30 September 2006

oh, the irony.

so florida republican representative mark foley has resigned after being busted for allegedly soliciting minors on the internet. apparently, he was the house caucus chairman for missing and exploited children, railing against those who "used the internet for the sexual explotation of children," saying that they were "sick people" in need of "mental health counseling." and he would know!

his preferred group of kiddies? congressional house pages. i couldn't make this stuff up. pot, meet kettle... our esteemed elected officials, hard at work. no pun intended.

and who says the government works at a snail's pace? if you go to his official house site, it has already been removed, replaced with a vacancy announcement. pretty quick work for something that went down last night.

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29 September 2006

so the torture bill passed...

this makes parenting suddenly become so much easier! the conversation someday will go something like this:

bebe: but he (some other little kid on the playground) might hit me someday and hurt me, mommy! and his friends! i don't like the way they look at me!

me: yes! he might! yes! they are terrible! you should just go ahead and beat the crap out if them. tie them up in fetal position for 12-18 hours at a stretch, stick electrodes to them, pull their fingernails out, scald them... take a lesson from abu ghraib! they did it RIGHT! you do whatever you have to do, honey. u.s. law stands behind you! 12 democrats even signed on!

this is sick and wrong. what about the geneva conventions? what about basic human respect? i'm disgusted. there is NO excuse for this. none. the implications of this are horrifying, and i shudder at the thought of what abuses will come out of this law. friends, today marks another weakening of our constitution.

*post script - check out american leftist's thoughts...


28 September 2006

recanting my prior position - for now

so will and i watched a documentary that was handed over to us called loose change last night. while i have maintained from the get-go that there was no way our government would have ever been able to pull off 9/11 as an inside job (too big of a conspiracy, someone else would've had to have known, etc.) - i have/had a sense that the government did use 9/11 to it's advantage - as positioned in the the pnac document - rebuilding america's defenses so many years ago. that said, i now have serious questions. i've read much of what has surfaced surrounding the events that day, but much of what i saw in this film was new to me.

*you can see several other explosions happening lower in the buildings - ones that don't appear to be caused from the planes hitting. the science and official explanations don't add up with what eye-witnesses saw that day - from the people that were in and near the towers, and the firefighters that were there.
*flight 93 was actually evacuated in an airport that had been emptied out. the actual crash scene matched no other crash scene in history.
*the footage from the pentagon - the plane used doesn't match the parts that were found on the scene.
*there's no way, scientifically, that a jet fuel fire could've caused those buildings to fall. the film documents many other instances of high rise buildings burning on floors for hours before being put out, yet the buildings still stand. and the third tower that was never hit by anything, but just fell in on itself? it is mighty peculiar, what was being stored in the basement of that building...
*over half of the named hi-jackers are alive and well.

and on and on and on...

there was a plethora of news footage and interview with other experts - even from bush's own closest people. every second of this film is filled with moments that made me question everything i had previously thought. it's available to watch online here.

i'm curious as to what other thoughts are on the film? has anyone else heard of it? seen it? has anyone been able to solidly debunk it?

ultimately, this is one of those things that i fear we may never really know what happened. and if i think too much about it, i could potentially drive myself mad. in the same breath, if what this film puts forward is true - the people responsible for the deaths of september 11th should not be able to just walk away - especially in light of what has transpired in this country and with foreign policy in all the days since.

and, of course, the idealist in me wants to believe that our government, often touted as the 'best' in the world - would never be capable of such a thing - that no human would inflict this sort of horribleness on it's own people, or allow it to happen.


26 September 2006

ellison bay and door county pictures! yay!

so they aren't in the order i'd like them to be but, but such is life... :)

reading baby bee bee bird with riley - his favorite book!

storm a brewin'

the goats on al johnson's restaurant

riley, rocking the night away...

exploring outside the cottage

our wine at dinner at mr. helsinki's in fish creek

the path that bonnie (my cousin) and i built one year between the cottages so that we could get to each other quicker to play in the morning. we carried all the rocks up from the beach, with grandpa's help, of course.

me, reading.

bebe with the flowers he and will picked for me as i slept early one morning. they are currently drying in the kitchen, so i can save them forever.

my long lost family!

feeding the gulls

the dock at the end of the path

more gulls - we drew about 60 each night!

riley's improvised high chair

yay! we're here!

since we don't have a bathtub at home, riley had his first big bath! we could hardly convince him to get out each night. and all day long, he'd ask for bath.

every year, i'd have my picture taken on this very rock. what a joy to have riley's picture taken there too!

bebe bundled up for our walk

seats that riley and will built for rock skipping (throwing)

here we are, coming out from the path at the dock.

the path that leads from the cottage to the stairs, down to the beach.

this is what you see while eating in the dining area. beautimous!

our fire on the beach. no, riley didn't light it.

the beach.

another gorgeous sunset!

the cottage

breakfast outdoors!

the upstairs sleeping area

i slept on this side, in a little twin bed, when i was a wee lass. they've painted and decorated it beautifully!

warming by the fire

the enclosed sunporch

the dining area

the kitchen i spent so many hours helping grandma pit cherries we'd picked to make jam.

the cottage. :)


25 September 2006

our first family vacation

to ellison bay, was, on many levels, perfection! where to begin... i warn you now - get comfy. we may be here a minute. ;)

first, a little history primer about the cottage we stayed in. my grandpa's aunt (i believe great aunt, actually) purchased the lot that it sits on back in 1919. she and a friend pooled their money together and the cottage was completed in 1922 at the cost of $1000.00. my grandfather's father purchased the lot just to the south of it around the same time. there are 8 or nine cottages in a row, all connected by a path that runs between the cottages and the beach. it is called professor's row. they all have been in the families that own them for generations, with the exception of one that was built just a few years back at the end of the path, closest to the dock. will thought it was beautiful, i thought it was a McCabin. it just doesn't "fit" and it's ginormous.

grandpa lived in ellison bay for some years and after moving to green bay, he would spend his summers in ellison bay in the cottage, doing odd jobs for the others up and down the path. eventually, the cottage was handed down to he and his brother, who split time there each year. it really isn't possible to live in the cottage year round, but may-october is always good. i began spending summers there with my grandparents when i was 7 or 8. i loved it so. it was my most special happy spot of childhood. the water that was run to the house came straight out of the bay and was only good for bathing in. every few days, grandpa and i would walk down the path to fill our bucket with drinking water from the hand pump well hidden just off the path between two other cottages. i couldn't find it this year. i think it was taken out when the McCabin was built.

20-25 ish years ago, i spent my days on the beach, feeding the gulls bread, reading my books, setting up my barbie's house with furniture that grandma had made for them. we walked into town after dinner to get ice cream at the berch tree for a special treat. as we'd walk home, the bats would swarm just above the tree line. i would 'help' grandpa clear all the rocks from the huge flat rocks that would become our patio down on the beach. i would swim with my shoes on - i always had an old pair of tennis shoes i'd take just for swimming (the rocks get fairly slick and some are sharp). i would feed the raccoons our leftovers and sit by the window for hours waiting for one to come. i also put out seed for the squirrels and chipmunks. i played for hours in those woods, making up games. i would walk down to the dock with my little radio, and without fail, everytime, the song sitting on the dock of the bay would come on. i'd run in and out of the cottage a million times a day and the screen door would bang shut behind me. it still makes the same bang, even 20 odd years later. grandma would always bring ceramics for me to paint and we'd sit together at a table in the sunporch and do crafts while she watched her "stories" on t.v. - we got all of 4 stations there and barely at that. she was constantly moving the rabbit ears around to get better reception. we ate breakfast for dinner, uncle tom's pancakes. the sound of wind in trees and waves lapping on the beach - as well as the smell of coffee and bacon would wake me each morning.

then one year, i made a decision that i will always count as my one great regret in life. i stupidly thought that i was "too old" and didn't go again until i was 23. that year, grandma and grandpa decided to put a phone in the cottage. it was a good thing, too. grandpa had a heart attack. he probably wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the phone. grandma never drove and the nearest hospital is still 30 miles away.

grandma passed on in 1999 and grandpa is too frail, physically, i fear, to make the trip to ellison bay again. but will and i were thinking of ways that maybe we could get him there again next year. back to the regret. i thought of them so much while we were there. i kept turning around in the cottage, on the beach, expecting to see them.

my grandpa had to sell the cottage back in 2000. long story short, he was forced into it. he and his brother shared ownership, and his brother's wife managed to somehow force the sell through a clause in the family documents that if one party wanted to sell, the other must. things weren't in order in wills, etc. and so it was put on the market. i couldn't figure out any way to come up with that kind of money and i was completely devestated. it was always understood that someday it would be mine and i took it for granted that it would always be in our family. while the cottage is simple and perfect, the land it sits on is apparently worth a small fortune. i had no idea. i also had no idea that door county is in the top 5 vacation destinations in the u.s. until this year. my humble little hidaway in the woods is highly sought after. ellison bay is located at the top of the penninsula of door county, and much of the tourism stops at the little town of sister bay, about 5 minutes south of ellison bay. the door county coast is dotted with sweet little towns leading up to gill's rock and northport.

it was bought by a lovely couple that "got it" and didn't intend on ripping it down and building a behemoth McCabin in it's place. they took out the wood paneling and insulation and replaced the old wood burning stove with a gas one. other than that, they didn't change a thing. a few years ago, i took will to ellison bay. we stayed at a family friend's place and we went by the cottage to take a look. they let us come inside and see. i got to show will my special place! the next year, we went again. will and i had decided that two wedding ceremonies were in order for us. i desperately wanted my part to be on the beach of the cottage. we went by the cottage again and asked if we could go down to the beach. there, we did my part. we exchanged our promises and i had written mine out on a piece of birch bark. just me, will and the gulls. since we didn't have anyone officiating, we skipped rocks to seal the deal. it was perfect.

in 2004 or 2005, the couple decided to sell the cottage. a distant cousin of mine and her husband bought it. her mother, my grandpa's cousin, now has the cottage to the south. i wrote her last year and asked if it would be possible for us to stay there and she said yes! after crying for a good hour in sheer joy, i called will to tell him the news. we'd been counting the minutes ever since. we love fall in door county with the leaves turning, so we thought we'd shoot for september.

we left for ellison bay at 9 pm last friday night, after picking up a minsky's pizza to eat on the road - in the hopes that bebe would sleep the whole way there. he did. he stirred a few times and i had to creatively straddle his car seat to nurse, but we managed. :) *note, if you ever have to cross the state of iowa, make sure you have music playing options. as i was cursing the radio stations being behind the times, playing only young country (no offense, shotgun) and classic rock, i was also cursing our being behind the times for not having a cd player in our car. it was painful. i fell in love with garth brooks again after a few hours. ack.

we pulled into the winding drive that leads back to the cottages shortly after 9 the next morning, exhausted. i drove the final few hours. i kept trying to sleep early on, but i'd wake up to find will tugging on his goatee and shaking his head to try and stay awake. that scared me. :) my great aunt gloria, who i haven't seen in 25 years was staying in the cottage next door with her sons, johnny and rob. riley and i went up to find the hidden key under the loose rock to get in and will unloaded the car. we joined gloria and family for breakfast - and met up with my great aunt margie and uncle bill who live in sister bay. it was our first time in a restuarant since riley was tiny and he had a blast sitting in his little chair at the end of the table and flirting and playing. it was wonderful to catch up with everyone. grandpa always says that gloria and i are just alike politically. we're 'radicals.' :)

we headed back to the cottage for a snooze. will had a poetry reading set up at the bridge in sister bay that night. he and another local poet took turns reading. will sold a few of his books. riley and i missed the reading - we played outdoors instead...

we decided to not sleep upstairs in the sleeping area - too treacherous for wee ones that could tumble down stairs. instead, i found an aerobed in the closet that was a dream to sleep on and set up camp in the sunporch. it was delicious. because the cottage isn't insulated (you can even see through to the outdoors in a few places between the wood slats) we could hear every leaf rustle and every wave break. on the nights that got chilly, we had the stove.

i can also attest that children really don't need all the toys we give them. riley barely touched what we brought along. he had such a blast playing with sticks and rocks! he LOVED the beach. one day as i napped, he and will built little seats out of the rocks and will taught riley how to "skip" (throw) rocks into the water. we also built a campfire one night and fed the gulls a couple of other nights.

we had perfect weather - cool in the day, crisp and chilly at night - and even a great rainstorm that pitter-pattered away at the roof as we snoozed.

we relaxed, most importantly. i got to revisit thich naht hahn's being peace and began a collection of 'enterviews' with jungian analysts i've been dying to dig into for some time now. will got a lot of reading in, and i made sure to keep a daily journal, which i may try and post in here eventually...

we also did everything i did as a kid - fed the furry friends around the cottage. we had two different raccoons, a baby and a BIG one that traded nights. we walked the path to the dock and then into town each day. we went to all the places i'd go with grandma and grandpa: bea's (you've got to get a load of the full name of the store on the website), to stock up on my cherry jam - uncle tom's, to get the best pancake mix in the world. we also ate at al johnson's so riley could see the goats that graze on the grass roof and i could have my lingonberries. we went to mr. helsinki's to eat - it's a little place that will and i found when we were there last. i also found a winter hat and gloves at ecology sports - organic cotton AND fair trade! we drove up to death's door and all around the peninsula. we were going to eat fish boil at the viking one night, but ran out of money (and since i'd already had smoked salmon, it was ok - i was a touch worried about mercury and all as well). we did make sure to take riley by so he could see the big fire during the boil. what did he say about that, you ask? "uh-oh!" speaking of saying, he has new words - "yes" (which sounds like yesssshhh) "please" (which also sounds very cute) and he now follows me around some days saying, "honey, i know." he woke up most every morning this way, "mommy? daddy? bye bye?!" little man loves adventure! wonder where he gets that?

we also went to the clearing, which i was convinced was a magical place when i was little - and come to find out, it is! it is just up the path from the cottage - i used to sneak up there to spy - and will is looking to teach a course there next year, hopefully.

one place we didn't get to go was the pioneer store, pictured here standing, and here collapsed. grandpa and i would walk there almost everyday for foody items and sundries. i remember getting double bubble gum out of a big glass barrel by the checkout. will and i shopped there during our previous visits. the store blew up in a terrible gas leak explosion in july, apparently a gas line had been severed and leaked all weekend long. the explosion also took the lives of two people that were staying in a rental cottage behind. their 12 year old daughter survived. i can't even begin to imagine. just horrible. the woman had just celebrated her 45th birthday a few days before and they had been coming to ellison bay for the last 18 years for vacation. the owner of the pioneer store narrowly escaped by jumping from the window of the living quarters above the store as the first floor blew out. she had been asleep. the pioneer store was a mainstay in ellison bay from way back. like 134 years, in various forms. horribly, terribly, sad.

i think this is all i've got in me for now. i will post up some pictures and a bit more about the rest of the stay that i've left out tomorrow. overall, it was a fantastic adventure! even the 60 miles of fog so thick we could only see a few feet in front of us on the way home was fantastic! but i still need to catch up on zzz's - my pillow is calling me...

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23 September 2006

home again, home again...

didya miss me? i've been up since 7:30 a.m. friday morning, so the details will have to wait - but do i ever have adventure tales to share! the trip was beautiful and perfect, and now i'm trying to re-acclimate to the sounds of the city. more anon...


15 September 2006

*see* you all

in a week!!!!!!!!! off to my happy spot in just 30 minutes! boy do we EVER need a holiday...


14 September 2006

if you're in kansas city or the surrounding vicinity

today over the last couple of hours, you knew this was coming...

sara, don't read this - you already got an earful.

so the blue angels are practising their tricks right now for the big show this weekend. and while i'm thoroughly and completely deighted to see fighter aircraft doing loopy loops as opposed to bombing the shit out of other countries, the sound has been nerve-rattling as they fly overhead, to say the very least.

my mind wanders. i can't help it. just like the fourth of july, these are sounds of war to me, and they don't mesh well with my psyche. or with the dog's psyches (if they have them) - they've been wimpering and crying for a couple of hours now when the planes get close. at first even bebe was making his vroom sounds, but a half an hour into it, he began looking at me all frightened-like when they flew right overhead. so i had to tell him it was ok. that war sounds are ok.

so, about the blue angels (who weren't yet named this at the time)... according to wikipedia.org, an "underlying mission" in the founding of the blue angels, "was to help the Navy generate public and political support for a larger allocation of the shrinking defense budget." of course. it is all political, isn't it? i imagine these shows are still, on some level, intended to raise public support. you know, our friendly traveling neighborhood fighter planes also entertain us. i guess it's cool if you're not on the receiving end of what they carry. it's so easy to oooo and aaaah when you're not holed up in some bomb shelter hoping that this mission doesn't find you. oh, the things we see as entertainment....

needless to say, i won't be around this weekend, and i'm glad. i've heard all the fighter plane sounds today that i ever want to hear.


13 September 2006

i now direct you to

my buddy fuller's blog. he was in nyc just a few days ago, on the 11th. he has some pictures from the day posted - of the WTC, i'm not sure what to call it. memorial+protest+?

you should read his blog entry from the 11th as well, for a fuller view - it will help explain my lack of being able to articulate better...


11 September 2006

unfreaking believable!!!!!!!

Palast Charged with Journalism in the First Degree

September 11, 2006
by Greg Palast

It's true. It's weird. It's nuts. The Department of Homeland Security, after a five-year hunt for Osama, has finally brought charges against . Greg Palast. I kid you not. Send your cakes with files to the Air America wing at Guantanamo.

Though not just yet. Fatherland Security has informed me that television producer Matt Pascarella and I have been charged with unauthorized filming of a "critical national security structure" in Louisiana.

On August 22, for LinkTV and Democracy Now! we videotaped the thousands of Katrina evacuees still held behind a barbed wire in a trailer park encampment a hundred miles from New Orleans. It's been a year since the hurricane and 73,000 POW's (Prisoners of W) are still in this aluminum ghetto in the middle of nowhere. One resident, Pamela Lewis said, "It is a prison set-up" -- except there are no home furloughs for these inmates because they no longer have homes.

To give a sense of the full flavor and smell of the place, we wanted to show that this human parking lot, with kids and elderly, is nearly adjacent to the Exxon Oil refinery, the nation's second largest, a chemical-belching behemoth.

So we filmed it. Without Big Brother's authorization. Uh, oh. Apparently, the broadcast of these stinking smokestacks tipped off Osama that, if his assassins pose as poor Black folk, they can get a cramped Airstream right next to a "critical infrastructure" asset.

So now Matt and I have a "criminal complaint" lodged against us with the feds.

The positive side for me as a journalist is that I get to see our terror-busters in action. I should note that it took the Maxwell Smarts at Homeland Security a full two weeks to hunt us down.

Frankly, we were a bit scared that, given the charges, we wouldn't be allowed on a plane into New York last night. But what scared us more is that we were allowed on the plane.

Once I was traced, I had a bit of an other-worldly conversation with my would-be captors. Detective Frank Pananepinto of Homeland Security told us, "This is a 'Critical Infrastructure' . and they get nervous about unauthorized filming of their property.

Well, me too, Detective. In fact, I'm very nervous that this potential chemical blast-site can be mapped in extreme detail at this Google Map location

What also makes me nervous is that the Bush Terror Terriers have kindly indicated on the Internet that this unprotected critical infrastructure can be targeted -- I mean located -- at 30º 29' 11" N Latitude and 91º 11' 39" W Longitude.

After I assured Detective Pananepinto, "I can swear to you that I'm not part of Al Qaeda," he confirmed that, "Louisiana is still part of the United States," subject to the first amendment and he was therefore required to divulge my accuser.

Not surprisingly, it was Exxon Corporation, one of a handful of companies not in love with my investigations. [See "A Well-Designed Disaster: the Untold Story of the Exxon Valdez."]

So I rang America's top petroleum pusher-men and asked their media relations honcho in Houston, Marc Boudreaux, a simple question. "Do you want us to go to jail or not? Is it Exxon's position that reporters should go to jail?" Because, all my dumb-ass jokes aside, that is what's at stake. And Exxon knew we were journalists because we showed our press credential to the Exxon guards at the refinery entrance.

The Exxon man was coy: "Well, we'll see what we can find out.. Obviously it's important to national security that we have supplies from that refinery in the event of an emergency."

Really? According to the documents our team uncovered from the offices of Exxon's lawyer, Mr. James Baker, the oil industry is more than happy to see a limit on worldwide crude production. Indeed, the current squeeze has jacked the price of oil from $24 a barrel to $64 and refined products have jumped yet higher -- resulting in a record-busting profit for Exxon of nearly $1 billion per week.

So this silly "criminal complaint" has nothing to do with stopping Al Qaeda or keeping the oil flowing. It has everything to do with obstructing news reports in a way that no one would have dared attempt before the September 11 attack.

Dectective Pananepinto, in justifying our impending bust, said, "If you remember, a lot of people were killed on 9/11."

Yes, Detective, I remember that very well: my office was in the World Trade Center. Lucky for me, I was out of town that day. It was not a lucky day for 3,000 others.

Yes, I remember "a lot" of people were killed. So I have this suggestion, Detective -- and you can pass it on to Mr. Bush: Go and find the people who killed them.

It's been five years and the Bush regime has not done that. Instead, the War on Terror is reduced to taking off our shoes in airports, hoping we can bomb Muslims into loving America and chasing journalists around the bayou. Meanwhile, King Abdullah, the Gambino of oil, whose princelings funded the murderers, gets a free ride in the President's golf cart at the Crawford ranch.

I guess I shouldn't complain. After all, Matt and I look pretty good in orange.


A personal request to readers. Many have written to ask what can be done to protect Matt and me from becoming unwilling guests of the State.

First, this ain't no foolin' around: Matt and I are facing these nutty charges. So spread the info. We believe that getting the word out is the best defense.

Second, call Homeland Security and turn us in. They seem to have trouble finding us. If you get a reward, you may choose to donate it to the Palast Investigative Fund, a 501(c)(3) educational foundation which supports our work and pays our legal fees.

Third, ask your local library to order our book, Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf? Homeland Security now reserves the right to read over your shoulder at the library; therefore, the more our agents are forced to read this subversive material, the more likely we can convince them to come in out of the cold. All kidding aside, we do ask you to request your library order the book: not everyone can afford to purchase this hardbound edition.

Our thanks to Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! and the folks at LinkTV for broadcasting our report from New Orleans and the Exxon refinery. And to Gil Noble, host of the ABC Television's Like It Is, our Courage in Journalism award for broadcasting our report on his network's New York affiliate. Catch Gil on WABC every Sunday at noon.

In response to a deluge of requests for a copy of the New Orleans documentary, we are preparing a DVD which you may order at http://www.gregpalast.com/premiums.htm You may change your email address or unsubscribe from the newsletter member page. (If you don't have a password for the member page, you can have one sent to you.)


i haven't forgotten

i had intended on writing a 'in memory' piece for one of those killed on september 11th. anthony told me about it a few days ago, a project to blog about those that died that day in the attacks - to bring light to their lives and take away the emphasis on their murderers, but i can't seem to get the site to work - it is probably overloaded with visitors. so, instead, i'll just write what comes to mind...

2001. we woke up that morning to the phone ringing, over and over and over. we got up and came downstairs to listen to the messages. on the machine, one of will's good friends was crying, saying that something horrible was happening - that the united states was being attacked. airplanes had hit one the world trade center towers. my heart sank.

we turned on the television and saw the buildings smoking. we watched them fall. i couldn't take it. i was overcome with grief and the shock was lingering just beneath. i went out on our back porch and stared at the sky. a million thoughts were racing through my mind.

please don't let there be anyone in there. did everyone get out? the world trade centers - an attack on symbols. why there? the pentagon. the people. the people are jumping from windows. i have failed...

my drive in activism has always been a good part worry that something like this was bound to happen, given my country's foreign policy decisions and practices. when bush said they hated our freedom in the days following, i knew better.

and in my heart, i knew what the official response would be. i was terrified of what the present and future would hold.

i tried to call my girlfriend, hallie in nyc. no answer.

as the day progressed, i found myself crying uncontrollably - and i had to work that night. i sat there all day, in front of the television. i saw images from all over the world, others in mourning with us. i watched the towers fall over and over again. will finally came in and turned it off. he knew what it was doing to me - and that i couldn't stop watching.

that evening, on my way to work - it was quiet. no one honking, no one yelling. at work, i could overhear conversations. for the first time i could remember, people weren't talking about sports or their favorite clothes or their favorite television shows, or even how fucked up they wanted to get. they were talking about the world. what the attacks had meant. i had a glimmer of hope that my country would rise and that the right thing would happen. i couldn't have been more wrong.

2002. i was asked to contribute to a book of essays written in reflection of 9/11 called 'leavened 9/11. it is comprised of essays written by those who live in and around the 39th street district - a community response. you can read my essay here. all of the essays are excellent. you can access the rest by clicking on 'the book' link.

2003. will and i were in nyc on september 10th. it felt as if those in lower manhattan were holding their breath. no one said anything, and they didn't have to. we went down to ground zero. i was overcome, once again. one lone firefighter stood in front of the station, staring down into the abyss. i imagine that he lost many friends that day. we made our way around. all of the city sounds disappeared. i watched the bulldozers scoop and move. behind me, a man was playing a flute. amazing grace. i realized that i hadn't heard anything at all for several minutes and now this music was slowly filling my head. we moved on.

later that day, we toured the lower east side tenement house museum - a museum rich with immigrant history. near the end of the tour, we were standing in one of the tenement apartments that they had managed to trace a family to. a woman and her daughters had lived there, so long ago. she made dresses and her daughters helped her. they were able to support themselves. her husband had had a job further up the island and one day he never came home. he just disappeared. there was a dangerous area that the men would need to cross through, and apparently, many men never made it through and were never heard from again.

they knew who this family was by a strange twist of fate. earlier that year, a man had come in with pictures and said that his great great great great (i can't remember how far removed now) aunt had lived there. he had documentation. we saw pictures of her and her daughters. to put a face to a historical life story like that, is always such an amazing thing. she was the one of the few that the museum people had ever been able to positively identify... one that history will not forget now. one of the millions of immigrants that helped shape this country into what it is today.

then our guide showed us a photograph of the nephew that had brought his aunt's memory back to life. we also saw a photograph of his beautiful family - his wife and two daughters. on september 11th of 2001, this nephew, like his uncle so many years before him also left for work and didn't return home. he worked in the world trade center towers.

in 2002 there was a memorial service for him at the tenement house museum. his wife was there. she said that if her aunt could raise her girls against the odds, after losing her beloved husband, so could she. and she would.

this is my 'in memory.' i don't remember his name. but i think about him and his family often to this day, especially today. i imagine that they will always be with me.

i find myself writing this through tears. and now, today, as septmeber 11th has been reduced down to made-for-t.v.- docudramas, and now finding most of the world that was mourning with us now against us, i will cry and remember. i will cry for everyone that lost a loved one on september 11th 2001. i will cry for all of those that have lost a loved one in the process of warful mis-guided revenge on afghanistan and in the mis-guided war on iraq based on lies. because sometimes, you just need to cry - because there is no such thing as closure.


09 September 2006

where have YOU been?

just for fun, i totally stole this from poppymom's (my long lost girlyfriend from high school whom i heart heart heart!!!) blog. i'd never really thought about it before, but, look at all the states i've visited! next up? visiting THE REST!

it's simple to do - just go to the link below my map and *check* the states you've graced with your presence. they'll transform your answers into a handy dandy map, like so:

create your own visited states map


andrew revkin and me

yesterday, over on myspace, andrew revkin found me. and this would be the perfect example of why i heart myspace. he's a science writer for the ny times. he'd read a post i'd left on another global warming (global climate disruption) myspace page and sent me a message. he's responsible for the video you now see linked to the right. all of that snapping and popping is ice at the north pole breaking and cracking beneath he and the other scientists there that day. pretty freakin' wild!

i've been writing back and forth with him, and found out that he has a new children's book out about global climate disruption. it's called THE NORTH POLE WAS HERE.
you can read the first chapter online. i think the idea is that it is written for children 10+. so that even elected officials will be able to understand.

he asked that i help spread the word. and here we are. feel free to pass it on!


08 September 2006

deal with it

in my 33 years, i've yet to figure this out.

i've randomly run across several blogs as of late in my bebe-is-sleeping-so-is-hubby-what should-i-do blog wanderings where mommy after mommy is making comment after comment about "having" to "deal" with their children. it just has such a negative connotation to me. when i think of "dealing," i think of situations, not people. much less kids. much less, my own. i deal with being broke. i deal with student loan companies vying for my business. i deal with things around the house breaking down and wondering how we'll fix it. i don't deal with bebe. or anyone else, for that matter. people aren't meant to be dealt with.

thinking back, the closest i ever came to "dealing" with anyone were those that i had to cut off and kick out of the bar. and even that wasn't dealing so much as divine intervention.

and speaking of dealing with, this new abc MAJOR NETWORK 9/11 docudrama entitled the path to 9/11 is sure to fall into the realm of having to deal with ridiculousness. rumor has it that it's supposed to be based on facts gleaned from the 9/11 commission hearings. it's been touted by many as pro-bush propaganda. i know, i know - it's ALL propaganda, but to re-write history? i know, i know - that's nothing new either... but still.

and what IS a docudrama, anyway? part documentary, part fiction? my spidey sense is tingling. i have a terrible sinking feeling that the majority of viewers are going to be nodding along as they watch, taking every last bit in as being literal truth.

i'm surprised that something like this hasn't surfaced earlier, honestly.

remember the huge rage that ensued when michael moore wanted to air fahrenheit 9/11 on television before the election? many stations flat-out refused. moore even went as far to not throw his film/hat in the ring for 'best documentary' at the academy awards in the hopes that the film would be aired, but no dice...

but i digress. i guess i'll just have to deal with it. note that 'it' is a movie - not a people.


04 September 2006

two most recent paintings...


so... happy labor day

By Greg Palast
September, 3 2006

Some years from now, in an economic refugee relocation "Enterprise Zone," your kids will ask you, "What did you do in the Class War, Daddy?"

The trick of class war is not to let the victims know they're under attack. That's how, little by little, the owners of the planet take away what little we have.

This week, Dupont, the chemical giant, slashed employee pension benefits by two-thirds. Furthermore, new Dupont workers won't get a guaranteed pension at all -- and no health care after retirement. It's part of Dupont's new "Die Young" program, I hear. Dupont is not in financial straits. Rather, the slash attack on its workers' pensions was aimed at adding a crucial three cents a share to company earnings, from $3.11 per share to $3.14.

So Happy Labor Day.

And this week, the government made it official: For the first time since the Labor Department began measuring how the American pie is sliced, those in the top fifth of the wealth scale are now gobbling up over half (50.4 % of our nation's annual income.

So Happy Labor Day.

We don't even get to lick the plates. While 15.9% of us don't have health insurance (a record, Mr. President!), even those of us who have it, don't have it: we're spending 36% more per family out of pocket on medical costs since the new regime took power in Washington. If you've actually tried to collect from your insurance company, you know what I mean.

So Happy Labor Day.

But if you think I have nothing nice to say about George W. Bush, let me report that the USA now has more millionaires than ever -- 7.4 million! And over the past decade, the number of billionaires has more than tripled, 341 of them!

If that doesn't make you feel like you're missing out, this should: You, Mr. Median, are earning, after inflation, a little less than you earned when Richard Nixon reigned.

Median household income -- and most of us are "median" -- is down. Way down.Since the Bush Putsch in 2000, median income has fallen 5.9%

Mr. Bush and friends are offering us an "ownership" society. But he didn't mention who already owns it. The richest fifth of America owns 83% of all shares in the stock market. But that's a bit misleading because most of that, 53% of all stock, is owned by just one percent of American households.

And what does the Wealthy One Percent want? Answer: more wealth. Where will they get it? As with a tube of toothpaste, they're squeezing it from the bottom. Median paychecks have gone down by 5.9% during the current regime, but Americans in the bottom fifth have seen their incomes sliced by 20%.

At the other end, CEO pay at the Fortune 500 has bloated by 51% during the first four years of the Bush regime to an average of $8.1 million per annum.

So who's winning? It's a crude indicator, but let's take a peek at the Class War body count.

When Reagan took power in 1980, the One Percent possessed 33 America's wealth as measured by capital income. By 2006, the One Percent has swallowed over half of all America's assets, from sea to shining sea. One hundred fifty million Americans altogether own less than 3% of all private assets.Yes, American middle-class house values are up, but we're blowing that gain to stay alive. Edward Wolff, the New York University expert on income, explained to me that, "The middle class is mortgaging itself to death." As a result of mortgaging our new equity, 60% of all households have seen a decline in net worth.

Is America getting poorer? No, just its people, We the Median. In fact, we are producing an astonishing amount of new wealth in the USA. We are a lean, mean production machine. Output per worker in BushAmerica zoomed by 15% over four years through 2004. Problem is, although worker productivity keeps rising, the producers are getting less and less of it.

The gap between what we produce and what we get is widening like an alligator's jaw. The more you work, the less you get. It used to be that as the economic pie got bigger, everyone's slice got bigger too. No more.

The One Percent have swallowed your share before you can get your fork in.

The loot Dupont sucked from its employees' retirement funds will be put to good use. It will more than cover the cost of the company directors' decision to hike the pension set aside for CEO Charles Holliday to $2.1 million a year. And that's fair, I suppose: Holliday's a winning general in the class war. And shouldn't the winners of war get the spoils?

Of course, there are killjoys who cling to that Calvinist-Marxist belief that a system forever fattening the richest cannot continue without end. Professor Michael Zweig, Director of the State University of New York's Center for Study of Working Class Life, put it in culinary terms: "Today's pig is tomorrow's bacon."

******Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "ARMED MADHOUSE: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War," just released from Penguin/Dutton, from which this is adapted.

AND - as for the history of labor day, which shouldn't be forgotten in the throes of the "last days of summer beer and bar-b-que fest" that labor has become - MANY MANY MANY MANY died while working - countless people lost their lives, literally, so that an eight hour work day would be recognized and a day of rest could be enjoyed.

and face it - unless you happen to be one of those gracing the ranks of the 1-3% that hold the wealth - we're all workers. what would happen if you lost your job tomorrow? it's a fine line, friends. a fine line indeed. especially with the duponts of the world running things....

so, happy labor day.


03 September 2006


this came from an npr news story that i heard in the lead up into the invasion of iraq. a woman in bagdad was talking about what the families were doing there in preperation for the impending bombings. she said that many families were stock-piling valium to take and to give to their children to make it easier (?!) when the bombing started. juxtaposed with the popular consensus here in this part of the world that this "war" was neccesary and would be a cake walk that would be over in days... well... this is what came out when i sat down to write about it:


there will be no ring toss,
no pony ride,
no roller coasters,
no cotton candy.

there will be no life
by exploding metal -
OUR weapons of mass destruction
declaring war.

there will be
smiling, frothing at the lips:
"STEP right up! STEP right up!
suits and ties and perfectly
manicured hairs
"WE must have a WAR!"

country by country by country…
'til there ARE no more enemies -
after all,
you are either with us…
or else.

there will be
no chicken exits
for the weak-kneed,
no refuge,
no comfort,
no peace.
there will be no justice
for the children,
just death and blood and more
"WE must have a WAR!"

there will be blood-stilling screams,
valium to calm the pre-bombing jitters,
contaminated earth,
poisoned water,
bloody limbs and frozen, death-trapped terrified faces -
our brothers and sisters
blown to unidentifiable bits
Look the other way;
don't think about it.
We'll never see this in our own backyards


there is no choice
but to speak -a chance,a reason,a necessity
to say
"NOT in my name!"
"NOT from MY democracy!"
we must interrupt
as the calliope sings…
we must interrupt
as the freak show screams:
WE must have a WAR!"


02 September 2006

new poem

may or may not be finished yet - but here goes:

business must be good

the workers are hoisting gigantic sparkling new air conditioning units
to the rooftop across the street
taking special care
as not to clip the ‘prayer phone booth’ below.
no longer will the parishioners be heard muttering,
it’s hotter than hell in here!
hell hath no fury, after all, as a parishioner scorched.

come Sunday, two by two, they will enter a much more temperate climate
to raise their voices in fellowship, in praise.
they will empty their trendy young pocketbooks
to give god his due. or jesus. or united heating and cooling inc.
and they will pray
for god’s blessing.
they will pray for the strength to kill the terrorists
before they come to take away the air-conditioning.


krishnamurti on life and death

Death & Life
Jiddu Krishnamurti

You cannot be frightened of the unknown because you do not know what the unknown is and so there is nothing to be afraid of. Death is a word, and it is the word, the image, that creates fear. So can you look at death without the image of death? As long as the image exists from which springs thought, thought must always create fear. Then you either rationalize your fear of death and build a risistance against the inevitable or you invent innumerable beliefs to protect you from the fear of death. Hence there is a gap between you and the thing of which you are afraid. In this time-space interval there must be conflict which is fear, anxiety and self-pity. Thought, which breeds the fear of death, says, 'Let's postpone it, let's avoid it, keep it as far away as possible, let's not think about it'- but you are thinking about it. When you say, 'I won't think about it', you have already thought out how to avoid it. You are frightened of death because you have postponed it.

We have separated living from dying, and the interval between the living and the dying is fear. That interval, that time, is created by fear. Living is our daily torture, daily insult, sorrow and confusion, with occasional opening of a window over enchanted seas. That is what we call living, and we are afraid to die, which is to end this misery. We would rather cling to the known than face the unknown - the known being our house, our furniture, our family, our character, our work, our knowledge, our fame, our loneliness, our gods - that little thing that moves around incessantly within itself with its own limited pattern of embittered existence.

We think that living is always in the present and that dying is something that awaits us at a distant time. But we have never questioned whether this battle of everyday life is living at all. We want to know the truth about reincarnation, we want proof of the survival of the soul, we listen to the assertion of clairvoyants and to the conclusions of psychical research, but we never ask, never, how to live - to live with delight, with enchantment, with beauty every day. We have accepted life as it is with all its agony and despair and have got used to it, and think of death as something to be carefully avoided. But death is extraordinarily like the life we know how to live. You cannot live without dying. You cannot live if you do not die psychologically every minute. This is not an intellectual paradox. To live completely, wholly, every day as if it were a new loveliness, there must be dying to everything of yesterday, otherwise you live mechanically, and a mechanical mind can never know what love is or what freedom is.

Most of us are frightened of dying because we don't know what it means to live. We don't know how to live, therefore we don't know how to die. As long as we are frightened of life we shall be frightened of death. The man who is not frightened of life is not frightened of being completely insecure for he understands that inwardly, psychologically, there is no security. When there is no security there is an endless movement and then life and death are the same. The man who lives without conflict, who lives with beauty and love, is not frightened of death because to love is to die.

From: p. 75-77, Krishnamurti, Freedom from the known, 1969


01 September 2006

i'm baaaa-aaaack!

for the past week, my blog went missing... happened when i switched over to beta. i'm assuming it was a ghost in the machine or some such. in any event - i have returned. and since i'm not really feeling very original today, i'll just post up a blog entry i wrote over on my other space while this one was down:

a perfect example of why i just try to stay away from the tube

apparently, there is a show called 'survivor' and apparently, i'm "like, the only person in the world" that hasn't ever watched it.

this upcoming season is going to pit the races against one another - as if this doesn't happen enough as it is. the 'tribes will be divided into ethnic groups - "black, white, latino and asian." wtf? and i thought boxing was bad...

in another friend's blog, i was recently engaged in a 'system vs. the people' being responsible for the state of entertainment today. is the the network's fault or the the listener/viewers fault that we're surrounded by such crap? it kils me. radio and television programming (and print) is based solely on what can sell the most baubles and trinkets that the advertisers push. so i'm guessing that the demographic that watches survivor is also into watching the races being pitted against one another? pretty twisted. gladiator games for the new america.

the host of the show says that the reason they're doing it is to curb criticism that the show isn't diverse enough. (?!) and this is what the brilliant minds come up with. 'cause they know they'll get record numbers in ratings.

anyone ever read chomsky's propoganda and control of the public mind?


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