November 30, 2011

community gardening . . .

Many of my favorite stories end up in a garden. This story from The Arizona Republic of a homeless man who found a backpack containing $3,300 and searched for the owner is no exception.
Tally says that he now has his dream career.

"I'm blessed," he said, adding that he hopes to return to school to further his horticulture studies.

He is in the garden almost every day planting, digging and cultivating food that is distributed to community volunteers and to the food pantry.

"I just don't want anybody to have to take something out of the garbage to eat," Tally said, explaining why he spends so much time in the garden.

Recently, he started managing an internship program that allows people who are homeless to volunteer in the garden.

Read more:

November 29, 2011

testing the media waters . . .

I agree with Arianna Huffington.
Mitt Romney's brazenly dishonest ad is far from the garden-variety truth stretching we're used to in political campaigns. It is so breathtakingly cynical it should cause us to question whether a candidate that would put it forth is fit for any public office -- let alone the presidency. Along with being deceitful, the ad is also a challenge to the media. It's like when a toddler looks right at you and slowly and deliberately spills a glass of milk. The child wants to see the reaction. It's a test of boundaries. If there's no reaction, then the message is that it's okay. That Mitt Romney hasn't been forced to apologize for this ad, that he hasn't been forced to fire the team responsible for it, isn't just a failure of Romney's -- it's a failure of our media culture.

November 22, 2011

maybe it is about love . . .

There is something to this . . .
Based on the Word, The Christian Left believes it’s obvious that the primary message of Jesus was love -- Love for God, and love for our fellow men and women.

Matthew 22:37-40 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Matthew 7:12 Whatever you want others to do for you, do so for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward in heaven will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Mark 10:43-45 Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.

John 13:14-15 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.

Love God and love people.Forgive people over and over again, as you have been forgiven by God over and over again. Show mercy, as you have been shown mercy by God. Help the weak, the sick, the depressed, the poor, the jailed, the oppressed, the marginalized, the outcast -- for one day you could be weak, sick, depressed, poor, jailed, oppressed, marginalized, outcast. It is also the only reasonable response to God’s overwhelming grace – sharing the same grace with the world.

we need to listen . . .

It is still happening (in Alabama, and across the nation) . . .
His name was Rocrast Mack. An Alabama prison inmate, death at age 24 came at the hands of six corrections officers, who took turns battering him with their fists, feet and batons in retribution for a minor altercation with a female guard earlier that night, according to witness accounts and prison records.

Civil rights advocates call Mack's death an avoidable tragedy, the inevitable product of a profoundly dysfunctional state corrections system in Alabama that ranks among the very worst America has to offer.

It is a system flooded with low-level drug offenders like Mack, who was sentenced to 20 years behind bars after pleading guilty to selling $10 worth of crack cocaine to an undercover cop in 2009.

Read John Rudolf's full column on Huffington Post:

laughed out loud . . .

It is nice from time to time to have the knowledge in one's guts confirmed. Faux News indeed!
The study, which controlled for demographic factors like education and partisanship, found that "people who watch Fox News are 18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government" and "6-points less likely to know that Syrians have not yet overthrown their government" compared to those who watch no news.

Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson, explained in a statement, "Because of the controls for partisanship, we know these results are not just driven by Republicans or other groups being more likely to watch Fox News. Rather, the results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all."

November 18, 2011

climate change discovery . . .

The Discovery Channel is airing Frozen Planet (Discovery was involved in the joint-production of the series) but they will not show the series in its entirety . . . Seems folks in the U.S. don't believe in climate change.

The timing of a one-sided global warming programme could be particularly sensitive in the U.S., where climate change is an issue in the presidential race.

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry accuses climate scientists of lying for money.
A poll earlier this year found that the majority of Americans believe that if climate change does exist, it is not caused by humans.

Fifty-three per cent of Republicans say there is no evidence of climate change, while the number is far higher among Tea Party supporters, with 70 per cent saying the theory is 'junk science' pushed by groups with a vested interest.

Sir David Attenborough presents and authors the series, the seventh episode of which, entitled 'On Thin Ice', looks at how the planet's ice is changing and what it means not only to the animals and people at the Poles but also the rest of the planet.

Read more:

Senator Sanders says . . .

On Nov. 17th 2011 roughly 200 people packed the Senate Budget Committee room and hallway to hear Sens. Bernie Sanders, Barbara A. Mikulski, Ben Cardin and Rosa DeLauro urge the super committee to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

November 15, 2011

listening to Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy . . .

Today's received-in-the-mail The New Yorker (Nov. 14, 2011) has a couple of fine quotes from W. H. Auden:
To Pray is to pay attention or, shall we say, 'listen' to someone or something other than oneself.
I like that . . . it may reach my notion (mostly unexpressed) of prayer . . .
The second quote is maybe as good, one of his last poems, a haiku:
He has never seen God,
but, once or twice, he believes
he has heard Him.

November 11, 2011

Hey, fellow vets, I salute you . . .

The Christian Science Monitor answers why Veterans Day falls on 11/11 . . .
American troops made significant headway in 1918, rebuffing a German offensive along the western front and moving Allied forces deeper into enemy territory. By November, Germany had had enough. It agreed to a cease-fire, signing the official armistice at 5 a.m. on November 11. The treaty took effect six hours later. On the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month," as the saying goes, the world knew peace once again.

The "War to End All Wars" had ended. For the next 36 years, America remembered November 11 as Armistice Day.

We (all of us in our country) must continue to do what we can for all of the vets needing a place to live, needing work . . .

November 09, 2011

the 1% party . . .

Tim Dickinson has a fine (must read) history of the GOP, Reagan, taxes, etc. in Rolling Stone detailing how we got to today's Party of NO.

Republicans talk about job creation, about preserving family farms and defending small businesses, and reforming Medicare and Social Security. But almost without exception, every proposal put forth by GOP lawmakers and presidential candidates is intended to preserve or expand tax privileges for the wealthiest Americans. And most of their plans, which are presented as common-sense measures that will aid all Americans, would actually result in higher taxes for middle-class taxpayers and the poor. With 14 million Americans out of work, and with one in seven families turning to food stamps simply to feed their children, Republicans have responded to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression by slashing inheritance taxes, extending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, and endorsing a tax amnesty for big corporations that have hidden billions in profits in offshore tax havens. They also wrecked the nation's credit rating by rejecting a debt-ceiling deal that would have slashed future deficits by $4 trillion – simply because one-quarter of the money would have come from closing tax loopholes on the rich.

Read more:

November 02, 2011

ten commandments . . .

If I were writing 10 commandments (which I am not!), I would probably start here with Penn Jillette's suggestions for my inspiration. I would not start in the Bible.
5. Be there for your family. Love your parents, your partner, and your children. (Love is deeper than honor, and parents matter, but so do spouse and children.)

I like the rest of the suggestions as well . . .