Monday, August 30, 2010

Revamping Depression: I am rethinking my depression. PERHAPS, this Glen Beck dreck was not the big deal people think. The people on the mall were mainly old, gray haired Social Security receiving mostly WHITES with, I think, MANY racist jerks mixed in too. Some have SOME legit claims but not many. It is not hard to get a crowd if you have been planning the event for six months, have the mega bucks of Fox News Corp. and it is a beautiful summer's day. If I tried hard enough and had the media platform maybe I could engender tens of thousands. Well, okay maybe not but Glen Beck has made himself a multi-million dollar name. Most at the DC Mall, I believe, generally, cannot stand the fact that we elected a black man and put him and his family in the White House. Too bad. Get USED TO IT and I for one am THRILLED even with some of my policy criticism. He is YARDS better than what ANY Republican would have been!

The truth is the REASON there were no signs is that they TOLD them NOT to bring in their anti-Obama racist signs. Those signs and guns ruin their cause but it IS what they are about. We need to bang the drum loudly that there were no signs because they spread the word NOT to BRING signs but you can be sure what those signs said before is what the majority of the Beck/Palin supporters believe. There were FEW if any black people or other minority groups there. I could count them on one hand.

So we STILL have many whites who are liberals, moderates and progressives in our camp. We have Hispanics, we have black people, we have Jews who remain on the Democratic side. We have the unions, minority groups and CERTAINLY gays. ALL of those MILLIONS of people we have but we NEED to get them OUT TO VOTE in November like we did for the president in 2008!! GET OUT THE VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS in NOVEMBER! Republicans just may not take as many seats as they smugly THINK they will.

Email away. NEVER give up. NEVER give in. Save our nation -- VOTE DEMOCRATIC IN NOVEMBER and tell all your friends across the country to as well!
My very essence and core is that I am in love with knowledge, discovery and science even though I have no brain for math. :-\ I just eat up those documentaries, science discoveries, historical and anthropological truth that shed LIGHT on things that seem so enigmatic or shrouded for thousands of years in myth and superstition. I LOVE learning which uncovers the truth of why we are what we are. It is an endless journey. This is a wonderful program I am sure. You may be interested too! Scroll to view email from WGBH.

I have to learn how to embed a pic but this is about the following from WGBH:

This week:
Becoming Human:
First Steps

Airing Tuesday
August 31 at 8 pm on PBS
(Check local listings)
Watch the program
NOVA Topics Pages
Physics + Math
Becoming Human Part 1

Where did we come from? What makes us human? An explosion of recent discoveries sheds light on these questions, and NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special, "Becoming Human," examines what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives. Part 1, "First Steps," examines the factors that caused us to split from the other great apes. The program explores the fossil of "Selam," also known as "Lucy's Child." Paleoanthropologist Zeray Alemseged spent five years carefully excavating the sandstone-embedded fossil. NOVA's cameras are there to capture the unveiling of the face, spine, and shoulder blades of this 3.3 million-year-old fossil child. And NOVA takes viewers "inside the skull" to show how our ancestors' brains had begun to change from those of the apes.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Toxic Brew: The November elections of 2010 are as important as the 2008 election and maybe more because there is SO much at stake. The opposition is simply mean, cruel and utterly racist. The NERVE of right wing white racists organizing at the foot of where Martin Luther King, perhaps the GREATEST black civil rights leader in this country gave his memorable speech 47 years ago today, is astounding and makes me physically ill. I wish I had the physical ability to help but I cannot walk for any length of time. Whatever I can do from the computer I do. I have emailed hundreds, blogged thousands of times over the past two years, contributed what I am able to causes for social justice. I cannot impress upon us enough how much is at stake. It is HUGE.

WHATEVER criticisms we may have had over the past two years of Democrats NONE of that matters now. The stakes are too high. I NEVER throw around words like fascist or tyranny lightly. To do that is to obviate their meaning BUT the tea party is made up of many and some are, indeed, nationalistic fascists in some ways truly similar to Germany of the 1930's. The groups run the gambit from NRA gun toting extremists, American Nazis, Birchers, White Citizens Councils, anti tax groups, to those who simply hate the economy, health care and are scared of the times including the changing demographics they see. Some would roll back Social Security and Medicare, the greatest social safety nets ever instituted in this country which have saved countless lives.

What is facilitating this toxic brew, is the most significant economic recession in our history instituted by most especially George W. Bush, et al. The total global economic system COULD have collapsed and Bush himself signed the bailout. Scapegoating is what happens when economic conditions deteriorate. The rightwing attacks one minority after another. Today it is Hispanics, gays, African Americans, innocent Muslims and sometimes Jews as well. Tomorrow it could be any of us. The Beck rally on one side of Washington, D.C. and Rev. Sharpton on the other is ominous.

The main thing is to remain cool, calm but committed to what we have to do and that is GET OUT THE VOTE EVERYWHERE IN NOVEMBER and not just in Mass. but other states as well! Check out the tea baggers that are in play in other states like Bachmann idiot of Minnesota, Scott in Florida, Rubio in Florida and MOST of all that disgusting jerk Angel of Nevada. We MUST keep Harry Reed AND Pelosi. It would be nice if Murkowski did not fall in Alaska but absentees might not do it. I am hoping beyond hope she can prevail. At least she is moderate, a dying species in Republican world.

We MUST do what we can. Despite criticism of our president he has done his best, I think, with the rancid and corrupt environment, economy, and wars he was bestowed after eight years of illegally corrupt Bush rule. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS now but to stop this movement in its tracks. This threat is the most significant systemic threat I have seen in over 40 years of watching the American political scene because it is directed at the legislature and Republicans of power are taking advantage of the climate. They will OVERRULE all the good that has been done so far and devote themselves, IF they gain power, to continuous investigation of the Obama administration and offer nothing but the mired ruinous rule they have for decades.

Make no mistake Republicans will not be as kind to Obama as he has been to them. They will do everything they can to take down this administration including impeaching and convicting our president. As ridiculous as this seems given the honorable intentions of our president and huge problems he inherited, it is true. In view of all the illegalities committed by Team Bush, a Republican controlled legislature would be a prosecutorial theater of the absurd. The hypocrisy would be glaring. It is a toxic brew.

I am not a praying person BUT I have become one! I send my good will to ALL of you who help in any way you can.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Best of Greenwald: Glenn Greenwald writes for He is one of my favorite writers of political analysis. He has written, in my opinion, one of his best pieces entitled “Racial and Ethnic Exploitation of Economic Insecurity.” It is a brilliant analysis of the current toxic political, economic and racist climate that has invaded our country since, I believe, the Civil War. It is an explanation of why Obama and Democrats face such a perilous journey to the November elections which could overturn much of the amazing hope we held in November, 2008. I quote two of the most pertinent paragraphs from this insightful article and then paste the link to its entirety below. I urge you to click on that link or cut and paste it into your browser to read what the article says in full. In the article Greenwald pastes links to other writers you can read among them Matt Taibbi (another one of my favorites) who writes for Rolling Stone Magazine. His article is entitled "Tea Party Rocks Primaries."

Greenwald says in pertinent part: ...

"Rather than emphatically stand up to the bankers and other oligarchical thieves, they coddled and served them, and thus became the face of the elite interests oppressing ordinary Americans rather than their foes. How can an administration represented by Tim Geithner and Larry Summers -- and which specializes in an endless stream of secret deals with corporate lobbyists and sustains itself with Wall Street funding -- possibly maintain any pretense of populist support or changing how Washington works? It can't."

“There are few more bitter ironies than watching the Republican Party -- controlled at its core by the very business interests responsible for the country's vast and growing inequality; responsible for massive transfers of wealth to the richest; and which presided over and enabled the economic collapse -- now become the beneficiaries of middle-class and lower-middle-class economic insecurity. But the Democratic Party's failure/refusal/inability to be anything other than the Party of Tim Geithner -- continuing America's endless, draining Wars while plotting to cut Social Security, one of the few remaining guarantors of a humane standard of living -- renders them unable to offer answers to angry, anxious, resentful Americans. As has happened countless times in countless places, those answers are now being provided instead by a group of self-serving, hateful extremist leaders eager to exploit that anger for their own twisted financial and political ends. And it seems to be working.”

“It is indeed difficult to believe that the country will so quickly return to power the same Republican Party -- in an even more warped and primitive form -- that virtually destroyed the U.S. over the last decade through a mix of extreme corruption, recklessness and lawlessness. But nothing is more foolish than underestimating the dangers that come from this potent mix of economic oppression and the aggressive fanning of racial and ethnic resentments.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Know-Nothings: Someone said "You have a right to your own opinion but you do not have a right to your own facts." I was sent the following article by my cousin. It was written by Timothy Egan of the New York Times entitled "Building a Nation of Know-Nothings." It is one of the best opinions I have read trying to understand the absolute degradation of the intellect of our nation. Maybe this tendency always existed but now, the media being what it is, ignorance is PROFOUNDLY evident and even lauded.

It is sad and it is a shame. We will DEVOLVE without intelligence into a perpetual warring species who cannot advance with time. Our nation, as it goes through economic upheavals brought on NOT by this president but by decades of unregulated capitalism which and presidents (most ESPECIALLY George W. Bush) who preceded him over the last 30 years. The American memory is about five minutes in length. I call it the McDonald's mind. It wants things instantly and forgets about it five minutes after its esophageal journey has ended but, ultimately, it will kill.

The link is below. It is WELL worth reading:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sent an email to Scot Lehigh addressing his August 25, 2010 editorial: "Inside Tea Party Lines." Link below

Boomerang: Scot, Your August 25, 2010 The Boston Globe editorial "Inside Tea Party Lines" was, I thought, most interesting. Hard as I try I cannot define the now-in-the-news Tea Party movement. One can look at racist signs and cringe, one can become sicked as one sees gun toting partiers standing near where the president will speak or one can look at some of the attendees at Tea Party events and see people genuinely concerned with our country's debt, deficit and those who are philosophically opposed to "big government." I get the latter. It is the other aspects of the so called Tea Party movement that are both depressing and frightening.

It is, indeed, a struggle to define those in the movement. When you say at the end of your editorial "... some who celebrated the protests as the start of an anti-Obama backlash may find the movement has boomeranged on them in ways they never imagined" I can only say from your mouth into God's ears! The essence of our republic and what our forefather's gifted to us can be erased by a single mark in the voting booth. I hope for the best but cannot help worrying that I expect the worst.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Boycott Fox: I received this email today from "TheColorofChange" (link to email below underneath the poem) and thought it might be good to forward. Feel free to forward this to anyone you know who could be persuaded to turn OFF the rancid station of race bating, Fox News. It does nothing but spread lies most especially about our president but not only about him. It ratchets up discord and division in our nation and some on its stations like Glen Beck encourage especially white people toward violence against minorities. There is NOTHING good one can say about Fox News and Newscorp's empire. It is anything BUT the "fair and balanced" news it allegedly it purports to be.

Since, of course, we believe in the free expression of information the only way to get at these deliverers of hate and division is to get them where it hurts -- in their pocketbooks by never tuning in. I urge you NOT to turn on Fox News network and to persuade your friends not to as well. Glenn Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity and others on Fox serve NO other purpose than to create division and sew the seeds of hatred in this country to do one thing advance their ridiculous agenda. They do not heal the historic wounds of our culture. They keep open its toxic sores threatening to destroy our body politic with poisonous lies.

Do not let them do this. Scroll down and read what the "ColorOfChange" email says and then proceed as you think you should. We must save our nation as the all inclusive welcoming beacon of true freedom it is supposed to be and as the poem inscription on the base of our Lady Liberty penned by Emma Lazarus says below. It is what we always have been and what we should CONTINUE to forever be.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lighten Up? Jeff Jacoby's editorial in the Boston Sunday Globe entitled "Lighten up, Mr. President" (Link below) gave me pause for thought and at the same time angered me. I responded:

Jeff, your editorial today, struck a nerve. I ruminated about your thoughts for hours trying to figure out why I felt you were correct and find a rationale for why it is that our president seems besieged. He seems like the heavy burden of the presidency was not what he envisioned. It seems in his eyes that he is serious, even angry and that he is not free. He is not free? The president of the United States is not FREE? The presidents you mentioned Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Clinton and Reagan had, despite the terrific burdens, an eternal flame in their soul and a twinkle in their eye despite the grueling weight of the office. Why does this man whom I thought fate had determined would save our nation from its national nightmares look weighed down, sad, serious and dare I say scared?

The presidents you mentioned were white. Yes, of course, I will talk about race. I believe while President Obama had that gleam once it became dissolved in a sea of anger, rancid race bating and an incredulousness at the epithets he hears, sees, and reads about every single day of his life. It has been said he has received more death threats in one week than any other president has received during their entire tenure. Have you seen the signs? Have you seen him portrayed as something less than human, as an animal this man who graduated Harvard Law School? Could it be that this man who attained the highest office in the land by sheer determination and grit to become the first black man to ever occupy the US presidency feels the weight of the office oppressive?

Yet, he is only HALF black but it does not matter that the other half is white. White is not in his presidential description. Have you heard the reports from reputable sources that white supremacist groups are larger now than at any other time in our history with the exception of the Civil War era? Our president is under constant attack. Maybe he is under attack like Lincoln? Did the pictures and descriptions of Lincoln say he was lighthearted? No, I think not. Lincoln looked serious and under siege because he WAS under siege.

The anger, the hatred, the vitriol and the threat of violence against our president has been of Herculean proportions. He is threatened, black members of Congress are spat upon, his birth is relentlessly challenged and he is hunted by the extremist right like an animal of prey. How would YOU feel if you were he? How would YOU feel if you could jump into his black skin? I suspect you might think it difficult to "lighten up."

How light would we feel if every minute of every day we had to hear a Jewish epithet hurled at us like a weapon? How did our brethren feel as they were hunted down like dogs because of who they were? I suspect, to a degree, it is how our president feels. He feels hunted, hated, tormented by an economy he did not make or wage wars he did not begin and if that were not enough his words "This is not a black America. This is not a white America. This is the United States of America. We are one people ... " ring hollow. Oh really, we are one America? Tell that to the man who carries a shot gun within yards of the president -- this president -- this one half black president who after 300 years of racial hatred, I suspect still does not feel free. Lighten up, Mr. President? That's easy for you to say, Jeff. You are white!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pulitzer Prize of Photojournalism: I do not know what photojournalism's Pulizer Prize is but whatever it is this photograph should get it.

Click on the link or copy and paste it in your browser. Scroll up to one of the most moving pictures I have ever seen of war. It reminded me of the Ira Hayes photo of the flag raisers in Iwo Jima. This belongs as a sculpture memorial in Washington DC. U.S. Marines carry a comrade wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED) to a waiting medevac helicopter, near the town of Marjah in Helmand Province, August 21, 2010. It says it all!!
Rachel Maddow Excellence in Journalism: After watching Rachel Maddow report from Baghdad as American troops seemingly leave Iraq I felt compelled to write to her during the American so called exit eight years after the longest war in American history -- longer than even World War II. We, of course, have left ONLY in part. Over fifty thousand troops remain and 7000 private security forces which may grow over time. Her efforts were worthy of many kudos!

Rachel, I taped your show last evening which was broadcast from Baghdad with NBC reporter, Richard Engel as your tour guide. Both of you have given us and your nation the BEST in television news journalism. I am staggered by Richard's brilliance and excellent efforts from the very beginning of the war, throughout its chaos to its recent pseudo-end. You, however, especially in the last five minutes of your broadcast last evening, brought home to us the essence -- the very revelatory essence -- of what this egregious war has meant. You have made it more than statistics of 40 deaths here and 60 deaths there. The deaths are simply numbers to most Americans who, generally, were and are uninvolved in its violence or its history. They listen to the news and go off to Starbucks.

Watching you I actually FELT the terrible sometimes 115 degree HEAT of Iraq. It was a metaphor for the intense heat of war. Again and again I realize why it is so important, as our forefathers so presciently knew, for the President to ask and Congress to DECLARE war so that things as terrible as what has happened in Iraq do not happen cavalierly again. Our bombs blast human beings creating death and mayhem while Americans at home are far removed from what our government has done in our name. People need to FEEL the terrible chaos of war and YOU last evening have reported it in a way that, I believe, few journalists have before. You are a gift to us, to your nation, and to journalism.

We are smitten by your excellence. Although it gets redundant, I know, you are the BEST that journalism has to offer and I can only hope that one of the joys of our life will be to continue to listen to you on MSNBC from 9:00 pm. to 10:00 p.m. every weekday without fail! I hope you will be home soon SAFELY.

Thank you for your excellent work!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

AND furthermore, I see today "Dr" Laura is kvetching about her "First Amendment" freedoms being abridged ....oh poor poor Laura, has suffered for years not having free speech like everyone else -- RIGHT, tell me another lie. May I just be crude and say BALONEY, Laura, you sanctimonious, venomous incompetent advice giver. Since WHEN did anyone on planet earth not allow you to spew your self righteous rants? Answer: NEVER. The shrill, cacophonous, acrimonious tones have been heard on the airwaves until DEAF do us part.

That, perhaps, you received some very angry criticism is merely EVERYONE else exercising THEIR free speech to say your advice on so MUCH is not only WRONG and based on NOTHING but your opinion but often times hurtful to large groups of human beings.

That you are paying the price by perhaps having the free market tell YOU what to do, OH well I guess that is the true value of the laisez fare capitalism you love so much. Your public and your sponsors can tell you to take your advice and put it where the sun does not shine. Good. They know the difference between vituperative, mean and angry advice from a kind, helpful and professional one.

YOU, "Dr." Laura are NOT the last word on ANYTHING. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone. Even a nice Jewish woman like me can know prudent advice when she sees it!

Complaining about free speech, oh sure...GIVE ME A BREAK! You blew it. Now admit it and GO AND SIN NO MORE!

Posted at 9:59 AM on Aug 18, 2010 by

Friday, August 13, 2010

The "N" word--Laura Schlessinger in the Crosshairs.: Since Laura Schlessinger does not give her own email address and I do not want to join her "family" I have sent this to her webmaster email. I HOPE that it gets related to her.

I am a white Jewish woman. I could NOT believe Laura Schlesinger’s insensitive response to the black woman caller who stated she often had to endure racist comments of her white husband’s family. It is INCONCEIVABLE to me that Schlesinger, an allegedly orthodox Jewish woman of principle, could have been SO utterly insensitive by giving such mean-spirited advice to the woman caller whose feelings were PROFOUND. Laura Schlesinger completely dismissed the woman’s valid sentiments calling the woman "over sensitive" so that Schlessinger could spew her own right wing insensitive and cruel talking points. Her words to that woman were HURTFUL and they were erroneous!

If Laura Schlesinger cannot understand how a black woman in a mixed marriage could feel assaulted by the comments concerning race she received by white members of her husband's family I am at a loss to understand why. It is abhorrent that Laura Schlessinger whose career is about giving advice, has allegedly advanced degrees and who is supposed to understand human emotion could utter such a vile response to this innocent caller even uttering the "N" word the black caller herself would not say.

The damage she may have caused the caller, in my opinion, could be profound. It is quite different when a white person utters a stereotypical comment against blacks from a black person uttering the same comment. It is different when Michael Richards spewed the words of his racist rant from Eddie Murphy or Wanda Sykies using similar words. They can say those things and Richards cannot. There is something permissible when someone like a Jackie Mason or a Jon Stewart makes comedic references about the cultural Jew but it would be totally unacceptable for someone who was NOT Jewish to say the same things. The woman DID not and YOU SHOULD not have repeated the "N" word to anyone for any reason much less utter it to a black caller. It is and you were DISGUSTING!

The words that your caller had to hear, in MY opinion, were tantamount to someone saying "oh gee I don't know why Jews are so sensitive about the Holocaust, get over it" That is exactly analogous to what you said to her by telling her she is too "sensitive" about race when CLEARLY those people SHOULD NOT have said what they did.

Black people have suffered for centuries at the hands of racist whites. They have been killed, mutilated and slaughtered. For her to, in the history of her DNA, carry down that legacy is NOT wrong. It is as right as it is for a Jewish person to look askance at an anti-Semitic comment made by a non Jew when they have suffered at the hands of the non-Jews. Jewish people have been at the forefront of the struggle for civil rights with black people. We have given up careers and even our lives so that our fellow man could enjoy the blessings of liberty which both they and we all-too-often have been denied.

The black woman caller at the center of this issue was quite correct to be upset at the barrage of comments she received at the husband’s family gathering. She had NO ONE to help her not even her remiss husband who SHOULD have immediately come to her defense. That woman is RIGHTEOUS in her anger. Her mistake was not to have been adamant in her objection and not to have indicted her husband as well. Her husband and the people in that family gathering were COMPLETELY insensitive to her and so were you, Laura , as you so often are.

You are one who CLAIMS to give profound and understanding advice to help people. You have been inhumane, cruel and negligent to your callers. You are a sham who has inordinately capitalized, like other extremist right wing media, on the rancid and cancerous division which invades our culture. You have exacerbated it, have decided to make money from it and from those in our culture who would love nothing more than to DISMISS this country's historical reality. Moreover, you have hurt the Jewish people as well. I am ashamed!

Finally, after three centuries a half black man runs for and achieves the presidency after blacks have been shut out in a powerless desert for centuries and YOU cannot understand how other blacks might identify with that and give him their vote? Shame on you for being so politically stupid, historically unaware, sociologically backward and psychologically ignorant.

That African American woman caller was EXACTLY correct and you were CONSUMMATELY wrong. You owe her and your listeners a heartfelt apology. Maybe you should RETHINK the mean-spirited and unqualified opinions you give. You have often poisoned the airways, hurt our country and the people you claim you want to help.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A NICE video -- happiness in solitude.
Stream of conscious: I go onto Huffington. Things seem SO bad. You know what? I give up. Uncle. I'm pulling in my own blog and not going to send letters, or call Congress or do anything. I think it's just beyond anyone's control. I'm cashing in my chips, crawling into a fetal position and watching old reruns of I Love Lucy -- a time when I remember that we had SO much hope, loved this country for its WWII heroism and an economic system that seemed to work. The middle class is gone. Things seem over to me they just do. The Internet has fueled horrible people and causes that are from Pluto. The world is boiling over from climate change, famine, flood, fires, icebergs breaking off, rampant racism, terrorism and HUGE debt. Honestly, IF I believed in Revelation which I am NOT a believer but IF I were, I can see how this meets their definition of end times. I really can. For the first time in my life of decades I fear for this country and all of us in it. I really do. I had so much hope but it's gone.

Wake me up when it's over unless there is no me left in which case just leave me! :( bad mood this a.m. after reading Huffington Post and the news!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Countdown to Madness -- a documentary: “Countdown to Zero” is a documentary about nuclear war directed by Lucy Walker. It is one worth seeing to remind us exactly what the destructive capacity of a nuclear explosive device means. One has to see it to really understand it and to impress upon us the reality of the effects of nuclear war for those who might either not know of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, have never seen pictures of it or if they have seen it have forgotten about it. After viewing this documentary it makes the storm cloud under which mankind sits difficult to forget.

The documentary retells the history of the construction of the nuclear bomb during World War II, Oppenheimer’s horror of what he and others had accomplished through the Manhattan Project, the science of it and, of course, the attempts, however minimal, at nuclear non proliferation treaties signed by the United States and Russia throughout the decades. The documentarian interviews a host of experts on nuclear proliferation including Valerie Pflame (the woman who worked for the CIA exploring the link of terrorism to nuclear weapons whom Rove, Cheney and their henchmen in the Bush administration outed) as well as Mikhail Gorbachev, Tony Blair, the late Robert MacNamara and others including profound statements by Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy and Barack Obama.

The minutiae of the historical facts behind the building of the nuclear bomb, although interesting, are not what staggers me. What staggers me is the fact that the US, Russia and seven other countries have the capacity now, as I write this, to annihilate life on earth many times over in a matter of seconds and how relatively easy it could be done whether by mistake, terrorist attempts at purchasing and/or stealing nuclear material, smuggling nuclear devices into ports or simply bad policy – VERY bad policy and how close we have come in the past to having that happen.

Moreover, it is astounding the relative ease of creating a nuclear device IF one has the appropriate materials and how many have already attempted such a thing including A.Q. Kahn, the hero of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon program. Nuclear weapons in the hands of unstable nation states like Pakistan are a clear and present danger. A destabilized Middle East created by the Iraq War is a threat. A nuclear device either secured on the black market by terrorists or possessed by rogue states like North Korea which does have access to nuclear material or Iran which wants to have access to it is a doomsday scenario. It would take but a single mistake or malfeasance to propel the planet and man on it to extinction.

The documentary catapults the viewer into the reality of a nuclear explosion with views of the flash point, evaporation of people and miles of destruction to everything near the blast as well as the destruction from the ensuing tornado like wind and radiation poisoning that follows as the blast eradicates everything. It is a mind numbing experience but one which, I believe, is necessary for all to see. The horror of it is beyond the power of human imagination to truly comprehend. Man in his genius could be the genius behind his own demise. That is the irony and that is the fear.

Zero nuclear weaponry world wide is the goal but who do we trust to pursue it? This documentary, in my opinion, is a must see for all who care about the preservation of life on earth for its own sake and for the sake of the generations which come after us. The earth is a gift the beauty of which we must not squander for any reason. Let us hope everyone else thinks that way as well.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Education and our broken Senate -- two complementary articles: One of my favorite NYT editorialists, Bob Herbert, wrote a wonderful article in the NYT today entitled "Putting Our Brains on Hold." It speaks to the issue of the poor state of American education and its lagging-behind-other-cultures youth. He places a great deal of the blame on deep state budget cutting and other issues. The reasons though, I think, are even more profound and complex than even HE stated. If you haven't already read it I paste it below.

I also paste the link to a rather lengthy but well-worth-reading article from the New Yorker Magazine entitled "The Empty Chamber: Just how broken is the Senate" by George Packer. It is about the implacable Republican/Democratic divide that exists now in the US Senate as it never has before in our history.

It seems out entire culture is in a frozen state of discord, division and angry rhetoric. We do not speak to each other and really hear. Mea culpa, I am guilty of that too. The economy, the media, and the explosive cultural change is partially responsible for some of it. It is, of course, more than simply that. Both articles reflect the frozen, stupefying, inactive nature of our culture hanging in suspended animation unable to move. What has gone wrong? There must be a rainbow somewhere. I just cannot seem to find it.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Polio Rising: There was a rather lengthy article in The Boston Globe today (Link below). It has been reported that polio is rising again this time in Tajikistan. As a polio survivor who contracted paralytic polio in the 1950s and suffered its debilitating effects as a child as well as significant post polio issues as an aging adult, I shake my head in disbelief. Once thought to go the way of small pox the scourge of polio with its accouterments of braces, crutches, casts, surgeries, respirators and more is still with us despite valiant efforts to eradicate it worldwide by Rotary, WHO and other organizations. This hard-to-believe-but-true fact reports polio is still raising its ugly head in Tajikistan and from there it even traveled to Russia. In our trans global age the World Health Organization is concerned it will travel easily to other nation states as well. This among many other reasons makes me say God bless America. Truly, even on our worst days, it is better to live here than almost anywhere else. Vaccination against polio is mandatory and should remain so. Efforts to help countries which are plagued by war, religious and other obstacles of superstition and myth, helping to prevent vaccination of their people against this dreaded disease, must be overcome.

I criticize US foreign and domestic policy sure but one cannot deny the fact that people overcome Herculean obstacles to get here. They must be doing that for a reason. Perhaps, despite our shortcomings, it is better -- a LOT better -- here than many other places on earth. Articles about the hideous disease of polio again rising in the underdeveloped world and even in the not so underdeveloped world never ceases to bring that point home to me! /05/tajikistan_outbreak_sets_back_effort_to_end_polio/
THANK YOU!: The federal court in Northern California handed down yesterday a decision which declared Proposition 8, banning marriage between homosexuals in California, unconstitutional. I composed an email which I sent to Chief Justice Vaughn Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California who wrote the most beautiful and errorless opinion I have ever read on this issue. I posted the letter I sent to him on my blog:

Justice Walker: I do not know how to say this well enough so that you understand how important your decision is to those of us who either are gay, have children, relatives or friends who are. You have given hope to MILLIONS and I might even aver you have saved lives. Thank you, sir, for what you have done. Your decision was historic, complete, brilliant and absolutely on point.

I am old enough to remember a time when people, friends and relatives I know almost took their life and for what? They almost did so because they could not crawl out of their skin and there was seemingly no other way out of a life of unhappiness. People faced the rejection of even of their own families. One could proudly be Jewish, Irish, Italian, African American or any other ethnicity but any one person within those groups could be rejected and thrown out on the street by the families who are supposed to provide unconditional love and support. This is, in the final analysis, about love and the ability to share one's life with whom one wants enjoying the benefits that everyone else takes for granted.

I cannot thank you enough for the hope you have brought to so many. Now, I suppose, ultimately, this will go to the US Supreme Court. It only takes one justice there now -- only ONE -- to restore hope to millions who for centuries had known none. If upheld it will be, in my opinion, as important as the Brown decision and surely as IMPORTANT as it was to clear the path for interracial marriage so that ANYONE could marry whom they wanted. Truly, it is not the business of the state to deny a CIVIL right to a huge group of people when others in that society take that same right for granted.

Thank you again, sir. Yesterday you have done a GREAT, GOOD and MORAL thing and I know YOU have saved lives in the process. Religions have stated to save ONE life is to save the world entire and, I believe, you have done just that.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A War to Share: I paste below Bob Herbert's NTY op ed piece entitled "The Lunatic's Manual" about the Afghanistan soon-to-be-ramped-up war which is thought provoking. I emailed him the following:

Mr. Herbert. I kept in touch with Howard Zinn mostly via email since his view of history spellbound me as a student at Boston University. I never got him out of my blood. About two weeks before his death I saw him at a local restaurant near Boston and exchanged a few words. In his last email to me, discussing current events, he counted you as one of his NYT favorites. I can see why. Your editorial today was brilliant as it always is. I hear Prof. Zinn's voice through your opinion, most especially, on utterly endless futile war.

I am stymied, though, unlike he was, about, most especially, Afghanistan. I simply do not know. Prof. Zinn, of course, came down heavily on the anti-war side in nearly ALL of America’s excursions since WWII. I agreed with him on most things and yet I have a question mark about this one.

What I wanted to happen after 9/11 when the world was on our side was to go into Afghanistan which we did, topple the Taliban which we DID and then go after Bin Laden and Mullah Omar which we did BUT someone close to the top nixed that important order to take them out. Why? My guess is because of Iraq, Bush’s senseless war which he wanted to wage at all costs and even if we did not have the money to pay for it. Iraq now is decimated. The people who are left there live lives of desperation. Had we done what I just explained, we could have killed Bin Laden and Mullah Omar in Tora Bora, TRULY declared victory and left but we did not. We are now in an existential NO EXIT war. There is NO question, as I understand things, that there will be one or two or three or 3000 new indoctrinated Al Qaeda recruits who will do ANYTHING, including obtaining a nuclear weapon, possibly from Pakistan, to get us.

Pakistan is in TERRIBLE shape. There are floods, suicide bombings and the Islamists are taking full advantage of the chaos. The ten million dollars the US has given in aid is lost in the crowd. Academics have often said PAKISTAN is the REAL threat. I am worried. Thankfully, I am not the one making the decisions. I simply do not know WHAT the correct move should be. What risk should we all be willing to take? Bush made the stakes even higher than they had to be and this president, I believe, does NOT know what to do with the cards he was dealt. Some Americans, the president is quite correct, have historical amnesia. This quagmire was not Obama's idea. Iraq depleted US forces making it nearly impossible to succeed in Afghanistan which clearly we could have done then and may, indeed, still NEED to do now.

What you say about the country not sharing the burden is correct. War MUST be declared AND must be fought with the majority of the country’s support. It is what propelled us toward success against a fearsome Nazi and Japanese foe in WWII and it is what should propel us now. Five tours of duty for a soldier should be ILLEGAL. This is NOT what our Founders envisioned because they KNEW leaders could take advantage of troops they did not see and fight wars they themselves did not personally fight. The draft is the ONLY equalizer. The rich, the poor, the uneducated and the educated MUST be in the effort together. I am sure if that were the case our leaders, now, would think twice, three and even four times before they EVER waged war again!

Monday, August 02, 2010

A Monument and a Name: A relative alerted me to an EXCELLENT series published online by historians at the Jewish memorial to the Holocaust, Yad Vashem, in Israel entitled "Insights and Perspectives from Holocaust Researchers and Historians." (Link below) These are fifteen VIDEO short lectures on the Holocaust as it relates to anti-Semitism, Holocaust history, the rise of Nazism and the experience of the Jews of the Holocaust as well as how it pertains to the establishment of the State of Israel.

No matter what your viewpoint, these lectures are worthwhile because they are given by academics who relate the scrupulously documented evidentiary truth of this still incredulously flaming "debate" about the veracity of the Holocaust, the present day virulent anti-Semitism accompanying Holocaust denial, and truth behind the establishment of the State of Israel. The lectures are fascinating if you are interested in this subject. Look to the left of the web site for the various short lectures for those which may interest you. The video short lectures include:

The Auschwitz Bombing Controversy
Icons of the Holocaust
The Holocaust and the Establishment of the State of Israel
The Righteous Among the Nations a Unique Program
The Nature of Modern Anti-Semitism
The Uniqueness of Nazi Anti-Semitism
Why Did World War II Break Out
Confronting Holocaust Denial: A strategy
Where Did the Nazis Take the Term "Ghetto" From and Why
The German Judiciary in Eastern Galicia and its Contribution to the Holocaust
Dutchmen in Europe and the Dream of a Greater Germanic Empire
The Development of the Final Solution
Women in the Holocaust
The Catastrophe of Salonikan Jewry and the Looting of Their Property
Hanging by a Thread: Reflections on Being a Jew During the Holocaust

I submit the history of the Jews and the Holocaust is enmeshed with the general history of all of us in modernity and it is, of course, a profound element of our current Middle East dilemmas of war and peace. Yad Vashem literally from the Hebrew means: a Monument and a Name.