February 29, 2008

The Reining in of Corporate Power

Corporate power runs everything in the U.S. From who gets elected to how much their corporations have to pay in tax to how much they can charge for their products. It is obscene. We are seeing a rebirth of the Robber Barons but the landscape is very empty of folks like Teddy Roosevelt either in his trust busting years http://www.sparknotes.com/testprep/books/sat2/history/chapter14section2.rhtml or in his second run for the office as an independent candidate of the Bull Moose Party. He even gave a speech just after being shot by an anarchist in a planned assassination attempt. The first link is just a quick history of the attempt but the second is T.R. himself commenting on the attempt not more than 5 minutes after being shot. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1506

We need a bodacious leader like that for America who can take on Wall Street, oil companies, a rejuvenating Russia as the economy sinks lower and lower. Someone who can make the presidency a bully pulpit to get things done. Not like Bush who slams his hands on the table when he speaks with reporters about the FISA Act and how important being in Iraq is. He acted in yesterday's press conference (2-28-08) just like a kid with a tantrum. As a citizen, it is deeply embarrassing to hear such behavior on C-Span. Don't believe me? Here is a link to another news blog's commentary on it. http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/14740.html

Gah! Peace now.

Learn History

A caller into C-Span this morning asked the guest whether GW was the worst president in history. The guest skated as inoffensively as he could past this question by referencing the Hoover administration. Gah! I completely disagree. He should have mentioned President Warren G. Harding whose massively corrupt administration spawned numerous scandals. Here is a link: http://hnn.us/articles/550.html And much like Enron, there were plenty of distractions -- prohibition, mobsters, the roaring 20s -- to keep those who were not directly involved complacent about the ripple effect. It pays to pay attention.

February 28, 2008

Sometimes Serenity resembles beads on a string

The more I write, the more I create with my cat studies and the more I wriggle out of zipped up jackets, the more beads of serenity gather together.

Vitamin C and Me

Lord knows, I have tried all the nostrums available on the internet and through my doctors for pain. What I just discovered is that Vitamin C seems to help with the energy level so I can keep going on even though I hurt. What a gift! The book I used to help focus my search is called: http://www.doctoryourself.com/vitaminc2.html. I am still taking low-ish doses of Vitamin C but it is working which is much more than other medicines do. And I can sleep which is impossible when I have to take pain killers which give me a buzz that keeps me awake. Bliss!

Getting Stuck

I got stuck in my zip up coat this morning. I bring that up because, like so much in our lives today, getting stuck happens all the time. I was able to wriggle out of the coat and then realized that I could do that because I stayed calm. Serenity truly is a state of calm awareness of the transitory world and an acceptance that sometimes I get stuck...whether in traffic, in a zip up coat, with work, with life in general. The trick is staying in a state of calm awareness and moving forward. Peace

February 27, 2008

Study cat 3: Reflections

I may actually try to do this cat the way he appears here--reflecting on things. He adopted me -- not the other way around. I hear that those are the best cats. IDK. I love 'em all.
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Study Cat #2

This is the face of mischief. My next cat study centers on this character. So my challenge is to find cool poses for him to get into. My bet is that the project will show him on top of the aquarium drinking out of the water filter. He does this just because he can get away with it. I laugh too much.
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A big cat photo

Unearthed a picture of my big cat. I am doing a study of him for an upcoming embroidery project and this shot will help me capture his features. I am not the best quick draw artist. But I am pretty good when I have a drawing or a photo to work from. So currently I am going through all my photos and then all the books I have of Japanese art. Talk about digging in scraps.....
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February 25, 2008



Very Young Found To Process Fear Memories In Unique Way
ScienceDaily (2008-02-18) -- Very young brains process memories of fear differently than more mature ones, new research indicates. The work significantly advances scientific understanding of when and how fear is stored and unlearned, and introduces new thinking on the implications of fear experience early in life. ... read full article

February 21, 2008

February 19, 2008

Playing with Words

My website, http://www.skyscraps.com/, focuses on how to find serenity. There are many ways. Playing with words is something I love to do. Today's venture is "serenity drops." Serenity is a common word. Pairing it with "drops," makes me think of rain falling into a calm pond, cough drops, rain drops or the verb, to drop. So I am happy with it.

Serenity Drops

Until then, peace now.

Boy, Can She Right!

This link sums up Bujold's work better than I ever could Read it and enjoy....
I only echo the comment of Anne McCaffrey on Bujold..."Boy, Can She Write!"

Look into Style


Seriously, Now

http://www.ehow.com/how_2032670_taken-seriously-women.html To be taken seriously, take yourself seriously.

February 16, 2008

Looking at the Moon

My daughter introduced an entirely new way for me to look at the sky with one phrase. "God's Thumbnail" which more than adequately describes the crescent phase of the moon to me. Marvelous new perspective on looking at things in my mind's eye. It is pretty surprising to me that people see things so differently. Perhaps it is a cultural thing. Perhaps it is an inability to "see." Or perhaps it is just a dislike of the different. PBS and Ovation often have programs on "what is art?" My personal feeling is that the artist is driven to produce art. Creative outpourings are tough to stem. I begin to believe that the artist and the viewer create a partnership (unconsciously) between them. The artist and the viewer (or the writer and the reader) participate in making something artistic between them. The result of that union is an unexpected outcome. The difficulty of that path comes in hurt feelings and misunderstandings between the artist and the viewer. The strength comes from mutually growing in the ability to remain true to your art no matter what. Not trying to make art that everyone likes, but producing art that remains true to what you are feeling and what you are trying to say. As Lois Bujold likes to say, • "Aim high. You may still miss the target but at least you won’t shoot your foot off." – Elli Quinn . Here is the link I got this quote from because the rest of her quotes are not to be missed. Like shooting at the moon, she hits it every time! http://www.epinions.com/content_4838039684 For more on Bujold and her article on the interaction between artist and reader/viewer read her article in Dreamweaver. Here is a link to that wonderful perspective: Dreamweaver's Dilemma
Dreamweaver's Dilemma is the Boskone 33 book (1996) by Guest of Honor Lois McMaster Bujold. It contains two novellas which have never been published.

Itches I Can't Scratch

You know the ones--that inaccessible part of your back between your shoulders 2 inches below your shoulder blades. I have mental itches I cannot reach either until out of sheer stubborness I distort myself into position to scratch them. One of those itches was getting a chance to ask a serious question to a commentator on C-Span. Ok, one scratch down. Another scratch is taking the time to take myself seriously. Still working on that. The trick is to expect respect from others instead of puppy like hoping for a scratch behind the ears and mistaking that for respect. I am not tripping myself up on that as much but ... There are always boors who punch that button. Ah, well, if wishes were fishes my cats would eat free. I suspect lots of us work for the attention of others -- negative or positive. So I will continue on my stubborn way -- actively working on not letting my buttons get pushed by folks who don't deserve my ability to distract myself. That's a worthy itch to reach. Until then, peace now, folks.

Art -- What it is -- Progress

Maturing as an artist is an interesting path. I am far more interested in the impact of a drawing than in how accurate it is to what I am seeing. A zen approach, if you will, to drawing. I still want it to resemble reality but not as much like a counterfeit of the original as my own interpretation. When did I start having my own interpretation, I wonder?

February 15, 2008

Taxation and Public Policy

Many of the calls to C-Span regarding the war and the economy are focusing lately on how much money we will be able to spend on our national infrastructure as soon as we get out of these wars. I don't believe it because we are borrowing the money we are using for the wars in the first place. Odds are the Pay As You Go types won't be best thrilled by borrowing to pay for bridges or roads or train tracks or other issues like medicare here in the USofA. It is an illusion. We need to end the war and declare victory but not count on our domestic economy improving any time soon.

The American Heritage Says It All


Philosophers' Stones

My daughter is studying the Enlightenment Philosophers...Locke, Rousseau, Descartes, Hobbs, Montesquieu and Voltaire.

Here is a link from Middlesex University that I plan to look through often.


A Little History

After WWII, we rebuilt Europe and called it the "Marshall Plan." My mother was against it on the theory that we would only be feeding the next generation of soldiers who would be sent against us. But I must respectfully disagree with her within the context of the current actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems to me much easier to defend our presence in those countries if we would just declare a Victory and start working on rebuilding the damage we did to the countries when we bombed their infrastructure out of existence. In some cases, there was no infrastructure to start with but what better way to have a "hearts and minds" political win over there. For those who are interested, here is a link to the Marshall Plan. http://www.usaid.gov/multimedia/video/marshall/

Critical Link to an Understanding


Here is another link. You'd think I'd have seen this before somewhere. It is the first time her name and her anger and her wonderful fight surfaced in my attention. Thank you so much. I am forwarding this to my kids, my synagogue, my husband, and someone here at work. I agree -- it is amazing Al-Jezeera is allowing it to remain available.Southern California InFocus - WAFA SULTAN: Reformist or opportunist?
Dr. Wafa Sultan has been honored countless times for her now famous appearance on Al-Jazeera television opposite a Muslim cleric named Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouly ...www.infocusnews.net/content/view/4009/135/ - 65k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

How do you

Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic & International Studies, Strategy Chairman discussed his recent trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf region on C-Span this morning. He took a lot of flak on the phone calls. One of the interesting calls concerned the poppy growers in Afghanistan on how do we control the drug trade, etc., etc. Which brings me to my issue today...Why does the US continue on these wars against words? From the War on Drugs to the War on Terror? Who can say when a war is won when we fight -- not individuals -- but concepts? On drugs, my mother suggested legalizing drugs back in 1965. She was right then and even more right today. Legalizing drugs would have many benefits which are invisible at first glance. (1) No reason for gangs or druggies to rob and kill to get the money for drugs; (2) no reason for people to die from drugs laced with things that are even more deadly; (3) no revenue spent on interdiction; (4) no police or military pulled off essential tasks to search for robbers and gangs who live on the profits of drugs; (5) we will need fewer prisons for drug offenders; (6) policy makers would not need to be holding hearing after hearing on drug trafficking and (7) we could tax the revenues of those offering the formerly illegal drugs and get much needed money in the Treasury coffers. And the list could go on and on. Simplify. Of course, on the other side of the argument we will hear from those who have a vested interest in treating the citizen as an idiot who must be scared to be led.

My point is that we cannot fight a war against an enemy who exists only in the dictionary.


It has been a tough week. So to find perspective, here is a link http://www.alohabible.net/nice/bless1.html


February 14, 2008

Balancing Acts Through Actions


The Art of Misdirection-Here We Go Again

I reference the link above because the Congress is interviewing another bad boy baseball player. http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7796272/Clemens-going-against-more-than-just-McNamee-?MSNHPHMA I get so tired of these Congressional hearings that misdirect attention from pressing issues like foreclosures, economy, primaries, Iraq/Afganistan, oil prices and the like. I helped the 2004 democratic take over of the Congress primarily so that we could focus on real issues - not bogus ones. So my question is: What is it that the media doesn't want us to notice while they are covering this issue?

February 13, 2008

Aloha and Representative Abercrombie

This is the website for Representative Abercrombie from Hawaii. I listened to him on C-Span on February 7, 2008, a week or so ago. He absolutely made sense about what we are actually doing in Iraq -- occupying force, not war anymore. He absolutely made sense lots of things. From immigration to ... and he did so in a civil manner which is refreshing on a radio program where the government shills for the President's inepitude. This fellow did not do that. He listened, he responded, he was a professional. Here is the information printed on C-Span's page for 2-7-08. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) 1st District, Armed Services Subcommittee Chairman talks about the cost of Iraq war the and what U.S. policy should be. Rep. Abercrombie is a member of the Out of Iraq Caucus. He also wants troops to have the best body armor and armored vehicles that the military can provide as long as they're in Iraq.

Lois and Lehrer, Move Over

I feel a new obsession coming on. Perhaps it is cabin fever from being stuck on the 395S for over 4 hours last night inching through the ice storm after the road was closed by VDOT. Whatever it is, this website is just what I've been looking for. http://www.govtrack.us/ It is the website that posts bills working their way through Congress. I simply cannot locate the stuff any other way. The government run websites are 'way too confusing. But govtrack does that here. They blog on the affects and effects (look the words up--not into word babysitting today) of bills on citizens. I think I'm in love.

Thingie for today

Your Mood Ring is Magenta

Mood Ring Generator

February 12, 2008

Lehrer + Krause = Bliss

As all of you must know by now, I am a devoted fan of Tom Lehrer. Marvelous thinker, mordant sense of humor. I have now found a new star in that vein. Lawrence Krause formerly Physics Chair at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. What is it about Clevelanders that I find so appealing? I need to see if I can find a reprint of his comments. He was a breathe of fresh air to this miasma of misinformation we get inside the Beltway.

I have copied a link to the page as well as a quote from another page which I find simply wonderful. First the link: http://www.aei.org/events/eventID.1553,filter.all/event_detail.asp

Now the quote from a different website: Krauss will discuss how the trillions and trillions of elemental particles that are in every part of us are actually restless galactic travelers that belong to us only temporarily. Lawrence says that atoms drift through space and time, reconstituting as stars, planets and people in the ultimate recycling process. “I’ve always thought that one of the most poetic things I know about science is that almost every atom in our bodies was at some time inside an exploding star,” said Krauss.



Victims' Rights and Military Tribunals

Finally made it onto the call in for c-span this morning. Just a quick question on whether the families of the 9/11 victims will be able to confront the 6 individuals going on military tribunal for their part in the attack. I was surprised my phone call was answered. I was more surprised that I was the first on the program to ask the LA Times fellow my question. I need to do more research on what victims' rights will be for these tribunals.

February 11, 2008

Playing Mah-Jong

It is all about stereotypes, folks. I used to believe the only people who played Mah-Jong were old, nursing home crotchety ladies who made impossible rules no one could follow. But...I am learning how to play Mah-Jong at my synagogue. Which makes me? I hope open minded enough to realize that stereotypes are just plain wrong and are something for me to challenge from time to time. So go and challenge some old beliefs for yourself.

Double Binds

When expectations exceed reality on an unconscious level....


Perhaps I am too cautious. However, it seems to me that the foreclosure crisis started when the price of a house rose to ridiculous amounts. The houses in my area are out of my price range. I rent. I have to rent. The townhomes in my area are over $400,000 and there is no way I can afford that. The folks who did buy, who were encouraged to buy, who were literally told it was a fiscally great idea to buy, did so on the assurance that the market would continue to go up and up and up. At some point, folks, the sky will fall and that is just what happened. Folks scrimped, gathered money from all sorts of places, went together with other families to live in the same house so they could afford the houses which continued to drive up the market. Now that the mortgage rate for the 30 year is dropping, we are seeing the same pressure to buy, buy, buy. And I am keeping my checkbook closed because the price of housing still isn't going down enough for me to risk taking on a mortgage in this economic climate.

Healthy Meals - Healthy Lifestyle A La Carte - Chicken Parmesan

Healthy Meals - Healthy Lifestyle A La Carte - Chicken Parmesan

Wanting to eat healthier is expensive. I am so clueless, however, that I need to look at these kind of websites for ideas these days.

February 7, 2008

C-Span and Car Radios

You'd think I'd learn to turn the radio knob in my car off. It would spare me all the emotional turmoil I get into when I listen to my inside the beltway soap opera, aka C-Span. I listen to C-Span because I really don't have time to hunt online to find the relevant transcripts of really fascinating hearings to read through. Listening is much faster -- although listening can be very tough on my car radio when I get so frustrated with either the guest or the callers that I hit it. The radio. I hit the radio when (a) C-Span says it has a call in number but the number doesn't work, (b) when the number works but the phone disconnects, (c) when a caller is abusive, (d) when a guest is an idiot. Any one of those things and my car radio is in serious danger. As a case in point, the Mukasey hearing on 2-7-08 was carried live on C-Span. It was embarrassing. Sadly, the link may not be live anymore. But perhaps someone more intrepid can find the printout of the hearing. Perhaps I will look it up on my newest love....Govtrack, see my newer post. Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey responds to five questions posed to him by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), House Judiciary Cmte. Chairman. The Atty. Gen. was asked to discuss the politicization of the Justice Dept. and waterboarding, among other issues.2/7/2008: WASHINGTON, DC: 3 hr.

February 6, 2008

Who Knows

I made the mistake of listening to C-Span's coverage of the economy and the Senate interview yesterday with the head of OMB. But I got frustrated because I couldn't find the hearing.

It was held 2-5-08. Because real news in the U.S. is embedded and hidden as much as possible, I cannot locate the hearing. I know that the Bush Administration came into office with one goal of making governmental websites more accessible. To that end, they re-designed all the government access portals. After those re-designs, I couldn't find a thing unless I out-stubborned the web site.

So perhaps that is why OMB Director Nussle came across as an idiot yesterday. Maybe he can't use the portal any better than I can. He was asked question after question and could not answer them. Not would not. Could not. He admitted he didn't know. This was the same fellow whom Google identifies as a former member of the Congressional Budget Committee before he was "elevated" to the OMB. It makes me scratch my head in frustration.

It is my observation that almost to a man, none of the folks who have testified before Congress know what is going on either. From Alberto Gonzales to Nussle, these folks spout rhetoric and make promises they don't keep. Or, in the case of the attorney firings at Justice with Monica Goodling, they lawyer up and won't testify at all

So, what exactly is going on here? I guess no one really truly knows. But it concerns me because as a voter, it is my duty to make informed decisions and without information how informed can a voter be??????????

U Snooze, U Lose

It is a U Snooze, U Lose election.

Political Wake Up Call

This is going to be a tough election for me. My favorite, Dennis Kuchinich, bowed out of the race due to media pressure to leave. After all, when NBC changes the rules to keep you out of the debate in Los Vegas even a blind man can see the writing on the wall. And the wall says that the media is not fond of Dennis. Now the only one left standing in my belief area is Obama. I see the media starting to do the same thing to him as it did with Dennis. The pundits' mantra of the moment is Hillary, Hillary, Hillary. I am not fond of pundits. I am not fond of political slaughter house chutes that force voters to make limited choices. There is death on both sides--Republican and Democrat because the voters are not being allowed free choice. I see Hillary winning the nomination and Senator McCain winning the election and I shudder. We need alternatives in this country to vote for. We need a change from the ground up -- starting with the 4th estate, aka news outlets. The news has snoozed these past 8 years. Frankly, the news snoozed through Clinton too except for the Monica incident. (Mind you, nobody died when Clinton lied but that's just a bumper sticker that represents my personal opinion.) That's the only positive thing about Clinton, though, I can think of. If Hillary is nominated, the entire country will lose. We don't need another dose of NAFTA endgame - Bill Clinton's maneuverings to achieve passage of ...
NAFTA endgame - Bill Clintons maneuverings to achieve passage of NAFTA in the House of Representatives from National Review in News provided free by ..... We certainly don't need more Whitewater boxes lost in her living room for 4 more years. We just don't. We have more important issues. To quote an old Clinton war cry, "It's the economy, stupid!" And sadly, the Clintons brought us NAFTA and outsourcing which has ruined the U.S. economy.

So, no, we don't need to hear all the arguments against Bill again from the sore losers of the failed impeachment proceedings. Those fights are over and done and yet... With Hillary in the game, they will come back to life. If only because the newscasters who snooze can just dust off their old columns and old opinions and not wake up.

We need to wake up.

February 2, 2008

Aquarium Cats

My Cats have decided that watching the fishies swim in the aquarium is better than the Food Network. Not surprising. The fish are food they can get nose to fin with. Cats are smart! I have covered the tank to keep them from using it as an additional water bowl. Didn't work. So today, I put some old cat "good cat" placemats on top. That actually seems to help. Maybe my cats read too!!