Wednesday, October 31, 2007

you don't know me very well, do you?

LOL! There's nothing like someone telling me to shut up to incite me to Sing louder. I'm honored that you would take your time to read what I blog about, and that it moved you to leave your comments. Thanks! What concerns me is your tone. I don't know what I ever did to upset you so. I'm not hurting anyone. My whole point in every one of my posts is that anything that hurts anyone else also hurts me. It seems so utterly obvious, this Golden Rule thing. It's all that really counts, you know?

here's how it works:
We start with what we know. What do I know? I know that I am a thinking thing. I know that I experience certain perceptions of things that exist apart from me. But I do not know that objective reality is actually there, all I know is that I perceive it to be. I see it, smell it, hear it, etc. But those perceptions occur subjectively, within that part of me that does the thinking. I know from experience, that I seem to interact with this objective reality. There appears to be some sort of cause and effect relationship. In order to most effectively interact with this objective reality, I must first assume that it is real, objectively, apart from myself. I take a leap of faith in believing this is how things are, but there is no basis for that belief other than expediency, pragmatism, because I have found through my experience that it is most useful to me to believe it is so.

With this in mind, I can now take a look at this objective reality, learn more about me through my interactions with IT. I see things that benefit me, I call them "good," and things that harm me, I call them "bad," but those things themselves are neither good and bad, that is just a label I give them, part of how my thinking me makes sense of the world. Good and Bad are judgments I make about things, as those things relate to me, personally.

Since I have chosen to believe that I am part of some objective reality, I must recognize that anything that hurts any part of this existence also hurts me and can thus be labelled "bad" - my experience verifies this to be true in every case.

I get to determine for myself what things I call "good" and which ones I call "bad" - not anyone else! Nobody knows better than I do what is good for me and what is not. I know to notice when things hurt me, and do something about it, so that my experience may be called a "good" one. In my own life, it is when I allow others to decide for me that I have a "bad" experience. If you are not liking the experience you are having, take a look at the choices you have made, or allowed others to make for you. Therein lies the answer.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

the history of peace?

Rice looks to history for peace effort
By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is looking to the past for lessons on how to make next month's Mideast peace conference a success.

As she prepares to host the international meeting in Annapolis, Md., Rice has delved into the history of U.S. attempts to mediate peace in the region, plunging into the diplomatic annals and seeking out the major players responsible for both successes and failures.

"She's trying to draw on the historical record and the experiences of others to see what she can glean and how that may be applicable to the current day," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday, ahead of Rice's Nov. 4-6 trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, her second in three weeks to organize the Annapolis gathering.

Most recently, she met this week with Jimmy Carter, sitting down in her office on Wednesday for a talk with the former president who brokered the 1978 Camp David peace accord between Israel and Egypt, the first between the Jewish state and an Arab nation.

Carter has been a vocal critic of the Bush administration's Middle East polices and wrote a recent book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," that some believe is anti-Israeli. McCormack said the differences in approach were not a subject of her conversation.

Rice has also spoken by phone with former President Clinton about his work on the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace deal. She discussed with both Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright the unsuccessful 2000 attempt in Shepherdstown, W.Va., to mediate an Israeli-Syrian agreement and their bid later that year at Camp David to forge an Israeli-Palestinian pact.

Others she has reached out to include former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and James Baker, and to one-time U.S. peace negotiators like Dennis Ross, who played a key role in the Clinton administration and the administration of former President George H.W. Bush.

In addition, Rice, whose background is in Soviet studies, asked the State Department historian's office to prepare a voluminous, and classified, compendium of its records on the U.S. role in Middle East peacemaking.

McCormack declined to offer details of her private readings and conversations or discuss any conclusions she may have drawn from them. But he noted that Rice, especially given her background as an academic, has intense interest in studying past diplomacy for clues about what might work as the Annapolis meeting approaches.

"We view the situation as qualitatively different than it has been, the history moves on, people change roles, situations," McCormack said.

"That said, you can take the lessons of history and apply them," he said. "She is a student of history and has a keen appreciation for how we can apply the lessons of history, what we can learn from those who have gone before us."

Rice faces serious obstacles in organizing Annapolis, with both Israel and the Palestinians far apart on a joint statement to be presented to the meeting that she and President Bush hope will launch the start of formal peace talks.

The two sides have fundamental differences over how detailed the document must be and whether it should contain a timeline for progress in the eventual negotiations.

The Israelis want the statement to be as vague as possible while the Palestinians are pushing for deadlines and specific references to the key issues in the conflict, among them the borders of a Palestinian state, the status of disputed Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

Rice's last trip to the region, a furious four-day shuttle diplomacy mission earlier this month, produced little apparent progress on bringing the two sides together.

However, she did win at least public support for the Annapolis conference from Egypt and Jordan, two critical Arab allies of the United States that had both expressed skepticism about the utility of the meeting.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

this is a man's world

wow! James Brown and Pavarotti...

holding my breath

we might actually be done with diapers!! Little sister has been wearing "grown-up underwear" for two and a half days now. One accident, she fell asleep and when she woke up from her nap, she forgot she didn't have a diaper on. But she has decided she's ready, and does not need to be reminded to go to the bathroom. hip-hip-hoooray!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tacenda Literary Award

*Best Short Story that illuminates problems of social injustice*

Congrats Randy!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

which possible future do you want to live in?

We are at an amazing point in history. We are being given the choice between several (possibly more than several) possible futures. Which one do you pick? Or would you rather sit back and let someone else, say those lunatics in DC whose lives exist solely to support the war machine, choose for you? Inaction is as much a choice as anything you can do, and even when you do not act, you are still responsible for the result. It's up to you now, whatcha gonna do?

The People Have The Power

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thoreau (part two)

I don't think I'll go and edit that post (like I normally would), I'll just start a new one and call it "part two"

Here's the rest of that first paragraph, which was the first quote in the previous blog post:

Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.

gonna skip ahead now, keep up... (I strongly urge you to read the whole thing yourself all the way through, at least twice. The first time, with a really good dictionary handy.)

Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? — in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.

I have a moral obligation to do what I think is right, regardless of what any authority might be telling me to do.

Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?

It doesn't make you a good person to unquestioningly do as you are told, it makes you a shadow of a person, a tool to be used by others to do their bidding.

In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others, as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders, serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God.

A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it.

(emphasis mine)

on the duty of civil disobedience (part one)

What a fabulous essay by Henry David Thoreau. I highly recommend every citizen read this. But I realize how difficult that can be. So what I'm a gonna do is translate it for you. He packs so many ideas into each sentence, we'll have to plod our way through a little at a time. Since most normal folk just don't have copies of the world's great philosophical works in their personal libraries, here's a link for ya. Remember this was written in 1848 (according to my book. 1849 according to that website).

I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

in other words, the best sort of government has the least control over the people. He is saying that when people are ready to take responsibility for their own actions, to do what they know is right rather than be governed and always told what to do, they will have no need for government. He says that government is a tool, and if it's useful to us, all of us, we should use it. And when it becomes broken and would hurt us, we should throw it away and get a new one.

He says that the great deeds done in the name of our country were not accomplished by the government, but by People! The government sometimes slowed down the process or prevented the people from doing even greater things.

Trade and commerce, if they were not made of India rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and, if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions, and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.

This isn't so different from today. Big business, with lots of money in the bank, bounces over the obstacles the government puts in the way of trade and commerce. I'm not certain if he's calling the rich businessmen crooks, or the politicians who create laws that benefit them, I would say it's probably both.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

on this day in history, Oct 11

October 11, 1987

Nearly one million people flooded Washington, D.C., demanding civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans, now celebrated each year as National Coming Out Day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Monday, October 8, 2007

a spring in my step

Now I understand the above phrase.

I had so much fun at the powwow this weekend over at Audubon Acres. Friday, I did a lot of talking. Saturday, I did a lot of listening. Sunday, I danced and shared some stories. I stomped my feet and had a blast! I noticed something really strange. I noticed that if you stomp exactly in time with the drum, the earth bounces your feet back up and it's much easier. That's how those people out west can stomp all night long, the earth is bouncing their feet for them.

When you see someone walking with a spring in their step, it's because they are following the beat of their inner drum. When you see this big goofy grin on my face that's because it's so much fun!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Columbus Day protest in Denver leads to arrests

Sat Oct 6, 2007 6:26pm EDT
By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - About 75 protesters, including American Indian activist Russell Means, were arrested on Saturday after blocking Denver's downtown parade honoring the Italian-born discoverer Christopher Columbus, an event they denounced as "a celebration of genocide."

Police loaded protesters onto buses after they refused orders to disperse. Most will be charged with obstruction of a roadway or disrupting a lawful assembly, Denver Police Lt. Ron Saunier said.

Police delayed the parade's start for more than an hour as they tried to head off confrontations.

American Indian groups and their supporters have disrupted the city's annual Columbus Day parade every year for nearly two decades, leading to clashes with Colorado's Italian-American community over the century-old celebration, the longest-running such commemoration in the United States.

Columbus Day, marked this year on October 8, is an official holiday for most U.S. federal government workers, many public schools, state and local agencies and the U.S. bond market. It recalls the October 12, 1492, landing of Columbus in the Americas on his search for a naval route to India, an event that spawned an era of European interest in the New World.

Means, talking to Reuters before his arrest, said Columbus was the "first trans-Atlantic slave trader" after landing in the Americas in 1492. He said Columbus started centuries of oppression of native peoples.

"By all accounts, Christopher Columbus was personally responsible for thousands of deaths of the original inhabitants of this hemisphere," Means said.

Parade organizer George Vendegnia of the Sons of Italy said his group would honor Columbus' legacy until the U.S. Congress changed the holiday's name. Some cities including Berkeley, California, have already changed the name to "Indigenous People's Day."

"It's a day for us to celebrate our heritage," Vendegnia said.

Parade opponent Glenn Spagnuolo, an Italian-American, said Columbus' legacy should not be celebrated.

"To honor someone who, by his own writings, was a slave trader, is immoral," he said. "I don't see any of my Italian culture in celebrating the occupation and destruction of native cultures."

Saturday, October 6, 2007

What a Wonderful World

By Louis Armstrong

I see trees of green........ red roses too
I see em bloom..... for me and for you
And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue..... clouds of white
Bright blessed days....dark sacred nights
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world.

The colors of a pretty the sky
Are also on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin.. how do you do
Theyre really sayin......i love you.

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
Theyll learn much more.....than Ill never know
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world

The colors of a pretty the sky
Are there on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin.. how do you do
Theyre really sayin...*spoken*(I

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
*spoken*(you know their gonna learn
A whole lot more than Ill never know)
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself .......what a wonderful world.

durn it all! I can't get this video embed code to work!
check out
Joey Ramone - What a Wonderful World

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


So who says eating gluten-free means being deprived? The family thought I was nuts to take a picture of our dinner, maybe they're right! LOL

This was our dinner last night (and possibly breakfast this morning). The crust is my favorite biscuit recipe plus a packet of yeast dissolved in hot water. The toppings are typical, except littlest one is allergic to tomatoes, so I use spinach for the "sauce" instead. Black olives for kids, mushrooms for Daddy. yummmm...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I have been inundated lately with forwarded emails, bulletins on myspace, friend's blogs, all detailing the plight of the Buddhist monks in Burma. I'm sure you have, too. But there's a skeptic in my head that keeps saying, "nobody in their right mind could possibly bash in the head of a Buddhist monk, NOBODY! These monks, they won't even step on a bug, you know?" And I think about how the media has lately been making a monster of China. The Chinese government is now the new bad guy, we aren't afraid enough of the "terrorist threat" and they need something even scarier. It smells of propoganda aimed towards our acceptance of a bigger badder war. A new kind of propoganda, perhaps much more effective than the mainstream channels.

Shall we allow them to use this as an excuse to make even more money from the massive slaughter of innocent people? Shall we, as world citizens, accept war, no matter the justifications for that war they offer us? Never forget that the war machine is a huge money-making venture. Those who profit from killing make money no matter which side wins, while everyone else pays the price in blood. Why should my tax dollars be spent on war technology? Technology that kills lots of people for no good reason other than to make the rich, richer; and the poor, poorer.

My prayers and Love goes out most deeply to Burma and Tibet, but also to the people in government who think they should get to decide who lives and who dies.

Monday, October 1, 2007


I would like to share with y'all this drawing of an osprey by my six-year-old daughter.

thank you