December 31, 2006





Absence of War

My wish for all

Massive Stars in Open Cluster Pismis 24

Credit: NASA, ESA and J. M. Apellániz (IAA, Spain).

December 30, 2006

They are not Osama!

Some thought the sentence of Zacarias Moussaoui would assuage some of the fear from September 11, 2001. Now, many are cheering Saddam Hussein execution. Do those events really change the feelings we have from September 11? Do we feel that the right people have paid for the murder of those thousands of lives? Is there relief in our breath in the silence of remembrance?

It is too soon to tell if these two events will have any effect on Islamic terrorism. Zacarias Moussaoui probably is already forgotten and Saddam Hussein will be soon. We will be continuing to try to justify the war in Iraq and find the best path for success.What we will not have done is gotten justice for the victims of September 11, 2001. Capturing Osama bin Laden should still be our primary goal. If this were our major pursuit, the terrorist would know that we have as much resolve as they.

Our government does not understand the minds of the terrorist, the nature of Islam, or that revenge can trump religion and religion can trump freedom. There have been too many conversations about the clash of civilizations, spreading liberty and democracy and stabilizing the Middle East. Those goals are admirable, but not what the times require. Five years has been too long! The times require Justice!

December 27, 2006

But I keep wanting to say, your premise(s) is wrong!

There can be a logical argument, it may prove your point; what it doesn’t do, is prove it true. I suppose there is the probability that if you use wrong information, you will find truth. It is like ten thousand monkeys typing … It is the logical fallacy on the net. That’s redundant, isn’t it?

December 25, 2006

James Brown: Master of Precision

James Brown died earlier to day. Long live James Brown! His life is not only a significant loss to those close to him, but to all who appreciated his genius. Rest in Peace.

I played in my high school marching band in the late fifties. The thing you have to know is to play in tune and play in time. During practice sessions, the drum line ( click on video) played their complicated cadences. Playing those intricate patterns was not a problem, the problem was keeping the drums in time; otherwise you would have chaos. The drummers aspired to play as tight as James Brown’s band. All band members who had seen his shows were in awe. Brown had raised the bar. His band had two drummers on either side of the stage in older venues. Not only did the drummers have to be in time, the rest of his band had to hit those notes precisely. This along with Brown’s silences (I think that what those in hip hop call breaks) and use of rhythm; is what made him a great musician.

If the YouTube video is not visible here is the link for Sex Machine.

Five Things You Don’t Know About Me

As a Christmas present I have been tagged by Richard G. Combs to list those five things. This is new to me and I learned that I’m required to regift. I don’t think I’ve said any of this before.

  1. I have been married twice. I have an adult son from the second marriage.
  2. I was in the Army 66-68. I didn’t join because I was patriotic. I joined because I could not find any work, and I didn’t want to do “days work” or work plucking chicken feathers. For folks who are not old enough to know, “days work” meant house cleaning for 50 cent and hour and bus fare. $1.15/hr was minimum wage. Did I learn a skill? Well the Army needed teletype operators and that’s what I did.
  3. A few months before my fourth birthday, my father came to take me to live with him and his mother. I don’t remember getting on the train, but remember changing trains in Virginia (it probably was D.C.) and the humongous steam engine on the other train.
  4. I deal cards as if I’m left handed. This spooked one poker player. I never knew that I was dealing differently.
  5. I played piano, saxophone and oboe. Not brilliantly, but well enough to play in my high school band. I took a piano class in college, thinking it would be pretty easy to get an “A.” Was I wrong! I had to audition for the class and the final consisted of playing in front of a three person panel. I did get a “C.”
This was hard, trying to find something that is, at least, interesting. Now I have to regift and send to five other bloggers. Brad, Jeffery, Justrose, Ian and Status are it. Let me thank Richard for this wonderful gift, before I go. Merry Christmas everybody!

December 17, 2006

tools n things

work 12-02-2005

I just dropped my purse on top of tools. I thought an interesting contrast. I took photo with camera at work.

December 16, 2006

Spacy eyed

You’ll notice today’s NASA picture is the plume of the Space Shuttle Discovery from its night launch several days ago. I saw the headline about another space walk. This space walk will be done to finish rewiring to the International Space Station. You see, I said to myself, I could do that. I looked at USAJOBS to see if NASA were hiring. They are and I am going to apply. I don’t have a snowballs chance in hell of having my application considered, but this is something I would like to do. I haven’t had any other success in finding a job. This will be one of many I haven’t been considered for. The site usually has about 3200 applicants for 20 positions.

I have always wanted to go into space and like many other kids, had my hopes dashed when I got my first pair of glasses. The path to becoming an astronaut was through the wings of a pilot. Unfair, I feel and why does there have to be a PhD and/or a military officer doing the wiring? When is space travel going to be in the real world? In the real world that skill would be a technicians or electricians job. So why not hire a technician, electrician, welder or computer specialist when they need one? Why can’t those people be astronauts? How much more design is done for the space station so that just anyone with minimal skills can put it together? My theory, having a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering does not mean you know how to use tools.

If humans ever plan to expand in the universe, space travel has to depend on the ordinary. You get a ship and hire a crew, hopefully with all the skills you need. They probably will not look like the stars in a movie, but you would not be interested in PR, but only to successfully complete the trip. NASA is still into PR and the private companies are catering to the rich and famous. I don’t think either approach will help humans explore space.

I wonder how many other people like me will apply. We do have “the right stuff,” it’s just in the wrong package.

December 11, 2006

This is where I can start

Recently, I have become aware of the violence spreading from the Sudan to Chad and even having an affect on the Central African Republic. I am not even sure the government of Uganda has resoled the fighting of the Lord Resistance Army. There has been fighting in Somalia, tense elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There is so much more Aids, starvation, and civilian violence. I haven’t spoken about any of this, because I have felt nothing I could say would change things. Where would I start, it is so overwhelming?

I found an article at This is Zimbabwe about Zimbabwe police and Central Intelligence Organization seizing sanitary napkins.

The pads were allegedly seized by police and later the dreaded Central Intelligence Organization was drawn into the matter. The ZCTU had given the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) its allocation of the pads sourced with the help of international partners.

On seizure, the farmworkers were told that the pads had been poisoned by former white commercial farmers, which is a blatant lie as the ZCTU, with the help of international partners and friends sourced for the sanitary ware.

I found out there is a shortage of sanitary products and it greatly affecting the women’s ability to work or to go to school. Sokwanele provides the background and a way to support the “Dignity. Period!” campaign.

This isn’t simply a story about shortages of yet another type of product. Shortages of sanitary ware go to the heart of women’s rights: it’s an issue which raises questions of whether a woman is forced to stay away from work or school; whether she is putting her health at risk by picking up infections or, if she is HIV positive, whether those infections will literally shorten her life span. In short, a lack of affordable hygienic sanitary products translates directly into issues of women’s rights as well as women’s dignity. This isn’t simply a story about shortages of yet another type of product. Shortages of sanitary ware go to the heart of women’s rights: it’s an issue which raises questions of whether a woman is forced to stay away from work or school; whether she is putting her health at risk by picking up infections or, if she is HIV positive, whether those infections will literally shorten her life span. In short, a lack of affordable hygienic sanitary products translates directly into issues of women’s rights as well as women’s dignity.

Read the rest

You may think that an idea to provide sanitary products wouldn’t upset the government, but Ms. Thabitha Khumalo has been assaulted and raped for efforts. The post cited The Sunday Times for the full story.

SHE has been arrested 22 times, tortured so badly that her front teeth were knocked into her nose and had an AK-47 thrust up her vagina until she bled. SHE has been arrested 22 times, tortured so badly that her front teeth were knocked into her nose and had an AK-47 thrust up her vagina until she bled.

This is how the government has dealt with the issue. You would think it was bunch of middle school boys. Even with the reactions, Ms. Khumalo has persevered

When an MP raised the issue in parliament, government ministers fell about laughing and dismissed the matter. Khumalo has tried to highlight it through public meetings and distributing scarves printed with demands for affordable sanitary wear. As a result she has been repeatedly arrested and beaten, but refuses to be deterred.

This is a place where I can start. It is not an overwhelming task. Perhaps I can extend awareness. I have placed a button in the sidebar. It links to a This is Zimbabwe post with the information you need; if you want to donate, if you feel you need another way to help or if you want to link to the organization coordinating the “Dignity. Period!” campaign.

H/T Noli Irritare Leones

December 06, 2006

Foxes Guarding the Hen House

I am not sure this is an appropriate saying to apply to the recommendation that Syria and Iran become involved and help the Iraqi government; but it was the first thing I thought while reading this article.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Syria and Iran are willing to help stabilize Iraq, as the Iraq Study Group recommended Wednesday, but both countries will want something in return and neither has a magic solution to the chaos, Mideast officials and analysts said.

They really want this in return and more.

Syria's ambassador to Washington, Imad Moustapha, said his country is willing to encourage Iraq's Sunni Arabs to support the political process. But Damascus wants assurances that the United States will prevent Iraq from breaking apart.

Iran, meanwhile, has demanded that American forces leave Iraq, a step that could push the Shiite-led government even closer to Tehran.

Our government has said the sectarian violence has not become a civil war. I guess maybe civil war is defined as brother against brother; not citizen against citizen.

Iran and Syria have influence with both of the major groups involved in Iraq's sectarian violence. Tehran is close to Shiite parties that dominate the government, while Damascus has ties to Sunni Arabs, their main rivals for power.

Iran is also believed to sponsor Shiite militias blamed for widespread killings of Sunnis. The U.S., meanwhile, accuses Syria of providing refuge for Sunni Arab fighters, including former Iraqi Baath Party leaders thought to have a role in directing the insurgency.

Now if we have the Iranians backing the Shia and the Syrians supporting the Sunnis, just what will evolve? They are all going to get along in Iraq.

Ev'rybody get together
Try and love one another right now

The Youngbloods, Lets Get Together

It’s interesting that now we can’t really figure out how to win; we want the Syrians involved, at the same time we want them out of Lebanon.

Syria and Iran are likely to want something for themselves as well. Damascus may ask the United States to accept Syria's influence in Lebanon, where Washington supports the anti-Syrian government.

Read in its entirety

Our government has multiple personalities.

December 05, 2006


I am certain that the principle of uncertainty is true.
Since reading this article about agnosticism, now I know it’s true.

December 03, 2006


A life and things are wanted.
Intangibles like love, patience and constancy are wanted.
In the end, is death the last desire?


Emotional pain is the price you pay for being conscious.
Most suffering is caused by man, because he is capable of remembering pain.

December 02, 2006


It feels like a child who needs to be swaddled.
I need to be held and pulled tight into his chest.


it's a sex object if you're pretty
and no love
or love and no sex if you're fat

"Woman Poem" by Nikki Giovanni, from the album Truth Is on Its Way

If you are fat? If you are old. If you are independent. If you are…
You are invisible!

be a mother
grandmother strong thing but not woman
gameswoman romantic woman love needer
man seeker dick eater sweat getter
fuck needing love seeking woman

Continue reading  

This poem is more than about invisibility, but these quotes have haunted my soul since I first heard the album. It seemed like a premonition, now it has become embodied.

If this be the angry woman, I am her. What do I paint myself with, to make me visible?

Webcast concert commemorating 35th anniversary of Truth is on its Way.

November 26, 2006

If I were goddess

If I were goddess, I could traverse the universe, with only thought. Nothing to fear, just enjoying the view of Andromeda; as I leave this universe and leave loneliness, pain and desire behind. I could get as close as I want or view all that beauty from a distance. I could be there in an instant or leisurely watch the stars get closer. I have no boundaries or time either. I could expand my thought to include infinity or dissect the smallest particle in the plasma. If I were goddess, I could imagine everything and be satisfied.

November 23, 2006

How does one expect to be forgiven, when one does not acknowledge there has been blood on their hands?

The myths of America, give moral attributes to the ideas upon which the United States was founded. Moral contradictions are not very often discussed without the dissenter being accused of being a foe to America. The morality of the idea is often mistaken for the morality of the person associated with it. As with the presumption, that America has always been an ethical nation. You can assume that, if you only look at America beginnings in relation to Europe or its system of government. What happens when you look at ground level and the actual people involved? Most people would say that certainly some of our passed actions were horrible, but that’s OK now. We had nothing to do with it, not caring if those descendants can accept the invisibility derived from those actions. Their ancestors have been vilified and then slowly written out of history, even if they have made contributions. I believe in the future there will be no indigenous people, no slavery, no racism and no immigrant mistreatment in our history. Our country will seem like the “Lollipop Land” of the enlightenment.

I am asked to forgive and forget, because things have changed. How can change be permanent, if there is not any knowledge or interest of what happened before these changes? I would like to think you have at least thought about it. I had read a statement similar to this, “that westward expansion had expanded property rights.” Not getting into the argument of what this statement meant, I thought, didn’t the indigenous people have any property rights and weren’t our spoils from genocide? I would like the acknowledgment that our system can have failures because this is a government of men. We should understand, there has to be dissent, especially about the past. We shouldn’t make saints of our founding fathers or subsequent leaders or mistake them for their ideas. We have to keep the memory of the bad as an ethical reminder. I think without serious thoughts of our past, we will lose our conscience. When there becomes a lack of conscience, I feel the ideas of the nation will succumb and America will become a remnant of the past.

November 21, 2006

What is required?

I am troubled when people make a conscious choice not to vote. If you have read a previous post of mine, you will see why I think it’s important to vote, no matter the candidates. It also bothers me when people do not want to serve on a jury when it would pose no hardship. After forty years, I am beginning to change my mind about the draft. It seems so few of us want to do anything and we go to great lengths to give a philosophical rationalization.

Isn’t something required of us to maintain our freedom? It wasn’t a gift to begin with. We are not special people in which our system of government was bestowed by some higher power. There was effort, actually more than effort. Lives were put at risk and lost, so that we could decide how to govern ourselves.

Couldn’t we make an effort to find a candidate, get that person on the ballot and vote for him? Can’t we serve on a jury, so that a person might have a jury of his peers? Shouldn’t we give some service to our country?

November 16, 2006

Now, which is it?

I thought we were certain that contraception and sex education leads to sex, and now this too.
The Pakistan Parliament amends rape laws. Moves rape cases from Sharia courts to civil courts.
Islamist say this will lead to free sex.

November 11, 2006

Veterans Day

In appreciation and remembrance of veterans, I would like to share this poem. I found this at, this site publishes veterans’ stories, poetry and videos.

We Buried Another Veteran Today

We buried another veteran today.
He went to his God, from us, he went away.
This one was young, in the prime of his life.
He left twin children and a very courageous wife.

It wasn't a bullet, a plane crash or a bomb.
It was cancer, and he just finally, could not hold on.
He fought "it" like a military campaign.
But the time came to surrender, to end his earthly pain.

He knew he would be fine in the presence of his Lord.
But what about his twins, those children he adored?
Will they grow strong and at "life" win.
Please God, let them always remember him.

We buried another veteran today.
It seems, all my life, it has happened this way.
From my uncles of the WW II-time frame.
To the military friends, Vietnam would claim.

For me the number of dead, is always on the rise.
When I get a call another veteran is gone, it is never really a surprise.
From lost sub-mariners, in early days of my life.
To the forever gone, military-medical friends of my veteran wife.

I lost a Korean War veteran friend this year, to a crashed airplane.
I lost a Gulf War friend to cancer, a difference in their age, but still that pain.
I lost an Uncle to cancer who did Korea with the Navy, steaming off shores.
I lost my father-in-law who fought in Korea, from a "fox-hole" in the frozen outdoors.

We buried another Veteran today.
It seems in all my family's generations, it happens this way.
From my Revolutionary War Grandfathers who started this sad, but needed trend.
To the family members on both sides in 1861, who just would not bend.

Some of my family lived a long and happy life, after "their" war.
They died of old age in their bed, safe-behind a locked door.
They died in battle, buried where they fell.
They died years later, carrying emotional scars, in their own personal hell.

My family is no different than thousands who met our Nation's call.
They rose to the demands of this country and some gave their "all".
We have to continue doing this, to make America free.
But, it's that Veteran's twin-little children that keeps worrying me.

We buried another Veteran today.
It seems all my life it continues this way.
Now my only child is nine and we reside on a military installation.
My wife and I truly want her to live safe, in a free nation.

But what happens, when it is her-generation's turn to make a stand.
Do we lose our only child in some forsaken-foreign land?
Does she play it safe, stay home and say "that's boy's stuff".
Or does she join like her mother and go right into the ruff.

She has to be that one Veteran I don't see, make that final "call".
Let me go before her, let me first give this country my fighting "all".
Maybe if I go "out-there" and make my final stand.
She can stay safe-at-home, in this wonderful free land.

We buried another Veteran today

Copyright, Major Van Harl, USAF Ret.Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, 28 November 2001

November 08, 2006

A day late, I know; but anyway, another profound view on voting from holyoffice ; )

Link no longer works.

November 07, 2006

Obsession with Rightness

Tomorrow, many people will be writing about what the election results mean. The writers will try to extrapolate the future and the behavior of the government based on their view of rightness. Even if their party gets power or remains in power; their obsession will not diminish. The meanness continues, arguments repeat ad nauseam and rightness becomes the justification to assume moral and ethical superiority. The obsession with rightness will continue and when the next catastrophic event happens, either can blame the other for their obsession with rightness.

November 05, 2006

Three reasons to vote, then six and much more...

Other than doing ones civic duty, my reasons to vote have to do with the struggle of the civil rights movement and the lives lost. Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman are pictured above; their murders are most remembered.

During the Sixties, college students, mostly white, from the North came South, along with several civil rights organizations to educate and help register blacks to votes. The Civil Rights Movement Veterans web site has documented The Southern Freedom Movement from 1960 to 1966. I think if you check out the entire site you will understand how dangerous this was. You may see some familiar faces, but mostly you will see unknown ordinary students and citizens challenging almost eighty years of Jim Crow. I am grateful for their sacrifice.

The next year in 1965, there were three more murders. This description is an excerpt from a Unitarian Universalist Association news article describing the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of those murders.
Jimmie Lee Jackson, an African American civil rights worker, died on February 26, 1965, after an Alabama state trooper shot him in the stomach at a voting rights march in his home town of Marion. Jackson's murder inspired the march from Selma to the State Capitol in Montgomery that was brutally turned back by lawmen. After the attack, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. issued a call to clergy of all faiths to come to Selma to support the marchers. About 500 Unitarian Universalists, including about one fifth of all UU ministers, rushed to Selma. One of the ministers, James Reeb, was attacked on March 9 while leaving a restaurant with two colleagues less than a day after he arrived. Reeb died of his injuries on March 11.Viola Liuzzo, a UU lay person from Detroit, was shot to death March 25 by Ku Klux Klansmen after the Selma to Montgomery march was finally completed.

If the murders, beatings, and intimidation along with the loss of jobs and property did not stop the pursuit of equal citizenship and the vote; then it is, I feel, my obligation to vote.

I urge everyone to vote Tuesday. There is nothing to stop you and not having a desirable candidate is no excuse. You know what you would do if you had the office, write in yourself.


November 03, 2006

I ask
I am not ugly, nor pretty
I ask
I am shamed
I ask
I am not wanted
I ask
I am denied
I ask
I am alone
I ask
I am forgotten
I ask
I am not existent

October 29, 2006

Motherless Child

You don’t get to choose your mother, and I am envious of those who did have some type of relationship to their mothers. I envy those who had mothers that even through illness, did their best to be mothers. Mine, in illness, chose to revert to childhood and depend upon her mother, and I became motherless without death. I didn’t know my loss at the time; it was just the way things were. Then later in my life as a young adult without the memories, I began to feel a horrific void. For really stupid reasons, there had been no one to replace her, just let me say the reasons involved the preservation of family dysfunction.

Today, I was reading two posts at Anonymous Rowhouse, which surprisingly upset me. It upset me so much that I must write this. One of justrose post was about her and her mother’s relationship and the other a memory of her mother. It is more than memory, but it’s hard for me to describe. I have always wanted this type of memory. Justrose really gets to the emotion of an apparent material object. A box full of possibilities, an ethereal influence.

my mother's makeup box: an old shoebox that had held a pair of my catspaw maryjanes. she kept it on a shelf in the bathroom linen closet. it had no lid. it was stained with pancake.

her mirror was the bathroom vanity over the sink, and she tended to do her face in private. all you could see was her standing on tiptoe on the aqua and black tile of the bathroom floor.

her makeup was comprised primarily of stuff you bought at the five and ten. her eyeliner was a hard cake in a compact that she put on with a sharp little angled brush, as i imagine an egyptian woman would've done. it was always missing the plastic lid.

her foundation was maxfactor pancake, that you did with a wet sponge. she wore angelface loose powder that she kept in an ancient round powderbox covered with small champagne-colored blossoms and edged in gold trim. she put it on with an equally ancient pink puff with a satin band on the back. she favored browns and mahoganies.

See the rest.

I did not have a relationship where I could analyze or have this type of memory. I grieve for the mother I never had, but not because she died. She died under my care. I took on the responsibility after my grandmother died, out of duty, not love. I became the caretaker in my late twenties and during that time, no relationship developed. It may be because I was angry, I don’t know. Was I waiting for her to reach out to me, to become my mother in some sense, to give me unconditional love? I think that’s it. I know I am angry now that all I have left is guilt. I don’t even have any conflict to remember or any thing that is personal. I have no influences of her femininity or how she handled motherhood. I wonder if this has had an effect in raising a son, I do think it might have had an effect in raising a daughter.

October 28, 2006

Whose Responsibility?

When I first heard the story of Adam and Eve, it seemed a little wrong. If God could create Adam, why was it necessary for God to create Eve that way? If he were all powerful, he could not create Eve in the same way? What was going on with that rib thing? It really struck me as wrong; when Adam ate the fruit and all knowledge was lost and the lost was blamed on Eve. Now, I was very, very young when I heard these stories and I did not analyze them. I just knew something was wrong. When I became a young adult, I began to think these stories gave justification to men’s superiority over women, with the exception of some aspects of morality. Adam being tempted became the allegory for seduction. The feminine is totally defined by seduction and so Eve must forever repent for that sin of seduction by being morally responsible for Adam and so must all women. I refused to be that woman, but it doesn’t matter, because their have been and still are circumstances that our society requires it. You still will bear consequences for some man’s actions.

Recently, the public, focused on the treatment of women, have been looking at Islamic communities. On the one hand, in dress and veiled, we are told that it gives women freedom from being objectified and it is their choice to honor their tradition. Then on the other, a woman must be responsible for his desire, sexuality and perversions; since her actions, dress, speech and movement are subject to wreck the morals of men. It appears that some Muslim clerics believe that it is not a woman’s choice at all. It is commanded. You then wonder if sermons like this are being given in every mosque; as the Khaleej Times Online reports, this sermon is delivered in a prominent mosque in Australia, by Sheikh Taj El-Din Hamid Hilaly.

In a Ramadan sermon last month, the mufti of Sydney’s biggest mosque, Sheikh Taj El-Din Hamid Hilaly, said sexual assaults might not happen if women wore a hijab and stayed at home.
“If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem,” Hilaly said, according to a newspaper translation.
Read the entire article.

This sermon has caused much controversy and the Sheikh has apologized, but has not really backed away from his sermon. Even though his analogy is gross, it is representative of attitudes in the Muslim world. We may abhor those ideas, but we must not forget that it has not been the only religion or culture where women have been expected to be responsible for male morality. Is it too much to expect of men to take responsibly for their morality?

October 22, 2006

The Revolution Was Televised!

I came across this article of the revolt in Hungary in 1956. It reminded me that tomorrow is the fiftieth anniversary of that event which lasted from October 23 to November 10, 1956.

1956 - Hungarian Revolution

You can see a narrated version of this, other videos and photos at Hungary 1956.

East - '56

I was crestfallen as a child, my vision of America changed after this event. Heard much talk of Radio Free Europe and the encouragement we were giving the new Soviet satellites to seek freedom. Communist were the scourge of the earth, and yet we let the Hungarians fight alone. My most vivid memory, watching the news and seeing the Russian tanks roll through the streets. I could not understand why America was not helping.

Later we fought this fight in some distant rainforest.

October 20, 2006

Contrapuntal harmonies of life.

The disease, then the cure or is it just maintenance. A life lived or a life made poor from the cure. I have been rescued from death by modern technology. Had I live earlier in the 20th century, I would be dead. The question is; how do I live a full life when the cost of what I want to do is sucked up by medical bills. I am not the volunteering type, I don’t get thrills from long walks in the park and there aren’t that many things free that interest me. In managing the cure there are many co-pays for visits and ever changing medication. It pains me when I have to throw out medication, some time hundreds of dollars worth. That is only the co-pays. If I had to pay retail for my yearly medication it would come close to ten thousands dollars. As it is I have to pay around 20 percent. Maybe to some that would not be much money, but it is to me. That is more money I could save and use for a few extra things I would like to do.

What gets me; is that when life saving measures are offered, you are not told the true cost. Only that you can refuse treatment. Are you going to turn down treatment? You may not be in a physical condition to be able to make that decision and so you are saved. Later you may have to make a choice between medication and eating. You can live a very long time on maintenance, what happens when you run out of resources. Anybody telling you that the government will take up the slack is wrong. You lifestyle will have to diminish. It could diminish to the point of have no life at all; cheapest rental, light meals, wearing too many clothes in winter and possibly suffering heat stroke in summer. Most income going to the maintenance of the cure. Tell anyone to “go to hell,” if they suggest you should have planed better.

In the earlier stage of my illness, I realized that no matter what, I still had to work. I had just recently bought a house and I didn’t want to give that up. I kept hearing from people, why don’t you go out on disability. The healthcare system supports that too. I am thinking how does anyone pay their bills like that, I can’t? I am too young to be staring at concrete block walls that they have in a lot of subsidize apartments. I had to continually fight Medicare (since I had end stage renal disease I was eligible) and my employee insurance about whose going to pay what. Another irony, since I was working I was still paying for Medicare with a payroll deduction and writing them a check too. I could not slack off because I would have paid more. Now one of my activities is to deal with health care. There is a struggle for it not to become your life. In the meantime, while those of us that have been saved or have health issues that are being managed; we are not considered in the healthcare debate. Healthcare has now become a debate over political philosophy rather than about the sickness and wellness. While others debate, we continue to study cope with the opposing changes in harmonies of our lives.

October 18, 2006

Someday! Though I hope it's not too near.

I can’t see myself in a self imposed world of old people, but I will have to make a choice whether to live in an assisted living or by myself in a few years. I’m thinking that how disadvantageous to live in our isolated society, to be on ones own. If you are not out and about would any one notice if you are no longer there or if you need help? Would any one just drop by? When my mind goes will I notice? I had a hard time taking care of my medical problem in middle age when I was sick. I literally could not speak. If it weren’t for my sister, the complications of my transplant would have been more difficult, because I could not explain. How would I be able to take care of business and medical issues, argue with the providers and know what’s going on with my health care? Would I remember to take my daily medication? It’s possible that there will not be any family close that could help day to day. I may be fortunate to stay healthy with a sharp mind until I die and be able to continue to live by myself; but if I have to, I would prefer that there would be better alternative communities with people of all ages. A place where I might have a six year old for a friend; just like there were adults that I would chat with when I was that age. There were boundaries between the child and adult, but I still considered them my friends. It is not that I mind being with people my age, when I am much older. I wouldn’t want it to be my world. It would be easy to forget there are new ideas in the world, become too involved with health, and become suspicious and resentful of younger people.

October 12, 2006

Lives Undone by Words of Intent

“The man who would deprive another of learning to read and write, and learn wisdom does not fear God. They took my labor to educate their children, and then laughed at me for being ignorant and poor, and had not sense enough to know that they were the cause of it. “
A slave narrative: “The Life of John Quincy Adams.”

Today, that said, the ignorant and poor, although not slaves, have to bear witness, to the truth of that statement of two hundred years ago. The aspirations of freedom have been so corrupted. Those who speak to this, know that without the tethers put on by continued racism the slave would have excelled in their quest and understanding of freedom. The slave reveled in the words of the Declaration of Independence and could not wait until they would have such liberty. They took it upon themselves to become literate when they became free; so that they could become full participants of this society and in a modest way pursue those unalienable rights. The former slave John Q. Adams expresses these intentions.

The great want among us is education, and more particularly those who have been slaves, and deprived of that great blessing of being educated when young. If our fathers and mothers did not have the opportunity of learning when they were young, they are glad to know that their children have a chance to be educated, and enjoy that great and glorious privilege that so many were deprived of. I love my privilege; I love my freedom; I love protection; I love liberty, and love industry. Let every man work for his living as it is said, "let every one live by the sweat of his brow." But not "let every one nor any one live off of the sweat of another's brow without paying for it." Then you will be following the commandments of God. Who ever heard of such a thing as a man working for another for nothing and he sitting down doing nothing, but only violating the laws of God and the just laws of the land, and then say it is ight.
Read his complete narrative

This is our greatest legacy. Every effort has been made to ensure that we would forget and in some that legacy seems to be lost: and now there are those among us who would tell us; the descendants of slaves, that indeed, we were responsible for that lost.

Herein lies the problem; I cannot accept the absolution of whites in this country from the responsibility of propagating racism and then telling me that it’s all my fault. There has been a disturbing stream of thought that is permeating in the blogoshpere and put in the public consciousness with certain pundits. I hinted at my feeling about this in my previous post “Origins.” I think this topic deserves a more complete analysis.

I have been reading a few blogs, mostly conservative ones, for about a year and a half. When the topic of race came up, I would sometime comment. Mostly my views were usually thought of as another black playing the race card or victim. In their challenges, I began to see an attempt to absolve themselves of any blame and any racist action, some even began to try to change my view of history and say that Southern Heritage did not have anything to do with slavery and that the secession issue was about state rights. I did think I knew something about the South, since I grew up there. I am not disputing that blacks share some of what is called Southern Heritage, but my view on how racism played was a part of Southern Heritage was quite different. My view of the South was that of a black growing up in the South during Jim Crow. Finding out at four years old I was different. I could not do certain things or go certain places. I later found out it was because I was not white. At four, so simple those things desired; but so hard to forget. I don’t hate, but I don’t easily forgive.

I thought how curious to try to rehabilitate the South. This post at at Positive Liberty describes the new thought on the right of secession. There is an attempt which to give credibility to new ideas, which I thought that Timothy Sandefur adequately rebukes. Sandefur doesn’t mince words in this post either. I still feel a Southerner, even though I have lived here for more years than there. I know what is was to me, and I still prefer certain things about the South. I do not need a rehabilitated South. Then why is there a need among some whites? I think its guilt, even though they say it is not their generation and they are not the blame for slavery or Jim Crow. I think it is guilt, because they know that they have bought into many racist stereotypes and struggle with the thought that they could have such thoughts. It clouds their minds so much, as with those I argue; that even if I do not disagree with one of their ideas, they don’t see it.

Even more disturbing is how the discussion of slavery is being used as an argument to totally absolve whites of participating in the institution of slavery in America. It’s like they couldn’t help it, it must have been an addiction. Those statements that slavery was good for blacks and blacks are better off because of slavery; and we should be grateful, are becoming another meme. In order to blame blacks for their own enslavement, it is quickly brought up how Africans enslaved other Africans. Those who say this, don’t even know how to distinguish the Africans. It’s all a mishmash. No distinguishing of the different cultures or even how slavery worked in Africa. Just repeat partial truths enough, it slowly become believable. They know the ignorant and racist of their group will latch on anything they say. No questions, just a relief that whites weren’t really responsible, because you know, they had slavery in Africa. There would not have been any slavery in America, if blacks had not sold other blacks. These pundits are espousing this new version of history, having their discussions and pontifications in the public media. The first I heard this type of comment, slavery was good for blacks, was from a black pundit, Walter Williams on local TV. (Unfortunately this was many years ago and I can’t refer to a transcript.) Williams also professes the rehabilitated view of the civil war. There are others that have expressed the same sentiment, Ann Coulter and Dinesh D’Souza. These are not the only two, but they tick me off the most. Their analysis says slavery is what gave a better life to blacks, than if they had stayed in Africa. D’ Souza, in his book, “What’s So Great About America,” even uses quote from blacks to convince us of his view of slavery, although I think he misunderstands the intent of Zora Neale Hurston.

Back to Muhammad Ali: I understand him to be making the same point. Slavery was a grave moral crime that inflicted incalculable harm to slaves. But the slaves are dead, and the truth is that their descendants are better off as a result of slavery. Jesse Jackson is vastly better off because his ancestors were enslaved than he would have been if that had never happened. If not for slavery, Jackson and others like him would be living in Somalia or Ethiopia or Nigeria. The enormous improvement in their condition can be verified by simply asking them whether they would consider moving to one of those places. As the African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston bluntly put it, “Slavery is the price I paid for civilization, and that is worth all that I have paid through my ancestors for it.”18 (59)
I think Hurston was stating that her ancestors had paid her dues to be a full citizen in this civilization. I admit that I have not read the source of that quote. To get more of an idea of D’Souza point of view, this is an interview in reference to his book “The End Of Racism,” along with some other quotes from from These pundits also point out how blacks enslaved blacks, sort of inferring that if the African had not sought after other blacks to sell, there would not have been any slavery. It is really interesting that I can not find any of Ann Coulters own words on the net. I only see references to what she had said about slavery as here and here. Here’s an excerpt from One Peoples Project, “Ann Coulter.”

This speaking engagement brought a huge number of persons who wanted to call her on the comments on the flag and something else that was in that particular column. Coulter also supports slavery revisionism, the latest thing among conservatives where they suggest that black persons are responsible for slavery in America. "Slavery, as Joe Sobran has remarked, is the only African institution America has ever adopted," she wrote, making reference to a columnist routinely admonished for his anti-Semitic views and white supremacist connections. Once, during an episode of Politically Incorrect, Coulter even said that the Emancipation Proclamation is among laws she felt should be repealed. During one moment in her discussion at Cornell, she repeated the assertion in the column that European slave traders bought Africans who were already enslaved, saying, "It wasn't as if the traders ran into the jungle and kidnapped their victims."
I think their words denigrate blacks and say we are inferior. That as an African without the intervention of the European, we would have been incapable of creating viable institutions for ourselves and if our lives were not exposed to technology; our lives could not be meaningful. These comments are made when they criticized blacks for being dependant on government and how we should follow their way of thinking. As if 12% of the population are 100% of the recipients of government programs, that we look to government to employ us and that racism would not exist if we just would stop playing the victim or race card. They don’t know how much their criticism sounds racist. Ann Coulter believes the Bell Curve and what she says about the races, blacks are inferior. Let us look at her criticism:

— Liberals were afraid of a book that told the truth about IQ ("The Bell Curve") because they are godless secularists who do not believe humans are in God's image. Christians have no fear of hearing facts about genetic differences in IQ because we don't think humans are special because they are smart. There may be some advantages to being intelligent, but a lot of liberals appear to have high IQs, so, really, what's the point? After Hitler carried the secularists' philosophy to its grisly conclusion, liberals are terrified of making any comment that seems to acknowledge that there are any differences among groups of people — especially racial groups. It's difficult to have a simple conversation — much less engage in free-ranging, open scientific inquiry — when liberals are constantly rushing in with their rule book about what can and cannot be said.
I wonder what Ann Coulter would do if she found out she had an African ancestor, would her intelligence take a nose dive. What scientific inquiry is she speaking, “The Bell Curve”? When genetic test are done between the so called races, there are more differences between individuals than groups. It’s possible that my DNA could be very similar to hers. Coulter and D’Souza configure their statistics to prove their points. They are not even trying to give a better analysis using more parameters. Just use one test, that’s quite enough. Even though those pundits know nothing about black people, they should realize that the poor do not survive on government programs alone. The working poor do not get very much either. Many survive in an underground economy, which you would have to live in that environment to understand how it works. Entrepreneurship is not dead in our communities, even though there were efforts to stomp it out. Some of those earlier incidents, Memphis and Tulsa were not just race driven, they were meant to destroy the black competition and instill fear of competing with whites. Of course, I think most whites today, would only think of drug dealing as that alternate source of income. Of course, this is my own prejudice speaking.

We can not imagine the African without the European. Portugal ships arrived in Africa during the 15th century. There were emerging civilizations at the time, Benin and Songhay. What were lacking in these civilizations and other societies were gunpowder, and the associated weapons technology. No superior intellect, just brute force. I’m sure those societies who had slaves and moved into the interior to catch more, found it profitable to sell slaves to get that technology. Most Africans were taken directly from the western cities by force. Why pay for them if you could capture them yourself? The African was not responsible for transporting Tens of millions of slaves across the Atlantic. They may have works on the ships, but they didn’t profit like the European from the transport of slaves. The big bucks were made by the Portuguese, Dutch and English. Less than a hundred years after the transport of slavery was abolished, the Europeans after WWI divided up the African continent and the Middle East into colonies. How could the African recover from having their population stripped, their land and resources taken over and then left ignorant? Then they compare the American black’s condition. Of course we are better off, but it should not have been because millions of slaves suffered and died; or from living in fear instilled by Jim Crow; or acknowledging the devastating and deteriorating conditions of many African countries.

My last comment from “Origins” was not meant to trash Western Civilization or what is called “The Enlightenment,” but to imply that it is not perfection. Where were the philosophical ideals at work for the African? Some whites at that time; did not think of us as equal and many more did not think of us as human. We were some sort of an advanced ape. Slavery was not seriously challenged at the beginning of this country. Only discontinuing the importation of slaves was in the constitution. That was a compromise, because the Virginians thought that blacks reproduced rapidly enough to provide ample supply; a self propagating commodity. Some of the “founding fathers” ideals were not a reality in there lives. When I first read the Declaration of Independence, naively I thought it meant all of man. In later years, I was disappointed that they could not share their own ideals. When much older, I just thought they sold their souls. I finally came to the realization that all my icons were tarnished. America has become a myth, which doesn’t even include me. This does not mean I do not think of myself as American, I do. I don’t like to be called an African-American, because my ancestors have been here since the beginning and their blood is in the dirt. I am only three generations out of slavery. I am an American of African descent. Other ancestry doesn’t count, because my life has been only defined by my African ancestry.

Since, I have just started this blog; I don’t think this essay will reach or influence many people, so I comment at other blogs when the subject comes up. I have written to a few bloggers about my views, hoping that if they agree they would speak out. Those bloggers have a better voice than I and reach more readers. There are very intellectual arguments that redefine the Southern secession and slavery, its difficult for me to challenge those ideas. I have read one blog, that I think successfully challenges those ideas, Positive Liberty. I hope to find others. Since, I have started writing this post, another idea is surfacing. Now, slavery had nothing to do with the economy of this country. America would have grown as fast as it did without slavery. This is to say, blacks are owed nothing; in which I conclude, that we are not even owed respect for the inventions and everyday gifts of our labor for all those years. The gift of leisure, we gave to most of the founding fathers, so they might have time to ruminate over the issues of freedom and liberty.

The remnants of the ante-bellum South still exist, like this organization, American Renaissance, dedicated to the preservation of the white way of life and the belief that black are naturally inferior. I fear that if this rhetoric is not challenged, that blacks could become more demonized and we will be responsible for all crime, for defrauding government programs, and coercing business and other institutions in order to work; we will become a scapegoat for all white’s failures. This may degenerate into black offenses which would make it permissible to commit genocide, perhaps not in my lifetime, but sometime in the near future. We suffer now for the offense of crack cocaine use. I feel I have to say something or else someday, someone again may say the words of Martin Niemoller, “When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”

October 09, 2006


I am agitated
Waiting, waiting on their next post

As if it will bring some acknowledgment or peace
Trying to get sustenance from the net

To find that one profound thought
One that I could shake my head in knowing

Hoping there will also be that which will emerge
Only for me, a melding of mind
That will lead the same for body and soul

October 07, 2006

When did the world lose it goddesses?

I had never thought before that my talent for using hand tools was ever gender related, until I had my first tech job. An engineer with surprise; remarked that I was much better at using tools than my predecessor, and that I must have been “born with a pair of dykes [diagonal cutters] in my hand.” My predecessor was male. So I guess using tools was supposed to come with the Y chromosome. Since I have worked mostly in a previously traditional male job, I find other things that were thought to be on the Y chromosome. Over time I have wondered why did anyone think this, how did this come about?

Somehow way back when; while we were engaged in agriculture, we lost the goddess. The goddess was all powerful in the matters of the fertility of woman and the earth. I don’t think it ended with any agricultural invention, because at the time women were more engaged in growing crop than men. Any innovation would have probably been their invention. I do think the division of labor was the responsible, but not because the men were doing the heavy lifting. I think they had more time on their hands, because herding, hunting, being potters and making mentally enhancing drugs is not mind consuming. They had time to philosophize and come up with a way to make themselves important. It was in the interest of male vanity to dismiss the goddess and make god in the male image. More powerful, so that he would rule over the goddess and finally the goddess would disappear.

The talents that had been associated with the male were assumed to be only male. No one ever looked at what the women were doing. Women gained physical strength with out becoming big. Look at women who still carry most of their belongings on their heads. Taking care of crops, cooking and taking care of their husband and children required organizational and social skills. It would seem like corporations would value this most. Also some technical skills, they had to devise ways to do cooking, weeding and other task. The men may have made the pots or the tillers, but I would suspect that it was done to the woman’s specs.

The thing is; I can’t understand how women let this happen? Were we too busy multitasking to care very much and over time it became easier to believe in the other myths? I want to find the goddess. I think a good beginning would be for the next presidential race to run, Senator Clinton and Dr. Rice. If is not them; any two women of that stature. I am tired of the idols, cowboys, bubbas and pretenders. It is necessary for our culture to revive the feminine.

October 03, 2006

The age of knowledge

There is an age within Christianity one becomes responsible for their sins. I don’t remember what that was called or exactly how old one had to be. I began thinking of this, when the motive began to emerge for those horrible killings in the Amish school house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The news is reporting that the gunman had been greatly upset and troubled by his molestation of the two relatives when he was twelve. They said he said he was having nightmares and having those feelings again. I wondered if those relatives were much younger or were close to his age. I also wondered was he truly a predator or indulging in sexual experimentation. Evidently that event was powerful and made more so by an immature mind. Apparently there was no one to confide in, no one to help or even to notice. Has a mind left in ignorance has created this catastrophe?

October 01, 2006

Another move away from geekdom

It takes a grocery retailer to see a computer as an appliance.

September 30, 2006

Not anything to show for it

When is it time to stop chasing your dreams? Over the many years, my dreams have changed, but none the less I kept pursuing some dream. Now, it seems the more I pursue, the farther they move away from me. I did manage to finish college. Its amazing that is means nothing to me now, after fits and starts it took me 43 years to do it. I thought it would mean something to my employer, but once you have a label it’s too hard to get rid of it. So I have been looking elsewhere for some company to recognize my talents. Over a year now, and nothing. Is it time to stop looking? I need to have something more challenging. Other dreams I want to pursue are dependant on being able to make more money. To join a dojo and gym; buy an oboe and take lessons again; and be able to visit the major waterfalls in the world: any one of these dreams is out of my reach.

My will is winding down; I am losing the desire to keep up the pursuit. My body keeps zigzagging through the side effects of medication, so I alternately feel good or bad. I want to think of retirement as my new dream: but that would be living at a means that says; I have worked all my life with nothing to show for it.

September 28, 2006

a memory

I cried the last time
Buried you deep in my heart
So deep I can’t cry

September 25, 2006

Is this a thought experiment?

I have only been reading only a few blogs for about a year and a half. Unfortunately I had not gleaned the unspoken etiquette and the responsibility I have to the blogger. I had been engaged under another pseudonym, in a discussion with Jeremy Pierce of Parableman in response to a comment he had made at another blog. I was disturbed by his views that I linked to Jeremy Pierce’s post in my comments at Figleaf’s Real Adult Sex. I thought that it might be important to look at his view within the context of the post. I was sarcastic in my comment. I was surprise that he would respond at this blog, and I responded in turn. I realized that something wasn’t exactly right. I had not thought to post here and redirect the response here. Since I still have something to say, I’m better late than never.

At Parableman, Jeremy Pierce has written an essay “Degrees of Slavery and Degrees of Rape.” I have issues with both, but my current gripe is about “degrees of rape.” This is partially how he comes to that point.

If rape, then, depends on consent, then whether something is rape will depend on something that may be a matter of degree. Rape, then, is like what I'm saying is true of slavery. A forced sexual act is more strongly rape than a merely psychologically coerced sexual act, and psychological coercion itself is a matter of degree. If there's any degree of coercion, isn't it that same degree of rape? It should be if rape is coerced sex, and that's how most people define it, at least those who accept date rape as rape.

When a rape occurs, usually the people involved are the only ones at the scene, very seldom any witnesses. So to determine if there is a rape, along with the forensic evidence, if any, the only other thing is to prove who is telling the truth. A woman may lie and say a rape occurred, when it hasn’t. I think these are the instances in which Pierce’s degrees fall. I do think a woman knows when she consents. I don’t think it’s a half ass thought. It may happen in an instant when she changes her mind. I believe the body changes and its responses are not hidden. I can not believe that verbal and visual cues are missed, unless one is under the influence. We do not have to determine what monolog is in her mind at the time. It is not the responsibility for the man to determine this either. At that moment the woman says no, the man should be able to control his libido and back off. I believe both of them know when he becomes coercive.

I not sure what he meant in this opening statement. It sounds like a thought experiment.

The argument is intended to undermine my view by showing that it leads to the ridiculous conclusion that murder, rape, and genocide happen all the time and aren't really wrong when they do except in the extreme cases that we usually call murder, rape and genocide.

After reading the argument I feel it is Pierces’ belief. He continues to defend this argument. What else am I to believe after reading this?

So I think (3) is the correct view about degrees of rape. It is exactly like slavery in its admitting of degrees (in two different ways!), but that's not problematic. It's in fact what we should expect. So why is it an argument against my claim that it entails the view that rape comes in degrees? It does come in degrees. I'm biting a bullet on this, but I don't think it's a very hard or fast bullet to bite. It's just sort of hanging out in the air waiting for me to gobble it up, and it's made out of chocolate.
Read the entire essay

My feeling about this argument is that this definition of rape seems to undermine the current definition of rape. It’s personal to me. I have had experiences that at this time I am not able to discuss in public. I also remember when all one had to do was to bring several other males to court and say they all had sex with this female. I am not using men and women because this happen to a thirteen year old girl I knew. The only time I knew of statutory rape sticking was when the girl’s father was a policeman. In order to prosecute, quite often the woman had to be near death. I fear the idea “degrees of rape,” becoming a normative attitude. I believe it would harm more women and relieve society of its responsibility to teach children the responsibilities of being sexual persons.