|11 Oct 2008 @ 12:43|
While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have now passed the worst and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover. There is one certainty of the future of a people of the resources, intelligence and character of the people of the United States---that is, prosperity.
---President Herbert Hoover - May 1, 1930
Losing a job is painful, and I know Americans are concerned about our economy; so am I. It's clear our economy has slowed, but the good news is, we anticipated this and took decisive action to bolster the economy, by passing a growth package that will put money into the hands of American workers and businesses.
---President George W. Bush - March 7, 2008
on news that the economy lost 63,000 payroll jobs in February.
The singular feature of the great crash of '29 was that the worst continued to worsen.
---John Kenneth Galbraith.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D), Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio), Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) during a campaign rally at the Ross County Courthouse on Oct. 10, 2008 in Chillicothe, Ohio.
(Mark Lyons/Getty Images)
Barack Obama campaigned in Ohio before this week, but his emphasis consistently had been upon the cities in the northern part of the state. Toledo, Cleveland, Youngstown. He had touched Columbus, in Central Ohio, and even swooped down for an invitation-only appearance at Hocking College in Nelsonville before the primary. I didn't get an invitation or even hear about the visit, as there was a huge push to get-out-the-vote that day at Obama headquarters in our town. I resented that his visit wasn't open to all and, even more, that he didn't make a surprise stop down here to cheer on the thousands of OU and Athens City students who were knocking door-to-door. It's a 10 minute drive, and would have made up a bit for ignoring Southeast Ohio.
I'm not stung because it's an ego thing. Southern Ohio is very different from Northern. Southwestern Ohio is dominated by Cincinnati but Athens, despite Ohio University's presence here, is too small a city to dominate anything. As my conservative friend at work reminds me constantly, Athens is a little blue island in an ocean of red. A couple hours drive 2 weeks ago along Route 50 from Athens west to Chillicothe took me past yard after yard, farm after farm, loaded with McCain-Palin signs, flags and spangles flapping everywhere. As Governor Strickland said in Athens last month, if Kerry and Gore lost Ohio it's because of politics right here.
It's true Michelle Obama appeared at OU during primary season, and I'll bet you it was one of the highlights of her campaigning. But that's not the same as the candidate himself showing an interest in the "West Virginia part of Ohio," and maybe providing a convenient opportunity for some Republicans to check him out. His 2-day tour of Southern Ohio featured spectacular appearances in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Portsmouth on Thursday, and Chillicothe and Columbus yesterday. It's a straight shot northeast from Portsmouth to Chillicothe to Columbus---and it cut us out completely...unless we wanted to take the time off yesterday for the workday-scheduled speeches, or stagger through Friday after arriving home past midnight from 2 hours of travel, which we did (if you drive the speed limit, which we didn't). More >
|4 Oct 2008 @ 10:59|
A well nobody dug filled with
ripples and a shapeless
weightless man drinks.
The weeds at the bottom gently bending down the stream, shaken by the watery wind, still planted where their seeds had sunk, but erelong to die and go down likewise; the shining pebbles, not yet anxious to better their condition; the chips and reeds, and occasional logs and stems of trees that floated past, fulfilling their fate, were objects of singular interest to me, and at last I resolved to launch myself on its bosom and float whither it would bear me.
---Henry David Thoreau
The mind is like water: when it's still, there is reflection; when disturbed, no mirror. Muddled by folly and craving, fanned by misleading circumstances, it surges and billows, never stopping for a moment. Looking at it this way, where can you go and not be mistaken! It's like trying to look into a flowing spring to see your own appearance---it never forms.
Let's not be irrational about this. The widely-distributed still you can see at Middle East Online [link] from the notorious video of Sarah Palin, then running for governor of Alaska I believe, receiving a blessing from a Kenyan pastor to protect her from the influence of witches, is not meant by me to mock either the vice presidential candidate or African rituals. Services and spells to ward off or cast out demons are practiced by most religions everywhere in the world. Not only that, I'm sure many of our presidents and vice presidents went through rituals like this, of one kind or another, to join a Masonic temple or Skull & Bones or even Alpha Bokka Babee fraternity. What did primitives make of Christian missionaries offering them the flesh and blood of Christ? This article is not about such rituals, hair-raising or otherwise.
I watched the vice presidential debate again last night from a tape I made of it. I was a debater in high school on a champion team, and I know very well how much theater goes into such things. When I watch a theater piece the first time, I let it take me and experience the emotional impact. I like magic tricks and marvel myself into the illusion. Later, maybe like most people, I want to know how it works. There were some moments among Biden, Palin and Iffel that I wanted to see for that reason.
I wanted to see what Biden and Palin did while the other was speaking. Were they listening to each other or preparing their next remarks? I wanted to see the moments in which one really dominated the other. I wanted to see Biden go after this "maverick" thing. (How can there be a "team of mavericks?" Is that something like an idiot savant?) But most of all, I wanted to see Sarah Palin's response to Joe Biden's recollection about losing part of his family in an accident and fearing a son was going to die. Many people have commented about how moving the senator was as he went through it, and also how the governor seemed to have no response at all.
It's only fair to say the camera was not on Sarah while Joe spoke. Unless alternate footage is produced, we don't know if she was listening or getting ready to go after her next topic. Nor would her response be particularly important, if she didn't constantly talk about home and family, the kitchen table and God...and pluck at our heartstrings about a challenged child or 2. She just had been doing that, to which Joe's extemporaneous comment was an identified reply. So, what is it in a person that brings her to block an obvious need for an honest acknowledgment of suffering? More >
|20 Sep 2008 @ 16:54|
at the flowerpot:
And do not change. Do not divert your love from visible things. But go on loving what is good, simple and ordinary; animals and things and flowers, and keep the balance true.
---Rainer Maria Rilke
Old gnarled trees
darken the trail:
Where is the temple bell?
The drawing by Luis Quintanilla in Barcelona, 1938
Today's headline: Bush asks Congress for $700 billion for bailout
Growing up from boy to man: play some kind of ball and watch cowboys. Those were the keys to American success in my childhood. Eventually become fulfilled in business was what a guy was supposed to do, to be. I took one course in economics at Bates. The prof was young, bald and interesting, but I don't remember any of it. Not a word. It was a foreign language...without translation. There was a girl in the front row, beside his desk, I found fascinating...and so I spent the semester staring at her, until finally she noticed. I do remember Kay, from Springfield.
Baseball I liked and still do...sorta. I have to say when the Dodgers left Brooklyn, the very heart of the game cracked somehow. Now, I don't know how all the leagues work even, and I never liked pinch hitters to say nothing of these designated hitter dudes. The sound of an aluminum bat makes me sick. I never was very good at playing it, but I had some cherished moments doing so. I connect baseball more with jazz than selling cars, I guess because of the notion of teamwork...which seems to be for the support of the individual rather than the other way around---on top of which sits the owner. Or at least it used to SEEM to be like that, before football became America's preferred sport. Jazz players remain on the economic edge, but baseball stars make millions.
I went to the movies most Saturday afternoons, and usually one of the double features was a Western. Cowboys I got to know---oh, not the ones that actually herd cows: I mean the cleancut nice guys with a beautiful horse and powerful punch, who had to leave Melody Ranch (or whatever) to clean up the town and toss the rich saloonkeeper and his gang into the hoosegow. Or as we moved into the "adult Western," Shane alone and haunted keeping the open range safe from the greedy cattleman and available to the average guy like you and me and Brandon de Wilde. And Jean Arthur. More >
|31 Aug 2008 @ 12:48|
Scripture says, "No one knows the Father but by the Son." Therefore, if you want to know God, you must not only be like the Son, you must be the Son.
Zen is like a spring coming out of a mountain. It doesn't flow in order to quench the thirst of a traveler, but if the travelers want to help themselves to it, that's fine. It's up to you what you do with the water; the spring's job is just to flow.
To be satisfied with a little, is the greatest wisdom; and he that increaseth his riches, increaseth his cares; but a contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not.
Sarah Palin sports a funny T-shirt during her college days at University of Idaho.
Credits: Heath Family/AP
Yep, I can hear Sinatra singing that tune, Nelson Riddle and his fiddles kickin' the arrangement along. "You make me feel 'sthough Spring has sprung!" We'll be voting with youth and age side by side. Young and tempestuous, old and experienced. Mixed races, mixed religions, the roles of women, Viet Nam, mooseburgers, what else could we want?
They say if you want to stay young, get yourself a younger mate. The younger the better. I know McCain still is the presumptive nominee at this writing, and therefore Palin is too---so the Convention still could change everything. Maybe they'll save money, surprise us again, and not even have a convention. Call it off and send contributions to New Orleans. It's all TV and they want us to stay tuned.
But anyway, if it is McCain/Palin, does McCain look younger to you now with runnerup Miss Alaska by his side? I think he does. How does Obama look next to Biden? If there's another Bush/Cheney situation it's these 2 guys. Joe can't help himself. He always looks as if he's showing Barack around. I even saw him, their arms around each other side by side, turn Obama in the direction of the most cameras. We live in such interesting times.
The press descended on Wasilla, Alaska Friday, and headed for the Heath's A-frame hunting lodge where they got handed the family album. As a result, we get all these candid shots of the small-town girl on the way to marrying her high school sweetheart. Even the Senior Prom picture. Sarah's husband, who works for BP (surprise, surprise!), has parents who know McCain's VP choice pretty darned well. "We don't agree on everything. But I respect her passion," said Faye Palin. "Being pro-life is who Sarah is." [link] (and don't miss the pictures) The Governor also sued Bush when he declared the polar bear endangered. Oil drillers prefer to shoot bears if they come around. Palin's mother-in-law had been thinking of voting for Obama. Maybe not everybody in Alaska is a Republican.
There's so much stuff in the Sunday papers this morning, it's hard to know where to start---or maybe you've decided not to bother at all. There certainly is a great list of assembled reasons as to the advantages and risks of the Republican choice. I can direct your attention to a couple of articles if you like. One is in this morning's Long Island Newsday...and the other is Maureen Dowd's hilarious piece today. More >
|14 Aug 2008 @ 11:20|
...and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Yield to the willow
all the loathing
all the desire of your heart.
Shadow owes its birth to light.
The Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline
I was watching the Opening Ceremonies from the Beijing Olympics. I confess to remaining ignorant of what time and what day it is in China, but NBC was broadcasting it last Friday night at 8:00 Eastern Time. About half an hour into the spectacle, there was footage of President Bush and spouse in their box seats. The President had his suitcoat off and sleeves rolled up in the 85 degree heat of the open-air stadium. Matt or Bob commented that Russian Prime Minister Putin was calling to Bush, and we were seeing a shot of Putin, 3/4s turned away from the camera, shouting something the 10 or 20 feet between them. Bush turned around, scowling, and shouted back clearly, "NO!" The significance of the interchange became clear about an hour later when the commentators announced the Republic of Georgia had launched a missile attack upon the "breakaway province" (whatever that means exactly) of South Ossetia.
I had gotten to know a very little bit about Georgia because our town had been visited by a touring folk group from there last November.
The program for the Zedashe Ensemble told us, "These songs have been forged by the flames of centuries of war and oppression, baptized by the free-flowing blood of our ancestors, blessed by the tears of our saints, who pray constantly for their burning motherland, and raised like a phoenix from the ashes by a nation that passionately seeks to preserve its voice." Sure enough, there was some very primitive, yet harmonically complex, music, somewhat Eastern European but with a Far Eastern mix, climaxing with a sword fight dance that had sparks flying literally from the clash of heavy metal. The language was Georgian, and they were adamant about it.
A couple days later there were news reports of fighting going on in that country, and I was worried as to whether the troupe would be stuck over here. We had a Georgian exchange student at the high school, and I had come to think of the place as remote but with great variety of mountains and the Black Sea. Indeed it is the crossroads between Asia and Europe. It is said winemaking originated in the Caucasus. It looks like a wonderful spot to explore.
So besides the strategic location, what did these people have to fight about? More >
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