Tag Archives: Originally Posted at NC Mountain Dreams

These posts were originally posted at my first blog…In cleaning up an refocusing that site I am moving these posts here. The original dates are preserved.

Sunday, December 24

A cool and sunny Christmas Eve morning coffee muses.

The trees this morning are filled with small cheeping birds.

There is now a carpet of brown leaves and needles covering a large portion of the still mostly green grass.

No breeze is stirring this morning to add to the chill.

We are in full winter landscape mode. Leaves will stay on the ground. Winter’s weeds will be allowed to grow. The birds will own the yard turned meadow for the winter.

The first train of the morning is whistling it’s way thru the crossings.

“Railroad crossing look out for the cars, can you spell that without any “r’s”?” It was something my dad repeated every time we drove across a railroad tracks. The answer to the riddle was t h a t… to this day I think of dad whenever I pass a crossing sign.

One thing I notice each year at this time is how much closer the bypass is once the leaves start falling. There are a number of leafy barriers between my house and the highway. But, come winter, the leafy part falls away and the sounds of traffic become much more distracting. And it happens all of a sudden.

It was thirteen years ago today that we had our Christmas Miracle, so in honor of that day I’ll close with this…

Merry Christmas to all…

My House, Christmas Day 2004
My House, Christmas Day 2004

 

Torture and Terror, Un-American Activities

I was sitting at the kitchen table going through my morning emails, reading the blogs I keep up with and generally doing what I do during the quiet of a Saturday morn when after checking out Fragments I started running Fred’s link list. Basically, I was looking for some new voices on what was happening in the world.

The voice that resonated this morning is from Chris Clarke of Creek Running North. His essay from yesterday about the latest fiasco our “elected” representatives have gotten into was entitled “I am an enemy combatant”.Chris is just one of the multitude of voices beginning to rise up out here in the real world, and he has a very eloquent way of putting the common outrage being felt by at least half of this country’s citizens.

For all its manifold faults, for all its history steeped in racism and genocide, for all its wars of empire and Know-Nothingheritage, this country was manifestly founded on the notion that a just government bases its authority in the consent of the governed. Now the Bush administration has declared that the interests of this country are coincident with, and limited to, the short-term interests of the administration and its corporate backers, and the most basic, most essential Constitutional rights of the citizenry be damned, not by the odious exceptionalism of privilege that marred this country’s history, but across the board. All of us are three-fifths of a person now, granted the privilege of full protection only if we do nothing that requires protection, unless we are unlucky enough to be falsely accused. And I withdraw my consent.

It is a slippery slope that this administration and this congress have started us down. At some point the slide is going to get out of control. Who will have their hand on the button when this slide careens into the chasm at the bottom? We all know what the button controls, the biggest stockpile of wmd’s this old world has ever seen. And a petulant, spoiled child seems to have the button…Does that thought make you feel safe and comforted?

One of the commenters on Chris’s site, Alice, had this to say about his post…

The past few days, I’ve been pondering the quotation “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just”, even as I worry whether a God that I don’t believe in will care if I don’t observe Yom Kippur. Your post impelled me to google the quotation, which tells me (a) that it’s from Thomas Jefferson’s denunciation of slavery in 1785; and (b) that a lot of other folks are also pondering this, in the context of this latest assault on the principles underlying the founding of our country.

Of all of the fool things George W has done since he moved into the real world of international bull-in-the-china-shop, “I am the Decider” self indulgence, setting himself up to lead this country into a dictatorship has got to be the ultimate. And all because he needed that gold-plated “Get out of Jail Free” card. Can’t depend on the Republican congress coming back to keep all of the investigations shut down. Can’t take a chance the Democrats may take over the House and actually, you know, start doing the oversite that the Constitution mandates Congress do. Hell, if the democracy should actually spring up in America, you never know what might happen, George W and Dick may find themselves extradited to the Netherlands to face a jury of their peers…right?

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…Torture is Torture, America does not make it a policy to torture. As Chris said, we do not have a perfect record, but as a rule we try. Now the rule will be that you can, and we have all seen were that can get you. Does anyone in Washington remember Abu Ghraib?When you make it a policy to allow torture, torture happens. When you give the President the right to imprison people, does anyone want to bet it won’t happen?

As this debate played out in the halls of Congress, I had faith that somehow this Congress would find it’s (pardon the loss of a better word) balls to stand up to the Dick and George Show and remember what it was they swore an oath to protect. Sure, I’ve heard all of the arguments about this only applies to non-citizens, but so what. I am already being lumped in with the terrorists because I don’t feel that George W and crew have kept me safe without destroying the very things that make us American.

How long will it be before my rights of citizenship depend upon mykowtowing to the ruling party?

Crossposted at Blues From the Red Side of Life

Ann Richards

A great lady who preceded the mess we had with Gov. G W Bush died last week. Molly Ivins remembers a thing or two in her latest column. Go have a read…

Creators.com – Creators Syndicate: “At a long-ago political do at Scholz Garten in Austin, everybody who was anybody was there meetin’ and greetin’ at a furious pace. A group of us got the tired feet and went to lean our butts against a table at the back wall of the bar. Perched like birds in a row were Bob Bullock, then state comptroller, moi, Charles Miles, the head of Bullock’s personnel department, and Ms. Ann Richards. Bullock, 20 years in Texas politics, knew every sorry, no good sumbitch in the entire state. Some old racist judge from East Texas came up to him, ‘Bob, my boy, how are you?’

Bullock said, ‘Judge, I’d like you to meet my friends: This is Molly Ivins with the Texas Observer.’

The judge peered up at me and said, ‘How yew, little lady?’

Bullock, ‘And this is Charles Miles, the head of my personnel department.’ Miles, who is black, stuck out his hand, and the judge got an expression on his face as though he had just stepped into a fresh cowpie. He reached out and touched Charlie’s palm with one finger, while turning eagerly to the pretty, blonde, blue-eyed Ann Richards. ‘And who is this lovely lady?’

Ann beamed and replied, ‘I am Mrs. Miles.’ “

Ann Richards was the best Governor the state of Texas has had in my limited memory. Sadly, we will never know how well she governed because the Bush Team has spent the past decade undoing her work. Rest In Peace Madam Governor…

The False Hope of Biofuels

I know we are all holding out great hopes for biofuels, but these nagging pieces keep showing up in the papers…

The False Hope of Biofuels: “Biofuels such as ethanol made from corn, sugar cane, switchgrass and other crops are being touted as a ‘green’ solution for a large part of America’s transportation problem. Auto manufacturers, Midwest corn farmers and politicians are excited about ethanol. Initially, we, too, were excited about biofuels: no net carbon dioxide emissions, reduction of oil imports. Who wouldn’t be enthusiastic?But as we’ve looked at biofuels more closely, we’ve concluded that they’re not a practical long-term solution to our need for transport fuels. Even if all of the 300 million acres (500,000 square miles) of currently harvested U.S. cropland produced ethanol, it wouldn’t supply all of the gasoline and diesel fuel we now burn for transport, and it would supply only about half of the needs for the year 2025. And the effects on land and agriculture would be devastating.”

Everyone “knows” we need to break our dependence on imported fuel…Hell, even the President has finally acknowledged we have an addiction problem. But, I don’t think it’s so much a fuel problem as a problem of perspective. If we were to actually see what the real costs of products and goods were, we might have a good reason to begin to change our dependence.
The way America works, we hide the costs with subsidies. If we do not actually “know” what an item really costs how can we make an informed choice when it comes to the purchases we make?
It seems to me this is the root of the conversation that has been going back and forth between Michael Pollan and Whole Foods Market founder, John Mzckey…

An Open Letter to Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan’s new book The Omnivore’s Dilemma has been near the top of the best seller’s list since it was published in April, and it deserves to be. This is mostly an excellent book which I strongly recommend people read, along with Peter Singer and Jim Mason’s new book The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter. Both books are real wakeup calls about how our food is being produced in the United States today, and how our food choices potentially can make a positive difference in the world… came away from my dialog with him convinced that we will likely become proactive allies working together in our joint quest to reform ‘industrial agriculture.’ I only wish we had met and had this productive dialog before he wrote his book. Unfortunately we didn’t and as result many misunderstandings are now circulating about Whole Foods Market as a result of his book and recent interviews. This letter is an attempt to address those misunderstandings.

The back and forth between these two men seems to have led in the last week or so to Whole Food Market articulating some policies that they probably thought were already in place. I personally think the entire dialog will lead to a better model idistributionubution.