July 31, 2008

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

So, there is a story out there, that while speaking at a Campus Progress journalism conference, Seymour Hersh told about meetings held in Dick Cheney's office where members of the Bush Administration were concocting ideas how to provoke Iran into war.

Considering what we do know about the workings of the Bush White House, I am ready to believe it. But nevertheless, before I jump to any conclusions about this one bit of news, I sure would like the answers to some basic questions.

What were Hersh's sources?
How does he know that these meetings ever actually took place?

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July 30, 2008


“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

So yesterday I misread my calendar and thought that my PT appointment was two hours later than it actually was. Because I thought I had several hours to do other things before getting ready, I happily commenced putting things back to order in my messy kitchen and family room.

For days, everything else had been neglected as I busied myself with preparing several batches of chicken crepes that I was making as a surprise for Mike's birthday. It was delightful to finally feel well enough to accomplish this task again. I felt joyful to realize how much progress I had made in the last few weeks.

Just three and a half weeks ago, and two days before Pete left on his most recent trip to Vietnam, I had started driving again. It was wonderful to feel so much more self-reliant. Day by day, I noticed small improvements. Going up and downstairs was becoming much easier. With each passing day, I was able to do more and more things with only minimal pain. I felt overjoyed with each and every little mark of progress. It was wonderful to be able to finally use my energies to give out to others, rather than being on the taking end.

But yesterday, I misread my calendar, and one-half hour after the true PT appointment time, I received a call from their office to find out why I hadn’t appeared. I felt embarrassed and quite remorseful that I had made this stupid mistake. I asked if it was possible for me to still come in for a session. I was told I could, but only if I could be there in twenty minutes.

I ran up the stairs, washed my face, put on my contact lenses and hastily threw on some appropriate clothes. Grabbing my purse, I went quickly back down the stairs, got into the car and drove as quickly as I could to arrive at the newly appointed time.

Once there, I made my apologies and began to proceed through the assigned exercises. But this time, my therapist was not her usual encouraging self. This time she was not at all pleased with my execution of the workout. She made continuous comments and corrections about my form and methods, even though it seemed to me that they were exactly the same as they had been on previous visit

She told me that I should be getting much better bend in my knee, the way I sat on the bike was wrong, and I wasn't wasn’t using proper form while doing my squats. She added that if I didn’t soon get it right, it will necessitate some surgical intervention. That would mean that at a surgical center, they would put me out, then force the knee to bend as far as the artificial joint would allow, breaking through any scar tissue that was limiting the current movement.

I came home somewhat disheartened and frustrated. And, a little stung by my therapist’s tone and her criticism. Though I know that certainly I could have been doing better, I didn’t feel as though I had exactly been a sluggard. As I considered the things she had said, I could hear my negative inner voice begin its blameful talk. Then, while walking up the stairs to my bedroom, I stopped mid-step, and stood still for a moment before the damage started to take hold.

In that simple moment I realized that just because someone said something negative about me, I did not have to own it! And in that moment, it came to me that I had the strength to face whatever might come next. Right then and there I refused to move to a place of fear or begin to mentally beat myself up because of someone else’s disapproval.

In that moment, I knew I had made progress, even if it hadn’t been up to someone else's expectations. In that moment I decided to be kind to myself. I will try harder and I will do what I can to avoid a a painful additional procedure. But if I must submit to yet one more surgical intervention, I will. I've been though worse.

Within a few moments of this realization, the joy I had been feeling returned and my step became more confident and sure. Life is like that sometimes. Onward. Onward. :-)

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July 29, 2008


The Earth started shaking and things were rattling this morning ... shortly before noon. It was measured 5.8 in magnitude and was a slow rolling kind. No major damaged reported, but keep tuned.

With all the cataclysmic events that have been happening it around the globe, I guess it is only natural to wonder if this might be the precursor to the BIG ONE.

On NPR, they are taking calls from listeners all around the greater LA area who are describing their experiences. The quake has now been downgraded to a 5.4 magnitude quake and the epicenter was located about seven miles below the ground, and 2 miles from Chino Hills. At this point in time, there is only a 5% chance of this may be a foreshock to a bigger quake.

So far all is well. Life goes on. And, we are still rocking and rolling in LA.

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July 28, 2008

Important Day.

Well the day is almost over,
and I almost forgot to post that
today was Michael's Birthday.
Wish him happy!

(Video borrowed JibJab from via YouTube.)

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July 24, 2008


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Scary Looking people I don't know

Geoff Morrell, the new Pentagon spokesperson.

Maybe it is just that he looks decidedly uncomfortable in the role.
From what I could see in a quick internet search,
he used be on the other side of the podium.
And it was reported that he was decidedly liberal.

i guess it was too good of a job to turn down.

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July 23, 2008

What Is It About Hindsight?

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
- Dwight Eisenhower

When I was a girl in elementary school, it seemed like most of the other kids were wearing I Like Ike buttons. Since my parents were staunch Democrats, and my understanding was limited, I thought the world might just come to an end if the popular Republican candidate was elected.

The world didn't come to an end with his presidency, and neither did our country ... and in looking back he doesn't seem all that bad. In fact, we can see that in some things he was a pretty wise man. That is, of course if one doesn't count picking Richard Nixon as his running mate.

I think it was by adding Nixon, that darling of the McCarthy hearings, that really frightened my parents. Even as a child of ten, I knew about the fate of Helen Gahagan Douglas, whose career Richard Nixon had destroyed with a smear campaign.

People then were willing to give up their freedoms, and sit by as other lives were destroyed, because they gave into fear. Then it was the "Evil Communists" who might be hiding under their beds. There is always someone to hate and fear, I guess. And so history repeats itself.

Nevertheless, Eisenhower warned us about the growing Military Industrial Complex, and we barely listened. I wonder if anything would have changed if we had?

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July 22, 2008

The Blessings of Latin and Good Teachers

Recently I watched a rather sappy movie made in 2004. It starred the great Maureen O’Hara. Older, but still as beautiful as she was in her heyday, she played a retired Latin teacher, who while in the hospital, reconnected with one of her former students.

It made me remember my wonderful Junior High School Latin Teacher. His name was Mr. Polito, and he made the subject come alive. He taught me to love words, dictionaries, and the language. He taught us about history, mythology, and so very much more.

I wish I knew where he was now so that I might tell him how much I appreciated him, and what his love of teaching meant to me. But, like so many other people who have touched my life, I have no idea how or where I might find him, or even if he is still with us on this mortal plane.

It is unlikely that he would remember me, even though I sat in his class for two years. I was a so-so student and would not have stood out as someone whose life would be enriched and changed by his teaching.

Latin is rarely taught in the schools anymore. I think that is a sad loss. These days, there is so much more to learn as the world becomes more complex. Student’s lives are filled with so many distractions that some things will be left behind. But to this day, I am grateful for the teacher who advised us to get a Webster's Unabridged Collegiate Dictionary. That was the gift I was given for my thirteenth birthday that year. How wonderful ... a world of words.

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July 18, 2008

“I am in you and you are in me. We are one.”

One time I was in deep meditation and I was given a vision. Divine Mother was at leaving on a ship to go out to the world. We had been told that one day we would not have the opportunity to have the personal interaction as we had in the past, as She would be taking the Light to the world.

In my vision I saw her about to depart on a ship. She was leaving on her mission and I knew I would never be in her physical presence again, and would not have the ease of talking with her as I had been used to. I said to her; “I will miss you.” She said; “Remember, I will always be with you, I am in you and you are in me. I live in your heart and you live in mine.” We are one.”

This is the truth of all things. We are all one with the universe. We may forget this as we live our human lives. There are times when we might feel cut off from everything and everybody. The curse and blessing of life is that "we come alone and we go alone". But even that is the illusion.

The truth is that we cannot ever be separated. We are, as everything is, all part of the Eternal Whole. We are all made of the Stuff of God. God is in us and we are in God. Eternal, Immortal, and Always United with the Presence of the great I AM.

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July 13, 2008

Is God in danger?


Bigotry against gays exists everywhere. It is good to see that in one church in England the congregation stood up against the hatred in a peaceful way.

I am so sick of the hatefulness of the religious right, the fundamentalists and the fanatics. I always wonder why it is that they seem to be so preoccupied with sex? Why do they seem to have such a need to designate people who are different as agents of their fearsome devil? What makes them so ready to believe there is an "Enemy"?

What I don’t get is why they worry so much about the Antichrist. If the God they worship is supposed to be omnipotent, all powerful, omnipresent, all good, all knowing, immortal, and the creator of everything that is, how is it that there could be any power that is capable of challenging the great Almighty? Don’t they see the contradiction?

Why is it that instead of preaching so much about 'sins' of same sex couples, these 'agents of intolerance' don’t use their time, energies and treasure to feed the hungry, cloth the poor and care for those around the world who have been made victims of their inglorious wars.

Why is it that they are willing to bomb, kill, and imprison other people's fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, cousins and children who may live in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and elsewhere in the world. I am disgusted with their flimsy excuse that it is better that “it is over there then over here”. What cowardice!

Why do they seem so afraid of people who believe differently? Their God sounds like a mean and vindictive and abusive parent. A King-God, who lives in the sky, who tempts innocents, and then condemns them to everlasting hell for making a wrong choice. They seem to believe that their God is separate, apart, and we are his playthings. They don't seem to understand allegory, or the fact that the words of their bible has been changed and changed again over the years.

I once mentioned to a niece that I thought it was easier to be a Christian in this country (thinking that because they are in the majority.) She objected and I now think rightly so.

At that time I wasn’t thinking how difficult it must be to go against the natural urge for kindness of the human heart, and instead force oneself to condemn and dehumanize others because they aren’t heterosexual or who simply choose another religious path. How terrible it must be to be filled with so much fear, judgment and hate!

Please help me to stop hating the haters. Please take away my judgment and open my heart to Love. Please bless all those I speak of, and please open all of our hearts to Love.

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July 12, 2008

Vivekananda at world Parliament of Religions 1893

Sisters and Brothers of America,

It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world. I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of the millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.

My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration.

I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation.

I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: "As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee."

The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to Me."

Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.

But their time is come. And I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.

Research Note: Audio artifact is an oral reading performed by Subir Ghosh. The text source for that reading may have been derived from a transcription of the actual speech delivered by Vivekananda at the World Parliament of Religions and/or culled from other speeches and written works by him. The recording quality has been modified to give it an air of authenticity.

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Help me understand this...

I don't expect to agree with my candidate on everything but the vote on the new FISA bill concerns me. I was not surprised to see that our Republican Light Senator, Dianne Feinstein, voted once again out of fear.

But it seems to me that there is more to fear by relinquishing our freedoms than anything any terrorist can do. It seems to me that this Young Turk is right.

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July 9, 2008

Danny Is Home Safe!

Some time ago, I wrote a post asking all of you to keep our mailman, Danny, in your hearts. He had been deployed to Iraq. We heard sporadically that he was safe but in the thick of things in the most dangerous parts of that country. Today, I left for a day full of appointments, and as I drove around the second corner, there he was. I stopped in the middle of the street, jumped out of the car to go and give him a hug. Danny is home from Iraq! This is how my beautiful day began....

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July 5, 2008

Hopeful Tonight

After reading a particularly uplifting article from Sridhar Pappu at truthout, I saw the following video of Barack Obama speaking at a small 4th of July picnic in Butte, Montana. Maybe, just maybe, we are ready to make a giant leap forward.

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July 2, 2008

We are living in the future!

So, last night I was composing a long blog about the miracle of the Internet.... Tonight, my traveler called and wanted to set up a video call through the magic of Skype. I had talked to Mike and the girls occasionally through this medium, but had forgotten how to turn it on, and the icon was missing from my toolbar. Nevertheless, with a little help from our son, though we are presently half a world away from each other, we were soon talking with each other face to face. We are living in the amazing world of tomorrow!

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July 1, 2008

The Internet

This perplexing behemoth,
this vast connection with the world
this monster which can enlarge your understanding,
but can also make you its slave
quickly entangling you
as it steals hours from your day
hobbling your body
as you forget to get up and move
even after you promise yourself
that this time…
you will not spend
more than a few moments
to check for a message
or send a quick note of thanks.

This entity
this link, this liaison
this friend, this thief
this awful tool
this astonishing connection
this miracle
this thing that we did not even imagine
just a few years ago.

I have friends who refuse
to touch a computer
who seem to resent its invention
and stubbornly stick their decision
to live without it
even when their children
who live in distant cities
want to send them photos of their babies.

Tonight, I realized that I do not even have
an actual photo of little Isabella
to display in a frame.
A visitor to my home would not even realize
that this little girl existed
if I did not take them over to the computer
to show them her dear little face.

There is only one or two of her beautiful mother.
The photos of my family
show them all much younger
than their present age
and I am too lazy to redo it
to bring it all up to date.

Instead, I go to the laptop
to check for messages
to see if anything new
has been added to our family news.
And so I find myself sitting
without moving anything
but my fingers
as my new knee stiffens up
and my mind turns a bit more into jelly.

But tonight,
through the worldwide connection of computers,
I got a call first from Hong Kong,
then one from Vietnam,
and a poem from Maya
whom I’ve never actually met in person.

Then I found out that my son, Mike,
is demonstrating his new flux capacitor
so maybe we are about to travel
back and forth into time

Now I am posting these thoughts
in this most public forum for anyone
who might accidentally link to this site to read.
Quite amazing!

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Nearly Every Tuesday

"Maybe it’s not miracles we’re after, but a timely shred
of evidence that even when we're crawling, we're moving ahead."

The poem Maya sent today, reminded me that as slow as it seems, I am making progress. The thought changed my perception! Here is the whole ten line poem from Maya.

healing, unobserved

All week, the reminder of the podiatrist’s curettage
was pure physics – the dull throb on the ball
of my right foot relating not just to my hobbled pace
but to the slight limping of my spirits, how I felt I was only
half-working, creeping along the edge of things.
And yet each night, while I slept, silent and horizontal,
an act of healing, unobserved, graced me with a sly touch
and each morning my steps became a little less tender.

Maybe it’s not miracles we’re after, but a timely shred
of evidence that even when we're crawling, we're moving ahead.

-Maya Stein

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