Saturday, September 17, 2005

It's time the Democratic leadership stop being the Chamberlins of American Politics

It's time the Democratic leadership stop being the Neville Chamberlains of American Politics.

It’s time to stop a policy of appeasement, it’s time to play poker, it’s time to have courage.

Gary Hart sounded the call to arms August 24, with his piece titled “Who Will Say 'No More'?”, David Mamet not only echoed that sentiment, but further put forth the issue and problem. The Democrats have no courage, and for that the Republicans have been bullish in getting their agenda accomplished. And sometimes that agenda isn’t always straight forward but gained through misdirection and the backdoor.

I realized the possibility of this two or three years ago when “No Child Left Behind” was signed. Sure I reasoned, this was in answer to parents complaints to accountability and failing schools. But with a majority of states taking a strong stand and imposing their competency tests, why did the federal government need to step in like a 500 lbs gorilla and sit itself right down in the middle of the issue?

It defied everything conservatives said they believed about the roll of the federal government. They wanted less, not more. They wanted to do away with the Dept Education, not give it more power. This was a state issue, and the states were handling it. It didn’t make sense.

It also didn’t make sense because the emphasis on testing and the funds provided contingent on performance insured that teachers would abandon true, flexible and inspired teaching and only teach for the test. This is not only unethical (but a necessary sin because of the pressure) but it truly hurts children.

I disliked “No Child Left Behind” from the start saying on many, many occasions that it was actually leaving more children behind. In private conversations as well as some very public ones with friends, colleagues and publishers in education, all expressed the same consternation. Yes there have been some very public comments from teachers and administrators in love with NCLB, but that’s not what I heard in private.

In my wilder moments I allowed myself to wonder if this weren’t a back door attempt to end the Department of Education.

Fast forward to today.

I decided to begin checking out the AARP blog and messages boards to see what the buzz was there. If they had heard the president’s speech and Friday’s announcement about not raising taxes, then they know what’s coming. I have read a lot of good debate.

In the midst of all that I read conservatives basically dancing with glee over FEMA’s failure. They feel that FEMA had become and entitlement program and that it was intentionally gutted to end it. They seemed to be overjoyed that the people who expected “handouts” from FEMA, got none and now have to depend on themselves.

I didn’t read conservative blogs but my guess it that it rings the same. The point is, that if they feel so bold now as to basically say the gutting is an intentional part of ending these agencies and department then they know these back door guttings are working. I don’t think there is a conservative who felt teary eyed or ashamed by anyone saying “we can’t depend on the government in a time of crisis.” It’s exactly what they want to hear, they want state, local and faith based to handle all of this (actually I think they want the state out of it too, but it begs the question of how these governments and organizations are expected to have enough tents, MREs, medicine etc. and if they are supposed keep a fleet of helicopters, C-130s, high axeled (military) trucks and humvees to get the supplies to the affected areas. There are some things that only the federal government can do)

The federal government as cavalry, who will protect and rescue it’s citizens, is now questioned by the general public. More now believe that they cannot trust their government and must do this all themselves (seriously, I have thought how I would anchor down a cache of canned goods to keep them from being washed into the ocean during a storm surge or tidal wave (there is a possible one from a land slide off the Canary Islands), and the conservatives couldn’t be more happy. The more people cease to believe that FEMA is effective and an agency they can count on, the more irrelevant it becomes, the easier it is to kill.

No, the Republicans didn’t create 9-11 or Hurricane Katrina, but they know how to use them. They know how to raise the ante and seize the initiative. And then like a magician with slight of hand redirect attention so you don’t see exactly what they are doing (like accusing Democrats of politicizing an issue, disaster, etc.).

Now let’s go back to NCLB. Forty-five states are now in open revolt of NCLB; Connecticut is suing and many are saying forget it, they won’t be subject to the draconian testing any more and will do without the money. Schools systems are choosing not to rely on the federal government due to this program. The more schools turn their back on the Department of Education, the more irrelevant it becomes, the easier it is to kill.

Everyone thinks that 45 states in open revolt to NCLB, and the Dept. of Education is a bad thing, “oh what’s the federal government to do?” But the conservatives couldn’t be more happy. It’s exactly what they want, and agency made so hard to deal with, some of it because it's demands are in place and mandated but the funding for those demands is not there, that it’s better to go it alone. Voila, conservatives win!

We now have a huge natural disaster. Given how the Republicans used 9-11 to weaken federal agencies (something conservatives openly admit), and that President Bush says that he will not raise taxes but will cut spending, what other programs and departments will the they gut and make irreclvant? Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, finish off the EPA, housing, health and what ever else their dead* constitution doesn’t deal with. If Democrats don’t find some courage soon, if they don’t start ignoring the empty charges of politicizing, and stop engaging in placating, being little Neville Chamberlains, they will loose, we will loose our children will loose.

No party should be in control of both the legislative and administrative branches of the federal government. Our government was set up to have two party antagonism as a way of making sure the checks and balances work. But how can you have that if one party rules all? George Bush and the neo-cons have been steadily working on a Republican hegemony for the next 20 to 30 years.

The Democrats are supposed to be the opposition party to the Republicans (though if Dr. Dentene would finally get his butt over here and post he will argue that they too have been bought off by cooperate interest) but they have been AWOL (so too has the fourth estate). We need a hero and while Nader tries, the reality is that we are not a parliamentary system, we are a two party system and a third candidate just dilutes the possibility of the antagonist system working to the best of it ability.

The democrats have been hobbled by a vacuum of leadership when Clinton left the white house (the Republicans predicted that, by the way). Now they need to stand up, speak out, have conviction and courage, and most of all be leaders.

God knows the Republicans and the religious right are growing, educating, grooming and working on having a lineage of real leaders for the next 20 to 30 years. They don’t want a vacuum – for the opposition to truly be the opposition and the alternative voice and party, they must step up to the plate. They must be leaders. They must be heroes.


*Dead as opposed to the living constitution the liberals believe in.


More AARP goodies

I'm adding this so disclaimer so that some wing nut doesn't say that I'm calling the Republicans Nazis. I'm not. I'm merely using the comparison to Neville Chamberlain to illustrate a policy of appeasement, that is all.

Friday, September 16, 2005

We may not play poker, but they'd learn all the same

You know, I think we out to invite every Democratic hopeful to gaming clubs and gaming conventions. We may not play poker, but we do have to learn to take and press an advantage.

Poker party, by David Mamet

The military axiom is "he who imposes the terms of the battle imposes the terms of the peace." The gambling equivalent is: "Don't call unless you could raise"; that is, to merely match one's opponent's bet is effective only if it makes the opponent question the caller's motives. And that can only occur if the caller has acted aggressively enough in the past to cause his opponents to wonder if the mere call is a ruse de guerre.

If you are branded as passive, the table will roll right over you — your opponents will steal antes without fear. Why? Because the addicted caller has never exhibited what, in the wider world, is known as courage.

In poker, one must have courage: the courage to bet, to back one's convictions, one's intuitions, one's understanding. There can be no victory without courage. The successful player must be willing to wager on likelihoods. Should he wait for absolutely risk-free certainty, he will win nothing, regardless of the cards he is dealt.

For those that don't know what I am talking about:
http://devel.diplom.org/BostonMassacre/
http://havoc.battlegroupboston.org/
http://www.unitygames.org/
http://www.swa-gaming.org/index.php
http://www.originsgames.com/
http://www.boardgamers.org/


Yeah, I'm a geek, shoot me.

Bush has just taken more Happy Rainbow Pills

Early this morning I read Daily Kos. Bonddad has posted a very though provoking and sensible piece on the economics of Bush's "recovery" plan.

Bush Proposed US' Fiscal Death Last Night
Fri Sep 16th, 2005 at 06:28:23 PDT

Bonddad posted numbers, the "metrics" Bush likes to use. Bush should read them:


Bush started his first term with a massive tax-curt for the rich, arguing that tax cuts in fact pay for themselves. While this didn't work when Reagan tried it in 1981, Bush gave it a second try. First, tax cuts don't increase receipts. In fact they decrease them. According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2000 individual tax receipts (receipts from individual tax payers) totaled 1.004 trillion dollars. Many on the right will scream that I am using a boom year for comparison, so in 1997 and 1998 tax receipts were 737.5 billion and 828.6 billion respectively. For the years 2001-2004, individual receipts were 994 billion, 858 billion, 794 billion and 809 billion, respectively. When you cut taxes, revenues decrease, in this case by 18% from 2001 - 2004. Also note that Bush's tax receipts for 2004 were lower than Clinton's in 1998. As another comparison, individual income taxes as a percentage of GDP decreased over the same time from 9.9% to 7%.

At the same time, Bush decided to engage in a voluntary war. According to a report titled
The Iraq Quagmire, Congress has already authorized total spending of 249.7 billion. According to the Congressional Budget Office, prosecuting the war at current levels would double the federal budget deficit in 10 years. At a time when revenue was decreasing, Bush increased spending on something he didn't need to spend money on.

But the Iraq war was not the only item of spending on Bush's table. Again, according to the CBO, total outlays in 2001 were 1,863.0 trillion. This number increased to 2,292.2 in 2004. Over the same period, total revenues decreased from 1,991.2 in 2001 to 1,880.1 in 2004. In other words, spending increased and revenue decreased. If we take the Iraq figures from above out of the total increases, we still get a net increase of 179.5 billion dollars.




He's right and we are fast heading to a situation we were in during Vietnam. A man born with a sliver spoon in his mouth, who never has known what it's like be poor or middle class, to worry about ones financial future, or where the next mortgage/rent payment is coming from. He is borrowing from our children's future and bankrupting it.

Congress already had a shopping list of programs it wanted to cut the funding to, student loans among them. It's ironic that not only does the "education president" fail to fund his "no-child left behind" program, leading at least 45 states in open revolt this year, but now the key to a better live is being taken out of the hands of those who jumped through all the hoops of his plan.



The Daily Aztec of SDSU put it this way:

(Page 1)
Senate aides are looking to cut funding from federal student loan programs, including the Perkins Loan Program, which could result in a loss of $7 billion in financial aid. Although the House Education Committee voted to preserve the Perkins Loan Program this July, Congress is working on legislation that would decrease aid offered to students in higher education.

With college prices on a continuing upward slope, organizations such as the Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organization have lobbied to Congress on the importance of keeping loans available to students.

"Students have to somehow come up with money for the rising costs of college, and Perkins loans are a low-interest way of doing that," Harrison Wadsworth, the executive director of COHEAO, said. "Students need these funds to finance their education. Nearly 70 percent of financial-aid money comes from the federal government, most of this being in the form of loans, according to www.collegeboard.com.

(page 2)
Qualifications for each loan depend on a student's expected family income, which is determined by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, Collins said.

Loans are granted from a revolving fund in which the university matches the federal portion given. In recent years, however, there have been no additional federal capital contributions, and Congress now wants to pull back the federal portion of funds to relieve the U.S. deficit, Collins said.

"With the help of students and people staffed in higher education," Wadsworth said, "(we) need to let Congress know of the importance of (loans).

"Students need the program."


Our global competitiveness depends on higher education for the masses. Especially since we are moving from an industrial to a tech/communication/service economy. There simply will be fewer and fewer production jobs that provide a living wage, for an under educated public. Further some of our biggest global competitors provide some from of subsidy for higher education. It doesn't seem all that much to make sure loans to students who want to go to higher education be available. (IMO the problem has been enforcing penalties for defaults, if there hasn't been a justifiable waiver. Twenty years ago, I worked with plenty of doctors who defaulted on their student loans. )

But here again governmental myopia dooms us to loose competitiveness in the global arena. Since 9-11 we've made it tougher for many foreign students to get here. Since state universities/colleges charge an arm and a leg for out of state students, a large portion of their revenue dropped. Even in private universities revenue was down due to lack of students. Unable to cover the tab, they did what other businesses do, they past the cost on to the buyer, in this case, the student.

Will the lack of loans to pay cause more students to stay "home?" Will the loss of students cause faculty and staff to be cut? will the gap between the wealthy and the poor grow wider?

Now when we are faced with rebuilding the gulf cost, when many would gladly give back their little over a $1.00 a day tax rebate (and please tell me, what kind of "conservative " spends/refunds the rainy day fund? Couldn't all that money have helped here? What kind of "conservative" doesn't save for the future in case something dire happens? That includes a "conservative" government. Did they just think they were going to roll lucky 7s all the time? Sorry Grandma and Grandpa but your conservatism is gone.), people saying that they understand that a tax hike may be necessary because oh, they've balanced a freaking check book before, what does our presnut say? Bush Rules Out Tax Hike to Fund Recovery

So where, almighty Kreskin, is this money going to come from? Cutting spending for domestic programs most probably, while leaving his unnecessary war in Iraq alone. I'm reminded of the ad during the Vietnam war that had several people sitting around a table waiting to get a piece of pie. Children, the disabled, the poor, etc. all got the tiniest sliver of pie, then what was left, a huge piece of pie, was given to the guy at the head of the table who was wearing a military uniform.

We need to find and bring back that add.

But then there is this little jewel in the AP article:
Bush said he was confident the United States could pay for reconstruction "and our other priorities."

"I means we're going to have to make sure we cut unnecessary spending. It's going to mean that we maintain economic growth and we should not raise taxes," he said.


Hey, your little war in Iraq was never one of my priorities. This nation is one of my priorities, so maybe was an cut some unnecessary spending by ending our occupation and the trillions of dollars that go with it. I know it's hard but it's been done before, Great Britain had to do it after WWII.

It's either that of coming to the check book realization that Bush has got to raise taxes. If not I really fear for my country and the economic suicide Bush will place us on. The one bright spot is that we may be able to finally find the drug he's on that removes the reality means and makes him believe he's super man and can do it all. I'd like to have those happy rainbow bright, the world is fine, and the ship's not sinking pills when the economy tanks due to the course Bush seems intent to put us on.

And this just in, "To be president for both 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina, Bush is a lucky guy"

This is a hard read, but it is a MUST read:

'It Was as if All of Us Were Already Pronounced Dead'
Convention Center Left a Five-Day Legacy of Chaos and Violence
By Wil Haygood and Ann Scott TysonWashington Post Staff WritersThursday, September 15, 2005; Page A01
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/14/AR2005091402655.html


page 1
But even without those numbers, what happened in the convention center stands as a harsh indictment of government's failure to help its citizens when they needed it most. That futility was symbolized by the presence in the convention center for three of the most chaotic days of at least 250 armed troops from the Louisiana National Guard. They were camped out in a huge exhibition hall separated from the crowd by a wall, and used their trucks as a barricade when they were afraid the crowd would break in.

The troops were never deployed to restore order and eventually withdrew, despite the pleas of the convention center's management. Louisiana Guard commanders said their units' mission was not to secure the facility, and soldiers on the scene feared inciting further bloodshed if they had intervened. "We didn't want another Kent State," said Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honore, commander of the active-duty military forces responding to Katrina. "They weren't trained for crowd control."


page 5
A Jefferson Parish police deputy had appealed to SWAT team Capt. Jeff Winn for help in bringing out his wife and a female relative from the center. "He knew they were there and was hearing nightmarish stories," said Ganthier, who declined to identify the officer for security reasons.

Winn approved the mission.

When the SWAT team entered at 11 a.m., the Jefferson Parish officer called out his wife's name. She heard him, and along with the relative rushed to his side. The SWAT team put the women in the middle of the team, then backed out the door.

Once it became clear that the SWAT team had come with the single goal of rescuing two white women, anger exploded.

"Racists!" one man cried out.

"Some people were upset we weren't rescuing them," said Ganthier. "It's hard to leave people behind like that, but we were aiding an officer."

The article details utter inhumanity and desperation that existed in the Convention Center. Also tonight after finally listening to the presidents speech I heard Sean Hannity wax with envy. He said that Bush is lucky (as in fortunate) to have been president during 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina. When called on it by the usually quiet, liberal token window dressing, Combs, Hannity qualified his statement saying that he meant that George Bush was lucky because he could do something about it. Yeah, Freud we know what you really think. And how did Hannity think all of Bush's proposals were going to be paid for? Why more tax cuts of course, to grow the economy. Except that in reality not much has been trickling down (there are more in poverty now than when Bush took office the first time). Trickle down seems to be "outsourced" too.

I know that the president "talks" about providing education and assistance for education for those who have been displaced. But his party is already talking about cutting money out of student loans.

This is truly "Voodoo Economics" maybe it's apropos that this is all swirling around NOLA.

Many on Larry King Live, liberal and conservative, believe that we will just borrow more money. With such a high deficit already this places the futures of my children and someday, grandchildren in jeopardy.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Michael Brown and Mitt Romney

NYTimes has an interview with former FEMA Director Micheal Brown NY Times
I actually have a tape of the interview, to listen click here.

The interview was really stunning

"Mr. Brown said that in one much-publicized gaffe - his repeated statement on live television on Thursday night, Sept. 1, that he had just learned that day of thousands of people at New Orleans's convention center without food or water - "I just absolutely misspoke." In fact, he said, he learned about the evacuees there from the first media reports more than 24 hours earlier, but the reports conflicted with information from local authorities and he had no staff on the site until Thursday. "

Okay, so you "absolutley misspoke" several times to several different reports, networks, and anchors?

Fool me once . . .


The rest was as reported on Americablog

Some day soon I will post my thoughts on Mitt, the Git, Romney, but I need to go study. For now here's the link to the Boston Globe article
and Americablog's take.

Were Africans smarter than their white ensalvers?

In light of the assertions that race was a deciding factor in hurricane relief and rescue efforts went searching for a book in my book case. The book "Two Nations; Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal" by Andrew Hacker, was published in 1992 and at the time created quite a stir. I'm re-reading, how much has changed and how much has stayed the same?

Was hurricane response and rescue determined by race, did race have a hand in it? Was it really due to class differences, and a contempt of the poor no matter the race? Was it blue state versus red state politics? Or was it a combination of all of these issues?

Some where in all this thought and debate my mind went off in a different direction. "Was the African and black slave actually smarter than the whites who marginalized, enslaved and imprisoned them?"

My question was raised and debated inside my head because of what we now know about the brain. For instance, we know that for a child be able to walk correctly they must be allowed the crawl as infants. That crawling helps "wire" the brain to walk. "Wiring" the brain or brain development, for physical, emotions and intelligence also happens through movement in the first few months, years of life. The swaying of a care giver holding an infant helps in brain development. Infants in intensive care are often rocked and an incubator with a mildly rocking bed was invented. We now know that movement, which is innate, (you automatically rock a child when they are crying) is terribly important to childhood development.

Back in the 1960's two Peace Corps volunteers came back to Colorado. They had served in Africa and had noticed something about the way African mothers cared for their infants, they carried them with them where ever they went, whatever work they had to do. They carried their children with them by placing them in a shawl and then tied it around them. She observed how these mothers and babies interacted, and how calm and secure these babies were.

This was far different than the rather sterile western environment of the infant, mother relationship in the west. "Don't pick babies up often or carry them much, you'll spoil them," was what mothers heard from their own mothers, their family and doctors. These mythes were also perpetuated by leading doctors may have come from the wealthy or aristocratic classes in Europe and then America because it's hard to see how a European peasant woman would not go with the practical side of carrying her baby with her. The rising European middle class may have seen this as “what poor folk do” and in an attempt to emulate the rich aristicratic class, they may have discontinued its use.

Since Africans held their babies in shawls, this allowed infants to experience continual movement, so necessary for development. While white Europeans and Americans did not value this, possibly feeling instead that it was something the poor trash, heathens or slaves did, and spoiling besides) is it possible that all else being equal (nutrition, etc.) Africans were smarter than those who enslaved them? At least in Africa?

The argument that if they were smarter they wouldn’t have been enslaved doesn’t work either. Many smart people died in Nazi concentration camps and gas chambers.

It also is an argument for evolution. Infant monkeys and apes hold on to their mothers constantly (grasping is an automatic reflex in a human baby). If we are related, if we humans are primates, than the constant swaying of the mother while the babies hold on, wires ape and monkey brains too. And I believe research has shown that.

Why would the wiring similarities be there if we weren’t related?

I think I’ll go have a banana.

I knew about Snuglis in the 1970 and bought one in 1984, for my first child. And used that same Snugli for all my children. It is quite different than the Snuglis of today.
I do believe in evolution and in God.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/03/06/national/main276664.shtml
http://invention.smithsonian.org/centerpieces/ilives/annmoore/annmoore.html

Clytemnestra will become a team blog

Two days ago I invited several to make this a team blog. Several have agreed. Though the name Clytemnestra will be changed to "The Polis" .. I think

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hypocrisy and the Right

Republicans let's go back in time for a moment. Remember way back during the Clinton years when one of the cigarette companies began to collect donations and help feed the poor during Thanksgiving and Christmas?

The left cried "foul!" They said that this wasn't really sincere, all it was was image reshaping and PR. After all the cigarette companies had a massive public perception problem after it was learned that they not only knew their product was addictive but that they had increased it's addictiveness with additives.

You said, "Who cares if it's sincere, just as long as the needy are being fed!"

I actually agreed, setting aside my own feelings about cigarette companies I realized the more important issue of feeding people. Yes they may feel indebted to the company and try their product, but then that's our fault for failing to educate.

Never reject or dismiss a good deed or an act of charity.

Fast forward to hurricane Katrina. Sean Penn arrived in the stricken city of New Orleans, with a boat and began rescuing people, getting out in the muck and foul water himself.

For that he and other celebrities have been savaged for " using Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to bash President Bush or "seek publicity for themselves." Well, even if that was the case, which I don't believe it was, the more important issue is that he was rescuing people and probably saving their lives. And they all were there to help.

It may not have been sincere or for the "right" reasons but, who cares ?!!! More important needs and issues were being served.

Stop the hypocrisy! Measure Sean and other celebrities like him, with the same yard stick you measured the charitable work of the cigarette company.

Then sit down and shut up!

By the way, neither Sean nor the other celebrities needed to do anything to make the president look bad. "W" was doing a fantastic job of that all on his own. (that's what happens when you surround yourself with "yes men")

http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,17336,00.html?tnews

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Gretna, LA media show

I wasn't going to post any more today. Just let the post of about my sister's birthday stand alone. That was until I saw a CBS interview with the Chief of Police in Gretna, Louisiana. (you can see it on CBS video Turning Away Evacuees" ). It's more exposure on the story, many in the press and bloggers have had for days now.

My first outrage came as I looked at the back drop behind the police chief, single level or small shanty type homes that might give the appearance that Gretna is poor and had nothing to offer. Though I have never been to Gretna, I knew from prior research that this probably wasn't the case. So I went looking with the help of google, Gretna though small, has 3 country clubs and 2 college/universities. It is not poor (outrage 2).

To the Gretna Police Chief:

No water? Seems to me that all those stores that were closed, since your city evacuated, might just have a bunch of bottled water. Yes, breaking into a store is against the law, but law without mercy is tyranny. You could have gotten the water and given it to those you knew were thirsty, you could have gotten the food and given it to the hungry, the sick and the dying.

Even if you could not provide shelter (and I've looked at the map of Gretna, so I find that doubtful) you knew enough about the situation in NOLA to know that those sick, filthy, hungry, thirsty, dying, disparate people would be heading for the bridge. Yes, you had a responsibility to the people of Gretna to protect their lives and property. And they are NOLA residents and tourists and not your responsibility, right?

But what about your responsibility as a human being? These were your brothers and sisters, your fellow Americans, they wanted to escape their hell, they wanted food and water. At the very least you could have given them food and water. I wonder where Jesus would have stood on the bridge that day.

You added to their suffering.

The reason I gave a tip of the hat to State Senator Walter J. Boasso (R) is that he did what you failed to do. You could have used your authority to give aid to those people who were in real need, as Boasso did.

To CBS: Bravo for reporting it, but shame on you for allowing the backdrop, without showing the rest of Gretna.

To Fox's Geraldo and Shepard Smith: Bravo for your reports and pleas to allow these people to walk over the bridge and telling the US what was really happening. It is the confirmation of this story needed to keep it from being the ravings of someone certain Americans and the government can marginalize.

Today is my sister's birthday

Yes, 40 years ago today, long before 9-11 meant something horrible, my little sister was born. Six years before her birth my cousin was born on 9-11. This day, for my family, has meant life.

The worst thing that happened before 9-11 became 9-11, was a traffic accident I had on my sister's 15th birthday. A guy so drunk and high that he actually got kicked out of a stipper bar walked across 3 lanes of traffic on a major throughfare and into a car heading east. He then fell into my lane and I couldn't stop in time, I drove over him. So did three other cars behind me. He died. I was 18, I'm now 43 and it still haunts me.

I apologized to her for ruining her birthday, as if I could have done anything to stop that series of events. I just wanted to let her know that I felt bad that her day had been made so painful. On 9-11-2001 I called her again to tell her I was sorry that her birthday had been made so painful. Again, as if I could have done anything to stop the series of events that were transpiring on our tv screens. I was in Boston, she 2,000 miles away.

Now she won't even tell anyone when her birthdate is, for every time she does she get's the same sorrowful reaction.

When we were kids we used to envy the girl next door, she was born on July 4th. Her birthdays always seemed magical, like the whole country was celebrating just for her. How sad it is then to have your birthday on a day when the nation weeps.

I sent her a box of Godiva Chocolates this year. I figured they would help "40" go down easier. But as luck would have it, I didn't know she was leaving for a vacation 3 days prior to her birthday. The box of chocolates now sits with my mother, waiting my sister's return. Where did she go for her vacation? Why Florida, of course!

I've been watching Ophelia make all it's twists and turns. Now that it won't hit Florida, if it doesn't hit the Carolinas it may hit us! http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at1+shtml/144640.shtml?3day

This blog won't always be for politics.

For today, as I remember with other Americans the horror of this day, and the lives lost, I will also think of my sister and all the lives that begin today. And after my tears and reflections, I will celebrate, the living deserve that too, and I won't give that to the terrorists.

Tribute to the victims of 9-11 http://www.cantcryhardenough.com
Blue Man Group's tribute http://www.exhibit13.com/
Muslim tribute to 9-11 in music! http://thisisislam.islamacademy.com/
Listing of all those who lost their lives 9-11-2001
http://www.legacy.com/dallasmorningnews/Sept11.asp

If there are more musical tributes on the web please let me know in the comment section. Thanks


The Paradox of Our Time
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment;
more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve split the atom, but not
conquered our prejudice. We write more, but learn less.

We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.

These are the times of fast food and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profit, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.

These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or just hit delete.

George Carlin