Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Santorum Rant

It’s another Santorum rant.

Senator Santorum called the President of the United States a snob for wanting everyone to go to college? Here is another part of what he said:

“There are good decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate them. Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.”

Note to Mr. Santorum: Sir, I don’t want to make my children into my image, your image or anybody’s image. I want them to be themselves, to find what is sacred within their hearts and then follow it by joyfully participating in this miracle called life.

Senator Santorum also attacked the late President Kennedy for espousing the long standing principal of separation of church and state? Kennedy’s comment came fifty years ago when he, as a Catholic, was seeking the presidency.

Kennedy, Sept. 12, 1960: I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the president — should he be Catholic — how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.

President Kennedy never said people of faith should not voice their opinions.
Santorum said on “Meet The Press”: …the idea that people of faith should not be permitted in the public square to influence public policy is antithetical to the First Amendment…”

President Kennedy also never said people of faith would not be consulted. Kennedy made it clear he supported religious liberty and that the President must be responsible to all the people.

To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle in 1988.

Senator Santorum, many of us knew and liked Jack Kennedy. You Sir are no Jack Kennedy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


This man and several others like him are influencing your choice of the republican candidate for President.

He is Sheldon Adelson owner of the Venetian casino and resort in Las Vegas. He is very very rich. Adelson and others like him are the moneyed PAC power behind the candidates seeking the nomination.

 In many ways these wealthy individuals and corporations are buying the candidate AND it’s legal.

Adelson said in a Forbes magazine article, “I’m against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections, but as along as it’s doable, I’m going to do it.”

This is the first time in our history that so few with so much money have phenomenal power over what they want us to think and see and feel about a candidate. These few have the power because we are the sheep; we follow and rarely investigate.

We watch the PAC sponsored attack ads and we believe what we see and hear. We dismiss the distortions, the innuendos, the lies, the false facts and fact omission because what is said seems true.

To support a candidate based on truth and personal political conviction is our right. To support a candidate because someone else says we should is wrong.

The New York Times reported:

“About two dozen individuals, couples or corporations have given $1 million or more to Republican super PACs this year, an exclusive club empowered by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and other rulings to pool their money into federal political committees and pour it directly into this year’s presidential campaign.”

The Washington Post reported:

“Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts from individuals, corporations or unions as long as they don’t coordinate with candidates on how to spend the money.”
You never know with non-profit political organizations who or what corporation gave what to whom.
There used to be rules and regulations on the amount an individual could give to a PAC in federal elections. It’s a shame the United States Supreme Court erred in declaring the rules and regulations for a five thousand dollar limit unconstitutional.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Dam Shame!

It is unfortunate, but modern civilization is predatory and it is the indigenous populations of the world that   suffer the most.

This is a picture of Megaron Tuxucumarrae, the chief of the Kayapo tribe in Brazil. He has just received the news that the new president of Brazil has given approval to build a giant hydroelectric plant. It will be the world’s third largest dam.

When complete the structure will flood the Xingu River in Brazil’s northern Amazonian region and displace over 20-thousand indigenous Indians and effect 40-thousand people.

Progress without compassion and discernment is wrong. Progress that displaces life and lives is wrong. Progress that seeks only a return on investment without consideration of the emotional and historic rights of indigenous people is wrong.

It is time we live within the means of what is right and not within the hopes for profit, power and ascendance into the future.  No progress should ignore the hearts of the people. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Syria's Carnage

How many deaths must the world not know about before the reasonable authorities of the world condemn China and Russia for letting the Syrian regime kill, murder, maim and wound their citizens under the guise of civil control?

China and Russia vetoed any help the United Nations might offer the people of Syria. China and Russia are guilty of similar atrocities and therefore cannot condemn the same actions they embrace themselves.
The civilized world, while condemning these two countries did acquiesce to their ill-advised judgment because of the rules of veto at the UN. The Security Council veto rules are no longer valid in the world today and the United Nations needs to change them.

We, all of us, in civilized society should be ashamed that we continue with our daily lives while non-combatant civilians, families, and especially children are bombed and shelled in order to keep Bashar al-Assad in power.

He will eventually be deposed, but at what life cost?

The world is a global conglomerate of separate sovereign cultures, but deep inside we are also ONE in the spiritual acknowledgement of individual being.

There is something, some little thing inside each of us that says Syria is wrong, their actions must stop and those responsible must be accountable for their inhumane and insane orders.

Diplomacy never works when death and dying is the result.

If you truly want to stop the carnage in Syria use your power of thought and see the change.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bravo! CNN

Bravo to CNN and its Heroes project. I have often wondered what happens to the hotel or motel bar of soap I leave behind after a nights stay.

I read this story on the CNN website and I think it’s important enough to share with you. Perhaps if we each ask our favorite hotel chain to become a participant more lives will be saved.

(CNN) -- What happens to the bar of soap you barely used the last time you checked into a hotel room? Most certainly it's gone to waste at the end of each day.

This was a shocking revelation for Ugandan humanitarian and social entrepreneur Derreck Kayongo during his first stay in a U.S. hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the early 1990s.
"When i checked into the hotel, there were 3 bars of soap - there was body soap, hand soap and face soap and that did not include the shampoos - and so for me that was a new experience, I was thinking to my self, "why do they have soap for every part of their bodies?" Kayongo recalls. "Now, my goodness, why would you throw away such a resource?"

The striking realization stayed with Kayongo, a Ugandan native who spent much of his childhood as a refugee in Kenya, and prompted him years later to create the Global Soap Project. The non-profit organization reprocesses used soaps from hotels around the United States and turns them into new bars for impoverished nations such as Uganda, Kenya, Haiti and Swaziland.

Kayongo says an estimated 2.6 million bars of soap are discarded every day from hotels in the United States -- collecting such an enormous amount of soap, he notes, can help poor countries fight disease and combat child mortality by improving access to basic sanitation.

"We have more than two million kids that die every year to lower respiratory diseases like diarrhea," says Kayongo. "If you are able to put a bar of soap in every child's hand, you are able to reduce infectious diseases like diarrhea and things like typhoid and cholera by 40%.
"So the intervention became immediate for me and that's when I thought we have a solution for kids in Africa, Latin America, Asia that die every year."

Based in Atlanta, Kayongo started the Global Soap Project in 2009 by going door to door, pitching his lifesaving idea to local hotels. So far, some 300 hotels across the United States have joined Kayongo's cause, enabling him and his team to reprocess thousands of soap bars and ship them to 18 developing countries.

The recycled soap is only released for shipment once a sample is tested for pathogens and deemed safe by a third-party laboratory. The Global Soap Project then works with partner organizations to ship and distribute the soap directly to people who need it for free.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Saying that the Girl Scouts is a "radicalized organization" that promotes "homosexual lifestyles" and is aligned with honorary president Michelle Obama's "pro-abortion" viewpoint, an Indiana state legislator has told his fellow Republicans he can't support a proclamation honoring the organization's 100th anniversary.
And now, Fort Wayne Rep. Bob Morris' position and the letter he sent other legislators has gone "viral," the local Journal Gazette reports.
The proclamation, as the newspapers says, "applauded the group 'for the strong positive influence it has had on the American woman.' "
But Morris, saying he "did a small amount of web-based research," claims to have found that the Girl Scouts has "a close strategic affiliation with Planned Parenthood." He makes that assertion even as he concedes "you will not find evidence of this on the [Girl Scouts'] website — in fact, the websites of these two organizations explicitly deny funding Planned Parenthood."
All in all, according to Morris, the Girl Scouts is an organization that's "been subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics and the destruction of traditional American family values."
The preceding story is from the NPR website.

I am astonished in this day and age that an allegedly intelligent man could think this way.

I am fearful that this kind of thinking permeates the conservative movement in America and degrades the positive aspects of conservative thinking into a one-track, one-issue homophobic, anti abortion viewpoint.

What has happened to us? Did not conservatives learn from the 1964 election debacle that extremism is the hemlock of the conservative movement?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Downton Abby

I've been trying to figure out why the British Television series Downton Abby is such a hit.

I have it now, but first this background.

I am not a big television watcher and have not been for several years; the whys are not important at least not for this post.

On several recent visits with my grand children they and my sons have talked about how wonderful this series is and that they watch it every week. They all enthusiastically recommend it and they say one must watch it sequentially from the beginning.

On their enthusiasm and recommendation I have done so now for the first season episodes. It's wonderful.

What this series has over any American produced series besides good writing and great acting is a constant generational component. Viewers get tired of just pretty women and handsome guys with a predictable goofy plot or gratuitous violence.

Viewers like substance, real content that relates to the universal emotions and empathy in all of us, rich, poor, white, black, old or young and in the case of Downton Abby, aristocrat and commoner.

The series has characters from every generation and that makes it real. I can't wait now to watch the second season.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Santorum's Divide

It seems that Rick Santorum is now the arbiter of what people believe. Mr. Santorum suggested that President Obama’s agenda is a phony theology, not based on the bible.

When asked about his statement at a news conference later, Santorum said, if the President says he’s a Christian, he’s a Christian, but he did not back down from the assertion that Obama’s values run against those of Christianity.

This kind of campaign innuendo is absurd. It is destructive, demeaning and inimical to the core truths of our founding declarations.

Leadership is the ability to enthuse, to create, and to accomplish goals for the greater good. Leadership is not pushing one’s individual beliefs and judging another’s spirituality as a political tenant.

Some people strive to be leaders, some are promoted to it, some are elected to it and some have it thrust upon them. True leadership is still based on character and character is the outward quality of one's inner being.

Character is a visible piece of the heart that others see and feel when we speak. Character does not divide, it unites.

It is fine that Mr. Santorum chooses a public and political arena to show his devout Catholicism; that’s one of our sacred freedoms. To suggest if you do not believe the way he does you are not a Christian is wrong.

I fear Mr. Santorum wants something so badly he will say anything to get it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Trains and Trees

I used to drive to a lot of places in the New York City area, but lately I chose to go by rail. It is an expansive experience.

One time at the train station I stood with a group of commuters looking at a big-lighted board giving train destinations and track numbers.

Not quite knowing what to do since this was my first time going to this destination, I asked a stranger standing next to me where do I get a ticket. He offered a couple of options and volunteered to take me to the ticket vending machine and helped input all the data needed.

Bravo stranger, even though I know not your name, your service to me was a reminder of what all of us must do to help known and unknown neighbors and strangers, not only when asked, but when not asked.

The environment is a predominant observation on my rail sojourns. The window is my seatmate. I see trees in winter storage or fully leafed and growing in the most inhospitable places between track and fence, between rail and stone, between cement and junk. Amazing.

The lesson of the trees is the same as the stranger who helped me beyond the asking.

These trees set an example of service to all humans. They stand not in a place to display their leafy or naked glory. They are tucked behind buildings and sheds and few people ever see them even though they may look at them.

In their growth and growing place they are deformed by the proximity to man’s fences, walls, and concrete surfaces, yet they stand to serve in the simplicity of a symbiotic relationship. Our CO2 for their O2.

What a gift of life.

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