Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Painted Hills Cottage


When we decided to spend almost a week in the John Day area, I began looking online for vacation homes to rent as it's my favorite way to travel. I have stayed in John Day motels several times and camped in the hills, but this time I wanted a house and found one for three of the days that provided the kind of energy I love as well as a base from which to drive out.

It was on the hills above the small town of Mitchell and off a narrow alley if you can call gravel roads like that alleys. Once parked, you open a gate and enter into a magical garden created by the owner of the home.
There were colorful flowers, fruit trees, lawns, gardens, flagstone steps leading to the door. The house itself is one of two, both for rent, with a combined room between to use for playing games or just enjoying. Everything was set up for intellectual and emotional refreshment.
We had the opportunity to visit with the owner of the home and her daughter who has been helping manage the rentals. The family originally came to the John Day country from Seattle where they saw what they considered for years to be the perfect vacation retreat for the husband who is a painter and the wife who is a writer and master gardener. Eventually they moved to the area.

The vacation rental came into being when they found another home farther out from town. Frankly that home today is way beyond where where you'd expect an older person to want to live unless you met the older person and saw her total love of nature and the rugged landscape of the John Day. The view out there goes beyond words.


The two bedroom rental cottage is very homey, full of the husband's paintings but also books and videos to watch, a reading porch-- no cable which was fine with us as we aren't much for TV. It did have wireless internet which we both enjoy. From the location, we could easily drive out to the Painted Hills National Monument, which is the kind of place you could be for years and never feel or see it all.

Although we only had three days at the cottage, I have every intention of going back for more time in other seasons. For further information on the cottage and renting it:
Painted Hills Vacation Rentals

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

National Parks

Last night I saw the second episode of six-- Ken Burns' documentary The National Parks: America's Best Idea. (It will be repeated for those who cannot see them all consecutively). I have been blown away. I expected something nice but this went way beyond nice. I wish every American could see it. Scratch that-- everybody period because it calls to the better nature in humans

Burns isn't just showing us the beauty of our National Parks, although there is plenty of that, but giving us their history-- the full deal. If we thought that Americans today were greedier than in the past, this shows us the battle that was fought to protect these beautiful treasures from exploitation. It shows us the heroes and the ones who would have despoiled anything to make personal profit. He gives the United States full credit for preserving these parks at a time when no country had done such a thing with their own natural wonders. So many times such places are set aside for the rich-- not so our national parks.

Burns tells us a story of the beauty of nature as well as of the nature of mankind. It goes from the noblest to the basest and inspires us to reach to our own higher self.

What makes money so precious? It's not like we can take it with us but someone like John Muir, who fought for Yosemite, his legacy does last and lets every American, from the richest to the poorest, join together to feel awe at something bigger than any of us.

The point of the documentary is that it's through nature and wildness that we are made more truly who we were born to be. It's something I believe. I also have always thought how wonderful that someone back then set these places aside. Even today they are at risk. One generation saved these places, but each generation must do their part to keep them safe.

Burns' documentary reminds us of something we as Americans can justly feel proud and at the same time that we must safeguard from those who still see making money as their only worthwhile goal. This is not an issue of partisanship but of seeing the value of nature, and that attitude can be found in those from every party or political persuasion.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Abstracting a scene

One of my main goals right now is to get better at painting. I both love to paint and am intimidated by it. I see something that I think would make a good one but then stop myself before I get into doing it. I might fail. It won't be good enough.

For a few years all of my paintings were of people which coincided with my interest in sculpture. Many were of spiritual ideas or imaginary subjects. Lately though I have been going back into landscapes. I like painting impressionistic or some would say expressionistic where the feeling matters more than the exact scene.

On this trip I saw a lot of possible locations but only one that I took the time to do. These rolling, eroded hills, in The Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Bed National Monument, were the most sensual bit of landscape I have ever seen. Very rich, deep colors with curves that seemed both female and lush.

My painting though didn't come out as I had expected. Instead of the sensual curves, I ended up with almost violent slashes of colors which was however not inappropriate for this land which was born from violent changes.Something dawned on me after I had finished it, and I have finished even though I may paint the same scene again from a different angle. This was what I always want to paint and seldom have. It was the essence behind the physical view. Truthfully, abstracting a scene is the hardest thing to paint.

If you don't paint, you might think duplicating the exact scene in front of your eyes would be the hardest but that can be taught mechanically. Anyone, and I do mean anyone, can learn to exactly duplicate a scene. They might not find exciting lighting (unless they take it from someone else) or make the composition as interesting as a more gifted artist, but they can paint what is there. It just takes time and learning technical skills.

The reason many art teachers have their class duplicate their painting is because they know this. They have already found the composition and lighting and can teach anyone who is willing to follow the pattern.

But what everyone can not do is to abstract a landscape. It's what my friend Parapluie does [Umbrella Painting Journal], and I have always envied (using the positive sense of that word) in her work. She looks at and sees that basic underlying feeling and it's what she goes for in painting. She might not get it every single time, but she gets it more often than most.

In this little oil of mine, I came the closest to doing it than I have come in years. Somehow I had lost the light touch, the ability to let go. I am not sure why I lost it nor why this one worked for me. I believe it's partly because of the inspiration of the scene, the energy of the place, and partly using the water based oils which I much prefer to acrylics. They feel sooooo good with the brush or palette knife. It is also partly because I painted without a plan for exactly what would come out. I let it flow.

Critics (including my inner one) would probably say well the colors aren't right or this or that isn't accurate. They would be right but something more important happened. I painted what I hoped to paint. Later when I looked at the design in it, the bones of the painting, I felt good.

The photo is not from the exact angle nor is the lighting the same as when I painted it that day, but I may use it to try again for that sensual subject I was originally thinking was there. I know I could probably perfect my little painting, adjust colors, tweak this or that, but I won't. As it stands, it will always remind me of that day, the heat of the sun, the quiet of the land, and standing at the back of the truck while I painted what I felt, the time I quieted the inner critic (if only for a little while) to enable me to enjoy the process.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

O'Keeffe

In trying to think when I first became so enamored of Georgia O'Keeffe, it seems forever but couldn't be. It wasn't just her art although that would be enough. It wasn't just her life. Although that would also be enough. More than likely her greatest appeal to me was because of New Mexico and her love of the land there. It wasn't even just New Mexico but more that it was a wild land that spoke to her spirit. She felt the land like I feel the land. Whatever the whole set of reasons, I have read and seen about anything on her that comes along.

It was 1998 when I had the opportunity to visit Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu-- areas that provided her a home and gave her inspiration for her paintings.

New Mexico is a powerful place with its light, history, and then that wonderful, interesting land which has drawn artists and writers from around the world. It was easy to understand why she had found her artistic soul there. Irony was that her heart's home was with a man in New York who would never come west. Thousands of miles would often separate them but both were part of her inner being. It was a conflict. Was it also fate? Who knows.


Unfortunately I was unable to tour her home due to shortness of time and not knowing enough ahead of time the limitations on the tours. We had other places to go (Chaco Canyon which is also the best). I will go back someday and see inside the home-- I hope. I have seen so many photos of it, the little things she treasured, the simplicity of how she lived that I seem to already know it.

Why she is coming up right now is very apropos as I go through photos and remember my trip to a land I love. Then last week-end, I watched on Lifetime the film, Georgia O'Keeffe, a biopic starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons. I really liked it even though no two hour movie can do justice to the complexity of the woman-- let alone all of those in her circle. The film was mostly about her relationship with the photographer and gallery owner, Alfred Stieglitz, and his impact on her painting. Even that, it couldn't fully deal with in the limitations of two hours. It needs a miniseries. I don't suppose enough Americans would be interested in her story for that to happen. If she had been an English painter, it would have already happened.

What fascinated me about the film wasn't just her relationship to her art or even to him but the bohemian quality of the way so many of them lived. Definitely not satisfying to the right wing of today-- well not totally rewarding to themselves either as everything has a price and there is no such thing as true freedom in love or relationships.

Stiegtlitz saw early that her life was her art. She was her painting. When he photographed her nude and then showed the artistic photos at his gallery, it made her a sensation and began the mythology that added to her value as an artist-- as he knew it would.

This might sound crazy but when we buy paintings, it's the subject but also the energy. Her energy was that of a passionate woman. Her love for him was part of that but it went beyond it to her essence. Land and man helped form her into the woman she became.

The Whitney in New York City is opening a showing of her paintings, which I was fortunate enough to have seen at the O'Keeffe museum in Santa Fe. This article shows some of the paintings and the love letters she wrote to Stieglitz.


For anyone interested in art or love, the link is well worth taking the time to read with some of her paintings for those who are not familiar with her art.

I have read she didn't think she was good with words. Lordy, wonder what she'd have been like if she had thought she was...
From New York, II
13 July 1929
"I know that many things that seem very precious – very holy – are gone for me – but I feel too – that way down beyond that – where you can not touch it – where no one can touch it – there is a bond – that is my feeling for you – it is deeper than anything you can do to me – that is why I know I will be with you to the end – whether you wish it or not – whether I choose it or not – whether I am close to you or not

"You have always told me that the work came first –
that has often been very difficult for the woman in me"
Their relationship had its ups and downs, two imperfect people coming together as it always is, both of them fascinating, complex, strong, conflicted, extremely creative artists. They were soul mates in the truest sense of that word. Being soul mates doesn't always make for easy relationships.

These photos were all taken on the 1998 trip to New Mexico. We came in September and saw most of it between torrential rainstorms. The photos don't do justice to the lighting on that trip.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hallelujah

When I have the time to play, to take ideas wherever they can go, it can be anywhere. Recently it was finding this version of [Hallelujah] at YouTube.

I became re-addicted to the song watching Shrek (which I love) with my two small grandsons. Now I can't get enough of Hallelujah's melody and lyrics.

I want to suck the words, the images right into me. I want to sing it over and over. I need to get some simple piano music for it because I love to sing it. It's not as though it presents a particularly happy view of love; but it's a passionate one, full of imagery when you close your eyes and imagine what the song is describing.



But is the best version the one on the Shrek CD, the one that Rufus Wainwright sings or... would it be Leonard Cohen, who wrote it: [Hallulujah at Glastonbury in 2008]?


Some would say finding things like this are not a better use of my time than the necessary driving into town for groceries. Well I am realistic enough to know that there has to be work, there has to be some time at stores, but I try to structure my time; so that I am not running around anymore than need be.

I want to leave myself unstructured time to make an unplanned drive to Portland (85 minutes) to spend an afternoon in Powell's Bookstore. Boy was it crowded that Sunday. There I can meander around with no idea what I want or need, but I will always find something.

When I go to say the grocery store or even when I need to buy clothes, I know exactly what I want and make it as quick as possible. After all, I need to get back out to the farm for learning more about [Leonard Cohen] because I always want to know where creative people got their energy. What did this composer live through that led to such a song?

Earlier, from Netflix, I had seen the documentary [Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man], which I enjoyed but I am not sure it answered what life experiences led to writing something like Hallelujah that is about questions of love using music with undertones from religion.

Sometimes I stop trying to figure out the why and just want time for meditating and letting something like his music soak all the way through me. With that song, there is so much to soak in.

(Personally, I like Cohen's version best. It's like listening to a writer or poet read his/her own words. It is always better than even the best performer's version).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Wise Use of Time


I realized something recently. I suppose I should have before but it dawned on me now and so I won't blame myself for not 'getting' it earlier. I don't like to go to town. I don't go more often than I must and it's not that the stores are bad. It's the drive. And the drive isn't so bad. It's the repetition and the time it takes.

For me time is going by too fast. Days speed by. Hours are minutes. Is this part of old age? I considered the possibility that it's an earth conspiracy. Maybe the earth is really spinning faster except the clocks can't be in on it. No, it's my perception, but it makes the drive to town something that I resent for the time it can take out of my day.

What do I do with it on the farm that is so important? Well besides the obvious housework, gardening and cooking, there is looking for the dragonflies to photograph. Or watching the sheep to be sure all is well. Sometimes working on photographs, painting, or writing. Walking out to get the mail.

Not too impressive you say? Well... I sometimes try to work out what life is all about, what happens after death; but spending time contemplating such mysteries doesn't appear to be solving them for me-- so far anyway. It still might though. You just never know.


It's not like the regular drive to town is all that long-- 40 minutes each way, but it seems by the time I do it both ways, and then whatever tasks there, it takes half my day. We do have three possible roads to take but basically it's repeating the same thing more or less every time it is necessary to go.


At home I probably fritter away a lot of time. I am very fast at housework, cooking etc. and that's partly to leave time for those other things, the undefined things, the ones where I won't realize they are important until the very moment they appear. In short, I work to leave myself as much unstructured time as possible.

One particular unstructured time went to --

(coming in next blog)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

American Values

Shortly after getting home, and before I began to sorting photos from the trip (beautiful, artistic, creatively, intellectually satisfying, wonderful time), I began to rethink my saying I wouldn't be writing about politics for awhile. I decided maybe if I wrote about issues in a non-partisan way, I could write about cultural issues.

Except, how do you avoid partisanship in today's climate? Can you discuss important cultural issues, the possible options without going into what the various segments of our society are saying or doing? I think, unless we want no responsibility for the world in which we live, we need to think about what is going on. There is that old saying about the frog in hot water that doesn't recognize it's being cooked until it's too late or... well you get the idea. It might not seem to matter to us today but it could tomorrow.

When driving home from our vacation to Eastern Oregon, I turned on talk radio for the first time. One of the more interesting discussions was about Dick Cheney from the author of the book [Angler]. The host asked how could Cheney go so against our values as a nation. The writer answered he thought Cheney believed he was expressing those values.

That stopped me cold. What are American values? I suppose some would say they are in the Constitution or [Declaration of Independence] but those are pretty general with a few key words like general welfare or pursuit of happiness, but how does that practically play out?

Do American values explain how a Democratic president could effectively confiscate their property and imprison (and that is what happened) Japanese-Americans during WWII to supposedly keep this country safe when there was no evidence that any of them had been plotting anything? Our government didn't confiscate their property or imprison German-Americans.

Did American values allow what we did to the Native Americans with the reservation systems that made poverty endemic? Did it keep women from the vote as long as possible? Did it allow slavery, only banning it after emotional books like Uncle Tom's Cabin and when the majority of Americans didn't want to own slaves? And even then keep African-Americans from having full rights for another hundred years?

We are told we are a Christian nation; so some would say our values are those of the Bible... except Christ would frankly be called a communist or socialist today. Preaching a gospel of prosperity? Where do you find that in the Gospels?

So if Dick Cheney, when he was fighting to tear down environmental regulations, to go to war in Iraq, to torture, when he was undoing Habeas Corpus, (read above link Angler for more on these) believed sincerely he was standing up for the values of our country, what are they?

We believe in Democracy but is that only so long as the vote goes our way?

Some would say our values are capitalism. They don't really get it that we don't have true capitalism. Check out this link from Huffington on Michael Moore's new film. From what I have heard he managed to make it nonpartisan and nail both left and right for what they have let happen where 1% of our people control 95% of the wealth. The Film Barack Obama Must See.

Some might say our common value is we believe in the power of the individual except is there any such thing? Do we as individuals have power? Do individuals in any culture anywhere have power without joining together for common purposes?

Even those who believe government is totally worthless, who want to end taxes, who went to D.C. to speak out, 60,000 of them, who mostly paid their own way and came from all states, did they come as individuals or to express their will in a group because there is power in a group?

I suspect the power of the individual is a lie, and it benefits those who know it's a lie. I guess if you are self employed, have your own business, you could say you don't need a group-- except don't you still need others to buy your product or services? The only real power individuals have is as a group but that doesn't then answer my original question.

What are our American values? And can we prove it?

(As usual, the sunflowers were blooming in Eastern Oregon at the elevations where they flourish. They make for one of my favorite subjects and as I sort photos, they show up many places.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

The down side

Sometimes I wonder if I present too idyllic a view of life on a small ranch. It has its pluses for sure. There are moments when it is wonderful; but there is part of it, a routine part, that makes it hard.

Farm or ranching life toughens a person, it has to if you want to stay with it. I know it has toughened me because I regularly live with life and death realities. All of us have death come into our lives but for most not nearly so often as for those who raise livestock. With ranching, it's a routine aspect that must be accepted or you have to get out of the business.

It's always a debate within myself whether to write about the tough side of this life because it seems there is so much pain in this world, why give someone else part of my own grief. But it's also not fair to present this as always a wonderful way to live. It can be, but like the rose, it has its thorn.

There are the unpredictable problems with say the coyote attacks. We lost three lambs this summer with one more wounded in the throat, who later died from infections that we didn't catch in time. That leaves a lot of guilt.

This was the gutsiest little ewe lamb, coal black, pretty little face. She was so determined to keep going; and it's part of why we missed her serious, life threatening problem. Sheep suffer quietly, and they keep going until they die. You really have to watch them carefully to catch problems, and we let her down. I know it's how it goes but it doesn't make it easier. Toughened-- yes. Tears-- yes.

But that's not the usual. There is something else that is. This is the purpose for which we have these cattle and sheep. Every time I open the gate to let them out into the larger pasture or am out among them, I look into their eyes and know that these young ones were born to be eaten. There is no amount of money that could compensate me for what that makes me feel like.

The compensation comes from knowing this is how life is. These animals are food for others. Their death sustains other life. Is that fair? Of course not. On the other hand, without that, they would not have lived at all. I console myself by knowing they have a good life until it's over. Some days it's not enough consolation.

I suspect it's easier for big ranchers of cattle or sheep because they are usually a bit more removed from their stock. I live with mine. They are right outside my door. I keep an eye on them all the time watching for problems (which obviously sometimes I miss) and checking how they and the grass are doing.

So it's getting to be the season when we will be butchering the first of the lambs born last spring. Yes, they will die a good death. It's not like commercially raised meat where they are treated often abominably. These are animals that are loved and coddled with good food and life as secure as it can be, right up until the hour they die. But they are born to die.

Sometimes I know why people become vegetarians, but I don't see myself able to give up cheese, eggs, fish, chicken, all meats. I know it can be done; but then I'd have to totally sell the livestock we have. It's not like anyone can afford this many cattle and sheep as pets. They may not make us a profit, but they don't cost us as much to feed as they would with no sales.

I suffer with the purpose of the young ones and try to console myself with knowing I then can give the old ones a good life and death when the time comes. It's not always enough.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New Life

She had just been born in these photos. It was the first day after a long, solid rain. Her mother is one of Farm Boss's favorite cows.


This is a mother who knows what to do to keep her baby healthy. She will be there for her all the way.

It's not easy to get on your feet the first time, but in a day or so, she'll be running.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Democrats are better but not by much.

Politics--
back on the deck, while we wait for dinner to cook, sip more wine, a cold beer, or iced tea if you don't drink, and continue the conversation. Blackie wants to join in.

So there have to be good guys in all this, right? When you find fault with something, you want to offer a reasonable alternative. What would that be today? I am as disgusted with Democrats as I have been with Republicans. Well actually not as disgusted as nobody can go as low as the Republicans have gone but still that doesn't leave Democrats winning prizes. Our options are fascism (Republicans) or socialism (Democrats)? Isn't there an option C?

What happened to a reasonable approach to the budget, to health care, to wars, to torture, to pretty much anything out there? Is there no party who is not bought and paid for by corporate interests? What makes Democrats into such wimps that they can't make decisions if Republicans (at least one or two) don't agree? Is this the party of-- I want you to like me-- or the one of Franklin Roosevelt? Democrats too often have become the party of yes we can without thinking how they can or what happens after we can.

And they have their own no we can't where it comes to letting insurance companies compete wherever they wish. It makes no sense to me why competition has been blocked by regulation. I don't think it would help a lot as they tried trial states (California and Texas) where they had tort reform and it didn't bring down insurance rates. So Republicans say not enough limits on the lawsuits.
[A brief aside: The problem with tort reform is making doctors or hospitals who commit egregious errors pay for them without holding doctors or hospitals accountable for all mistakes. This isn't easy. A lot of medical science is trial and error and everyone's body is different. An all-is-well physical where the patient drops dead of a heart attack the day after didn't mean the doctor or testing goofed. It means medical science is not one where all results can be guaranteed. But to remove the wrong organ, to leave equipment in a patient after surgery, to use unclean practices, to ignore well known symptoms, there are things that should be punished financially. If doctors though, who do these things, can buy insurance that protects them, than the patient pays and the doctor is never penalized anyway; so tort reform is complex.

Actually the very issue of insurance is a question of socialism but in a corporate setting. Insurance doesn't help our medical care get better. It doesn't find new and better ways of treating disease. What insurance does is take money from us to pay for our medical care if we should need it. For this they have costs. If they were government, they would have 5.5% overhead; if they were non-profit, they would have just under 10% overhead; but if they are for profit, they consider it necessary to have 31% overhead which means 20% is for profit or higher salaries than government or non-profit would pay.]
One of my first disappointments with Obama was who he appointed to the Treasury positions. It didn't look good and still does not. Gaming the system? We can ask if it's true but the fact is that big players like Goldman Sachs didn't get hurt by the downturn like ordinary people. The question might be why.

Then he let Congress (Democrats in control) run the stimulus package spending. It was not an encouraging sign for what would come with health care. A typical democrat, he believes in working together to solve problems. (Democrats aren't so prone to want divine leaders as Republicans.) That put the so-called recovery spending into the hands of those who have never shown much control over spending. Well they aren't rewarded when they do because somebody else (who might as well be Republican) jumps in and gets the pork.

In a lot of cases with the stimulus/recovery money, it counted on each state being responsible for what would create shovel ready jobs. The party, who wants to control everything-- according to the right-- passed the buck to the states. The worst part was they didn't have the buck to pass and who knows how a lot of this will be funded. Promissory notes? You can only borrow for so long and Bush pretty much got most of it for a sinkhole war and tax cuts (thanks to the Republicans who could care less about bipartisanship unless they must).

When the right attacks the left by saying privatization is good and publicly run is bad, does the left come back with so you want to hire mercenaries to be your local police force? That's worked so well in Iraq and Afghanistan, hasn't it (if you have followed the investigations over there)? Every time I hear them say this will be socialism, I want to scream. First they don't understand what socialism is (means of production is in the hands of the government) and secondly we have government doing a lot of important jobs already and for good reason. Privatization isn't always good.

Did you read the articles about how fire departments used to be privately run and their failures and corruption led to the excellent system we have today which we all count upon-- public.

Yes, police and fire departments are different than health care. The first two we might need. The last one we know we will need but it's supposed to be better run privately. Tell that to those who can't afford their co-pays for a catastrophic illness, got fired, had their insurance company drop them over some pre-existing condition (which often didn't even relate to the current illness), overran the limits, or couldn't afford the premium from the get-go. These problems are real and the solutions aren't going to happen by magic.

Okay-- here's the hard truth. There is no tooth fairy. There is no angel waiting for the right words and then providing a magical solution. We are a people, left and right, who expect magical solutions. Too fat-- get a pill or have surgery. It's no wonder we think that we can spend all that money and not worry about from where it will come. Cut taxes during a war, don't worry there's plenty more from where that came. Propose new programs with no way to pay for them, it'll work out.

Too often, the tough issues are not being faced by either party. Try reading David Brooks for a reminder of how difficult this is, how partisanship (on both sides) is blocking any real change.


Although I very much liked Obama's speech on health care to Congress, I am still looking at him skeptically. I have never heard a satisfactory explanation for the deal with the pharmaceuticals.

There were some easy ways to get the price of prescription drugs down without a sell out. Let Medicare bargain for lower prices like the VA. Let Americans buy them (without using their insurance) through the Internet from other countries. We could get ours for the same price of our co-pay or sometimes less.

I learned that the block on our purchasing our drugs from say Canada was due to a 'trigger' that Congress put into the bill when they voted on it. The trigger would be pulled under certain circumstances they all know will never happen. Triggers, such as Obama and the Democrats seem ready to accept on the Public Option, are only ways to make it look like you did something but you know you didn't.

Have Democrats forgotten how to fight for what they want? Did they ever know? they not only got the presidency but a 60 vote majority in the Senate and even more in the House. That wasn't enough? What! They want god's light to shine down from heaven as proof it's okay? They seem unable to make hard choices if they can't get Republicans to go along. Are they the party of no responsibility?

Ted Kennedy may have done good things (the No Child left Behind bill has me suspicious about that), but this idea of compromise always being the right idea to me is just plain wrong.

Isn't it possible that sometimes when you get half a bill, it'd have been better to have gotten nothing? How many times has a good idea been sabotaged by half an idea that sounds good, makes people think they did something, but in reality nothing good came from it?


Too often, with Democrats, whenever they have had power (which it evidently takes more than the presidency and a majority to get), there has been a rush to do something, like the poverty programs which we can easily see the failure but more recently the carbon tax credits which may not do anything except once again make money for some special interest. Wait, do we really have a two party system?

On the highest level, we Democrats talk good. We want to see a world where we all help each other, solve suffering, work for world peace, fix environmental problems, and we too often ignore how we pay for it or even where our results lead. We start programs and then don't evaluate their success. Gore did a lot of talk about sunsetting programs; but how long before they sprang back up if they were some Congressperson's pet project? Farm subsidies is a good example. They get tweaked now and then but soon are back where they were-- hiding the true cost of our food.

Today, I think a good start for Democrats is to learn to fight as effectively as Republicans but not as nastily. Good grief, I hope never as nastily. We need to keep our eye on the ball and one of those balls needs to be the deficit. What about going back to the tax rates before Bush cut them during the war (had to get that in there) but let's be sure they are put back on those who got the original cuts. Whenever you hear taxes being whispered, it's quickly shushed by both parties. Raising taxes is too unpopular. Somehow miraculously everything will work out on the deficit. Yeah right. Heard that before.

I could go on and on with my disappointments with the Democratic party right now (Iraq, rendition, Afghanistan, secret prisons, investigations of crimes committed by the Bush administration, pork spending, weakly presented health care plans, can't do anything without Republican agreement, etc.).

The astrologer Lynn Hayes (linked in the blog list) says that we are in a time of tug of war between Saturn and Uranus which fits with the tug of war we see in the US with those who want to stay with the status quo-- Saturn-- and those who want new ideas tried-- Uranus.

Unlike the right wing nuts, I don't want a revolution. If the Democrats bow before the same corporate masters as the Republicans, then I will want a viable third party that is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I want reasonable leaders who can quit applying an antiquated religion to things like full gay rights, who will stand up to those who do. Maybe some Democrat and Republican leaders would even like to join that new party.

It's not like there aren't good people in each party-- just not enough. Listen to [Representative Anthony Weiner] discuss health care. I saw him on Bill Maher really laying out the facts. We need more like him in both parties. Where are they?

So many things are simply common sense but not being applied. I mentioned earlier ways that prescription drugs could be brought down. Here's another. How about blocking them from advertising on television? It used to be against the law for them to do that. Isn't it the doctor's job to know what antihistamine I should take? It would also spare me from ever seeing again that stupid bathtub scene, which is advertised frequently during my evening news entertainment program, about fixing sexual dysfunction. Incidentally... shouldn't that be one bathtub if they really want to imply it's fixed?

Oh and I think our problems won't really be fixed until we find a new way of funding campaigns. The McCain-Feingold Act made a stab at dealing with this but more has to be done. I hear the right wingers yelping now about freedom of speech. This isn't about freedom of speech. It's about unions, banks, corporations, buying elections. A bought and paid for Congress is not likely to worry first and foremost about wise choices.

Is all of that asking too much? I think it is right now; but when the next sensible, viable (see above) third party candidates present themselves, I'm signing on. What's Jesse Ventura doing these days?

(This was my last tirade for awhile-- I hope. I am as sick of writing about politics as most everybody else probably is of reading about it. I will still be reading and keep up on what's going on but hope for awhile to get away from writing about it. There is more to life. There has to be. I hope for the best for our country but having young grandchildren, I am very concerned about our future if we don't deal with things better.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Journalism? What Journalism?

Politics --
continuing the conversation while changing irrigation sprinklers. Help is always welcome with that job.
My frustration with television's news entertainment media has led to my doing some deep thinking about what I think is wrong. My first thought is that it's not really news-- most of it anyway. It's geared to entertain, fast moving, lots of pictures, excitement, controversy, and no segment lasts long. That is evidently what we want as a people proven by ratings.

The second issue, I think, is that programs on cable, despite the title many of them have, are not newspaper style formats. They are magazines. They have an agenda and offer interviews and news clips to get that agenda across. This is true whether it's Fox news or MSNBC. I am not saying there are not news programs out there, but a lot of what we watch is not and it's what is leading a lot of people to think they are getting the news when they are really getting someone's agenda.

Whether you watch Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow or Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, basically it's the same thing. They are aimed at a viewpoint and exploring, if you are lucky, some issues from several different political thinkers. If you are not lucky, you get people up there discussing an issue, like say a Dick Morris and Karl Rove who expect you to think they discussed it openly while they spouted their prepared talking points with the host adding to it. Each type of cable network does this and a lot of Americans call it watching the news. I have called it watching the news. It's not. It's watching a magazine program.

Even before I realized this, I knew that I got most of my information from newspaper and magazine sites online, but how much better are they? This was Paul Krugman's opinion about that: Horse Race Reporting. Want the facts, want policy details, you better be prepared to dig.

I read newspapers from the New York Times to the Washington Times and check into compilation sites from Huffington to Drudge. Of them all, Google has the least agenda as it simply gives snippets of headlines to click and read more. It's your decision whether you go beyond that headline to find the actual story which might bear little resemblance to the headline.

Pretty much anywhere I look, I am unhappy with the news entertainment media of today. Where is real information? Why is covering something Sarah Palin's almost son-in-law said-- whether defending her or attacking her with it-- a story? Isn't that just a family feud more suitable for reality TV than supposed news programs? To me, this whole game has become a race for ratings and ratings come from feeding the expectations of the viewers and from stirring up excitement.

A good example, of the distortion for sensational purposes, was a rally in Texas for seceding from the United States. We were talking a few hundred people and a couple of speakers whom nobody outside of Texas had likely even heard of before. Let's be frank, a few hundred people can be talked into gathering for almost anything, at any time, for any reason.

The 'event,' which deserved zero news coverage from national media, was replayed on MSNBC until you'd have thought the whole state was rising up in rebellion, gathering their guns and prepared to spill blood. Each time it was presented, it was those few seconds of film footage. It was a small event that media tried hard to turn into something of significance.

What should they have been covering instead? How about what health care bill details, specifics of what exactly is proposed. The accusation that it covers illegal aliens even led one legislator to call the president a liar. From what I have seen, illegals get coverage now in ERs but won't under the bill but isn't this the reporters' job to flesh out? Serious stories are left to newspapers and online articles like: [We already have health-care rationing in the U.S].

Magazine formats like Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olberman are good at providing interviews, some deeper insights into a particular event, but that's it. They do not remotely cover all the important things going on.

How much in that week, while the media was hyping the revolution, did you see about the climate questions. They can't give you: [Climate Wizard]. But they could discuss:[Climate Trouble may be Bubbling up in the Far North]. Given how many people I have heard discussing their freaky weather this summer, isn't it possible that those questions might matter?

How about more journalistic pieces looking at why we are enlarging our troop levels in Afghanistan. This is an issue for all of us to look at seriously, not from a partisan angle (although DC seems unable to get beyond that right now) but asking the same questions that should have been asked about Iraq-- why are we there and can we really do anything about it other than losing 51 more lives each month?

Try reading [Afghanistan and Obama by Nicholas Kristof] with a lot more out there including history books to give warnings to the wise. This is a topic to debate right now not waiting until it's too late and we are in deeper.

How about a ton of important issues that we all need to stay informed about but we mostly aren't unless we spend a lot of hours doing research because the mainstream media didn't. The current situation makes people, from the right or the left, think they are getting news; but they are, with a few exceptions, getting partial truths and sensationalism leaving in depth news to somewhere else if people care enough to do the work.

Looking at what has gone wrong in this country, the shallowness of us as a people, and I thought at first it was the educational system which has turned into a test taking machine (thanks Ted Kennedy and George Bush) and not teaching real logic. That idea falls apart if you look at who attends those tea party rallies. Most got their educations, such as they were, years ago. So what the heck is going on?

Maybe too much Kate and whoever that was and not enough of the kind of programming that was on television when it began, shows like Omnibus. It, for you kids, was a mix of plays, informational programming and unlike say Oprah, it didn't have to compete for ratings. There was only one station. [Omnibus explained in Wikipedia]. Today there might be sponsors who would fund such... maybe but without an agenda... unlikely. And if it was there, who would watch it?

Are Americans so shallow that they must be entertained every minute by some new exciting event. Popularity of reality television shows tell you where this is going. If we don't find a way to get more people demanding real news programs, real journalism, I don't think there is hope for serious solutions to real problems. We can't blame this all on the media anymore than we can blame it all on our government. It comes down to us and how much do we really care what is happening? Do we get our news from diverse sources or only go where we hear what we want?

So what do you think about today's media and if you agree with me that it's off base, what do you think has gotten us here and what can we do about it?


(If you made it this far, come back in two days for one last in this series-- this time the Democrats.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How come?

For those of you who are convinced that Obama is trying to destroy this country, I'd especially like you to stay for this
political rant

because what is going on with Republicans is driving me nuts. So let's have a little chat in the patio garden while you explain some things to me. I'll pour the wine? White okay?

To preface, most of the right wingers I personally know are good people, some friends of mine. Most of the left wingers I know are likewise good people; but the way we see the world isn't through the same prism. I could go on for a day on how frustrated I am about the right wing, and I'd still not cover it all. I see them as using no logic, not looking at consequences, and then wanting to blame someone else. I suspect they see me the same way.

I watched Obama give his health care speech and saw the Republicans in Congress, except for a few like John McCain, sit there grimacing, looking like a party of trolls. They are earning their current title as the party of no. Do you, as a conservative, really support leaders who act like they are back in high school? Grumbling, texting, putting up signs, booing? This is mature political behavior?

I was startled to hear one of the legislators yell out that Obama was a liar. To me, that said the most about who Republicans are today. The Representative later kind of apologized until he realized he was now a hero to the Limbaugh right, who were upset he apologized. He's following in the footsteps of Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Who knew all you had to do to gain fame with Republicans was be rude or carry a machine gun to a town hall event. Maybe we should have known given how well Ann Coulter has done with everything but the gun.

Is that what you want for the Republican party-- run by the Limbaughs? Never mind, it's obvious you do. Did you bother to check whether what Wilson said was actually in the bill? I figured you hadn't. You have your reliable sources who tell you what you need to know.

Something is badly wrong within Republicans and I just hope it's not catching for Democrats. Democrats have enough wrong without adding the need for revenge. Republicans say they love the country more than anybody-- right before they suggest they want their state to secede. Logic? Don't look to the right for it.

Their legislators whisper, to someone who says Obama wasn't born in Hawaii, that they agree. Their pundits twist the facts (like Hannity saying Obama said insurance executives were mean and how it shocked-- I tell you shocked-- Hannity. It should have because Obama never said it. In fact he said the opposite. Do you think Hannity will apologize for getting it wrong? Not likely because most of his fans won't ever know it wasn't true). What has gone wrong with a party that used to call itself the Grand Old Party? Conservative used to be a proud title but today it's a joke.

Do you really not see a racial element to all of this? The school stupidity, the birthers, the tea partiers? Marches against taxes (even though they supported the policies that led to this deficit). They don't like, you see it on their faces, that our president is different. They don't trust his background or skin color. Whether it's how you personally think (and it probably isn't), it's a factor in the craziness of today and what's behind people like Joe Wilson.


You say they did the same thing to Bush. Not to the same level but Bush earned what happened to him by what he did and it took awhile. He had good approval ratings even after a contested election. After 9/11 happened, Bush received no blame (not likely the result if it happens today under Obama's presidency) and even had high ratings from left and right.

Then began the wars, the lies, torture, terrorist watch lists that who knew why they got on them but try getting off, the tax cuts during that expensive war, and finally sinking our economy from 2000's $5 1/2 trillion surplus to the economy Obama inherited with major deficits, actual expenses hidden, just waiting for someone else to come along and fix it-- if anybody could. And then they, the ones who helped this happen, they organize these marches with a bunch of people with no clue what's going on.

It's ironic that the same people, who stomped on Dixie Chicks records for one of them saying it was a mistake to go to war in Iraq and adding she was ashamed of our president being from her state, now go around saying things a lot worse. Disrespect was bad then, even in an entertainment venue, but today it's praised in the Congress of the United States?

You say that the fact that Obama was elected proves we aren't a racist nation. It might at best show that half of us aren't. That still leaves plenty for these marches.


Set me straight if I am wrong, but the justification the Republicans are putting forth to not have government involvement in health care is the deficit (which they created with those tax cuts during a war which they said began with 9/11) and the fear it will convert us into socialism which will lead us to becoming Nazis. Is that about it?

On socialism, I am sure you have read that the same types said that about Social Security and Medicare. You have those in your party today who are doing all they can to destroy both. When Bush wanted to start drawing money out of the Social Security fund by letting people put it into the stock market accounts, what do you think that was about?

When they added a Medicare drug benefit but didn't permit bargaining for lower prices and didn't allow recipients to buy their prescriptions online from other countries, did you really not know what that was about? Are you that naive? Actually I think some of you are. The rest know what's happening and relish the idea.

If you are really worried about the deficit, how about tax increases to pay for that war you liked so much? Maybe undo the tax cuts for the richest? Oh I know what you still believe-- cut taxes and more money will flow in rather like manna from heaven.

You might have noticed that the Bush tax cuts haven't helped our economy (and Reagan didn't cut taxes as much as you thought because he took away a lot of deductions) but you don't care about those kind of facts. You just want to blame it all on that other guy-- the un-Bush.

It's hard for me to understand your way of thinking. It was okay to fight a war that made no logical sense unless you really believe it's going to spread democracy throughout the Arab world. That sounds more like a liberal hope than a conservative one-- and definitely mystical. Turning us into Nazis because of health care for all tends to sound pretty mystical to me also.

In funding that war, Republican Congressmen didn't seem to mind a deficit, took their share of any pork being doled out, but suddenly it's bad when it helps people get medical help? Spending was out of control (even before the elections) but now it's a concern. You didn't notice a tiny problem before?

You probably voted twice for a man who chipped away at the Bill of Rights while you now decry Obama destroying the Constitution, but I bet you can't explain where or how he's supposedly doing that.

How come it's okay to break the law as Cheney has proudly said he knows they did if he claims it keeps you safe (Nixon should have thought of this)? How come you would even consider a man like Cheney, who lied, deceived, manipulates even today, for being your presidential candidate in 2012 (which many Republicans apparently think he could be their salvation)?

Cheney brags he (with a little help from Bush) kept us safe for the eight years after 9/11 ignoring the warnings ahead of it. Is he really too stupid to know that bin Laden was out to destroy our economic system, to tie up or ruin our military. How much more successful could he have been thanks to Cheney and Bush's reaction to the attack?
“America is a great power possessed of tremendous military might and a wide-ranging economy, but all this is built on an unstable foundation which can be targeted, with special attention to its obvious weak spots. If America is hit in one hundredth of these weak spots, God willing, it will stumble, wither away and relinquish world leadership.” Osama bin Laden
Ever since 9/11, we have been destroying our own economic system. Maybe you don't know what Osama bin Laden succeeded in doing but he does. Now Cheney says he has kept us safe. Safe from what? Tell that to the ones out of jobs today. Tell that to the soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan where we still are nearly 7 years later. Tell that to those who can't afford health care and will die. Kept us safe! You joke.

You smile and nod your head when someone like Huckabee says that under universal health care, Ted Kennedy would have been denied cancer treatment and only given pain pills, while you ignore the millions who aren't even given the pain pills under today's system.

I really don't get it. Sarah Palin. Dick Cheney? Newt Gingrich? Michele Bachmann? Those trolls are your statesmen? The ones who you hope will lead this country into a new day? Aren't they instead more of what got us where we are? Doesn't the leadership of your party make you wonder if it's who you want connected to you? Do you bear any responsibility for who those people are? Have you driven out all moderates or those who can talk logically about issues because emotional fodder is all you want?

This is the kind of link that led to this rant:

If you are out there talking how Obama is out to destroy us, maybe you better think what that might encourage someone else to do. Will you take any responsibility if it happens? There are some, who if they are reading this blog would take pride in that kind of violent act. They would say it was what he deserved. Are you proud to be linked to them?

Originally I thought to tone this down but you know after what happened after Obama addressed Congress, I felt angrier than ever. And I'm not done. My rant takes more than one blog. Next one will be the media and then Democrats.

Please feel free to say what you think about these issues including disagreeing. That's what a good debate is about; but it's not about threatening others or being needlessly insulting. I would like to continue to keep comment moderation off but will put it back on if it is required.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What I pack first

When going on a vacation to a part of the country where there aren't going to be a lot of stores, packing gets to be more complex. Usually wherever I go, I can buy anything I forgot. In Eastern Oregon there are a lot of places where the basics are available but specific needs aren't so easy to find.

The first thing I pack are books. Sometimes I end up not reading anything I brought because I get busy with other things, but I bring quite a few just in case this or that mood strikes. This time I am particularly aiming myself toward feeding one element in my personal life. I want to paint more effectively than I have been.

Improving my painting was also helped by something else I did the week before I left. I had several stacks of my favorite western and art magazines. Some went back to 2005 so that lets you know how long I had been putting off sorting through these for the ideas I wanted to keep. A visualization, of being one of those little old ladies with many cats and stacks of magazines that forces walking through their homes like a maze, was part of my impetus.

As I went through the magazines, tearing out articles about artists I admired, studio ideas, paintings that were particularly interesting, something I could use for a motivational collage, I realized I was feeding my inner vision with a flow of images.

There were stories of painters who had done what I'd love to do; stories of people and their horses; some tragic stories of lives lost; collections of cowboy movies that I mostly have seen but might want to see again; reminders of old western televisions series; and homes I'd love to have in the mountains. It was a feast for my senses.

Hopefully that feast, besides sending the magazines to recycle, will help me to do better at painting on this trip. I am heading for a part of the state that has vari-colored mountains, canyons back into fossil beds, a wild river that winds through it all, and a cottage with a garden (if it hasn't frozen yet) that looks like a place an artist could paint for a week and not run out of subjects.

Because we are renting two different houses for the week, I figured I had more time to spread out a little at each place. Renting houses is something I particularly like to do on such trips as it cuts way down on a need to eat out-- not that there would be a lot of nearby restaurants in at least one of the places.

We have a nearby neighbor looking after the cats, cows and sheep; so I feel confident to leave. Sometimes it's important to go away and this summer it's been hard to do. I might get online at one of the homes but it will be sporadic if so.

(The political rants come next. I moved them up. I have some things I feel I need to say but then I want to get it behind me. I don't know if you are like me, but until I say what I know is important to me, it will bug me. I think with those three, I will have said it all at least for awhile-- I hope.

So if you cannot stand politics, come back the 19th, which happens to be our 45th wedding anniversary. Wow, it just seems like yesterday-- no, it doesn't. Anyway that blog won't be about the anniversary, we never make a big deal about them, but about the farm.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama on Health Care


President Obama's speech on health care Wednesday kind of fouled up my whole timing for the next few days on this blog. I had not actually planned to write about it. I had a couple of farm ones set to go; and then three that went nicely together-- (1 my take on Republicans;(2 on the news media today; and (3 on Democrats-- they were all cynical and irritated. He took the wind out of my sails.

It seems to me that temporarily at least Obama's speech is a game changer. He did reach out again to Republicans by crediting one of his proposals to John McCain and another to the Republicans in general. His ideas seemed pretty moderate to me and did speak to the American character which I would like to think we still have.

I could still be irked at the Republican legislators who sat on their hands during the speech, pretty much sour looking expressions with one even yelling out something rude to prove he's one of the birthers and deathers, I guess (what is with the South to produce these people? He's not an ordinary citizen attending a town hall but someone who should know the facts about health care).

Still is it possible that Republican people will have listened to this speech, seen the need to do something to change the status quo on health care, a problem that anyone who pays attention knows is growing? If it is, would my writing my irritation (and I have plenty of that based on many things this summer besides health care) put out more negative energy?

I don't know. I mean it doesn't take many Republicans to change the situation and get a real program for taking health care out of the fear category and making it something we can all quit talking and writing about. A definite Hallelujah moment. Obama's explanation of his view of a limited public option (one that would not be subsidized by the government but would have to pay its way but without excess profits) should seem to be the compromise many had not thought possible.

Reform won't ever get the vote of the Eric Cantors, who cannot even bother to really listen as they text their clever put downs. People like him are pandering to the Rush Limbaugh segment of the population and have nothing to gain from looking for real solutions-- not on Obama's watch. They feel they have plenty to gain by keeping the problem out there to be an Obama failure (instead of recognizing it's a failure of 50 years).

Regarding those three previously scheduled posts, there would be a kind of satisfaction in writing my vitriol. I get it out of my system. Maybe my readers get it out of theirs as they read and agree-- or read and get the chance to express their disagreement. Still...

Next week we are taking a short vacation to Eastern Oregon. When I leave, I like to have a bunch of things prescheduled. I do this because I have so many ideas that it's easy to do, but also because I personally like it when I go to someone's blog and something new is there. Where I write an idea blog more than a journal blog, prescheduling is usually perfect.

Anyway I liked Obama's speech. I liked his proposals. I liked it when he said-- "I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last." I liked his appeal to the better side of our character. Maybe we can be the generation who finally fixes what has been going wrong. You think?

And I have a couple of days to think about what do about those blog rants. :)
(Incidentally, Farm Boss took the photos of the frogs at Finley on Monday. I heard them and saw them but thought not a big deal and said, 'hey, you take them.' He saw the potential which I also saw when I saw the photos and ended up feeling like Naomi from Old Lady of the Hills that they are my favorite from that day. They also seem appropriately symbolic for this post, so here's another of them.)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

9/9/9


Okay so it really is 09/09/09 but you get the idea that it is one of those dates. I hadn't thought of it being one until I read this in a newsletter from Cynthia Tierra--


These dates are always coming along and usually we wouldn't even know they were there if nobody told us. When we do know, can we use such times as cosmic windows to attain what we want? Might those be things we want for our own lives but also for others, for even something universal?

Naturally those of you, who don't believe in psychics or portending times, just tuned me out. Mysticism bad. Logic good. Okay, but you also don't happen to believe Christ's birth was predicted based on signs in the sky, do you?

What if tomorrow is a special date with the benefits that Cynthia speaks of in her newsletter? How could we use it? How about the health care debate? Here's the thing. Is there anyone who would really wish people who needed health care could not get it? The argument isn't really over some who like to see others suffer and the others who hope all are healthy and well. I think we all want to see people receive the care they need. The debate is over how.

Could 9/9/9 be a good day for putting out positive energy toward a solution that helps everyone. Some are afraid of a public option. You know for those who fear we will all be turned into Nazis (talk about believing in mysticism) if everyone can go to a doctor, stop, take some deep breaths and just think about it a bit. . There are facts that can be checked and validated and articles like this one to consider:


Supposing more of us got informed and put out positive energy toward seeing this situation be resolved in a way that for once puts our people first? I think we all know one of the main reasons it's not going through is corporate profits and the money they can throw at the debate. They not only want to keep their existing profits but want guarantees of even more.

If you think health insurance is not your problem because you have a job and therefore, your insurance is secured, ask yourself what happens if you lose that job. How long could you afford insurance then?.

Today you think you have a co-pay you can afford. Wait until you or a family member gets a catastrophic health problem. The co-pays alone can break you and that's if your insurance company doesn't find an excuse to dump you. Some have a clause about the maximum they will cover in a year. With catastrophic illness that number can be reached pretty fast.

You think you have Medicare; so no worries. If the costs keep rising as they are, Medicare is in for a big readjustment for benefits and costs.

Health care costs have to be brought down and unless a lot of very strong government regulation happens (something Republicans also resist), that can only come through competition from a public option like Medicare for everyone. Too many in Congress, from both parties, don't want the public option because of the payola they receive for their campaigns from the industries. Only public pressure can make them do what is right.

The arguments used against the public option are mostly based on misinformation. You think the government can't run a health care program-- tell that to Veterans and elders. It's not perfect but it's basic care that many could not afford any other way.

I heard a good discussion on this video Al Franken Calms Down Health Care Opponents. Franken gave some information about insurance company profits. It's well worth your time to listen especially if you consider him to be inarticulate and a clown as the right tries to paint him. He's a very bright man and knows his stuff.

You have been told getting health care is terrible in places like England. Click on Elder Woman Blog and find the article titled 'Setting the record straight about health care.'

This isn't a partisan or political issue. It's a humanitarian one and the time is now!

(Photos of geese, pelicans, otters, frogs are from September 7 at William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, after a few days of wonderful fall rains. Fall and the start of the annual migrations are bringing in more birds. These ponds are the kind of places that lower blood pressure and help put things in perspective. When I had been out there before, the frogs had been quiet. All they needed was these wonderful rains to bring them out of hiding and into the world.)


Monday, September 07, 2009

President speaking on education a threat?

Normally I would not consider education to be about politics. Well maybe when it's curriculum; but this time, it's as partisan as it comes which makes it
politics.
Sometimes I get angry at what I read in the papers. Sometimes I wish I didn't feel compelled to keep informed and would like to head into the woods and forget the whole thing (before I remember I live in the woods). Sometimes I just want to cry. This is the latter.


Has the far right gone totally bonkers? Do they believe that the attitude of children toward education so wonderful that they don't need encouragement? If you don't have children or grandchildren in the schools, here's one take on the state of education today:


What is the hope for this country without solid public education? Is education to be the next threat thrown out from the far right regarding socialism and how everything is better when done for profit? They've been trying with trying to get vouchers to take money away from the public system.

How can anyone not see that our hope for the future is to see all children receiving the opportunity for good educations. The only reason I can imagine for people to think otherwise would be a desire to destroy the public system and make sure their children are being educated with their parents' ideas on religion and government. Children taught to think for themselves? Heaven forbid and I do mean heaven. Did anybody see anywhere that Jesus said there should be a public education system? Is it specifically in the Constitution? Point made!

So I can believe hysteria mongers might have another agenda but what about those parents with kids in public school today who did not want their children to hear a Presidential encouragement to work hard at the beginning of the new school year? It's not like this is a new thing for Obama to do. He's been speaking about the importance of education since I first heard anything from him.

What's up with those parents who just revealed themselves to being paranoid, selfish and unpatriotic, what is their fear at their children hearing a message directly from their president (yes, an elected president is the president of us all whether they voted for him or not)?

When Reagan gave such a speech directly to the schools it was even to sell his tax program. Did anybody complain? For heaven's sake, isn't it cool that a president wants to take time out to talk to kids about important issues? Newt Gingrich said it was a good thing; but then we know he thinks being educated is a plus, not a minus.

I am trying to understand what kind of parents would make a fuss over the president speaking to their kids about schooling. Oh, I forget. These are likely the same people who were proud they had a president who bragged at becoming president after a C average at university (don't need no stinking education-- at least not if you have a powerful daddy). They liked one who bragged he didn't bother reading newspapers and saw no reason to be widely informed. Damned liberals.

Just guessing, I'd imagine these parents also wanted/want Palin for President and proudly saw her as being one of them and a plus that she was ignorant about a lot of the world. A leader who promotes education as being important might seem threatening to such people.

Or can these parents barely stand the idea that the United States president is black and don't want their children reminded that white is not the only color that can excel? Don't want other black kids getting the idea that they could also be president?

What do they gain by making such a fuss? Maybe to have him not do it again? He might confuse their babies with his articulateness which is also not a good quality in a president. Are these the people who prefer phrases like kill grandma rather than explaining any programs in detail. Booorrrinnnggg! Maybe the children would compare Obama's speech to what they hear from their own parents. Even worse.

This is not a campaign. Obama is a legitimately elected president by the popular vote as well as electoral and all the wingnuts can do is figure out ways to de-legitimize him. Who gains with that? I shake my head as I literally cannot figure this out. What do these parents fear? Never mind, I don't even want to know.

Well I can make a good guess. They fear mind control. Obama is so powerful that if their kids just hear him speak, they will be turned into mind-numbed robots....

I wonder if they guard their children from seeing Fox news at night?

(Digital painting)