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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Our Thanksgiving dinner spread the length of a couple of tables near a stand of moss covered oaks and cypress. The thought of not sitting at a table with china and silverware at first seemed odd, but then I thought back to the first Thanksgiving. Our setting was much more in tune with the Pilgrims and Indians. This arrangement had an unexpected bonus, too, the chance to meet new people.

The camper in the next site saw the bald eagle as I was moving closer to get a photo. When it flew back into the trees he thought he saw where it landed, so we moved farther into the grove as he told me he had never seen a bald eagle in Florida. He was in his thirties, olive skinned, and his dark eyes lit up at such a sighting. Unfortunately we didn’t see the eagle again. The only birds above us were a flock of buzzards. They didn’t mind having their picture taken.

Do you have any idea how much you can learn about a person in a few minutes while you walk back to camp?

“See that small tent?” he said, pointing to a dark green, small pup tent by the larger one. I’m working on a design for a bear proof tent. That one is much stronger than our large, commercial one, but not strong enough.

“My next one will be made from high tensile strength airplane cloth.” This is where he got really excited. “With that cloth you can make a hole only if you really hammer something into it, and then to rip it takes 600 pounds of tensile strength.”

I took it word for it that that was really strong.

I asked what he did when not designing bear-proof tents. He had been a pilot for a cargo company before the economy went down. Now he buys and sells cars. That led to a discussion of the economy and presidents’ effect on it. We were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but discussed the influence of Obama, the Bushes, Clinton and Reagan, agreeing on some points while remaining a chasm apart on others.

As we neared our camps I wondered about his wife, still sitting in her camp chair. Did she have these conversations with him—or with strange men she wandered into the woods with? And was she hot sitting there wrapped from head to foot in a long garment with a scarf around her head? So yes, you can learn a lot in a short walk in a campground, but you can also end up with a lot more questions than answers.

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I hope  you will read, as I did, on past the familiar beginning words. They may speak to you, too. You may recognize some similarities with today. At the very least, you cannot help but feel the courage of those who put these words to paper.

Happy Independence Day!

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

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I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. No one tells me what to do, not even myself. I kinda figured a lot of you feel that way, too, so here is my out-of-the-blue resolution: No more politics on this blog. If I have thoughts that won’t be held in, I’ll create a separate blog. This country is more divided on political matters than I’ve ever seen it, but so many of us are in sync in more ways than we aren’t. That’s what is blog has always been about, with a few diversions on the soap box. The soap box is going.

What brought this about? An unnamed best selling author invited me to be a friend on Facebook (soft promotion they all do). I have not read any of her books, but she is considered a Southern writer, and I do gravitate to Southern writers, so assumed I would enjoy her “friendly banter,” and maybe pick up a few writing tips. Lately though, her page has become a litany of political videos and rantings (with a chorus of admirers offering amens). What this writer showed me is that politics is a poor PR business model, and so is throwing your web friends under the bus for their views by implication. I promise to try hard to not do that. Let’s see if I can. YOU are worth it.

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I sent the following comment online to White House this morning.

Let me propose a simple solution that may take more time, but *can* hold out the possibility of getting many naysayers (including me) on board. I quote a myth and myth buster from Mr. Axlerod’s email today:

“We can’t afford reform: It’s the status quo we can’t afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis. “

DO THIS FIRST. Forget everything else until sufficient time has elapsed to prove whether this projection itself is a myth or not. I can’t believe that showing a huge savings after implementing your plans would not bring the majority on board. America is sick of RUSH RUSH RUSH, slick talking salesmen, and that includes you. It is demeaning. Show us the money or saving of it in this case. Then we’ll sit down and talk. After all, just choosing a proper dog for your children took months. Please give healthcare the same consideration.

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I tried, I really, really did, but can’t resist a comment on Obama gaffs last night. (Isn’t that his VP’s domain anyway?) Just allow me this after eight years of hearing similar remarks about Bush (not my Bush, but Bush). I’ll be kind.

I’m trying to understand how Obama could have upset two huge segments of the population in one press conference. The first, of course, were the nation’s police, because they all consider themselves brothers. He should have stopped with I’m not aware of all the facts and come to a screeching halt when he felt the word “stupidly” boiling out to describe police action about which he had no first hand knowledge.

Then there was the point when Obama insinuated that he considered all surgeons dishonest enough to take a child’s tonsils out because the fee chart showed higher payment than other treatments. The fact that the diagnosis of a sore throat is usually by a family doctor who would not be doing surgery was lost in the rambling thought.

You can’t say he isn’t thoughtful when he talks. My mother used to say of a man who spoke with Obama’s glacial speed, “I just want to finish the sentence for him.” Mother, you would have done a much better job last night –for sure.

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There was so much handwriting on the wall that even the wall fell down.

Christopher Morley’s words in 1943 have relevance today for the “regulators” watching Bernie Madoff or Wall Street. So much for government watchdogs.

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That Iraqi reporter thinks he is so all that apparently. He used a shoe to send a message. Like he’s the first. Some of us remember Khrushchev at the U.N. banging his shoe on the desk. Now THAT was shocking, certainly at the time. Remember the “clever quotient” afforded to the TV show “Get Smart” the first time the guy pulled his shoe off and used it as a phone? If I remember right, this was before cell phones. Now we have an Iraqi sending a message with his size 10s. So old hat—or old shoe. Okay, he does get points for aiming high, and Bush for ducking low.

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After months of little insight into president-elect Obama, we are inundated with minor details of his life—how he shops, what he likes to eat, read, etc. This is all refreshing and welcome, but I wanted to hear more about his character traits. Inadvertently, I may have.

 

 

Today’s Orlando Sentinel ran a story (source: Chicago Tribune)  about Obama’s new press secretary Robert Gibbs which dropped clues to a side of the future president heretofore unreported—at least to my eyes. These two incidents tell me a bit about his character.

 

 

·        On one of his last nights on the campaign trail, Barack Obama was agitated.

 

He was backstage and face to face with a traveling aide after giving a speech to an overflow crowd at a football field.

 

 

Like a referee inserting his body between two fighting players, Robert Gibbs quickly stepped in and ushered Obama away from the ashen aide. Later Gibbs said the flare-up was over a teleprompter malfunction.

 

 

·        Because of his long history with Obama, Gibbs is one of the few people viewed as being able to “speak the truth” to the president-elect.

 

 

To the first incident, you might surmise that Obama has a short fuse and intimidates his aides. This was about a teleprompter malfunction. Did Obama know why it malfunctioned? Did he jump to the conclusion without evidence that the aide was the cause? At any rate, I don’t like to work for people who react like that.

 

 

The second incident tells me that Obama is not open to hearing “the truth” from everyone. Are aides to sugarcoat every issue for him, or simply not bring the issue up?

 

 

I don’t know about you, but these two insights into character do not pass my smell test. 

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How many highs and lows can you cram in one week? I don’t know, but last week fate did its best to break a record.

 

 

 

Riverwalk, Sanford, FL

Riverwalk, Sanford, FL

 

 

Hannah in Antique Shop

Hannah in Antique Shop

 

Haley & The Dragon

Haley & The Dragon

Saturday, I prowled the nooks and crannies of antique shops in Sanford, FL with my granddaughters and daughter-in-law and let the cool breezes blow on us on the Riverwalk on Lake Monroe. Downtown Sanford is right on the water. Its beautiful old main street has been gussied up with charming restaurants and shops and is a great place to spend the day. What history lessons the “antiques” provide! Try it sometime with your grands. They’ll meet the first I Pod (78 rpm record player), manual cash register with pop-up numbers, embroidered tea towels grandmas made and put in a hope chest for their trousseau, and school desks with ink wells. You picture them in fifty or sixty years showing their grands antique stores with unrecognizable items such as flat screen TV’s, I Pods, I Phones, ear buds, and select furniture from Rooms to Go.

 

Two mornings later I’m on the phone to 911 before 7 a.m. Why do they try to keep you hanging on the line until six strapling EMTs are in the middle of your bedroom? Does anybody know? I finally told the lady I had to hang up and get some clothes on, and I did – just in time. I guess they are used to staying in contact when the caller is in the closet and Freddie Kruger is gassing up his chainsaw. But I had more important things to do than chat. The guys and girls got my husband breathing in seconds. We were totally impressed with them. We spent the better part of the day in ER, but were allowed to go home with promises to return immediately if the pneumonia worsened. I’ve been afraid to take my clothes off all week, but Jerry is better. My friend Abbe says the blonde medicine is working. 🙂

 

Highs and lows pretty much pinged around like a piston election night. Without anyone to really support, you would think some of the thrill would go out of the election, but no. It’s in our blood. I would like to nominate John McCain for best concession speech EVER. I had forgotten how gracious politics could be in the old days. Thanks for bringing that back, John, if only for a few minutes.

 

 

Mountain to Mole Hill --Someday

Mountain to Mole Hill --Someday

Cooler weather today was my cue to begin making a mole hill out of the mountain of wood chips the tree people dumped in our side yard for free. So I started this morning. I soon began to glisten and my muscles hinted at how they will feel tomorrow. I stepped back to see what must be a greatly reduced pile, and hoped I had enough. Take a look at the picture. Perspective. It’s all in the perspective. Up close it seemed I had chiseled away the size of the Grand Canyon.  At least I don’t have to do my yoga today for exercise.

 

To cap the week off, I checked our 401K. Am I ready for next week? I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll adopt the phlosophy of my friend Bob Buckman: The lower our accounts go, the less we have to lose. 

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obama

I didn’t have a candidate in the presidential race, but a lot of people did. Congratulations on your win tonight. This is the point where hope must change into deed. I’m sure America is up to it.

 

Almost half the electorate did not get the president they voted for. You feel bad and are in need of cheering. Try this. There is a scene that keeps running through my head and makes me smile. You are welcome to use it too. In this picture, the new president, first lady and their two daughters are cuddling in bed on a Sunday morning – in the Lincoln bedroom. What a country!

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