hell Do I Care? I Won’t Be Here Anyway, and Oh God, I Wish I Was Dead and in Heaven.

Well, in one way, we are living in a very exciting time, possibly Mankind’s last chance, or possibly the birth of another dead planet, to be seen from afar by another distant astronaut.

If you still believe in the loving God we were taught about in church, try to remember that we were taught to care for each other and do good deeds. Oddly, that lesson has become the motto of most of us nonbelievers.

Lou Dobbs Takes Credit

Our courageous hero, Lou, has announced that it was only through his valiant efforts that the blame for the salmonella outbreak did indeed originate in Mexico. It turns out that the source was dirty water transmitted to a couple of varieties of peppers. Oh, good for him!

Of course, he didn’t mention the peppers until the source was scientifically announced just a few days ago. But he did lay his entire reputation and career on the line over a long period of time, which very few people have the courage to do. The only slight error he made was in saying the whole thing was in the tomatoes.

Outside of the fact that he ruined the crops, reputations, and incomes, for thousands of farmers and grocers on both sides of the border, he at least did not ruin the crops, reputations, and incomes for those who raised peppers, at least until now, for which we can be equally glad.

And as for the suffering people of Mexico, who cares?!

Right on, Lou, and I’m so glad you were the first to let us know.

Let's Talk Taxes Again

Starting with Ronald Reagan, and growing like a weed on up the Republican strangling vine, is the tactic of hating taxes.

The purpose of taxes in a democracy is that all citizens share in supporting the taxes that pay for the things which we cannot do separately. These include things like health care, education, maintenance of the infrastructure (roads, education, water, utilities, etc.)

The rich, it should go without saying, should carry most of the load, with the middle class following fairly closely behind. Even the poor should feel the obligation, both as an acceptance of their share of responsibility and as a recognition of their dignity as members of a democracy.

But members of Congress continue to complain of taxes upon our citizens as THAT IS YOUR MONEY! What a really lousy level of government leadership! But it appeals to many citizens who do not think beyond themselves and don’t care where the service comes from, so long as they get it if they need it, but don’t like to feel that they have contributed to anyone else if they don’t need it.

In point of fact, it is the person who does good for someone else where and when the need and opportunity arise that is truly paying his taxes, both monetarily and morally. As I have asked before, do they teach you any of this stuff in church?

Questions I Have Asked Before

Questions I have Asked Before – Still Not Answered

Our leaders, past, present, and possibly future, always approach countries with whom we disagree with the interests of the United States as the only existing or acceptable interests to be considered in any rapprochement. The interests and international problems seen by other countries – Iran, North Korea, and Palestine, for example – are never discussed, just our demands that they accept our ultimatums.

This approach seems to be true of Sen. Obama almost to the extent that it is true of Bush and Sen. McCain. There is an arrogance about it that bothers me. And either I am watching the wrong programs or reading the wrong literature, but I have not yet been able to find answers as to why we should be considering only United States interests without also considering the interests and needs of other countries as well. What our “enemies” feel, think, and require do not appear clearly in our media.

Tiny as Isreal seems to be, I can hardly even find Palestine on the map. If that is so, and the Israelis have usurped Palestinian land on the West Bank in order to build Israeli settlements among them, I would be inclined to be disturbed, especially as the Jews from Europe were settled there in the mid-twentieth century after they were rescued from the horrors of Nazi Germany. This does not denigrate the Jews, it only recognizes that the modern Palestinians appear to be the victims of victims in an eternal historical biblical story.

I still have never heard our country mention the nuclear weapons which we and our friends possess, except to acknowledge them, but never to suggest destroying them as a reciprocal gesture toward our enemies. Odd.


A White Addendum to Black in America

A White Addendum to Black in America

Can’t remember if I have put this on the computer before, but it’s worth another go.

As a daughter of a rich family in Wyoming, I was sent to a rich girls’ boarding school in Virginia from 1939 to 1942. My next door roommate was Edsel Ford’s daughter, Dodie. You get the picture.

In the evenings, the students would sit in our windows listening to the black employees singing old Negro hymns as they finished their long hours of work. Several times a week the staff would take the students on horseback rides through the countryside.

On one such ride, with 20 or so horses in a long row, we passed a decrepit old house that had never seen paint, and an old black woman came out on her porch to watch us go by. She swung her trunk out using her arms, because her legs had been amputated at her body.

I do not know what she was thinking, but I know what I was thinking. Here were the rich white girls from the boarding school, riding their steeds English-style, parading their privilege past HER HOME and CONDITION, chatting with one another and enjoying the day.

Nor do I know what the other girls were thinking. But I DO know that almost 70 years later I remember that day with shame.

The World Is an Overcrowded Elevator

The World Is an Overcrowded Elevator Going Down

It didn’t start with Bush, but he has certainly pushed the express button for the basement floor.

What we as individuals must do is ACTUALLY DO what we think is right, not just talk about it. Eating meat, for example, bothers me terribly because of the cruelty used in killing the animal. What I and like-minded others MUST do is learn to eat vegetarian meals only. Even that may not solve the problem for all of us.

There was a recent film on fishermen cutting the fins off of sharks because the fins are a popular delicacy, leaving the sharks to die. And now the world’s oceans are losing their shark populations.

Even worse, is the “sport” of hunting or fishing just for the fun and companionship of it, killing those animals in order to eat them for fun, or to put on a wall or a floor as a testament to the virility of the hunter with the high-powered gun or the hook intended to fool them into thinking they are finding their food as nature intended. God, doesn’t that make such men appealing and sexy!

But eating differently and living differently, despite good intentions, have unfortunate effects upon others as well. If humans stop eating meat, the ranchers who raise the animals will no longer be able to make a living by raising the animals. If people no longer eat fish, the result is the same. If people stop “going to the mall” to spend money for fun, the malls will go out of business. If we stop driving recreationally, or going to and from work by public transportation, the gas stations will not be able to survive in convenient profusion. And so on and on and on.

I was a birdwatcher when I lived in the Bay Area, and I had two friends who were 15 to 20 years older than I. Both of them remarked to me that when they were younger, the skies used to be BLACK with birds, and now, 10 years later, I can look further decline in the eye. How sad!

All of this means that we must think of an entirely new way to live our lives, and it will especially have to include our responsibilities to each other, as well as to other creatures. I do not know what the answers are. I only know that the way we live now is not it. And I also know that the farther the elevator falls, the faster it will be going, and the harder it will hit the basement floor when it gets there.


How the War Could Have Been Won

Since it was Bin Laden who orchestrated the attack on this country, it was Afghanistan that should have been the primary target of our response. But it was Bush who decided early on that the way to retaliate was to cook up a make-believe need for revenge by invading the country without blame, but with the most oil.

In order to accomplish this war, which was both immoral and costly in terms of troops and funds, Bush chose to seek extra troops from those fighting in Afghanistan, troops who should have been augmented rather than “borrowed.” And he chose to let our fighting forces continue to consist mostly of those who enlisted out of loyalty and those with little education and/or chance for making a living in civilian life. The result is that our armed forces are running out of recruits and have recently been reduced to those with unsavory, even criminal backgrounds.

Rather than subject the upper classes and the rich (who for some reason have not felt called upon to enlist) to a draft, our noble president still chooses to subject those who are currently serving to long and repeated periods of active combat. Thank God, though, that those who don’t have the moral courage, or are just too busy to enlist are still wearing flag pins and flying flags from their cars. In the meantime, neither war is going well. Various members of the government and the armed forces are calling upon the president to send them additional men and supplies, but recruiting is getting harder to be successful as a means of acquiring the first, and as for the second, it’s the money, the money.

There have been wars where even old men flocked to the recruiting office and women knitted and cooked and sewed. Those were the days when our president inspired us to give of ourselves and to think of others. But in this time of tremendous technological achievement, not now, not now.

Give the Candidates a Chance

Once again, I seem to be back on the subject of Lou Dobbs, and he is a man with only hatred and belittlement to offer. He and his minions were on his program today talking with equal emphasis about how little McCain and Obama have to offer and that they are both doing badly as far as the voting goes. When the program was over, you had nothing left to think about that had any depth to it, only disparagement.

I definitely feel drawn to Obabma’s style and philosophy and intend to vote for him—but for God’s sake, give them both a chance. We haven’t even had the final election yet, so we have no idea how whoever becomes president will deal with what is on the plate for him. Bush is nowhere near through with the mayhem he has wrought, and he is working feverishly to coopt as much of their inaugural plans as possible. Until one of them is elected, remember what Bush has “accomplished” in his eight years, and give some thought as to how difficult what he has done and is doing will make it for them.

(You might also consider the current Congress and the rules about how many votes it takes and how many vetoes it has the strength to override to pass any legislation. And listen especially to Bush’s most devoted followers and see how closely they repeat the values he has espoused.)

Lou Dobbs and Salmonella

More on the Salmonella Outbreak and Lou Dobbs

It was last week, I believe that Lou Dobbs strongly intimated that Mexican tomatoes were the undoubted cause of the spreading salmonella coutbreak in the United States. That certainly gave a great boost to the impoverished farmers of Mexico who raise tomatoes for a living.

Now, in the past day or so, the American inspectors have taken tomatoes off the list of suspected causes. At the present time, no one knows where the outbreak is coming from.

Once again, Dobbs has managed to destroy the livelihood and reputation of thousands of people on both sides of the border ahead of time in order to show the American people how stupid the people who are trying to solve this serious problem are and that he is courageously riding like Paul Revere over the ether, keeping us well informed on the subject. In the meantime, as usual, he has no information of his own to solve the problem and no platform on which to seek political office.

Presidential Leadership

I feel so much better about things after watching our president at his press conference yesterday. He started out by listing all of the things that are going well, such as the news that unemployment is staying about the same, in spite of the hundreds of employees that are being laid off by major industries almost daily. I’ll bet his reassurance really pumped them up.

He is so compassionate about the fact that (as he said) we are going through “tough times” right now. You can just tell that he knows what “tough times” feel like, and it was wonderful to hear his strong voice promise that he and his cabinet have the situation in control and on the way to recovery.

I was particularly impressed with his answer to the rising cost of gasoline. As he has been telling us ever since he took office, we have oceans of oil available right here at home. All we have to do is drill for it in Anwar and down the western border of our country, from Canada to Mexico. Unfortunately, there are quite a few Americans who put animals and pristine country before the needs of those Americans who have grown up all their lives understanding that their needs and comforts should all come first and that the world was created by God for just that purpose. One wonders how all those environmentalists got into this country. I hope they’re being investingated.

But the thing I love most about our president is that, whatever the subject of his press conferences, he always brings a feeling of humor into his question time. As he calls upon his audience for questions, he always interrupts to make a joke at the expense of each questioner, and the questioners, in joyful response, smile at whatever the president says. Not only does the president enjoy these times, but the audience both in the room and on TV, leave knowing just who is in control.

Lou Dobbs 4 President?

Little Bill is always calling me up to watch Lou Dobbs. She knows I can't stand TV or a'holes on TV. So I know she's just trying to annoy me. So this is pay back. I'm putting this info up here because it's high time Little Bill told us all about what she thinks of Lou Dobbs.

And so that readers also can weigh in, here are some links to Nativist-Central. If you want to see Loopy's Campaign page, you can click here. And, if you want Loopy to actually run for POTUS, you can sign a petition here! But don't any body call me! I'd rather talk to a(nother) yellow dog, before I'd talk about a guy named 'Lou'!

Carol Kreck!!!

You go, Girl!

The Man With the Goofy Grin

Every time Sen. McCain makes an appearance before the press, I find myself hunting for his face on the screen. He is a rather ordinary looking man who speaks softly and has to rely on saying mean things with a wistful smile about his opponent in the run for the Presidency.

The Man with the Goofy Grin, however, is everywhere at once. He must run from one camera to another in order to let his presence be known to the American public.

Why is he there? He will remain nameless on this page, but he must be there for a purpose which he believes is of major importance in this campaign. Do you think he might be REALLY hoping he will become the vice presidential nominee again? (OOPS, I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll be looking for his face on the screen if he doesn’t make the grade again. Wouldn’t you know, I just goofed again!)