It really blows my mind to say “it really blows my mind” again, but I guess that is what happens to me when I hear the Republicans putting the subject of abortion at the head of everything else on any governmental agenda.
At the same time, it really blows my mind again that I can’t remember a Republican EVER mentioning the subject of over-population.
And I must admit that I haven’t heard either the Republicans OR the Democrats talking about over-population. HOW CAN THAT BE?! Doesn’t it occur to humans that wars are fought over territory, that plants large and small are disappearing, that water – even the ocean water – is being polluted, that many animals are disappearing for whatever purpose, eating, using for shoes, or shooting just for fun.
As towns are started on what used to be animal land, then grow to large towns, and thus to cities, does anyone notice what this does to animals and animal habitat? Oh, and highways and airports. A strip of highway doesn’t look as though it hurts much of anything or takes much room, but when your mind tries to encompass all the roadways, airports, and city streets IN THE WORLD, THAT WILL BE HARD TO DO.
Try thinking how much living land is thus lost to the animals of the world. And you can also think of how many dead animal bodies lie on the roads themselves, and how many birds end their lives on windshields and/or radiators of cars because they cannot adapt to the speeds of manmade toys and conveniences. But that’s OK. I can’t remember how many times I have heard human males assert their masculinity by saying, well, it should have known enough to get out of the way.
But, since my greatest interest and greatest fear lie with overpopulation, I often get waylaid on the subject of abortion. This is, first of all, a matter of the survival of the Earth and everything on it. If humans go on perpetuating the race at the present rate, there can be no salutary end to human history, and we will take the rest of the planet with us. China has seen where it was heading and has taken steps to try to curb what it was doing.
It seems to me, as an atheist (you know – one of those pariahs who don’t believe in God and therefore have no morals), we should realize that God, or whatever created us also created everything else on earth. Somehow, it seems that since we were created with such capable minds, we should be doing all we can to preserve what God created rather than destroying it for our own gratification.
Abortion is a very serious matter, to be considered entirely by the people involved. It is the responsibility of those people alone to make the decision, not for Christians, or anyone else to decide. It’s none of our business, no matter what our feelings on the subject may be.
Among other things to be considered when a woman thinks of abortion is the world and circumstances into which it will be born. First of all, if the child is terribly deformed, there may be nothing but anguish. For other children, if their mothers are forced to have a baby they don’t want, think of how it is the child who will pay the emotional price. It is my guess that most abortions occur among impoverished and uneducated people, and consider what that burden heaps upon the child. The dreadful possibilities are awful to consider. At the same time, the same sorrows and pressures will press upon the child’s family, which will put even more unforgiven blame upon the child, especially in cases of rape.
And the most important thing is that abortion should never have been considered as a tenet to be denied by the United States Constitution. This is all involved with religion, specifically Christianity. I am sure I speak for at least some of those of other religions, and undoubtedly for many of those of either pagan or non-religions, when I say, leave us alone. We have our values too, and we consider many of your values unworthy, snoopy, and inadequate. So far as I know, all you know about non-believers is that they don’t believe in God, PERIOD. You don’t have any knowledge about our value systems or our contribution to society, and you wouldn’t recognize us on the street or even in your neighborhood without foreknowledge. That, however, doesn’t prevent us, whether any of us approve of abortion or not, from keeping our views to ourselves.
It really blows my mind to say “it really blows my mind” again, but I guess that is what happens to me when I hear the Republicans putting the subject of abortion at the head of everything else on any governmental agenda.
To most of my friends and family: With the exception of my immediate family, who will get jewels and furs, and the people who work for me, I cannot afford to send gifts to anyone else this year. I had cut out most of my charities during this past year, but I have spent the past few days trying to catch up.
The reason I have gone back to my charities is that they are about things that have meant the most to me in my life – the Earth and the creatures who struggle to live on it. I have one or two human charities on my list, but they are far outnumbered by everything else. It occurred to me that supporting charities in my mind and spending my money on myself doesn’t mean a helluvalot.
I love all the rest of you, and you are all on my mental list, but please take me off of your lists (including cards), and spend your money on what means most to you. (Many of our donations will undoubtedly meet up saving animals and repairing human harm to the Earth. For some of us, I hope, our support and “prayers” will join up to urge that human beings will work together to reduce our “footprint” on the Earth.)
Love to all,
Anne, ARW, and/or LittleBill
Joe was a small town kid from a fairly small-income family. He did not do anything notably good or bad in grade school.
But when he got to high school, that’s when his star began to shine. He became the school’s star football athlete, and he led his team to almost total victory. His success in the rest of his life was virtually assured.
Joe and his best friend, Bill, had plans for going into business together selling sportswear.You could go twenty miles to the next (larger) town to buy sportswear, but Joe’s town had only a few things to sell at the department store—not really enough to satisfy high school needs or wants.
The two friends had watched the war on TV, and they had talked about it, but it still seemed as far away as it was. But then came the day when Bill told Joe that he had actually decided to sign up. After the shock of not having been told by his best friend at the time of his decision, and after a period of reconciliation, Joe decided to sign up with him. Only two men from their town had shown up, and Joe did have a feeling of some sort of patriotism, so Joe enlisted, if not so much through a feeling of responsibility for what was going on on the other side of the planet as it was to follow his friend.
( The other thing gnawing at Joe’s mind was that their hopes of opening a sports store were pretty-much on the dreamy side. And, though this had not really reached the front of his brain yet, he found that football adulation had gone to join the realm of high school highlights of the past on the last day he walked out the door.)
And so this led to training camp (and this was tough stuff even for a football champion.) And this, in turn, found him and his fellow soldiers at the top of a hill looking down on a small town known to harbor the “enemy.” At a time like that, with indoctrination racing through their(his) veins, a soldier (former football hero) must feel both fear and invincibility.
War must give Joe some credit for his first kill, a middle-aged man, who might have been the “enemy.” But there is nothing like your first success, sort of like in football. You have to prove yourself by killing another. And so, quivering with both fear and success, Joe fired again. But the (unintended?) target this time turned out to be a 3-year old girl.
Joe could never remember what his choice had really been. All he remembered of what happened next is that he found himself in an army hospital. He had evidently been there for several months, and no one he knew or remembered had come to see him except nurses with food and/or bedpans.
Finally he was released to his family, but most of his friends had gone into the service, and very few townspeople came to call. There was a sort of distance between them.
Joe used to go down to watch the trains go by when he was younger, and when he was OK enough to go out, he went down to watch them again.
Joe realized what he was living was a very lonely life. He hadn’t heard from Bill and didn’t even know where he was. The only people who talked to him spoke in soothing tones, as though he was a baby or a very sick man. Then one day the town drunk shouted as he passed by, “Hi, baby killer.” And there she was again, limp, and bloody, and dead, kept for several years in the “unsafe” of Joe’s failing mind.
And almost before he knew it, Joe was down at the railroad tracks watching the trains go by, in the company of people who live by the tracks, and who suffer from nightmares of their own. They became his friends, his Bills.
But this time, the little girl would not leave his mind. Nor would the epithet of the town drunk.
So Joe went back to see his friends, but they said afterword that he had been very quiet. He hadn’t said enough for them to know what was bothering him. But suddenly Joe, the football hero, the best friend, and the soldier who signed up to save America, rushed to the tracks to watch an approaching train. Just before it reached him, he threw himself under it.
When Joe was buried, the local Press wrote a short obituary, listing him as the son of a local family, a member of the military, and most of all to be remembered as a football hero in a long list of former heroes.
Dont Worry, Be Happy
Those of us who really care for the Earth and everything on it, and who have the capacity to use our minds, are extremely worried about Global Warming and looking forward with hope to the Climate Change Conference in Denmark.
Photographs and films of glaciers on the highest mountains beginning to melt are alarming, especially as the water flowing from the mountains is vital to life, and much more accessible to life than that which must be retrieved from the ground. Look at it this way: If what humans are doing to make (just) humans more comfortable has the slightest chance of being a large part of global warming, reason would whisper in your ear that possibly we had better stop.
What is truly frightening is that there are many people with little education and strong religious indoctrination, and these people vote. What is even more frightening is that when most people vote, they vote for themselves and not for others. One of the most egregious rights to vote is that we who are sexually normal(?) outnumber homosexuals and can therefore outvote them when they seek rights normal to the rest of us, including having children.
People like those I have described, and many others as well, would be very unlikely to know or care what animals are suffering and/or disappearing. So their rections would be mostly to not want to hear about it, just as I cannot bear to hear about any cruelty or even injury to an animal. (I am ashamed to admit that I eat meat and deplore the habit. I am trying to quit, as it is one of the most deceptive, painful, and dreadful ways for an animal to die, especially when it is killed for the sake of sport—and most of us don’t even have to be a part of the practice until we see it sizzling on a platter!)
(Just now, Sen. Inhofe and another whose name I didn’t get were having a debate on global warming, and Sen. Inhofe said we didn’t need to worry, that we had all sorts of resources here to develop.)
This is what drives me nuts! We are desecrating our resources, but our largest problem (and we don’t even know it) is TOO MANY PEOPLE! Although few people realize it, that is why we are fighting wars. Unless we learn to gradually reduce our numbers by birth control, the only options left to us are war, disease, and/or starvation.
Good job, Ignorance, Lack of Interest, Personal Greed, and the Word of God!
The Power of the Vote
From Sen. Lieberman’s decision to leave the Democratic Party and become an Independent some time ago, he appears pretty happy being in the kingpin position of possibly casting the determining vote between the Democrats and the Republicans on a number of different bills.
I do not understand how he was lucky enough to have been selected a number of years ago as a candidate for vice president under the Democratic party. He had every American’s right to work toward such an outcome. However, every time I see his face, his happy, happy smile is his trademark for me. I’m not practiced enough on the computer to read all about him, so I know nothing about his intellectual or moral capacities, which leads me to label him in my mind as a hard-smiling man with many friends.
I could be wrong, of course.
We Do Not All See Alike
I am lucky enough to have lived here in Santa Barbara for pobably more than 11 years by now. It is a beautiful town at the base of beautiful mountains. We have had three very serious fires in the mountains since I have lived here, the most recent having started in May and spread from one end of the range in our sight to the other. As in most cases, it was started by humans, but this one was apparently an accident. However, arson seems to be a growing amusement of choice.
If you drive your own car and watch what you’re doing, you have probably come to realize that there is really a great deal of the Santa Ynez Mountains and most of this town that you have never really seen. As an invalid who has to be driven wherever I go, I now have plenty of time to sightsee as we move. I may not go far, but I have more time to choose and consider my sites.
Today, when I was working with my physical therapist, I asked her what she saw when she looked at the mountains. They are beginning, with the help of humans, to show some green again. My therapist’s answer was that she saw the mountains beginning to turn green, and they had beautiful clouds above them.
Then she asked me, and my answer was that I saw dead animals, and their babies dying of starvation. What my friend sees is only the surface from afar. What my mind sees is undoubtedly more realistic, but God, I wish I could change it!
It seems to me that an ever-growing world population, and endless expansion of new technology to replace human employent can only end up in total chaos.
When our world leaders shake hands and smile at the audience, why don’t they smile at each other instead? Such a smile could be seen by both groups and recognized as the culmination of a friendly agreement.
Listening to Washington Journal this morning, I have heard the poorest of the poor telling why they are unemployed, what their education is, and how many children they have who are in the same jam and depending on them. How can the Pro-Lifers have the stupidity, or just the plain old guts, not to encourage people like these to stop having babies, at least until they can support them?
President Obama is the best we’ve had, admirable both as a President and as a human being. In answering a question today, he said that we need to buy from our own citizens. I understand his desires in that respect, but how would that affect the attitude of other countries who trade with us?
Back to world over-populstion. World Violence is doing the very best it can to get over-population under control. And don’t think it won’t win in the end! It is too bad that our partner in this effort is Violence. Unless and until human beings as a whole learn from the scientists who know what they’re talking about, the earth will grow more crowded and lose more of its earthly riches every second of the day. Is that what humans call our Thanks to God?
Our jobs are being replaced by technology, our philosophy is deeply inolved with hatred, hatred of the Other and/or Others. The Economy consists of everything from the Very Rich to the Very Poor. Those who don’t have riches want them, and most of those who have them want more. And the really great thing about being rich is that, for many of them, they’ve never even had to work! They can go to church and put a large check in the gift bowl. The glory of it is that they leave chuch having received their Father’s Grace and just as rich as ever.
I have a suggestion for a new Rich Man’s charity. (Actually, I shouldn’t display such an enormous amount of gall, because it has undoubtedly been thought of by many rich people before.) The one I suggest, might be a charity which actually makes the donor demonstrably poorer than he was before.
(I’m ashamed to say that I will be putting out a box of worn and faded clothes for the Salvation Army on Monday. I need to put a mirror up on my computer when I write.)
There are many cities, large and small, that put up city Christmas trees every December. It is very sad to watch a tree, chosen for its perfection and size, hoisted in the air without its lifeline roots and placed, dead, for its last month on earth.
Wouldn’t it show more reverence to these “temporary” trees if a site were selected to place a promising young tree for its whole life, to be decorated, not by trinkets, but by birds and their nests? It seems to me that such a tree would have a great deal to say to the people who look at it the year ‘round. Its live decorations of birds would be a new experience for city children who have never seen birds. And the growth of the tree over the years should bring happy memories of its young life, especially to those of the people who had seen its planting many years ago.
It came as a great surprise to me as a librarian in a fairly small town close to San Francisco that several of the people I either worked with or helped as library users had never looked up in the sky to see the sun or the stars. As mothers of young children, what clue does that give you as to their ability to teach their children almost anything? And how would many of the people who like Christmas trees have any idea of what we could do to revere our trees without killing them?
Santa Claus came to me in my sleep last night, and anointed me as one of his special Helpers. Santa has many Helpers, as you know, and rather than all having the same job, we are given a number of different jobs with different gifts to give. Some Helpers take lavish gifts to homes on their lists. Some Helpers concentrate on toys for children. And some Helpers, like me, have been given unusual gifts to hand out.
In my case, it is doling out cloth shopping bags as gifts. The nice thing about these bags is that they are made out of replaceable plants grown for that purpose, not from trees. And they can be used over, and over, and over. Paper bags are used only once by most people, made out of trees, and unless the recipient is conservation-aware, forgotten on the spot.
Also, my clients think about the world much as I do. A tree, to us, is a thing of beauty, shade on a hot day and some shelter on a rainy day, and MOST OF ALL, a safe home to many animals and birds. In fact it may come as a surprise to those of you who do not think the same as we do, Tree and Pet Huggers think about this stuff alot. And it is our hope that our numbers will continue to grow. (I am proud to admit that some of us are actually hot and heavy on the subject, but not for ourselves, instead for the world and everything in it.)
Unfortunately, some of our converts have put their cloth bags down and can’t remember where they are, or they leave the house without them and can’t be bothered to go back.
But as a devoted Helper, I will put in my very own word here. If you aleady have at least one cloth bag, GET THE HELL OUT THERE AND FIND IT AND USE IT! And if you are truly sorry that you are NOT doing enough to try to help the world and everything on it, start trying.
For those of you who are not on my list for bags, I’m just one of Santa’s Helpers, and you may be on another Helper’s list. Let’s give up Christmas and replace it with a holiday 365 days long all around the world that includes, not just humans, but all the animals, the plants, and the rocks and dirt, and even the germs. After all, if germs kill us, just think how each and every one of us also kill germs and everything else, both bad and good. Ever thought of that?
Merry Whatever from the Bag Lady
The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who loves his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.
I have made some edits to my original post.
Religion in one form or another is sweeping across the surface of the Earth, shoving everything non-human and everyone human but non-religious before it. The only force that can meet it with any weapons capable of defense are those nonreligious humans who have thought alot about the subject.
Using myself as the example to speak for agnostics and atheists, I will speak of those matters which count most to me and govern my life. I can’t speak for those who have never considered such matters, as my mind boggles at the thought of anyone with a working mind who is in that category.
On the other hand, I am not a very good example. First of all, I was born into a very wealthy family, and I still have enough money, even with a serious, longstanding illness, to get along very comfortably and pass on something to my two children. However, I only know what I know about poor and impoverished people from observation. And I have, through one means or another, observed.
Many of the world’s peoples and nations believe that their lives are rewarded or punished by some form of deity. And they seek succor, through some form of worship, for their needs and wants. Often, this succor involves happiness and/or wealth. (By the way, wealth, especially great wealth, is not always the best answer to prayer.
Agnostics (I will use that title for all nonbelievers because it’s just easier) find that their solutions (and there may be many more than one solution) are best worked out in their own individual minds. It may come as a surprise to many religious people that many, if not all true agnostics are extremely honest, and the news tells us that honesty cannot always be learned in church.
I have been listening this morning to a debate on C-Span which is similar to the usual fare for weekends. The subject is United States history, highlighting the most important events in recent years as discussed among well-known scholars and authors. The subject this morning is American differences with other nations on various events.
Religion is seldom discussed, though it seems to me that religion is at the very core of almost every national belief, worthy to some of giving one’s life to protect and perpetuate. It is overpopulation and misappropriation of both wealth and education, however, which will bring this world down, and seldom, if ever, is the subject brought up on the media.
Overpopulation and someone else’s religion are the ingredients for the End of the World bomb. The world can no longer feed all the humans and other animals already here. How is it possible to continue with the doctrine that all life is precious, that babies or adults, mentally or physically deformed, or living in agonzing pain, must be kept alive? How can women be encouraged to continue to produce more babies, who will produce even more babies, who will continue to produce more babies, who...................?
How can someone who attends church hunt for pleasure? If killing for fun doesn’t stop him, how about the fact that so many animals are now becoming extinct ? I’m going to throw up.
Unfortunately, though we live in one of the most fortunate nations, we have gone from belief in equality to belief in the right to accrue as much as we want or can. Many of us are lucky enough to have been born rich and/or more intelligent than the average. Many so described have chosen to follow the road which leads to greater wealth. Many others, however, have chosen to follow the road which can lead to consequential improvement in the lives of those less fortunate. These include people who contribute both money and time to those who need them, as well as explorers who venture into places like jungles and the frozen North in the search for what humans have done to non-humans, as well as for what discoveries may help the world as a whole.
The pleasures that Americans used to seek included the ability to work hard and live comfortably, provide for your family, to pay your employees fairly, and to share with others. For thousands of Americans now, the richer they can get is how rich they want to be. In the present world, USING the entire world as their playpen has become the purpose of their lives, almost always at the expense and service of the poor. (I went to Mexico many years ago, and was so embarrassed that I have never gone on another vacation.
Oh, and another thing: If wars are so damned important to this nation, why haven’t we been having a draft from the very beginning.? Or enlistments by the masses? I am sick of seeing so many civilians singing the National Anthem and waving the flag. I wish the President would institute a draft.
To finish my harangue, I want to say that I am not entirely anti anyone who goes to church. President Obama is the best we have gotten in all my 87 years. He has a wonderful sense of humor, mostly at himself, and very reassuring manner toward people the world over. He seems to be having unexpected trouble in Afghanistan, but I am not privy to everything going on there, and I will hang in there with him unless and until I find that he has gone power crazy. This is not the best time to offer a minor criticism, but here goes. I wish that the president would not usher other rulers off of their own stages when he is the guest and they are the hosts. On the other hand, he has been criticized for bowing before an Eastern ruler on being introduced. (Can’t remember who, but you’ll forget when you’re 87 too.) The bow was courteous, and the President was paying respect, not obeisance.
Thoughts Worth Delving Into
Leafing into my old files, here are some notes I have made which deserve holding onto and eventually expanding. Some of them are old, but all deserve further thought:
Some people, including many Republicans, have claimed that they are the party of peace and opportunity, yet we are hisorically a country at war.
The two subjects of most importance to Republicans and also other Americans are abortion and homosexuality—two subjects which should be determined by the people to whom they apply. Abortion is the linchpin of hope for any solution to the most important problem in the world—overpopulation. And homosexuality is a condition applying to many people from birth. There is nothing intrinsically evil or harmful about it to the rest of humanity. Leave them alone!
I have heard a number of Republicans say that they don’t want any of their money to go to immigrants—a really gracious spiritual thought. On the other hand, if you are so poor you cannot share any of your money with anyone even needier than you are, you may be eligible to receive someone else’s money—possibly from an immigrant.
The right to vote should not hinge on turning 21, or knowing some distant names and dates, but on some questions that test your mental acuity A citizen running for office should not be elected solely because of his origin or because he is good looking.
In spite of claims to the contrary, the news is beginning to reveal racial and religious discord on both sides in the armed forces.
Does the economy increase because more citizens are making more money? Does it decrease because more people are making less money? If the economy increases, does it share its wealth with the needy? In other words, does it change because of more money for everyone, or does it change solely because of increasing population?
As an ex-librarian, and a finicky one at that, it is with shame that I admonish everyone to DATE YOUR NOTES.
Human beings who practice almost any religion assiduously often cross the line into an area where they cannot accept the rest of the world without forcing their faith on others.
This is true of Christians of many sects, especially the Catholics.
Catholic belief has forced its way into many laws which govern all, or at least some Americans. Two of those laws truly amaze me. The first is the law against allowing gays to marry. If a pastor refuses to marry them, that I can understand as his right, but that is not the compassion and acceptance that I would expect from a man of the cloth.
Nor is that what I would expect from his congregation.
The second is having an abortion, and that, I agree with many others, is the right of the woman. If the baby has come to term and is not obviously suffering from some malformation, tthe child should come first. But if obviously malformed, the woman should make the decision.
One of the most intrusive things I have ever heard of is pharmacists who refuse to sell birth control prescriptions or devices to women. Pharmacists should not be in the business of deciding morality or health based on their own religion.
Oddly, the armed forces are full of people who espouse religious faith but who do not confuse that with killing other people. A truly religious man who serves in the armed forces, however, is a man of serious thought and unbearable dilemma.
Most people on earth, even we atheists, believe that the world was created by some sort of Force. Most all of us love it, including us atheists. Thus, the most mysterious thing of all is the fact that so many religious people, especially Catholics, cannot see what is ahead with the uncontrollable spread of human beings over the earth, smothering its plants, its animals, and all of the beauty that the Force left for us. If the earth as it is becoming is the best the Force could do, then we atheists wish the Force would either improve us somehow, or just create another animal that really is the best in town.
There are many things that you can do for wildlife during the winter months, snow or no snow.
You can plant plants with berries or nuts that they like and will remember and come back to. Everyone, everwhere, can help birds by having and sustaining a bird bath that is clean and full the year around.
If you have a yard enjoyed by wildlife, you can plant your old Christmas tree in the yard, where small animals and birds may find shelter as long as it lasts.
And you can make compost out of old Christmas trees and plants. Be sure to clean off any decorative material which might harm the animals, and that the plants themselves are also safe for animals.
The massacre yesterday at Fort Hood is fairly unusual. (Or it was until Orlando suffered something similar today.) But Fort Hood, at least, is due to a man who could no longer bear the strain he was under.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is a soldier of high standing, with a profession, psychiatry, also of high standing. He was born in Washington. At the same time, he is a Muslim, whose faith is based on Islam. The people who know him say that he is much disturbed by the wars in Iraq and Iran and that area of the world. It seems odd and insensitive that he should be selected to serve duty in that part of the world when there are other countries to which he could have been sent.
To be asked to serve against people of his own faith in the area from which that faith arose, and to be frequently ribbed about his origin and his faith by other soldiers, especially when he is an American, born in America, is not what a man in his position should receive in return for his service.
When I was in the 7th grade, I was chased around the school yard on a daily basis by a pack of boys shouting “Tub of Guts.” I was at a very sensitive age, and I have never forgotten their taunts. The crime of Maj. Hasan is severe beyond redemption. But the habit of many Americans to ridicule others is also a very severe crime which has led to the ruin of other lives. I hope that people who like to make fun of others will either grow out of it or pay for it by remembering what they did, as do their victims.
At last, I’m Back!
Having been away for several weeks with Old Lady Fades, I have now returned in full force. I’ve missed all of you, especially those who have let me know that you are still here too.
One very important thing I have come to realize is the fact that many of my friends are all suffering bouts of Old Lady (or Man) Fades too. Kind of knocks you down from surprise when you first get the Fades, doesn’t it?
I’ve been lucky to find myself covered so far by almost adequate insurance. I have helpers come for three hours, twice a day, seven days a week. Two of them are particularly helpful, and are in my mind and heart as true friends.
The only problems with my Fades are worried cats, and that is my greatest problem. My son has come from Kauai for a visit, and he is my hope for their future.
Well, that about covers it from here. Love to you all, Anne
Is it possible for both parties to lose?
David Brooks asks,
Bob, what do you think about the state of our political parties?
Is it possible for both parties to lose at the same time?Bob Herbert answers,
I think both parties are misreading the public’s mood on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whatever individual polls might say, most ordinary Americans are fed up with those conflicts and have no stomach for the rising casualties that would accompany an expansion of the fighting in Afghanistan. The conservative trend you mentioned is, I think, a manifestation of the desire to wind down the extraordinary drama of the past several years and begin to focus, in a prudent, common-sense way, on the myriad problems facing us here at home.Yes, a lot more was said in this dialogue, but this is what I come away with.
Al Franken's 1st Bill:
A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program to assess the feasibility and advisability of using service dogs for the treatment or rehabilitation of veterans with physical or mental injuries or disabilities, and for other purposes.
Condoleezza Rice headed Chevron's committee on public policy until she resigned on January 15, 2001, to become National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. Chevron, for unspecified reasons, honored Rice by naming an oil tanker Condoleezza Rice after her, but controversy led to its being renamed Altair Voyager.
One Sees Heaven, Another Sees Hell
Tourists going through Santa Barbara on this beautiful fall day, are probably looking with envy at our Santa Ynez Mountains, wishing that they could live here too. But I look at those mountains through a different prism.
I was driving up a street on May 5 of this year, with a good view of the mountains, and I saw a small puff of smoke which turned out to be the birth of the Jesusita fire. And today I write this blog to the regulated sound of planes flying over, spreading hydromulch as they go. Their task is to plant the beginnings of another, far-far-off forest to replace what we once had.
When I look at the mountains, I do not see a scene of majesty. Instead, my mind sees frightened little animals trying desparately to stay alive. I see courageous little animal mothers covering their children with their own bodies to protect them. And five months later, I see those who are left searching in the rock and ash for nourishment which is no longer there.
A fire wrought by Nature is part of Nature’s history, as well as its recipe and nurture for the rest of time. A fire caused carelessly or purposely by Man is a weapon either of wanton pleasure or evil malice.
In the days since the fire, I have greatly increased my birdfeeding stations, and it is a joy to realize that I am now feeding birds which may well have come here to seek refuge.
When Major Steven Hutchison was killed while serving in Iraq, he was, at 60, the oldest American casualty in either of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. His unit, who had come to love him like a father, devised a unique way to honor their fallen leader -- and it involved a puppy.
Hutchison had enlisted in the Army in 1966, served two tours in Vietnam and was awarded a Bronze Star before retiring in 1988. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks he wanted to return to active military duty, but his wife Kandy Rhode wouldn't hear of it.
Married three times before, Hutchinson was devastated when Rhode died from cancer in 2006. "A part of him died," Hutchison's brother Richard Hutchison told the Huffington Post.
In July 2007, at the age of 59, Hutchison "signed up for the Army's Retiree Recall program," reports the Los Angeles Times. He was sent first to Afghanistan for a year and then onto Iraq where he joined the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
Though Major Hutchison vowed he'd never fall in love again after the death of his wife, the seasoned military man fell surprisingly hard for a stray yellow puppy his unit found while leaving an Army base near Basra. According to the Los Angeles Times, Hutchison scooped the puppy into his arms and took her to his armored vehicle.
Hutchison named the puppy Laia [sic] (for Princess Leia, according to Stars and Stripes) and snuck her back to the base. Stray animals in Iraq are typically euthanized the same day they are caught, reports the Los Angeles Times, and service members are not allowed to keep any strays as pets.
But, the major "was hooked," Sgt. Andrew Hunt later emailed to Hutchison's family, according to the Los Angeles Times. The military man allowed Laia to sleep with him at night and sit in his lap while driving around to visit the unit's Iraqi counterparts.
On Mother's Day, May 10, 2009 -- two days before he was to go on leave and one month shy of his 61st birthday -- Major Hutchison was killed by a roadside bomb while patrolling with his team in Al Farr, Iraq, near Basra. Laia was not with him that day; he had left her behind at the base. He was buried in Scottsdale, Arizona on May 19 and is survived by his mother, brother, half brother, half sister and two adult daughters.
As a tribute to Major Hutchison, Sgt. Hunt secured approval to send Laia to the United States and worked with the U.S. Embassy in Iraq and SPCA International's Baghdad Pups to transport the lucky pooch to America and place her in a home, which costs the non-profit animal rescue group about $4,000.
Major Hutchison would be happy to know that the scrawny yellow puppy he rescued is now happily living in Michigan with the family of a special agent who worked with Hutchison's team in Iraq. Though Laia lost one of her legs to an infection, she is doing well.
Wow! What a week!
With all that we see and hear about the health care initiative, I thought it was important to see what the positions of medical professionals are.
Apparently the American Medical Association has weighed in on the new health package:
- Allergists voted to scratch it, but Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.
- Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it but Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.
- Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception. Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.
- Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" While Pediatricians said, "Oh, grow up!"
- Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while Radiologists could see right through it.
- Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.
- Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter."
- Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.
- Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas and Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say, "No."
- In the end, Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Washington.
Letter to Christine Romans, hostess, CNN Your Money
I turned to your program this morning, hoping for some enlightenment about our financial problems. But what I found was a group of economists sitting around flipping the many pages of a congressional bill on the subject and laughing hysterically. By the way, I have seen many congressional bills that thick in the past, so it was not unusual.
Perhaps I am missing something, but I did not think this was a laughing matter, and I cannot think of a shred of information I got from the program.
Since I am fairly financially comfortable, I hope that I will get through this tough time without too much trouble. For that reason, your program was a complete waste of my time. On the other hand, if I had been a person with serious problems on my mind, I would have been deeply offended and more worried than ever.
The time has finally come for me to sit down and write about my dearest cat, Mooch. (All of my cats are my dearests, by the way, but, as you can see from the pictures, he was my dearest dearest.)
Mooch was riddled with several diseases, the last and most lethal of which was cancer, and the time finally came to end them for him.
So many people believe that animals, even dogs and cats, are incapable of knowing and showing love the way human beings do. The pictures above certainly show how wrong they are. And in fact, the inability to know and show love is fast disappearing from the human species.
Mooch and I slept nose-to-nose every night, and I will miss him terribly for every remaining night of my life.
The rest of my cats have continued to search for him, especially Sylvie. I have a fairly roomy U-shaped house with a large screened-in porch which they can enter from either side at will in order to birdwatch, so they are gradually returning to their favorite pastime of birdwatching. But FOUR is a very hard number for me to cope with. When I check on them before going to bed each night, I continue to find myself searching for the FIFTH.
As for cats’ ability to feel and express love, it is often hard to catch the most revealing shots by camera. Last year, I was lying on my bed doing exercises with my feet on the bed and my knees raised. My therapist took successive shots of Mooch coming to the rescue, but she was unable to catch the best—when he laid his arm across my ribs and DARED her with his eyes to continue with the exercise of bending my knees from side to side, which was, in the eyes of my cat, abnormal, and possibly harmful, to me.
Animals, especially those who are loved, and those who are rescued and loved, is ever-lasting from both sides. A mother loves her child from birth, but pets are loved until their deaths if they are lucky. The birth of a child is generally happy, but the death of a loved pet is always heart-wrenching. So far, I have fourteen little caskets waiting to be buried with me. I am just sorry that I did not bring those from 30 years of living in the Bay Area down here with me. And, as painful as it will be to me, I hope I will outlast those remaining, because I would not want them to undergo the grief which I have felt for those who are gone.
Opposed only by the Very Rich and the Very Moronic Working for Them
Why is it that government costs on almost every level are cut by cutting from the bottom, where the need is highest and the over-all effect upon the nation as a whole is the greatest?! Two of the most important needs are severely affected—health and education, especially the latter. What makes human beings human is the awareness of the various worlds around them, and the ability to reason. And both of these abilities can only come through education and the quality of the education received.
Is Sen. John McCain running for President again? Republicans tend to think of war as the first tactic to consider, and I see he has been on the news quite often lately, berating Pres. Obama and his ability to lead. And that reminds me, Vice Pres. Dick Cheney evidently doesn’t realize that he is no longer President, either.
So far as I know, the religious right doesn’t disapprove of keeping animal populations down by exercising birth control (or shooting for sport.) What, exactly, is their position on the smothering blanket of human beings drawing ever tighter around the globe?
And speaking of religion and the growing population, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that peoples with differing religious and/or political beliefs simply cannot live together as a single nation. There is no way that religious and political views can merge into a government that satisfies and serves more than one point of view at a time. Religion, especially, cannot and will not compromise.
There is only one solution to the overpopulation problem, and that is the unrest and annihilation of most (if not all) of the human race by the final choice we have made—constant war and subjugation. Religious groups, in particular, are eager to spread “Democracy” around the world. But, whether they realize it or not, Democracy as they know it can only spread as it has in this country, by proseletization by the religious right of non-believers, either in person, or by inserting it into the government which will control us all.
For over two years, now, I have needed caretakers to help me around the house. The morning helper is here for two hours, during which she helps me bathe, feeds my cats, fixes my breakfast, and makes my bed.
When making my bed, whether or not there is a cat on my bed, most of them have simply sort of pulled my blankets up to the top and smoothed them down. A few days ago, I decided to give them lessons in bedmaking, as anyone who has been in the service can recall. So far, I have given bedmaking lessons to three of my helpers, with excellent results, and as I was relaxing on the couch just now, it occurred to me that the lessons were not just in bedmaking.
First of all, without realizing it, I was teaching and they were learning geometry, possibly without ever having taken it in school. The bed and the bedding were squares, and they were learning that you cannot make them relate to each other by just pushing the wrinkles of the sheets farther across the matress. They have to figure out where the middle of the head of the bed is, and the middles of the sheet and blanket are, and then to relate them to each other in squares. The sheet must be longer at the head of the bed, and the blanket a few inches shorter so that the sheet can fold over the blanket to protect your face from the rough surface of the blanket. The bottom edge of the blanket thus can be tucked in farther at the foot of the bed.
This is followed by learning to pull up the resulting extra bedding hanging out of each side of the foot of the bed. The helper learns to pull up that extra bedding into a sort of triangle that folds down neatly at the side. All of my students were absolutely amazed at what they had done!
As I relaxed on the couch, I realized that I had actually taught them a little geometry without mentioning the word. But what was even more important was that they were delighted with what they had done. And most important, each of them and I were drawn even closer to each other by their pride in themselves and my pride in them.
Abortion Doctor Shot At Church
WICHITA, Kansas (AP) - Media reports say that abortion provider Dr. George Tiller has been shot and killed at his Wichita church.
Tiller has been among the few U.S. physicians performing late-term abortion. His clinic has repeatedly been the site of protests for about two decades.
Today we mourn the loss of our husband, father and grandfather. Today's event is an unspeakable tragedy for all of us and for George's friends and patients. This is particularly heart wrenching because George was shot down in his house of worship, a place of peace. Our loss is also a loss for the city of Wichita and women across America. George dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality healthcare despite frequent threats and violence. We ask that he be remembered as a good husband, father and grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere.But Warren Hern, a Colorado physician and close friend of Tiller's who said he is now "the only doctor in the world" who performs very late-term abortions, said Tiller's death was predictable.
I think it's the inevitable consequence of more than 35 years of constant anti-abortion terrorism, harassment and violence. George is the fifth American doctor to be assassinated. I get messages from these people saying, 'Don't bother wearing a bulletproof vest, we're going for a head shot.'Kelli Conlin, president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, echoed that sentiment in a statement about Tiller's death:
Abortion foes have lost ground. . . . They want the doctors dead, and they invite people to assassinate us. No wonder that this happens. . . . I am next on the list.
It is cold-blooded, vicious actions like today's assassination that make it hard for those of us in the pro-choice community to find common ground with those on the other side. It is lawless, violent behavior like this that makes us fear for our lives and our families. When they sit down across from us, they have no reason to believe that we come to the table with violent intentions. Today is a brutal reminder that we are not privileged to have the same sense of security.
Ban on Gay Marriage Upheld in California
There is one poll that we have not heard from. How many gays have voted to uphold the ban?
Somehow, I didn’t get this posted. Sorry.
I am a devout Christian, and those of my views agree that God put us on this earth to bring new lives upon this Earth—the more the better. We also believe that this country is most beloved of God and that we should spread His word around the world.
My children attend school at a very large school, where they are taught the Word of God, which must be spread across the Earth. But there are some children from other neighborhoods who have not been brought up properly at home. One of those children started a fight with one of my children not long ago, and my child was severely wounded in the fight.
Now, although we Chritians are true believers, we cannot accept such a thing being done to one of our children, so we gathered a whole bunch of other Christians to join our family and give the offending child a lesson he will be sure to remember. And we sent them over to the other neighborhood to let him and his family know that, no matter what it takes, we will defend our own.
Unfortunately, coping with that child and his family required a pretty severe response, his injury being so great. Much as we regretted having to be so stern, things got out of hand between the two parties, and we ended up having a great battle, with hurt feelings on all sides. A few blows even went astray and hurt some of the people on our side, but things like that are bound to happen.
What makes matters worse now is that there are people in various places (and even a few in this great Christian country) who think that our children got too rough. After all, not all of their children started the original fight, but that really is no excuse when they either did not support us, or withdrew their support before the fight was settled in our favor. You really can’t stay good friends with people who are not blessed with Christianity and the moral superiority that those of us who are converts have worked so hard and with such certainty to bless the rest of our neighbors.
What we must do for our own safety and the moral will of God, therefore, is keep a very close watch on the other neighborhoods and use whatever means we have to elicit from them any secrets they may have about their plans to hurt our children in the future. May God bless us and the moral and ethical paths we may feel obliged to choose!
The Socialist Atheist
Please Feed the Birds
Since our terrible forest fire here in the mountains above, and including parts of Santa Barbara, many of the birds who had just moved to the mountains for the summer have come back looking for food. As a result, I have at least twice as many birds as I ordinarily do. I have eleven feeders and two bird baths, and I have t work hard to keep them filled.
I am sure other bird feeders have experienced the same thing, and I urge those of you who have not fed them before to welcome them to your homes, especially if you can keep them relatively safe from cats.
I have a hummingbird feeder and an oriole feeder close to each other, and the birds eat the same food and move back and forth from one to the other. The hummingbirds are tiny, but ferocious when battling with each other to get to the food.
You do not need to buy oriole or hummingbird food. I will include below a recipe which is very easy to follow, and the birds do not need coloring.
Note: The feeders are emptying much faster than in the recipe indicates. Upon occasion, I have had to fill them twice a day.
HUMMINGBIRD FOOD WITH ALMOST NO MEASURING
Rule Number One: Do not buy ready- made mix. Homemade is safer and better.
Rule Number Two: Do not add red coloring. The color of the feeder itself attracts the birds, and the dye can be harmful.
Rule Number Three: Hang the feeder where it gets as much shade as possible, and is not reachable by cats.
A tea kettle for boiling water
A one-quart sauce pan with cover
A one-cup measuring cup
A spoon for mixing
A quart-sized plastic bottle with pourable lid for storage in the refrigerator
And very important, a funnel to pour from one container to another. The containers have small openings, and it is easy to spill.
Fill the teakettle with fresh water and bring to a boil, then set aside.
Fill the measuring cup with sugar and pour it into the saucepan, then pour in at least 2 cups (estimated) of boiled water, stir until the sugar is completely dissolved, and set aside to cool.
Refill the teakettle with fresh water, bring it to a boil again (to be sure it is purified), then set it aside to cool.
When the water has cooled, pour the sugar-water into the plastic container, then fill to the quart mark with the cooled water from the teakettle.
This means that the only measuring you had to do was measuring the sugar into the cup, and filling the remaining space in the refrigerator container to the quart mark.
Just be sure you shake the container a little each time you put new food into the clean hummingbird feeder to be sure it’s well mixed.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU PUT FRESH FOOD IN THE FEEDER EVERY SEVEN DAYS. WHEN YOU CLEAN IT, BE SURE TO FILL THE CENTER CUP WITH CLEAN WATER. THIS IS TO KEEP INSECTS FROM GETTING INSIDE TO THE FOOD. ALSO, CLEAN THE ENTIRE FEEDER WITH FRESH RUNNING WATER AND YOUR FINGERS, THEN CLEAN THE EATING HOLES WITH A CLEAN Q-TIP, BOTH FROM THE TOP AND THE BOTTOM.
What a Great Choice!
I just watched Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appear to answer questions of the press with regard to the Middle East. She was an enormous improvement over her predecessor. She spoke intelligently and calmly, with a welcoming smile in her eyes as well as on her mouth. Her demeanor respected her guest, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, and her questioners as well, rather than arrogantly speaking down to them.
Her position in life fits her like a suit, and she deserves no place to go but up when President Obama has finished his time in office.
So you think I am carrying on too much about religion?! Well take some time to think about the crusades the Catholics and the evangelicals are on. Both groups are hell-bent, so to speak, to ram their religious views down the intellectual and spiritual throats of the rest of us. They are doing their damndest, again so to speak, to get their religious views enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, MY Constitution, and I and other people like me are determined not to let that happen.
In looking back over my other blogs on the subject, I find that they continue to indicate the importance of this subject to me. The reason I am writing about it again is that Pres. Obama is now faced with the necessity of choosing another member for the Supreme Court, as well as the opportunity to bring it into more balance with the beliefs of the citizens of this country, who came here from many different countries with multiple races and many disparate beliefs among us. The choice of members of the Supreme Court seldom comes, and George W. Bush added to its imbalance, which in turn has added to the growing schisms which threaten to tear this democracy apart.
There are many atheists like me out here, as well as many people with religious views which are unlike ours and those of Christians, as well as differences within the Christian religion itself. And there are Indian tribes, those from whom this country was stolen by Christians many years ago, many of whom still hold their original beliefs. (For those who do not know, the Indians were named Indians by the people who stole their land because they were heading for India and thought they had reached it.)
Back to THE REALLY BIG SUBJECT AT HAND! The Catholics and the evangelicals, many with little education, want to take away the right to die, a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion (or not), the right of gays to marry in a church willing to marry them, the rights of atheists to run for high office (I think some of the latter already do not exist.)
Addendum 1. The subjects above are unique to the people involved and their families. How they respond is up to them, not to outsiders.
Addendum 2. A woman whose teen-age son is dying of cancer has been in the news lately because she believes in a cure by God, and the state is attempting to force her to let him have medical help which may very well save his life. I find myself on her side in this case. Her religious views are as sacred to her as mine are to me, and her son evidently shares her views. The outcome is up to her and her family to decide. Let them be.
Addendum 3. Has it ever occurred to those who want to exercise their control of any of these subjects, that the world is in terrible shape, due mainly to us?! There are more people on its surface who are destitute than there are those who are rich. The animals, who were created by the same force which created humans are being decimated by humans, with nothing good to replace them. And the only way the earth can even begin to recover is for there to be fewer of us and what we have wrought. God must surely be crying.
The Socialist Atheist
The Jesusita Fire
This is just to let you know that I am being evacuated with my cats by my daughter and my helper because of another threatening fire.
Unlike last year, when the voluntary evacuation line was at Ontare, the next street over from me, this time Ontare is the mandatory evacuation line, and La Cumbre, a couple of streets beyond me in the other direction is now the voluntary evacuation line.
It all means a great deal of work for Autumn, even though one of my helpers has been kind enough to stay beyond her time to help.
So far, no homes or structures have been burned yet, but there are hundreds in imminent danger, and the winds will be very high for several days, and are expected to be extremely erratic.
Just wanted to let you all know what’s going on. Autumn would rather take me and my cats to a friend’s home, but I would much rather go back to her house as I did last time because I am familiar with it. It means more work for her, unfortunately, if I stay at her house.
I hope to God that the thousands of homes that are in danger will make it through safely. I can’t even bear to think of all the animals, both pets and wild, that probably won’t make it.
I’ll get back to you in a few days, I hope.
If Torture Works, God Must Approve
It is utterly fascinating to watch this country mature in its leadership role in relation to the rest of the world. No wonder so many countries hate everything about us; they are just so jealous of our moral and religious values that they do not appreciate the methods we are sometimes forced to use in order to maintain peace among and between nations.
The latest thing that has been questioned is our government’s use of torture in order to converse with citizens from other countries with other beliefs. I heard today that it was our revered ex-Vice President himself who came forth to defend this nation in its time of trial when it is accused of using torture in order to protect us from our many jealous enemies. How can we possibly think of charging him or our beloved ex-President with having condoned a perfectly reasonable means of self-protection?
I wrote recently about the right to bear arms, stating courageously that it is my opinion that anyone of any age be aloud to arm himself. As a result of the ex-Vice President’s defense of a policy in use by the previous administration, I want to add it to my concept of how all Americans can and should put that policy into effect for the present and the future.
Starting with the youngest among us, those who have just come into this world, it is a must that the rest of us begin our training early with regard to our attitudes toward others of our own kind, gradually branching out into our views of the rest of the world. Some of these traits are already beginning to become a regular part of all human beings, as is apparent in young children at school who seem to enjoy tormenting other children just for fun. I was somewhat overweight when I was in the 7th grade, and I remember vividly being called “tub-o-guts” by a group of boys. It was really good practice for them, and I’ll just bet that they all grew up to be devoted gun owners.
But now we live in a very dangerous world, and I can just imagine how hard it would be for someone who hates us to hold back any plans for doing us harm if we just torture him enough. Some of these evil men are really tough, but if you think about how you would react to such treatment, they simply will not be able to hold out, so long as we can hold out on increasing the type and length of the torture. The knowledge by the rest of the world that we engage in torture will certainly get out, which may lead to a slight increase in the use of torture by our enemies, but our cause will prevail, because, as the whole world knows, we are a Christian Nation.
The Problem Is Mass Marriage in Public
Marriage is a sacred ceremony to most people, attended by close family and friends. It is a private procedure, made less sacred only when it is an Event publicized for the information and edification of the uninvolved public.
Because same-sex marriage is unusual to most of the public, photographers find it an interesting subject to catch as a large group of newly-married same-sex strangers emerge from a public office and immediately engage in elated kissing on the steps of the building.
If you think about it, however, the same procedure by a large group of heterosexual newlyweds involves the unconnected audience with the same feelings of discomfort. The
occasion becomes a sort of carnival freak show with sexual overtones. The marriage of either couple, whether in a church, a home, or a public office, is and should remain a ceremony attended only by family and friends.
Come off it, those of you who are interested in such displays, and also those of you who cheapen yourselves by participating in such an event.
And especially those of you who feel you have the right to continue to try to determine how the lives of homosexuals should be contained and ruled. And most of you who do this do it in the name of Christ and God. You make me sick!
The New Member? Of the Family
The most amazing demonstration of human incompetence and failure of understanding between human beings and animals that I have ever seen took place today at the White House. Beau, the Portuguese water dog was introduced to the family, and to about 50 obnoxious media photographers, as well as to the world during the poor dog’s first hysterical trip around the spacious outdoor world surrounding his new home.
Evidently neither of the two adult Obamas had ever had a pet, so the dog was as new to them as he was to their children. Either none of the photographers had ever had a dog, either, because they were far more interested in the photos they could get than in what effect their phalanx may have had on the puppy.
Wolf Blitzer, on CNN, asked a “dog whisperer” guest questions that only a person who had never even heard of such an animal would ask. And a woman dog training and performance expert was interviewed in the studio. She had a dog of similar breed and age with her at the time, and the dog wrapped himself around her legs until he had to be removed. Both of these people were involved in training dogs for wealthy families. The man must have been a dog psychiatrist, while the woman emphasized training and obedience.
Beau was introduced to his new environment moments after reaching his new home, and he was too interested in his new and boundless grounds to be bothered by all the ridiculous humans around him. If he had been a timid dog, I cannot think of a more frightening experience for a new dog to go through.
It was obvious that this was an entirely new experience for the Obama family, so I don’t blame the President for making a mistake in judgment. I revere him as a man and a man fit to be my president, so I forgive him for his lack of training in this instance. I hope he will find it an entirely happy period of training for himself, his family, and for Beau.
But it’s not too late! Here is the thing he should have done in the first place, and what he can still do now:
For moral reasons, and especially because it was what he first said he would do, he should have adopted a homeless dog.
He can still do that, both for the sake of the homeless dog, and for Beau’s sake as well! No dog should be the only pet in a home that can afford it. A dog needs a dog companion, just as people need people. NOW is the time to get Beau a companion, before he becomes a spoiled celebrity dog. And there is nothing more devoted than an animal that has been rescued. Pets should be beloved members of a family, not celebrity accoutrements.
And for heaven’s sake, do not have your dog(s) go through a regime of “training and obedience!” Try to train them not to pee on the furniture, but let them be REAL dogs, and love them for their mistakes and their quirks.
As a dog and cat rescuer all my life, most of which I have found abandoned on freeways, I can tell you how desparate is their need and how grateful is their response. I would be very surprised if there is anyone who drives on freeways anywhere who has not seen a lost or abandoned dog walking hopelessly along the road. It breaks my heart to even say that, for it brings back memories of so many that I have rescued, and the few that I was unable to help. One of my most memorable rescues was of a dog trapped between two of the three tunnels between Oakland and Contra Costa County during the morning traffic hours. I got out and opened the back door for him, and he jumped in and put his head lovingly on my shoulder, as the angry driver behind me held his hand furiously on his car horn.
I wish all people would respond the way I and other rescuers do. For those who feel as I do, it is a truly lifelong spiritual experience.
Good luck with your dog(s), Mr. President, and I wish him (them) a long life as beloved pet(s) rather than as another sightseeing experience at the White House.
Appalling Republican Questioning
I tuned my TV in to the rebroadcast of the hearing on Immigration Activity: Section 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act today. (Best I could do, but I guess you can find it if you need to.)
It was chaired by Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, with Republican Rep. Steve King as the ranking member. I could not believe my ears when I realized the direction in which he was going. Thank God that Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Democrat, Illinois 4th Dist., chose to be sure that the hearing and the public could understand what was really going on.
There were three witnesses on the first panel, two Hispanics. One, an older man, has been a citizen for many years. The other, a young man in his twenties, who was born here. The third witness was an American whose daughter and another girl were killed by an illegal immigrant who was driving drunk. The two hispanic men have been arrested or otherwise hassled by law enforecement officers numerous times, chosen because they looked hispanic rather than that they were doing anything wrong. (As an aside, can you imagine how nervous you would be if you were testifying before a government panel, even if it had nothing to do with you?! Talk about courage!)
The other witnesses and the entire panel expressed their sorrow for the father’s loss. But Rep. King chose to dwell on the fact that his daughter had been killed by an illegal immigrant, rather than that she had been killed by a drunk driver.
There are a couple of things that should be pointed out here. First of all, there was a lot of testimony about the fact that most of the people in prison down south are Mexican. They are the only country that borders on ours, except for Canada, a largely white country with a totally different relationship with ours. As the world population (my “favorite” subject) swells, and its resources and education decline, it is desparation that drives peoples all over the world, especially in this case, to seek a different life. It should be obvious that the jails would contain mainly desparate Mexicans. Sure, there are a lot of vicious criminals down there, but the U.S. has its own supply to worry about as well.
Rep. King’s whole point was that if the drunken driver had not gotten here illegally, the dead girls would still be alive. For God’s sake, have you any idea how many people are killed in this country by other natural-born citizens of this country every year?! This hearing was supposed to be about illegal immigration, not drunken driving. That should take place in another court!
Well! From the recent news on all the media, there has been a great deal of shooting lately, with increasing mass murders.
I thought the right to bear arms referred to “a well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State.” What that has to do with random shooting and mass murder is not completely clear to me.
If the current use of the right to bear arms is really in accordance with Amendment II, it seems only fair to me that anybody of any sex, any age, and any motivation should feel free to load up!
Who’s the Boss Around Here?
There are a multiple of levels of government. Starting from the bottom, they are:
The individual, the family, the town, the state, the nation, and the world.
These are followed by the warring partnes of possibility and probability, closely administered by time.
And then come the two big guys, population and environment. These control what happens in the levels below them. They can be sympathetic and helpful, but when they are aroused, they can become brutal bullies. Already, signs of their growing disgust with the rest of us is apparent in the suffering and hopelessness that is beginning to settle over us like a smothering blanket. They are our neighborhood hoods who like to think that they are entitled to sport with the rest of us, but are ready to wipe us off the face of the earth like broken toys if they get tired of our whining and lack of the guts and know-how that it takes to persevere.