October 30, 2010


Photograph by Leon Levinstein

YouTube video  of Johnny Hartman's rendition of 
I See Your Face Before Me posted by MissQueSeraSera

In a world of glitter and glow
In a world of tinsel and show
The unreal from the real thing is hard to know

I discovered somebody who
Could be truly worthy and true
Yes, I met my ideal thing when I met you

I see your face before me
Crowding my every dream
There is your face before me
You are my only theme

It doesn't matter where you are
I can see how fair you are
I close my eyes and there you are always

If you could share the magic
If you could see me too
There would be nothing tragic
In all my dreams of you

Would that my love could haunt you so
Knowing I want you so
I can't erase your beautiful face before me

- Lyrics and music by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz

October 11, 2010

Dear Mr. Paladino: Not One Kneels To Another

Photographs taken by Stellar Year Photography 

We've just recently returned from an inspiring trip to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park and, lo and behold, here's the toxic sludge that we walk back into. A large number of the wealthy as well as the "elite" members of the Republican and Tea Parties continue to strategically pit different groups against one another in a calculated program of hate and intolerance. No need to fill all the bowls with food and water when your subjects can be conditioned to fight one another for table scraps. No need to talk about real change and progress when a regressive American society and a nation of obedient nincompoops are really what the ruling "elite" is after.   

As Elizabeth A. Harris reports in her article titled Paladino Laces Speech With Antigay Remarks from the October 10, 2010 edition of The New York Times:

"The Republican candidate for governor (of New York), Carl P. Paladino, told a gathering in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Sunday that children should not be "brainwashed" into thinking that homosexuality was acceptable, and criticized his opponent, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo for marching in a gay pride parade earlier this year.

Addressing Orthodox Jewish leaders, Mr. Paladino described his opposition to same-sex marriage.

"I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don't want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option - it isn't," he said, reading from a prepared address, according to a video of the event.

And then, to applause at Congregation Shaarei Chaim, he said: "I didn't march in the gay parade this year - the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that's not the example we should be showing our children." Newsday.com reported that Mr. Paladino's prepared text had included the sentence: "There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual." But Mr. Paladino omitted the sentence in his speech."

Ms. Harris continues in the article:

"Brian Ellner, head of the marriage initiative for the gay advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, said that the Republican's remarks were insensitive given a recent swirl of news about suicide in the gay community and antigay violence.

The New York City Police Department announced on Friday that nine men in the Bronx had lured three men they believed were gay and then tortured them. Last month, a student at Rutgers University jumped off the George Washington Bridge after two classmates broadcast his sexual encounter with a man over the Internet."

Excerpt from Song of Myself by the poet Walt Whitman:

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd,
I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

From an interview with the writer "Digger" Jerry George in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks by Brian Kevin, published 2009 by Fodor's Compass America Guides:

Brian Kevin: Given all your park experience, what makes Yellowstone stand out?

Jerry George: All life in Yellowstone has been extinguished five times in the last two million years - maybe six. And look at what it is today. Yellowstone does more to renew our faith in the ability of the planet to persevere than any other place.

It's humbling. And yet, the humbling that Yellowstone does is not a debilitating humbling. It's actually an empowering humbling. It leaves you feeling comfortable that it's not all on your shoulders. In fact, it doesn't give a damn about your shoulders at all. And that's a healthy thing for people to realize.

October 6, 2010

People Have to Step Up

> Click on this link to read Bob Herbert's Op-Ed article titled That's Where the Money Is in the October 5, 2010 edition of The New York Times. 

Click on this link to read the recommended Reader's Comments for Mr. Herbert's Op-Ed article.  

. . . . . . . . 

Following is an excerpt from the conclusion of Jann S. Wenner's article titled Obama in Command: The Rolling Stone Interview  published in the October 15, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone:

"[Signaled by his aides, the president brings the interview to a close and leaves the Oval Office. A moment later, however, he returns to the office and says that he has one more thing to add. He speaks with intensity and passion, repeatedly stabbing the air with his finger.]

One closing remark that I want to make: It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we've got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.

The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible.

Everybody out there has to be thinking about what's at stake in this election and if they want to move forward over the next two years or six years or 10 years on key issues like climate change, key issues like how we restore a sense of equity and optimism to middle-class families who have seen their incomes decline by five percent over the last decade.  If we want the kind of country that respects civil rights and civil liberties, we'd better fight in this election. And right now, we are getting outspent eight to one by these 527s that the Roberts court says can spend with impunity without disclosing where their money's coming from. In every single one of these congressional districts, you are seeing these independent organizations outspend political parties and the candidates by, as I said, factors of four to one, five to one, eight to one, 10 to one.

We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard - that's what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we've got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place.

If you're serious, now's exactly the time that people have to step up."

October 3, 2010

Into Total Moral Collapse

Sign seen at the Cable Car Museum 
in San Francisco, CA

Excerpt from an article written by Michael Lewis for the October 2010 issue of Vanity Fair titled Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds:

"The Greek state was not just corrupt but also corrupting. Once you saw how it worked you could understand a phenomenon which otherwise made no sense at all: the difficulty Greek people have saying a kind word about one another. Individual Greeks are delightful: funny, warm, smart, and good company. I left two dozen interviews saying to myself, "What great people!" They do not share the sentiment about one another: the hardest thing to do in Greece is to get one Greek to compliment another behind his back. No success of any kind is regarded without suspicion. Everyone is pretty sure everyone is cheating on his taxes, or bribing politicians, or taking bribes, or lying about the value of his real estate. And this total absence of faith in one another is self-reinforcing. The epidemic of lying and cheating and stealing makes any sort of civic life impossible; the collapse of civic life only encourages more lying, cheating, and stealing. Lacking faith in one another, they fall back on themselves and their families.

The structure of the Greek economy is collectivist, but the country, in spirit, is the opposite of a collective. Its real structure is every man for himself. Into this system investors had poured hundreds of billions of dollars. And the credit boom had pushed the country over the edge, into total moral collapse."

. . . . . . . . 

"Just now the global financial system is consumed with the question of whether the Greeks will default on their debts. At times it seems as if it is the only question that matters, for if Greece walks away from $400 billion in debt, then the European banks that lent the money will go down, and other countries now flirting with bankruptcy (Spain, Portugal) might easily follow. But this question of whether Greece will repay its debts is really a question of whether Greece will change its culture, and that will happen only if Greeks want to change. I am told 50 times if I am told once that what Greeks care about is "justice" and what really boils the Greek blood is the feeling of unfairness. Obviously this distinguishes them from no human being on the planet, and ignores what's interesting: exactly what a Greek finds unfair. It's clearly not the corruption of their political system. It's not cheating on their taxes, or taking small bribes in their service to the state. No: what bothers them is when some outside party - someone clearly different from themselves, with motives apart from narrow and easily understood self-interest - comes in and exploits the corruption of their system. Enter the monks."