Saturday, December 31, 2011

A very moving story

Let us all pledge to do what we can to support more enlightenment on this issue in the New Year:

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

~~~

Something to remember

Quite amazing


Here's the description from Pundit Kitchen:

"This cross-stitch above was done in 1941 by Major Alexis Casdagli in a Nazi prisoner of war camp, just like it says. What it doesn’t say is that the dots and dashes inside the border around the swastikas and Soviet hammer and sickles are Morse code for “God save the King,” and “F**k Hitler.” I never thought I would say this about needlework, but, badass."

And you can read more about it in The Guardian right here.
~~~

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Headline of the day

It's from the Grist publication:

Top 10 clean energy stories of 2011

I was particularly intrigued with this piece of information:

"Solar stunner: America is a $1.9 billion exporter of solar products."

That strikes me as very good news, indeed.
~~~

The Sojourners quote of the week

Right here:

"We can't afford another lost generation of people that don't complete high school. We are really trying to figure what is the next strategy with various systems that interact with children." 

- Leslie Strnisha, senior program director of a foundation run by the Sisters of Charity that started a Promise Neighborhood in Cleveland, one of more than twenty programs modeled on the Harlem Children's Zone
~~~

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

In honor of this day!


"True joy results when we become aware of our connectedness to everything."

-- Paul Pearsall
~~~

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa's workshop

Apparently this video is a bit on the old side but the principles still remain. PLEASE don't shop at Wal-mart, people! I have great-nieces and great-nephews and I make a point of buying hand made toys that I order from individual shops on Etsy. In many cases they are not any more expensive than the cheap stuff you get from China.

"Sometimes we have no choice, we work till dawn. When you work all night you become dizzy and your eyes hurt because you can't take any breaks."


SANTA'S WORKSHOP takes you to the real world of China's toy factories. Workers tell us about long working hours, low wages, and dangerous work places. Those who protest or try to organize trade unions risk imprisonment. Low labor costs attract more and more companies to China. Today more than 75% of our toys are made in China. But this industry takes its toll on the workers and on the environment.


The European (and American) buyers blame bad conditions on the Chinese suppliers. But they say that increasingly hard competition gives them no option. Who should we believe? And what can you do to bring about a fairer and more humane toy trade?

A mother's Christmas longing

Oh, my goodness, people. This is so very moving:

A Christmas Letter to My Gay Son

Here is an excerpt:

There is only one gift I want to give you this year. I have wanted to give it to you for many years. I have tried in every way possible to find a way to give it to you. It would bring me the greatest joy of all. How do I give you equality? How do I give you back the years you have missed 'not being equal' in this world?"

The entire letter is short. Please do click through and read it.

Dear people, there is not much that moves me to tears these days. But this letter did it. Oh, yes. This letter reached me in a deep place.

May it do so for each of you.
~~~

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Read some place...

I did not know this:

"Reagan quit smoking easily, which can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease."


I found it here.
~~~

This is really, really good:

My dear friend, David of Montreal, sent me this:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The all too American value of selfishness

Take a look at this headline:

How Ayn Rand Seduced Generations of Young Men and Helped Make the U.S. Into a Selfish, Greedy Nation

And here's the sub-title:

"Thanks in part to Rand, the United States is one of the most uncaring nations in the industrialized world."

Gosh, isn't that the truth?
~~~

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Well! Here's a quote for you:

Look:

Instead of offering an apology to the Iranian nation, they impudently ask for the return of the plane.


- Ahmad Vahidi, Iranian Defense Minister, dismissing a U.S. request for the return of an American spy drone captured by Iranian armed forces
~~~

Excellent

This has undoubtedly been around for a while but it's appropriate even today, I would imagine:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hysterical quote of the day

Did you know that Christine I-am-not-a-witch O'Donnell has now endorsed Mitt Romney because of (not in spite of) his flip-flopping? Here you go:

That’s one of the things that I like about him — because he’s been consistent since he changed his mind.


You just can't make this stuff up.
~~~

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This really sums things up:



Just in case anybody thinks this is irreverent, I would submit that it appropriately calls attention to the utter idolatry at the heart of our current economic outlook in this society.
~~~

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Very interesting question:

"Imagine if Obama were the candidate who cheated on two wives because they were sick and not young enough to be a First Lady. Imagine if Obama were the candidate who lobbied for Freddie Mac which was part of our financial downfall. Imagine if Obama were the candidate who was kicked out of Congress by his own party for ethics violations­.

Would the Democrats even give him a chance? Yet the so called party of morals and family values has this candidate as their front runner."

-- Karen Teegarden

~~~

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Headline of the day

Here you go:

WHEN PRESIDENTS WERE ACTUALLY QUALIFIED!

What's really interesting about this article is that there are links at the end to YouTube postings of actual recordings of presidents' voices as far back as Benjamin Harrison.

Do click through and check it out!
~~~

Friday, December 09, 2011

Holding out for something better

Stuff to think about


Click image to enlarge.
~~~

After 8 Years Of The Bush/Cheney Disaster, Now You Get Mad?

Did I ever post this?

It speaks to me:

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate Energy policy and push us to invade Iraq .

You didn't get mad when US tax payers paid $1 million a week to protect and help Halliburton rip-off Iraqi oil fields.

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn't get mad when we spent over 800 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn't get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash just disappeared in Iraq .

You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn't get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.

You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when Bush rang up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed Hospital.

You didn't get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans , drown.

You didn't get mad when we gave people who had more money than they could spend, the filthy rich, over a trillion dollars in tax breaks.

You didn't get mad with the worst 8 years of job creations in several decades.

You didn't get mad when over 200,000 US Citizens lost their lives because they had no health insurance.

You didn't get mad when lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush Administration caused US Citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments, retirement, and home values.

You finally got mad when a black man was elected President and decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, job losses by the millions, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, and the worst economic disaster since 1929 are all okay with you, but helping fellow Americans who are sick... Oh, Hell No!!

The above was sent to me in an email a while back. There was no attribution, I'm afraid.
~~~

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Mean and some other things, too:

Cognitive Dissonance and the current situation

Tom Holliday posted the following over on Facebook:

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is an important concept about which too few people are aware. “Cognitive dissonance is a condition of conflict or even anxiety resulting from holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying.” I’ve been thinking about this idea since the term was used on a thread by my new FB friend, Lydie, who used the term in referring to the concept as it is illustrated in the book “1984”.

Why is this concept important? Because it is the best explanation for the cultural wars that have now been plaguing the people of this country for years. It is the best explanation for why progressives find it almost impossible to find a common ground for discussion with conservatives and especially right wing conservatives. It is the explanation for the existence of the Tea Party. If fact one way of thinking about the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties is in the different ways these two parties deal with cognitive dissonance. The Democratic Party, by and large, appeals to people who have at some point learned to deal with cognitive dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs and actions. The fact that the Tea Party found its home in the Republican Party is evidence that Republican Party reaches out to people who deal with cognitive dissonance through justifying, blaming and denying. When a people who are prepared to change their attitudes to deal with cognitive dissonance come into contact with people who deal with cognitive dissonance by justifying, blaming and denying, sparks fly and sometimes fires and explosions occur. Here three examples of changes in our culture that have occurred in the last forty years and that have been cause for cognitive dissonance: 1. A boy who grew up in a family where his mother taught him that when a man lets a woman tell him what to do he is “hen pecked and not a real man” marries a woman who has learned that she shouldn’t settle for being a second class citizen. 2. People who grew up in a church culture where they were taught that the Bible is literally true are confronted at school with science concepts that seem to say that much of what they learned in Sunday School was simply wrong. 3. People who are steeped in a religion that focuses on being saved from their sins and who are taught all their lives that homosexuality is an abomination before God, people who grew up in a culture where being called a fag was a fighting offense are faced with a society that, within the course of a few generations moves from condemning homosexuality to embracing homosexuality as being simply a fact of nature for those who are homosexual.

Having said all of this, and being a person who has learned primarily to deal with cognitive dissonance by rethinking and changing my attitudes I must add the following caveat. I am not arguing that some cultural changes should not be resisted. The people of Germany, for example, should have resisted more forcefully the efforts of the Nazis to demonize people just because they were Jews. They should have blamed the Nazis for being the criminals they were and denied the validity of what the Nazis were teaching. For me the acceptance of torture and denial of access to legal representation for people accused of terrorism, by many in my country, is a source of cognitive dissonance, which I believe should be confronted. In my opinion the validity of this new direction for the United States should be vehemently denied and challenged. And, of course, therein lies the problem. Some Christians believe the same way about homosexuality. I see a difference. But making the case for that difference requires time and a willingness on the part of those who see it differently to be taught why they are wrong. I’m not willing to be taught why I am wrong on the issues of torture and the right to counsel and a fair trial. I would consider an effort to “educate” me to be brainwashing. How then can I make a case to someone who disagrees with me about full inclusion of the GLBT community that they should allow me to educate them about why they are wrong? Cognitive dissonance is a complex issue. But knowing the term and being aware of the concept may at least be a way of understanding why we find ourselves at loggerheads with others in our society and why thinking of them as bad people may just be too simplistic. Are there opportunists, politicians and religious leaders, who use the cognitive dissonances of society to their advantage? Definitely! And we see many of them on the stage of the Republican debates. I suspect Newt Gingrich is a prime example of that. But, as much as I hate to say it, Michele Bachmann may simpy believe much of what she says. I suspect she is a victim of cognitive dissonance. Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, understands the opportunities it provides all too well.

Well done, Tom!
~~~
UPDATE: The initial quotation in Tom's original post is from the essay on Cognitive Dissonance from Wikipedia.
~~~

Friday, December 02, 2011

Gosh:

Ha!

Simple despair

This is truly disturbing:

They say businesses are refusing to look at resumes from the unemployed. What do you think my chances are?


-- Esther Perry, an unemployed worker. The American unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in two and a half years in November, partly because more workers got jobs, but also because about 315,000 workers dropped out of the labor force.
~~~

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Quote of the Century, as far as I'm concerned

Have you seen the video referred to here? It's amazing. I would be so proud of this young man if he were mine, that's for sure:

If I was your son, Mr. Chairman, I believe I'd make you very proud.


-- Zach Wahls, a student, who spoke before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in January about being raised by two lesbian women, to oppose a resolution to make marriage in Iowa only between a man and woman; the video of the testimony has been recirculating on the web

I'll look for the video and post it in an update when I find it.
~~~
UPDATE:

Wow. Please just watch it: