samedi, mai 10, 2008

When I was your age....

Mr. C has a wonderful fourth grade teacher this year. She's tiny-a little larger than my son-who is about the size of a small quarterback for the Cowboys. While very enthusiastic and accessible, Mrs. D also believes that children do better with structure. So when I noticed my son was having a difficult time remembering to hand in assignments, not to mention do them, I sent her an email.

After assuring me she could help Mr. C with his homework, folder, she wrote that one reason the kid might be forgetting his math or science work was because he spent a lot of time in the morning talking to his friends.

But how to bring this up? Dinner is crazy around here-and then there is his oldest sister, who really doesn't need to hear it. Since we were going to meet his dad, I decided to do the deed in the car.

Mr. C can be rather sensitive... I brought up the topic with my best feigned jovial air. Did you know what Mrs. D told me when I wrote her? I asked him.

But after I told him, my son chuckled. I DO get a little carried away, he admitted. But I bet she did, too when she was my age.

I don't know what a truly responsible mom would have said. I just grinned, and kept driving.

jeudi, mai 08, 2008

Of course, the voter ID law was designed to protect "us", the soon to be minority Caucasians, from ballot-wielding, poor Hispanics, native Americans, African-Americans, and lesser white folk from places like Appalachia.

Such is bigotry in America. I'm positive enough to believe, though, that this fear of folks who look different is a minority position.

Thanks to all the Catholic sisters of years past who walked the streets of the US in black and white. After all, it wasn't many years ago when you would have been jeered at. We do make progress-it is by looking backward that we know this...

Hillary, of course, will make the decision as to if and when she ends her campaign. But I hope that she reaches that decision soon,” said the former Senator George McGovern on Wednesday. McGovern is 85, and was an early Clinton supporter. These days, he represents her most loyal demographic: extremely old people. One of the flaws in the theory that Hillaryites will stay home in November rather than vote for Barack is that many of her staunchest backers are elderly voters, who tend to be such knee-jerk good citizens that they would drag themselves to the polls even if the only candidates on the ballot were Lindsay Lohan and Ryan Seacrest.

You may have heard, by the way, that residents of Saint Mary’s Convent in South Bend, all in their 80s and 90s, showed up to vote Tuesday and were turned away because of Indiana’s strict new voter ID laws. The laws are supposed to keep people from voting under assumed names, and while nobody seems able to demonstrate that ever really happens, they are demonstrably good at protecting the public from a 98-year-old ballot-wielding nun."

Gail Collins, NYT Today

mardi, mai 06, 2008

The International Rescue Committee (link below) which helps victims of conflict and national disaster, is going to help in Myanmar.

It has a wonderful reputation, on a par with Doctors without Borders, so a donation to them would be go to the neediest, rather than giving some suit a huge bonus.

But it doesn't need to be the IRC. Find one that you think will do good, and you feel good about. They have so little.

Myanmar-to the unknown dead

Scanning the paper today to see where to contribute to help victims of the cyclone in Myanmar (the former Burma) I realized that many factors are making relief a huge challenge.

One of the big ones is that Myanmar is a dictatorship. We don't know much about what goes on in Myanmar, so it isn't clear that the dictators will allow relief teams the access they must have to aid people who live out in the rice fields, many parts of which are flooded.

It is possible at this point that entire villages were swept away-the inhibitants drowned.

At this point, they estimate, 22,500 people died, and 41,000 are missing. But part of what is haunting about the story is that possibly no one will ever know how many poor villagers died-they have disappeared under the delta waters.

I'll try to post some names of relief agencies as they become, let's pray for the unknown victims, and the mercy of a God who does know the names of every lost child-and the parents who loved them.

lundi, mai 05, 2008


Do you know that Exxon made 40 billion dollars in profit last year?

The Exxon profit, and the megamoney raked in by other oil companies, is the backdrop for the current debate over tax credits for investment in solar and wind energy. These tax credits would cost around 6 million dollars.

The House, which believes in "pay as you go" (a good idea if you look at our enormous budget deficit) wants to transfer this tax burden to the oil companies. The Senate (mostly Republicans in the Senate) does not. Thus it's possible that these tax credits simply won't be renewed-and the oil companies will get to keep their enormous profits.

Right now renewable energy is more of a mirage than it is a concrete option for us average joes and janes. If we really believe that we won't be able, or heck, don't WANT to, rely on big oil forever, then we need to carefully examine why these interests are driving our energy policy-and figure out what, if anything, we are going to do about it.