Thursday, August 17, 2017

Beauty is as Beauty does

"Beauty is as Beauty does" is an ideal attributed to Chaucer ('The Wife of Bath's Tale'), written 1387). Six hundred and thirty years later, it is still true -- that beauty comes not from external looks but from the beauty of actions that are good and right.

By these standards, the statues of Robert E Lee and other oppressors of freedom and equality are so ugly that removing them is not just a public service but a public imperative. 

How can Trump, who disdained John McCain for losing a battle, admire the statues of generals who lost a whole war? Our president needs to explain why he thinks statues honoring men who fought against America are beautiful to our current soldiers as they risk their lives to defend America!  What makes our Commander-in-chief believe that these tributes to men who caused the deaths of 620,000 American soldiers are beautiful? 

Is our leader is so lacking in empathy that he cannot see how vile were these defenders of slavery? It is not hard to figure out -- Lee is a hero only to those who also want to enslave blacks and other people of color. Confederate statues are shrines to oppression that glorify the idea of a superior race.

These monuments are slap in the face of every person of color and of every person who has fought, bled or died to defend our Constitution, and our mutual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They are not history, they are how some people want to remember history. How many of them enshrine the moment that Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Courthouse? Now that is history -- and let's remember it!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Celebrate the 4th of July -- BE a Patriot

Are your Ancestors signers of the Declaration of Independence? See this great video!

In light of the words in our most famous document -- what does it mean to be a patriot today in America?

Happy Fourth of July to my friends and relatives. Give thanks for Freedom.

Friday, May 5, 2017

IS THIS A GOOD LAW?

 IS THIS WHAT TRUMP VOTERS WANT?

"The law would limit federal spending on Medicaid — the program that provides health insurance to the poor — to an index of inflation in medical prices. Since the program's costs are increasing more rapidly than that index, over time, the government would spend hundreds of billions less on Medicaid than it would under the current system."
"The provision will affect millions of Americans on Medicaid — many of them children, the disabled or patients in nursing facilities"...
From Washington Post, "A huge section of the GOP bill undoing Obamacare isn’t actually about Obamacare" by Max Ehrinfreund, May 5, 2017.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What is Politics? What is Religion?

 Michael Gerson quoted Vaclav Havel yesterday in the Washington Post:
  
 What is Politics?
“Genuine politics,” argues Havel, “is simply a matter of serving those around us; serving the community, and serving those who will come after us.” And this responsibility grows out of a moral and spiritual reality.
 What is Religion?
“Genuine conscience and genuine responsibility are always, in the end, explicable only as an expression of the silent assumption that we are observed ‘from above,’ that everything is visible, nothing is forgotten.”
Gerson contrasts the view of Vaclav Havel, cited above, with the speech Trump made in Philadelphia on his first 100 days as President. What excerpt from that speech did you watch?

Was it the part with "The Snake" - poetry about how doing kind deeds will kill you? Or did you tune into the half of his speech devoted to decrying immigrants and refugees as "criminals, infiltrators and terrorists"?

Whatever part of President Trump's speech you may have heard, how does it compare with what is inscribed upon our most famous monument - the Statue of Liberty?
"... A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome...

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."
And what about all those crimes Trump says they commit?
 
" "All immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than natives" quote from The Hill, with "the largest circulation of any Capitol Hill publication" (from Wikipedia).

 Look up the statistics for yourself - many other respected publications have analyzed the crime statistics among immigrants, both of documented and of undocumented status. 

Consider this: unless you are descended from native Indians, your ancestors were immigrants here too. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

What Makes a Person a Christian?

 Today a friend wrote to me about faith and religion. He objected to the hypocrisy he perceives on the so called Christian political right.  Here is an excerpt from my response to him:
You mentioned faith. Here are some of my beliefs:

As for God and church and faith - even Jesus had a disciple who betrayed him.

We can expect normal human failings and even betrayal within Christian fellowship.

Hypocrites can be found both in and outside of churches, so if one would avoid churches 'because of hypocrites' one should avoid all of society.

One of my definitions of life is that it is a constant struggle to live with integrity and in accordance with our convictions. It is easy to be blind to our own faults while deploring the faults of others.
A Christian (or anyone else for that matter) is not their words but their actions.

Many people think being Christian is about what we "do not do" - a list of sins we reject.

I think being Christian is about what we "do": we forgive, we love, we do acts of material kindness to the poor, the sick, the prisoners, etc. We do acts of spiritual love such as prayer, encouragement and peace.

The only thing that Jesus acted against in his whole life was those who monetized religion, when he drove the money-changers out of the temple.

When did he give people a list of things they should not do? He said anyone who harmed a child would be better off dead.

When did he give lists of what people should do? He said to heal, to forgive, to share worldly goods, to tell people the good news of the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection...

Monday, April 3, 2017

Elizabeth Tilley - Mayflower Passenger

Elizabeth Tilley, a Mayflower Passenger at age thirteen in 1620, is Goldibear's 10xgreat-grandmother.

Click to see Leo's Mayflower Tree to ancestor Elizabeth Tilley.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

PLAYERS OR SPECTATORS?

Four of Goldibear's ancestors were on the Mayflower. They were not spectators during a great event in history.

We both have ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War of 1776, and others who fought in the Civil War. My grandfather fought in World War I and my father fought in World War II.

All were among the 'movers and shakers', none sat out the crisis as spectators. Even those who could not bear arms fought - my ancestor who was too old to join the 'Colonial Rebels' gave provisions to the army of 1776 - on credit.

In the current crisis in our country, how can we all be participants? Do only a small number of people in Washington, DC call the shots? Do only people as wealthy as Midas have a voice in government?

It doesn't feel like enough to email our Representative or even to march with protestors. I don't want to march. I want a functioning government, not a for-profit business, in DC.

I am not a customer - I am a citizen! And these days I am a citizen grieving for my country.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Takeaway

"Rebuilding a basis on which Americans can form a shared belief about what is going on is a precondition of democracy," media study from Columbia Journalism Review by Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, Hal Roberts, and Ethan Zuckerman
Did you read the article in yesterday's post? Here is the link in case you missed it: CJR

This is my takeaway from it - that a democracy cannot survive without a shared belief about what is going on. 

Ponder this: who would want to destroy that shared belief?

Monday, March 6, 2017

--- WE'VE BEEN FRAGGED ---

Our country - that is me, you and all of us - have been fragmented by deep opposing forces seeking to gain our attention and confidence.  Using the social media - Twitter, Facebook and clones, traditional print and Internet news sites, and television news now on portable screens in cell phones and tablets, we have been attacked in our core values. The news has been weaponized.

Now, after the hand-wringing, we can look at scientific analysis and see what's been happening. Maybe we can even figure out why.

Use this link to view the amazing picture of what our use of media looks like. Read the story to see how it drives our political decisions.

 Columbia Journalism Review has done the work, it is our turn to do the rest: read the story, recognize the impact on our lives, and respond with all our strength to defend the integrity of our minds and hearts.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Not Fake News (unfortunately)

Are you feeling confused about all the news about Russia and the Trump team? Here is a link to The Washington Post , which sorts out the players, the contacts, the denials.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Reading "Michelle Obama" by Peter Slevin

February is Black History month. Have you read a biography of a black American?

I'm reading "Michelle Obama", a biography published in 2015. I already liked Michelle, and her biography only enhances my feeling that she is an exceptional woman.

There is one way to "Think outside the box" and that is to read about the lives of people from different backgrounds. What would my life have been like if I was born with dark skin like Michelle? Michelle is a woman who has lived her life as a role model for how to succeed and live with integrity.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Birthday of Copernicus

February 19, 1473 is the birthday of Nicholaus (Kopernik) Copernicus Jr., " a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe". (Wikipedia)

See his profile at WikiTree.com

Friday, February 17, 2017

HOW TO SPOT FAKE NEWS




Are You Worried Yet? 

For more on how to spot fake news, ask yourself these ten questions from the News Literacy Project.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentines Day

On Valentines Day, we often remember our first Valentine, first kiss, first love.

My first love, longest love and greatest love is earth. The blue sky, seen from my baby buggy, spring rain falling from a sunny Oregon sky, the ocean at Canon Beach, traveling through the Rocky Mountains - every new encounter with  my first love only made me love it more. Yes, even my first bee sting.

Remember when Monarch butterflies were an everyday sight?  When the Milky Way was a nightly event open to everyone? When bird calls were the first thing heard in the morning?

Nostalgia should belong to our favorite song, not to memories of earth, our only home.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Frederick Douglass - Great Orator

February is Black History month.  Discover the true black history of America by reading the biographies of former slaves. 
"Right is of no sex, Truth is of no color, God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren." Frederick Douglass
(Wikipedia biography of Frederick Douglass)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Winston Churchhill - 57th Anniversary of his Death Today

"...never give in, never give in, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense."  Winston Churchill speaking at Harrow School, Oct 29, 1941

Profile of Winston Churchill and links to his relatives and ancestors at WikiTree.com

Monday, January 16, 2017

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." 

See Dr. King's profile at WikiTree.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Obama's Farewell

We just finished watching, live, President Obama's Farewell Address at the McCormick Center in Chicago. The Washington Post has the 51 minute speech in a video link, and  a transcript. 

For the short version (memorable lines), go to CNN.

The New York Times also gives the video and a transcript.

Hope? Change? Progress? Achievements? Gratitude? Inspiration?

He is still all that and more. Go get fired up!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ends and Means

In February 2009, less than a month after President Obama was sworn into office, the Republican leader in the Senate - Mitch McConnell, sent a letter to Harry Reid, leader of the Democrats in the Senate. I think Senator McConnell's request was a good idea then, and it is a good idea now. Here is a copy of the main points McConnell expected the Democrats to observe:

Letter of 2/12/2009 from Senator McConnell to Senator Reid about the standards to be met for considering Presidential nominees

1. The FBI background check is complete and submitted to the committee in time for review and prior to a hearing being noticed.
2. The Office of Government Ethics letter is complete and submitted to the committee in time for review and prior to a committee hearing.
3. Financial disclosure statements (and tax returns for applicable committees) are complete and submitted to committee for review prior to a hearing being noticed.
4. All committee questionnaires are complete and have been returned to the committee. A reasonable opportunity for follow-up questions has been afforded committee members, and nominees have answered, with sufficient time to review prior to a committee vote.
5. The nominee is willing to have committee staff interviews, where that has been the practice.
6. The nominee has had a hearing.
7. The nominee agrees to courtesy visits with members when requested.
8. The nominee has committed to cooperate the the Ranking Member on requests for information and transparency.
Why would the Republicans, now the majority in Congress, want to ignore, disregard, throw out the excellent rules they established for President Obama's nominees? They are doing everything they can to prevent the Democrats applying the same excellent standards to President Trump's nominees.

If you care about who will wield the power over the environment, taxes, the justice department, etc., then please call your Senators and ask that they observe the same good standards

UPDATE Jan 10, 2017

Chuck Schumer, Senate minority leader, sent Mitch McConnell's letter (above) back to Mitch requesting that McConnell's rules apply to the new president's nominees. The process, including the background done by the Ethics committee for every incoming administration for the past forty years, is to ensure the administration is not embarrassed by undisclosed malfeasance or conflicts of interest in its nominees. It is to protect the new administration, as well as the public interest.