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Seeking light in a murky world




Index Card- Whatever Happened To… ? Tripoli 6; Iranian Women; Lost City

Index cards are just my shorthand notes for remembering this, that or the other thing that I might eventually want to type about (as sort of explained in this post.) Or maybe I just want to know about. While they are mainly personal notes, no formal format or anything, anyone is welcome to either comment on them, use them as a creativity jumpstart or add their own notes in comments.

Quite often I come across the beginnings (or middle of drama) stories that interest me, but for some reason I rarely come across the conclusion of the matter. So, these are just notes to - someday - follow up on and see if I can figure out where things are now.



  • Tripoli Six, highlighted here. I think Effect Measure was going to update on that story, will have to remember to check in with them from time to time.

  • Iranian women in danger of being stoned - highlighted here. Ali Eteraz seems the best overall source for info on that, but might also look for others - also see what else, good and bad, is happening with the women in Iran. And the men too, of course. Well, besides wondering if they are going to be bombed soon by the megalomaniacs with access to the buttons in the US.

  • Terrance at Republic of T points to this story that states "The remains of what has been described as a huge lost city may force historians and archaeologists to radically reconsider their view of ancient human history.  Marine scientists say archaeological remains discovered 36 metres (120 feet) underwater in the Gulf of Cambay off the western coast of India could be over 9,000 years old." The article is from 2002 though, and so far (very quick looking) I can find no followup.

Okay, there are probably many more but if I don’t write them down, I tend not to remember them (CRS time of life, I’m thinking).


Posted by Nanette on 10/14 at 05:37 PM
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This and That

Copying, in a way, Nezua�s idea though, I am going to start making note posts, sort of like index cards some writers use to gather bits and pieces of stories and thoughts. I�ll call them that too � who knows maybe, if I actually do it, some of the stuff will get others thought processes churning on those or other topics and can help kickstart someone else�s creativity. That would be neat. 

The closer it gets to the mid-term elections in the US, the less interest I have in them, or in politics in general. Most likely because I doubt things will change much� it�s been a long time since I�ve looked to Democrats for actual change in this country. Mostly, I agree with others when they say we have two corporate parties, one far right and the other just center right. No left at all.

Friends of mine overseas are sometimes astounded at what we, in the US, call the �left�.  In some of the countries, the US left would be the center right, or even the right wing. Me, I�m more to the left than a number of people, but even so there are things that never even occur to me that are standard fare in other countries.

Will get into that at some point, hopefully. I plan to actually start writing on this blog and in other places, again. Just to write, and get into the habit of it, and not at all to worry about perfect grammar - or, more likely, an excess of commas, since I love them so much. �This looks like a good place for a comma!� I say, and there it goes. Anyway, probably mostly stream of consciousness stuff.

Also, Nezua at the Unapologetic Mexican came up with an idea of doing little diary type posts� notes to himself, as he put it. Like jottings from a notebook or something� I think that is a great idea, and I am planning on doing something similar. Sometimes I comment in other people�s posts, especially when they�ve written something that�s gotten me thinking about this or that, and I even plan to (one day) get my thoughts together and make a real article or blog post out of what came to mind. But, I forget where I�ve commented or about what, so that gets lost sometimes�

Copying, in a way, Nezua�s idea though, I am going to start making note posts, sort of like index cards some writers use to gather bits and pieces of stories and thoughts. I�ll call them that too � who knows maybe, if I actually do it, some of the stuff will get others thought processes churning on those or other topics and can help kickstart someone else�s creativity. That would be neat.

Well, I�ve successfully written my first real post in months � will probably just use the blog for bloggy, chatty stuff and if and when I do full articles just put those in the sections.

Maybe.


Posted by Nanette on 10/13 at 09:21 PM
GeneralJustLife
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Sanctuary

Since the beginning of time, when there is war, when there is no more food, when there is death or disease threatening, people have packed up what they could, left the rest to maybe never be seen again, grabbed their children and gone on the move. 

[Note]: This was written as part of 10 Stories the World Should Hear More About as identified by the United Nations for 2006, a Booman Tribune Group Project suggested and coordinated by ManEegee. For further information see Group Project: 10 Most Underreported Stories.

I have had a hard time starting this piece - why, I don’t know, as I’ve been thinking about it for weeks. Even this morning I’ve torn paper after paper out of the typewriter, balling them up and throwing them on the floor. Well, metaphorically… in reality I just clicked delete which, while it may be quicker and cleaner, does not give quite the same satisfaction. This version I will muddle through with, regardless.

Perhaps I felt the problem was too big… taking the vast expanse of desert, the endless horizon of an ocean, the leaves on a thousand trees and trying to capture it all in a teaspoon. And it is that, to be sure. Big, I mean. Huge. Mammoth.

Stand anywhere in the world, and turn in any direction you wish and you’ll be facing towards uprooted lives, traumatized children, shoes whose soles have been worn thin from walking, walking, always on the move; bloodied hands that have been shredded by grasping barbed wire - and still they grip, attempting to pull it open; tongues hanging from mouths, white and parched, not even enough moisture left to wet the lips; a slice of bread that is the meal of the day, split among four; labored breathing, wide eyes and backward glances, hearts pounding, shushing the children as they try and hang on with little hands made slick with fear. On the move, on their way, to where some have no idea, but they hope when they get there someone will let them in.

http://www.humanbeams.com/images/refugees1.jpg

I realized, however, that the problem is also very small, easy to understand, childs play to grasp. Clear, simple, basic and elemental, yet intricate - the percussion of one raindrop hitting the surface of the water.

Sanctuary.

Since the beginning of time, when there is war, when there is no more food, when there is death or disease threatening, people have packed up what they could, left the rest to maybe never be seen again, grabbed their children and gone on the move.

It makes sense, of course, to get out of the danger areas. There are other reasons too - bombs masquerading as food packets, lessons taught from the barrel of a gun, your young children stolen in the night, or even in broad daylight, by competing factions. Your son forced to carry water, bedding or arms; to learn to shut off all feeling and kill or maim indiscriminately; your daughter to cook, to carry arms and to be repeatedly raped until she is tossed aside like trash, to live or die.

Some uninvited guests never arrive without company.

There are individuals, groups and organizations that, before the echo of the first shot fades, it sometimes seems, also pack up and start out for some semi-safe spot to make the first catch of the invariable detritus of war, famine, epidemics - broken lives and broken people. I’ve often thought that in order to really know what is going on in the world, that these are the people to watch. They hear things we don’t, see things coming that we don’t know about til they’ve passed us, if then… they need to - in order to provide the first relief, to set up the first sanctuary, temporary shelter until things calm down. Although as I’ve grown older and more cynical, I’ve wondered if part of the job of some of them was not also to halt people in their tracks.

People are soooo tired of those seeking asylum (pdf), everywhere, it seems. Governments have fortified themselves, or even changed hands entirely -usually to the right wing, on the strength of keeping people out. Of course, creative marketing is sometimes needed to allow people to feel better about this… refugees and asylum seekers become "queue jumpers", "illegals" and "invaders" (or sometimes citizens and residents become "refugees", ala Katrina). Still, unavoidably, a few slip through. And still more await.

And you know what I noticed, while looking at picture after picture of interrupted lives, whether by war or by disaster, by acts of nature or acts of humans? They all look alike. Really.

Oh, they have different skin colors, different clothes, each has individual features and cultural artifacts… some may come from the city, some from a rural area, have different professions… teacher, banker, student, farmer, caregiver, mother, sports figure, many things… but they all have the same look. I don’t know how to describe it… not waiting, exactly, because I am not sure waiting has any meaning anymore for some of them. Not hope, although I am sure that is part of it. Maybe it’s simply… I am present, I think, but that is all I can say for sure. Even the children have it:

What do we do? At the moment, we tweak aside the curtains of our world to peer for a moment at the mass of humanity on the move, just outside, before we pull them tightly closed again and head for our own sanctuaries - the garden, office or study, the kitchen to check on the roast - pausing along the way to turn up the sound on the TV or stereo lest we accidentally hear the plea of those walking, walking, always on the move, for the scraps from our table. The richer we are, as a country, the more we have to share, the less inclined we seem to want to do so. Or sometimes, some think we already do share, in great amounts, because of rhetoric and myth.

Racism is a huge part of it, of course, but not the only part. Some of it is fear… fear of not having enough, especially when sometimes our own lives appear to be teetering on the edge - quite purposely so, if you ask me, as it benefits governments to have an insecure (but not too insecure), and thus fairly compliant populace.

There is so much more to this story… it will never all be told, and as long as there are wars, famines and upheavals, it will never end. In many cases, we are being overtaken by the shadows cast years ago which are only just now, in this time of increased mobility and knowledge, drawing over us. For the forseeable future; for years to come, someone will always be at the door seeking sanctuary.

What will we do?


Further reading

Stranded

Refugee Action: Challenging the Myths (UK)


Posted by Nanette on 09/05 at 12:32 PM
ImmigrationShameOnUsHumanBeamsHumanityHumanRights
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We’re here today, you die tomorrow

You can rage and cry and shake your fist, talk about morality and mercy, about proportionality and accountability, about justice and non-combatants - but no law will touch me, because I am within the law. In fact, I am the law - my power deems it so. 

The targets are the children, of course.

The initial blasts may be for whoever is in the vicinity of the dropped bombs, but the little unexploded, sometimes brightly colored bomblets, that mimic food packages? Or are dropped 72 hours before a planned cease-fire?? Those are for the children, so that they can keep dying or being maimed long after a war is over.

Who else runs heedlessly across the grass, looking over their shoulder at the kite they are propelling, laughing and leaping with joy until the moment they seem to leap higher than ever, only to come down in pieces. What others, no matter how many times you warn them, reach out their small hands to investigate what is this new thing in their now very short world.

Remember me, the wee bomblets are saying, sending a message from a people to a people long after their representatives are gone. Remember what I can do to you - my power is such that I can snatch your children from you anywhere. Your garden, their playgrounds, their schools, the road to the market, any little place at all - that’s the beauty of it. And it can all be done while we are sitting at home in our easy chairs, watching our own children play outside in the pool, having nothing to remember.

Remember that you can’t do anything at all about it… except bury your dead. You can rage and cry and shake your fist, talk about morality and mercy, about proportionality and accountability, about justice and non-combatants - but no law will touch me, because I am within the law. In fact, I am the law - my power deems it so. If I want to space out the killing of you for two days, two weeks or two decades, the law has said it is perfectly okay. A child, a stranger, a grandmother, a groundskeeper - a leg, a hand, an eye or a life, it’s all in memory of me.

Remember what I can do to you - my power is such that, with nary a footstep set on your patch of earth, I can dig your grave and put you or your children in it in the same blink of time, and never break a sweat.

Remember me as you lead the blind, steady the halt, bind the wounds of the maimed and feed the motherless with the milk of despair.

Remember me from generation to generation, our little giftlets demand…

...yet we are always so surprised when they do.


Posted by Nanette on 08/31 at 08:12 AM
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Why now? What is going on?

This is what I and others have been wondering lately. Discussions that even lightly touch on certain subjects, difficult no matter how presented - race, white privilege, American Exceptionalism, war and responsibility, just to name a few - are like dropping a match into a tinderbox when they are initiated by… well, what in my mind I call the Inconvenient or Unacceptable Other. 

This is what I and others have been wondering lately. Discussions that even lightly touch on certain subjects, difficult no matter how presented - race, white privilege, American Exceptionalism, war and responsibility, just to name a few - are like dropping a match into a tinderbox when they are initiated by… well, what in my mind I call the Inconvenient or Unacceptable Other. (Not all “Others”, born or self-othered, fall into this category). It appears that the tension has racheted up these past few weeks, on these issues, spanning a number of blogs of various degrees of left ideology and it would be interesting to know why.

In one discussion, on dove’s blog (where I tend to yap a lot), I expressed the opinion that, counter-intuitive as it may seem, I think one of the reasons for this is Katrina. I’ve taken that comment and edited it a bit, in order to explain why I think that, and here it is.

I remember reading an article a couple of weeks or so after 9/11, by a British journalist who was over in the US visiting. He’d been here a few times before - I think had even lived here for a time, had friends in various parts of the country and, in general, thought he was familiar with the US and Americans.

He wrote, in his article, about his New York friends, and how l(understandably)depressed they were, and his desire to get a bit of other perspective on things… so he called friends in California, and they were also depressed. And he thought, surely the entire country couldn’t be depressed over what, after all, was one incident on one coast. He then called friends in a small town in some middle state (Wisconsin, I think it was)… and sure enough, they were depressed too. So he came to the conclusion that yes, even in a country the size of the US, everyone can be depressed at the same time, over the same event.

We may be big enough for 10 nations, and have many disparate regions thousands of miles apart that mostly have nothing at all in common with each other, but we do have a national psyche. And Katrina shattered that a bit. That tragedy left people with feelings of shock, shame, horror… and distaste.

This last very carefully manufactured, I think, because people were beginning to look too closely at themselves and at policies, and think too hard about the hidden poor and our responsibilities and privileges. So, instead of victims, the people of Katrina were almost immediately turned into thugs and criminals, the trenchant poor that no one could do anything with, people too poor (or too stupid) to leave, those unable to care for themselves or each other, those unable to keep a packed football stadium clean and fresh smelling and full of light and wonder for days because they preferred to live in filth and were used to it and so on and on and on.

With the aid of a sensation seeking media, and a credulous public, it was possible to almost totally remove their humanity from them… from the disabled that there was no provision made for, from the teachers and business owners that stayed for this or that reason and the many others that were there, including the very poor. This reducing of everyone to the lowest common denominator is why, in my opinion, Bush and company have (in reality) paid very little price for Katrina, and won’t in the future either, if it happens again.

It’s also why, 10 months later, there is little or no outcry at the fact that many of the affected people are still unable to return home, that many of the properties are still piles of sticks and concrete and that a US city (or at least certain parts of it) is, for all intents and purposes, being erased from our consciences.

This stuff is very worrisome, as is the rhetoric regarding undocumented immigrants… it really, really bothers me, this stuff about “well, if we don’t let them in, who will clean your toilet, and who will wash the dishes” and all that. Why don’t we, especially on the left, ask… who can we train who will be the next doctor in the poor village they left, or the next teacher that will help the children to thrive, and so on?

Even on the left we are sucked into the language of a sort of servant class type thing, and by using that language we set expectations for both the latino immigrants and the poor black workers - as if there is no place else for either to go.

Hmmm… well I’ve gone far off from my original point, whatever that was, but it all relates… the language of exclusion and of… “none of this is your fault, it’s all their own faults, aren’t you tired of being blamed for it?” is very insidious and I think it has a wide ranging and lasting effect.

(also posted at Man Eegee)


Posted by Nanette on 07/08 at 09:08 AM
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Coalitions and Community

What wasn’t done in the past that we can do now to build long-term coalitions that are committed to one another’s success?  In this series, I’ll be seeking the answer to this and other questions and exploring the dynamics of community structures and coalitions in general.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about coalitions, community, solidarity and related subjects. And, of course, politics.  Trying to come to an understanding within my own head of what makes for a successful long-term coalition, as opposed to one that is ad hoc and suited only for the moment, or the current situation.

In an effort to force myself to write more (I am the very personification of a Bad Blogger, sigh), I plan to look at this question, and some of the answers others have found or that I have thought of, and see what I can come up with. Anyone who wants to chime in with their views or experiences is welcome.

Some of the areas I want to cover involve various minority factions and the real, or manufactured, divisions between them and how to bridge them, while also including majority factions… with no one group overwhelming the other. Everyone pretty much agrees that we’re all in this together - but there is a distinct lack of trust that, at the end, we’ll all get there together. Wherever “there” happens to be. This is due in no small part to the fact that in previous coalitions, it appears that different groups used others as more a stepping stone out of minority or underdog status, thus leaving those left behind more embittered and cynical each time.

Also, looking at online community structures and how they are working out. A number of them (of the ones I know of, that is) have been having upheavals over issues such as race, economics, ideals and so on… nothing unusual in communities on or offline, of course, but still - interesting to watch how things like this are dealt with. So far it seems that getting rid of the “disruptive” elements that keep bringing up such distasteful subjects is the chosen way to go. Although I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t put it quite like that ;).

I don’t have any answers (yet) but I’d like to explore the questions, especially how to effect change worldwide. I have some ideas on that, and have been - along with arin- (sort of) working on a project that will help with this. Only, we’ve come to the conclusion that it was started backwards, and that instead of being a separate entity from HB, that it needs to more flow from it. One of my big problems was how to get from (here) to ........ (there). I had the wrong (here), is all!

So, we’re working on that, and of course accepting any help in planning and implementation. 


Posted by Nanette on 07/04 at 10:34 AM
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We have blogs!

Yes it’s true, Human Beams is joining the blogging revolution. Well, even more than before, that is. Down below on the page you’ll see our “Blogger’s Row” and the three new blogs we’ve recently added. There are more in the planning, and I’ll be posting about those as well as introducing our current bloggers soon.  As well as other new stuff… it’s been bizzy, bizzy around here!


Posted by Nanette on 06/09 at 05:29 PM
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Indonesian Earthquake Leaves Thousands Dead

None of the relief organizations that I checked had their specific donation pages for this event up yet, but here is a short list of the old standbys, who are sure to be on the ground soon, if not already.

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia (AP)—A powerful earthquake flattened homes and hotels in central Indonesia early Saturday as people slept, killing at least 2,900 and injuring thousands more in the nation’s worst disaster since the 2004 tsunami.

The rest of the story, likely to be updated through the day, is here. None of the relief organizations that I checked had their specific donation pages for this event up yet, but here is a short list of the old standbys, who are sure to be on the ground soon, if not already.

Save the Children

CARE

International Red Cross

Mdecins Sans Frontires (Doctors Without Borders)

We’ll write up more complete info both on the quake and the relief effort (and where you can help) as the days go by, and post it in Our Humanity


Posted by Nanette on 05/27 at 08:56 AM
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10 Years to Life for Winning an Election

Myanmar officials have extended the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, who was put under house arrest after she won an election by a landslide 17 years ago.

Myanmar officials have extended the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, who was put under house arrest after she won an election by a landslide 17 years ago.

CNN - There was no official announcement from the government, but the ministry source told reporters outside Suu Kyi’s home that her detention had been extended another six months.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed this week to the ruling junta’s chief to release the activist, and her followers had planned a celebration upon her release.

U.N. Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari visited Suu Kyi last week, a trip that raised hopes she would be released.

[...]

In late 2003, Suu Kyi was transferred to the villa where she has lived alone. Her telephone service was discontinued and her television was seized.

Her only connection to the outside world is through an NLD official she meets with monthly.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962. I have to do a lot more reading before I even begin to figure out what is going on here, but considering the lack of outcry or pressure from the major “pro democracy” nations, my first conclusion is that this state of affairs is no doubt of benefit to the powerful class, as is the case with so many military and other dictatorships around the world. Some of which we’ve helped to install. I bet there are many who wish she would just go away. Doesn’t seem likely, though…

Suu Kyi was briefly released from house arrest in 1996 and again in 2002. Both times, she continued her political campaign for democracy.

Good for her.


Posted by Nanette on 05/27 at 08:30 AM
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An Elephant Pause

The bones have been there for a long time, likely 2 years or more, cleansed now in the contributive way nature does these things. Bleached by the sun, they lay harmless and mute, meriting no more than a glance - if that - from the creatures she once shared this space with, as they pass by intent on the living and having no more use for this carcass of the dead. Or so it seems.

They are still a ways distant, moving slowly and ponderously due to their weight, and the lack of anywhere else to be at this time except where they are. The old bones could be quite easily avoided, by choosing a route less than a hundred yards to the right or the left - not much, in a migration that has already covered hundreds or thousands of miles - except it seems for this stately procession the bones are not a detour, but a destination.

The matriarchs arrive first, their enormous feet stepping gently as they arrange themselves around the bones, maneuvering their mammoth forms in a way that should be clumsy, but is not.  The head matriarch makes the first move - the tip of her trunk gracefully moving back and forth before settling in to softly caress the shape of the head, follow the line of a tusk, pat a ribcage. The others perform their own rituals of touching, scenting, before one by one they move aside, their places taken by the aunts, uncles, pushing forward the little ones who were born following the past closing of the circle and so are meeting whoever inhabited the old bones, for the first time.

Finally, the last ones finish their touching and then turn away, moving into the end of the already moving line of forms. They will again range hundreds, maybe thousands of miles, seeking food and sustenance - and perhaps again pausing from time to time to… what? Mourn for those who were unable to make it? Seeking strength or wisdom from an ancestor? Remember times past? Or maybe just to smell old bones. I don’t know.

I’ve been fascinated by the idea of the elephant pause since I first heard of it. I have no idea what they are doing, or why, so until they can tell me, I put my own interpretation on it, and, while I love the story, for me it’s never just about elephants. It’s about pausing, in whatever way suits one best, perhaps to consider where one has been, and what lies ahead (although that can’t be known). Sometimes it’s about thoughts that bring joy, little incidents that produce an involuntary smile at the memory of them.

Maybe it’s about who walks with you, or who you instead walk with. Destinations, detours, circles - what is worth meeting in the middle and who gets to decide what you do there? Is the destination the same, or is what should be the main pathway just someone’s detour?

Or maybe it’s just about old bones. 


Posted by Nanette on 05/20 at 02:48 PM
GeneralJustLife
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Huge donor shortfall forces drastic food cuts for millions of Sudanese UN

This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. Havent the people of Darfur suffered enough? Arent we adding insult to injury?

This is a UN press release. I have nothing to add to it… this is just tragic.

And shameful.

28 April 2006 Despite the horrific suffering of more than 6 million vulnerable people across Sudan, a huge shortfall in requested funds has forced the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to make drastic cuts in food rations as from May, the agency announced today.

This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. Havent the people of Darfur suffered enough? Arent we adding insult to injury? WFP Executive Director James Morris said, referring to the western region where 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million others uprooted in three years of fighting between the Government, pro-government militias and rebels.

Despite repeated appeals to donors, WFP has received just $238 million, or 32 per cent, of the $746 million needed. By slashing daily rations to as little as 1,050 kilocalories, half the minimum daily requirement, WFPs limited food stocks will last longer during the hunger season, the annual period from July to September when needs are the greatest before the next harvest.

It’s so hard to understand this funding shortfall because last year [overall] official development assistance climbed all the way to $107 billion - double what it was just a few years ago, Mr. Morris said. Donors are being incredibly generous - but they are not putting victims of humanitarian crises like Darfur first on their list.

Food must come first - we cannot put families who have lost their homes and loved ones to violence on a 1,000 calorie a day diet. But we have been pushed into this last resort of ration cuts in Sudan so we can provide the needy with at least some food during the lean season. This is a measure we should simply never have to take.

Although WFP is particularly concerned about the effect of reduced rations in Darfur, where rampant insecurity continues to cause enormous suffering, the cuts will affect 6.1 million people overall in Africas largest country this year, including the South, Central, and East.

What is deeply disturbing is that these funding shortages threaten the gains made last year by humanitarian agencies in Darfur, where malnutrition levels went down by half. We were making great progress, Mr. Morris said.

South Sudan, where some 4.5 million people displaced by a two-decade-long civil war that ended in January 2005 are expected to begin returning to their homes, will be less affected by the cuts because people are able to grow at least part of the food they need. But the East, where WFP assists Eritrean refugees and displaced families, faces a situation similar to that in Darfur.

Throughout this critical year for Sudan, when peace must be allowed to take hold, WFP urgently needs donors to come forward so that we can guarantee food aid to the millions of Sudanese who so desperately need our help, Mr. Morris said.


Posted by Nanette on 04/30 at 04:31 AM
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Some things only flow one way

Like Bushco loyalty. I think the media is learning a lesson in that.

I’m not really sure why the media decided to hook themselves to the Bush wagon in the run up to the 2000 election - maybe they were bored with Gore (or figured he wouldn’t provide nearly as much material as Bush); maybe they were leaning over backwards to show that they really weren’t the “Liberal media”. Whatever the reason, many seem to have decided to take a pass on real reporting, even before they entered into their post-9/11 prostration. After 9/11… gah! unspeakable.

Still, even then there were some reporters who were going to do their jobs and hold power accountable, even if their corporate bosses weren’t too happy about it. Some, such as the New York Times, were perfectly willing to not only acquiesce to publishing total spin, through Judy Miller, but acceded to White House requests that they withhold stories that detailed this administrations illegal operations. (An exception to supine corporate bosses would be the Knight-Ridder corp - one of the few media organizations that pretty consistently did real investigative reporting and asked questions in the run-up to the war - but gosh, darn, for some reason it all of a sudden became imperative to the stockholders that this media organization be sold and broken up. And so it was.)

I have a feeling that some of this was in the form of an attempted inoculation… no doubt the press corps, more than most, knew the type of people who are inhabiting the White House. The stories that have made it through - on Abu Ghraib tortures, “renditions”, illegal wiretapping, excessive secrecy, corruption and more, are appalling. One can’t help but wonder what things are going on that we don’t yet know about. What ever it is… the Bush admin really, really doesn’t want us to find out.

So what, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, do you do when the press that you thought you had cowed and compliant, that knew their place, decides to start digging and keep digging?

Why, you threaten to prosecute them as spies, of course, under the Espionage Law.

Adam Liptak reports, in The New York Times:

Continue Reading Some things only flow one way


Posted by Nanette on 04/29 at 09:35 PM
FreedomofthePressMediaWorstPresidentEver
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Dress Rehearsal?

I had a strange, dissonant experience this morning - that led to a thought, a discovery and a question.

I’m on the U.S. west coast, so by the time my day begins the rest of the nation and the world has gotten quite a head start on murder, mayhem and natural disasters. Consequently, I try to avoid watching the news first thing when I get up, as too often I’m staring bleary-eyed at some horrific scene, sipping coffee and trauma and trying to get my sleep fogged brain to absorb whatever it is that is happening on the screen. Much easier to do after second cup of coffee, so even though my old mom already has the network news on in the living room when I wake up, I’ve been pretty successful at just sitting in the kitchen and tuning it out until I am ready.

This morning, however, as I wandered into the kitchen to get my first cup, out of the corner of my eye I caught the scene on the TV… people being rounded up and herded into buses. My stomach immediately dropped and I moved closer, trying to figure out what was going on. I heard only snippets - “… illegal immigrants… thousands… arrested… managers charged… “ because my mom, who was thoroughly appalled, was at the same time trying to tell me what was happening - “It’s going on all over the country! They are arresting them!”. Oh jeeze, I thought, what fresh hell, etc?

Continue Reading Dress Rehearsal?


Posted by Nanette on 04/20 at 07:21 PM
Civil RightsImmigrationHumanBeamsHumanity
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Pardon our pixel dust!

As you wander around the site you may notice that some things are a bit displaced, or seem a tad incomplete… that is because we are, as usual, messing around with things and making them even better! At least, we like to think so :). 

As you wander around the site you may notice that some things are a bit displaced, or seem a tad incomplete… that is because we are, as usual, messing around with things and making them even better! At least, we like to think so :). 


Posted by Nanette on 04/01 at 11:01 AM
GeneralHumanBeamsHumanityPolitics
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A Stitch in Time

Earthquakes. Fires. Hurricanes, floods, pandemics. Bombs. Even bug bites.  Disaster preparedness then and.... well… then. 

Earthquakes. Fires. Hurricanes, floods, pandemics. Bombs. Even bug bites. When you stop to think about it, it’s pretty amazing that we have survived this long, even though so many things seem intent on squishing our frail forms.

Survive we do, though, and because of this tendency to live on, we are encouraged to prepare. And many do, with varying levels of success and practicality. We run the gamut from small enough to fit in a shoulder bag or the trunk of a car, to dedicated rooms underground, filled to the brim with supplies. To each according to their needs - or fear level - apparently.

I don’t think much about disaster preparedness, myself… not that I don’t think it is important or necessary, mind you. I simply don’t have much of a “plan ahead” personality, which has, at times, had the result of landing me in rather uncomfortable circumstances. Ah, well… I’ll remember to do better next time, is my motto. I even mean it - at the time.

I do find well prepared people fascinating, however… and, I must admit, a little irritating. Sort of like those people who are so anxious to let you know that they have all their Christmas shopping done in February. Of course, I could say the same thing, and sometimes do. I just don’t mention that while they are speaking of presents for the next Christmas, I am speaking of the last.

So, you may be wondering, why is my mind now on disaster preparedness? Well, not because of a possible flu pandemic, I’m afraid. The disaster preparedness I am interested in at the moment is all in the past.

Two articles caught my eye today. Even though they were published a month apart - and speaking of events much farther apart than that - each is about people hoping for the best, but planning for the worst and the unexpected. Fascinating creatures.

Here is a snippet of the first article:

Continue Reading A Stitch in Time


Posted by Nanette on 03/22 at 09:24 PM
HumanBeamsBothSidesNow
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