Saturday, January 3, 2009

Toledo Rally Against Israel Bombings

The Blade writer David Yonke posted this story in today's edition:

Several hundred people opposed to the fighting in Gaza yesterday rallied outside the Lucas County Courthouse, flashing peace placards and shouting anti-war chants.Displaying signs with slogans such as "Stop the War," and "Gaza Will Never Die," protesters marched peacefully around the courthouse two times and listened to brief speeches delivered from the steps of the building's President William McKinley monument.

Toledo has an active peace movementt and often sets up demonstrations to shed light on injustices and war mongering.  Amjad Doumani was one of the organizers and he has been very active in the peace movement in Toledo.  He was especially active during the run-up to the Bush War on Iraq and organized many rallies at intersections throughout the city.  My wife and I were part of those rallies and were the victims of many insults hurled at us by passers-by.  Apparently those drivers were blinded by the Bush-Cheney propaganda as well as
misdirected Patriotism.

The followin
g statement does not ring true to me from my experiences in late 2002 and early 2003: "I don't know many people that are pro-war," Mr. Hasabelnaby said. "But it's hard to even call it war because one side has jets and missiles and tanks while the other side has almost nothing." The fact that he is only 24 might explain the naivete of his statement.

It is interesting to note the silence of the leaders of the world during this bombing by Israel, although there are massive demonstrations all over the world. Does Israel get a pass from all of the leaders of the world?  It confuses me.

note:  The Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition will hold a peace rally on Sunday at the corner of Central and Secor at noon.  [map]


This demonstration took place at the Lucas County Courthouse which, during Holy Week last year, was the site of Arlington West, a display of the 4000 wooden tombstones honoring the fallen Veterans of the Bush War.  I wrote about it HERE

Friday, January 2, 2009

Is That All There Is?

"Is That All There Is?" is a song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stollerand recorded by Peggy Lee.  Wikipedia says of the lyrics: The lyrics of this existentialist song are written from the point of view of a person who is disillusioned with events in life that are supposed unique experiences. The singer tells the story of when she saw her family's house on fire when she was a little girl, when she saw the circus and when she fell in love for the first time. After each story, she expresses her disappointment in each experience. She suggests that we "break out the booze and have a ball — if that's all — there is", instead of worrying about life. She also explains that she'll never kill herself either because she knows that death will be a disappointment as well. 

 On New Years Eve we had a discussion about Life, Death and Hereafter.  It was a very interesting look into the minds of others, all of whom are +60, raised as Christians, and are open-minded.  No Bible-thumpers were present to chill and stay the conversation.

None of the guests were certain of the Hereafter and none were 'reassured' by what was written in the Bible.  All of us knew Scripture and heard it read to us all of our lives, but no one declared that there was a Heaven. Further, no one thought that there was a Hell.  On that we all agreed.

One man, an engineer by training, proposed a visualization of the Bell Curve.  The curve, he said, represented the 'General Welfare' phrase that we find in the Preamble to the Constitution.  He wondered if collective society was meant to reshape the curve by pushing the two extremes towards the center.  With each passing generation, this theory suggests, humans were able to pass on to the next a 'better' life, whatever 'better' means. Less disease, less poverty, more food, better shelter and more opportunity for humans to have time to muse, to create art, music, literature.  War, it seems, always pulls the curve outward, extending one side, the 'underprivileged' section, further.

We came to the conclusion that when the 'curve' became more of a triangle, then humankind was moving forward towards a more perfect existence.  Also, as the base of this triangle became more narrow, humanity could declare that the 'common welfare' was indeed becoming a reality.  Then came the thought that if the triangle's base became infinitely small, it would become a line pointing upward. That,  several agreed, would be as close to 'god' as we humans could get.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."

I woke up this morning with the realization that it was 2009!  Like a child who awakens to Christmas morning, I had nearly forgotten the big day when it dawned on me that both Bush and Cheney would only soil the first few days of this year, but the rest would uplifting, open and productive.  It was better than a new toy under the tree.

Our friends and we toasted the New Year last evening and clinked our champagne glasses with an 'Obama!' cheer, and we felt a warm sensation flowing through us.  It was like the end of a nightmare or the end of a long and difficult death.  Cathartic for sure.

The realization that this year would be the beginning of a new, open, trustworthy and competent leadership in the White House lifted our souls with new hope for America. As Gerald Ford said on his first day in Office, 'My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."

Several people at our party suggested that the White House needs to be fumigated before the Obama Family moves in.  It was further suggested that several shamans from Native American tribes be called in to cleanse the house of Evil Spirits and bad karma.  Excellent ideas for sure.

Two thousand nine will be fine. Tis the end of the swine.

2009 Will Be Fine: No More Bush: No More Swine!

I woke up this morning with the realisation that it was 2009

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Interstate 35: Highway to Heaven

Originally published January 2008

It's Sunday morning and the TV is filled with oh-so righteous pastors preaching the 'good word' to the folks and, by the way, keep sending your checks. I saw a clip of several Christian folks babbling incoherent phrases with their hands raised to the sky, not in one of these churches, but on the berm of I-35. No kidding, these 'believers' think I-35 is the biblical highway to heaven.

CNN showed a clip of these believers this morning; Gary Tuchman of CNN took a look at some folks who believe it and have set up a prayer campaign for the road: If you turn to the Bible -- Isaiah Chapter 35, Verse 8 -- you will see a passage that in part says, "A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness."

Now, is it possible that this "highway" mentioned in Chapter 35 is actually Interstate 35 that runs through six U.S. states, from southern Texas to northern Minnesota? Some Christians have faith that is indeed the case...

The Dallas Morning News points out that the original spelling of Isaiah is "Yesha'yahu." which starts with a "Y" sound, not an "I." Further 35 just happens to be the numbering that was done many centuries after it was supposedly written.

Yet, as we have seen, scientific and factual data never hampers 'true' believers.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Does the GOP Think We're All Stupid?

Originally published January 2007

The GOP presidential candidates must be hoping that there are enough dumbed-down Americans left to support their run for president. They may be right. But wouldn't you think that the voter might be looking around at their own economic situation from time to time?

Do the GOP candidates think that they can once again bamboozle the electorate with fear tactics and ethnic divisiveness? Safe borders and the war on terror don't solve the money woes of the majority of Americans. Are Americans willing to watch their economic future dissolve in order to 'feel safe?'

Today's news headline: Trade Deficit Soared in November : Record Price for Foreign Oil Pushes U.S. Trade Deficit to Highest Level in 14 Months. Here's another one from Yahoo Financial News: Stocks Fall on Bank Writedown Worries And another: Consumer Confidence Sinks to Record Low

Tell me that American citizens are worried about a terrorist strike or about Mexicans coming across the borders to pick strawberries. Or about gay marriage. If they are more concerned about these issues than the recession that we are already experiencing, then they ought to vote Republican in the fall.

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Anxious about the economy," Mr Bush said

Originaly published Jan. 8, 2008

He's 'anxious.' Oh really? Seems Mr. Bush is always eighty steps behind reality. It is as if he is in that TV commercial where the guy delays his response as if he is in a time warp and loses the girl. Were it only the loss of the girlfriend we Americans might laugh. Rather it is the loss of just about everything with this nincompoop in charge for the last seven years. 

Yesterday the word 'anxious' actually flowed from the lips of Mr. Bush when he referred to the American economy. Anxious. Rather innocuous term. Children are anxious about the next snow; I'm anxious to see how the New Hampshire primary turns out tonight.

What about 'scared to death!' What about 'mortified!' How about 'terribly frightened!'

Yet, we must recall the calming words that George Bush used on May 1, 2003: "Mission accomplished."

Anxious about trillions of dollars of U.S. debt held by China? Anxious about $100 oil? Anxious about the stock market slide? Anxious about the sub-prime mortgage fiasco? Anxious about declining job figures? Anxious about rising food, fuel and health care costs? Anxious about foreclosures? Anxious about the falling dollar?

Anxious. Not concerned, not worried. Of course, he has no plan to address the issue. He never has a plan, only talking points and verbatim speeches to deliver.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Black Boy at the Bus Stop

An older post from December 2007

Whenever I drive downtown, I am amazed at the number of folks at the main TARTA Bus Station on Erie Street or around the corner on Jackson. I haven't taken a bus in years. Didn't have to. Of course, our 'cleaning lady' had to take the bus from her house on Pinewood to get to her cleaning jobs in Old Orchard. Two buses.

When I wrote the story yesterday on the church shootings in Colorado I came to realize how many homegrown terrorists are white boys. Black boys don't blast away in shopping malls, schools, and churches killing scores of innocent people. Why is that?

Are they easily profiled and therefore stopped dead in their tracks, assault rifle in hand? Only rarely. It's the white boy, the angry white boy with the weapon who shoots indiscriminately into his helpless victims.

No, the black boy learns early on that he has no privilege like the white boys do. Doors aren't opened for him, he has to push his own open, if he can. He takes the bus; white boys ride in their soccer mom's SUV.

Do white boys know that they are born with a 2-point advantage? Add money and it becomes three. No, white boys don't know that. They were born into these advantages, but when frustration sets in, they often go out of control fast. They don't like locked doors; they don't like 'No!' Black boys find many locked doors and 'no' as they grow up. They learn frustration, they live frustration. White boys don't. So when they find themselves in one of those situations, they go wild.

Maybe white boys ought to sit on bus bunches more often in their growing-up years. A boy can learn a lot sitting and waiting.

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