February 19, 2007

My last Kansas City post is below.
I'll see you in a few weeks in FLORIDA!

Last Post for a While

When I began my first blog, the central theme was acceptance of others based not on race, religion, gender, sexual preference or any of the other methods white heterosexuals use to pretend as if we're somehow better or more deserving than everyone else--but on our simple humanity.

Members of Western European society and, to an even greater extent, American society place themselves at the top of the food chain. The people in this group, often without even being aware of it, perceive ourselves as smarter, cleverer, somehow more deserving than others of getting to the top and staying there.
The subset of White heterosexual Males has set itself up at the pinnacle of even THIS group. Our society has this view so ingrained in it that virtually no one even sees it anymore. This is simply the world as it is—and it is rarely examined rationally.

One illustration of this was the statement by a White American woman upon seeing the astronauts set foot on the moon for the first time. She said she was proud of herself. She wasn’t an astronaut. She didn’t go to the moon. She wasn’t involved in any way in that endeavor. She made that statement simply because she was an American—as if that made her, somehow, more responsible for the achievement than people of other nationalities were.

My question is: how did her nationality link her to the experience more than a human being in Sri Lanka, say, or Nigeria, or Iraq or Italy? It was, after all, a human achievement—as noted by Neil Armstrong when he said, ‘One giant leap. . .’ Even he erred when he used the word, 'MANKIND'. I’ve never heard anyone challenge his word choice. But, it makes a very strong assumption, when you think about it.

People say that people shouldn’t or that they, individually, don’t discriminate but—if any of us could step outside ourselves and look at ourselves as others see us—we might get an unpleasant surprise. In subtle, insidious manners we would see ourselves engaging in discriminating behaviors, word choices, assumptions.
I know I would. My contention is: we all do it. The best we can hope for is to notice that we are doing it as soon as possible and stop and think; actually pay attention to what we are doing and ask ourselves if we want to continue.

Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt Therapy, once said, ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’
My challenge to each and every person who reads this blog [and I include myself in that group] is that we take this recess to examine our lives with an eye toward how we discriminate against people of groups other than the ones we, personally, belong to.
I’ll be closing down the blog for the next few weeks while I move to Florida and get set up there. In the interim, I leave you with this link. It’s the most commonly requested program on PBS’s Frontline.
I can’t explain better than the show itself does, the point I’m trying to make, so I’ll simply allow it to speak for itself.
See you in Florida! :)

February 17, 2007

Unscrupulous Big Businesses--forgive the redundancy

I can't believe this--
and I'm sending this out both as a general gripe AND as a warning for folks who either own businesses or might own businesses some day--to be alert for this sort of scam:

Some years ago, I listed my small counseling practice in the yellow pages.
It did me no good and cost an exhorbitant amount, so I quit after a year or two. But I got on mailing lists I never wanted.
I began receiving magazines. Lots and lots and lots of magazines.
Obviously, the companies thought I was some big counseling organization that had things like waiting rooms and such. Well, no. . . .
I read a couple of the magazines, like news mags, gardening, home decor, etc.
Most, though, I either found people who would appreciate them among my clients and friends or sent directly to the recycling bin.
Not having asked for them, I didn't see that I was under any obligation to cancel them--except for The Wall Street Journal which was coming daily and was an extravagant waste of paper.

So--shortly before I moved and at least a year after it quit coming, I received a SUBSCRIPTION RENEWAL/NEW ORDER FORM which ESPN Magazine had the audacity to send along with a postage-due return envelope —just as if it was a bill.
Obviously, they're hoping it will arrive in some impersonal bill-paying office where the employees will not know or care that the magazine was never ordered and will simply pay the "bill".
Unfortunately for them, the bill-paying office in this agency is staffed by the owner/operator/service-provider/CEO who knows full well that the magazine WAS NEVER ORDERED!

I can't believe the audacity of big business, these days!
I can't believe this- - - -
**walking away shaking head and muttering to self incoherently**

February 16, 2007

T-Shirts for the Masses

1) (On an infant's shirt): Already smarter than Bush

2) 1/20/09: End of an Error

3) That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway

4) Let's Fix Democracy in THIS Country First

5) If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran

6) Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.

7) You Can't Be Pro-War And Pro-Life At The Same Time

8) If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President

9) Of Course It Hurts: You're Getting Screwed by an Elephant

10) Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?

11) George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight

12) Impeachment: It's Not Just for Blowjobs Anymore

13) We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language

14) America : One Nation, Under Surveillance

15) They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It

16) Which God Do You Kill For?

17) Cheney/Satan '08

18) Jail to the Chief

19) Who Would Jesus Torture?

20) No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade?

21) Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap

22) The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century

23) When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46 a Gallon

24) We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them

25) Impeach Cheney First

26) Frodo Failed. Bush Has the Ring

27) Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Blood

28) Is It Vietnam Yet?

29) Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either

30) Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Handbasket?

31) You Elected Him. You Deserve Him!

The Run Up To War in Iran [yes, that's an N]

Here is the country our President wants to spread his war into.
Click here for Olberman's take on Bush's scheme.

February 12, 2007

Just Had A Thought

I was cleaning out my spam-blocker today and thought I'd pass on the treat it gives me regularly. Almost daily, I get an email that gets stopped by the blocker. The subject line is, 'Do You Like George Bush?'
So, not only does he get blocked as spam but, about once per day, I make it a point to toss George Bush in the trash can at the top of the window.
What a satisfying thing to do! Even though it's just in my imagination, I'm sure that one little act has helped me keep my blood pressure in line.

February 10, 2007

Another Personal Note

Starting to get nostalgic.
Here's a memory from my 22 + years in the house:
my lady died today
too tired to breathe.
I helped her go.
now, I cry.
‘don’t look!’ he said, too late.
Tess had tripped over her feet and into my life.

she welcomed Michael.
asked Joe to phone her.
tolerated Rachael.
and loved me.

she met me at the door
‘where were you? I worry so!
you couldn’t call?’
that cat was a Jewish mother.
I broke the news about making a living—
she didn't believe me.

now her nagging has stopped.
the house is so quiet.

February 8, 2007

The Implications of Neuroplasticity

Last Friday on NPR’s Science Friday, there was a fascinating story:
It has long been the accepted wisdom that the brain we’re born with is the brain we’ve got. A case of, ‘Your neurons are your neurons for better or worse.’
However, it has long been known that people [particularly women] who survive strokes are able to retrain their brains over time to take over the functions of the affected areas. People have, for instance, been able to recover the ability to speak after months of being mute.

Therapists have long helped people get over even severe cases of PTSD by subjecting them to the stimuli that trigger panic responses—but doing so in a safe environment. The frontal lobes recognize the fact that the person is safe and send quieting signals to the amygdala [the seat of the fear response.]

Still, science was reluctant to enlarge on the possible implications of those observations—until now.
A capacity that has been labeled ‘neuroplasticity’ and was long believed to exist only at the most basic levels, is now being shown to be able to be governed by consciousness.
A recent study [I heard this on the radio while driving, so I don’t have any references to back this stuff up, sorry] asked one group of people who had never played the piano to practice scales for 5 days. They had another group simply THINK about playing scales for 5 days. They measured the motor cortex before and after the trial and BOTH groups had comparable growth in the area of the brain that governs small motor function.

The implications for methods of curing depression rather than simply treating it with drugs are enormous. People CAN think themselves out of depression, It takes work, of course, but it can be done. Studies have already shown positive results. [Acourse, counselors have known all this for years—but that’s for another post. ]

It seems the proponents of AA had it right, all along: ‘Fake It Till You Make It.’

February 7, 2007

Starving the Beast

From Wikipedia:
"Starving the beast" is an American conservative political strategy which uses budget deficits to attempt to force future reductions in government expenditure, especially spending on socially progressive programs. The term "beast" is used to denote government and the social programs it funds, including publicly-funded health care, welfare, educational financial aid, and Social Security.
It appears the earliest reference to "starving the beast" in those words was made by former Reagan administration budget director David Stockman, who used the term in his 1986 book The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed.
A current example is the tax cutting policy of the Bush administration in the United States. He said on 24 August 2001 "so we have the tax relief plan, which is important for fiscal stimulus, coupled with Social Security being off limits except for -- except for emergency. That now provides a new kind -- a fiscal straightjacket for Congress. And that's good for the taxpayers, and it's incredibly positive news if you're worried about a federal government that has been growing at a dramatic pace over the past eight years. . . .
The national debt grew 37% in the first five complete fiscal years of the present Bush administration. In the first five complete fiscal years of the Clinton administration it grew 23%. The proportion of borrowing to fund expenditures was 13% in 2005. In 1997 that proportion was 1%. These are the most recent matching figures and years available for those administrations at the references.
Go here for the complete text.
So, here we have Bush's newest scheme for getting rid of progressive programs.
'We have to keep the population ignorant. Educated people have other options than going to foreign countries to get killed for no reason. So, we mustn't fund education. And, the best way to have an excuse to do that is keep the war going so there's no money to put into education.'
Starve the beast long enough, it starts to feed on itself.

February 5, 2007

This from the LA Times:
Once again, Bush is trying to make a case for invading Iran. The latest I've heard is that the invasion would consist of air attacks only. No surpise there--since we have no more ground troops to send.

But, as this article points out, although the administration has repeatedly stated it will produce proof of Iran's involvement in fomenting problems in Iraq, attacking US troops, providing arms to insurgents, etc. it has, so far, failed to deliver any evidence. The deadline has been pushed back twice-- and counting.
See the article here .

As the National Nightmare Began...

Here's an article from The Onion -- note the date of publication.
Now, THAT'S creepy!
Those were lighter days -- back when I, for one, was still laughing
at what a dunce he was and making jokes about missing village
I'm not laughing, now . . . .
See here for the article.

News from the Votemaster

From the Vote Master:
'According to CQ Politics, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) will head the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in 2008. His goal is simple: Take back the Senate. He is taking over the job from the hapless Sen. Liddy Dole (R-NC), who lost six seats in 2006. Ensign will have a tough job since the Republicans have 21 Senate seats up for reelection vs. only 12 for the Democrats, whose 2008 committee (the DSCC) will continue to be headed by pitbull Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). In 2006, Schumer outraised Dole, found better candidates, and did the impossible by winning control of the Senate. His performance impressed everyone in town and nobody is underestimating him in 2008. The key races to watch are Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Louisiana, and South Dakota, but retirements could put more seats in play as well. For information on all 33 2008 Senate races.

'Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) has announced he is running for President. Anyone can dream, of course, but it would take the collapse of half a dozen other candidates to put him in the running.

'Sillylittletwit at Daily Kos made a list of how much of a gain the Democrats need to make in 2008 to take over the state Houses and Senates in states where the Republicans control the chamber by 10% or less.'
The list can be viewed by scrolling down to 'Voter's Map and Post Election News' on the sidebar.

February 4, 2007

McCain Stumbling to the Right

This morning on This Week With George Stephanopolous, McCain said: the vote of disapproval put forth by Congress was, ‘a vote of No- Confidence against our troops.’
Excuse me but that is pure pandering to the Conservatives. Congress’s vote was, certainly, a vote of No-Confidence—but it had nothing to do with the troops. It had everything to do with Bush’s policy or, more accurately, lack of policy, in Iraq.

Obviously, he’s taking a page from Bush’s book: Let’s twist the facts and put words in the mouths of the Congressional Democrats.
Hey! It worked for Bush! Right up until he GOT into the White House. After that, not so good.
But, McCain is taking yet another lesson from W: he’ll let the way he’s planning to actually govern the country wait till after he gets the job. Till then, he’ll simply spout stupid rhetoric--just like Bush does.

Who Would've Thought?

Imagine my surprise--
Last night I opened my email to find The Washington Post. Its featured headline? 'Iraq at Risk of Further Strife, Intelligence Report Warns.'
THIS was the best the Washington Post could do? I thought I'd opened my copy of DUH Magazine!
Ok, here's the article--if you must . . . .

From the Desk of an Unperson

I AM moving to Florida—I really am. In about 2 weeks, I’m shaking the dust of Kansas City from my sandals—probably never to return.

So, two weeks ago, I phoned my home insurance company and spoke to the agent I’ve been dealing with for 22 years about the logistics of the move. We discussed several options. I’ve chosen to sever my relationship with the company and see what happens after I get to Florida.
After all—I’m going to rent my home until G.W. is 1] removed from office or 2] elected out of office or 3] declares Marshall Law and appoints himself Dictator For Life. Whatever happens in Washington will determine what I do next—like whether I’ll live in Florida or Mexico.

So, today I got a letter from my insurance agent. On his letterhead. With his photo. I would wager he knew the letters were going out. Or, at least, his computer knew. The letter assumed I’m going to keep the home insurance and asked me to add car insurance—just like the other 6 letters I’ve received [and ignored] every year for the last 22 years.

I received this letter two weeks after Clint [my agent—I know HIS name] told me he would change my status in his computer.

Uh-huh. I’m an unperson.
Don’t you just love living in the US?

February 3, 2007

Looking for Mr. Right -- by Karen Tumulty

It wasn't so long ago that conservatives believed that George Bush's presidency would usher in a political realignment that would last for decades. But as the right looks forward to the next election, something close to panic is setting in. Surveying the leading G.O.P. contenders for 2008, direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie pronounces "not a one of them is worthy of support from conservatives." Says Craig Shirley, a public relations executive who represents many conservative groups and who has written a book on the Reagan revolution: "There's anger, there's angst, there's dismay in the conservative movement." Some activists, Shirley adds, have even begun talking quietly among themselves about forming a third party.
See here for the complete text.
Some of the language here ['George Bush's presidency would usher in a political realignment that would last for decades'] once again reminds me of language used at the beginning of the Third Reich -- which was supposed to 'last a thousand years.'
If we count from the date when Newt Gengrich stood on the Capitol steps and announced his Contract with America [or what I have called the 'Contract On America' -- but that's for another post] the two periods in history have, to date, lasted about the same amount of time.

That Didn't Take Long

I just restarted my subscription to NewsMax two days ago.
Since then, I've read two articles bashing Clinton [Hillary] and two bashing Pelosi.
And today, alone, I saw two headlines speculating on terrible things Iran may do to us. Not has done. Not has plans to do. This is all pie-in-the-sky speculation.
One asked, 'Can Iran Plant a Dirty Bomb in the US?'
Except there was one problem. The link in my email asks the question about Iran. Open the article, and it's about N. Korea.

Uh--hello, NewsMax--those are TWO DIFFERENT COUNTRIES!
Listen carefully.
Hear the drumbeats for war?
But, NewsMax can't seem to figure out which country it wants us to attack next.
Unfortunately, I think Bush doesn't suffer from the same indecision. HE knows which country has the oil.

February 2, 2007

The Day After

MoveOn made it's goal of 1,000,000 + calls to Congress. It seems to me, our elected officials ignore such a statement at their peril.
Here is the article.


Here are recent poll results for Bush and Cheney along with some links where you can register your opinions.
Even FOX News is showing 16 points more disapproval than approval for Bush's actions. Now, THAT'S newsworthy!

February 1, 2007

A Delusional in the West Wing

Like Cheney himself, I seem to have been behind the times.
I have long thought Cheney was the brains behind the throne in the West Wing and, perhaps when you stand him in a room with W. Bush, he IS the brainier of the two.
But, as Froomkin notes in The Unraveling of Dick Cheney, the delusion -- the total lack of even a nodding acquaintance with reality -- does seem to have become obvious.

Iran Clock Is Ticking -- By Robert Parry

January 31, 2007
Military and intelligence sources continue to tell me that preparations are advancing for a war with Iran starting possibly as early as mid-to-late February. The sources offer some differences of opinion over whether Bush might cite a provocation from Iran or whether Israel will take the lead in launching air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities [emphasis added]. Here is the complete text.