Friday, October 31, 2008

Being in Effigy

While I am a strong proponent of the freedom afforded in the Constitution, I am overjoyed that the young man who hung Sarah Palin in effigy has been convinced by the mayor of his town to remove the despicable likeness.

Effigies are awful things, evoking the most horrendous memories.

Bodies hung from trees, men and women asphyxiated now free.
Strange fruit indeed.
Bodies hung from trees, fathers, mothers leaving behind sucklings.
Strange fruit indeed.
Bodies hung from trees, silenced forever never more to concede.
Strange fruit indeed.
Bodies hung from trees, a repugnant history never more to be.

Being in effigy is no memory to evoke regardless of who it might be.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Being a Ham

I love this shot!

Being George Will II

My mother, a die-hard liberal, followed George F. Will and William F. Buckley with great interest. She did not so much admire or agree with their politics. What she admired most was their ability to disseminate their ideas, whether written or spoken.

As I read George Will's Op-Ed piece in the Washington Times this evening, I smiled. My mother would have not only appreciated the fluent and persuasive manner with which he wrote, but the very message as well.

In many respects, a die-hard liberal could have written this very article.

Being Exxon-Mobil

Exxon Mobil was up 58% from May through August. That's a 14.8 BILLION dollar profit for three months during the same time many Americans were unable to fill up their gas tanks.

From their Summer profit gain Exxon Mobil is now sitting well, while many Americans are now sitting in homes not sufficiently heated on this cold October day.

Americans are mainly capitalists. But does this seem grossly imbalanced? Have tax policies assisted in such disparity?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Being Pro-Israel

Let me begin by saying that I am pro-Israel. My mother so honored Israel and many of its leaders, especially Golda Meier. When I was a kid I distinctly remember following the Israel-Egyptian Peace Treaty of 1979 with great interest. We were all glued to the TV screen and newspaper articles were read aloud each night. But does being pro-Israel mean that you cannot criticize Israel? Does being pro-Israel mean that you have to agree with all of its policies?

The latest news is that Barack Obama has a Palestinian friend and is being questioned about this relationship. I well understand that we are in a tough political race. But what does the questioning infer about Senator Obama and Palestinians in general? When such inferences are made there is the sense of inflaming mistrust and engendering fear, surface-based or existentially-rooted.

I wondered as I listened to the argument against Senator Obama if it is indeed possible to be pro-Israel and associate with Palestinians? Can they be friends? Many Palestinians, by the way, are Christians. But why should that even matter? There are many citizens of the world who are not Christians with whom we must have relations whether we agree or disagree with all of their policies.

My family has been in this country for centuries; many have bleed, fought, and died for this country, even when this country did not honor them. I am thoroughly pro-America. But does this mean that I cannot criticize my country? Does this mean that I can not have Cuban, Iranian or Syrian friends without being suspect?

Yes, I understand the years of unrest in the Middle East. I also understand that Israel is our ally in the region and that there are strong ties between the two countries. But I also think that it is not only necessary, but imperative that we critically look at the policies of any country, ally or not. Criticism is how we often grow as a people, as a nation, and as citizens of the world.

Being a Youthful Leader

Youthful leadership has value. Besides fresh innovative ideas, it has stamina and verve. Here Barack Obama speaks before a crowd of 9,000 at a rally in Pennsylvania in the pouring rain. John McCain cancelled his outdoor event due to inclement weather.

Being Funny V

Obama and Palin Rallies of Fear

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Being Alarmed

Not that I should have been alarmed by the email that a friend sent me this morning from a "prophet" which spoke of the need for the prayer of the righteous en masse for the election of John McCain and Sarah Palin, but I was. We must pray the email read because this is what got "us over in 2000, even though we did not win the popular vote." How about theft? Many believe that the 2000 election was stolen. How might this stink in God's nostrils?

The email goes on to claim that Palin is the modern day Esther who will deliver God's people and that while they too would like to see a black president, it was most of these people who fought against a righteous black Supreme Court nominee, Justice Clarence Thomas. (The "prophet" got this one right!) I called one of my brothers, who is a minister, being utterly disappointed with the friend who sent me the email. How could this intelligent successful woman believe such things?

Here is some of the email:

The scriptures teach that if we choose first to exalt righteousness and turn from evil, God promises to heal our land (see Proverbs 14:34; 2 Chronicles 7:14). It is righteousness that exalts a nation, not wealth, prosperity or armies. If we will finish the process of removing the curses of death and anti-God laws off of America by electing a president that will continue to shift the Court, God will grace us with breakthrough in other areas such as the economy, the war against terrorism, etc.

My faith is not in a person, and certainly not a political party, for the healing of America, but I know God's word and His ways well enough to know that our decisions do move Him to action or inaction. Now to the heart of my reason for writing this letter (I realize I am "preaching to the choir"—most of you who know or listen to me are conservative enough to vote for McCain and Palin.)

It continues:

In August of this year I predicted that September would mark a shift in momentum for these elections. This happened with the appointment of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential nominee (who is a true Esther in our generation), but when the economy began its meltdown and the media ramped up their unprecedented attacks on Palin, that momentum wasn't sustained.

But we can see it turn again if we approach this battle as the spiritual warfare it truly is and bind the evil forces involved (see Matthew 16:18-19). The reality is that this election can be the breakthrough we need to fully shift the Court (and ultimately our nation) or it will be an immeasurable setback that could take many years to reverse—if ever

My very wise brother asked one question that spoke volumes. "Hmm? Gay marriage and abortion? Now, how many times do we see these things in the Bible," He asked? I must acknowledge that he personally believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman, though he counsels gay persons. He also does not recommend abortions in most cases, though he has counseled women who have made such choices and those who have such ones to make. Above all, my brother is a believer in the love of God and the perfect law of liberty.

After his single question, he spoke the words of Jesus:

Matthew 7:4

And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye; and look, a plank in your own eye?

Matthew 23:28

Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

I then thought about the words of Paul:

I Corinthians 13:1-2

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging symbol. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, but have not love I am nothing.

May God bless America and the countries throughout the world. May God bless Americans and Iraqis, the families of the dead American soldiers and the countless of innocent men, women and children who have died in Iraq during this war. May God bless the heterosexual and the homosexual. May God bless the executive and the employee. May God bless the women who have carried their child to birth and those who have not.

May God bless us all, each and every one.

Being Unknowledgeable

It is the very notion of otherness that changes reality. The difficulty is what we do not see thus cannot comprehend. But it is upon not knowing that we build structures of all kind and stubbornly hold on to them even after it becomes obvious that they are flawed. What the banking system has become is such an example.

Corruption is often built on not knowing. Destructive forces such as arrogance, pride, and greed are built and fortified on not knowing, though never acknowledged. But is is the acknowledgment of not knowing that brings things out in the open and calls for openness and less secretive structures. The derivatives upon derivatives is such an example.

With the acknowledgment that we do not know everything (even those things that we are now engaged in) will come a deeper understanding, appreciation, and curiosity that there is so much more to know. This will forever forge new paths paved with greater sincerity and a humility that listens and learns and despises arrogance, pride and greed--even when we recognize them in ourselves.

It is not being unknowledgeable that corrupts; it is not acknowledging that my knowledge may be flawed and my stubborn inability to change. This is what insisidiously and pervasively corrupts.

Being Innocent

After being convicted of 7 felony accounts, Ted Stevens, the 84-year-old senator from Alaska who has been in office for 40 years, said to his wife as he left court, "It's not over yet." She replied, "You got that right."

This is the most arrogant shameful dialogue that I have ever heard from a convicted felon and spouse. It's not even typical for mafia types or drug lords to make such statements upon leaving the court house. They tend to have more respect for the law in court, knowing that their life hangs in the balance. The senator from Alaska seems to have no such regard for the court or the justice system.

Mr. Stevens has been in office for so long that he believes himself to have absolute power. But we know that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." It also blinds. "Put this down: That will never happen -- ever, OK?" Stevens said in the weeks leading up to the trial. "I am not stepping down. I'm going to run through, and I'm going to win this election."

After his conviction Mr. Stevens issued a statement which read, "I am innocent," blaming his 7 felony convictions on the State Department and vowing to stay in the Senate. So, what's new about that claim? And why is he so arrogant? Even as a convicted felon, he can still serve in the Congress Senate. But as a convicted felon outside of Congress you cannot get a job at the Post Office. You can't even vote.

Mr. Stevens is a disgrace. He should resign immediately. We know that he will not resign. In his mind he is innocent. So he must be innocent, right? But we also know that the prisons are full of convicted felons who all claim innocence.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Being Ego-Driven

The ego is necessary for existence. Without it how would we appear, be made known in the world? Flesh and bone alone will not do, for it is the spirit of mankind that drives being. A person who has transcended the physical makes this point very clear. Their body is there. They are not.

Here is Freud:

"The ego is that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world ... The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id, which contains the passions ... in its relation to the id it is like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse; with this difference, that the rider tries to do so with his own strength, while the ego uses borrowed forces." [Freud, The Ego and the Id (1923)]

What seems vitally important is knowing that I am not all there is, that others too exist and from time to time, more often than not, deference to the other is necessary for our growth and theirs. There is no building larger than self. Humility (which is not void of confidence or excellence) is a most beautiful trait to cultivate for it balances the ego.

Being Thoughtful II

Thoughtfulness encourages appropriate ideology and action needed to set policy and the proper environment necessary for change. Thoughtfulness engender balanced ideas without which ideology and action can be dangerous.

Being Nassim Nicholas Taleb II

In a recent article in Time Magazine the brilliant Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains the financial crisis, how to begin to correct it, and how to lessen the reoccurence of such a crisis.

"Banks are gambling with society's money," Taleb writes, "funds are gambling with investors' money — it's one layer better. So we should have more risks taken by funds and less risk taken by banks, because banks have a severe agency problem."

"When I trade I don't have an agency problem; I have my neck on the line," Taleb continues. "When a bank or banker trades, it's not his neck on the line. He has an agency problem, and like [former Merrill Lynch CEO] Stanley O'Neal, if you follow the strategy you're going to make $160 million, and keep it, even if you blow up. And you'll do it again."

The article is so clear that a two-year-old could understand it. Well, not quite. But you get the picture. It's a great piece, clearly written. And in such a time, clarity is what we need.

Taleb may not be at all interested, but he would be great in an Obama administration, if nothing more than as an adviser. Anyone out there in the Obama campaign listening?

Change means not adopting the policies of the past. Taleb is most certainly not associated with the past, though he clearly understands it. This is what's needed for change to occur.

Being Endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News

You know it's really bad for the McCain/Palin ticket when the largest paper in the state that you govern, The Anchorage Daily News, writes that "despite her formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time."

The paper also writes of the old John McCain, the one that many others seemed to know, has not been present in this campaign, even though his attempts to change his Party from the inside has not been successful. "Sen. McCain describes himself as a maverick, by which he seems to mean that he spent 25 years trying unsuccessfully to persuade his own party to follow his bipartisan, centrist lead. Sadly, maverick John McCain didn't show up for the campaign. Instead we have candidate McCain, who embraces the extreme Republican orthodoxy he once resisted and cynically asks Americans to buy for another four years."

John McCain, the maverick, must be the one that my very progressive entrepreneurial brother, Ellington, aka Duke, voted for in 2000. When we were speaking about the tone of the campaign lately he bemoaned the fact that the John McCain today is not the John McCain he voted for in 2000. Yes, I've read this many times before, but as Duke said these words I reconsidered how difficult it must be for John McCain to sell his soul. However, I'm not too sure if the same can be said for Cindy McCain. "That cold chill" that ran down her spine bespoke something by far more cynical. She actually scared me. And this is hard to do.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Being a Capitalist

Out of democracy came capitalism that bore the markets of freedom. While there were bodies yet unfree, there was a Constitution which spoke to our higher selves, our greater good that we would someday be. During this very difficult season, we must not forget that when the pendulum swings one way it will inevitably swing back the other.

We must never forget the cost of freedom and the necessity of checked powers. We must never forget that we are our brother's keeper. We must remember to love our neighbors as ourselves. We must always keep the faith, knowing that this too shall pass. Democracy is us. Capitalism is us. And we are inherently made of good stuff, in spite of any failings and flaws of one or another, individual or group.

Capitalism, as any system or living organism, evolves. We are evolving.

Being Inspired by Others

Here are the very best of two musical genres, classical and soul. Enjoy!

Che bellissimo! Li ricorderemo sempre!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Being Hopeful III

These are hands of labor and ease. These are hands reaching out to Senator Obama to agree. These are the hands that will design and rebuild American industries with green initiatives if we believe.

Being Conscious of Divisiveness

Being concerned with what seemed like an incitement to war (culturally and physically, nationally and internationally), I have written here more than a few times about the tone of the Republican leadership at their convention and the tone being engendered at the McCain/Palin rallies. Such incitement of raw emotions has various reactions, physical and psychological. I feared something was forthcoming.

So, when after a very long night of preparation for a meeting I awoke to the story of the McCain/Palin volunteer who was supposedly robbed and sexually and physically assaulted by a 6' 4" black man who carved a backwards "B" into her jaw with a pocketknife, I was not surprised. I called my brother in Houston exclaiming foul play. Absolutely nothing rang true about this young woman's story.

Firstly, by all polls Obama is winning. The winner's team or supporters are not in a defensive state. Why would a supporter then go out and commit such violence? Immediately, I told my brother that it had to be a crazed McCain/Palin rally supporter. It turned out to be a crazed McCain/Palin volunteer.

Secondly, it sounded like another unstable white woman claiming that a black man had either deflowered her or caused harm to her loved ones. This psychosis is rooted in century-old prejudices and fears engendered by the oppressor that are perpetuated again and again generation after generation and are acted out by both the lineages of the oppressed and the oppressor. This we must change and only we can do it.

Remember the young white mother, Susan Smith, who strapped her young kids into car seats, drowning them by releasing the brakes and allowing the car to go into the river? After killing them, she later claimed that a black man had hijacked her car and took her kids. For days, this lie was believed. I withheld judgment, praying for the safe return of the kids. But this McCain/Palin supporter seemed unbelievable immediately.

As I watched this McCain/Palin supporter, my heart sincerely went out to her. It is obvious that she is not stable. But as I thought about it further, her actions correlated with the hate that I sensed at the Republican Convention, the McCain/Palin rallies, and the robocalls, especially those of Rudy Guiliani that claim that Barack Obama would release prisoners into your neighborhoods, perhaps not the likes of mine. We know, of course, that these prisoners are of the darker hue.

Here is the text of Guiliani's robocall:

Hi, this is Rudy Giuliani, and I'm calling for John McCain and the Republican National Committee because you need to know that Barack Obama opposes mandatory prison sentences for sex offenders, drug dealers, and murderers.

It's true, I read Obama's words myself. And recently, Congressional liberals introduced a bill to eliminate mandatory prison sentences for violent criminals -- trying to give liberal judges the power to decide whether criminals are sent to jail or set free. With priorities like these, we just can't trust the inexperience and judgment of Barack Obama and his liberal allies.

Do you sense that Guiliani is aligning Senator Barack Obama with "sex offenders, drug dealers, and murderers?" This is shameful fear mongering of the most despicable kind.

In recent posts, I have written about being incited to war, being deceived, being un-Amerian, and being patriotic. I have written about the anger incited by leaders and the divide that seemed to incite cultural outrage. It is the consistent call of otherness and anti-Americanism juxtaposed with wholesome familiarity that engendered such outrageous cries as "kill him" and "terrorist."

The cries at the McCain/Palin rallies seem akin to the same psychotic emotions that went into the young McCain/Palin volunteer who claimed that a big black man had assaulted her, hoping obviously to tie such hatred to the Obama campaign and to the U.S Senator himself. What this young lady did can be summed up to fear-driven psychosis and irrationality, perhaps the same kind that is often heard in the cries at many McCain/Palin rallies. The subtext is clear. Barack Obama is not one of us.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Being Thoughtful

Forever thinking of you and me, this is the kind of president Barack Obama will be.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Being an Elitist II

In a recent Brian Williams interview with both Senator McCain and Sarah Palin they were asked who were the member of the elitist. She gave some rambling barely incoherent answer as usual. Have those medical records been released yet? I'm really beginning to think that there are some serious psychological problems there.

We have come to expect such answers from Sarah Palin. But John McCain's answer was alarming. He essentially said that he didn't know the meaning of the word but "he knew where they lived." When asked of the various forms of elitism there was no direct answer. Senator McCain continued saying that the elite lived in "Georgetown and New York City."

Now, there is no doubt that the elite, defined as those who are perceived as intellectually, socially or financially superior, may live in Georgetown and New York City. But do you think that the elite might also live in Sedona, AZ? How about La Jolla, Ca? (Have you seen this absolutely gorgeous place? Can't imagine what the cost of a home must be. No middle class or working poor there!)

Might the elite live in Corona del Mar? (I spent more than a few weekends there after college where my mentors and friends owned a house; they are the founders and past directors of Opera Pacific. This is another gorgeous place. No middle class or working poor there too.) Can the elite be found in Arlington, VA or any other place where Senator McCain owns a home and drives his 13 cars?

Elitism is distorted to define those who are intellectually curious and thoughtful. Those who are educated are also among the elite in this distorted view. It is obvious that Senator McCain's running mate is neither intellectually curious or thoughtful. It is also obvious that Senator McCain couldn't possible be either by virtue of his running mate choice alone.

Being Competitive II

How do we even expect to be competitive in a global economy when our our kids are less likely to graduate than their parents? America, we have a real problem and we must not be shortsighted about it. Our economic future depends on our kids. How are, as a nation, going to be able to compete in a global economy with such dismal statistics?

It is no longer possible for us to stay in our own small familial microcosms when the world at large is coming closer and closer together. It is no longer possible for us not to be concerned about others when our very future as a country rests on our ability to inspire youth to stay in school and achieve greatness for not only themselves, but for those who will come after them. Young people are the future.

We are indeed our brother's keeper and we should indeed love our neighbors as ourselves, if not only out of the goodness of our hearts but because the future of our very own existence depends on it. With the statistics above we will destroy any participation in the global economy; we will render ourselves uncompetitive in global markets.

What do you think needs to be done on a large scale? And how can individuals make a difference?

Being Fashionable IV

Very Nice!

Being Fashionable III


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Being Fashionable II

Wasn't it Senator Obama who was labled an "elitist?"

Being Fashionable

Now, I'm in no way hating on a beautiful pair of shoes. But $150,000 dollars for shoes, clothes, and makeup artists? Is this where you want to see your campaign dollars going?

But they are mighty nice.

Being Funny IV

You know it's really bad when Senator McCain opens his stomp speech in New Hampshire, a state he won in the primary, with Democratic Congressman Morris Udall jokes. Perhaps not the best in such a time. It was said by columnist James J. Kilpatrick that Congressman Udall was "too funny to be president." Perhaps, this will be my last entry on Being Funny. That line is a clincher.

As I listen to Senator McCain in New Hampshire, where he trails by 8 points, I am alarmed at the chants of USA that have a tinge laced with anger. Can love and hate co-exist? I do not doubt that the crowd loves America. What concerns me is that the outbursts of anger and chants imply that other Americans hate America.

Can someone please define for me what's up with the litany of boos that erupt from the McCain/Palin rallies? The minute they are heard while Senator Obama speaks he immediately stops them with this retort, "No, we don't need that. We just need you to vote." Such does not happen on the other side.

America, the anger engendered at these rallies is not funny. A leader quells such things consistently. Which do you think from this mere example alone is the better leader? I think the answer is quite obvious.

Being a Giver II

On my evening walk the other day I happened to look down and there was an old worn out dirty folded $10 dollar bill. I picked it up, looking around to see if I could find one who could have possibly dropped it. There was no one around.

As I continued walking, looking at the crumbled $10 dollar bill in my hand, I felt somehow really bad. In such a time, I wondered who had lost this $10 dollar bill? Perhaps someone who really needed it had dropped it and at some point would realize that they had less money for food. I didn't feel terribly good about the find.

Walking a few miles further I popped into a little market to buy some water. As I looked around I wondered if there was someone in the market to whom I could give this money. There was no one around. I am accustomed to occasionally paying for the groceries of those who strike me as needing some assistance. I shop in certain markets expressly for this reason. But this day on my walk in my neighborhood, there was no one in the market at all. I bought water and continued my five mile walk.

The next day I awoke wondering how I might be a blessing to someone, as it appeared that this find of $10 dollars was a blessing to me. I determined in my heart to give $1,000 dollar to charity for the $10 dollars that I had found. I was blessed and was determined to be a blessing. It's not that I have money galore, but I have always practiced giving, especially when times are rough. I continue this practice today.

Have you blessed anyone lately? "It is more blessed to give than receive." (Acts 20:35)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Being Prepared to Lead IX

Sarah Palin recently on CNN said that she doesn't talk about her "executive experience a lot" but the reality is that she does "has more executive experience than Barack Obama." Who gives a flying f*#^? (You will pardon me, please. I have never felt like swearing so much in my entire life.) Such arrogance, brazen ignorance, and utter lack of curiosity is maddening considering what our country is now facing and the potential that this woman could some day be the president. Millions of Americans chose Barack Obama. One man chose Sarah Palin.

The reality, as many thoughtful rational people see it, is that it doesn't matter what Palin's executive experience has been and how long she has had it. She does not understand government. She does not understand policy. It is painfully obvious that Sarah Palin is either dumber than dips&*% or just completely out of it. (Have her medical records been released?) Either way, we would be in deep trouble! It's rather clear why she hasn't given a press conference. She can't.

In another recent interview Sarah Palin was asked by a third grader through a report about the role of the vice president. Her reply was that she was going to usurp the constitutional position of the vice president and become a legislator of the Senate. Well, she didn't say that. She didn't have that knowledge. But in response to the third grader she did indicate that the "vice president is in charge of the U.S Senate" and that she was "going to get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes." The vice president is not in charge of the Senate and has no legislative authority. She clearly does not understand the Constitution.

If you can bear it, here is Sarah Palin in the interview:

America, this is more fodder for SNL! But this is in reality really scary stuff! There is a very cynical operative at work here, a sheer brazen ignorant determination to turn our reality into fantasy. Well, it's not going to happen. We know to deeply that Sarah Palin is not in any sense what the country needs and that John McCain by his vice presidential choice alone makes him unprepared to lead as well.

For those who are offended by my very specific non-specific words here, I beg your pardon in advance. I also ask that you, including my reverent siblings who are readers of my Blog, would pray for me. Many have gone to God on my behalf before. So, don't stop now. But you may have to do so a few more times. The cynicism in this choice is maddening and quite frightening.

Being Funny III

Could someone please tell Senator McCain that he is no longer at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner and that his most recent campaign stomp speeches, which include somewhat of the same humor, does not play well today in this very dire financial crisis. It's really OK for Senator Obama "to show some love for the Rays " while backing the Phillies. OK, I can feel the competitive World Series rivalry thing. But this is not double talk. The pivot to policy was weak.

Yes, on the day of the Alfred E. Smith Dinner we gave Senator McCain phat props for his brilliant comedic delivery. He was quite funny. I laughed a lot. But today on the stomp it was quite painful to see the return of that wry smile which wasn't present at the podium during the fundraiser. Enough already! We want Senator McCain to now deliver on the very dire issues of the economy. It doesn't seem likely. It perhaps works for his base. But we all know that he can't win with his base alone. Go figure!

Being Peggy Noonan II

Finally, Peggy Noonan has come out and spoken what everybody in the world seems to actually already know: Sarah Palin is supremely unprepared to lead our great country and John McCain's selection of her shows poor judgment, the kind that disqualifies him for the highest office in the land.

Here is Peggy Noonan on Sarah Palin in the Wall Street Journal.

Perhaps the brilliant speech writer for President Ronald Regan, with whom I do not always agree, can return to the honor given to her as a respected journalist. I, for one, am happy that she has gotten off the fence and wrote what the rest of America and the world already knows.

That first article of praise for Sarah Palin was quite disturbing and downright nauseating. (I wrote of my disappointment in another post, Being Peggy Noonan.) Thank you, Ms. Noonan.

This is a great article, not because it agrees with my position but because it speaks undeniable truth. Sarah Palin is completely unprepared to lead our great country and John McCain, through bad judgement, is also not prepared to hold the highest office in the US.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Being A Black Swan

If Barack Obama becomes the next President of the United States, I wonder if he could be considered a Black Swan? Here is the definition of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Black Swan:

First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside of the real of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme impact. Third, in spite of its outlier status, the human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

Taleb continues:

I stop and summarize the triplet: rarity, extreme impact, and retrospective (though not prospective) predictability." In a footnote he remarks, "The highly expected not happening happening is also a Black Swan. Note that, by symmetry, the occurrence of a highly improbable event is the equivalent of the nonoccurence of a highly probable one.

Barack Hussein Obama, an African American US Senator of only two years, seemed like a long shot when he entered the race. After all, he had the Clintons to defeat, both the powerful former president and senator from New York. Yet, he did so. In the general election he has had to contend with cries of Arab, (as if it was a dirty word) and socialist (as if this too was a dirty word) and terrorist in a post 911 era. Yet, he is ahead in the polls, raising the most of any candidate ever in history.

Who would have thought that the financial crisis would have come to such a head six weeks or so before the general election? Who would have sincerely thought that the economy would trump racism, that which evolved out of a system that might have blighted a less than great country indefinitely? Who would have thought that a senior war hero could be defeated by a young senator with a fine grasp on international politics but has not served his country in war?

While the election has not taken place yet, and we do not know which kind of Black Swan might arise, as the distinction of predictability could go one way or the other, I sincerely hope that the massive momentum that highly favors Senator Obama for becoming the next President of the United States will not be a Black Swan in the reverse. This might be disastrous on many fronts, nationally and internationally, financially and culturally, in times of peace and in war.

Being a Socialist

Being a socialist must be something like being a member of the axis of evil that need to be destroyed. In listening to the language coming from the McCain campaign over the weekend it appears that there is a necessity to root out and eliminate socialists and Arabs. But wait...we have allies and NATO members that are socialists and Arabs. How do reconcile this? There need not be complete agreement in order for there to be harmony and benefits for all.

When campaigns and administrations engage in name-calling it becomes obvious that they are clear out of fresh ideas on how to lead the country. First, Senator Obama was one who pals (not even palled) around with (Arab) terrorists. Now, he has become a limp unacceptable pansy socialist who wants to steal your hard earned money and give it to the poor. This is disturbing. Yes, we understand that we are in the midst of a presidential campaign and some tactics historically have been dirty. But I do wonder, however, about the lasting effect on the international community.

From the McCain campaign we have heard the terms socialist and Arab as if these two were inherently threatening. Such labels and mindsets give way to national and international division and unrest. Besides our basic decency, it is this that we should consider here. There are many peaceable Arabs and there are many good socialist, why demonize them? After the election, how will our socialist allies view us? What will Arab in this country and abroad think of us?

This is more than an election; we are setting a serious tone.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Being Colin Powell II

It is very difficult to honestly claim that the reason General Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama was because he is black. Anyone who watched General Powell's endorsement could not honestly say that this very thoughtful decision was based on race. Barack Obama has been black since he announced his candidacy, no? Why not make the endorsement months ago? General Powell made this very astute point.

Senator Obama had been courting General Powell for months now. But he could not readily be swayed. General Powell is wise. He undoubtedly wanted to make a deliberate thoughtful decision not based on his long-term relationship with Senator McCain but on who is best suited in this particular time in history to lead our great country.

General Powell's comments later further explained how he came to this very thoughtful decision. In fact, to claim that he has endorsed Barack Obama based on race is dishonorable. Here is one who has served our country well in war and diplomacy. He understands the importance of diplomacy and respecting the cultures of others in the United States and abroad. He recognizes that how we are perceived internationally affects us nationally. It appears that conservatism has gone to far in General Powell's opinion.

There have been more than a few black Americans who did not get the support of the black community en masse. Among these are Clarence Thomas, Jessie Jackson, Carol Mosley Braun, and Alan Keyes. To suggest that black Americans generally endorse candidates simply because they are black is not true.

Personally, I know of a pastor who has about 60,000 people in his congregation, most of whom are middle class and black. This pastor ran for the Senate and his congregants did not support him. It is believed that if they had voted for him he would have been elected. But this did not happen. His political views were antithetical to the congregants' views. My family has a long history with this pastor and we know that he is held in great esteem as a pastor, but they did not want him as their senator.

Black Americans are by far more discriminating in their choices that go beyond race.

Being at a Crossroad

Many things that we thought would not be possible during this presidential election is more than possible. In fact, they are occuring. Who would have thought Barack Obama would be the Democratic nominee? Who would have thought that Obama could win Iowa? (Where was the Bradley effect there?) Who would have thought that $150 million dollars could be gained in one single month? Who would have thought that some 175,000 persons, according to Senator McCaskill of Missouri, would gather in a conservative state for Obama? Who would have thought that so many Republicans and conservative papers would be behind Obama? America now appears to be at a crossroad. Politics as we know it may never be the same.

Being Colin Powell

Colin Powell seemed quite uncomfortable delivering that infamous speech before the United Nations, twisting his mouth to say that he believed that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when it clearly appeared that he was at odds with his own administration. Being a good solider he went along with the requirement of the administration and lost a little something, perhaps a lot of something, in the eyes of many Americans, Independents and Democrats alike. It was torturous to watch.

This morning Colin Powell will endorse Barack Obama on Meet the Press. I wonder if the good solider will regain some of the lustre he lost among Democrats and Independents who would have undoubtedly casted their vote for him as the President of the United States. I also wonder, after serving with such honor and distinction for so long, if he will join an Obama administration, bringing his years of moderate conservatism to balance what many think will be a very liberal administration. I, by the way, believe that Obama will be a centralist.

Colin Powell is an honored general who has long been a favorite of mine as he served our country with great distinction. I will watch him on Meet the Press this morning and would hope that he would join the Obama administration should Senator Obama serve as our next president.

Being Inspired by Others

"The only dance masters I could have were Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Walt Whitman and Nietzsche."

--Isadora Duncan

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Being Un-American

Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmanns' call for a "penetrating investigation" into Congress to determine if congresspersons are anti-American. America, this is dangerous and incendiary. The assertion is that liberal congresspersons hold views that may be anti-American.

This assertion clearly evokes images of the aggressive and un-American activities of Senator John McCarthy, who in his effort to define others as un-American became himself such a one. The fear evoked of good American citizens and the destruction of so many lives were harrowing.

Senator McCarthy hearings fostered an atmosphere of immense fear and mistrust and completely sought to destroy the lives of those who thought differently from Senator McCarthy, one man. One woman could also incite such an environment. Is this what we want to go as a country?

The danger and incendiary aspects of Mrs. Bacnmann's comment is that it justifies demonizing and vilifying others who hold a different perspective than yours. It justifies a kind of narrowness that lead to Fascism and the destruction of the lives of those who hold different opposing views. There were no Republican anti- Americans on her comments. The suggestion was that Democratic US Senators and Congresspersons should be interrogated to see if they hold anti-American ideas.

Here is Mrs Bachmann:

What does this say about the Americans who put these Senator and Congresspersons in office. The implication here is that liberal Americans are anti-American. This sort of talk is the kind that leads to division, destruction and death. History proves that when you incite others with such comments, especially in this post 911 era, that there are those who will enact the language spoken and respond violently. Is this the kind of administration we want in Washington?

Mrs. Bachmann should be sent home. It is very apparent that she like, Senator McCarthy, while seeking to root out un-American activities, is indeed herself engaging in un-American ideology that the country nor the world needs. Send Mrs. Bachmann packing. Her extremist views, which she tried to attach to Senator Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Harry Reid, who are all good Americans serving their country, are dangerous indeed.

Conservatives and conservative leaning newspapers are endorsing Barack Obama. They obvious do not believe with Mrs. Bachmann that Barack Obama is a danger to America. The conservative leaning Chicago Tribune writes, "We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready."

The LA Times, another conservative leaning newspaper, writes that "We need a leader who demonstrates thoughtful calm and grace under pressure, one not prone to volatile gesture or capricious pronouncement. We need a leader well-grounded in the intellectual and legal foundations of American freedom. Yet we ask that the same person also possess the spark and passion to inspire the best within us: creativity, generosity and a fierce defense of justice and liberty. The Times without hesitation endorses Barack Obama for president."

What does it say of Mrs. Bachmann who wishes to call the American people who sent US senators and congresspersons to represent them as American and what does it say about US papers with millions of readers un-American? This is what Congresswoman Bachmann has done. She has through association called many Americans un-American by our choices. This, in fact, is un-American, as was the actions of Senator McCarthy.

America, this kind of ideology is very incendiary and dangerous. The language and sentiments, in fact, are anti-American. Is this the direction we want to go as a nation?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Being Endorsed by the Washington Post

Today the Washington Post endorsed Barack Obama with great aplomb, intelligence, fairness and clear distinction between the two candidates that can be seen in any publication. The Post article opens with this:

"The nominating process this year produced two unusually talented and qualified presidential candidates. There are few public figures we have respected more over the years than Sen. John McCain. Yet it is without ambivalence that we endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president.

"The choice is made easy in part by Mr. McCain's disappointing campaign, above all his irresponsible selection of a running mate who is not ready to be president. It is made easy in larger part, though, because of our admiration for Mr. Obama and the impressive qualities he has shown during this long race. Yes, we have reservations and concerns, almost inevitably, given Mr. Obama's relatively brief experience in national politics. But we also have enormous hopes.

"Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building. At home, we believe, he would respond to the economic crisis with a healthy respect for markets tempered by justified dismay over rising inequality and an understanding of the need for focused regulation.

"Abroad, the best evidence suggests that he would seek to maintain U.S. leadership and engagement, continue the fight against terrorists, and wage vigorous diplomacy on behalf of U.S. values and interests. Mr. Obama has the potential to become a great president. Given the enormous problems he would confront from his first day in office, and the damage wrought over the past eight years, we would settle for very good."

Do continue reading. The article is most beautiful; it's full of hope.

Being Warren Buffet

Here are the words of the great Warren Buffett in the New York Times today:

"Buy American. I Am"

Can I get a loan, sir?

Being Middle Class II

The beauty about the system founded here in the US is the diversity of industry and the notion and reality that average Americans can make a difference in their communities by providing needed services. The large companies alone do not fuel the economy and technology alone will not be able to fuel the needed diversity in industry.

The fact that there are Fortune 500 companies will undoubtedly always be, tech ones or otherwise. Business is about the needs and desires of people. Fundamentally, our needs are basic and our desires can be titillated, creating industries that evolve beyond its initial purpose. The Internet proves this point.

Yes, large companies spurred other smaller companies. The Big Three, for example, created suppliers that assisted in the creation of the middle class in America. The largest problem with what occurred in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and other industrial cities, is the lack of diversity. Once plants closed there was nothing else in place to sustain the community. Industry diversity is a necessity. This includes technology.

The redistribution of wealth does not readily mesh with capitalism. The systems are not singular. I have always associated the former with a system of bedrock socialism and the latter with free markets. Now, one might consider that in such a time as this that there are no clear cut distinctions. But I beg to differ considering the evolution of both systems. While the temporary intervention of government into private industry may be necessary from time to time as history has shown, the core belief that we can en masse produce for ourselves and communities remains.

The rich and poor we will probably always have with us. But the solid middle class is also necessary. The beauty about a system whose core is freedom, which isn’t that far from the ideas found in our founding documents, remains, even if adjustments and re-adjustments are needed.

I believe in a New Testament idea of the “perfect law of liberty.” But the awesomeness of this law is the necessity of being your brother’s keeper. Now being such a one does not mean enabling one or eliminating the sense of fair competition that spurs innovation and excellence. It does require thoughtful deliberate actions and the necessity of considering others always.

A new world global order without nationality and a core essence that supercedes real communities may someday occur. If not from a phyical standpoint, but from an intellectual one. Technolgy will play a major role. But jobs besides tech ones are necessary and a mass iniative to educate the masses technically.

The average households in America, Africa, Eurpoe, India and China must be considered. Many are without computers; many cannot even feed their families. How will these participate in this new tech economy? Perhaps this is where you were initially going with the rich/poor distinction. Maybe it is government’s role to assist in this effort. Work matters. Here is the great Pope John Paul II on work and humanity:

“When dealing with human work in the fundamental dimension of its subject, that is to say, the human person doing the work, one must make at least a summary evaluation of developments during the ninety years since Rerum Novarum in relation to the subjective dimension of work.

"Although the subject of work is always the same, that is to say man, nevertheless wide-ranging changes take place in the objective aspect. While one can say that, by reason of its subject, work is one single thing (one and unrepeatable every time), yet when one takes into consideration its objective directions one is forced to admit that there exist many works, many different sorts of work.

The development of human civilization brings continual enrichment in this field. But at the same time, one cannot fail to note that in the process of this development not only do new forms of work appear but also others disappear. Even if one accepts that on the whole this is a normal phenomenon, it must still be seen whether certain ethically and socially dangerous irregularities creep in, and to what extent.”

Technology is but a form of work. It will take all kinds of work to rebuild the American middle class that doesn't have roots in the redistribution of wealth but rather a retooling, work ethic, and belief that all things are possible.

Being President Bush

Whether I have agreed with President Bush's policies all the time or not, I am most appreciative of his service to our great country. His speech today before the US Chamber of Commerce was one of the best that I have ever heard him give.

While others have criticized our president for what was perceived as his lack of leadership in the beginning of the crisis, I have withheld judgement, appreciating his current position and realizing that this is indeed an extraordinary historical time.

In such a time a kind of simultaneous reflection and progression is needed. Without the latter the former is not possible. In such a time finding the right pitch and process may take a little time. Secretary Paulson's admission of mistakes in the process was indeed appreciated and necessary, and President Bushes' speech today was timely. Yes, some may say that it is 30 days late. But is it?

President Bush's speech before the US Chamber of Commerce was reaffirming, descriptive and hopeful. Over these past weeks had he come out with a rosy picture of the financial crisis, which would have not been real, the money needed to infuse the system with liquidity would not have been allotted by Congress.

Capitalism needs regulation and it also seems to need occasional infusion as history bears out. But the outline of the government's temporary role in private enterprise and the taxpayers' investment into the system and return, along with CEO accountability, was re-assuring. Thank you, President Bush, for your service to America.

Being Funny II

It was announced today that Sarah Palin will appear on SNL this weekend. Will she appear as a serious candidate for the vice presidency delivering jokes or the serious joke itself? Of course, we all know that Palin can deliver lines while reading a teleprompter. But what we want to know is if she can deliver in a serious press conference. She will undoubtedly not give one. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm too serious. But I do not want to see Sarah Palin herself on SNL. America, this is not funny! Although, I'm sure the skits will be. Or, will they?

Being Funny

Senators Obama and McCain appeared at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner tonight where they roasted one another. Hands down, Senator McCain was the funnier one. He's got jokes and great timing. He also seemed very pleased with his performance as roaster but less pleased as the roasted. As usual, Senator McCain appeared quite uncomfortable at times whereas Senator Obama flashed his customary mega-watt-gentle-natured smile throughout, even when the lines were piercing.

Senator Obama, the sensitive serious one, was the caring beautiful leader whose presence was one that carries the thoughts of others. Yes, this was a dinner of men and women in tuxedos and gowns, but there was something about the atmosphere that beckoned to Obama where we are indeed, where just outside of the doors of the Waldorf Astoria so many families are without during this very difficult time for many Americans. Even in this comedic setting, Obama beckoned us to remember others.

There is no doubt that the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner will raise money that will help many families while a good time was had by all. But there is also no doubt that the man who once worked on the south side of Chicago after serving as Editor of the Harvard Law Review and graduating from Harvard Law School carries with him the weight of others as most great leaders do.

Funny is good; serving others and reminding us that we are our brother's keeper, especially in extraordinary times, is far better. Senator Obama, though, was quite handsome in that tux and pretty funny too!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Being Middle Class

One of the greatest differences in our country as I have traveled the world is the entrepreneurial spirit which created jobs and a solid middle class. While ideas were vast in many of the countries I visited there was not the sense that the individual could make an economic difference in the country with a single implemented idea. Though there were many educated people, there was a lack of implementation, a lack entrepreneurship. This may indeed have something to do with the socialist structure which evolved out of a feudal system. I might also add that today many of these countries are indeed competitive, though perhaps the structural base remains.

America was founded on a different system, a system which spurred individual responsibility and collective active participation in markets. (Even though we are going through a change now, it can be asserted that our structural base will also remain.) When considering the American middle class, I think of entrepreneurs who had an idea and implemented it, employing hundreds, even thousands nationwide. I think of these same entrepreneurs inspiring yet other entrepreneurs. I think of the many workers who moved up from the South to work at auto plants and foundries in the North, namely in Detroit, Pittsburgh and other industrial cities. We had products to produce by those less educated which provided income, stability, and hope for the next generation. This was the making of the American middle class.

What has changed? Innovation has been largely transferred to technology that does not include stateside labor en masse. Where can the middle class be rebuilt, the class that included skilled laborers and not necessarily college educated ones? Where can the masses make a living wage so that their children can be far better than their parents? Where can ideas flourish that will inspire later generations to invest in job training and careers that will have a lasting affect on their communities and the world at large? Perhaps the rebuilding on the middle class can begin with green initiatives. Innovative ideas are great. So is education. But people en masse need jobs that will provide income, stability and a hope for a better future.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Being Prepared to Lead VIII

John McCain is most certainly a fighter. He did well at the beginning of the debate, displaying his ability to fight. But the only problem with this is that we do not readily need a fighter as president; we need a leader. Our financial, education and health crisis call for a leader, not a fighter.

Many times during the debate Senator McCain appeared as in battle, as a boxer or a caged animal ready to pounce on prey. But Senator Obama was prepared and pensive; he was most certainly not prey. McCain's grimaces, deep breathing and protruding chest revealed a man in a losing battle. The way his chest protruded through that very nice pinstriped suit was pretty impressive. Does he work out? Or, was that sheer rage that pumped him up?

America does not need a fighter president on a battlefield. What we need is a thoughtful president who leads with confidence, the kind of confidence that both listens and leads to bring the necessary change. Senator McCain, the venerable veteran bomber fighter, can stop fighting now. Senator Obama is prepared to lead.

Being Sister Cecilia Gaudette: A 106- Year-Old Nun in Rome for Obama

Age has most certainly taught Sister Cecilia Gaudette wisdom. She is obviously unmoved by social politics which seek to ban the choice of women. She obviously believes in liberty.

In fact, Jesus Christ Himself believed in the "perfect law of liberty." The consequences and joys of choices we all bare and share. But the choice is nonetheless ours.

Continued blessings Sister Cecilia Gaudette!

Isn't she just too cute?

Being Donna Brazile

Passionate. Real. Honest. Brilliant. Funny. Loving.

You. Me. We. Together we'll be greater indeed.

Being an Overcomer

Overcoming continues even after we are no longer physically among the living. It is this reality that aligns my daily actions and realigns them even when I have not succeeded. What we do is so important because it affects not only our particular time but generations later when we are no longer here. What kind of legacy will we leave?

Mahalia Jackson's influence was international because she spoke of hope though she was fully aware of the present unjust policies of her day. She spoke peace into the atmosphere. The beauty in our present time of uncertainty for so many worldwide is the very real hope that together We Shall Overcome. Speak hope. Look at what we have already as people in our history done.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Being Deceived II

Perhaps I was a wee bit too gentle earlier with the 75 year old woman at the McCain rally who called Senator Obama an Arab, as if it was a dirty word. The voice of my mother is now re-playing in my head. "Honor the hoary head," she would say. Seeing this grandmother's face and hearing her words make it difficult but I will try.

As you listen to the clip below as she expands her explanation and knowingly perpetuates lies, it is assured that she is not being deceived at all. Rather, she willing believes the lies about Senator Obama, flatly rejecting Senator McCain's "conciliatory" words. Perhaps she too saw through the insecurity.

Imagine taking out the time to send 400 people letters that are full of lies. Since it is obvious she is not wise enough to realize that she should be ashamed, I wonder if her children and grandchildren are ashamed for her. Probably not. She spoke of her many children and grandchildren in the video who are with her. What a legacy!

Ignorance is bliss and it can be dangerous too, even coming from a senior citizen.

Age should teach wisdom, but I am hard pressed to see what age has taught this woman. She is mostly certainly not being deceived. In fact, she is a willing participant of deception who spreads lies freely. C'mon grandma. I wish I could say it ain't so. But here you are in your own words influencing the next generation in your family who are oblivious to your rabid ignorance.

Being Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Here is the brilliant Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the financial crisis. "Our understanding of the world has proven to be extremely weak," he says. "We have to learn today to face a world we do not understand."

Are we prepared to scrap what we believe we knew to start fresh, to enter into a brave new world? If we are at the beginning of this financial crisis, I'd say scrap what we think we know and gather some thinkers with innovative solutions. Perhaps NNT can lead in this effort.

Being on a Mission from God

Being on a mission from God to some means that you assume a preposterous position and play the role of pinup paraded around and googled by men whose consciousness lags behind their libidos. Sarah Palin continues on believing fully that she is chosen from God to be president. Nothing matters if you are called to save America and through her the world from damnation and eternal hell fire.

John McCain seems not to have had a clue in his VP choice. He does not realize that he is believed to be a pawn in the hand of God. Sarah Palin is the one. In Palin's religious circle, according to the religious right, is merely the tool that God will use to reassert his authority on the earth.

It is believed that God needs a Spirit-filled-tongue-talking Sarah Palin to bring the world through the US back to Him. I have been forwarded several emails from modern day "prophets" regarding Sarah Palin. The prophets believe that God will use Palin in these "last days." Poor Senator McCain. In their eyes he is simply a vehicle used by God who, according to actuary tables, may not fulfill his first term, let alone a second. What deception, but one of his own choosing.

The deceit continues as Sarah Palin knowingly announces that she was "vindicated" of all wrong doing in Troopergate when an independent legislative panel found that she abused her powers as governor. The dishonesty and continued disrespect of us all is obvious. Everyone who can read knows better. It is obvious that she and many of the religious right are living on a parallel universe. They clearly believe that Sarah Palin has come to this historical moment, as the biblical Esther did to with considerable wisdom to save her people from destruction. She was believed to have come to that hour "for such a time as this."

Sarah, can we talk? You are not chosen by God to lead Amercia and through her the world "for such a time as this." Your outright lies disqualify you from such a noble calling. You were not vindicatd of all wrongdoing in Troopergate. As governor of Alaska, an independent legislative panel found that you had abused your power and violated ethic laws. A woman called for "such a time as this" sees the necessity of truth and walks therein. A woman called "for such a time as this" acknowledges her wrongs and moves bravely into the future. A woman called for "such a time as this" can thoughtfully put two sentences together instead of regurgitating cue cards to address crucial problems of the day.

No, Sarah Palin, you are not on a mission from God "for such a time as this." You are, naive one, disappearing before our very eyes. Esther's mere presence and humility commanded she be heard. We are commanding that you cease and desist from the lies and acknowledge that you are supremely ill-equipped for the hightest office of the land. We ask that while you fade back into oblivion that you comfort the honorable senior veteran who chose you as VP out of one last ditch for the presidency. Perhaps you have been called for this purpose "for such a time as this."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Being Barack Obama IV

Being Deceived

The voice of the bewildered middle-aged woman's response at Senator McCain's rally--"no?"-- would be funny if it were not so sad. She seemed sincerely shocked as Senator McCain took the microphone from her saying, "No, ma'am, he isn't." We could not see her face, but we saw her full back, stateless frame, blond hair, and red blouse, perhaps indicative of the hate speech she had been taught as a child or the subtle acceptance of hate messages in daily life. (We must be vigilant about such things.) "No, ma'am," responded Senator McCain to those three dirty little words softly spoken. You know the ones.

The profound sadness is that this lady has been hoodwinked, brought to believe a lie by the shameful ads of the McCain campaign in the words of his VP choice, and in other despicable literature. The nameless faceless lady from the rally fought hard to even come up with the appropriate word to describe the lean intelligent beautiful black (well, half black :-)) thoughtful US Senator who could not possibly represent the images and words spoken of him, yet she found them. "He's an um...he's an Arab," she said softly.

She was not as belligerent as some of the others in the crowd, but her softness can be just as deadly. If we harbor hateful thoughts about others, they will most certainly come to the forefront. They will most certainly change how we interact with others. They will most certainly cause us to be weaker and not better. They will most certainly make our lives poorer and not richer.

I would that this little lady was my neighbor. I would gently speak words of assurance and peace to her. The sad thing is that Senator McCain is suppose to be a leader in the Senate who seeks the highest office in the land and he himself employs gutter tactics to deceive Americans. This is not leadership. Deception is a dangerous divisive thing. Be vigilant America! Don't be deceived.

Being Presidential

This is who Barack Obama is.

This is who John McCain should be.

This is who Joe Biden could be.

This is who Sarah Palin ain't.

(Press conference, Palin? Need I say more?)

Being Purposeful

Isn't it ironic that the things that we feel purposed to do are often fraught with uncertainty, pain, challenges and fear? It is during these times that I have pressed forward and through the press recognized purpose.

Christ said it best. It is "for this purpose I came to this hour." In predicting his death He too was fearful. In the Garden of Gethsemane he asked if the cross could be avoided, if the pain could not be. But we all have crosses to bear on route to our purpose. Often times the route is the purpose. Who have you touched lately? Touch someone.

"Now My soul is troubled," said Christ, "and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour." It is for your sake, when you have done all that you could do to advance forward, that you have come to this particular time on the way to your purpose.

Press, pursue, persist on the way to purpose!

Being Securitized to the Hilt

Banks that have dealt primarily or largely with paper and not products are collapsing all around us. The biggest problem with the housing crisis, affecting markets worldwide, is that there are so many tranches (pools of debt differentiated by the maturity of the rate of return) that have no distinguishable value. If there is no known value, and in many cases the mortgage holder is not known because they have been securitized again and again, how can maturity be established?

Securitize these mortgages millions of times with no receivables, drying up liquidity, and it explains to a large degree where we are now. The homeowners are not without guilt too. Bankers banked on homeowners going along with the plan. Looks like the likes of Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers did well in such banking. They banked on the American dream of home ownership and the theory of keeping up with the Joneses and did well to the tune of nearly 500 MILLION DOLLARS. I am so grossed out by Fuld! (I listened to the Washington hearings.) Are we sure he shouldn't be in jail and his hundreds of millions returned to stockholders who invested life savings with a purportedly sound bell weather financial institution founded in 1850?

With these tranches value is not known, yet we have a presidential candidate whose inconsistent ideas include a plan that buys up this debt nationwide at current value which essentially rewards the institutions which got us into this mess. But can Senator McCain and advisers answer the multiple billion dollar question of value? We could be buying paper that has essentially no value. With this plan, the taxpayers will ultimately be the loser.

(Post mostly taken from a comment written at under the post, Musings. Click the title above for a great Tom Peters' post.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Being Patriotic

Being a great lover of books, it is rare that I see a movie before reading the book. But such was the case with The Kite Runner. I have watched the movie twice and loved it. I will now buy the book, especially after reading an enlightened article written by its author, Kaled Hosseini.

The article, "McCain and Palin are Playing with Fire" appeared in the Washington Post today. Hosseini speaks clearly of the dangerous rhetoric and writes of the hypocrisy of the McCain campaign with it’s "country first" slogan. Inciting violence and causing division among citizens is not putting "country first."

What about the many patriotic Muslim Americans? Surely the rhetoric which incited rally crowds must have offended many patriotic Muslim Americans. This causes division among the citizens of our country. We are the people. America is us. Is this the kind of America we want to become?

The article is worth reading. Click the title above.

Being Inspired by Others

"What we should like to have, dear father, is some of your
best church pieces; for we love to entertain ourselves with all
manner of masters, ancient and modern. Therefore I beg of you
send us something of yours as soon as possible."

--Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Being Gwendolyn Brooks

When You Have Forgotten Sunday: The Love Story

—And when you have forgotten the bright bedclothes on a Wednesday and a Saturday,
And most especially when you have forgotten Sunday—
When you have forgotten Sunday halves in bed,
Or me sitting on the front-room radiator in the limping afternoon
Looking off down the long street
To nowhere,
Hugged by my plain old wrapper of no-expectation
And nothing-I-have-to-do and I’m-happy-why?
And if-Monday-never-had-to-come—
When you have forgotten that, I say,
And how you swore, if somebody beeped the bell,
And how my heart played hopscotch if the telephone rang;
And how we finally went in to Sunday dinner,
That is to say, went across the front room floor to the ink-spotted table in the southwest corner
To Sunday dinner, which was always chicken and noodles
Or chicken and rice
And salad and rye bread and tea
And chocolate chip cookies—
I say, when you have forgotten that,
When you have forgotten my little presentiment
That the war would be over before they got to you;
And how we finally undressed and whipped out the light and flowed into bed,
And lay loose-limbed for a moment in the week-end
Bright bedclothes,
Then gently folded into each other—
When you have, I say, forgotten all that,
Then you may tell,
Then I may believe
You have forgotten me well.

--Gwendolyn Brooks

It is with great respect and appreciation that I include the work of Gwendolyn Brooks on my blog. It was in high school that I came across her poetry. When I was a sophomore at Michigan my brother Chris came to pick me up from Ann Arbor to go to the main Detroit Public library to hear her poetry reading. Afterwards, I stood in line for her to sign my book overcome with tears. She slipped me her address and said, "write to me." That gesture began a great correspondence.

I am most appreciative that Ms. Brooks, an acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winner, took the time to write to me. Her compassion springs forth through me as I take time and find ways of communicating with young people everywhere with or without their solicitation. I am always available, if only to give give a word of encouragement.

Gwendolyn Brooks is honored here for her life and work.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Being Religious

It's the antithesis of being love.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Being Incited to War II

After the Republican convention I asked a very simple question of whether we were being incited to war. I found the rhetoric and the fury of the speakers and crowd to be of concern. Now weeks later this same sense of inciting violence is apparent in John McCain's campaign.

Campbell Brown speaks of the "race baiting" and hateful rhetoric at the McCain rallies. She also admonishes us all about our language as well. Agreed. I also agree that while McCain generally shows disdain for Obama, the "that one" comment may not have been racially motivated. The problem, however, comes with the rhetoric of his surrogates which clearly incites violence and the hateful replies of the rally goers.

Today the tone is somewhat softer in that Senator McCain undoubtedly, after hearing the outcry of so many Republicans and Democrats alike for three whole days, asked the crowd to be respectful. Surely he heard the violent cries of the crowd for three days. Why not appeal for calm then?

Well, MCain's late appeal for calm now doesn't quite cut it, though it's appreciated for the safety of Senator Obama. Crackpots loom. If there is not something within which immediately responds to such hate speech as "terrorist," "kill him" and "off with his head," this should be concern for us all. The appeal for calm seems like it has more to do with the latest polls showing that people do like such things.

The appeal seems politically driven. After all, Cindy McCain herself whipped the crowd up into a hateful frenzy. John McCain does not appear to be the man he has been for many years. Or, is it that we have not known John McCain? Whatever the case, the one who is now seeking the presidency is indeed a leader the country and the world does not need.

Wars, including cultural and class warfare, begin with hateful rhetoric. This is not what we need.

Being a Temple

At The Dusty Lens there is a photo of a modern temple as opposed to those of antiquity, the gilded temples of the past. The photographer and poet reminds us of the bodies required to bring about needed consciousness. For years I have thought about our bodies themselves being the greatest temples through which love radiates. But single consciousness surpasses individual human physicality. Our collective bodies are mere temples through which the single consciousness of love emits. Love is all around, in all things. Love is this consciousness. We are temples of love.

Being George Will

My mother was a die-liberal who followed conservatives George F. Will and William F. Buckley for years. I too have followed them and enjoy their respective writings, even when I have not agreed with them. I read the National Review regularly and Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball. George Will writes a recent article that needs consideration:

Time was, the Baltimore Orioles manager was Earl Weaver, a short, irascible, Napoleonic figure who, when cranky, as he frequently was, would shout at an umpire, "Are you going to get any better or is this it?" With, mercifully, only one debate to go, that is the question about John McCain's campaign.

In the closing days of his 10-year quest for the presidency, McCain finds it galling that Barack Obama is winning the first serious campaign he has ever run against a Republican. Before Tuesday night's uneventful event, gall was fueling what might be the McCain-Palin campaign's closing argument. It is less that Obama has bad ideas than that Obama is a bad person.

Fair enough?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Being a "Guy of the Street"

Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, a McCain campaign co-chairman, described SENATOR OBAMA as "a guy of the street," referring to his experimental youthful drug use. The description wreaks with racial overtones.

On CNN the Republican strategist, Bay Buchanan, went even futher, asking if it was not indeed legitimate to ask if SENATOR OBAMA "sold cocaine." When pressed by Campbell Brown, Ms. Buchanan insisted that the comment had no racial undertone whatsoever and that the American people needed to know if SENATOR OBAMA was a "dealer."

This is downright despicable stuff.

Here are the facts about SENATOR OBAMA:

*Received B.A. in Political Science majoring in International Relations from Columbia
*Elected President of the Harvard Law Review
*Harvard Law Review editor
*JD of Law from Harvard
*Civil Rights Lawyer for a private law firm - 9 years
*Constitutional Law Professor for the University of Chicago - 12 years
*Illinois State Senator - 8 years
*United States Senator - 3 years
*Leader of the largest campaign in United States history

How low will the McCain campaign go? Their rhetoric has incited rally goers to shout things like "terrorist," "kill him," and "off with his head." How low will this campaign go to win? From a political standpoint, it does not appear that these things have affected the race; John McCain continues to sink in the polls.

But the rhetoric is dangerous. I don't like this tone, including Cindy McCain's today, essentially accusing SENATOR OBAMA for voting against the measures that would keep her son in the Armed Forces safe. As a mother she feigned outrage and elicited pity. What she failed to say is that her husband voted against many of the same bills.

Does Senator McCain's campaign realize that this is dangerous rhetoric? Or, do they care? They seem to only care about winning. This being so, is this the kind of person we want to lead our country? I think not.

Being a Grumpy Old Man

John McCain should be very cautious of losing his status as a venerable veteran. These days he's appearing more and more like a grumpy old man. In the hearts and minds of many it is not how you begin, but how you end.

Being for Peace (Wmmbb)

This is for wmmbb, the nameless blogger of Duckpond, who has a passion for peace. Thank you.

Being in The Wealth of Nations

The Wealth of Nations seems to require being built on the backs of others. Think of it: Egypt. Persia. China. England. America. Rome. These empires and countries required a free labor force for the institution of its greatness. Before free markets was free labor out of which capitalism sprung. The self-driven impulse of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations lays bare the natural impulse of man. The work realizes that man is driven by self-interest out of which structures are then built. It goes like this: Man is first. Systems are next.

Capitalism is an outgrowth of natural inclinations, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But can we move beyond what is natural to forever pursue what is good en masse? Many things we do are natural in private space, but in public spaces are not good. (This is the reason we are trained as toddlers to go to the potty.) The beauty in capitalism might be the challenge of forever finding means beyond self-interest for the betterment of the whole. Would this then be an altogether different system? No. Systems when they go bad are not nefarious nebulous non-associated things. Systems are structures built by people out of which come both good and bad. Systems, as people, need constant adjustments, constant checks and balances.

The market is us. Society is us. Communion is us. The natural self-driven impulses of man are seen in every system, capitalism socialism or communism. How should we continue in ways that are equitable for all while freedom reigns? The Wealth of Nations was built on the backs of others, whatever the system. The question becomes what will get us to understand the golden rule of loving our neighbors, those who are near us, as ourselves? (And, with technology and globalism our neighbors are increasingly nearer.) No system seems to have embraced this rule consistently.

Being Mahalia Jackson

Bold. Beautiful. Black. Bright. Brave.

Be whatever you might be. Others will see. Honor will be.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Being Joan Baez

Believe. Persist. Prepare...

This too shall pass!

Being for Love

What the world needs now is love. Love gives. Loves restrains. Love listens. Love responds. Love sees things squarely. Loves speaks things truthfully. Love shares. Love self-regulates. Love's intentions are clearly known. Love is mature.

Love goes beyond fear. Love meets needs. Love considers others. Love is responsible. Love forgives. Love covers. Love shows no ill fate. Love produces fairness. Love never fails. Love hopes for the best.

In this economic world crisis love most certainly did not get us here. Love is not greedy. Love is not envious. Love is not selfish. Love is not vainglorious. Love is not timid. Love is not deceitful. Love is not without constraints.

Give the greatest gift. Love is this gift. Help somebody.

What the world needs now is Love.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Being Out of Touch

It's 9:23, twenty three minutes into the debate, and I have yet to hear what Senator McCain is going to do for the country? Have you?

It seems as if Sarah Palin is rubbing off on the good Senator McCain. The mesh is apparent. Who doesn't prioritize in their homes or in their businesses? How can the three most important issues of health care, energy and social security all be taken on at one time? "We can take on this mission and overcome it," McCain said. But what about priority? He continues, "We can do them all at once. We have to do them all at once." This is simply not possible.

Senator McCain is more on his feet than seated, even when he is not speaking. His disdain for Senator Obama remains evident. The thoughtful Senator has been reduced to a "that one." While the disdain is obvious, Senator McCain's policies aren't. I am still unclear on what he wants to do for the country.

Regarding social security and medicare, Senator McCain says it's going to be "easy." If so, why hasn't reform been accomplished before now? I wonder if this reform will be as "easy" as winning the war in Iraq? Senator McCain thought that we would be in and out in no time and that we would be greeted as "liberators." Neither has happened.

Sarah Palin seems to be definitely rubbing off on Senator McCain. What was that long rambling answer regarding energy and green jobs? He failed to mention even one fundamental of energy policy.

Does Senator McCain even have a plan for the future? Does he even think of the youth of America? He does not seem to understand the the people's individual needs. He does not seem to understand our diverse needs. He does not seem to understand us...period.

There is a difference between pointing out records and ALSO adding substantial points. I have yet to hear substantial points in relations to ideas that Senator McCain has for the country? Did you?

The word "temper" coming from the mouth of Senator McCain falls on death ears. We should have never been in Iraq in the first place. There is no "steady hand on the tiller."

The transference of Senator Obama as being one who "talks loudly" also falls on death ears. Senator Obama is known as the "cool" one and I might add the stealth one. Looks can be deceiving and strength massed.

Senator McCain's answer on Russia was indeed thoughtful. This was appreciated. But thoughtfulness without good judgment is still detrimental.

It's a stable economy that fuels the State Department. It is also judgment that secures our nation. $10 billion dollars a month in Iraq, for a war that was not justified and not going after those who perpetrated 911, make our country less secure.

Senator McCain is simply out of touch. Senator Obama has a better plan for the country. Senator Obama is the leader we need.

It's 10:28 and it pretty clear to me what America needs to do. Vote Obama!

May God bless America.

Being a Maverick II

Since the 1600s, the Maverick family, has been a liberal progressive bunch who bucked the system to bring change. A recent article in the New York Times clearly defines the progressive ideas and actions of the Mavericks.

What is clear from this article and a recent one posted here is that John McCain is no maverick.. Terrellitta Maverick, 82, is incensed that their family name and history are evoked by John McCain:

He "is in no way a maverick, in uppercase or lowercase," Terrellitta Maverick said.

"It's just incredible — the nerve! — to suggest that he's not part of that Republican herd. Every time we hear it, all my children and I and all my family shrink a little and say, 'Oh, my God, he said it again.'"

"He’s a Republican," she said. "He's branded."

Now, these are the words of an original Maverick.

Being Aware of Subtext and Texture

As an opera singer, I was trained to find the meaning beyond the words and melodies, to discover the richness of subtext and texture. It is the search of intentions. Consider this SNL comedy clip:

Can subtext and texture be found here? If so, what is the relevance, if any, beyond laughter? Yes, we laugh, but has meaning been found here and to what end? In fact, why do we laugh or cringe at comedy at all?