Saturday, December 22, 2012


I'll take a break from my regularly scheduled rant to post these pictures. I have a cousin that lives in New Zealand. The e card company doesn't recognize her e mail address and her face book page doesn't like my pictures, so I sent her these.

A Merry Christmas to all and to all a good day or night or whatever.

Monday, December 10, 2012


"In every man there are two men, one base, one noble; and we shape our lives as we choose between them. The easy choice looks cheap; but the man defeated pays for as long as he lives. He who chooses to be brave and risk the price of it will die with glory or live with honor, seeing his sons inherit freedom and bowing to no master but the gods. This is our choice today."

Themistocles to the Greek captains before the Battle of Salamis in Mary Renault's Lion in the Gateway.
It's more than two thousand years later and woman aren't expected to stay behind and tend to their looms and their children while the men risk the battles and control the politics. I watched a special on a Coast Guard rescue during hurricane Sandy and both the chopper pilots were women. We have come a long way from ancient Athens but there's still a long way to go.

I'm happy with how the election turned out and I have no use for this decade's version of the Republican party. If the 'pubs don't want to go the way of the Federalists, the Know Nothings and the Whigs they could do worse than heed the old man's words.

We watched Republican candidates twist and turn for over a year as they tried to cater to this interest group or that interest group until the last man standing was nothing but an empty suit and his highly vaunted business record revealed a vulture capitalist of the worst kind. Now we watch the next generation plays a new game of Twister trying to make themselves semi relevant. With luck they'll just end up with sprained backs instead of votes.

Friday, November 30, 2012


With the continued refusal of the far right to accept the fact that their social agenda is exactly what most of us voted against this year. Too bad they didn't listen the first, second or fiftieth time. 

No you didn't stutter. But it's so much easier for some of those who claim to follow you to stick with the one liners. Women can't be pastors because of this verse. Gays can't have rights because of that verse. We can rape the world because of Genesis.  But we were called on to tend the garden not plow it under.

One of Your pastors said something along the lines of "when I feed a starving man they call me a saint. When I ask why the man was starving I'm called a communist." When You told us to tend Your sheep, You didn't add a qualifier. You didn't tell us to make sure they deserved the help before we give it. You told the story of the missing one out of the one hundred. That a good shepherd would go out and search for the missing lamb even if it was the Sabbath. The missing sheep wasn’t expected to crawl back all bedraggled and full of burrs and mud begging for help.

And that's what can make it hard. When we're faced with need we have to face why the help is needed. When the civil war started in El Salvador a small group of families controlled over half the land, most of the arable land in the country. So is a man starving because he's lazy or because he has no land to grow crops. If someone is out of work in this country is it because they're lazy or because the best jobs are half a country or half a world away.

We're forced to face the accepted way of doing things. And if it isn't working how do we change it. And what replaces it. I believe we're at a cross roads. We can bend and build or we can break. And then as usual, the women will have to pick up the pieces.

Friday, November 23, 2012


I did this entry over a year ago. This election cycle the truth was the first to go and it's still lost. If is the biggest two letter word in the English language and we've been hearing it a lot the last couple of weeks. If only we'd

Had better candidates.
Been able to keep their lips zipped.
etc. etc. etc.
My favorite is "our message is just fine, we just have to get the voters to listen."

Face it. Romney couldn't get the loose lips to stay zipped and he couldn't get Bain (his former company) to hold off on shipping over one hundred sixty jobs to China, while telling us he was worried about jobs.

So here we go again:

In ancient Ireland the king is the center, the hub of a circle that includes battle, prosperity, music and vision. When the king understands that the truth is the foundation of his position, the realm flourishes. The king’s truth is responsible for the well being of almost every part of Celtic society. And the truth is comes from his union with the divine feminine, the Goddess who lives in the land itself.

Legend has it that a first century high king was instructed by his Druid advisor about the importance of the King’s Truth

By the King’s Truth great clans are ruled,
By the King’s Truth great death is warded off,
By the King’s Truth great battles are driven off into the enemy’s country,
By the King’s Truth great right prevails,
By the King’s Truth every vessel is full,
By the King’s Truth fine weather comes in each fitting season:
Winter fine and frosty,
Spring dry and windy,
Summer warm with showers of rain,
Autumn heavy with dew and fruitful.
By the King’s Truth the land is fruitful and every child is born worthy,
By the King’s Truth there is an abundance of tall grain.

Let him magnify the Truth, it will magnify him,
Let him strengthen Truth, it will strengthen him,
Let him guard the Truth, it will guard him,
Let him exalt the Truth, it will exalt him.

From Yearning for the Wind by Tom Cowan.  I said over a year ago that if I thought it would do any good I would send of copy of this to every Republican candidate running for president. But, it wouldn't do any good would it? Perhaps I should have, because listening to the bitching, moaning, denial and general insisting on living in an alternate reality has gotten really, really old.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Anybody out there ever watched Judgment at Nuremberg? It's Stanley Kramer's version of the trials of the German judges after WWII. One of the defendants at the dock is Ernst Janning. Lawyer, teacher, writer, internationally respected and the former head of the German Ministry of Justice under Hitler. In that capacity he turned his back on much of what he believed and stood for. For the good of the nation; supporting measures that started out as temporary and became tragically, inhumanly permanent. 

"...The principle of criminal law in every civilized society has this in common: any person who sways another to commit murder, any person who furnishes the lethal weapon for the purpose of the crime, any person who is an accessory to the crime - is guilty. Herr Rolfe further asserts that the defendant Janning was an extraordinary jurist and acted in what he thought was the best interest of this country.

There is truth in this also. Janning, to be sure, is a tragic figure. We believe he loathed the evil he did. But compassion for the present torture of his soul must not beget forgetfulness of the torture and the death of millions by the Government of which he was a part. Janning's record and his fate illuminate the most shattering truth that has emerged from this trial: If he and all of the other defendants had been degraded perverts, if all of the leaders of the Third Reich had been sadistic monsters and maniacs, then these events would have no more moral significance than an earthquake, or any other natural catastrophe.

But this trial has shown that under a national crisis, ordinary - even able and extraordinary - men can delude themselves into the commission of crimes so vast and heinous that they beggar the imagination. No one who has sat through the trial can ever forget them: men sterilized because of political belief; a mockery made of friendship and faith; the murder of children. How easily it can happen. There are those in our own country too who today speak of the "protection of country" - of 'survival'. A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient - to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! Before the people of the world, let it now be noted that here, in our decision, this is what we stand for: justice, truth, and the value of a single human being."
- "Judgment at Nuremberg" (1961)

What can I say? We've come a long way baby. In the totally wrong direction. Not just the wars of convenience, the Patriot Act or the TSA. Walmart is currently conducting an internal investigation of its own business practices. And what started out as an investigation into bribes paid to make it easier to build stores in Mexico is expanding to include other countries such as India and Brazil. 

When the story broke there was comment after comment "well, they do things differently in other countries and if this is what it took to get the job done...." Fill the political expedient of your choice and look out for nightmares. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012


The fallout from the election continues. The newest shtick is filing petitions calling for secession from the US. The reasons vary from a guy in Alabama who's ticked because an Alabama state law forced the closing of his topless car detailing business. It's a state law so he wants to secede from the US? OoooooKaaaay. And then there's the guy from Texas.  A guy who probably wouldn't recognize a Marxist if he fell over a real one. Although I would love to see Marx's reading list from the reading room of the British Museum. Which led me to remember some things. 

A couple of years ago I stumbled across the story of Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, martyred at the beginning of the more than decade long civil war in El Salvador. A war largely financed by our tax dollars by the way. Too bad we couldn't have just distributed the five billion or so we sank into this nightmare among the five million or so campesinos. Many of whom were on the run from the American trained military and paramilitary groups.

Curious, I dug deeper into the stories of the people caught between the army, the death squads, the oligarchs and US foreign policy. I discovered that Marxism was pretty much a code word for anyone you didn't agree with. People who belonged to unions. People who wanted to belong to unions. Farmers who wanted to form coops, Farmers who believed in some kind of land reform in a country where less than twenty families controlled over sixty percent of the land. The priests, nuns, missionaries and lay teachers who supported them. And finally, any civilians who might agree with them. 

Now how many Americans fit some of those categories. Union members, people who would like to join unions. Workers stuck in dead end jobs. Workers who've seen their jobs shipped overseas. Workers who work for companies that have been mismanaged for years and finally blame the bankruptcy on the unions. Need I go on. They all could be called "Marxists" and for many years in some countries that label was a death sentence. But, this is still America. Right.

Friday, November 16, 2012


This was a comment on the web on an HP article Chris Christie disagrees with Mitt Romney's Gifts.  The comment was authored by a writer with the screen name Outlandish. 

Romney’s entitlements:                            
I am entitled to complain about the economy even when my stock price, my portfolio and my profits are at record levels.

I am entitled to a healthy and well-educated workforce, a

I am entitled to complain bitterly about taxes that are always too high, even when they are at record lows.

I am entitled to have my earned income taxed as capital gains and my investment income taxed at the lowest rate anywhere in the world — or not at all.

I am entitled to inside information and favorable investment opportunities not available to ordinary investors. I am entitled to brag about my investment returns.

I am entitled to pass on my accumulated wealth tax-free to heirs, who in turn, are entitled to claim that they earned everything they have.

I am entitled to use unlimited amounts of my own or company funds to buy elections without disclosing such expenditures to shareholders or the public.

I am entitled to provide political support to radical, uncompromising politicians and then complain about how dysfunctional Washington has become.

I am entitled to publicly criticize the president and members of Congress, who are not entitled to criticize me.

I am entitled to fire any worker who tries to organize a union. I am entitled to break any existing union by moving, or threatening to move, operations to a union-hostile environment.

I am entitled to load companies up with debt in order to pay myself and investors big dividends — and then blame any bankruptcy on over-compensated workers.

I am entitled to contracts, subsidies, tax breaks, loans and even bailouts from government, even as I complain about job-killing government budget deficits.

I am entitled to take credit for all the jobs I create while ignoring any jobs I destroy,

I am entitled to claim credit for all the profits made during a booming economy while blaming losses or setbacks on adverse market or economic conditions.

I am entitled to deny knowledge or responsibility for any controversial decisions made after my departure from the company, even while profiting from such decisions if they enhance shareholder value.

I am entitled to all the rights and privileges of running an American company, but owe no loyalty to American workers or taxpayers.

 I am entitled.

Friday, November 9, 2012


For nearly forty years the right has waged an unrelenting assault on some of the ideas that help hold our society together.

The belief that anyone would want to make a career of public service is derided. Career politicians they’re called and not to be trusted. When the cat is sick I don’t go to the Buick garage and when the car needs work I don’t go to the vet.  The myth that rank amateurs can do the nation’s business leaves the door wide open for the think tanks and lobbyists to assume control. Paul Ryan never did explain his budget plans if R & R were elected. Rumor has it that his budget and suggestions for the budget came from lobbying organizations and think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation which might explain why he couldn’t explain the figures. Forgot to do his homework.

Which brings us to the second umbrella idea.  The law and the judges that interpret it. From the time of Edward Coke in the seventeenth century most of us have accepted that there has to be a final arbiter. And individual judge or a panel of jurists with the final say on what the law says. I don’t always agree with the results, but I don’t try to undercut their authority just because I don’t agree with the results. Over and over we hear the term “activist judge’ when the right doesn't agree with the results. And that the majority should rule. Never admitting to themselves that there might be a time when they are in the minority and needing protection. There has to be a final, hopefully neutral arbiter.  And we all need to remember that where there is one there is a majority of one and the courts are the last protection for those majorities of one.

Now on to the teachers and the education system. How can teachers do their jobs when the respect they need to do that job is constantly undercut.  Laws that allow wet behind the ears kids to refuse to learn what they need to know to compete in science with other countries because it might go against their belief in a cobbled together, cherry picked set of scriptures that were never meant to be taken literally in the first place. I was taught genetics in biology at the U of O by guys who’d been put up for the Nobel Prize for heaven’s sake. I’d have no more dared question them than I could fly to the moon. At least until I’d taken a few classes. And yes I question my faith but it wasn’t caused by anything I learned in the science class room.

And in the last two election cycles we’re being warned to distrust our fellow citizens. With a solution in search of a problem the drum beat of “voter fraud” has been heard in state after state. Even though there is almost no evidence of voter fraud. And the little we've seen this election cycle appears to have been almost all on the Republican side. 

So who benefits when the groups that help hold society together are discredited and demoralized. The would be puppet masters. The would be puppet masters who may have to wait just a little longer to remake America in their image. And the excuses that are coming out of the right are absolutely delicious.  

If I ran a business that took a shellacking on the scale of Tuesday's election I'd be on the phone to my customers wanting to know what the hell was wrong. And I wouldn't sit there telling them that my product was just fine, they were wrong. You know when you drop a hammer on your toe and it hurts you don't keep dropping that hammer over and over and over.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I spent very little time watching election coverage last night. Thank heaven for internet updates. What little I did watch left me royally PO’d.

This was not the CBS of Murrow, Cronkite and Rather. Excuse me guys, The president has 303 electoral votes and will probably end up with the twenty nine from Florida when the dust settles. Al Gore won the popular vote back in 2000 but winning the electoral vote was interpreted as a “mandate” to turn the country upside down. ABC and NBC weren’t much better.

The governor of Virginia is lamenting that the Republicans didn't do a very good job of appealing to women and minorities. Governor, your message came through loud and clear. Akin, Mourdock, some doofus from Georgia, several Republican controlled state legislatures and the party platform delivered the party message for women loud and clear. The comments on several on line stories prove that years of the Republican mantra that all minorities are on welfare, all minorities are lazy moochers and those who aren’t moochers are gang bangers, drug addicts and crooks has come through loud and clear.

Some of the reading I’ve been doing has me wondering if the likes of Limbaugh, Beck and the rest are just hacks or worse. They spread the message of American ultra nationalism while their corporate masters are doing their best to erase national borders. At least where there money is concerned and the pursuit of an agenda where are resources from land and water to seeds and our DNA are privatized and sold to the highest bidder.

We need an honest discussion of WHY there was a huge influx of illegal immigrants into this country right after NAFTA went into effect. Most of these people were farmers. Could it be they were forced off the land in Mexico because the new rules allowed the US to dump bushels of taxpayer subsidized corn into the Mexican markets driving prices below what the locals needed for their crops? Funny how getting rid of subsidies for corn and soybeans are never on the “let’s get rid of that” table. Could it be that crop dumping is part of our foreign policy in support of American multinationals?

So, the reading list is taller than ever. I’m going to do my best to make it shorter and pass on the results. I’ll have to reread School of Assassins. Not so much because of the people trained by the School of the America’s but the several decades of foreign policy it supported.  It’s very, very scary and they’re bringing it home to the good old USA. If too many citizens in our country resemble citizens of the third world it won’t be president’s fault. It’ll be the results of several decades of the corporate military supported agenda. 

Friday, October 26, 2012


Jackson Brown wrote this back in the eighties. And it seems truer and truer every year. Especially with the information about where Romney got some of his seed money for Bain. From Salvadoran oligarchs who were either financing the death squads or sitting over in the corner with their fingers in their ears, humming real loud. How you do it is just as important as what you do. 


I've been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you've seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war

And there's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interest runs

On the radio talk shows and the T.V.
You hear one thing again and again
How the U.S.A. stands for freedom
And we come to the aid of a friend
But who are the ones that we call our friends--
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who finally can't take any more
And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone
There are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

There's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who fan the flames
Of the wars that are fought in places
Where we can't even say the names

They sell us the President the same way
They sell us our clothes and our cars
They sell us every thing from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars
I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they're never the ones to fight or to die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire


Friday, October 19, 2012


This fiery indictment by Pedro Casaldaliga is modeled after Ode to Roosevelt by Nicaraguan poet Reuben Dario. It is painful and eye opening to understand how this country is seen by those who have been on the receiving end of our "freedom fighters." Five billion in aid and over seventy thousand deaths  to El Salvador alone in the Reagan/Bush era. 


You are being excommunicated by me and the poets, the children, the poor of the land:

Pay attention!

We’ve got to see the world in human terms.
Don’t play Nero.
This isn’t a movie, you screen monkey.
You’re the leader of a great nation!
(I’ll tell your people to clean off forever the shit your cowboy boots have tracked over your flag.
And I’ll tell them, when they vote, to realize they may be selling a lot of blood and their own honor!)

You may have inebriated the world with Coca Cola, but there is still someone lucid enough to tell you “No!”
The profits and power of your weapons cannot be valued above the feverish wail of a little black child.

Empires no longer suit the race of human beings.
Listen Reagan,” the sun rises as sun for everyone and the same God rains over every life god has invited to the celebration.

No people is greatest.
Take care of your own back yard.
Respect us.

Rachel has found you out Herod, and you will have to answer for her desolation.

Sandino’s star is waiting for you in the hills and in the volcano a single heart awakes: like a sea of indignation, little girl Nicaragua will smash your aggression.

The blood of martyrs sustains our arms and becomes a song and fountain in our mouths. You have never seen the hills, Reagan, nor have you heard in their birds the voice of the voiceless. You know nothing of life and song means nothing to you.

Don’t come to us with hypocritical morality, you mass murderer, you’re aborting a whole people and their revolution!

The lie you pass off to the world (and to the pope) is the worst drug. You are showing Freedom (in an exclusive screening) while you block the way to Liberation.

“The United States is powerful and mighty.” All right! “In God… we Trust.” You may think you’re the owners, you may think you have everything, even god, your god- the bloodstained idol of your dollars, the mechanical Moloch- but you don’t have the God of Jesus Christ, the Humanity of God! I swear by the blood of His Son, killed by another empire, and I swear by the blood of Latin America-now ready to give birth to new tomorrows- that you will be

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Between the kitten and politics I’ve been the invisible woman lately. Midge is doing fine, thank you. I’d take more pictures but all you’d see right now is a blur.  That girl can really move. 

Politics? Yuck. All I can say is vote as if your right to vote depended on it, it probably does.

I’ve been continuing my reading of the Latin Americans. Powerful voices. Prophetic voices. Unheard in much of this country. Suppressed by the Vatican. Attempted to suppress anyway.  If only we had voices like this in this country. So I’m going to try something. Put excerpts in my blog.

Much of the material comes from the eighties and the nineties. Read if you wish. Copy if you like. But, think about what’s being said. What it means now. And how the silence, indifference and but we’re fighting Communism of then (and I’m guilty too) is coming back to bite us on the ass now.

Pedro Casaldaliga is the retired bishop of Sao Felix do Araguaia in Brazil. He is an unapologetic follower of liberation theology. And locked horns with his superiors and the Vatican more than once.  And if I can keep this up we’ll see why he refused to be silent.

“The fact that the Salvadoran Human Rights Commission has asked me for a statement on behalf of the rights of Salvadoran refugee children makes me deeply ashamed before God and history.

Ashamed of being a human being and ashamed of being a Christian. Impotent and frustrated despite my hope.

For Central America has been an open wound for years. And the so called Christian west and, too often the very church of Jesus, have manifested passive complicity if not open involvement while neocolonialism, the oligarchy, and military repression-which means jail, torture and death- decimates these tiny peoples at the waist of the Americas.

And the criminal nightmare has become a routine news item, or has even ceased being news, upstaged by a soccer ball…

I am not going to make a statement. Any word that is just a word seems cynical to me. May any of us who can passively witness the pain of Central America be cursed by the living God.

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos…will threaten the wrath of Yahweh against our insensitive society and church.

The statement is there, inexorable. Let those who have ears to hear listen to the cry of an exiled child. Let those who have eyes to see witness the anemic faces of refugee mothers and children. “ 

Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga in  In Pursuit of the Kingdom.

Friday, September 28, 2012


I'd post more pictures but getting Henrietta Hairball, better known as Midge, to stay still long enough to get her picture taken is a challenge. Yes, she does go to sleep. But, she does it in her playpen; an upside down laundry basket so you can't see much.

She's eating out of a bowl. Drinking her kitty milk out of a bowl. She'll drink water, but so far I've had the best luck using the sink in the bathroom. She can "see" it before she sticks her nose in it and forgets to hold her breath.

She can get her basket turtle almost anywhere she wants to go. And she's discovered the back room, kitty room. Nice, big, cat proof. Room to run. And she does it very well. It's time to introduce her to the rest of the house. When the other cats aren't in. Except Bandit. Bandit basically has the attitude of "look kid, leave the tail alone and we'll get on just fine."

She reminds me of most small children, furry or otherwise. It's either full tilt or dead stop. And right now she's at dead stop for a nap.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


We're still working on it as her personality gets stronger.

Her favorite corner on the couch. You can only get to her from the front. Something about those blue eyes.

I swear this little lady gets bigger every day. Once I'm sure she's "safe" we take up the rugs in the bathroom and let her run around and go "hunting."

If I just pull a little harder maybe I can get this down. She's doubled in weight and had her first try at sold food today. I think she liked it. Now we work on the water bowl. Use the laundry basket as a "turtle" Lisa calls it. She pushes at the handholds and can really cover ground when she wants to. Came boogieing out to the floor by my chair. Got her out and she practically vaulted into the litter box. She's working on it.

Friday, September 14, 2012


I didn’t fall off the face of the earth. But, what can I say about the endless campaign season and the slow moving train wreck the Republicans are stuck with? And we’ve acquired a new member of the family.

Sis and her family came down for the Ducks game two weeks ago. While they were getting ready to hike over to the stadium big brother helped out his little brother by taking out the recycling. He came back in with a box in his hand and the announcement that he was never doing that again. In the box was a kitten. A very small, very loud kitten. Which resulted in a panic call from sis. You could hear it in the background. They have dogs. The boys live in apartments. So mom and I shrugged and told her to bring the furry package of squall over to us. About ten minutes later she arrived with an absolutely tiny ball of royally PO’d fur. I had spotted milk replacement at Fred’s so. Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to Fred’s I go. In the meantime the kitten was screaming it’s little head off.

Luckily we have a kennel that we could set up complete with hot water bottle. The original idea was to foster the little bit. Well, she (I think she’s a she) wormed her way into our hearts, This bit of fluff is one tough little lady. She’s hanging onto her life with all four paws and hanging on for dear life. 

Within a couple of days I set up a laundry hamper as a play pen. Took her two days to figure out how to get out. We’re talking a kitten I could hold in one hand and weighed in at herkin’ eight ounces. If you turn it over she manages to scoot it across the kitchen floor.

Two weeks in She’s almost doubled in size, has some idea what a litter box is for, sleeps most of the night. Today she learned that she could run. The back half doesn’t quite track with the front half all the time but that little girl can sure move. And the quilt rack we use for towels is perfect for sneak and peek.

And the foster thing/ She’s inserted herself into our hearts. And we want to see how the story turns out. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


El Salvador. Two words that make it impossible for me to vote for Mitt Romney even if I wanted to. By 1983 several priests, an archbishop and four American churchwomen (three nuns and a lay missionary) had been murdered.The sister's crime? Trying to get refugees out of the killing zones. Running a school and an orphanage for children who had lost their parents in the fighting? Our ambassador to El Salvador, Robert White was fired by the Reagan Administration for not towing the party line.

 In December 1981 the Atlacatl battalion, American trained at the school of the Americas, entered the village of El Mozote. By the time they left about three days later, the people of El Mozote and several surrounding smaller hamlets were dead. The youngest was eight months old. There was more violence to come before the decade was over, but all of this was known before Romney accepted the investments of the El Salvadoran oligarchs.

That Romney and Bain were willing to business with families that either contributed or stood by while these murders took place is more than I can stomach. There's an old saying. All that is needed for evil to flourish is for good men and women to do nothing.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Five in the morning. Venus,  the last quarter moon and Jupiter all lined up. Venus and Jupiter have been my morning companions while I feed the cats the last couple of months. Sometimes I even remember to put my glasses on so they're less of a blur, but they're bright enough that even I can see them. 

Picture from Starry Night Backyard. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Just when you think it can't possibly get any worse this headline greets your unbelieving eyes. MITT ROMNEY STARTED BAIN CAPITAL WITH MONEY TIED TO DEATH SQUADS.  Included in the list were the supporters Roberto D'Aubisson's ARENA party. D'Aubisson, trained at the school of the Americas at Fort Benning was finally tied to the assassination of archbishop Oscar Romero. 

Goddess can it get any worse? Drove me to haul out my old Jackson Brown albums. This one is painfully appropriate. I want to take this sorry excuse for a human being, shake him until his teeth rattle and ask him what the hell he was thinking. 


God is great, God is good
He guards your neighborhood
Though it’s generally understood
Not quite the way you would
You try to take the slack
Stay awake and watch his back
But something happens every now and then
And someone breaks into the promised land
Ah boy boy
This world is not your toy
This world is long on hunger
This world is short on joy

You speak as if you know
What’s good for everyone
What’s good in what you’ve done?
What’s good about a world in which
War rages at a fever pitch
And people die for the little things
A little corn, a little beans

Ah boy boy
This world is not your toy
This world is, this world is
Long on hunger
Short on joy
How much longer
You gonna keep the world hungry boy?

You measure peace with guns
Progress in mega-tons
Who's left when the war is won?
Soldier of misfortune--
Soldier of an angry call
Soldier on foreign soil
I’m not here to fight your war
I know what you're fighting for

Ah boy boy
This world is not your toy
This world is, this world is
Long on hunger
Short on joy
How much longer
You gonna keep the world hungry boy?

I wonder if he can claim he retroactively returned their investments? 

Cross posted in Women On. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Hand fasting is an old way of marrying. It was a legal way of getting married in Scotland until the middle of the 1930's. It's a beautiful piece, I wish I could hear is used just once. 

Raven’s Blessing Song

May the earth welcome your footsteps,
May the wind sing your tale,
May fire dance from your fingertips,
May the ocean speed your sail.
May your courage never fail you,
May your words be blessed with grace;
May the spirit of inspiration light your way.

(Goddess that first verse! Can you imagine dancing this?)

May you be a friend to your destiny
May you always know your name.
May your learn to dance with lightning
When life brings storm and rain.
May you never be far from family
Whether kin by blood or heart
May you never feel completely set apart.

May you walk through life like a balance beam
And never stumble and fall.
May you walk through a hundred angry glares
And may it not matter at all.
May you never cease to teach
And never cease to learn’
May the spark of hope inside you always burn.

May you walk with light through your underworld
May you never fear your dark
May you learn to love the monsters that populate your heart.
May you be healed of your deepest wounds
And wear the scars with pride,
And may your soul never have to hide.

May the earth welcome your footsteps,
May the wind sing your tale,
May fire dance from your fingertips,
May the ocean speed your sail.
May your courage never fail you,
May your words be blessed with grace,
May the spirit of inspiration light your way. 

From Hand fasting and Wedding Rituals. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…”

There it is, the freedom of religion and speech part of the first amendment. That’s it, there it is. The only guaranty we have is that congress (and the lower legislatures) will make no law establishing a particular religion or practicing whatever religion you choose. The lawmakers are also forbidden to interfere with your freedom of speech.

It does not guaranty that your neighbors will accept the religion you follow. If you happen to know any pagans ask them how free they feel these days. Especially live in back of beyond rural America or in the Bible Belt.

The constitution does not guaranty that anyone will listen to you, agree with you, stay in the same room with you, disagree with you or demand that you back up your claims. Now here is where rubber is hitting the road. The claimant has to come up with something more that I believe such and such to be true. Or, the favorite when it comes to gays and marriage equality “the Bible says so.”

The fundagelicals have been getting a free ride for generations with that one phrase along with the quotation of one of a half dozen verses on the subject. That’s not good enough anymore. I want facts, not scripture. Legal examples not “I believe such and such to be true.” How about some examples of how folks used to get married, probably still get married and how that overlaps with their view of “traditional” marriage.

I suspect that what really bothers those denouncing the views of the owner of Chick-fil-a isn’t his support of “traditional marriage.” Whatever the heck that is. What bothers me is the implicit violence in his belief that gay marriage will call God’s judgment on the nation. If you believe that, then you may just believe that any action necessary to avoid that judgment is justified.

And that, heads us down a path most of us don’t want to follow. Imagine someone like the Aurora, Colorado shooter only he’s convinced that his mission is to save us from God’s wrath. And while we’re at it we’ll go after the families and friends of our targets just to make sure the danger is averted. 

Friday, August 3, 2012


Stop dismissing the Chick-fil-A fight by Guy Branum. When you read this remember all of the Pat Robertson style denunciations that fill the air whenever Mother Nature sneezes and substitute Wiccan, or Pagan, or tree hugger, or any other group that's born different or chooses to walk a path that's barely tolerated these days.

I'm straight but I'm about one fourth Quaker and about three fourths Celtic I'll get this figured out one day and I agree one hundred percent with what the author says. Just listen to the Pat Robertson's of the world whenever Mother Nature sneezes. It's the fault of the gays, the lesbians, the tree huggers, the wiccans, the neo pagans, WHOEVER. Whether you were born a little different or you've chosen a spiritual path that goes beyond what's "tolerated" we all need to stand together.

"I don't ask for tolerance: I demand respect." from a comment by another member of the HP community a couple of days ago.

And we can start by reminding these folks that all the constitution gurantees is that Congress won't make laws abridging freedom of speech, restricting religion or favoring one over the other. The constitution doesn't guranty that anyone will agree with you, listen to you, stay in the same room while you're talking or keep quiet if they believe you're wrong, disrespectful or hateful. One side has been hiding behind "freedom of" for far too long as attempts are made to take freedom from others. 

I got a kick out of a few comments claiming that the money the Dan Cathy donates isn't going to hate groups. After all it's just libs and leftists who claim that the likes of the Family Research Council and the American Family Association are hate groups. And anyway it's his money he can do what he wants. Before it was his money it was our money and some folks aren't too happy with where it's going. 

I'm almost happy that these dust ups are finally happening. We've wallpapered over the cracks in our society for far too long. The moderates in this country outnumber the ultra conservatives but we've allowed them to define the words and set the agenda for far too long. 

It's long past time for us to shout out "hell yes, I have an agenda. I demand to be respected as a human being not defined by orientation, gender, the spiritual path I follow or the belief that the earth is just a really, really big space ship and it's past time we treated her that way. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012


This comment was in reply to an article on fundamentalists and their view of religious liberty; a one way street in the author’s opinion. Chick-fil-A Dustup Shows Freedom for Fundamentalists Is a One-Way Street

“you know, this "tolerance" talking point is getting really weak.

I do not tolerate someone saying ugly things about me. Do you?

If Mr. Cathy wants to speak about himself, that's okay. He has every right to speak about someone else. Fortunately, the person he speaks about has the right to respond.

Mr. Cathy doesn't live in a bubble. Everyone has the same right to speak, including and especially those that have been spoken about.

It has absolutely nothing to do with tolerance.

Gay people don't want or need your tolerance. We demand equality. Tolerance presupposes that you are superior to me...that I must beg you for your approval of me somehow.

I don't have to do that.

I don’t ask for tolerance: I demand respect.”  Screen name CRandallB

Tolerance: Sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own beliefs; or the act of allowing something.  It can also mean the allowable deviation from a standard, especially the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece or part.

To be honest, like many folks, I’ve never looked at the idea o f tolerance from the “I’m sick and tired of being tolerated” side of the fence.  And frankly, as one quarter Quaker and three fourth Celtic I’m workin’ on it, I may find myself with more sympathy for that point of view than before.

And this gentleman has said it a lot better than I ever could.  Especially when the attitude of too many folks is ‘you just get back in the closet and I’ll tolerate you.” Thanks but no thanks. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Yesterday morning I held a hummingbird in the palm of my hand.

We have an partially enclosed porch and it flew in and got turned around, kept trying to fly through the glass at the end of the porch. The wings were so loud in the enclosed space and was that chirp coming from that bit of beak and feathers. I managed to get the lower pane open and then came the fun part. Finally I had it in my hand. How does something that tiny survive? Managed to maneuver it down to the open window. In a moment it was streaking away, chirping all the way. 

Monday, July 30, 2012


Before I tackle Chick fil A here is a partial list of companies and corporations targeted because they support gay rights and/or marriage equality.

Note: The American Family Association is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group and the National Organization for Marriage is basically on their watch list.

Oreos – In June 2012, Oreo posted a phote of a rainbow sextuple stacked cookie to its Facebook page in honor of Pride month. While the responses were most positive, some commenters were outraged, even calling for a boycott of the product.

General Mills – Betty Crocker, Cheerios, Wheaties, Pillsbury and Green Giant targeted by the National Organization for Marriage for opposing the Minnesota Marriage Amendment. Go get a Rainbow Chip cake mix.

Levi’s – In 1992 Levi’s pulled its funding of the Boy Scouts over the organization’s exclusion of Gays. Supporters included disgraced Texas congressman Tom Delay.

American Apparel – in 2009 American Apparel put its “Legalize Gay” t-shirt in its storefront windows in DC. Vandals broke the stores windows. They fixed the windows and left in the shirts.

Walt Disney World – although Disney World’s Gay Days are not officially sanctioned they were on object the Florida Family Association. The group paid to have two planes fly over the park with warning banners; lest any unsuspecting families be in the park during Gay Days.

Starbucks – In January 2012 Starbucks released a memo support gay marriage. The National Organization for Marriage launched to urge people to boycott the company.

Procter and Gamble products – Tide, Pampers, Crest - In 2004 Proctor and Gamble angered conservatives by opposing an anti gay rights statute that would have exempted gays and lesbians from special civil rights protection in its hometown of Cincinnati. The American Family Association called for a boycott of some of the most popular products and presented a petition with almost 365,000 signatures urging a change in policy.

Home Depot – In May of this year the American Family Association announced a boycott of Home Depot until it agrees to remain neutral in the homosexual culture war. Home Depot was condemned for giving financial and corporate support to open displays of homosexual activism. Etc and so forth. Home Depot was not impressed.

Pepsi – The American Family Association strikes again. Calling for a boycott of Pepsi, Frito lay chips, Quaker Oats and Gatorade because PepsiCo gave donations totaling a million dollars to the Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG.

Safeway – In June 2009 Safeway put large gay/lesbian Pride posters in stores across the country. Here’s the American Family Association to the rescue again.

Old Navy – In 2011 Old Navy planned to sell shirts to benefit the anti suicide, anti bullying It Gets Better Project. American Family Association to the rescue again.

Girl Scouts – In 2011 the Girl Scouts decided to allow a transgender youth to participate. Here comes the American Family Association again. Who’d have thought one little kid could cause such a stir.

Penney’s – Boycotted by the One Million Moms for Choosing Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson. Penney’s came under criticism because its June catalog showed two men playing on the floor with their kids and hugging them. The American Family Association again.

Gap – When Gap launched an ad campaign featuring two men pressed toether under a shared t shirt the One Million Moms (part of the American Family Association) swung into action launching a boycott of Gap brands until the corporation decides to remain neutral in the culture war.

So, OUR boycotts are good because we’re doing God’s will or some damn thing and your calls for boycotts from the other side are bad because you’re a bunch of Godless, atheistic heathens. Count me on the side of the heathens 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Aurora, Colorado. The list just keeps getting longer. It’ll keep getting longer until we realize that the right to buy guns isn’t the problem. After all, according to a quick check on the net, this country has almost as many guns as people. That we know about. Trying try pry those guns from our cold, dead hands is not going to happen anytime soon. If buying isn’t the problem then the right to sell them, and to keep selling them no matter what the cost could be what’s happening around us.

There were twenty seven years and a revolution between the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the prologue to the constitution. During that time the phrase life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness morphed to life, liberty and property. Most of us understand the phrase as protection for the property we OWN. There’s another kind of property though. The property we want to SELL to somebody else.

My first Sony Discman lasted forever. I finally had to tape the batteries in but it kept truckin’ along for years until the drive finally died. I’ve had two since then and neither one of them lasted more than two years. That’s how companies keep costs deceptively low.  And it doesn’t really matter to anything but your pocket book if electronics don’t last as long as they used to. Can’t do that with guns though.

Guns are not like single use cameras. They can be used again. Guns are not like cheap clothes from third world countries. Fool around with the quality of manufacture and you may end up with a handgun that blows up when the customer tries to use it. That is not good for business. The same with boxes of ammo that have a lot of duds.

So how do you solve the problem? Convince people to buy as many guns as possible, make it as easy as possible and don’t give a damn about where the guns go after the original buyer forks over his money.

 I tried Googleing the phrase “National Rifle Association Donor Transparency.” Didn’t get much information beyond the fact that any useful information is scarcer than hen’s teeth. And, that earlier this month the NRA went to a great deal of time and trouble to threaten our representatives who were getting ready to vote on campaign finance law that would have made it easier to find out where the money comes from.

I suspect that if we could trace donations to the NRA we would find that much of the over $205,000,000 in income in 2004 came from the same groups that benefit the most from the NRA’s lobbying efforts; the manufacturers of weapons, ammunition and those other lovely accessories the well dressed nutcase needs to go on a rampage. After all there are only so many SWAT teams in the country and body armor isn’t single use either.

So, who benefits from the shell game that hides behind the second amendment? It isn’t us. It’s said that if you follow the money, you’ll usually get to the truth. If only it were that easy.

The mantra started within a day. “If only there had been someone in the audience with gun, he could have….” A dark theater, smoke grenade, bullets flying, a room full of people all trying to be someplace else. You sat in the middle where the picture is best. How do you get to a spot where you can get a clear shot without getting trampled or drawing fire? Or even get there before shooter bugs out looking for new targets?

And there’s the old standby “you need a gun to protect yourself in case someone invades your home.” For that to work you need a gun in every room. Otherwise, how do you get to the gun stored in another part of the house before the bad guys get to you? The answer is, ninety percent of the time you probably can’t. So, again, who benefits. The manufacturers not the customers. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


“When you go to build a cathedral, you must build your foundation strong.” Robin Longstride in Ridley Scott’s version of the Robin Hood story. Or you can go with Sir Isaac Newton. “If I have seen further than other men it’s because I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants.”

The president made a speech the other day. Rush Limbaugh excerpted about three sentences from the whole thing and issued one of his over the top fulminations. Oh, Rush, the gift that just keeps giving, like dysentery. 

“I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together." (Ok, maybe he was speaking off the cuff and wasn't as clear as he could have been)

The president didn’t say businesses don’t succeed on individual hard work and creativity. He did say that you have to have a strong foundation to build on. And a profound appreciation for all the hard work that went into building those foundations. That pyramid of strong shoulders we stand on.

Some early human realized that you could use scrap rock with sharp edges to cut pieces off a critter. The first brick in the foundation came when somebody, somehow realized he/she could recreate that edge on demand. That you could shape those rocks, put them on the end of a long piece of wood and have a more reliable weapon than a sharpened stick.

Lightning starts fire. Humans made it semi portable. More bricks went in when several somebody’s figured out how to make it reliable and portable. How DO you get from rubbing sticks together really, really fast to making fire? How DO you get the idea of putting a piece of string (after you’ve invented string), gut or tendon between the ends of a piece of wood and using it to shoot another piece of wood with a stone tip at something, preferably dinner.

Domesticating animals for meat, milk, hides and fleece. Love to know how that happened. When did some bright man or woman (Probably a woman, men still hate to take out the garbage) notice that the wild grain they’d been gathering was growing near the camp’s rubbish tip?

Weaving? How did we get to that? Watch spiders spin their webs? But spiders don’t use looms or spinning wheels. What Neolithic genius fastened a piece of hide to a stick and used it to catch the wind to help move his raft along? And who the heck was the unsung genius somewhere in the Med who came up with the Lateen sail. That triangular steering sail that lets a ship tack against the wind?

Wheels? And some folks saw the Central American natives as backward because they put wheels on their kid’s toys but didn’t use them the way Europeans did. And did I also mention they lived in either a jungle or steep mountains or both. Even the northern Europeans used the sea, rivers or man made rivers when they could.

The biggest improvements in the last thousand years haven’t been in how we do the jobs but where we get the power to do them. From animals walking in circles to power millstones to water wheels to internal combustion engines. Same job, different power source. And what genius figured out how to use a series of wheels and gears to turn the round and around motion of a water wheel into up and down or back and forth to power sawmills, lathes, trip hammers the whole foundation of industry. Actually, what genius realized he could put two really big wheels together with flat pieces of wood between and harness the power of a river in the first place. All Watt’s engine did was make it possible to have your factory someplace besides the edge of a river or canal. As long has you could get fuel you could keep the engines going. 

The president’s speech might have been better written but it was said in praise of the foundation builders. The ones who provided the tools for the bright, hard working business builders we have now.

Cross posted in Women On

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


"thanks"  Blogger. It's only taken you four years to get your blogs to do what AOL Journals could do with pictures. Yes, I know there were codes I could use, but it never seemed to work for me.


I mentioned a few posts back that we had a new "adoptee."  He showed up during the big snow last Spring.

He had a collar missing its tag, Said hello and moved in. By the second evening he showed up with his right front leg through the collar. Picked him up, tossed him through the front door and cut off the collar. That's when we discovered he knew what windows and doors were for. Went to the front door, meowed and went out when I opened it. Since then he's evolved into something of an outie/innie. Especially when he discovered that he could mooch some of Bandit's dinner.

Bandit tolerates the obstreperous upstart. Big change from trying to kick him in the pants, so to speak. And Smokie Jo is obviously very comfortable with the situation. 

And the other night he hopped up with mom in her chair. That did put the Bandit's nose out of joint. "That's my place!" Relax kid. Smokie never stays in more than half an hour or so, so far. He sniffs at but hasn't tried to use the litter box. I am not sure how that would go over right now. I'm really not, so I'm not pushing it.

And best of all, he knows that Amber was here first. I put another towel on the bench out back while the weather was still cool and damp. Whoever got there first usually ended up in the corner but there's room enough for two and some munchies. I haven't been able to get a good shot of the two of them snoozing in semi perfect harmony. LOL

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Was out at four thirty or so feeding the porch kitties and happened to look up. I'm very nearsighted so two really bright lights above the horizon caught my attention. Fired up my astronomy program, ran it back to the right time and there they were Venus and Jupiter. And up in the corner what some folks call a dry moon because the tip of the curve is pointed up as if it were a cup.

Found this shot on the Astronomy Picture of the Day website. This was taken just before dawn from the Atacama Desert yesterday morning. A really lovely shot. 


"I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love."
–Mitt Romney (January 2012)

This is absolutely, totally, out of this world scary. How the heck did this person ever get his bachelor's degree much less make it through law school? I'm not looking for a genius to run for office, but this is ridiculous. What is this? The northern version of Texas' "all hat and no cattle."

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Half awake, half asleep my mind goes its own ways sometimes. I'm no fool. Life was hard in the old days. But I believe there was a respect for the world around them and for each other, at least for those around you that we've "misplaced" shall we say. I posted most of this over in Green Woman last night. I left the screen up and it was the first thing I saw this morning. And I reread it.   Oh, Mother of us all. Those words you had me write, they're hard, hard. 

Daughter I tried to follow the old ways. The paths of the Great Mother and the Bards. There were no temples of stone in the green lands. Groves of beech and ash and oak were good enough for the walls. When the sun shone clear the roof was a thousand shades of green, gold and blue. And when the mists came no one was sure where this world ended and the Otherworld began.

Perhaps we had less freedom than your world offers, but we had a place in our families. If there was food and drink for some there was some for all even if it was only bread from the good earth and clean water from the streams. Our bards told the old stories so that we knew who our families were and the stories of the God’s and heroes.

Now, I watch through your eyes and I grieve. The sacred groves where we sang our songs and celebrated the wheel of the seasons are gone, fallen to the saws and bulldozers. The green is gone, the skies are glowing brass and the clouds bring no rain or too much. The grasses that welcomed our steps are burned and brown. What the Mother created to feed her children men breed to withstand their poisons. The water we could dip from our streams with no danger, you must filter, boil and treat with chemicals. Your land is dying and what it grows kills. You sing no songs. Your bards are as silent as your skies, your seas and your fields.

Daughter, listen to your heart, try to learn the old tales, rediscover the paths I walked and the songs we sang. Live for the children of the earth, as we tried to live for you. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I don't know if there are any Jackson Brown fans out there or not. I first heard this song on an old Miami Vice episode that had to do with El Salvador during the civil war fought with our support during our proxie war with the Soviet Union. There's a definite Latin beat to the music.

When I listen to this I can't help hearing the voices of Bush and Cheney selling our newest wars as a way of spreading democracy. As if democracy could be passed out so much to the pound with a guaranty that the results will be what WE want. As if we can export democracy when we don't have it at home.


I've been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you've seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war

And there's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interest runs

On the radio talk shows and the T.V.
You hear one thing again and again
How the U.S.A. stands for freedom
And we come to the aid of a friend
But who are the ones that we call our friends--
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who finally can't take any more
And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone
There are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

There's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who fan the flames
Of the wars that are fought in places
Where we can't even say the names

They sell us the President the same way
They sell us our clothes and our cars
They sell us every thing from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars
I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they're never the ones to fight or to die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire


One thing that has happened since the 2010 elections. We know who the puppet masters are now. Shadow masters work best in the shadows. They can't stand it when they're dragged into the light. Yes, they have the money and the media. But we have five of the most powerful words in the English language. NO and MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. Shout it loud, shout it often. And keep shouting until they have to listen,

Monday, July 2, 2012


We have a handful of DVD’s that really aren’t entertainment. We haul them out about once a year just keep us grounded and to remember the costs. Today it was Why We Fight.

This time my reaction was different. Yes, I’m still disgusted at the lies, deception, ambition, indifference that led us into two largely voluntary wars that still seem never-ending. The blatant attempt at a power grab by the fundagelicals brought something into laser sharp focus. The list of reasons to grant tax exemptions for the churches usually include the charitable work of the churches and the moral example the churches offer for society. Lies, deception, ambition, indifference, often with the right wing churches leading the charge. Many of the churches have certainly done an excellent job.

Lisa has started a series on her blog. She asks when we’ll get angry. I passed angry a long time ago, am in the middle of totally pissed off and heading for cold, icy disgust and contempt. But, I have to remind myself that these emotions may get us moving but you can’t rebuild a society if those are the only materials you have to work with.

This is an old Jackson Brown piece.

The Rebel Jesus

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants' windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God's graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by 'the Prince of Peace'
And they call him by 'the Savior'
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There's a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

Jackson Brown

This heathen is going out looking for the rebel.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I didn't fall off the face of the earth, I've been rereading some English history that doesn't lend itself to blogging very well. At least not yet. Then I ran across this letter to the editor. This guy's ego is so off the map it's not even funny.

Station should sell anthem spot

I recently contacted McKenzie River Broadcasting in an attempt to have my company, Hyland Auto Sales, sponsor the playing of the national anthem weekdays at 8 a.m. That’s being done at a radio station in the Portland area, and I really like the idea.

The company’s sales representative sent this response to my request: “Currently, we do have the Pledge of Allegiance that plays one morning per week, Monday at 6:50 a.m. It is being sponsored. After that, we don’t do anything like this, and the program director would prefer to not do anything like this beyond what we’re doing.”

Once I calmed down, I responded to his e-mail and apologized for being too patriotic for KKNU-FM. I said, “I find it hard to believe that your station would deny me the right to play our country’s national anthem. After all, I would be paying for the airtime.”

It boggles my mind that in these tough economic times, when the entire country is in turmoil, a locally owned radio station would choose not to play the truly magnificent tribute to our freedom and heritage, especially when the station would be profiting from it.

It’s just another example of what’s tearing this once-great country apart and leaving the children of tomorrow with little to no pride in being Americans.

David N. Hyland


Where to start? How about “I find it hard to believe that your station would deny me the right to play our country’s national anthem. After all, I would be paying for the airtime.” What is this crap? I’m willing to pay for airtime therefore you don’t have the right to say no?

This isn’t his business; it’s the broadcasting company’s business. They have the right to say no. If they want to play the Beach Boys greatest hits 24/7 it’s their business. If the station manager is a die hard Springsteen fan they can program the “Boss’s” music as often as they wish and their advertisers will tolerate.

My. Hyland has his business, presumably he has some kind of sound system. He can play the Star Spangled Banner as loud and as often as his employees and neighbors can stand. He doesn’t seem to get it. The station has the right to say no. And that’s what’s missing these days. We all start with the “it’s my right to…” and ignore the rights of the rest of us to say “NO.” Without being called traitors or Un-American

So now we get to the crux of the matter. This is bullying, pure and simple. Why should we be surprised that our children are bullies? After all, the adults around them are such good role models.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


It’s been years since I’ve watched the film Beckett. There’s a scene early on where Henry II is meeting with his bishops and announcing new taxes. The archbishop demurs and it’s a matter of principle. Henry’s reply runs along the lines of “I’ve hired three thousand Swiss mercenaries. I can’t pay the Swiss with principles.” Henry II didn’t pay them with money from the church either. It was left to Henry VIII pull the church in England away from the control of Rome.

In some ways we’re still living with the fallout. Can a religious organization headquartered half the world away call the tune when it comes to local politics. Yes, the bishops are US citizens. But, they owe their power and rank to Rome; not to any American institution. Members of the church accept this situation, but I’m not a member of the Roman Catholic Church. Aside from a custom of tolerance what gives Rome the right to call the tune for me?

It’s been custom more than anything else that has exempted the churches from taxation. The first amendment says that congress can’t pass any laws establishing (favoring) one church over another. Doesn’t say anything about taxes.

And I’m not sure if certain congregations are more involved with politics than ever. The Catholics spring to mind. But, what used to be handled behind the scenes is out in the open. And with national media and the internet what’s going on is a hell of a lot more obvious. If you want to play in the political arena it’s long past time to pay. A comment on the failure of a “religious freedom” ballot measure in North Dakota ran along these lines. “What we have isn’t religious freedom, it’s religious privilege.” Certain groups, because they claim to be churches, are exempt from obligations the rest of us have to fulfill.

Would it hurt congregations that have shrunk over the years and still have large buildings to support? Probably. The church mom attends has been getting very creative. They’re currently renting kitchen and dining room space to several groups that offer community meals, that sort of thing. Ebbert is a big, beautiful, century old building with an aging congregation. And I suspect that tax laws could be tailored to protect smaller congregations. But, we’ve got two hospitals in our area and Sacred Heart (non profit, Catholic) doesn’t charge any less than McKenzie Willamette for its services.

The truth is this isn’t about religious freedom. It’s about control. It’s about defining who is truly a citizen of this country and who isn’t. It’s about who makes decisions when it comes to women. It’s about the law. The Bible and other religious documents are not the law in this country. The constitution is the law. It needs to be said loudly and often. And repeated until it finally sinks into some very thick skulls.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


This is known as the Stinton Oak and the original picture can be found Fred Hageneder's The Meaning of Trees.

I have no idea how old this great great grandfather tree is, or if it's still standing but it's home is/was Dorsetshire in England.

Dorset is that red spot on the map. Flat on the Channel. I wonder if you could see the water if you walked past the tree. Standing year after year, decade after decade, century after century. Bending with the channel gales. The tree was standing when the greatest fleet even assembled set out for Normandy. May have witnessed the running battle up the Channel as the little English ships danced around the lumbering Spanish Armada. It may have even been standing when William the Bastard invaded England from Normandy. Touch a tree and travel back in time.

Picture the great root system threaded deep into the earth. Roots touching other roots, roots touching the deep underground springs. Water seeping deeper and deeper into the rocks. Deep rocks speaking to the mantle, the mantle to the core. Touch a tree. Touch the world.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


This is a follow up to my last entry. Additional information is coming in, evidently the congregation is pretty much lining up behind him. Well, he’s had over thirty years to weed out anyone who doesn’t agree with him. The NW still sticks to the old Methodist custom of shifting ministers every seven years or so. It prevents pastors from turning their churches into their own little kingdoms.

I’ve seen a lot of calls for investigating this church’s IRS status. It would be fun to run them through the mill, but I doubt if it would do any good. We’re dealing with true believers and true believers do not, I repeat, do not see the world the same way the rest of do. Any opposition reinforces their certainty that they are in the right and doing God’s will while opposition is further evidence of the existence of the Devil and His demons.

Hell, I’ve quit even trying to look for verses that don’t agree with beliefs like this. It does not do any good. True believers do not listen. They have their verses and that’s it. Funny thing about taking the Bible literally, You can’t take the whole thing literally. At least not at the same time. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. I never tried to and I’m not starting now. If alternate verses won’t do any good, this might.

This country is not a theocracy. Except for Massachusetts in the early days it never was a theocracy. And IT WILL NEVER BE A THEOCRACY. Not if the majority of this congregation’s fellow citizens have anything to say about it. You can be polite about if or not. I’ve quit. Now hear this. When it comes to the law of the land I no longer give a flying fig what the Bible says about anything. It does not matter. Repeat, IT DOES NOT MATTER. Our system is based on the English system of common law, not the Bible. John Adams read Littleton and Coke to pass the bar, not Genesis.

And it wouldn’t hurt to remind these folks of a few home truths. The most hateful actions and rhetoric seem to be coming from a specific group of our fellow “citizens.” Perhaps THEY should be segregated from the rest of us for OUR protection. Those electric fences suddenly spring to mind. Folks be careful what you wish for. Once the genie is out of the bottle it’s almost impossible to get him back in.

Oh and about the constitution. It only says that Congress shall make no laws restricting speech or exercise of religion. It doesn’t say that the rest of us aren’t free to picket, boycott, petition when crap like this hits the fan. Normally we protect the rights of some folks to be damned fools because we want our rights to be respected too. However that doesn’t seem to be the way it’s working these days. So, guess what folks, the gloves just came off.

Remember the old saying “I may not agree with what you say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it?” To this pastor and his congregation. (and forgive me for shouting folks) I AM NOT GOING TO THE WALL FOR THE LIKES OF YOU.