samedi, décembre 08, 2007

Beyond helplessness

When she calls for leadership on the climate change issue that asks us all to take commonsensical steps towards healing our world, Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton (see link above) has it right. When I talk to my neighbors about climate change (why we SUV-driving suburban denizens ought to care) I get one of two reactions. Some of them focus on the idea that we may be dealing with natural forces beyond our control.

That is comparable to the reactions of people who can't support gun control because the forces behind violence and poverty are so enormous. Let's do a cost-benefit analysis, folks. Don't we want cleaner air, healthier kids, and less reliance on oil from other nations? C'mon.

The other reaction I get is: what can I do? Anything I do won't make much of a difference. As Slaughter points us, we need guidance. We need simple steps. We may not need moralizing, but we need to be impelled to make the moral choice. I didn't think it was possible, but George Bush and his buddies have given the idea of morality a bad name. It's time for another President, and Administration to take it back.

vendredi, décembre 07, 2007

My friend Kris told me today that she and her sorority sisters, "a smart bunch of women" had concluded that next January a Republican would be in the White House. The reason? US voters are still not ready to elect either a black man or a white woman to the nation's highest office.

I really hope she's wrong. Not because I'm hugely enthusiastic about Hillary. Nor because I think Barack has the neccesary experience.

But this current Congress can't get anything done, because each time the Democrats offer a bill, the Republican's threaten a filibuster. Which, naturally, is the very height of hypocrisy, considering that just a few years ago the same cast of characters said they wished to get rid of the filibuster.

So-no energy bill, when our country reels from the forces of climate change. Not enough help for those facing foreclosure-just enough to help banks regain some of the dollars they lost. No effective curb on the imperial President and his very personal war.

We don't need barbarians at the gates, when we have the US Congress.

mercredi, décembre 05, 2007

When did he know?

Were you also wondering when he knew? It isn't the most important one-it actually probably isn't one of the most important questions that bubble up in the wake of the new intelligence report on Iran.

That was the one of the big questions of Watergate: what did he (President Nixon) know and when did he know it?

When did George Bush and Dick Cheney become aware that Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program four, almost five years ago? Did he have that intelligence in hand earlier this autumn when he talked about a possible nuclear war, "World War III," with Iran?

It's hard to forget how morally outraged Republicans got over Bill Clinton's sins-which, admittedly, were unpalatable. Bill Clinton had an apparently infantile need for female approval and seduction, thus, Monica Lewinsky. George Bush has an apparently pathological need to invade other countries and topple their rulers-thus, Iraq.

I saw Pat Buchanan on CNN last night. It seems he's got a new book out, one in which he expresses the sense on the part of many conservatives that Bush has betrayed the values of a lot of the right-wing faithful.

Pat, I feel your pain. But not as much as I feel pained for those who face foreclosures, hunger, job loss and the loss of a child in a country ripped apart by war. In the years to come, historians and psychologists will examine the pathology of a President who could never admit he was wrong. Right now, we can just be prayerfully thankful that there are government officials who are courageous, and candid enough to break ranks and tell the truth.

lundi, décembre 03, 2007


On Halloween our family adopted a rescued kitten. For reasons that make almost no sense to me, this tuxedo cat, about nine months old, is called "Inky." As with most young cats, and many teenagers, it's all about Inky. So what if a glass dish gets pushed off the dining room table? Why'd you have it up on the table to begin with, Mom? Should I be petting our senior cat, all of about four years, Inky nudges her away-then adds insult to injury by chasing Precious all over the house.

If I'm at the computer, Inky jumps up and nips my fingers.

I put him down.

He jumps back up.

Possibly it's a game to him-although each time the nips become less gentle. To me, it's income.

I have to admit I get a certain charge out of seeing those tables turned when the kids come home.

They chase Inky up and down the house. They pick him up and kiss his nose. They built a fort
and don't let him escape until he is good and tired. Sian even has fun giving him a bath-there are few more pathetic sights than a wet kitten. If he happens to wander into the bathroom while she is taking a shower, she picks him up and deposits him right under the water with her.

At least the kids don't bite my fingers.