April 25, 2007

Uncanny Parallels

Last night on PBS, the show Independent Lens outlined the Enron scandal. As the story unfolded, I saw more and more parallels with the Bush administration to date. Of course, this isn’t tremendously surprising, given the close friendships back in the late 1990’s between both Bushes and the top executives of Enron.
As noted during the program, as the house of cards began to crumble during the first months of the 21st century, ‘All the Bush administration had to do to help Enron was—nothing. That was something they did very well.’

In the midst of the study on Enron, the producer of the show noted the parallels between Enron and the Milgram study [see 4/20 below] as I have been noting for years on both my blogs as regards the Bush administration, the resemblances were uncanny. I found it interesting to say the least: that two completely different entities [the producers of the program and myself] recognized the parallels between these two scandals and a study which, though well known among select professions back in the 1960’s, has been essentially out of public awareness for decades, now.

Today, I believe, this country is, increasingly, resembling a house of cards—just as Enron did six years ago. Bush and Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld and Rice, are the top executives. The Cabinet and the West Wingers who implement the policies of the administration are the traders whose practices were being winked at by those executives. They’re also the equivalent of Arthur Andersen, cooking the books. Most of the Republicans and some of the Democrats in Congress make up the next tier of execs who knew and didn’t know what was happening. The vast majority of people of this country are the rank-and-file employees who placed their trust in the company [country] and are shut out as the execs take their huge bonuses, sell their stocks and fleece the company [country].

I was also interested to note, as I did some further research into the parallels in preparation for writing this post, as BBC and other publications reported back in 2002, G. W. Bush was very quick to denounce his erstwhile ‘friends’ and demand investigations into the scandals.
The man who demands loyalty from those around him demonstrates precious little of that commodity to others.

April 22, 2007

The Wrong Question

Last night, on CNN3 I heard a panel discussion about Presidential powers during time of war.

One of the questions posed about eavesdropping on citizens was decidedly the wrong question:
The man asked, 'What harm could it do?"

Amazingly, no one challenged this absurd question.
'What HARM????'

This
is the litmus test we have come to, today? Measuring the harm our country is doing and deciding how much is too much?

What has happened to the notion that a governing body is supposed to at least pretend to do good? That it is supposed to at least pretend to do the will of the people?

This one is blatantly asking, 'What can we get away with before sparking a rebellion in this country?'

Before all is said and done, it may come to that if these are the questions our government officials are asking themselves these days.

April 21, 2007

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

Lee Iacocca and Catherine Whitney have written a new book:
here is an exerpt:
I
Had Enough?

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."
---
Excerpted from Where Have All the Leaders Gone?. Copyright © 2007 by Lee Iacocca. All rights reserved.
xxxx
Obviously, Iacocca doesn't read the blogs I do if he thinks he's alone in his outrage. Unfortunately, given human nature [see the articles in yesterday's posts] we WILL just go along and go along while the world crumbles around us. We may protest -- even vigorously. We may scream at our television sets. We may march.

We DID vote last year to show what we thought of the status quo. And, then, we got more of the same. The new Congress that promised change hasn't given it to us.

I believe we ARE outraged. But, I also believe we feel helpless to do more than we have done and are doing to change the situation. If Congress isn't going to impeach and convict the criminals--what can we do?

I know what I WON'T do-- I won't take up an assassin's gun in order to rid the country of the vermin that are running it into the ground.

So--what else is there? What CAN we do beyond voting our consciences? We DID that! What else is left ?

April 20, 2007

Rebellion? I Doubt It

I dusted off these two posts from my previous blog and placed them here after I read a couple of people over on Pissed on Politics [http://www.pissedonpolitics.com/] talking about rebelling against our government or, alternately, about our troops refusing to follow orders in Iraq or, if worse comes to worst, here at home if a rebellion were to begin in this country.

First, for the reasons given in the bodies of these 2 articles, I seriously doubt that a rebellion will begin here. We're simply not equipped to dissent against our government in the way suggested by the commenters.
Secondly, our military is even less likely than the norm to say, 'no' to authority. They have been rigorously trained to obey orders unquestioningly. In fact, in Iraq and Afghanistan, their lives depend on obeying now and, if necessary, asking questions later.

Given the situation as it stands, I wish this weren't so. But history and the 2 studies outlined below suggest that it is.

Obedience to Authority

This study is well known among helping professionals—it’s called the Milgram Study—and it’s quite infamous.
*_*_*
The question had to do with the Holocaust and the events leading up to World War II. The world was stunned with the happenings in Nazi Germany and their acquired surrounding territories that came out during the Eichmann Trial.
Eichmann, a high ranking official of the Nazi Party, was tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The question was, "Could it be that Eichmann, and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Or could we call them all accomplices?"

Stanley Milgram performed a series of studies on the obedience to authority. The experiments were done at Yale in 1961-1962:
*_*_*
In response to a newspaper ad offering $4.50 for one hour's work, you agree to take part in a Psychology experiment investigating memory and learning.
You are introduced to a stern looking experimenter in a white coat and a rather pleasant and friendly co-subject. The researcher explains that the experiment will look into the role of punishment in learning, and that one will be the "teacher" the other the "learner." Lots are drawn to determine roles, and it is decided that you will become the "teacher."

Your co-subject is taken to a room where s/he is strapped to a chair to prevent movement and an electrode is placed on his/her arm. You, as the "teacher", are taken to an adjoining room which contains a generator. You are instructed to read a list of two word pairs and ask the "learner" to repeat them. If the "learner" gets the answer correct, you move on to the next set of words. If the answer is incorrect, you are supposed to shock the "learner" starting at 15 volts.

The ‘generator’ has 30 switches marked at 15 volt increments. up to 450 volts. Each switch is marked with a rating, ranging from "slight shock" to "danger: severe shock". The final two switches are labeled "XXX". You are supposed to increase the shock each time the "learner" misses a set of words on the list.
*_*_*
The drawing of lots was rigged and the “learner” was always a ‘stooge’—part of the experimental team who responded to a light the ‘teacher’ could not see. When prompted by the light, the stooge acted as if s/he had been shocked, though no shock had actually been administered.

At times, the worried "teachers" questioned the experimenter, asking who was responsible for any harmful effects resulting from shocking the learner at such high levels. Upon receiving the reassurance that the experimenter assumed full responsibility, the subjects continued shocking, even though some were obviously extremely uncomfortable doing so.
Ultimately 65% of all of the "teachers" punished the "learners" to the maximum 450 volts. No subject stopped before reaching 300 volts.

Milgram also conducted several follow-up experiments to determine what might change the likelihood of maximum shock delivery. In the ‘touch-proximity condition’ the teacher was required to hold the hand of the learner on a "shock plate" in order to give him shocks above 150 volts.
The most amazing thing to note from this follow-up experiment was that 32% of the subjects in the proximity-touch condition held the hand of the learner on the shock plate while administering shocks in excess of 400 volts.

Further experiments showed that 'teachers' were less obedient when the experimenter communicated with them by telephone versus in person.

Males and females were equally likely to obey the authority figure though women generally demonstrated more nervousness while doing so.

Other researchers replicated the study and demonstrated similar findings. The experiments spanned a 25-year period from 1961 to 1985 and were carried out in Australia, South Africa and in several European countries. In one study conducted in Germany, more than 85% of the subjects administered a lethal electric shock to the 'learner'.

Today, the field of psychology would deem this study highly unethical but it revealed some extremely important findings: the theory that only the most severe monsters on the sadistic fringe of society would follow such cruel instructions is disclaimed. Findings show that "two-thirds of the study’s participants fall into the category of ‘obedient' subjects, and that they represent ordinary people drawn from the working, managerial, and professional classes.
*_*_*
This tells us much about human nature. As with the study outlined in an earlier post, people will follow the orders of those they perceive to be authorities. One doesn’t need to be in the military or otherwise especially indoctrinated to follow orders in order to do so. In fact, we’ve all been taught since infancy to do what we’re told—and we do.

Of course, each of us hopes we would be among the minority who would rebel under such circumstances—but we can’t know, until we’re faced with such an order, how we would respond.

And, of course, these findings have relevance during the disillusioning times we find ourselves in today. We can all stand to find the rebels within ourselves during this time of turmoil.

Prelude to Guantanamo

This study suggests that people will respond not by outright rebellion but by subverting the system or doing what they can to manipulate it for their own benefit.
The experiment was carried out at a university back in the 1960’s. It was designed to discover what happens to people who are in prison and what happens to their guards. The results were amazing.
Here’s a synopsis of the experiment:

I. The student volunteers were interviewed and determined to be your run-of-the-mill undergrads who were just going to school and minding their own business. They were in no way unusual.
After their personality profiles were taken, they were sent home and told they would be contacted if needed for a study then being designed. Several weeks passed before anything else happened giving the students time to forget the fact that they had signed up for the experiment.

II. The students were randomly assigned to become ‘prisoners’ and ‘guards’.

III. ‘Guards’ were notified to come to the school the day before Spring Break began. They were issued reflective sun-glasses and arm bands and told to report for duty that night.

IV. The ‘prisoners’ were woken from sleep in their homes in the middle of the night and taken to a makeshift ‘prison’ in the basement of a school building. They were given very little if any information but were simply issued identical nightshirts, footies and hairnets.

V. The ‘prisoners’ were fed regularly [though the food was not particularly appetizing], allowed to use the bathroom as needed, given places to sleep, etc.
The ‘guards’ were told to maintain a formal distance from the ‘prisoners’ but were otherwise given no instructions.

VI. Once the shock experienced by the ‘prisoners’ wore off, they began joking among themselves and attempted to include the ‘guards’ in their banter.
Following the instructions they’d been given, the ‘guards’ maintained their distance.

VII. Slowly the two groups polarized. The ‘guards’, who experienced some anonymity behind their sunglasses, became harsher toward the ‘prisoners’ and began taunting them.
The ‘prisoners’ became beligerent toward the ‘guards’. Bit by bit, members of both groups began perceiving the other group as being somehow less virtuous than their own. It became acceptable to treat the 'other' in more and more negative ways.

VIII. As tensions escalated, the prisoners threw food at the guards and the ‘guards’ turned the school’s fire extinguishers on the ‘prisoners’.

IX. On about the 3rd or 4th day, the ‘prisoners’ began planning a prison-break. Word leaked out and a ‘guard’ reported the development to the professor who had designed the study.

X. At this point, even the top of the pyramid collapsed. The professor, who had designed the study had assigned himself the role of ‘warden’. He had envisioned himself as the dispassionate observer and as simply answering questions brought to him by the students. Instead, he became overinvolved:
A colleague dropped by to discuss the variables in his study and received a shock. He was met with the statement, ‘Variables be damned! We’ve got a prison-break being hatched down there! We’ve got to stop it!’

The experiment was ended several days before it was scheduled to be completed. Neither the professor nor the 'guards' were interested in the termination of the study but the Dean ordered its closure and that was that.

After it was over, all participants were sent to the school’s counseling department to help them recover from the aftereffects of their experiences.

This study was undertaken to determine how people who are given absolute power over others are affected and how those who are subjugated respond. All parties got more than they bargained for.
*_*_*
This dynamic occurred within three or four days after an experiment began that involved people who started out perceiving themselves as equals.

How much more terrible it becomes in the prison system generally and, to an even greater degree, in Guantanamo Bay where the individuals involved do not enter the situation recognizing their similarities but focusing only on their differences.

April 19, 2007

Words to Live By

The Desiderata
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant. They, too, have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your dreams. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive it to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be careful. Strive to be happy.

April 16, 2007

The Way the World is Going--Someday

I left a comment on the blog, Goodness Graciousness in response to Jennifer's April 5th post.
Then, I decided to post it here, as well--
***
The Michael Teachings [a good starter book to check out is: The World According to Michael by Joya Pope] say that the world tipped from a majority of Young Souls to a majority of Mature Souls in 1986.

Right now, the majority is very slim-- only a portion of 1% more Matures as compared to Youngs with the rest of the population spread among Infants, Babies and Olds.

Youngs perceive the world as a place to plunder for personal gain while Matures begin to realize that that method of existence doesn't really work-- either for the individual or for the species or, ultimately for the earth or for the universe.

Based on this view, I believe we have a l-o-n-g way to go before most people will truly embrace the vision that it's not all about garnering personal wealth and power over others and begin moving the planet in another direction-- namely that of sharing and equality-- especially since those people who share the Young viewpoint will, for some time to come, be those who will want the 'power' that comes with holding government positions. So Youngs will be disproportionately respresented in the Parliaments, Congresses, the White House, etc.

Still, the Mature values are starting to make themselves heard and felt around the world-- it's a beginning. . . .
***
If we apply this info to current events, we can garner some hope for the human race--and the rest of the world.
The ground swells regarding global warming, for instance, and Imus for another, suggest Mature viewpoints coming forward.
The down-side to Mature thinking, though, is that Mature souls share one trait with Baby souls: they like to tell others how they should live. As witness the ban on smoking-- in some cases, even in one's own home.

April 14, 2007

Only in America!

Heard this morning on Wait, Wait! Don't Tell Me! on NPR:
'Since, if McCain secures the nomination he'll be the oldest Presidential candidate ever, a hair salon in the DC area [I think] has suggested he cultivate a goatee or Van Dyke in order to appeal to the younger voter. It would, supposedly, make him resemble people they admire--like ummmm--Satan, f'rinstance.'
***
Yep, that about sums him up. . . .

April 12, 2007

hey, folks--
my computer was on the fritz for several days. couldn't get online for love nor money and got behind the eight ball again.
this may be out of date -- but here it is, anyway.

Remember Daddy's Woes

This from the Washington Post:
Democrats To Widen Conflict With Bush
Some on Both Sides See Plans as Risky

By Jonathan Weisman -- Washington Post Staff Writer

Even as their confrontation with President Bush over Iraq escalates, emboldened congressional Democrats are challenging the White House on a range of issues -- such as unionization of airport security workers and the loosening of presidential secrecy orders -- with even more dramatic showdowns coming soon.

For his part, Bush, who also finds himself under assault for the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, the conduct of the Iraq war and alleged abuses in government surveillance by the FBI, is holding firm. Though he has vetoed only one piece of legislation since taking office, he has vowed to veto 16 bills that have passed either the House or the Senate in the three months since Democrats took control of Congress.

see here for the entire text.
***
While it MAY be risky, I remember who was blamed for the 'gridlock government' when Bush Senior was vetoing every bill that came his way when HE was president. Congress emerged from that brawl smelling like a rose while Bush-daddy just came out smelling. And then, he lost the election.
While it's too late to hope for THAT rosy outcome, those who back Bush just might find themselves at the wrong end of the argument. And wouldn't THAT be lovely?

W, of course, doesn't learn from his OWN mistakes--let alone those of someone else--but some folks in Congress just might.

April 10, 2007

Blog Against Theocracy Swarm

Marching Resolutely Backward

This morning I was watching a documentary on the History International Channel about Tudor/Stewart England [video of What the Tudors Did For Us the second third here and the end is here].
Adam Hart-Davis, the host, talked about educational, medical, scientific and industrial strides made in 16th century England as a direct result of the theocracy that was going on in Europe at the time.

In mainland Europe, accepted astronomy said that the Earth was stationary and the universe revolved around it. The Church had finally, reluctantly, accepted the idea that world was round, at least—but it still maintained that we were the center of everything. Anyone who said otherwise was silenced and imprisoned and, possibly, burned.

Dissection of human bodies was forbidden—so what medical practices were not founded in superstition were based on the anatomy of a pig.
Galen had been of Greek origin though he practiced in Rome. He had developed the theory of the 4 humours and dissected pigs and apes. In the 1500’s the Church still adhered to the theories put forth over 1300 years earlier.
If you got sick in the 15th century you were likely to be purged, bled and fed a potion made of the ground up carcasses of dried mice.
Dried snakeskin was another favored medication. One method of use was to cover the affected area with the snakeskin, sprinkle it with holy water and intone the words: 'In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, Amen.'

Across the Channel, Henry VIII wasn’t just a blood-thirsty tyrant who was wont to kill his wives. He established state education which rewarded merit. So sons [no daughters yet, of course] of tradesmen and miners could hope to better their positions for the first time in European history.

Any forward thinkers were fleeing Italy, Holland, France, Belgium, Spain and Germany. They took their new ways of looking at the world to Britain where their observations would be tolerated, even welcomed.

In 1572, the Elizabethan astronomer Thomas Diggs saw a bright new star in the sky. He was shocked. This could not be. Heaven, where God resided, was eternal and unchanging, wasn’t it? But, there it was—a new star—undermining everything Tudor England believed in.
And, there was a printing press—brought to England by William Caxton, a Brit who had traveled in Europe and brought it back with him. So it didn’t remain something that was kept bottled up for only the powerful to know about.
Today, we know that that ‘new star’ was a super nova. But in 16th century England it was a bombshell. That one sighting of "something that shouldn’t be there" ushered in observational science: the practice of seeing reality rather than relying on what one believes to be true because “that’s how things have always been.”
What do you want to bet that France, Germany and Italy saw that star as well? But only England published the fact.

The understanding of human anatomy was revolutionized by Andreas Vesalius following the legalization of human dissection.
William Harvey, the son of a cobbler, discovered the arteries and veins that circulate blood.
Modern medicine began from the alchemist, Paracelsus, who had fled Switzerland and sought sanctuary in England. He believed that minerals and chemicals could be used to treat diseases and ushered in modern medicine.

Today, Europe is striding forward looking at the world as it is rather than as the Church would have it be. It is in America that people are harking back to a time of intolerance toward science.
It has been a long, long time since Victorian newspapers published editorial cartoons that declared that Darwin’s ancestor may have been an ape but the rest of us were created by the hand of God. In Kansas, however, people want to return to that view and drag the rest of the world with them.
In the Southern and Midwestern United States people would stop science in its tracks—bequeathing Alzheimer’s to their parents and spina bifida to their children rather than allowing research that could bring us cures for those conditions.
It is well said that the only life in this country that is worth protecting is life within the womb. Well, I take that back. If you are a vegetable lying in a hospital bed being fed with tubes and being breathed for by a machine -- THEN your life is sacred -- assuming your family can pay for your care.

Well, we can clearly see what happened in mainland Europe when it held to those viewpoints. Those who perceived the world AS IT IS moved to England and created the most powerful nation the world has ever seen.
Our brief time in the sun seems to be over—not because Europe is leaping ahead so much as because the US is willfully falling behind.

I’m watching as Europe sails toward the future and the US sits in it’s stagnant swamp. Good luck to you, Europe, and more power to you. We have abdicated—you may now take the crown.

April 9, 2007

More on the Recycling Front

I received a comment on my article about freecycling from Polishifter. He said he participates in recycling computer components. That got me thinking: I had patronized a store in KC that had such a program but hadn't yet looked into what's available in Clearwater. So, I looked.

I found two.
One, Cartridge World at http://www.cartridgeworldtampa.com/ specializes in cartridge refilling and included this info on its website:

• It takes about a gallon of oil to make a new laser cartridge.
• Almost 8 cartridges are thrown away per second in the United States alone!
• In North America alone, over 350 million cartridges per year are discarded in our landfills, and that number increases by 12 percent annually!'

The other breaks down computers and their components for the salvageable parts and sells them for reuse. With the ever-accelerating pace of technology, we can't afford to just junk our IT.
Besides being better for the environment, patronizing stores that specialize in recycled equipment may even save us some money when buying/replacing components. Always a nice incentive----

April 6, 2007

Please Write Your Senators!

Hey, folks--
I'm trying to get my very own ground-swell going here:
it seems there's a pharmaceutical company that has developed a vaccine for radiation poisoning. It would protect the population if a dirty bomb were to be set off in the vicinity. It is safe to store in your home and self-administer in case of an emergency. [A dirty bomb would leave most of the population alive--until they died of radiation exposure OR lived long enough to have children who were prone to leukemia and other immunodeficiency diseases].

And the government, in its wisdom, has ordered that 100,000 doses of the vaccine be developed. That ought to be enough to cover them and their immediate families, right?
It is probable that at least one dirty bomb WILL be set off in the US in the foreseeable future--and there's no telling where. And, given Al Quida's penchant for multiple strikes, several cities could be wiped out simultaneously.

I sent an email to each of my senators recently to tell them to get on the ball with this vaccine--to make enough for the general population and get it out to us.

PLEASE act on this and ask others to join in. Let the government know we won't just sit here and let this preventable catastrophe happen.

For your convenience, I'm enclosing a copy of the email I sent them. You can simply copy and paste it or you can write your own.
You can google the names of your senators to get to their websites, then send a ms through their 'contact me' page.

Thanx, Anne

***
Dear Senator _____________:

During the Cold War, the Mutually Assured Destruction nature of the situation kept the most horrible weapons ever developed from being used.

MAD no longer exists in today's political climate. Someone could place a dirty bomb in Downtown Anywhere and be on a plane hours before it detonated.

Now, we're told, a vaccine that could protect the populace from radiation poisoning is available. This medication could be safely self-administered in an emergency. If it were made available to the general public BEFORE such an occurrence, hospitals could concentrate on the people who were affected by the blast of the bomb--not have to deal with the people [probably numbering in the millions] who were affected by the dispersed fallout.

Strangely, the government has ordered that 100,000 doses of this vaccine be manufactured. That number of doses might cover the people in the top levels of government and their families. Yet, what use is a government without a population to govern?

Please bring this issue to the Senate for discussion and immediate action.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Sincerely,

April 4, 2007

Today’s Riddle: What’s Better Than Recycling?

Before I moved I became aware of Freecycling. I had already packed and stored a bunch of stuff though, so I contented myself with making sure such a program was available in the Tampa area. It was.

In case you’re not familiar with it, here’s how it works:
Have you got a purple widget you don’t use anymore? What do you do with it? If you’re like most of us, you squirrel it away in a closet or spare room in case you might [check all that apply]: lose weight, need it someday, find another use for it, break the new one that replaced it—or simply because you don’t know how to get rid of it [as in the case of some toxic substances like furniture stripper, wood sealer, video tapes, computer components, etc.]

One reason many of us hesitate to part with such items is that we hate to throw away something that still has useful life left in it.
Here is how Freecycling comes to the rescue: this loose network can put you in touch with someone who needs that thang that’s gathering dust in your closet—and will put it to immediate use. Problem solved.
Oh, and btw--all items must be free of charge. The receiver makes arrangements to pick up the item from the giver's home, place of business or whatever. That's all there is to it.

Anyhow—
I’ve finally reached the stage in the unpacking process where I’m looking around and taking stock—what do I want to keep and what am I ready to get rid of? If ‘get rid of’ simply meant ‘throw away’, I might opt to store a lot of things against the day they ‘might come in handy.’ BUT, since Tampa has a freecycle program, I’m offering those things to people who will use them now.

And here’s the REAL kicker: most of the boxes I carted my stuff down here in have been used one time. Obviously, they can make at least one more move—probably more than one. Reusing them even beats recycling them. Before they collapse they could, conceivably, travel across the country 3, 4, 5 times and THEN be recycled. What a way to save a few trees!

This is all a long-winded way to suggest that you check into freecycling— see if there’s a program in your community and, if so, look in your closets for those things you know in your heart of hearts you won’t REALLY use again, and pass them on to someone who might.

You can get rid of that clutter—and, while you’re at it, make room for that new thing you’ve been itching to get if you only 1] could afford it and 2] had room for it. So, after you’ve given away enough stuff to make room for it, ask the network for what YOU need.
After all, you never know what may be gathering dust in someone else’s closet [I saw a big-screen TV given away yesterday. . . .]

April 2, 2007

The Boy in the Bubble

He believes it.
He really does.

Bush believes if he wishes hard enough, what he wishes for will come true.
He believes that the next two years will be a coast with Congress as his personal lap dog--even though it's currently in the hands of the opposition party.
He believes that he’ll be able to just keep doing what he’s been doing in Iraq.
He believes that, if he just keeps saying, ‘I never said, ‘Stay the course,’ we’ll believe him. Probably, by now, he actually believes he never said it.
He believes the economy across the board is in great shape. That his tax cuts helped raise the standards of living for everyone.
He believes his poll numbers are just fine, thankyouverymuch.
He believes he has a mandate to govern this country the way he chooses and no one will ever stand up and say enough.
He believes he doesn’t torture.
He believes everyone agrees that it’s in the best interests of this country to eavesdrop on it’s citizens.
He believes such a move IS in the best interests of the country.
He believes that denying justice in the name of justice is logical.
He believes it is more dignified and humane to dump blastocysts into biohazard bags and throw them in the trash than to use them to alleviate suffering.
He believes people should get married. That is, they should marry if they conform to his idea of people who deserve to do so.
He believes if he just keeps saying the same thing over and over and over, we’ll believe him.
He believes that what this country needs is a dictator.
He believes that the rest of us should just sit back and let him and his other 3 horsemen do what they will to this country.
He believes he is the best thing that ever happened to this country.
He believes God wants him to be president.

And who can contradict him?
After all, he coasted through school, binge drank, used cocain and---graduated [I think].
He managed to stay out of Viet Nam and have a comfortable post right here in the States. Daddy took care of it.
He ran [how many? Three?] businesses into the ground and his daddy bailed him out each time. Daddy will take care of him and bail him out when he runs the country into the ground, too. Right?

All those yes-men he has surrounded himself with tell him to go back to sleep—everything will be fine in the morning.
He believes them. After all, when he looks around HIS world is doing just fine. Right?

Sure, everythings fine for him—so, by definition, everything is fine for everyone. Right? Right?