Monday, August 16, 2010

JMO - The Community Center

I'll make this short and sweet, and make my opinion very clear. The Islamic community center being proposed two blocks from the former World Trade Center and now the 9/11 memorial ground should be allowed to be built and used for Muslims to practice their faith and values as Americans and Muslims visiting America. It should be allowed to inform and teach Americans about the real faith of Islam.

As the President said, as long as it meets local code and ordinances, there is no reason it should be stopped or prevented from being built. It's about fairness and rightness for all Americans to follow our Constitution. It's that simple, build it and show Americans and the world our understanding and accepting of religious diversity and freedom, the one thing the opposition cherishes and demands for their churches and centers, which has made this country great. It is our history, our values and what what America and our laws are about.

That's it. No hedging. No qualifications. Nothing against it. Let them build it. Period.

JMO - Promises lost

We all know Presidential candidates and the political parties promise a view of the world on values, issues, problems, and so on down the litany of them, as we've heard over and over again. And we know they promise solutions and answers. And we know they tell us about their personal view and values on them, along with promises to do what we ask and they say they will.

Then they get elected, and true to form as they say, "All bets are off." Everything is forgotten, promises and all, including values. It's good we have an intelligent President, probably one of the smartest in recent decades. But he's done what they've all done, abandoned his promises and checked his values at the door to the White House. He's very bright but not very smart.

He hasn't learned, or at least shown he's learned, burning bridges with those who voted to elect you isn't very smart. And now he's seeing the great divide between the moderate-to-liberal democrats and independents who wanted change and himself. I won't say he explicitly lied, but it's fair to say he standing on the line between truth and lies.

He's standing on the double edge sword between his base and his politics. And he's on the way to falling on his sword in 2012 if he doesn't learn and change, and then do what he actually promised which is namely return our government back to the people and what we value as a nation with liberties, rights and protections with a government which works for the peole and not for the intrusion into our lives and privacy.

He decided early in his term of office to jettison the base view he had in order to engage the right, especially the extreme right. He has seen over and over the Republicans are the party of "NO!" and they won't budge. But he keeps moving his position from the left to the center and now to the center-right, and he keeps losing the political battles. And yes he has given us something, but far short of what he promised.

We wanted the publiic option. He promised it and jettisoned it quickly, too quickly in order to win. He was more into winning than remembering it's the quality of the win that matters, just just the act of winning. Winning a bad healthcare bill isn't winning but losing. Giving the people crumbs and the industry platefuls isn't winning for the people. The promise he made and abandoned just to win.

We wanted curbs on intelligence gathering powers on citizens, the repeal of provisions in the Patroit Act. We got more intrustion, more intelligence agencies and contractors, and less rights against the intrusions. We got conned as he not only continued the Bush practices and policies, he expanded it several times over again. It's out of control and he's happier than anyone because he's fighting terrorism.

At the price of civil rights and liberties. He doesn't really care, about us, or the law, or our country. Only more intrusion and less protections. He lied in the campaign and he's being silent now. He promised to curb the military work in foreign countries as an international policy. He's doubled or tripled those efforts, even in other soverign nations not at war with the US by writing checks to corrupt governments, training their military and providing intelligence information.

Rather than focus on what's important in the fight against extremists - notice he stopped using that description and went to war on terror and called it a fight against our way of life. Gee, just like ole' GW himself. Couching the same idea in fancier words doesn't make it better, only prettier. No less platable to us, just harder to believe.

Most of all, however, he promised to stand for values the Democrats and many independents have fought for against the Republicans and Libertarians who want to exploit government for their personal gain. And he has failed and is failing badly to keep even the smallest promise and preserve the least value. All in the name of something we see and don't understand, trying to appease the right.

We see they won't be appeased even when the President and the Democrats offer the Republicans own ideas. They're entrenched with their political feet in concrete to their views and values. The only word they know is "NO!" and the only views they express are lies. Even in the face of the truth, they deny it and keep lying.

And the President keeps extending his hand to get it cut off. All the while ignoriing, then forgetting and finally abandoning those who got him his job. As it stands now he won't get my vote in 2012. I won't vote for his opponents, but I won't vote for him. I will vote my own "NO!" about and to him. He has failed me and the American people.

He and his press secretary keeps saying we've made gains, but not the gains he promised or the gains he and we could have gotten in a real tough political fight. He abandoned women's rights. He's abandoned environmental protection (after all BP donated money to his campaign). He's abandon civil rights and liberties. He's abandoned real affordable (universal) healthcare.

He's abandoned the people who need jobs, want to afford homes, want a good life for their family. All he's left for us are crumbs. Recession or depression is a matter of sematics. He didn't do and hasn't done enough. Enough of what he promised and we expected from those promises. He is no different than any other politician these days. He lies.

And the truth is lost in the dust under his shoes. LIke us.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Best of Luck Laura Dekker

Laura Dekker, the 14-year old Dutch girl, has left port on her solo around the world sailing adventure, see her Website (English translation). She is sailing with her father to Portugal before starting her solo trip. But unlike the recent non-stop trip by Jessica Watson, Laura plans stops to meet her parents, refurnish supplies and make any necessary repairs.

I, along with many others, wish her the best and hope she succeeds. I hated the criticism by many in the media, and even young men who have solo'd around the world, when her initial plans were curtailed by issues. They criticisized her inexperience, your youth, but more so her gender, and wrongly on all counts, and more so on her gender. Even ESPN's Outside the LInes moderator criticisized her but never voiced opposition when young men, or boys if you call Laura a girl, to their solo trips.

They were arrogant and sexist in their criticism of her when not equally criticizing the same when boys tried, and even praised them when they succeeded. Yet the same criticized the Australian Abby Sutherland when she had to discountinue her trip when her boat was damaged during a storm in the Indian Ocean. They argued it was a waste of money to rescue her as her parents were bad for letting her go. Yet it was her preparation, her boat and her experience which ensured she handled it, learned and will do better the next time.

These are the situations the media praises boys and men but rarely equally praises girls and women. And I'm very happy when those "girls" and women prove them stupid and wrong. So I wish the best to her and hope everyone does so with interest to see she succeeds.

The Kitchen Sink

I live in an older, ok, circa late 1960's apartment, one designed by a Georgia architect and totally out of character for the Pacific Northwest. Like who has flat roofs in the northwest where it rains 36 inches a year, most in the four months of November through February, and can drop 1-3 feet of snow in a day or two during severe winter storms. But flat it is.

Flat in terms of having leaked twice during my residence, both from the weight of a later winter (March) snowstorm dropping about a foot of very wet snow, melted being about 8 inches of water. That wet. Anyway, much of the apartment dates from the time I moved in when it was carpeted and painted in 1987, along with the refrigerator and dishwasher. And some of it dates from the late 1960's, like the stove, which still works very well thank you and the bathrooms.

But that said, this last week the shower had to be repaired. Water was leaking through the grout between the tiles and down the wall into the bathroom of the apartment below. It was the second time this happened. The first time we discovered the tub/shower had settled inward to the bathroom so water from the shower was draining down the wall, along the bath and over the edge, through the floor into the bathroom below. A simple elbow fixed that problem.

This time the leak was serious and when they removed the tile they discovered a one-foot by two-foot hole of missing wallboard. A proverbial hole in the wall where water of draining. Ok, ten days later I get a new shower. I expected they would replace the whole tub/shower combination but they kept the tub and merely replaced the tile with the new style shower walls you cut, glue and seal in place.

Not fancy or pretty, but it works. Then over the weekend, the kitchen sink faucet began leaking. Just a little at first, but this faucet isn't commonly found and washers are readily available so the maintenance chief said they'd replace the whole thing if it got bad. Well, while washing dishes water began pouring out the cabinet onto the floor. It wasn't the faucet. The drain pipe had rusted through and there was a hole the size of a quarter in the bottom of the catch drain (pipe).

So I put a bucket underneath, shut off the water to the faucet and called maintenance. Yup, they said, needs new pipe and a new faucet. We'll be out as soon as we can. Like several days later, I finally get a new faucet and pipe, and my kitchen sink back, which is the point of this post. Ever live without a kitchen sink?

You don't realize how much you use the kitchen sink until you can' t use one. Granted it was only over the weekend and into the following week, five days, but still it showed me how much we take some things for granted without realizing we do. And washing dishes in the bathroom sink isn't exactly easy. I have a dishwasher but I don't use it except as storage for most used dishes. I run it monthly to keep it working and clean but I hand wash all my dishes.

And yes, I'm bitching about a small thing, knowing millions, if not a billion and more, have far less than me, and a kitchen sink would be a god-send. But that's not life in the US or in most developed nations, and it's what I always known and expect, until I didn't have it and learned the reality of my, and our, addiction to what we call simple necessities but are really gifts of the state of our development.

So the lesson, for me at least, is learned. Appreciate what you have, even the smallest thing you don't realize.