Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays?

Even though my heart and spirit are so heavy and troubled this holiday season, I do want to send to all greetings and prayers.  We will be needing them, it seems.  No matter what you celebrate, believe, or not believe, we ALL need to believe in common humanity and the need for PEACE!  And that is certainly a large part of the message of the holiday season.

And as Steven W. Thrasher wrote - 'hold you loved ones close.'  Of course, my kitty thinks that includes pets, too! I certainly concur with that!!!

So let us  all, human and animal conpanions, send good wishes and vibes for the entire planet.

 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Whose America Is It?

Greetings again, dear readers --- at least I hope there are some out there.  Today is a "two-fer", so be sure to also check out the blog post immediately following this one.  And PLEASE, don't be shy;! I'd love to hear from you.

So much of the current political climate is distressing. There are those pledging resistance and that is a small spot of hope.  We will need all of that - and more.  Concerning to me (and hopefully to all of Goodwill) are those on the alt-right who suggest America belongs to white men.  And there was something else I had noticed, headlines and phrases such as *********'s America (I refuse to use the nutjob's name) caused me to write to a couple of editors about denying him the brand and that it was---- MY AMERICA, TOO!

All of that finally led to the following poem.  Hope you enjoy it.  I could use some encouragement here.

Whose America Is It?

Whose America is it?
A question I must ponder today
As I wonder how there can be some myopic individuals
Who suggest America belongs to white men
My reply to that suggestion must, of course be, “Wrong!”
It is my country, too,
The land of this proudly mixed-race woman,
Who is absolutely American
Born here
Studied here, taught here
Still living here
In the home my Father built
On the land my Mother bought
It is the country of my extended family,
Generations increasingly shaded by diverse ethnicities
It is the country of the people I meet
Regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual identity or preference
For aren’t we all neighbors,
As a Biblical parable explained?
It is historically a country built by and defended by hands of many colors
Despite hurdles placed in the way
Or humiliations so often endured
Surely a testament of attachment and belonging

Instead of exclusionary arrogance
All should heed the wise thought
Of a certain President Truman
Who told us being an American
Means you believe all men (and I will add ‘women’ here)
Are created free and equal
And isn’t it common knowledge that all means all
And not just some?

Open eyes, open ears,
Open minds, open hearts
Must lead the way
Then, and only then, can we
Follow examples of bridge-builders
Applaud trailblazers who opened doors for others,
And reveal the beauty in Dr. King’s Dream
The vision of just who is American should be broadened,
For as the country has grown geographically over centuries
Its heart must also expand,
Sending pulses throughout an ever more inclusive cultural landscape
As we realize that America belongs to all of us
And to America we all belong,
Each of us playing a part
In the continuing story of “We, the People.”



And PLEASE, if you find this or any post here valuable, comment and/or share.  Thanks!







NOOOOOO, Not AGAIN?

Greetings.  It just happened so recently:  I saw something I either hadn't noticed or seen before.  By now most of you must have heard of the animated movie Sing! or maybe have even seen it.  I really didn't pay much attention until I saw that image... A GORILLA!  And it immediately hit me as a very racist image.  So I then KNEW what my next blog post would be.

So while looking online for a link to let you look up the image, I found this post, and it's even worse than I thought.  The whole story line about this character is racially insensitive.  I'm dumbstruck.  What year is this?  Why do we have to continually contend with this stuff?  It's not even the first time I've written about such racist images here - check out the related posts if you haven't already.

All people of Goodwill need to stand up against this. We need to be aware of such things and speak out against them ---- and NOT patronize the brand or the offering.

And if this or any post is of  value to you, please comment and/or share. Thanks!

Related Posts:



Saturday, December 3, 2016

Three R's

Greetings again - and I HOPE there are readers out there!

It's been hard since the election to write.  Even blogging, I haven't really known exactly what to write next.  There have been so many dissections, but the result has made my heart and spirit very uneasy as I mentioned.

I don't know if you'd still call this a "dissection", but here are some reflections which I developed after the idea of "Three R's" just popped into my head (along with something else which I'll mention later).

I feel going forward we need to think in terms of Three R's: Resist, Remedy, Renew.

  • Resist.   As I mentioned in Seek a Just Unity, I am very wary of any normalization of or accommodating the incoming "so-called" administration.  Accommodating a leader with authoritarian tendencies usually is a disaster. Further, so many also feel that this nutjob's picks for his cabinet are uniformly disastrous.  We need to recognize the dangers posed to folks' health, liberties, even lives and Planet Earth itself.  You might wish to read another great piece by Steven W. Thrasher . Resistance and pushback will be crucial.  You can support organizations such as the ACLU or Planned Parenthood who are fighting for rights and liberties.  Folks are standing up against corporate aggression, for First Amendment right to protest, for Indigenous Rights, and for the environment by supporting  the Standing Rock #NoDAPL protests in various ways.  For example, many folks are pulling accounts from banks who are helping to finance this nefarious project.  We must also fight against things such as religious or racial profiling.  The Intercept has a new article detailing the response of 9 tech companies to the question:  Would [name of company], if solicited by the Trump administration, sell any goods, services, information, or consulting of any kind to help facilitate the creation of a national Muslim registry, a project which has been floated tentatively by the president-elect’s transition team?” (Only one said no, and if you haven't heard, I won't spoil things;  please check out the article).  Might it be a good idea to contact some of these companies - those listed in the article and also others - and let them know what a horrible idea this registry (or any such thing) is?  I'm sure you can think of or find other suggestions - and it's great to share them.
  • Remedy.  The Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., President and CEO of Hip Hop Caucus, said in an panel discussion on one of the C-Spans, that the ultimate goal must be legislation and policy formation to really affect change.  So we need to advocate for legislation and policy decisions that will benefit "We, The People" - from local concerns up through national and global ones.  We need to make sure leaders and officials are accountable and hold their feet to the fire in an attempt to get us on a more progressive, positive course.
  • Renew.  We MUST renew our commitment to Dr. King's Dream.  We MUST renew our commitment to making the "American Dream" more attainable for more people.  We MUST renew (or in some cases, begin to form) our recognition of our common humanity; that MUST overshadow tribalism. We MUST renew our commitment to our Planet (you'd think that would be obvious, but for some folks - notably that notorious nutjob - it isn't!).  Long term, we MUST get more and more folks on board. That's very hard to do now in this poisonous political climate, but we MUST find ways, great and small, to reach folks.

Would love to hear from any of you. Please share your thoughts in comments.  I really put some effort into this and it's been lonely lately.

Oh and I did say I'd mention something else that popped into my head around the same time as the idea of  "Three R's."  How about some music - say, a song I I hadn't thought of for quite some time?  Well, here are the lyrics, anyway; I tried to find a video, but it seemed most had poor sound quality, so I'll just give this:




And as always, if you find this post or any post here of value, please comment and/or share. Thanks!

Related Post:

Seek a Just Unity



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Nightmare is Continuing...

Greetings again... Hello... I notice I actually have a subscriber - well , bless you and don't be shy! Would always love to get a comment!
 
My heart and spirit have been so heavy since the election.  How can I describe the dismay over the election of this ---- yes, nutjob.  I hope I can still say that.  Some might say it's not respectful.  But here's a person who has shown he has NO respect for our Constitution and the civil liberties supposedly enshrined in it.  Here's a person who has also shown he as NO respect for many of his fellow human beings.  So my feeling is: how can I "respect" someone such as that?

If you've been paying attention, his nominees are indescribably bad. One of his latest nominees is Ms. DeVos, whose "efforts over the years have done more to undermine public education than support students," according to NEA President Lily Garcia.  Read about this travesty of a nomination and how she didn't even deny "buying influence."  in this article from commondreams.

Then there's the brutality of the tactics against protesters of the DAPL led by the Standing Rock Sioux.  These are peaceful protesters and yet, they have been met with horrible tactics of militarized policing.  The latest incident left a woman in danger of losing her arm.  Please read about this and her father's reaction.  

The nightmare part is that things are likely to get even worse with the "incoming administration."  From the article:  "While he ran a populist candidacy, Trump is building a cabinet for the 1%. If his history of dealing with protests is any indication, he’ll protect their interests – his interests – by force" 

In addition to news stories, commondreams also has op-ed or "views" articles which are often quite good.  This one, by Deborah S. Rogers is very good .  If there were ever a time for solidarity, this is it.

So, don't forget: you too, can subscribe to this blog and get posts by e-mail.  Look for that signup gadget in the navbar on right - or wherever it might be in a mobile set up.  And let me hear from you.  I really am in need of some encouragement to keep going here.  I work very hard to create good posts, and would love some interaction!

P. S.  

I seemed to have a time getting the text to flow around the graphic as I wanted.  When I checked it seemed to read ok.  Let me know if anyone has any problem with the graphic coveringn part of the text... thanks. 

Again, if you find this post - or any post here - of any value, please comment and/or share.  Thanks!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Open Memo Re: Pence at Hamilton

Hello - anyone out there?

I'm sure most of you have seen or heard of the visit paid by Mike Pence to the show Hamilton on Friday night and the lecture given on behalf of the cast.  WOW!  And a certain so-and-so had the NERVE to call it "harassment!" If you haven't seen this or would like a refresher, here are two good articles:

First: a report from the bbcSecond: this is a really neat article .  

Now my Memo:

Memo Re: Pence's Visit to Broadway Show Hamilton

To: DJT:  Sorry, but you are shameful, so I won't use your name.  Speaking truth to power is NOT harassment.  It is what a little thing called DEMOCRACY  is all about.  Remember the U. S. is supposed to be about "We, the People" - that is, ALL OF US.

To: Mike Pence: First, you should realize how lucky you were to even have seen this show.  Second, I echo the thanks given you for staying and listening to the cast's open letter.  Third, I hope you will now think on this and follow the example of Jock Semple.  He tried to throw Katherine Switzer out of the 1967 Boston Marathon - and was against women competing in it.   But he later supported women in the race and he and Switzer actually became friendly.  I think there are some lessons in that story - one might be support opportunities for others, don't oppose them! Feel free to read a reminiscence by Switzer hereAnd here is Semple's Wikipedia page.

To: Brandon Dixon and the cast of Hamilton:  Thank you for speaking truth to power so eloquently, powerfully, civilly, and respectfully.  That's the sort of discourse the U. S. needs.  Indeed, let us keep spreading your message.

And please, if you find this post or any post here of value, please comment and/or share.  Thank you!


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Post at Daisies and Diamonds

So greetings again.  I just put up a new post at my other blog, Daisies and Diamonds.  There's a link to the blog in the link list in the navbar at right (or wherever in mobile - I have  no idea!)

It's a new poem and I thought some of you who visit here might also enjoy it.  I hope you will check it out.  It would be nice to get some views there that are from actual human beings.  And of course, comments are always welcome!

To check out the poem go to this link:  Harmony, Healing, Hope .

And as always, if you find this post - or any post of value - on either site, please comment and/or share.  Thanks!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Seek a Just Unity

Greetings again all.  I'm not sure I'm over the election results yet.  My mind and spirit are still quite troubled.  One of the things the author of a 'views' piece at commondreams warned about was "normalizing" this dangerous (can I still say "nutjob"?) so and so.  Well that is what appears to be happening ALREADY.  They have a recent report on their site.  We must NOT stand for this!!!  We nead journalists and media outlets to do the real job of informing.  We all need to make sure that hate, bigotry, misogyny, discrimination against any group, disrespect of civil liberties, and disrespect of the environment DOES NOT STAND!!!

Read the report  .

But the calls for "unity" to work with him have somewhat troubled me.  Now, I support unity, have written often about it here, but something about the calls in this situation made me vaguely unsettled.  Then I happened on this excellent piece by Paul Louis Metzger.  And he put form and shape to the vagueness I was feeling.  I hope that everyone will take the time to read it.  It is certainly worth the time.  And I still believe that we need to unite to solve common problems, but, at least for a while, will think and write just a bit more carefully about unity.  We will need to make sure that whatever unity we achieve is, as Metzger hopes it would be, a "just unity."

And let us not forget that there IS much at stake here.  Please also read this beautiful op-ed by Steven W. Thrasher.

You may also wish to check out this article about preparing for January from commondreams. There are two links in it to sites which give info about preparing for the nightmare administration which awaits.

And don't forget to pray - or call for protective vibes. 

Please, if you find this or any post here of value, please comment and/or share.  Thanks!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Aspiration/Recognition

Ah, greetings again.  Here's a new poem - first one I've written in a bit.  It was inspired by the first cartoon in a post at The Intercept (not the one accompanying the title, but the first one after the text in the article itself;  it's by Shannon Wright).  View them all at the link below:

10 Cartoonists React to Trump Winning the Election

So, hope you will enjoy this offering: 






Aspiration/Recognition

"To be is an aspiration 
Recognition as part of creation
Potential released instead of inhibited
Intrinsic humanity exhibited
Body, soul, mind and spirit all facets
Of a life which seeks to keep in balance
Simply desiring a thriving entity
Forming existence into an identity




Please remember, if you find this post or any post here of value, please comment and/or share. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election Horror

That's the only way I can describe the election results.  How can this have happened?  This is so troubling on so many levels.  I just don't know how to begin to describe my concerns, except to say, anyone who voted for this nutjob voted to make America meaner, nastier, and a much more scary place because of him and the mindset to which he has catered.  It truly is a horrible result.

There is a columnist at The Guardian, Jessica Valenti, who is a real strong feminist - and progressive.  She has two very recent columns that express so much of what I've been feeling:

The pre-election column

And the quite new, post-election column .  From the article:  "The truth is that this shameful election result was backlash, pure and simple – a reaction to women’s growing rights, racial progress and a cultural shift that no longer centers straight white men. They were votes based on fear, bigotry and ugliness."  That does NOT mean I wish to throw anyone under the bus, but that as one commenter at commondreams pointed out in comments to their original election result article, nonwhites that voted Democratic were certainly not all upper or even middle class.  Who propelled this horrible result?

Valenti goes on with a note of hope and ends:  "And that we owe it to ourselves and our country not to let fear stop us now. Not ever."

I'll tell you today, I can use all the hope anyone can throw out.  Yes, it's that bad.  Segway to:  John Nichols and a fine article at commondreams with some ideas.

It certainly is a dark moment.  I just hope - and pray - we can make it through.

P. S. 
Jon Swartz at The Intercept has a good article about what to do next  .

And if you found this post - or any post here - to be of value, please comment and/or share.  Thanks!






Monday, November 7, 2016

Some Unity Sayings...

Greetings once again...

Here's something "just for fun" - a "board" from which to read some sayings I came up with about Unity.  There are five rows across and each word in the saying begins with the  respective letter of the word "unite."  And as a bonus, I believe that the two major diagonals also give sayings if you read from top left to bottom right or from bottom left to top right.

You can also try using some of these words to come up with your own sayings. Would love for you to post one if you do.  I did this in Paint so I hope the text part is readable. Let me know if it came out ok.

Now here it is:


Monday, October 31, 2016

Calling Banks Re: No DAPL (Updated)

  Greetings - if  anyone other than referral spammers are around that is...

I have probably mentioned here that my browser home page is commondreams.org and has been for a while now.  They have lots of breaking news and also "views" written by various authors.

I was very recently skimming the list of recent views and happened across this article detailing banks that have been helping finance the infamous DAPL and their contact info.  The idea is to contact them, explain why DAPL is a horrible idea and see if they can be persuaded to pressure the developers into dropping this project.  Kudos to author Emily 
Fuller for compiling this info.

Since it's not very feasible for me to get to ND to help protest (and seeing what the water protectors are going through (I'm not sure I'm that brave), here was something I actually could DO.  I picked out three banks and made the phone calls earlier today.  My experience follows!

The first bank I contacted was Wells Fargo.  When I called, the first thing the lady receptionist asked of me was to give my first and last names.  I told her she didn't need my names.  I told her why I was calling  - that I thought there were more worthy projects they could help finance; also that I was horrified by how the protesters have been treated.  It may have gotten off to a rocky start but she did listen patiently.  She said they couldn't talk about client relations but she would document my concerns and pass them on.  I told her that was just fine and thanked her.  So I think I can be at least somewhat satisfied at that result.

The second bank I had chosen was Citibank.  This lady I spoke with was also quite patient and I went over pretty much the same basic concerns.  She asked if I wanted a call back from someone.  Well, with me that can be a mess, so I told her I wouldn't mind getting a response by e-mail.  Again, she wanted both names, but I only gave my one e-mail address.  Thanked her for her time (she was quite pleasant) and felt at least semi-good about this contact as well.  I haven't received a response yet, but will update if (and that's a big if with these companies) I get one.

Now before I go into my experience with bank # 3, are you noticing how they wanted a name, and both names at that?  I'll grant there may be times when they may need that info, but NOT right away and not if someone is only calling (or e-mailing) to express concerns or give feedback.  I really get wary of them wanting personal info when it's really not necessary.

Now, my experience with the last bank is really a kicker.  That one was TD Securities.  The receptionist (and said he he was the "switchboard worker") was not helpful at all.  This gentleman said he could NOT help unless I could tell him the first/last name of the TD person I wished to contact. I asked if he could even connect me with a department - say, PR.  He said he had no information to do that, just a list of names to go by (and I hadn't written down the name of the CEO,  just the phone number!). I told him this wasn't very helpful as probably there are folks who might call but might not know a specific name.  So put this contact down as unsuccessful.

Well, that's the scorecard for today.  I'm deciding if I want to note that TD CEO's name and try again tomorrow - or even make another contact or two.  Who knows?  But even doing this little bit of solidarity action today against this DAPL was at least trying something!

UPDATE 1:

I did actually decide to try again to leave some message at TD Securities.  What a frustrating experience that was.  The only name given in the above article was that of the CEO so I noted that and called again.  I first got a female operator and we went back and forth about the spelling of his name... she finally connected me - to someone I thoiught might work in his offfice, but no.  After speaking to this fellow for a moment, he said I needed to speak to this other division and transferred me.  What I got was some automated system about investments and when I TRIED to get a human, they wanted me to create a voice print.  Well, none of that! I immediately hung up and called back, getting a male operator this time.  Asked to go back to the fellow I spoke with and he absolutely would not connect me.  Said he needed BOTH names or maybe a name with a title... and I only had what he said was the fellow's last name (for that was all the fellow had given me).  Well, I told him the gal connected me to this random person!  He finally asked did I want to try the CEO's name again; so ok.  I did get to a voice mail (thoiugh at this point I'm not even suew to whom it belonged.  Left a message and just shook my head.  You can't make this up! You really seem to need a lot of luck to even leave any feedback for many companies these days. 

UPDATE 2:

It's now Thurs., but at the risk of making this post too long, I just have to include the latest update as Wed., I called two more banks.

I called SunTrust at the number given for their Chief Communications Officer.  I got her voice mail right away and left a message.  The fifth bank I called was ING - their U. S. office.  I asked for the PR dep't and the gal wasn't sure about that but asked why I was calling.  I told her the DAPL and she said she would take down my concerns and indeed pass them on to the appropriate person. She did seem sincere about really doing such which made me wonder if she was somewhat sympathetic.  So I'll count that one again in the at least semi-successful column.  So I guess overall, leaving the feedback went - about as well as one might expect these days.

And PLEASE keep the protesters/water protectors in your prayers.  The situation out there is very upsetting.  Here's a link to a recent report  .
 

And if you have found this post  (or any other here) to be of value, please comment and/or share.  Thanks!



Sunday, October 30, 2016

Birthday Time Again

Greetings again... hope someone is out there!


Well, it's time again for the annual birthday wish for our Second President, John Adams.  Yes, this is his day.  He's definitely a Founding Father we should all keep in memory.  And let's also not forget one of our Founding Mothers, his wife Abigail.  She was quite a lady and together they really made a team.

This year in celebration, here are two offerings.   A portrait collage of Mr. President and a very thoughtful quote.



















So I hope somewhere in the cosmos, John Adams, you get this birthday wish.  Happy Birthday and keep praying for us on the other side!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Privacy Alerts

Greetings.  It seems as though there are continual assaults and threats to privacy now.  It should be clear that all of us need to stand together to oppose such intrusions.

Concerns include government spying, of course, but also corporate spying and data collection, which too often gets shared with law enforcement/government; far too often without a warrant or any meaningful oversight.  Some fairly recent examples:


  • AT & T developed a product and marketed it to law enforcement for access to their data... no warrant and they insisted on this being kept secret.  Read an account from common dreams .  Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said: "If companies are allowed to operate in this manner without repercussions, our democracy has no future." 
  • Google (yeah, and sometimes I wonder about them owning blogger) over the summer changed its policy to allow ad tracking to link to personal, identifiable info.  Shame on them!!!  Read about this - and how to disable it .
  •  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram gave special access to a company called Geofeedia, a company that has a very controversial marketing design. From a report at The Guardian:  "The ACLU previously found that Geofeedia’s marketing materials have referred to unions and activists as “overt threats” and that the company told police its product can help track the “Ferguson situation”. One California police department allegedly used the software to monitor South Asian, Muslim and Sikh protesters, the ACLU said."  Read the article here .
  •  A report by the AP found that LE officers have been know to abuse access to databases - databases which contain personal information. 
  •  This report says HALF, that's right HALF of U.S. adults are in facial recognition databases.  This should concern all of us due to privacy, profiling and potential abuse concerns.  There arr also concerns that facial recognition may not be the most accurate and thus could wreak havoc if someone might be misidentified in certain situations.
  • And we all should be concerned about the "internet of things."  Data can be shared with - who knows - and such devices can also be  hacked.  Now, be warned there is adult content - but here are two related reports:  something was phoning home and related lawsuit.  
  • And don't forget about yahoo allowing the gov't to scan e-mails.  One has to wonder if any other provider is/was also doing that.  
Well, I suppose that's something to think about for now.  Be aware, spread the word, and let's all stand up for privacy.

P. S.  Let's keep the protesters/water defenders protesting the DAPL in our prayers.  The latest report shows outragous police brutality against peaceful protesters.

And if you found this post to be of value, please share and/or comment!  Thanks.

Monday, October 24, 2016

R. I. P. Tom Hayden

Too soon gone for sure; it's sad to note the passing of icon Tom Hayden.  I'll admit I really didn't know all that much about him, but reading the articles recounting his life in the wake of this loss for all of us really gave me an appreciation of his contributions.

He really was a fighter and true advocate for left/ progressive causes.  He kept up his activism throughout his days. He was committed to working for peace, racial justice, economic and social justice, and was also concerned about environmental causes.

The Guardian has a good overview of his life.  I first learned of his death via a report on commondreams.org, which is my homepage.

Their article is fairly short, but is worth reading.  This quote still rings true today:

"If we appear to seek the unattainable, as it has been said, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable," reads the conclusion of the Port Huron manifesto, which Hayden drafted in 1962 for the leftist organization Students for a Democratic Society.

Included in the common dreams report are some tweets memorializing Mr. Hayden.  I really love this one from a John Nichols:  "Tom Hayden sought a multi-racial, anti-sexist, LGBTQ-embracing radical movement that anticipated our best politics."  That sounds very much what I so often advocate right here!

So Rest in Peace, Tom Hayden.  You really fought the good fight.

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Little Thing Called "The First Amendment" - Updated!

Do you know what week it will be from 10/17 - 10/23?  Hint - the title of this post might give a clue...
It's Free Speech Week.  All are encouraged to celebrate Free Speech in any number of ways. So Speak out!

I found out about FSW while researching this post - about a little something we call the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.  Do you know what your rights are?  Do you know there are threats to them?  We need to be aware of such challenges and stand together against them and for their continued exercise.

  To begin: a short reminder of the contents of this important text:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Let's consider some recent developments regarding these Freedoms as well as some good resources.

One nice resource is the site of the Bill of Rights Institute.  They have plenty of resources and a great one is blurbs of critical Supreme Court Decisions for various Bill of Rights Issues.  However I find their site a bit hard to navigate.  And I didn't see any landmark Supreme Court cases for freedom of Religion.  However, here's a link to the Freedom of Speech, General section.  Good luck navigating!

Freedom of Religion  This is listed first.  It has been much in the news recently as concerns over Islamophobia have continued.  There are reports of armed groups opposing mosques.  That's just a very recent example.  Many news reports suggest Islamophobia is on the rise - both in the U. S. and elsewhere.  Mother Jones has an article speaking to the effect this is having on young students.

Let's remember that the fight for Religious Freedom isn't new.  Jefferson fought for the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.    We should all listen to the words of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama: “All major religious traditions carry the same message: a message of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, self-discipline — all religious traditions,” he continued. 

Then let's stand together in ways small and large to support Religious Freedom.  Not too long ago I met a nice lady and she and another nice gal and I were chatting (I guess I must have been in a troublemaking mood as I mentioned I quit a mailing list because of the continuing Islamophobic posts. Her reaction was  ---- well they want to kill us.  I told her that some (like the Isis militants might, but not all Muslims were like that.  From the expression on her face when I said that it seemed to be a thought she hadn't considered.  Maybe, just maybe it opened her mind even a tiny bit.


Freedom of Speech  This is next on the list. Certainly one challenge we've noted is the reaction of some to protests started by Colin Kaerpernick to kneel, sit, stand, raise a fist, or otherwise during our National Anthem to protest the treatment of African-Americans.  Some of the comments go on about this being sooooo disrespectful, so un-American,  Participants have been punished or threatened.  Do these folks even stop to think that we were founded on protest and we are supposed to be about something called FREEDOM - including freedom of speech and expression?  Here's an interesting article from common dreams about the spread of protests.  Kudos to Mr. Sherman and the DeSoto, TX School Board for supporting the students' right to protest.   From the statement at the article:  "As an institution of learning, we are charged with preparing our students to become problems solvers and productive citizens; not to stifle their innovation or rejection of complacency. None of us have the right to infringe on the rights extended to our young people as American citizens."  Unfortunately, such support isn't universal.  

An interesting aspect of Freedom of Speech is a trend for online news outlets to stop having their own online comments but go to only social media comments.  I ran across this blog post from the National Coalition Against Censorship about NPR website doing exactly that (disclosure: - I used NPR News site as my home page for a while, but never registered to comment).   The major point made is that these platforms don't have the same legal obligations to the First Amendment and may also have content limitations.  And, I might add, what about those of us who refuse to go on facebook?


Sunday, October 9, 2016

How About...

a world where:

 

  • hate speech is no longer a "Free Speech"  issue because folks have all rejected using such repugnant rhetoric?
  • What if the "Three R's" also mean Respect, Reasonableness, and Reconciliation?
  • people, especially those dealing with the public actually listened?
  • there's a return to honoring public spaces?
  • public infrastructure and transportation are well-maintained and readily available?
  • we pour more money into education and social services than into the military and associated industries?
  • economic inequity issues get more media coverage than political tantrums or celebrity scandals?
  • what if privacy were truly respected and we weren't surveilled or tracked all over?
  • we don't need to deal with a protracted automated customer service phone maze to get to a live person?
  • we try to live more harmoniously with our environment?
  • folks who have needed them before now have access to basic things like clean water and enough food?
  • torture and abuse are occuring so infrequently that those words are not in most people's vocabularies?
  • we seek to understand where we've been in history, but not let that determine our future path?
  • where we're really marching toward Dr. King's Dream again, even if with fitful steps (I say this because I think we've been backsliding)?
  • peace is actually breaking out all over?
  • and ------- my only worries are things such as: 'Did I play enough with my cat today?', 'Do my plants have enough water?'; and 'Is there a photo from Pluto I haven't seen yet?'

 Well, how about it?