Our Walk In The Park

Took Isabel to the park today.  Spring makes us both happy.

We saw a tree with flowers on it and a couple of odd birds. I have no clue what either species is! (If Kirsten stumbles by, maybe she can identify the birds.)



Filed under dogs, lifestuff

It’s Earth Day And I’m Tired Of

people sending me e-mails with an article by a supposedly reputable scientist saying that global warming simply isn’t happening, or if it is, it’s not being caused by us and therefore, we should carry on with business as usual. It would be nice if global warming were simply a controversial theory. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely. I wonder who employs these scientists? Oil and gas companies? Conservative think tanks? There is a huge consensus of climate scientists on the reality of human-induced global warming and we need to take it very seriously.

The writers of these e-mails think it’s cute to use the term “inconvenient truth,” as in it’s an inconvenient truth that global warming isn’t real. Ha ha. We won’t be laughing in a few years if we don’t start doing something concrete about the damage we’re causing. In whose interest is it to dally about while the situation gets worse and worse? Big business, I suppose, but in the long run, it hurts everybody.

Talk of the Nation’s program today was about climate change. One disturbing fact is that the American Southwest may be in for a permanent drought. (Umm—hello, Las Vegas—this is a wake-up call.)

NPR and National Geographic have been publishing a program on climate change for the past year. See here for excellent coverage.

And I think anyone who’s going to bandy about “inconvenient truth” ought to at least see the movie. The evidence is overwhelming. Last summer, we heard a talk by a government scientist; he said that the facts in Al Gore’s movie are not exaggerated. He agreed with it, saying the science was solid. And no, this guy was not, judging by some of his other comments, a liberal. He was a climate scientist, period.

Okay, and while I’m on the topic, another e-mail I recently received that annoyed the heck out of me started out something like this: Isn’t it about time we inconvenienced (that word again!) a few caribou and started drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Excuse me?! Inconvenience a few caribou?! How about inconveniencing a few humans? How about if we started to change our gas-guzzling ways? How about if we took seriously the fact that we desperately need alternative forms of energy? How about not severely damaging a beautiful wild refuge because we are too lazy or greedy (or what?) to change our ways?

Sheesh. End of whine.  Here’s the ANWR.  Imagine:  oil rigs.


Filed under lifestuff

At The Age Of Thirty-Nine

Last week was the 40th anniversary of MLK Jr’s assassination.  Until I heard it on the radio,  I hadn’t realized he was thirty-nine years old when he was killed.  I think of his presence, his power, his is-ness—he was thirty-four years old when he gave the I Have a Dream speech during the 1963 March on Washington. Thirty-four!

It seems some people have a lot to accomplish in their time on this earth and they accomplish a lot young perhaps because they’re not going to be here long. They’re going to do what they’re going to do and get it done early because otherwise it won’t get done at all.  I’m not saying this is conscious, but it happens.

I’m reading Flannery O’Connor’s letters, and she is another such young-achiever. It seems she knew she was a writer from the beginning and never wavered. In 1946, at the age of twenty-one, she was accepted into the Iowa Writers Workshop and never looked back, continuously writing short stories and two novels until her death in 1964, at the age of thirty-nine.


Filed under books, lifestuff

Beauty Queen

I know, I’m such a weirdo, posting over and over about the Tibet situation, including gruesome photos, and then it’s all about my dog. Such is life, eh?

Took these today. I love the accidental artsiness of the second (and the sexy ear flop over the eye—she looks très mysterious). Isabel is six months old. Ain’t she perty? 


Filed under dogs, Isabel

Words I Won’t Give Up (Plus, Falafel & Doubloon)

Liberal. For a while there I went along and identified myself as Progressive. Some say the L word as if they’re talking about the most evil, most corrupted beings on earth. The RNM has been effective. Yeah, I believe everyone should have access to decent health care (meaning, yes, free, or very affordable) and I don’t believe in war to solve our problems and I think people and their needs (yes, even gay people and poor people and other unpopulars) should come before big business. I also believe we should be responsible stewards of the environment. Go ahead, stamp me with the L.

Religion/Christianity. I know it’s common these days to insist I’m not religious, I’m spiritual. Religion is now equated with rigid belief systems, with Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson. And with anti-science, anti-evolution backward-headedness. But I’ve been hanging on to this word. Religion is important to my life; it includes church-going, singing hymns, praying, reading religious books, writing religious gobbledygook. Loving Christ. So no, the fundamentalists cannot have the R word. And they can’t have the C word, either. Christ doesn’t belong to anybody.

Feminism. (The Other F Word.) Okay this one, I admit has been slandered so effectively that I wouldn’t label myself a feminist in most company. But hey, what’s it mean? “The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men. ” Pretty ridiculous, eh? Could destroy the country.

On the smearing of feminism:

One of the most outrageous but effective conservative efforts in the last few decades has been the transformation of “feminism” into a dirty word. What began as the label for those who proudly worked on the frontlines to ensure equal rights for women has now been twisted to serve as a code word for alleged emasculating abortionists who can be blamed for everything from excessive litigation to the gay rights movement to the moral decadence of pop culture.

No one has been more influential in this sleight of hand than the conservative movement’s godmother, Phyllis Schlafly, the Trent Lott of gender equality.

For many Americans, the name “Phyllis Schlafly” conjures up images of her circa 1972 – when she was a Donna Reed doppelganger leading a 10-year battle against the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). More than thirty years later, you might think this mother of six and leader of the so-called “pro-family movement” would have long since retired to the kitchen where – she claimed – all women belong.

Alas, she has failed to take her own advice. At 80 years old, she’s still waging the war against equal rights that she began in the 1960s, with the gusto of an overzealous preteen. Her weekly newsletter, The Phyllis Schlafly Report (now in its 38th year) lets her fulminate on everything from gay marriage to feminism in academia. She weighed in on the controversy surrounding Harvard University President Larry Summers’ recent remarks about the place of women in science, saying: “The outburst by feminist professors simply confirms the stereotype … that they are too emotional to handle intellectual or scientific debate.” Her newsletter can be read in 100 newspapers around the country and is accompanied by her radio commentaries, heard daily on 460 stations and on the Internet. Instead of leading the tranquil life of a grandma, darning sweaters and cleaning the oven and taking a few moments out of her day to dash off a bit of punditry, she’s still as hot as any of the fiery young pundits the right has, and she too is working the college circuit. In fact, it seems that Schlafly debates on campuses more frequently than any other conservative.

And a couple of genius quotes from the woman herself:

“The atomic bomb is a marvelous gift that was given to our country by a wise God.” Mother Jones, (no longer available online)

“Many years ago Christian pioneers had to fight savage Indians. Today missionaries of these former cultures are being sent via the public schools to heathenize our children.” (Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum)

The above from.

And here‘s an exposé  of the ubiquitous, the evil, Liberal Media.

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My spellchecker didn’t like Falwell—thought it should be Falafel. It didn’t like Dobson, either—wanted it to be Doubloon. Jerry Falafel and James Doubloon, yahoo! (It thought Schlafly should be Scholarly—ha!)


Filed under lifestuff, politics, religion

A Simple Thing You Can Do


Here is an Amnesty International letter you can add your name to that will be sent to President Hu Jintao of China. No, he will not listen to me or to you, but perhaps he will listen to thousands of us. Maybe it’s possible to force him to listen. Please, do your part and sign the petition. It takes a minute.

This is the text of the letter:

I am deeply concerned that Chinese authorities detained peaceful demonstrators in Tibet and used excessive force against them. Among the detainees were the following 15 Tibetan monks who were arrested on March 10, according to the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy:

Samten (m), aged 17, Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai Province
Trulku Tenpa Rigsang, (m), aged 26, Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai Province
Gelek Pel (m) aged 32 Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai Province
Lobsang (m) aged 15, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Lobsang Thukjey (m), aged 19 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Tsultrim Palden (m), aged 20 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Lobsher (m), aged 20 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Phurden, (m), aged 22 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Thupdon (m), aged 24 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Lobsang Ngodup (m), aged 29 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Lodoe (m), aged 30 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Thupwang (m), aged 30, Darthang Monastery
Pema Garwang (m), aged 30, Darthang Monastery
Tsegyam (m), aged 22, Kashi Monastery
Soepa (m), aged 30, Mangye Monastery

On Monday, March 10, a group that included these 15 detained monks began a March from Sera Monastery towards Barkhor, Lhasa. Chinese authorities soon stopped their peaceful demonstration and arrested many protesters. The monks were detained solely for exercising their fundamental human right to freedom of expression, calling on the government to ease “patriotic re-education” campaigns which forces them to denounce the Dalai Lama and subjects them to government propaganda. There is no information of their current whereabouts or of any charges brought against them. They remain at high risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

I urge you to immediately release the 15 monks named above, as well as all others detained for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly. I call on you to fully account for all those detained during the demonstrations and to ensure that they are not tortured or otherwise ill-treated. Please ensure that the detainees have access to medical care and lawyers.

Sign the petition to the President of China demanding the immediate release of the 15 Tibetan Monks and other peaceful protesters.



Filed under Eyes Wide Open

Chinese Agents Masquerade As Monks


It appears Chinese soldiers have played dress-up in the past. Is it surprising they would do so now, with so much at stake?

The Dalai Lama has said from the beginning that Chinese posed as Tibetan monks and carried out violent acts to throw doubt on the Tibetan cause.

Chinese soldiers in the garb of Tibetan monks and ordinary people were indulging in violence shown on Chinese television, the Dalai Lama said at a press conference here on Saturday.

‘To a lay person, soldiers dressed like monks may look like monks. But we watched the images carefully and realized that they were not monks. Also, in a photograph showing a Tibetan with a sword, the sword is Chinese. They all look like Chinese people dressed like Tibetans,’ the Dalai Lama said, apparently responding to Beijing’s allegation that monks and ordinary Tibetans ‘incited by the Dalai clique’ were behind the violence in Lhasa.

The Dalai Lama again, from the same source:

‘We are waiting to hear from the Chinese side. We have no power to bring China to the dialogue table. We have only truth and sincerity. That is why we are appealing to the world community, please help,’ the Tibetan leader said before heading back to Dharamsala after a weeklong stay in the capital. ‘I am here helpless, I just pray.’

The photo, showing soldiers carrying monk’s robes, is from a 2003 publication and was found at this site.

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From The Guardian:

When China won the right to host the 2008 Olympic Games seven years ago, Liu Qi, president of the Beijing organising committee and the then Beijing city mayor, told the International Olympic Committee:

‘If Beijing wins its bid to host the Olympic Games, it will be conducive to China’s economic and social progress; at the same time, it will also make further progress on the promotion of human rights.’ Wang Wei secretary-general of the Beijing 2008 Olympic bid committee, backed him up: ‘We will grant full freedom of the press to the journalists coming to China; they will be able to visit Beijing and other Chinese cities and cover any news event before and during the Olympic Games. We will also allow demonstrations.’

Four months before the Games begin, those promises look shattered. China’s human-rights record remains poor. Environmental, trade union and human-rights activists suffer house arrest or imprisonment, only tried under the catch-all charge of ‘subverting state power’. This so-called crime saw human-rights campaigner Yang Chunlin condemned to five years’ imprisonment last week. China has seen little progress towards more freedom of expression; the country executes more people and arrests more journalists than the rest of the world combined. It routinely blocks foreign news to which the state objects and censors the internet. The conditions that existed in 2001 have not improved at all; in many ways, they have worsened.

And: “If China wants to be fully accepted as a major actor in the international community, then it has to behave as a responsible stakeholder in its actions. That especially includes its actions towards its territories like Tibet.”

How can we not see that the Olympics must be boycotted?

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Once again:

For video and still coverage of the protests, please see wikileaks

“In the last week Wikileaks has released over 150 censored photos and videos of the Tibet uprising and has called on bloggers around the world to help drive the footage through the Chinese internet censorship regime — the so called “Great Firewall of China.”

The transparency group’s move comes as a response to the the Chinese Public Security Bureau’s carte-blanche censorship of youtube, the BBC, CNN, the Guardian and other sites carrying video footage of the Tibetan people’s recent heroic stand against the inhumane Chinese occupation of Tibet.”

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Please see Linda’s blog for info on boycotting Olympic sponsors. Sponsors include:   Coca-Cola, Visa, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Lenovo, Samsung


Filed under Eyes Wide Open