25 June 2012

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.
But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of
what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.
'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'
The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?'
 'That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path,
and every day while we walk back, you water them.'
For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.
Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so
very interesting and rewarding.
You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.
SO, to all of my crack pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!
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23 June 2012

Every time a Democratic President gets in office, the Republicans trot out their 'fiscal responsibility' mantra in the form of tax cuts for the wealthy and spending cuts for the middle class and poor. Meanwhile, Defense and M/I spending continues to climb...then when a Republican President takes office (check the facts) Reagan, Bush, et al...balloon the deficits (even doubling the tax on working people...thanks Ronny) and massively increasing the debt while giving their cronies no bid contracts and massive subsidies and tax breaks...after Halliburton rec'd so many contracts and breaks from GW they moved their corporate headquarters to Dubai...how very American of them.

Return to the policies we had in place under Bill Clinton...when we actually balanced the budget (albeit while still using SS trust fund monies) and left a surplus for the next Republican administration to blow on candy and toys...for the rich.

Can't we just have some grown ups voted into office?

I would actually rate Kevin Kline number 1...he created change, balanced the budget for the people, not for corporations.

Granted, these are fantasies...but much of the country seems to be living in lala land.

20 June 2012

Happy Solstice, Everyone!

Now, we've got a problem here in America that we have to address. Too many American families, too many minorities do not own a home. There is a homeownership gap in America. The difference between Anglo America and African American and Hispanic homeownership is too big. And we've got to focus the attention on this Nation to address this. And it starts with setting a goal. And so by the year 2010, we must increase minority homeowners by at least 5 1/2 million. In order to close the homeownership gap, we've got to set a big goal for America and focus our attention and resources on that goal.
And so here are some of the ways to address the issue. First, the single greatest barrier to first-time homeownership is a high downpayment. It is really hard for many, many low-income families to make the high downpayment. And so that's why I propose and urge Congress to fully fund the American Dream Downpayment Fund. This will use money, taxpayers' money, to help a qualified low-income buyer make a downpayment, and that's important.
One of the barriers to homeownership is the inability to make a downpayment. And if one of the goals is to increase home-ownership, it makes sense to help people pay that downpayment. We believe that the amount of money in our budget, fully approved by Congress, will help 40,000 families every year realize the dream of owning a home. Part of the success of Park Place is that the city of Atlanta already does this. And we want to make the plan more robust. We want to make it more full all across America.
Secondly, there is a lack of affordable housing in certain neighborhoods. Too many neighborhoods, especially in inner-city America, lack affordable housing units. How can you promote homeownership if people can't afford a home?
And so what I've done is propose what we call a single-family affordable housing tax credit, to encourage the development of affordable housing in neighborhoods where housing is scarce. Over 5 years, the initiative amounts to $2.4 billion in tax credits, and that will help. It will help a lot to build homes where people can— where when fully implemented, people will be able to say, "I own my home."
A third major barrier is the complexity and difficulty of the home buying process. There's a lot of fine print on these forms. And it bothers people; it makes them nervous. And so therefore, what Mel has agreed to do and Alphonso Jackson has agreed to do is to streamline the process, make the rules simpler, so everybody understands what they are—makes the closing much less complicated. We certainly don't want there to be a fine print preventing people from owning their home. We can change the print, and we've got to.
We've got to be wise about how we deal with the closing documents and all the regulations but also wise about how we help people understand what it means to own their home and the obligations and the opportunities. And so, therefore, education is a critical component of increasing ownership throughout America: Financial education, housing counseling, how to help people understand that there are unscrupulous lenders. And so one of the things we're going to do is, we're going to promote education, the education of owning a home, the education of buying a home throughout our society.
And we want to fully implement the Section 8 housing program, homeownership program. The program will provide vouchers that first-time home buyers can use to help pay their mortgage or apply to their downpayment. Many of the partners today, many of the people here today, many of the business leaders here today are creating a market for the mortgages where Section 8 vouchers are a source of the payment, and that's good. See, it's an underpinning of capital. It helps move capital to where we want capital to go.
And so these are important initiatives that we can do at the Federal Government. And the Federal Government, obviously, has to play an important role, and we will— we will. I mean, when I lay out a goal, I mean it. But we also have got to bring others into the process, most particularly the real estate industry. After all, the real estate industry benefits when people are encouraged to buy homes. It's in their self-interest that we encourage people to buy homes.
~GW Bush,   June 17, 2002 

Let's not place all the blame on GW.  The big mortgage companies actively sold mortgages, then created sliced and diced products which combined different portions of mortgages from one area with those of another...there was no transparency.  Everything was going up and up...and these derivatives (mortgage backed securities and credit default swaps) were sold all over the world...many of them to governments like Iceland, Greece, etc...and then the bottom fell out of the market and the game was exposed...which led to the banking crisis and the bailout by GW Bush...as he was leaving office...with his tail between his legs.  He'd managed to accomplish what the terrorists couldn't on their own...collapse the western financial system and create havoc in the world...unfunded wars, mandates, tax cuts for the extremely wealthy, subsidies, no bid contracts, lost money...dug such a hole in the ground during his administration that all the kings horses and all the kings men are having a hell of a time putting humpty dumpty back together again...

Along comes the Republicans with their do nothing attitudes and legislation...and present the pretender in waiting...Mitt Romney...to continue the same sh*t that got us into this ditch in the first place.  They drove the nation's car into the ditch and everytime Obama tries to drive it out, they point at him and scream, "Help...a black man is stealing our car"....

08 June 2012

Over Developed...and in danger

My least favourite catch phrase is "under developed" countries. Should they all become consumptive, wasteful and broken like this country? Built around the automobile, rather than people? Around consumption and competition rather than compassion and cooperation?
We need a paradigm shift away from toxic tech...and slave labor.

It's getting close to where a paradigm shift won't only be desirable, but it will become necessary. Either we prepare for it and make a smooth transition, or it tumbles down around us...and like Humpty-Dumpty, will never be put back together again...it will be painful, more like Kunstler's "World Made by Hand", than a well thought out, redesigned world.
We are butterflies in the chrysalis stage...we need to struggle to free ourselves, stretch and dry our wings...to fly off in beauty. It's the struggle that makes strong wings.

07 June 2012

Prayer to Future Beings

You live inside us, beings of the future.
In the spiral ribbons of our cells, you are here
In our rage for the burning forests, the poisoned fields,
the oil-drowned seals,
you are here.
You beat in our hearts through late-night meetings.

You accompany us to clear-cuts and toxic dumps
and the halls of the lawmakers.
It is you who drive our dogged labors to save what is left.

O you, who will walk this Earth when we are gone,
stir us awake.
Behold through our eyes the beauty of this world.
Let us feel your breath in our lungs, your cry in our throat.
Let us see you in the poor, the homeless, the sick.
Haunt us with your hunger, hound us with you claims,
that we may honor the life that links us.

You have as yet no faces we can see, no names we can say.
But we need only hold you in our mind, and you teach us
You attune us to measures of time where healing can happen,
where soil and souls can mend.

You reveal courage within us we had not suspected,
love we had not owned.
O you who come after, help us remember: we are
your ancestors.
Fill us with gladness for the work that must be done.

- Joanna Macy

05 June 2012

More of 'our own state park'

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Ever needed a legitimate excuse to go surfing? International Surfing Day is Monday June 20th – leave work early, grab some friends and head down to the beach. Catch some waves, throw a BBQ, pick up trash and renew your Surfrider membership! For more information about this awesome holiday visit http://bit.ly/ISD2012

The Power of Tears

Perhaps we are all voices in the wilderness, but an ever growing chorus is becoming stronger with a new spring of awakening...voices are joining ours all over the world, speaking out against the madness which has been the paradigm for centuries...finding truth within ourselves and elders who have come before us from tribes all over the Earth...we are united in our struggles and our efforts...we become like water, a tear drop of rain, trickling at first, then becoming a stream, a river...carving through granite of denial, creating Grand Canyons...as our tributary voices merge we eventually become oceans...we may all be but a droplet but combined we are a mighty flowing force.

We have our own state park for our camper

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As the world burns

Vietnam: As an advisor and liaison I lead native troops but nonetheless was looked upon as the "supreme local power", way too muc...