Monday, January 25

Keepin it Fresh

"If your garbage cans get knocked over and it rains, all of that trash is going to go down into the curb, into the gutter, into a storm drain, which goes into a riverbed that flows all the way out into the ocean. If you come to a beach cleanup you'll see it and want to use less Styrofoam and less plastic." - Kim Masoner of Save Our Beach

Last week's massive storms dumped huge piles of garbage on Southern California beaches, but Masoner notes that the garbage contains less plastic and styrofoam which cause great harm to fish and other ocean wildlife. Apparently, recycling programs work on several levels, among them are less waste in landfills and less waste in the oceans.

This is encouraging and reassuring news. It shows that each person can and does make a difference in our world. I am so happy that buying less plastic, bringing my own cup/bag/container to stores and restaurants is worth the effort. The habit of recycling and conserving does take effort and the most effective effort for me was to change my thinking.

Once I started to think of my yard as an extension of my living room, and my sidewalk as an extension of my yard, and the roadways and public spaces as just another hallway and room in my house; I found it easier to be less wasteful and thoughtless. It feels good to keep my house and the world fresh, clean, and clutter free!

Saturday, January 23

A Tough Week

Vibrant Erosion

Hawk on the Roof

Every Which Way But Loose

Keep it Flowing

There is one thing that is more disappointing and sad than a missed opportunity: No opportunity.

I am thinking about this today. This week's political upset in Massachusetts is a disappointment on several levels. I am most concerned with the impatience and frustration of the voters in this country. I feel their pain, but I'm not willing to let a republican relieve this pain, not after eight years of economic thumbscrews and evaporating opportunities. Do voters really believe that the political opportunism and sound bite thinking of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh are the way to create opportunity and solutions to America's problems? Six years from now, will Massachusetts voters think that going backwards with Scott Brown and his beautiful, bare cosmo body is a solution?

Take it from a citizen of California, the state that elected the charismatic and body beautiful, Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003, the answers are no, and no.

California voters bought into the governators "power to the people"/ "no new taxes" publicity stunts and watched as he and his corporate backers destroyed the vehicle license fee that would generate almost 40 billion dollars in revenue and balance the state budget. Fast forward six years, and California is bankrupt, missing the 40 billion that would have averted this disaster.

I don't blame the Schwarzenegger, or his corporate sponsors. They are predictable in their mission which is to make money for their shareholders and campaign contributors. They are consistent opportunists and whenever a problem arises, they politicize it, and try to score points for their side. There is no "public good" in their calculations. The "public" is the adversary. I see the ancient bones of feudalism and wealthy excess in these machinations. The rich get richer while the rest of us pay their way, grist for the mill, get the picture.

So, citizen beware! And, last week the U.S. Supreme Court gave us citizens another opportunity to beware of corporate opportunism. Did you hear the one about the Supreme Court of the USA?

"The court ruled that corporations should be given the same right to free speech as people, which is — I mean, corporations are not people, and if they were people, they’d be real jerks." –Jimmy Kimmel

I'm not surprised at the outcome of Citizens United vs The FEC this week. This is just another reiteration of America's golden rule: "he who has the gold, rules."

The American public has an opportunity to regain balance and dignity over the next few years. President Obama has managed to slice off a few of Hydra's heads, despite getting bit by the ones he still needs to lop off. But, there is a long way to go to repair the damage caused by a sleepwalking populous and congressional partisanship. One year is not enough time to do magic and Obama and his team are not magicians. They need to be more present, to advertise, to spin, to spend money on convincing us that they have a plan and it's working.

Obama needs to recognize that we must hear the sane voices of productive leadership and those voices need to drown out the crazy wignuts that have gotten a choke hold on the public airwaves. And, it wouldn't hurt if the voices had faces like Barbi and Ken. Hmmm, maybe the President should pump iron, or bare all in Cosmo. Voters may be distracted from those annoying wars, bank failures, job losses, medical expenses, corporate bribery, and media propaganda if he flashes his washboard abs.

Tuesday, January 19

Making Soup

It's cold and wet outside today, a perfect day for soup!

Just got a call that a meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening is called off because of the rain?! We are such fragile creatures. I look at the birds, even the dogs and cats, and rain/water does not deter them from responding to the genetic signals for survival.

I have always thought our brains often overrule good sense. Well... it's soup time.

Wednesday, January 13


God help Haiti.

Years ago, I had a traffic accident and discovered that I had allowed my auto insurance to lapse. My car was totalled and the police reported that I was the cause of the accident and liable for the damages. I had just remarried and did not want to tell my new husband about either of these bad mistakes. I told a good and very savvy friend of this problem, hoping she would have a slick solution for me.

"What should I do," I asked.

"Pray," she said.

At the time, her advice seemed almost cruel and sarcastic, but I accepted her words and later after much thought, I accepted that no one but me and God could solve this problem.

Yesterday, when I heard about the earthquake in Haiti, the press reported that President Obama's "... 'thoughts and prayers' were with the people of Haiti after it was struck by a major earthquake and pledged to come to their aid if needed."

"Thoughts and prayers!"

"What kind of lame response is this," I thought. I had the same feeling about this advice in response to overwhelming disaster as I did years ago when confronted with a crisis of my own.

I have since read the President's White House news conference comments which were much more specific and comforting. But, the hard truth is that in times of crisis, prayer delivers the hope, mental relief, and the strength that one needs to go on. It is the gulp of air needed to sustain that long swim back to shore. It is the match flame when the lights go out. It is peace in the midst of chaos. It is the first refuge of the afflicted. I pray that the suffering ends soon in Haiti, and I donate what I can to provide the tangible aid people need right now.

May all beings know love, peace and comfort.

Monday, January 11

The Shaft

"America's corporate and political elites now form a regime of their own and they're privatizing democracy. All the benefits - the tax cuts, policies and rewards flow in one direction: up."

There is no doubt that President Obama walked into a shyte storm on day one of his presidency. He was elected to counteract and counterbalance the eight years of Bush republican political dominance and be the new broom to sweep out the Bush appointed corporate shills infesting the cabinet level posts of almost every government department. That was my hope. However... with his appointment of Timothy Geithner to the Treasury and Lawrence Summers as Director of the National Economic Council at the outset of his presidency, my hopefulness was shaken. That tremor of doubt became a major rumbling of discontent and disbelief when Robert Gates was reappointed as Secretary of Defense.

The two major reasons I voted for Obama were to salvage America's economy and to stop the wars. Wasn't eight years of hell enough? Are we to let the engineers of America's economic destruction keep digging into the financial system until they come up with an even bigger shaft to shove us into?

Will we continue to believe the bloody lie that war on islamist countries will end terror? Why are we bombing terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. The terrorists that harmed us have/had visas - welcome to an open country! We should be sending troops to the State Department and the CIA to force people to do their jobs. Why issue visas and not enforce an efficient system to keep track of them? Terrorist attacks are all about visas not about body scans and jihads.

So, hope for reform of the united corporations of America is dimming. Hope for an end to America as the biggest and stupidest bully on the block is dying hard. Hope is rapidly transforming into a nightmare vision of the Wall Street rapists stripping us of every last shred of decency and then disposing of our flabby political will down a mine shaft filled with decomposing government regulations. There is no government, president, congress, or political party that can protect citizens from the contempt of the corporate and political elite. The only tool of any use to citizens is information and the corporate elite are ahead of us on that one since they own the public media.

The past year has shown that ordinary Americans cannot live with these disgraceful "titans of industry." Who wants to be subjected to their disrespect and manipulations while they gouge bonuses out of bailout money for their failures, jump us with usurious bank charges, hold back taxpayer money earmarked for taxpayers, and even more degrading, bribe our elected politicians (regardless of party) affilitation with bailout-provided campaign contributions. We either join them - everybody get rich ala Clinton's gogo 1990s or beat em - drive em offshore with crippling taxes and shun their asses.

Sunday, January 3

Lost in the Zeros

"Anything to say about the last ten years?" asked the stubby, short haired man.

He was trying to talk to the bank teller behind the bullet proof window in front of him. I saw his hopeful smile fade in the reflected window glare as I stood behind the rope, waiting for my turn. The teller couldn't hear him and even if she could, I doubt that she'd engage in witty banter while the rest of us twitch with impatience.

Mr. chatty was in his seventies, born and raised in an age of civility that fled America thirty years ago about the same time that the new and improved GI Joe action figures hit the toystores. The teller tried to appease him with a quick smile and efficiency, but he was one of those clueless geezers that refuses to be ignored. I watched her struggle to find the words to send him on his way with the minimum of human interaction and messiness and she did it in record time. He shook his head while slowly stuffing some twenties in his tiny leather wallet. Old fashioned never looked so disoriented and out of place, especially in one of the most stressful cities in in America.

This end-of-year banking interlude haunts me. Mr. chatty wanted/expected a bit of human interaction, and was frustrated with the security barriers erected to protect us and prevent an interruption in our sanitary and isolated lives. The Christmas day crotch bomber atrocity on Flight 253 increases our fear of suicidal maniacs and other such dangers. It is clear that the BushII years have made America "public enemy #1" among the world's haters. More useless barriers and obstacles are now in place, further limiting and frustrating us. Looking back on the past decade, one word seems to be the hallmark of this era: fear. Fear's ugly stepsister is hate and as decades go, the zeros are my most hated time.

Much of what happened during the zeros is disappointing, at best, and devastating at worst. On a scale of one to ten, I'd give the zeros a 2 - not even a so/so. It is saved from a "less than zero" rating by some very hopeful personal and family accomplishments, and by the current less conservative political trajectory.

Bruce Sterling says it all in his commentary in THE WELL's State of the World 2010.

"..,the polarity of the world is changing, literally and figuratively; the climate's wonky, the economy's tumbling like a house of cards in a demented wind, political will is weak and the body politic is disfigured in ways that are gross and fascinating. It's a circus, and the tent's on fire."