Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Peace Petition to AL Senator Shelby

One of this week's peace petitiions/sermon to Senator Shelby

Dear Senator:

First, I do hope that you will support Rep. Barbara Lee’s efforts to bring an amendment to the floor for a fully-funded, orderly withdrawal of all U.S. troops and military contractors by the end of 2007.

Another 7 Americans needlessly lost their lives this weekend. We cannot afford to lose any more of our beloved soldiers. This war is breaking our national heart. When you go to bed at night, I pray you think of the power "you" have to save their lives. Each day that passes, they are each counting on you, to stop their bloodshed in a place where they are despised and targeted for being Americans, for being in association with a White House that seemingly cares more about its own egoistical/greedy agenda than human life. I am not at all ashamed to beg you, as a man with the power to stop this insanity, an Alabama citizen, a human being, a man who once embraced my values. Please, do something! I pray you are filled by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Love that has no enemies.

As your constituent and a Peace Action member, I am calling on you to use your authority as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to support our troops by bringing them home. You have the power to do this by making sure that two important provisions are included in the 2007 Supplemental Appropriations Bill.

1) A MINIMUM one-year timeline for U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq.

2) Language that reasserts Congress's Constitutional war-making powers, as in Chairman Byrd's S.Res.39, and clarifies that no funds appropriated in the 2007 Supplemental Appropriations can be used to attack Iran, as proposed in Senator Webb's S.759.

It is your duty to do all that you can to protect the brave Americans who have volunteered to serve and protect us and our nation - this means getting them out of the Iraqi civil war and preventing them from being drawn into a wider regional conflict with Iran.

Please do everything that you can to bring our sons, daughters, husbands, mothers and neighbors back home as soon as possible. Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing back from you on the important issue of the FY 2007 Supplemental Appropriations.

Everyone can help by signing this petition! Go to: http://www.peace-action.org/

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Squirrels and global warming

We must have been quite a sight: Me in my p.j.'s and Granddaddy all dressed for work, cup of coffee in hand, standing outside at five in the morning staring up at the many power lines where maybe a dozen or more squirrels were traipsing back and forth like little, furry acrobats. He'd come and drag me out of my warm bed to watch with him and I'd go, because it was so quiet, only the bird chatter and quarreling squirrels, and I never had such a peaceful, but alive, feeling anywhere else, ever. (Except those fishing-together days.) We'd break the silence occasionally with a giggle, or a whispered, "Look over there!" In autumn, when the air had that edge, we'd note the bushiness of their tails, and he'd always know by that sign if we were going to have an especially cold winter. And that 'tail factor' determined how vigilant we'd be in chasing them away from our pecan tree, too. Sometimes it seemed only right to share anyway, as they'd given us so much fun in that old, tree-filled neighborhood. Sometimes I think I'd give almost anything for one more of those days...

I thought of Grandaddy and the squirrels this morning as I read this article about global warming, though this mess we're in now would break his heart. From Live Science, such an interesting site, I received a tease about "10 Surprising Effects of Global Warming. I actually read some things I'd not heard or thought of in the way of consequences. Animals are more locked in than ever to the "Only-the-Strong-Survive" paradigm. As plants bloom earlier, animals migrate earlier. "Those who can reset their internal clocks and set out earlier stand a better chance at having offspring that survive and thus pass on their genetic information, thereby ultimately changing the genetic profile of their entire population." It makes me worry a lot for those species that can't tolerate all these changes. Our most familiar and abundant creatures, like squirrels, are moving to higher ground. Their surroundings have changed the same as they have for arctic creatures, like polar bears, whose homes are literally melting.

I suppose some of these changes might be expected, some day, but others...

One of the eventualities had to do with allergies, something I didn't experience much before a dozen years ago, despite having lived most of my life in one of the seven natural "dust bowls" in the US. In addition to pollution that already plagues big cities and beyond, as the carbon dioxide levels and temps rise, our plant friends have a longer blooming season; thus more pollen. As I'm getting older, I know very few people here without sinus/allergy problems, including me! Yuck! Pass the Benedryl, please?

Other things that I'd not known or associated before with global warming: satellites in space move at a faster rate; 125 Arctic lakes have just disappeared (also more vegetation growing there now); sinkholes are developing as permafrost melts; mountains have begun to 'spring up' as the glaciers melt down. And if we want to go to Thailand and other wonderful places to see some ancient ruins, we best go soon. The "ruins are ruining." And especially my friends out West may already know this: "Scientists have correlated the rampant blazes with warmer temperatures and earlier snowmelt. When spring arrives early and triggers an earlier snowmelt, forest areas become drier and stay so for longer, increasing the chance that they might ignite."

Go to Live Science and look around. (They have a space site as well.) You can even see "The World's Most Explosive Tongue." And I'm going to stop cussing the big possum in the ditch. I'll even feed him if he'll quit chasing my cat when she sneaks out!

If you feel so inclined, dear reader, you can help right now with your signature on the '
Urge Congress to Support New Global Warming Bills' petetition.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Aren't women mainstream?

Considering we've all had a mother who has literally held the power of life and death over each of us, I've been fascinated by the discussion of the 'electability factor' of women for executive positions. Isn't it a little late in the evolution of humankind to be giving this topic so much attention, particularily now? I've been reading a lot of theories, a few in The New Republic today. One article, "Ladies' Choice" by Peter Beinart, cited some surveys Jennifer Lawless conducted at Brown University, where she found that perceptions changed after 9/11. Apparently, 65% of us are unambiguous about the reality that women are as assertive and confrontational as men. when appropriate. (Can you spell a-n-d-r-o-g-y-n-y?) But over a third of Americans still believe that qualities like compassion and compromise are not good qualities for a "war president", a real hoot considering we'd never have been in this horrific quag had we elected a sensible person that demonstrated these qualities in the first place!

In the second place, clearly this 35% doesn't know the women that I know either.

Beinart writes:

"...Here's the problem. The evidence suggests that Americans are slightly less willing to elect women to executive offices than to legislative ones, perhaps because of deep-seated stereotypes about women's leadership abilities. No one knows for sure, since there have been so few serious female presidential candidates, but those stereotypes could be a bigger obstacle when it comes to the highest executive office in the land. And, most worrisome of all, they could be a much bigger obstacle in a time of war..."

Maybe he's partially right. But I think I have my own theory. As long as the media can keep the public entertained and distracted by all the self-perpetuating dramas of "the battle of the sexes" and slap that gender card down every time Hillary gains a little momentum, kaboom! They know that many Americans will stay wrapped around the axal by this bagatelle, while the important issues that clearly need to be front and center, will always be limping behind, forced to the back. I don't know if Senator Clinton will be my choice, but I see that the media has already decided that the gender issue "is" an issue...therefore it probably will be. I'm mad about that.

And I fear this will be true for the rest of our bright Democratic candidates. I'm waiting for the media to really turn up the volume on the "race issue" for Obama. The Baltimore Sun has cast a stone. Let's see...Oh, Ann Coulter has already called John Edwards a "faggot" this week in Washington, to the collective cheers of her conservative comrades. I do wonder how gay Republicans respond to their spokesperson's terminology, as all my gay friends are liberals. She really likes that word I guess, as she's used it for Al Gore, the Clintons, etc. And she just loves cripples, too: Max Cleland, Christopher Reeves . She and Rush Limbaugh should hook up perhaps. Remember his insistence that Michael J. Fox isn't disabled and all that "flopping around" is for show?

If you have a strong stomach, you can read more about Coulter here. But I defend to the death her right to her poison pen! And I'm pretty certain, were she to run for president, no one would ever accuse her of being too soft, or too compassionate, or too wishy-washy.

I'm sure political writers are right to let us read the current thinking of some Americans. I'd just like to maybe see the conversation begin to evolve differently at this point. It's going to be an interesting election. Who will the mainstream media elect; and exactly who, or what, is mainstream this election?