Sunday, September 30, 2007

It Had to Happen...

Poor Larry Craig...NOT! Click the image to see larger version.

(h/t to TC)

Update: Now this in the WaPo. Graham and McConnell are having a hissy fit. The entire GOP is freaking and pulling out the stops.

More later.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Barney Frank on ENDA

I heart me some Barney Frank. This is good. Long, but good.

“The current manifestation of this is the difficult set of decisions we face regarding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We are on the verge of an historic victory that supporters of civil rights have been working on for more than thirty years: the passage for the first time in American history by either house of Congress of legislation declaring it illegal to discriminate against people in employment based on their sexual orientation. Detracting from the sense of celebration many of us feel about that is regret that under the current political situation, we do not have sufficient support in the House to include in that bill explicit protection for people who are transgender. The question facing us – the LGBT community and the tens of millions of others who are active supporters of our fight against prejudice – is whether we should pass up the chance to adopt a very good bill because it has one major gap. I believe that it would be a grave error to let this opportunity to pass a sexual orientation nondiscrimination bill go forward, not simply because it is one of the most important advances we’ll have made in securing civil rights for Americans in decades, but because moving forward on this bill now will also better serve the ultimate goal of including people who are transgender than simply accepting total defeat today.

“When the bill banning sexual orientation discrimination was first introduced by Bella Abzug and Paul Tsongas more than thirty years ago, it was a remote hope. Over time because of a good deal of work, education of the general public, and particularly the decision by tens of millions of gay and lesbian people over that time to be honest about our sexual orientation, we have finally reached the point where we have a majority in the House ready to pass this bill. Those of us who are sponsoring it had hoped that we could also include in the prohibition discrimination based on gender identity. This is a fairly recent addition to the fight, and part of the problem we face is that while there have been literally decades of education of the public about the unfairness of sexual orientation discrimination and the inaccuracy of the myths that perpetuated it, our educational efforts regarding gender identity are much less far along, and given the prejudices that exist, face a steeper climb.

Read the whole thing at the House site HERE.

More later.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Going Without

I’ve been doing without a lot lately, but there are items necessary to keep house and I was left with none of them following the move. I'm not complaining.

You see, I initially moved from a house into a small bedroom in someone’s home, so I had no place, or need for those things. However, when I was forced out of that strange and stressful environment I needed everything from a vacuum cleaner and kitchen strainer, to ironing board and iron, to toaster oven and ice cube trays. You get the idea.

So July was a very expensive month; August less so, and September was looking like the best yet, though not yet within my budget. At least I felt that while I wasn’t exactly dancing through doorways, I wasn’t running in place, either.

Then yesterday another large expense popped up that will put me a bit further behind, and this morning I woke up to a dead modem. Nothing to do but shell out the money for both and hope to make it up next month. I was fortunate enough to get the last modem compatible with my aging computer. So, I came back and installed it, though Microsoft didn’t want to be helpful (so much for plug ‘n play!) I finally arm-wrestled Windows and succeeded – well, I am online, after all…

While not depressing, it’s undoubtedly all very frustrating.

More Later.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

False Prophets Will Arise and Lead Many Astray

Found this over at OCICBW where you can read the whole thing.

Sketch: preparing for the Anglican summit
Friday, 21st September 2007. 12:31pm
By: Stephen Bates.

Ah! New Orleans – the Big Easy, birthplace of the Blues and Louis Armstrong, city of Mardi Gras and Voodoo, the least Protestant town in the US: what better place to witness the latest stage in the break- up of the worldwide Anglican Communion? No prizes to be awarded – can you hear me, Bishop of Carlisle? – for the first one to pronounce God’s judgement if a hurricane hovers into view.

This week’s meeting between Rowan Williams and the American bishops will be my swan-song as a religious affairs correspondent, after eight years covering the subject for The Guardian. I’d have been less keen to attend had the venue been Detroit, but where better to end it? It is time to move on for me professionally, and probably for Anglicans too and this marks a suitable place to stop. There is also no doubting, personally, that writing this story has been too corrosive of what faith I had left: indeed watching the way the gay row has played out in the Anglican Communion has cost me my belief in the essential benignity of too many Christians.For the good of my soul, I need to do something else.

I had no notion in 2000 that it would come to this: I had thought then that we were all pretty ecumenical these days. I was soon disabused of that. I had scarcely ever met a gay person, certainly not knowingly a gay Christian, and had not given homosexuality and the Church the most cursory thought, much less held an opinion on the matter. But watching and reporting the way gays were referred to, casually, smugly, hypocritically; the way men such as Jeffrey John (and indeed Rowan Williams when he was appointed archbishop) were treated and often lied about, offended my doubtless inadequate sense of justice and humanity.

More Here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bush Raises Money for MoveOn

It's true. This was in my inbox this morning. I am a member, and a minor contributor to MoveOn so I enjoyed reading this. It reminds me of the fundraisers held in towns when Fred Phelps and his "church" arrive to picket funerals of fallen soldiers. Read on...

Dear MoveOn member,

Yesterday, an amazing thing happened. After the Senate's shameful vote, and after President Bush called MoveOn "disgusting," our email started to fill up with messages like this one:

I'm currently in Iraq. I do not agree with this war, and if I did support this war, it would not matter. You have the RIGHT to speak the truth. We KNOW that you support us. Thank you for speaking out for being our voice. We do not have a voice. We are overshooted by those who say that we soldiers do not support organizations like MoveOn. WE DO.

YOU ARE OUR voice.

And then came the donations. By midnight, over 12,000 people had donated $500,000—more than we've raised any day this year—for our new ad calling out the Republicans who blocked adequate rest for troops headed back to Iraq.

The message from MoveOn members was loud and clear: Don't back down. Take the fight back to the issues that matter.

So today we're shooting for a very ambitious goal: Reach $1 million so we can dramatically expand the campaign we launched yesterday going after politicians who support this awful war. Can you chip in $25 toward our goal?

All day, messages from vets and military family members kept pouring into our email, many of them aimed at the Senate:

I have given a son to this country. My brother, my father, my uncle have all served honorably and bravely. I am a loyal American. I am outraged and sick to death of the tactics this administration uses to try to silence dissent to a war that is unjust, built and maintained on lies, political power, and greed. I was content to let others fight more loudly, but no more.
–Sharyn W., NC

I am a prior soldier who served in Iraq for 13 months, and am now an expecting mom with a husband who is deployed in Baghdad. I don't think I can ever forgive the Bush administration for the lies that tricked America into this war and hurt my family so badly. I am ashamed of those American politicians who would condemn an organization for practicing the Freedom of Speech that so many soldiers have died for.
–Danielle B., OH

As a US Navy veteran and an Iraq war veteran of over a year I want to ask, What has happened to us? What has happened to our voice? Where is this country going with stopping free speech and free press? ... Every time I think of the long nights I had in Anbar remembering what I was fighting for, well here it is....
–Ahmad H., LA

These folks have made sacrifices many of us can't imagine. Their charge to us was clear: keep speaking the truth about how President Bush and the Republicans have betrayed our trust.

So we're going to expand our ad campaign—keep it on the air longer and run it against other politicians who helped block adequate rest time for our troops. Can you chip in $25 to do it?

And still the messages kept coming ...

I've had three nephews serve since 2002, one of whom was killed in Anbar Province. I have a fourth nephew at Quantico training. I want this war over before he is deployed and before any more of our soldiers are sacrificed.
–Michele R., NE

Three members of my family are military. Two Marines have served in Iraq and an Army Lt. is deploying in November. If we had all spoken out when the administration used General Powell perhaps we would not be in this mess.
–Carol B., PA

As a Marine I served for many reasons but one of them was to allow people the freedom of speech, whether I agreed with it or not. Wearing a uniform does not mean someone isn't a shill, is spewing propaganda, and downright lies. MoveOn has every right to buy an ad and say what they want about a public figure. This administration has lied to us, deceived us, misled us and when posed with a challenge this is how they respond?
–Keith G., VA

The Senate won't pass a policy to end the war or even to make sure our troops in the field have enough rest time between deployments, but they hold votes to crack down on millions of Americans who are upset about the war?

Well—it isn't going to work. We put together a hard-hitting ad that highlights how Republicans failed our troops and if we can raise enough money today, we'll air it across the country. Please help if you can:

For all of us on the MoveOn staff, this week was a bit of a rollercoaster—MoveOn was attacked by nearly the entire Republican party, while too many Democrats ran for the hills. But what kept us going were messages like these—and the incredible privilege we feel to serve all 3.2 million Americans in

When the story is written of how the Iraq war ended, you will be the heroes. Thank you.

More later.

Friday, September 21, 2007


I am keeping the pledge made during the four-week seminar on Living a Balanced Life by journaling at least 4 times weekly. Sometimes I post an entry here, sometimes not. It’s good to get the thoughts out and attempt to sort out what areas of life are going well and where more work is needed.

It was said during one of the sessions that if one commits just 90 days to make a change by the end of that time the change would be part of new habits. It’s been 4 weeks now and so far I’ve been able to stick to my pledge, though it hasn’t been easy to find something to write at times. My days are pretty mundane and most time off is spent at the apartment, so what’s there to write about, really?

Nonetheless, I feel better about doing it and find that even when I think I’m writing nonsense it turns out later to be a snapshot of where I was at that moment.

Gradually – it is a slow process – positive change is happening. It’s a strong feeling; an awareness, and people close to me have noticed and mentioned the changes they have seen.

And whenever an overwhelming sadness comes over me, I purposely think of where I was at this time last year, physically and emotionally. That usually snaps me back to the present and it’s not so terrible after all.

More later.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Colour for the Day

To support various causes, people ask for things all the time. Money. Time. Organs. Precious bodily fluids. And, money.

To support the Jena 6, a friend of mine in NOLA asked me to wear black today. So I look like Johnny Cash, sans guitar.

This one was too easy.

Details here.

Flip Flops!

Here at the beach that's what we call those little rubber and canvas sandals that are everywhere in almost every season.

The words have found their way into political lingo to describe someone who's changed their position on an issue for political gain.

Now the latest in that long line of flip-floppers is Mitt Romney, former MA governor and a GOP candidate for President. Seems Mitt was for equal rights before he was against them. This flyer was found recently and is all over the Net.

It should be noted that Mitt has FIVE sons, none of whom have ever served in the military and have no plans to serve in Iraq, though they, including dad, are all for the current mess in mess-o-potamia. Those boys are also the creepiest kids on the block.

I'm just sayin'.

More later.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thank You, Thank You

Back in business and ain't it grand wired with a new land line at home. I can breathe again. I can even make phone calls! Imagine that. The five days waiting for the service connection passed quickly and the good looking field technician doing the hook up this morning was easy on the eyes, and more than willing to answer my many questions about high speed Internet service.

He had to preform some magic rewiring at the junction box down the road, which took an extra 15 minutes. The line is cleaner and static free, so as long as I am saddled with dreaded dial-up that is one less problem to worry about. Yes, it's still slow, though not as slow as the previous connection. Go fig. I haven't been bumped off-line so far. So far!

Still, no downloading of video, or audio files for the time being. Hey, I can wait.

More later.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Accountability, Part Two.

It's been two months since I moved out of the previous space and some of you have asked in comments and email, someone just last week, if I’ve ever received the refund for the half-month rent for July from my previous landlord.

Well, no. But, I find it curious that this issue keeps coming up from readers and friends.

No, I haven’t seen him around town either and it's unlikely that I will since we move in very different circles.

Yes, there’s a lot to be said about honoring commitments. However, that takes integrity and in this case I believe accountability and integrity are in short supply, if not absent altogether.

If for some reason he’s decided that I am not worthy of my money he could call or send an email and tell me so. Having witnessed his previous behavior I doubt that will happen.

Yes, I agree this is unfair, but that's where it is. Thanks to all who have asked about this. Your comments and suggestions are well taken.

Stay tuned.

More later.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Not So Cavalier

My home telephone service has been disconnected. Unbelievable! What more can these people screw up?

Let me explain.

When I was ordered to vacate my previous living space by 7/15, I called Cavalier on 7/10 to have the service moved to the new apartment. I was told it would take up to 2 weeks to move the service and assured that I could retain the original phone number. I gave the Customer Service Rep the current address and the “move service to” address, which she read back to me for accuracy.

As the two-week mark neared I called again to verify that installation would be taking place and that the tech might require my presence to bring the line into the apartment. This was added to the work order. Two days later, I got a call at work from the technician…and this is when things began to unravel.

The address on his work order was the OLD address - this is the same work order that would have been sent to Verizon – meaning that Verizon had reopened the line at the old address. The tech was certain of all this, and he was right. Rick put in another work order for the new address (which could take another two weeks) and added an escalation request in an attempt to get the line in faster.

Didn’t happen.

During this period I spoke with CS reps: Teena, Pat, Tom, Rennie, Tony, Kevin, Rick, Latania, Bernie, Nina, and Trish. These conversations were preceded by 15 – 30 minutes listening to music and Cavalier’s PR spin, “When it needs to be done right, you can count on us.”

Yeah, right!

In early August, a bill arrived for service from 7/1 to 7/31 for the entire month of which I had only used a third. I made another call, and was told disregard the bill, that I would be sent an updated bill, and that because of the mix up and confusion, the “move service” fee would be waved.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, er’ apartment; I get a cell phone call from Rick, the tech that the line would be fired up on Aug. 11 and that he could run the line into the apartment on Aug. 13 one month and three days after the initial request to move the service. Fortunately, I was off that day and available for access, or to answer any questions.

Rick arrived on time and completed every request. He was finished in less than an hour.

Oh, and the phone number had been changed, but at least I had phone service.

A week later I was on the phone with the billing dept. asking if I was still being billed for the old number, and asked when the updated bill would arrive. CS rep. Carol told me any charges would be combined, that the adjusted bill would arrive soon. She again verified the new address and mailing address.

So, a Cavalier bill arrived this weekend and when I opened it was stunned. Not only was I charged for all of July, but late fees had been added, as well as the “outside move service” fee that I had been assured would be waived due to all the confusion…uh huh. Also, the bill was mailed to the OLD address!!! Hello? Anybody there? Never mind.

I placed a call to Cavalier yesterday morning. After hitting a wall with an automated CS voice (I couldn’t get beyond – do you want to make your payment now? – or you can talk to me as if I was a live Rep. Um, no) I said “CANCEL SERVICE”!!! That did it and I was routed to a real live and mouth-breather, I mean, person. I related the entire epic to which she (Tia) was not terribly responsive, and told me she could knock off the move service fee, but that the two months service and late fees would have to be paid. I asked to speak with a supervisor or I would cancel my service. There were no supervisors available at that hour, she said (8:30 am.?) and I would have to call back later. I told her to send me an updated bill with one month’s service deducted, and without the late fees and I would gladly pay that. She said she couldn’t do that and that she would only deduct the “move service” fee. I told her to send the bill and I would take it up with corporate billing next month.

OK, I arrive home last evening and the service is already turned off. I said that I MIGHT cancel service. By refusing to pay the late fees it seems I have become a bad risk, and I have no recourse.

Anyway, I called Verizon this morning to get new service installed ASAP. I got right through to a very helpful CS rep, Tom, who walked me through the exact plan I wanted and could afford at this time. New service will be installed on 9/18 – FIVE days!!! A far cry from TWO WEEKS. Unlimited local calling service that will cost a little more than half of what I paid for Cavalier. This all took place in less than a half hour.

This melodrama has been nothing short of hell. Hello? Hello? Anybody there? Not at Cavalier.

More later.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What Is It With People...?

What is it with some people from my previous life who feel the need to either ignore me, or have to tell me the latest gossip about that other person from my previous life? I’ll never understand it.

If I must talk about him at all, I try to keep it on a positive level, usually about his talents, his creativity, and his curiosity. If I relate some story from the past it is always one of the many good times and adventures we shared in the three decades we were together.

But it’s over. Done. Finished. Like the Beatles sang: Let It Be!

We’ve gone our separate ways. I haven’t heard from him since shortly after we sold the house in May.

I keep telling people that I am not interested in hearing about him, but they insist on telling me anyway. When this happened at the post office yesterday, I turned on my heels, got into my car and drove away. The person was still talking and clearly didn’t get the message. I’ll probably run into this person again and it will be interesting to find out what they will say of my rudeness. They may pay attention long enough that I can get the message into their thick head.

Note: In an older post where I wrote about the trials and frustrations of my life in turmoil one commenter suggested that I change the avatar to the image of “The Scream” by Edvard Munch. But I found the image above on the Internets Tubes and thought it a bit more appropriate.

I am not a big Simpson's fan, since I don’t have cable and use the box only to watch DVDs and Videos.

More later.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Essay: Delaware History, Caesar Rodney

To borrow Dubya's newest and most favoritest word, there is a kick-ass essay (say that fast five times) over at DKOS detailing the history of the first state, Caesar Rodney, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a whole lot more. It's fascinating, informative, and witty.

Included is a poem about Rodney's overnight ride back to Philadelphia to be present at the signing. Very Paul Reveresque, in a way.

Go and read it, you'll like it. HERE.

More later.

A Progressive Blog for Delaware!

If you're interested in Delaware politics, I urge you to check out "Daily Delaware" and find out what's going on locally and statewide, and about the candidates running, or at least testing the waters for a run in the 2008 elections. This is a netroots blog and while I've only found it a few days ago, I hope to learn a lot over the coming months.

So, if you want to learn more and help change the way business is done in the First State, check out Daily Delaware.

More later.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

An Open Letter...

It's no secret that I am a big fan of John Shelby Spong, the retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark in NJ. I have read most of his books and had the good fortune to know him and his wife. In fact, I was received into the Church by his hands.
I just received the following in an email from a friend and wanted to share it. It's an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury on his upcoming visit to the US to meet with the House of Bishops, and not only does he hit all the right notes, he pretty much smacks down each and every reason Rowan Williams has used to justify the decisions made since his appointment.
Anyway, here's the +Bishop:

Dear Rowan,

I am delighted that you have agreed to meet with the House of Bishops of the American Episcopal Church in September, even if you appear to be unwilling to come alone. It has seemed strange that you, who have had so much to say about the American Church, have not been willing to do so before now. Your office is still honored by Episcopalians in this country, so our bishops will welcome you warmly and politely. We have some amazingly competent men and women in that body, many of whom have not yet met you.

There is clearly an estrangement between that body and you in your role as the Archbishop of Canterbury. I want to share with you my understanding of the sources of that estrangement. First, I believe that most of our senior bishops, including me, were elated, at your appointment by Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair. Most Americans are not aware that yours is an appointed, not an elected position. Those of us who knew you were keenly aware of your intellectual gifts, your openness on all of the great social debates of our generation and indeed of your personal warmth. We also believed that the Lambeth Conference of 1998, presided over by your predecessor, George Carey, had been a disaster that would haunt the Communion for at least a quarter of a century. An assembly of bishops hissing at and treating fellow bishops with whom they disagreed quite rudely, was anything but an example of Christian community. The unwillingness of that hostile majority to listen to the voices of invited gay Christians, their use of the Bible in debate as a weapon to justify prejudice, the almost totalitarian attempt made to manage the press and to prevent access to the wider audience and the dishonest denial of the obvious and blatant homophobia among the bishops made that Lambeth Conference the most disillusioning ecclesiastical gathering I have ever attended. The Church desperately needed new leadership and so many of us greeted your appointment with hope. Your detractors in the evangelical camp both in England and in the third world actively lobbied against your appointment. The hopes of those of us who welcomed your appointment were, however, short lived because in one decision after another you seemed incapable of functioning as the leader the Church wanted and needed.

It began at the moment of your appointment when you wrote a public letter to the other primates assuring them that you would not continue in your enlightened and open engagement with the moral issue of defining and welcoming those Christians who are gay and lesbian.

We all knew where you stood. Your ministry had not been secret. We knew you had been one of the voices that sought to temper the homophobia of your predecessor's rhetoric. We knew of your personal friendship with gay clergy and that you had even knowingly ordained a gay man to the priesthood. You, however, seemed to leap immediately to the conclusion that unity was more important than truth. Perhaps you did not realize that your appointment as the archbishop was because you had different values from those of your predecessor and that your values were exactly what the Church wanted and needed in its new archbishop.

In that letter, in a way that was to me a breathtaking display of ineptitude and moral weakness, you effectively abdicated your leadership role. The message you communicated was that in the service of unity you would surrender to whoever had the loudest public voice.

A leader gets only one chance to make a good first impression and you totally failed that chance. Unity is surely a virtue, but it must be weighed against truth, the Church's primary virtue.

Next came the bizarre episode of the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey John, a known gay priest, to be the area bishop for Reading in the Diocese of Oxford. He was proposed by the Bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries. The nomination was approved by all of the necessary authorities, including you, the Prime Minister and the Queen. The fundamentalists and the evangelicals were predictably severe and anything but charitable or Christian. They and their allies in the press assassinated Jeffrey John's character and made his life miserable. Once again you collapsed in the face of this pressure and, in a four-hour conversation, you forced your friend and mine, Jeffery John, who is not only a brilliant New Testament scholar, but also one who gave you his word that he was living a celibate life, to resign his appointment to that Episcopal office. The message went out for all to hear that if people are angry enough, the Archbishop will always back down. Your leadership, as well as our trust in your integrity, all but disappeared.

Shortly thereafter, you concurred in a "guilt" appointment by naming Jeffrey Dean of St. Alban's Cathedral. It is a strange church and a strange hierarchy that proclaims that a gay man cannot be a bishop but can be a dean. Your credibility suffered once again.

When Gene Robinson in the United States was elected the Bishop of New Hampshire and, more particularly, when his election was confirmed by a concurrent majority of the bishops, priests and lay deputies at the General Convention (read General Synod), you appeared to panic. You called an urgent meeting of the primates of the entire Anglican Communion and allowed them to express enormous hostility. No one seemed to challenge either their use of scripture, which revealed an amazing ignorance of the last 250 years of biblical scholarship, or their understanding of homosexuality. By acting as if homosexuality is a choice made by evil people they violated everything that medical science has discovered about sexual orientation in the last century.

Just as the Church was historically wrong in its treatment of women, so now as a result of your leadership, we are espousing a position about homosexuality that is dated, uninformed, inhumane and frankly embarrassing. No learned person stands there today.

Then you appointed the group, under Robin Eames' chairmanship, that produced the Windsor Report. That report confirmed every mistake you had already made. It asked the American Church to apologize to other parts of the Anglican Communion for its "insensitivity." Can one apologize for trying to end prejudice and oppression? If the issue were slavery, would you ask for an apology to the slave holders? That report got the response it deserved. Our leaders were indeed sorry that others felt hurt, but they were not prepared to apologize for taking a giant step in removing one more killing prejudice from both the Church and the world. Those angry elements of the church were not satisfied by the Windsor report, inept as it was. They never will be until they have bent you and this communion into a pre-modern, hate filled, Bible quoting group of people incapable of embracing the world in which we live.

Next came threats issued by the primates of the excommunication of the American Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion, as if they actually had that power. Ultimatums and deadlines for us to conform to their homophobia were treated by you as if that were appropriate behavior. When the American Church elected Katharine Jefferts-Schori to be its Presiding Bishop and thus the Primate of our Province, your response to that major achievement was pathetic. You did not rejoice that equality had finally been achieved in our struggle against sexism; your concern was about how much more difficult her election would make the life of the Anglican Communion. Once again, institutional peace was made primary to the rising consciousness that challenges what the Church has done to women for so long. When Katharine took her place among the other primates, she underwent with dignity, the refusal of some of those bishops to receive communion with her. Is that the mentality required to build unity?

Later you issued a statement saying that if homosexuals want to be received in the life of the Church, they will have to change their behavior. I found that statement incredible. If you mean they have to change from being homosexual then you are obviously not informed about homosexuality. It is not a choice or a sin, anymore than being left handed, or male or female, or black or even transgender is a choice or a sin. All of us simply awaken to these aspects of our identity. That truth is so elementary and so well documented that only prejudiced eyes can fail to recognize it. No one in intellectual circles today still gives that point of view credibility..

Next you declined to invite Gene Robinson to the Lambeth Conference of 2008. All of the closeted homosexual bishops are invited; the honest one is not invited. I can name the gay bishops who have, during my active career. served in both the Episcopal Church and in the Church of England? I bet you can too. Are you suggesting that dishonesty is a virtue?

You continue to act as if quoting the Bible to undergird a dying prejudice is a legitimate tactic. It is in fact the last resort that religious people always use to validate "tradition" over change. The Bible was quoted to support the Divine Right of Kings in 1215, to oppose Galileo in the 17th century, to oppose Darwin in the 19th century, to support slavery and apartheid in the 19th and 20th centuries, to keep women from being educated, voting and being ordained in the 20th and 21st century. Today it is quoted to continue the oppression and rejection of homosexual people. The Bible has lost each of those battles. It will lose the present battle and you, my friend, will end up on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of morality and the wrong side of truth. It is a genuine tragedy that you, the most intellectually-gifted Archbishop of Canterbury in almost a century, have become so miserable a failure in so short a period of time.

You were appointed to lead, Rowan, not to capitulate to the hysterical anger of those who are locked in the past. For the sake of God and this Church, the time has come for you to do so. I hope you still have that capability.

John Shelby Spong, 8th Bishop of Newark, Retired

More later.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Lazy Saturday

And I believe I deserve it. Having worked many hours (too many) this week, I slept in this morning. Something I almost never do. I’m a morning person and like to get a walk on the boards in before getting errands done.

Well, I had a To-Do list made up for today and planned to do just that, but when I awoke the bed felt so cool and comfortable I decided to roll over and, if not go back to sleep, at least just enjoy the peace and comfort and the luxury of resting. A guilty luxury, but what the hell.

Finally got up at 7:30 (hey, that's two hours later than usual) and made coffee and a light breakfast. Listened to Weekend Edition with Scott Simon and heard (for the umpteenth time in the last 2 weeks) an interview with Alan Weisman, the author of a fascinating new book titled “The World Without Us” which asks what would the world look like if something happened and there were no humans left on the planet. Sounds like an interesting read and since I have read so many sci-fi books about the collapse of civilization in the past (Earth Abides, Canticle for Leibowitz, Alas Babylon, and the like), what he writes makes perfect sense. The authors of the above novels were prophets, that’s for sure. But Weisman has done the scientific research to determine what will “REALLY” happen to the works of man and how long our disappearance will affect the earth. Clicking on the link above will take you to the book site where you can view multimedia slide shows. Since I am on dial-up, I am unable to view them, myself. Poop!

So, anyway, this afternoon I took a walk, sat by the pool and read for a while and am now in the process of making supper.

There’s nothing on my list that can’t get scratched off tomorrow after church. Everything will be open and most tourists are gone. I am rested and ready for another beautiful day.

More later.


Dubya Unleashed

Jeez, he's more embarrassing everyday.

AP: SYDNEY, Australia - President Bush had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day at the Sydney Opera House. He'd only reached the third sentence of Friday's speech to business leaders, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, when he committed his first gaffe.

"Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit," Bush said to Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

Oops. That would be APEC, the annual meeting of leaders from 21 Pacific Rim nations, not OPEC, the cartel of 12 major oil producers.

Bush quickly corrected himself. "APEC summit," he said forcefully, joking that Howard had invited him to the OPEC summit next year (for the record, an impossibility, since neither Australia nor the U.S. are OPEC members).

The president's next goof went uncorrected — by him anyway. Talking about Howard's visit to Iraq last year to thank his country's soldiers serving there, Bush called them "Austrian troops."
That one was fixed for him. Though tapes of the speech clearly show Bush saying "Austrian," the official text released by the White House switched it to "Australian."

Then, speech done, Bush confidently headed out — the wrong way.

He strode away from the lectern on a path that would have sent him over a steep drop. Howard and others redirected the president to center stage, where there were steps leading down to the floor of the theater.

The event had inauspicious beginnings. Bush started 10 minutes late, so that APEC workers could hustle people out of the theater's balcony seating to fill the many empty portions of the main orchestra section below — which is most visible on camera.

Even resettled, the audience remained quiet throughout the president's remarks, applauding only when he was finished.

A logistical glitch added to the woes.

APEC security workers would not allow the members of the media who travel in Bush's motorcade to enter the Opera House along with him. This even though the journalists allowed into the president's entourage are extensively screened and guarded by the Secret Service, which has more stringent security standards than about any operation in the world. And even though they always accompany him into public events.

As a result, while Bush spoke, the traveling media cooled its heels outside the landmark Opera House, shooting pictures and watching boats in the harbor.

More later.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Watching Orwell

This editorial from the NY Times is fascinating - and scary. What I want to know is ---who is watching the watchers?

September 6, 2007

Watching Orwell

It should surprise no one that England’s Special Branch — the police intelligence unit — was watching George Orwell during most of his adult life. It is certainly what Orwell, a student of political paranoia, would have expected.

The file on Orwell, released earlier this week by Britain’s National Archives, is also a testament both to the British sense of convention and a tolerance for eccentricity. According to one sergeant, Orwell’s habit of dressing “in Bohemian fashion,” revealed that the writer was a Communist, a conclusion that will seem strange to anyone who has read “Animal Farm.” Orwell’s file seems to have been rather gently vetted by Britain’s spy agency, MI5, which perhaps understood that a casual dresser is not inevitably an enemy of the state.

This is such an old and forbidding dance, the one between the watchers and the watched. The political life of the past century has been punctuated by one revelation after another, as secret files have been made public, either by legislative fiat or by the accidents of history. The files are nearly always perspicacious — not about the subjects being watched but about the fears of the watchers. This is something Orwell understood perfectly well, how fear enhances perception, but also corrupts it.

There is an obvious irony in Orwell’s being spied on in a way that can only be called Orwellian. That is nearly a universal adjective in these Orwellian days. It’s tempting to say there’s something almost nostalgic about seeing Orwell’s file — a reminder of a less electronic time. Except, of course, that there was nothing nostalgic about the politics of his era. Every age, his as well as ours, seems to live up to its sinister potential.

More later.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Brand New Day!

I sat by the pool yesterday and read, listened to music, and NPR news – as I said I would. The weather was beautiful beyond imagining, and it was easy to relax and savor the moment. I was careful not to burn, but telephone calls from friends in FL, NOLA, and NY almost made me forget the time. So, I am a little pink-ish (how appropriate!) but not burned. It was a wonderful day.

What a difference a day makes…Today was the first day since returning home Labor Day evening that I ventured out and onto the roads. They were empty. Downtown was deserted. It seems the entire community heaved a sigh of relief at having survived another Season.

From reports so far, it was smashingly successful for local businesses. The restaurants are happy with the profits, but glad the busy-ness is beginning to ebb. Pretty soon they will slip into their off-season mode with nightly specials and we locals will emerge from our hidey-holes and move among the living once again. For the next few months we will catch up on our individual lives, share summer stories, and have a laugh about it all.

The Jazz Fest in October, and the Independent Film Festival in November will follow this short respite. Yes, living in a beach resort town has its drawbacks, but also its great rewards.

Soon after the Film Festival ends we are into the holiday season and the tourists will be back to shop.

Getting through those holidays will be another challenge on a personal level, yes just another series of “firsts” that I have to get beyond to move on.

On another note, I finished the last of the three books I assigned myself for summer reading, and it was a doozy. Published in 1932, written by Charles Williams, “The Place of the Lion” was well worth the wait. I had started it as my first book, but quickly knew that it was way too heavy for my scattered mind at the time. Having settled into my new sanctuary however, I was ready to take it on and take it slow so to enjoy the page turning revelations. It was worth the wait. If I continued to read it in my previous living environment, I wouldn’t have survived the experience.

More later.


Monday, September 3, 2007

Is it Over Yet?

At least for me it is... Labor Day Weekend is over. No party invites, no calls at all, actually. I worked most of the weekend and didn’t get to the beach or pool once. But, that’s OK. I’ll spend tomorrow sunning myself– reading, listening to music, or NPR news – sipping on iced green tea and being grateful for the weather Gods and their generosity providing temps in the 80s daily and 60’s over night. I am also reminded of where I was physically and emotionally at this time last year. A stark contrast.

What a delight to have the windows open and a stiff, cool breeze blowing through the apt- - and it’s September!

As most of the tourists left the resort communities this afternoon the roads were jammed with SUVs overstuffed with belongings, souvenirs and small children.

I work 6 miles from home and it took 40 minutes to make the trip this evening. That’s OK, I hope they enjoyed themselves and will return next season. They are our life-blood, after all.

Now that they’ve gone however, we get the town back and the luxury of having a quiet dinner at a local restaurant without worrying about finding a parking space, metered or not; or if we’ll be faced with a table of 10 or more family members with a few disruptive toddlers in tow. Oh, the headaches!!!

And today we learned that the piping plovers have left their nests and that means Cape Henlopen State Park beaches have reopened.

Smells like freedom to me. Hope your Weekend was memorable.

More later.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

Quote of the Day

From Saint Ronald Reagan:

"A moment I've been dreading. George brought his ne'er-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida, the one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work."

-- Ronald Reagan in his
recently published diaries, May 17, 1986.

I think the word "shiftless" pretty much says it all.

More later.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Plan Realized!

To those LOTR fans that have asked, yes, I did finally get my Saturday evening with The Fellowship of the Ring and it was most welcome.

Last Saturday was a half workday for me so I raced home, got all the comfort foods warmed up, (or cooled down) hit the play button and settled in for a great evening and good food.

It’s amazing considering the many times I have viewed the DVD that I still find something new that I missed in previous viewings. That always gives me great joy.

The extended version adds close to an hour to the final film and includes scenes cut from the theatrical version. The three hour theatrical release was enough to make New Line hyperventilate and want to pull hair. They wanted even more cuts, but (thankfully) Jackson refused. Still, he kept the deleted footage from all three films and included it in the extended versions. If you’re not a fan, sorry, but this is one of my passions and has been for 37 years. So, indulge me, please.

The only downside to the evening is that’s when I began to feel the cold coming on and the following week was none too pleasant. But it was a great night with burgers, salad, corn on the cob and finished off with watermelon. That's the most I have eaten in very long time.

Anyway, I survived and look forward to an evening with the Two Towers very soon. That one is the most difficult to watch straight through for so many reasons and on so many levels. However, as we wind down from the summer season and head into autumn, I can foresee a night of that season’s comfort food and the movie on another Saturday evening.

More later.


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