Archive for July, 2009

Jimmy Carter

July 21, 2009

While I had ambivalent feelings about Jimmy Carter during his presidency, I have come more and more to appreciate and admire him. His frank analyses of the mistreatment of Palestinians, his constant missions to insure peace & fairness in many places, and now his denunciation of the SBC. The Southern Baptists have, in my opinion, been too far from the heart of Jesus revolutionary message. I’m impressed that President Carter has spoken out on their misogyny.

Ahmadinejad’s curious move

July 20, 2009

Iranian leader Ahmadinejad has made a curious move in appointing Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie as a vice-president. Mashaie has made comments encouraging international dialogue & compromise. He is not popular with the hardliners. Of course, this could be a McKinley/TR or FDR/Truman like move: put the man inside the door. In any event it is a situation to monitor.

Walter Cronkite

July 18, 2009

Just as Edward R. Murrow’s name elicits my respect so does Walter Cronkite’s. My memories of his news of JFK’s assassination, of the day by day carnage in Vietnam, and of the NASA space missions are vivid still. He had an aura of dignity and intellect. He had the public’s trust. After his retirement he worked for such causes as The Interfaith Alliance. Today at an admirable old age he died. Fidelitas my brother.

Sotomayor is justified

July 14, 2009

I think Sonia Sotomayor should not back down from her comment on a wise Latina. Just as Donna Brazile in her memoir Cooking With Grease develops a meritorious tale of one reared in the refining fire of a levee district in New Orleans, so Sotomayor should encourage confidence in young people of her race and gender. She has spoken not so much of race as of experience. How is it wrong to say that a hard life prepares one for wise decisions as opposed to one reared in ease and privilege. If this is precocious it is also generally accurate.

For Rush Limbaugh, scion of midwestern lawyers & judges, to say this is racist just shows he is truly a “big fat idiot” (Franken). The media (far left liberals that they are – not) has perpetuated the myth that Sotomayor was promoting her racial superiority or gender superiority, when in fact she was touting education and experience as defining factors in ones wisdom.

Regina Benjamin

July 14, 2009

President Obama would appear to have made a superlatively good choice for the 18th Surgeon General of the U.S. in Regina Benjamin. Her strong social conscience has prompted admirable work in Bayou La Batre in Alabama and time in Honduras. She has a long list of major recognitions and awards.

It would seem she is headed for certain approval to the appointed position except that I have already seen that she is on the hit list of anti-Choice groups. Also she will have to be careful not to do a Joycelyn Elders and speak frankly to the public. We wouldn’t want to protect teens from HIV-AIDS or other STDs now, would we? At least not by mentioning masturbation.

All I can say is – good luck. Your resume looks mighty good to me.

Man’s Inhumanity to Man

July 10, 2009

“Man’s inhumanity to man

Makes countless thousands mourn!” – Robert Burns 1785

For generations now diplomats have spoken of “self determination” for the many ethnic groups caught in the midst of enemies or under colonial rule. But war and revolution have been most often the route to freedom. We witness yet today the brutal treatment of people unhappy in their own homelands. The recent violence between the Uighurs/Uyghurs (pronounced (wee-gers) and the dominant Han Chinese prompts my post. Yet it is an old story.

Although the United States is a nation of many immigrants and ethnic groups we know the stories of Native Americans and of the once enslaved African-Americans are sad testimony in our “noble” past. Whole lifestyles and languages were made extinct. We still struggle for real justice for all.

Before Hitler’s Holocaust the Germans carried out a genocide against the Herero people in what is now Namibia. Africa’s many groups still suffer within borders applied by arrogant European colonial powers. Kenya’s recent violence and the horrors a few years back in Rwanda are examples as are the continuing horrors in Uganda & Sudan.

We have seen the sad and seemingly perpetual failure of people to live peacefully as neighbors in the Balkans. Sometimes the racial & religious issues overlap in ethnic identities and struggles.

The collapse of the Soviet Union was long forecast by historians aware of the many cultural and linguistic groups living under the yoke of Moscow. Sometimes economic and political advantages are overwhelmed and eclipsed by historical pride.

Midnight Oil’s song Beds Are Burning made a continent remember the injustices done the Pintupi. Akin to the North American story, the aborigine saw their lives undone.
When will the lion lie with the lamb? When will justice be done? When will Kurd and Palestinian and Uighur find contentment? Can’t we all just get along?
Looks unlikely anytime soon, doesn’t it?

Free dumb

July 4, 2009

Q – What nation on Earth has the highest incarceration rate? A – The land of the free and the brave. Ha Ha
With 737 per 100,000 we outdo Russia & South Africa. India has the lowest rate.
The US has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the imprisoned population.
Parole policies and an outdated “war on drugs” account for much of the dramatic figures. Tea Party People? $$$$$$$$$$$

On a wing and a prayer

July 3, 2009

Sarah Palin has announced she’s outta here in terms of Alaska governorship. I’m figuring she has a job with FOX News (Faux News). Or maybe she plans to climb a ladder at Orleans. Or maybe she’s pregnant with octuplets. Maybe she want’s to hike the Appalachian Trail. She’ll still be in the news one way or the other; You betcha. Jezebel in camouflage.

the threads & the tears in the fabric

July 3, 2009

Somehow I missed the news recently that Salvador Allende’s widow Hortensia Bussi, also known as Tencha, had died. A post by Johann Hari discussing the recent coup in Honduras and comparing it to the overthrow of Allende allerted me to this obit news and dramatically also to the fact that the US orchestrated overthrow of a democratically elected head of state in 1973 occurred on September 11 of that year.
The death of Allende and the horrific atrocities that followed have been a thread in my political conversion through the years. I was first aware that the 1973 events were not as Nixon & Kissinger would have us believe when good college friends who had relatives in Chile tried to explain the situation to me. Then I read Missing and saw the movie about the US journalist Charles Horman kidnapped and murdered because he stumbled onto the conspiratorial connections to Washington.
All the news in years since about Orlando Letelier and the horrific dictatorship of Pinochet opened my eyes to the realities of the military/industrial complex and the false facades of justice in the world. I learned about the martyrdom of Archbishop Romero and the nuns murdered as Liberation Theology sought to serve the poor and oppressed in Latin America.
Recently I watched director Andres Wood’s film Machuca about the 9/11 of Chile. And I’ve seen Luis Mandoki’s Innocent Voices, based on the heartrending events of the Salvadoran civil war.
The oft spoken phrase “Never Forget” should be applied to more than the Holocaust or our US 9/11/2001; it should also apply to the attention of our citizenry to stories like that of Mrs. Allende. History will indeed judge.

whence bats

July 2, 2009

alien bat

alien bat

The bats that live under the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, TX – they live in Mexico in the winter. What’re you Minutemen border monitors gonna do about that, huh? Their little ones are bred here; gonna deport the parents? Their evening wing-out draws tourists away from the 6th Street bars, thus denying tips to struggling waitresses. I’m just saying / we have a real issue here Lou Dobbs.

THE AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN (online) has a nice interactive article on the bats (July 2009).