As protesters rang in the fifth year of Operation Endless Bloody Occupation with demonstrations around the country, Fred Thompson lashed out at that favorite whipping-boy of all chicken-hawks: Mahatma Gandhi. To follow Gandhi's example, he admonishes anti-war activists, would cripple our foreign policy. Like Dubya who recently tried to compare his quest to that of General George Washington, he is completely misunderstanding the lessons of history. Will these angry white men never stop painting themselves and the country they've commandeered as noble underdogs? Oh the righteous anger of the enfranchised!
What the "Law & Order" star doesn't appreciate is that in any Gandhi analogy, we would be the British Empire, not India.
Here are some words of wisdom from the mediocre actor. (Yes. I'm still smarting from the loss of Steven Hill.)
The so-called peace movement certainly has the right to make Gandhi’s way their way, but their efforts to make collective suicide American foreign policy just won’t cut it in this country. When American’s think of heroism, we think of the young American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking their lives to prevent another Adolph Hitler or Saddam Hussein.
What both the right-wing hawks and the left-wing peace movement don't get about Gandhi is that he was really a tactician and a master of asymmetric warfare. He knew India could never have defeated the British Empire in open combat and their violent uprisings were resulting needless deaths. Gandhi's strategy made their deaths effective. It was a strategy with two major prongs: economic (boycotts) and military (peaceful civil disobedience). Passive resistance leveraged the morality of the British occupiers. You can only slaughter so many peaceful, unarmed people before your stomach starts to turn from the shame of it.
Thompson also misrepresents Gandhi's role in WWII. While it is true that Gandhi recommended to the British:
I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions.... If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them.
He was also a pragmatist:
At every meeting I repeated the warning that unless they felt that in non-violence they had come into possession of a force infinitely superior to the one they had and in the use of which they were adept, they should have nothing to do with non-violence and resume the arms they possessed before. It must never be said of the Khudai Khidmatgars that once so brave, they had become or been made cowards under Badshah Khan's influence. Their bravery consisted not in being good marksmen but in defying death and being ever ready to bare their breasts to the bullets. [emphasis added]
Lest we forget that Gandhi, ever the politician and tactician, was using his possible support of the British as a bargaining chip, twisting the arms of his nation's occupiers.
After lengthy deliberations, Gandhi declared that India could not be party to a war ostensibly being fought for democratic freedom, while that freedom was denied in India herself. As the war progressed, Gandhi increased his demands for independence, drafting a resolution calling for the British to Quit India. This was Gandhi's and the Congress Party's most definitive revolt aimed at securing the British exit from Indian shores.
Fred Thompson should worry less about Code Pink's identification with Gandhi. What should concern the war party would be the possibility that a leader of Gandhi's stature and tactical acumen could emerge in Iraq.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Posted by D.R. Scott at 8:36 PM
Fess up. What sites do you visit for mindless entertainment, to blog off steam, etc.?
I was reminded of the "adopt a virtual pet" site on a recent visit to DemoKat's blog. (Incidentally, I have added the link to her blog *twice* now, but Blogspot is being evil for some reason and keeps dumping it.
Former Vice President Al Gore has collected nearly 300,000 electronic signatures asking Congress to take action on global warming, Gore said in an entry on his Web site Friday. Gore said the signatures demonstrate "that hundreds of thousands of people share my sense of urgency" on climate change. Gore is scheduled to testify before Congress about the issue Wednesday.Click here for more of the article, and here to visit Al Gore's online journal.
You can add your own electronic signature here.
Hey, for all you freaks who love horror movies, here’s some great news: Eli Roth is doing a sequel to Hostel.
Excuse me for a second, I just wanna open up the window and sing, O.K.? Thank you.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Also at Booman Tribune and My Left Wing, ePluribus Media and Street Prophets
Meet Daniel Tammet, a 27 year-old math and memory wizard. He can do things with numbers that will truly amaze you. He is a savant. . . with a difference. Unlike most savants, he shows no obvious mental disability, and most importantly, he can describe his own thought process. Join correspondent Morley Safer as he explores the extraordinary life and mind of Daniel Tammet.
He, like our son, has Asperger's Syndrome. Demetrius and I watched one of the video segments together yesterday morning. In the evening, one of the mothers at Son in Ohio's social skills group had a copy of Daniel Tammet's book, Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant. I'm very interested in reading the book, but in the meantime I'd like to share a bit of what I've found captivating about Daniel's story. And it's not the "gnarly number powers" that many people focus on, but rather how he experiences the world differently. His anxiety:
That anxiety keeps him close to home. He can’t drive, rarely goes shopping, and finds the beach a difficult place because of his compulsion to count the grains of sand. And it manifests itself in other ways, like making a very precise measurement of his cereal each morning: it must be exactly 45 grams of porridge, no more, no less.When Son in Ohio was 4, he was obsessed with the number 4, having 4 of anything, etc. It was imperative that we park on level 4 of the parking garage at the library, or he would have a "meltdown". Crying, absolutely beside himself. I have to admit, I found it hard to be sympathetic. He had a little sister who was two, and with kids that age, any outing can be a challenge. So, once we'd finally arrived at our destination, to have the level we park on become a life or death issue?
But as time went on, and we learned that his difficulties were due to Asperger's Syndrome, we had a better understanding of the importance of order and control. In a world that seemed chaotic, unpredictable, and alien, it helped to have a handle on something that was reliable, orderly, and unchanging. I had to smile when I heard Daniel Tammet say that "numbers are his friends", because Son in Ohio's imaginary friend was named "Mr. Alphabet". The alphabet was his longest running special interest, spanning the course of several years, but others included states and capitals, planets, and rainbows.
Rainbows? That one threw us initially. But rainbows were always the same, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Well, they are *supposed* to always be the same. But there are plenty of people out there who have no idea how vile an offense they are committing when they omit Indigo. You do *not* want to leave colors out, or there will be hell to pay! Oh, and if you're doing an alphabet book, don't even *think* of cheating on the letter X--saying it is for eXtraordinary or some nonsense like that. If our son found a new alphabet book at the library, the first thing he did was flip to X to see if they used a real X word. But I digress--the point is that all of his special interests were orderly systems of one kind or another, and that seemed to provide a measure of comfort.
Here's the other segment from the interview that really caught my attention:
But at the end of the day—genius or not—that brain does work a little differently.This brought to mind the time when our son attended summer "day camp" in the same classroom where he'd gone to preschool that year. Exact same classroom, but different teachers. When I arrived to pick him up at the end of that first day, he remarked to me, "Sarah is calling herself 'Donna' now." Now, "Sarah" and "Donna" did indeed have some similar features, such as hair color and length, and the fact that they both wore glasses. But I imagine most kids would said, "My new teacher looks a lot like the teacher I had before" or something like that. The fact that he went straight for the conclusion, "Apparently my teacher changed her name" was one of our first big clues that the world did indeed *look* different to our son, because he naturally focussed on different things.
Our son lives with us in our home, but in a way we live in different worlds. Of course, we could say that for any two people, but we don't think of that most of the time. I think most of the time we assume we are operating on the basis of some shared reality. But we learned over time that our son did *not* experience the world in the same way we did. Looking back, I feel a little bad about not being more patient in dealing with some of those early fixations and sensitivities. But then again, I was navigating in uncharted territory myself.
One of the memories that stands out from right before our son's diagnosis is another mother suddenly running up to me and screaming that my son had knocked her child down. I was completely blindsided and never did figure out what happened. My attention at that moment had been on my daughter, who was in a toddler gymnastics class, and I'd been helping her walk across a balance beam. The other woman was in full "protective mother mode" and that's understandable as her child was smaller than my son. But at that moment I felt utterly confused, helpless, and clueless about how to respond. No doubt the world of parenting I experienced was very different from hers.
Wrap this thing up with some sort of conclusion? I wish. For now, all I've got is that we really need to work on being gentle to each other, because we have no idea what kind of world our neighbor might be inhabiting.
More links about Daniel Tammet:
Transcript of the 60 Minutes Segment here.
Audio on NPR's Talk of the Nation: A Look at an Autistic Savant's Brilliant Mind
Daniel Tammet's website and blog
From the Science Channel (includes more video) Brainman.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 4:07 PM
Who replaced Hillary Clinton with an animatronic doll? I liked the old one better. The one who was a chronic Glamour-don't, with the silly headband and doughty clothes. The one who made gaffes about not being Tammy Wynette. She was a real person. I could relate to her. Can we have her back, like in the execrable remake of "The Stepford Wives?" I fear this is like the chilling, original film and that the human Hillary is lost to us forever.
I don't get people who think she's a feminist icon. She's amassed a lot of power, but she's become the living antithesis of feminism; cautious, people-pleasing, self-monitoring... She apparently can't state an opinion that doesn't test well in 10 focus groups. To put it bluntly, she has no courage.
This morning I learned from Chris Durang on The Huffington Post, that she weaseled out of answering yet another direct question.
In the short article -- part of a blog called "The Caucus" on the New York Times website -- Hillary Clinton is asked if she agrees with General Pace that homosexuality is immoral.
For Durang, who was talking straight about bisexuality long before it was cool, that's got to rankle.
Somewhere along the line, beltway Democrats seem to have decided that nothing bad can happen to them if they can make themselves completely inoffensive. And they have not yet learned that when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.
It's a formula that works least of all for Hillary. She wasn't born slick or charming and she can't pull it off without appearing terribly inauthentic. She seems so afraid of being her natural, divisive self, she's become positively insipid. She's more and more like an overly airbrushed photograph, or a plastic surgery disaster. Her entire personality has become like a face immobilized and expunged of character by too much Botox.
Worse than her coy evasions, when asked directly if she thought homosexuality was immoral, is her politically calculated clarification.
"I should have echoed my colleague Senator John Warner's statement forcefully stating that homosexuality is not immoral because that is what I believe," her statement said.
In other words if the big, strong, military, Republican man says it's ok to gay, it must be safe to have that opinion. This from someone who wants to be the first woman President?! A woman who needs a man's imprimatur to state an opinion? She might as well go back to baking cookies.
I'll just die if I don't get this recipe.
I'll just die if I don't get this recipe.
I'll just die if I don't get this recipe.
-- The Stepford Wives (1975)
Crossposted from The Blogging Curmudgeon.
Guess Ken Blackwell is not going "gently into the night". From the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Click here for more.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 8:11 AM
Thursday, March 15, 2007
I wasn't aware that this was going on this week. Via the Episcopal News Service:
Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, made the plea: ''Each child is God's own beloved… How we treat each child is how we treat God... Every child needs and deserves health coverage.''Click here for the rest.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 8:31 PM
cross-posted at skippy and a veritable cornucopia of other community blogs.
i think what firedoglake.com did with this trial was not just impressive, it was transformative. by offering the public live-blogging of this very important trial, you not only put the msm to shame, but actually became a must-read for journalists who couldn't attend the trial, but wanted to get a better and faster sense of what was going on than they could from their own colleagues.now, we here at skippy international had little to do with the libby coverage, short of a recurring photoshop, but just the very fact that several blogs made history by making journalism with this story should be an inspiration to everyone in blogtopia (y!wctp!).
i'm not saying that the msm should emulate everything bloggers do -- far from it -- but the blogosphere's enthusiasm for this story was something to behold, and admire.
this post is far too long to take up any more room here at iba. you can find two more reasons to give three cheers, as well as tons of pithy analysis, available at skippy.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
This action alert is from Faith in Public Life
3,500 Christian Leaders from 48 States to Protest War at National Cathedral, Mass Arrests Expected at White House
(Washington, DC) – Christian Peace Witness for Iraq will begin with a worship service on Friday, March 16 at Washington National Cathedral to be attended by more than 3,500 people of faith from 48 states, followed by a candlelight procession through the center of our nation’s capital, where thousands will surround the White House bearing the light of peace, and 700 will risk arrest by remaining in prayer in front of the White House. The service begins at 7 p.m., and the White House vigil will begin at 10:30 p.m. It will be the largest Christian peace demonstration, as well as the largest single civil disobedience action at the White House, since the beginning of the Iraq war four years ago.
More than 190 Christian and interfaith peace vigils and actions will also be held around the country in conjunction with Christian Peace Witness for Iraq-- including large-scale acts of moral civil disobedience organized by Christian Peace Witness coalition member group the Declaration of Peace .
WHAT: Christian Peace Witness National Cathedral Worship Service, Procession and Action at White House
WHEN: March 16, 2007 at 7pm
WHERE: The National Cathedral
Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues, NW
Washington, D.C. 20016-5098
WHO: Features speakers include:
Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners/Call to Renewal and author of God’s Politics
Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of America in the King Years and a Presbyterian Elder
Rev. Raphael Warnock, Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga.
Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, President of the North American Conference of the World Council of Churches.
Rick Ufford Chase, convener of Christian Peace Witness for Iraq’s steering committee and former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.
Celeste Zappala, a United Methodist and founding member of Gold Start Families Speak Out, whose son was killed in Iraq in April 2004
SPONSOR ORGANIZATIONS: Adventist Peace Fellowship, American Friends Service Committee, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, Brethren Witness, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Christian Alliance for Progress, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Declaration of Peace, Disciples Justice Action Network, Disciples Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Every Church a Peace Church, Faith in Public Life; Kairos: A Time to Speak, A Time to Act; Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Lutheran Peace Fellowship, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church USA, National Council of Churches, No2Torture, On Earth Peace, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, Pax Christi USA, Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Protestants for the Common Good, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Sojourners/Call to Renewal.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 10:06 PM
Originally posted at My Left Wing
Which brings me back to "meta". (I already said here that I'm going to press forward with this and post it even if it might suck. And the scattered nature of this post is a pure reflection of my state of mind--it's rainy and dreary outside, so I lack focus. It's not a bug--it's a feature!) "Meta" in one form or another is what I *do*. It's how my mind works--I see connections between things. I've had *plenty* of opportunities for "f---ing learning experiences", I reflect on them, and I share my insights. I do this, not because I have some belief that *my* words on an issue are better written, or more valid, or more important than anyone else's. But sometimes someone will read them and find them helpful in some way--maybe it will provide them with one more "piece of the puzzle" that they need. And in my mind, that's the most important work we can be doing here on earth. Reaching out and making connections. Touching other lives in a positive way.
I have no fucking patience for elitism. Especially considering how hard I work all day and still find the fucking time to try to do some social justice activism, which I don't profit from monetarily, simply because I fucking care about making the world a better place.The second thing I want to share is a piece of scripture from 1 Corinthians. It's one that has been on my mind a lot lately.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.Occasionally people will react negatively to any mention of religion--sometimes to the point of belligerently insisting that I "leave the God stuff out of it". I haven't experienced that here, that I can recall, but it's happened often enough in my years of blogging that I *do* hesitate before I "go there".
So anyway, I'm cognizant that some people, because of negative past experiences, are uncomfortable with seeing scripture quoted. And I try to be sensitive to that because, well, because I'm just "like that". Anyway, if you're one of those people, maybe you can try mentally deleting the religion words from the passage above. Because I really think, even as just a piece of literature (an "essay" by Paul, if you will) it is pretty relevant to what I've been trying to say in this post.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 7:01 AM
They don't call Dick Cheney the Dark Lord for nothing. Jeff Feldman has a fascinating post at Frameshop (cross-posted at HuffPo) that clearly underscores the Snarling Beast's relentless focus on death and killing:
Despite the timid coverage of Dick Cheney's recent speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee 2007 Policy Conference, America's violent-tongued Vice President gave a speech that all but accused the Democratic party of plotting to commit treason and kill American soldiers. Somehow, the thinly-veiled threats and violent vocabulary of Cheney's horror-soaked speech was missed by CNN when it described the Vice President as "chiding" Democrats.
More here or here.
It's enough to make you nostalgic for the days when Republican presidents would bust a union and then talk about a shining city on a hill, or gut programs for the poor and then talk about a thousand points of light. This administration is all about fear -- fear and death. For after all, a population that's convinced it's going to die at a moment's notice isn't going to care about how the Vice President and his business cronies are robbing their future.
(crossposted at Brilliant at Breakfast)
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
This is a story about love. About inscrutable complexity and remarkable simplicity, about the promise of forever. It is about obsession and devotion, and grand gestures and 4,000-word love letters.Click for more.
The Exploratorium web site has a page about Pi Day, and a page of pi links.
Click here for a pi poster:
Upon closer examination 350,390 digits of pi are visible. Each line contains 600 digits of pi. The first 440 most commonly recognized digits are visible from a distance.And finally, a pi song/video. It's to the tune of Don McLean's "American Pie. Here's the web site of the writer. The video only has part of the song, but here's an mp3 of the the whole song, and this link has the lyrics.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 9:21 PM
Albert Einstein was born March 14, 1879. In my time zone, this Happy Birthday, Einstein post is coming a few hours too early. But in Germany, where Einstein was born, it's already after midnight. So there you go.
Now, even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exist between the two strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies. Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up. But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 4:11 PM
click to enlarge
You just can't keep a good agent of Satan down.
Bush 41 passed out this past weekend. The doctors, obviously on the payroll of the Illuminati, claimed he suffered from simple dehydration.
I call bollocks on the the whole story. What was an 82 year old man doing out in the middle of the desert in 94 degree heat in the middle of winter? I bet you didn't know it got up to 94 degrees in the U.S. in winter? Never mind, don't get me sidetracked on Gore so early in the morning.
Here is the real story... Bush 41 was in the sweltering heat for one reason, so he could begin to grow accustomed to feeling of the flames of Hell licking his flesh as he bows before his master, Satan, for spawning the Anti-Christ, Bush 43.
And he got in more practice this weekend... a brush with homosexuality.
"The ugliest part of what happened was that my [male] friend … gave me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation,"
Cause you know, somewhere in Hell, there is a razor wire butt-plug with his name on it.
Monday, March 12, 2007
As I previously noted here, New Mexico is declaring March 13 "Pluto Planet Day". Here's the declaration:
HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL 54I really like that "excellent night skies" line. :)
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 8:58 PM
From the comments at Howard-Empowered People. This is a follow up to Alachua Elections on again(?).
See more here.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 1:09 PM
Crossposted at Booman Tribune
I suppose that post by Atrios after he was the one who initiated the blogroll dump movement ticked me off as much as it did because I've had plenty of real life experiences where that same theme is present. It's as if once you reach a certain level of success, the rules of decency no longer apply. I'm certainly not going to mention specifics, but let's just say I've had many opportunities to declare, "If I ever get in a position of power, that is not how I'm going to treat people!"
At the risk of being way too adorable, I've decided to go ahead and post this Shel Silverstein poem from Where the Sidewalk EndsWhile I'm on the topic, I should point out what the "About" section in the sidebar says:
This blog is designed to be a place where ordinary people who also happen to be bloggers can post about issues that are important to them, and be heard by wider audiences. If you write for your own blog or for a group blog, you are more than welcome to crosspost those essays here, but we ask that you use that opportunity to tell your readers "this entry is crossposted at the Independent Bloggers’ Alliance. You are also encouraged to post links to stories written by other contributors here. The fact is, the more we get in the practice of linking to each other, the better it is for all of us.I just posted that blurb, as well as what you see below, in a comment over at Kos.
One last thing...some of you first encounted me on the Dean blog. That was probably my first "blog home". But my first real foray into the internet came, gosh, I can't remember the year. Eight years ago, maybe? I was involved in dog rescue, working as a "foster parent" for dogs in need of adoption. On Saturdays, I would bring whichever dog I was fostering at that time to "adoption day" at a local pet store. While I was there, I would hear all these stories about why people adopted pets only to turn them over to shelters. This was such a preventable problem, if only people went into pet adoptions with the right information. So I started bringing helpful printouts to these adoption events.
And later I created this web site. And that's what blogging has always been about for me. Trying to have my voice heard in a way that can make a positive difference.
Again, I know there are people who will read all sorts of malicious intent or self aggrandizing or whatever into my posts on the issue of bloggers supporting each other. Nothing I can do about that. But I also trust that there are people who will take me at my word, and it is those people I am addressing here.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 11:34 AM
Sunday, March 11, 2007
click to enlarge
Ethanol is not the be-all solution to our energy problem. You could plant all of the U.S. in corn and still not have enough to provide all our energy needs, if you used sugar cane, those figures would dramatically improve. However, corn-based ethanol is a great way to make changes NOW. America has an ungodly infrastructure to grow, harvest and transport corn. Using that corn for ethanol is no-brainer. Plus it helps family farmers... a group the government has habitually abused for decades.
In Nebraska, 84 percent (56 out of 67) of the counties of under 10,000 residents lost population. Kansas lost 28,392 in non-metro population, Iowa 21,697, Illinois 18,673 and North Dakota 17,866. Almost all the farm communities in the Midwest experienced similar population stagnation or loss.
Anything that keeps our money OUT of the hands of Middle-East Dictators and Theocracies is a very good thing.