Sunday, July 15, 2007
This last half of July would appear to be the best time to take a break. It looks like nobody is going to move on ending the war, what with President Donkey still braying "stay the course" and the Democrats still outnumbered and baggaged with gutless Republicans. Congress will be going on vacation soon. The Iraqi government has already begun their month long vacation. The killing will continue no matter what. I need a break from gasping in horror at the violence, the ignorance and the greed.
I also want to take time away from online and cable news so that I can have the pleasure of reading the final Harry Potter (to be mailed to my door via Amazon.UK) without having the ending revealed.
If the world shows signs of coming to an immediate end, I'm sure my Happy Hour Atheist and Agnostic friends will shoot me an email while my mom is bound to give me a call! Anyway, I will be engaged in a lot of off-line writing for the next two weeks. Looking forward to finishing those things up so I can be more present here in the future.
Friday, July 13, 2007
The Village Green has also endorsed Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards and the rest of them as well!
Those were early days and I for one was happy to see such a sizable and diverse field of interesting and intelligent candidates. I've followed the debates and the public events where candidates give speeches on cable TV and so far, the candidate who speaks best to the issues is Dennis Kucinich. I've taken the time to read his issue position papers on his web site and I find myself in agreement with just about everything I've read there.
I'm especially excited by the idea of a Department of Peace. Instead of saying No to Drugs, we need to say No to War. I can hear the voices raised in protest that we must have a strong military in order to defend our glorious nation from attacks on our soil. Funny how "our soil" tends to become Viet Nam, Cambodia, Panama, Grenada, Iraq, and other assorted hot spots containing something our leaders want.
The pursuit of war as a social tactic is no longer valid, if it ever was. There really are weapons of mass destruction, just not in Iraq before the war began. Billions of human beings inhabit this planet now -- we're fast approaching 8 billion -- all reaching for the same diminishing resources of land, air, water and food. If ever this country needed a department of Peace it is now. George W Bush has no talent for cooperation, no respect for law, and is totally lacking in social conscience. The government and its people are in need of an infusion of tactics based upon peace and collaboration to solve the huge problems facing the planet. Instead we are having 8 years of greedy grabbing for oil, money and power by the few to the great detriment of us all. Those who laugh at Dennis about this idea are not willing to face reality, which is ironic because they often accuse Kucinich of waging a fantasy campaign.
In the news tonight, we find some evidence that John Edwards and perhaps Hilary Clinton were involved in finding ways to exclude certain candidates from the ongoing debates. This on top of the exclusion of Mike Gravel from the debate on gay issues shows us that in elections, we still allow money to make all the decisions.
The primary campaign is the time to hear everybody's ideas and to see how those ideas compare and contrast with others. I'd like to see the end of all paid television commercials in all campaigns. Public access television channels can provide more than enough coverage of campaign speeches, debates and presentations. The campaign ads are a waste of time and money and only show us who hired the best advertising people. Most reasonable people agree, and yet nothing ever changes.
Good to see more comments in support of Dennis at Pho's blog. Check 'em out here.
If you live in Akron and you are interested in peace initiatives and art, be sure to visit the Yoko Ono art exhibit at the University of Akron's Meyers School of Art. You can get a handy peace stamp, button and Onochord device -- all for free. And you can contemplate the work of Yoko and John Lennon -- and if you don't get choked up at some point during the exhibit then there is no hope for you -- go join the Republican party!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
This angle gives us a tail display to frighten away all the predators -- looks like a vampire owl from Mordor!
I've been commenting over at Pho's Akron Pages about Dennis Kucinich. The New Republic published a pretty dismissive article about Dennis, which I admit I just skimmed through, my gorge rising and steam pouring out of my ears!
I don't care if people disagree with his ideas, but I really don't like it when he's treated with derision or as some kind of joke. Yeah, it gets kinda personal-- I had a Dennis Kucinich bumper sticker on my vehicle for the 2004 primary season. And I'll tell you why here at the Village Green tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
It strikes me that my bill would have been higher yet, except I began hanging out my laundry to dry once school was out and the sun began heating up. Hanging out the laundry was the norm when I was a kid in the 50s. I quite enjoy revisiting this old chore every summer. There's something intrinsically pleasurable about neatly pegging up the shirts, the pants, the towels and the undies to flap away under golden sun and blue skies. And then to caress and smell the clean dry clothes before unpegging and folding into a clothes basket, having saved the drier from a 20 minute run. Meanwhile, Oberon the amazing Huskador Retriever waits for the laundry to dry
It made me wonder two things -- how many people still hang out their washing and how to put up a poll on that topic at the Village Green? I found the poll instructions and all that's left is to ask you:
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I hope your response to Wolf Blitzer gives your film a huge bump at the box office. That would indeed be justice served! Corporate media no longer pursues journalism. It provides endless distractions and instant opinions that lead us far away from the truth.
There was a deep insight in your film, the idea that all the countries with single-payer health systems operate that way because the people in those countries demand such services. In this country, we the people allow our representatives to make decisions based upon corporate interests. We do so because we are already in debt and are afraid of making waves. We are told we are lucky to have a job, and encouraged to work long hours. Easy credit offers abound along with all the tempting must-have products on view 24 hours a day via cable and computer.
Michael Moore did a short online chat at Huffington Post after his return appearance on Larry King to debate Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It is worth reading through the comments posted there. Many more personal testimonies are joining in the chorus. We have to keep it up. Don't let the powers that be keep us in debt and fear any longer.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Meanwhile, spread this around:
Sunday, July 08, 2007
For 5K, I can get a portable solar panel about the size of a ping pong table that can sit anywhere outside and simply plugs into my electrical system, offsetting a good amount of electricity that is probably coming from a nuclear plant or coal. For a heck of a lot more money, I could be completely off grid.
The exhibit hall was rocking and it wasn't even noon yet. I looked at miniature and portable panels that can be used to recharge batteries, cell phones and other electronic devices. And I picked up a huge bag full of information to read on solar, geothermal and wind energy sources.
A lot of the exhibits were really technical. People were displaying various materials, hardware, software, electrical systems -- even an electrical car to plug in and charge on your solar powered system.
In one corner of the exhibition room, job openings in the solar business were posted and many young people were checking them out. Dustin Hoffman famously received the sage advice of "Plastic" as a metaphor for his generation. I'd say that the new word for the current generation has got to be "solar." And may it signify something more positive than plastic!
I found an educator's display table with lots of resources for teaching solar and alternative energy in the classroom. Other tables had piles of the latest books on a wide variety of solar topics, including how to build your very own outdoor solar oven. I joined Green Energy Ohio, which is the central clearing house for alternative energy information in Ohio.
It was very encouraging to see so many people in attendance. The Solar 2007 Conference at the Cleveland Convention Center is going on until July 12th and the exhibition hall is open to the public at certain times of the day. Check here for all the details and be sure to look for the solar coffee maker, somewhere outside of the hall on the west side:
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel to Appear on ABC News Sunday Morning Show
Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel to Appear on ABC News Sunday Morning Show
Presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel will appear on ABC News' popular Sunday morning talk show "This Week" on Sunday, July 8, at 10 a.m. (Eastern Time), which is hosted by George Stephanopoulos, the chief Washington correspondent for ABC News and a former senior advisor to President Bill Clinton.
Among other issues, Senator Gravel will discuss the growing ripple effect his campaign is having on the Democratic presidential race.
So tune in this Sunday morning to hear the Senator speak truth to power and discuss his plan to take back the country.
To learn more about Senator Gravel and the issues he advances, visit his web site at www.Gravel2008.us. To view Senator Gravel's speeches and statements, visit the web site www.youtube.com/gravel2008.
Mike Gravel, a resident of Virginia, is a former two-term U.S. Senator from Alaska with a distinguished record that includes successfully ending the military draft with a five-month filibuster. He also released The Pentagon Papers, risking both prosecution and jail; played the leading role in making the Alaska pipeline a reality; and ended nuclear weapons testing in the seabed off Alaska. He is the driving force and author of the National Initiative for Democracy, a proposal to allow Americans to participate in making laws at the federal level.PLEASE MAKE A CONTRIBUTIONPlease make a donation to Mike Gravel for President in 2008 and help us build a strong campaign to take back America! Visit Gravel2008.us or call (202) 243-8303 to donate today!
Friday, July 06, 2007
Kick off a global call for peace tonight at the opening of Yoko Ono's art exhibit at the Meyers Gallery, University of Akron. Details here.
Rock the world for global warming awareness by holding or attending a Party for the Planet. Not only do you get to watch Al Gore's Live Earth in a friendly setting, you will also get to see video footage of the presidential candidates answering Moveon.org's questions about the environment. Members will be polled to see which candidates are winning the votes for their environmental stances. More info here.
And let us not forget the National Solar 2007 Conference in Cleveland. Sunday is the day I'll be attending. Public Day for the conference will feature a trade show with over 130 clean energy vendors. I'm going to do some comparison shopping to see if a single school teacher with an old home and low mortgage can afford to go solar. Public Day will also feature consumer presentations, job recruitment, and a Green Energy Ohio public forum featuring congresswoman Marcy Kaptur speaking on the latest green energy initiatives.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: Starts & Ends from the Cleveland Convention Center
(500 Lakeside Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44114)
This incident occurred many years ago, in the Adams Morgan area of Washington, D.C. But it can happen anywhere at any time to any woman of any age. It happened to two women at the Chapel Hill Mall this week, as reported in today's ABJ. One woman states that upon feeling the grope, she turned and hit the man:
Good for her! I wish I had done the same so many years ago.
``His whole body just brushed up into mine,'' she said. ``And then he grabbed my butt. It felt intentional. It was not just a bump. I turned around and I said, `You just groped me,' and I punched him in the arm and the shoulder.
``He was just shocked and ran out. I was so angry that he could just get away with that. I thought, he just walked in here grabbed me and then walked out.''
Not only did she strike back, she got the authorities to arrest the guy and during the process another young woman appeared who said the same man had groped her while she was shopping at Victoria's Secret. Neither woman knew each other. The accused perp in this case turns out to be an assistant pastor at The Chapel in Akron who claims to be innocent of the charges. What he was doing in Victoria's Secret and Charlotte Russe stores at the mall remains to be determined.
Ever since the day that I was so rudely handled by a strange man, I have learned some self defense techniques that can come in quite handy. A feminist friend of mine uses reverse discrimination on out of control perverts. She screams all those negative foul words that have been created to keep women in our places. If you want to see something amazing, look at the faces of men who are unespectedly addressed as "whore," "bitch" and "cunt." They literally freeze in their tracks and don't know how to respond.
I prefer to use my old trusty friend, William Shakespeare. There is a fabulous monologue in Richard III by Lady Anne, one of history's saddest victims. Shakespeare gives her some marvelous passages to show us how much hatred she has at the beginning of the play for Richard. Try screaming the following at any man who is harassing you in public:
Foul devil, for God's sake, hence and trouble us not;When performing this, be sure to include various invisible characters in your actions. That will put the creep on edge, for sure. I have used this technique on the streets of Akron and invariably the male who was intent on bothering me backed off and made a rapid exit.
For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
Fill'd it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.
If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,
Behold this pattern of thy butcheries.--
O, gentlemen, see, see! dead Henry's wounds
Open their congeal'd mouths and bleed afresh!
Blush, blush, thou lump of foul deformity;
For 'tis thy presence that exhales this blood
From cold and empty veins, where no blood dwells;
Thy deeds, inhuman and unnatural,
Provokes this deluge most unnatural.--
O God, which this blood mad'st, revenge his death!
O earth, which this blood drink'st, revenge his death!
Either, heaven, with lightning strike the murderer dead;
Or, earth, gape open wide and eat him quick,
As thou dost swallow up this good king's blood,
Which his hell-govern'd arm hath butchered.
For those women who are determined to take back the streets and walk upon them whenever and wherever they choose, I would also encourage lessons in self-defense and some kind of concealed pepper spray and/or alert whistle.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
One commenter posts:
"Currently in Mass. the state has spent over $50,000 fighting an inmate's demand for a sex change operation paid for of course by the taxpayers. In your utopia what does the system pay for and who decides, the legal system?"An interesting question as it gets to the heart of the argument. There are those who cannot stand the idea of anybody getting anything "for free." They are horrified that a prison inmate demand a sex change operation. Why if you give in to him, soon you'll have 30,000 inmates all demanding sex change operations, some might argue. I rather doubt that very many inmates are demanding such a thing and I would point out that the money Massachusetts has spent fighting the operation could have paid for two and a half such operations.
Personally, I don't care how many inmates need sex change operations or new sets of teeth. If a medical professional says they need it, then they should get it. We saw in Sicko that even detainees in Gitmo have all their medical and dental needs taken care of (no word on possible sex change requests in that facility), so why not your average American citizen? If 45 million people in this country do not have health care and many more find their claims denied or up to their ears in medical bills and eventual bankruptcy, then it is pretty darn clear that our medical system is indeed sick and in need of some radical medicine.
Excise all those for-profit insurance corporations for starters. Single payer universal coverage is the way to go. There are a few libertarians screaming that it is unfair that they would be forced to accept govt coverage under such a system. Then I guess they should go looking for another top industrial nation that has private insurance. Hmm. Where could that be? Guess we are the only one left. That's probably why they scream so loud against any thought of change.
Meanwhile, the country that conservatives love to hate -- France -- provides the best health care on the planet. I'd stay away from Panama, that's for sure, and any other country that buys drugs from China.
In my email today, a message from Michael Moore includes a leaked memo from a Blue Shield executive who went to see Sicko. The memo includes proposed talking points to help deal with any negative backlashes the film may provoke. The memo begins with this line, " You would have to be dead to be unaffected by Moore's movie..." To read the rest of the memo, go here. Also at Moore's web page, a point by point refutation of the sickening AP "review" of his movie. I was glad to see that as the AP memo lingered among the headlines on my home page for over a week!
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Today's the day when I have to do my best to keep the dog and the cat calm as sudden explosions blast out from every side of this house and all along this residential block. I was out earlier with the dog and doing a bit of weeding in the garden. Suddenly an enormous whizz bang flew over my head. I looked up and over the fence at a grinning young man pleased as can be by what happens when one puts a flame to a small packet of chemicals.
There are other things to look out for on the 4th of July. Like drunken arsonists. I'll never forget one particular Independence Day. Rocking out on the back porch of our three story veggie commune, we noticed smoke billowing from the detached garage. A quick call the fire department and an even faster response got the fire out before a car with full tank of gas sitting in front of the garage could catch on fire. An hour or so after the fire crew finally departed after determining it was suspicious in nature, I just happened to peer out of the bathroom window and saw smoke billowing from the other side of the duplex. I ran down the stairs yelling to all to get the cats and to call the fire department again! I ran out the front door to bang on the neighbors' door. Inside was all ablaze, so I just yelled and then beat it back inside all the way up to my attic to grab -- not my purse with money inside -- but instead the few pieces of my artwork that I couldn't bear to lose.
By the time I got out the door the second time, the fire department had arrived and was in full engagement with the fire. It was arson, committed by someone with mental problems (aggravated by alcohol) with a grudge for someone he apparently knew living on the other side of the house. He had set the garage on fire and then came back to find the other side wide open, the occupants had left to go down town to the fireworks display.
Our side of the house was soaked with water and everything we owned was covered in toxic smoke residue with a smell I'll never forget. I managed to rescue quite a bit, especially art work and books, as well as journals and some other things that had been inside boxes when the fire began. All clothing and most of the costumes were beyond rescue. I hung on to an old clown suit that had been given to me by someone special. My roomies managed to get out both adult cats and two of the three kittens. The third one dashed away and into a smoke-filled room and couldn't be saved.
So every 4th of July, I'm at home with the hose hooked up and ready for action should any burning debris or arsonists decide to ignite my hovel here by Summit Lake. I asked my neighbor why he couldn't take his fireworks down to the side of the lake to shoot them off, away from other people's small children, pets and homes. He shrugged and said that was all he had and vanished back inside his house.
He lied, of course. He's been sneaking out to set them off all evening long. Meanwhile the cat is crawling up my shoulder and the dog is hiding under the computer desk. Is it over yet?
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
In case you haven't seen it, the show features a bunch of wannabes competing for a film deal in Hollywood. Every week they show a short film and get judged by industry insiders Carrie Fisher and Gary Marshall plus one Hollywood guest director.
One of the candidates, Mateen Kemet, chose to make a real horror movie about racial profiling -- a risky choice, but it worked all too well. At least, I thought so. The judges gave mixed reviews. Tonight's hot young horror film director guest judge, whose name escapes me, said the problem was that the director didn't stick with one character's point of view, which weakened it. It's those little technical tidbits that lured me into this show and keep me hooked.
I hope Mateen doesn't get voted "off the lot." He's absolutely right -- what is going on in the real world is far more horrifying than any splatter flick could ever hope to achieve.
The executive branch of our government is operating without any oversight. The Bush-Cheney regime is one long escalating nightmare of horrific choices and terrifying build-ups to ever worsening conditions and heightening alert levels. Who needs horror movies these days?
Monday, July 02, 2007
However, the whole Valerie Plame outing and subsequent ducking and covering by the Bush administration is a very serious matter that was never properly sorted out -- precisely because Scooter Libby did his best to protect his boss, the real Decider manipulating his block head of a president.
From an AP report:
"I respect the jury's verdict," Bush said in a statement. "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison."The pattern is all too familiar. If Bush-Cheney doesn't like the laws that are in place, he will decide to go around them. If he wants to spy on US citizens without any oversight, he will order it done. If government officials give him information that goes against his plans, he will ignore them. If one of his loyal cronies is in trouble, he will protect them no matter the evidence or the opinion of the public at large.
The problem is, if Bush thinks the sentence for obstruction of justice is excessive, then everybody in the country who is serving a similar sentence also deserves commutation. I mean, Bush didn't say he was doing this because Libby fell on his sword for Cheney. He said the jail portion of the punishment was excessive.
I think Libby should serve his 20 months in a Veterans hospital, tending to the wounds of those who were injured in the war in Iraq. After all, it was Libby and his boss who acted to smear VAlerie Plame and her husband Joe Wilson. The lie of weapons of mass destruction had to be maintained at all costs.
As for Bush, it must have been real easy for him to save Cheney's chief henchman. His polls are already so low, a few more digits lower won't hurt him. The Washington Post published a very strange report about Bush calling upon various historians, philosophers and other academics to visit him and ponder the great mysteries boggling his meager mind:
Over sodas and sparkling water, he asks his questions: What is the nature of good and evil in the post-Sept. 11 world? What lessons does history have for a president facing the turmoil I'm facing? How will history judge what we've done? Why does the rest of the world seem to hate America? Or is it just me they hate?I wonder how many of those "intellectuals" said, "Oh it's you they hate, for sure."
Last week, the Washington Post published a four part series detailing how Dick Cheney set up his office of vice president so that he can run the country without any oversight or accountability. I have to ask, what took them so long?
The above image of Cheney as the ventriloquist and W as the dummy is on a button I purchased outside the John Kerry rally at Firestone Stadium in the fall of 2004. It was the perfect image to describe the dynamic of who is in control of the country. Unfortunately, the main stream press chose not to look too hard at reality. And now we have to sit on pins and needles for the next 18 months, hoping against hope that Bush-Cheney doesn't decide to blow up Iran.
It might be smart to go ahead with impeachment now -- against both Cheney and Bush. That would at least keep them conferring with their lawyers all day instead of making plans to declare marshal law before the next election.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Lifting up the sturdy stems, I noticed that the plant was spreading, and sending down roots at intermittent junctions. The plant was surrounding the coleus and looked like it could eventually smother them.
Time to find out what this plant is. It is easy to find pictures of plants when you are able to type in the name into a Google search. But how do you find a plant when all you have is a photograph? By typing in blue wildflower, I eventually found a match to my mystery weed. It is called the Asiatic Dayflower and is a member of the spiderwort family. The flowers only last one day.
Evidently the flower is considered more of a nuisance than something to show off in one's garden. It is known to spread eagerly once it has established itself. Yikes! I decided to sacrifice the flowering weed by tossing it into the compost box.
The rest of the garden looks fabulous. We've had three lovely days of glorious gardening weather. Check out the lettuce -- I've been feasting on it every day.
Lots of flowers on the tomato plants, and at least four growing larger every day green tomatoes.
This weekend I built up the bean pole structure and added some twine to the snow pea supports. Looks like more rain is due this coming week with not so high temps.
Finally, I have succeeded in growing gorgeous zinnias. Seems like every time I try, they get some kind of blight or are eaten up by hungry bugs. (No pesticides are used in Village Green's garden!) One thing I did different this year was to get the zinnias into the ground as soon as I got them home. In years past, the zinnias would sit too long in their six packs, and once they started to droop they never really got their full strength back. This year, they are tall and full of festive blooms. Nothing like a zinnia to set a happy mood in the flower bed!