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 Now, About Bill Ayers...45 comments
picture9 Nov 2008 @ 11:47
Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control---these three alone lead to sovereign power.

---Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Growing older, I love only quietness:
who needs be concerned with the things of this world?
Looking back, what better plan than this:
returning to the grove.

---Li Po

...on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

---John Keats

Photo of Bill Ayers by Chris Walker of The Chicago Tribune.

Some of us have been on a particularly pink Cloud Nine since Barack Hussein Obama was elected the next President of the United States. But this is 5 days later and here are the Sunday papers. If we haven't been jolted out of our reverie yet by the reactions of people not sharing it, it should happen today.

I was not a total convert to Senator Obama, even after being in the midst of one of his ecstatic rallies, but I ended up on the team knocking door-to-door on Election Day. While wearing an Obama button, I nevertheless saw myself as enabling both friend and foe to get to the polls if they wanted to. While cautious and frankly very worried about the shotgun fringe around here, who loudly refused to vote for any of those liars anywhere, I wasn't prepared for the aftermath among Republicans, Libertarians, Evangelicals and those even farther to the right.

I don't think I've seen, after any of the elections in my lifetime, the opposition explode in such disarray. I snuck a listen to rightwing AM radio Wednesday night, and heard Sean Hannity blasting the Republican Party as a bunch of phonies, too scared to stand up for any of the real conservative values. Evangelicals at work, particularly those with single-issue concerns about abortion, haven't spoken to me since Tuesday. I wrote a piece honoring folk singer/songwriter Holly Near, posted it on the Internet (I was trying to change the subject) and the comment thread blew up into flames and personal invective about Obama. As I look around at other blogs and comment pages to analysis, I see I wasn't alone in having this happen.

Yesterday the UK Guardian published an article with the subtitle "The Right Tears Itself Apart In Pinning Blame For McCain's Defeat." It begins,

"As the implosion of the defeated Republican campaign continued yesterday, the landscape of American conservatism was dotted with signs that these were very strange times indeed.

"Rush Limbaugh, behemoth of rightwing radio, took to the airwaves to declare war on two enemies: Barack Obama and the Republican party. Bloggers at FreeRepublic.com, an internet hub for conservatives, announced a boycott of Fox News and John McCain's aides fell over one another to leak embarrassing details about the campaign to the press.

"Liberals, indulging in what the writer Andrew Sullivan termed 'Palinfreude', were presented with a smorgasbord, ranging from the tale of how McCain's pro-Palin foreign policy adviser had his Blackberry confiscated in the closing days of the race, to how the party had paid for Todd Palin's silk boxer shorts."
[link]

This morning The New York Times is carrying opinion columns not only from the usual Sunday commentators Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd, but from their other writers too, like Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof---and even more, including Al Gore. And there are the blogs in there and other columns too, all about the election...and what's next. Take your choice~~~ [link]

What I decided to do was open space for the most extreme rants anybody's still got bottled up. Let's just get it all out and hope that after a few days of venting, we can return to the business of our everyday with normal composure and focus. The Republicans pinned a lot of their attack on a supposed underground relationship and influence with Chicago resident, professor, and activist Bill Ayers. As far as I know, Mr. Ayers said nothing in public about all this during the campaign. Now he does. What do you think?  More >

 Flag Day16 comments
picture14 Jun 2008 @ 12:53
You see what power is -- holding someone else's fear in your hand and showing it to them!

---Amy Tan

Over the old wooden bridge
no traveler
crossed.

---Henry David Thoreau

In studying the Way, realizing it is hard;
once you have realized it, preserving it is hard.
When you can preserve it, putting it into practice is hard.

---Zen saying

Photo: truckers burn their vehicles in fuel strike in Europe.

On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and in 1916 Woodrow Wilson proclaimed we should do it every year...and so that's the story of that. Today it follows Friday the 13th...and have you read the news today, oh boy! Where to begin?

I think I'd like to mention my concern for my sister-in-law Kirsten, who has lived for many years with her family near Iowa City. I did not hear yesterday whether or not there had been phone contact with them, but if not it wouldn't be the first time they've hefted a sandbag or 2---or perhaps they were among the university folk carrying the library's special book collection to higher ground upstairs. [link] While the Cedar River is beginning to recede, the Iowa River won't crest until Tuesday. They're calling this a Five Hundred Year Flood in Iowa City, but I heard an Iowan on the radio yesterday say, "We're getting a new Hundred Year Flood every year here now." People are dead in Cedar Rapids, and thousands have fled their homes, many of which have washed away. A railroad bridge across the Cedar River collapsed from the flood, and bridges throughout the state are closed. This is not the first bridge in this country's infrastructure to go down because there's no money for upgrades. Iowa's governor declared 83 of their 99 counties disaster areas. Governor Culver said yesterday the estimate of damage to Iowa's agriculture economy so far this summer is over a billion dollars. Combine this with the flood damage in Illinois and Indiana, and how is your garden coming along?  More >

 What Will It Take?20 comments
picture9 Mar 2008 @ 14:01
Our lives are lived in intense and anxious struggle, in a swirl of speed and aggression, in competing, grasping, possessing, and achieving, forever burdening ourselves with extraneous activities and preoccupations.

---Sogyal Rinpoche

Awareness of emptiness brings forth the heart of compassion.

---Gary Snyder

Simplifying our lives does not mean sinking into idleness, but on the contrary, getting rid of the most subtle aspect of laziness: the one which makes us take on thousands of less important activities.

---Matthieu Ricard

In the photo, President Nixon greets released POW Lt. Commander John McCain, future U.S. Senator, upon his return from years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, 1973.

We were sitting out Saturday afternoon, trapped in our house by the storm that buried the Ohio Valley in rain, flood, sleet, hail, ice, inches of new snow, and a whopper of a thunderstorm in the middle of the night. Only emergency vehicles were allowed on the roads. We were putting off clearing the driveway yet again and hauling more wood for the stoves...maybe until the power went down as the final stroke of doom. But the electric stayed on for some unknown reason, so Dana was on the computer hunting the blogosphere for news of potential Diebold corruption of primary results. There had been increasing rumors through the week about this, and everywhere I went the buzz was Republicans crossing over to vote on the Democratic side. Some were doing it because they were fed up with their own party, but others were trying to screw the results so that Hillary will go up against McCain. I figured who knows who is who...and it's hopeless, and I was trying not to think about it.

But I also knew Diebold was being mentioned again, the company that makes the legislatively mandated voting machines. The business suffered such colossal blowback from corruption charges after 2004, that they changed the name to Premier. But what, if anything, was done about it? Some states, like California and Ohio, got busy and started throwing them out. But was Diebold at work controlling who wins? Blogs were saying it was Diebold and not the voters that delivered Tuesday's results to Clinton. The satirical site www.theonion.com got the biggest laughs of the week, claiming Diebold accidentally leaked the results of the '08 Presidential race. The New York Times combined its story of the spoof with the news that mighty defense contractor United Technologies is trying to buy out Diebold. [link] If the military runs the elections, what do we have? And is there any significance in the fact Hillary's chief pollster is CEO of the public relations company that Diebold uses? [link] So what have the bloggers come up with?  More >

 The Catastrophic Support Circle21 comments
picture2 Jan 2008 @ 01:01
When you meditate, invite yourself to feel the self-esteem, the dignity, and strong humility of the Buddha that you are.

---Sogyal Rinpoche

The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.

---Tennessee Williams

This year,
yes, even this year
has drawn to its close.

---Buson

The Opening of the Fifth Seal of the Apocalypse, 1610-14
El Greco

I had a night of foreboding last night. No, it wasn't the champagne. In fact I went to bed very early. I felt it when I awoke around 3 AM, with fragments of a dream still flickering. People were coming up the hill, closing in...and I needed to decide whether or not to shoot. Rather a moot question, since I didn't seem to have any guns.

Maybe the wind, which by then was battering the house, had shaken me up. The cold front had arrived, bringing the snow from further west that's falling now. We expect about an inch, and I've already put down the potash before the relatives arrive for a Hungarian New Year's feast.
It couldn't have been the hospitality I enjoyed yesterday at Kathy's remarkable home. She and her partner Constantine had invited a few people for a delicious lunch of soup, fresh bread, salad, deviled eggs, cheese and some Crumb's special crackers that I brought. The land is high on a hill of natural oak forest, with amazing outcroppings of huge boulders, possibly shoveled there by the glacier which chugged to a stop just north of there.

When Kathy first acquired the land, she found a cave among those rocks and there she lived until she could build a tepee, and eventually more comfortable shelter. What they have now is a model home, for me at least, that is self-sustaining and off-the-grid. You can see it here [link] and go there to find out more if you're close by. There are more and more energy-efficient and alternative houses showing up around here. People move here especially to try their hand at living this way.  More >

 Department Of Divine Intervention18 comments
picture6 Jul 2007 @ 10:57
What is in the mind of the spring wind,
blowing day and night in these groves and gardens?
It never asks who owns the peach and plum trees
but blows away their petals without a word.

---Ch'i-Chi

I want death to find me planting my cabbages, but caring little for it, and much more for my imperfect garden.

---Michel De Montaigne

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

---Edward Abbey

Wonkette
God Shed His Rage On Thee

God (D-Outer Space) had a special message for America on July 4: He hates you all. From coast to coast, the Lord sent his plagues down upon ye, ruining everything from that stupid A Capitol Fourth concert to simple backyard barbecues. His hate was, as always, limitless in scope and awesome in power.

* He sent tornadoes and deadly lightning strikes to the National Mall, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to run screaming for shelter. Those who endured two hours of miserable huddling inside various Smithsonian buildings were finally allowed out again at 7 p.m. and forced to go through the ridiculous security checkpoints all over again. Many simply gave up, went home and wept.

* In New York’s Hudson Valley, eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and across the vast waterlogged state of Texas, hundreds of patriotic fireworks spectaculars and Independence Day Parades were canceled due to ceaseless rain, tornado warnings and flooding.

* Huge, deadly ocean waves off of New York’s beloved Jones Beach forced the cancellation of the July 4 fireworks show because it was too dangerous to send out the fireworks barge!  More >



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