Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
"When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing."
"Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania."
"I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary," said Specter in a statement. "I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election."
"Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."
Sunday, April 26, 2009
As for guns, well, what a wonderful country we would have if every man, woman and child owned an AK 47. Just bliss. Personally I have no use for one and I can't fathom needing it anytime soon. If things get that bad, I'd just as soon not be here.
I don't want to ramble on about the first 100 days about the Obama presidency. The bottom line is I'm happy with him, and he deserves a chance. If you want him to fail, listen to Rush or Hannity or Faux News. I'm sure the happy readers of Fox Nation... Fox's online family of like minded people will be picking apart every blessed thing the man does. If you want to wallow
in all that negativity, be my guest.
As for Climate Change... How much evidence do you need? How may parts of particle pollution do we have to breathe? I don't feel like writing about that either. The last person I would trust on the Subject is Newt Gingrich. He is well financed by the oil people. And he wants to be president. Yeah, as if that can happen. He's the guy who LEAD THE IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST BILL CLINTON...WHILE HE WAS HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH HIS CONGRESSIONAL AIDE.
One thing I do want to write about! There is a rumor that Kinky Friedman may take another stab at running for Governor of Texas. This time he would go the traditional route instead of as an independent. Texas hasn't elected an independent since Sam Houston... over 100 years ago.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
In the interview, he read from a poem about a photograph of his mother, taken when she was young, which had faded and was deteriorated and all he was left with was his memory. From there it led to a discussion about memory itself, and whether we should document our lives with photos and journals and such and involve ourself with preserving the details of the "past," or focus our efforts on the "now."
During my younger years I saved everything. I preserved photos, videos, scrapbooks, and enough journals for someone to publish my whole sordid life in a multi-volume boxed set should they choose to do so in the future after I am famous or dead. I also spent five years tracking down the family history...gathering photos, articals, obits, death certificates, old letters and anything I could to try to document where I came from.
Now as I'm getting older I do it less. Pictures for the past 5 years sit in boxes or drawers willy nilly mixed in with all my other junk. My journals have been hit or miss too, with weeks, and even a whole month gone by with nothing really to show for myself. I like to spend time outside in the garden, or reading, or spending time with friends or my pets. Writing gets put off.
Merwin read from another poem he wrote about what it felt like to be in his parents' house after both of them had died. It dealt with the grief, and trying to remember conversations, and also the task of sorting belongings. His father had been minister, and had requested all his sermons be burned. I can relate to that. Part of me wants all my own journals burned. My writings, my personal thoughts. Because they are unpolished, carelessly worded. Easy to misinterpret.
The last line of the poem grabbed me because of it's simplicity, yet deeper meaning. In that house, that space occupied by his parents who were no longer there, suddenly it occurs to him.
"I can do anything I want."
Sunday, April 19, 2009
"If it all gets too much and they lock me up, I want a great big strait-jacket with spots on it. A pink one... and a big zip on the back so I can escape." Susan Boyle
You have probably seen Susan singing her "I Dreamed a Dream," by now or have watched her interviewed on one of the many TV shows. If not, there is a link to it in one of my recent posts below. I've thought a lot about Susan this week. She is a good reminder that talent doesn't have anything to do with perky boobs, white teeth and bouncy hair.
Real talent, not the synthesized, repackaged, slick, remakes of songs by little girls with a lot of makeup and sexy clothes--- touches your soul.
It is precisely what is gone from the commercial airwaves today.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I asked Alex about Easter Sundays. He said they aren't as big a deal at the big church. Men don't wear suits anymore. The ladies don't wear hats. Most people go to church on Saturday night...and then out to dinner. It's easier for them, he said. They don't have to get dressed up twice. Sunday's pews aren't filled with people like they used to be.
I can remember toward the end of my church-going days, I felt like they needed to give everyone a punch card. Catholics were big on attendance. It was some kind of sin if you missed church, and unless you confessed it or something, you faced consequences. As I remember it, I was scared to miss church, for fear with that sin piled up on top of my other sins, (lying, talking back to my parents, etc) that somehow, if I got hit by a bus and died I'd go to Hell.
There is a rumor spreading that the Catholics are "doing away with" the old ethnic churches. Actually I know a few people who chose to join a Polish National Catholic Church rather than go to the big church downtown. And they are happy. They like the old Polish songs.
When I was a kid on Easter I had to dress up in a Polish costume and participate in a big procession around the church. We had weeks of preparation, learning Polish songs, and practicing the procession so that we knew where to sit. The hardest part actually was not the procession itself but sitting for almost two hours up front in church, where you had to behave. And you breathed in most of the incense, so you had to struggle to keep from coughing while you sang.
I still know a lot of those songs.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
He's got a bus on Washington Road up from Augusta National, where he is hawking T-shirts, head covers, hats and and stuff, trying to make a buck. (Link) He is on the outside looking in, literally, because he is temporarily suspended from the PGA Tour.
John Daly smashed one tee shot off the top of a beer can during a pro-am. At another tournament, he returned from a rain delay with Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden as his caddie. And his most memorable photo this year came in an orange jail suit, eyes half-closed.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
If you are home Friday night, don't miss the PBS Special 400 Years of the Telescope.
(from the Post Gazette) - Watch the Video Trailer Here.
Since Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) first turned his primitive spyglass on the heavens in 1609, it has moved the Earth from the center of the universe. A new PBS documentary, "400 Years of the Telescope: A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought," is poised to shed light on the telescope's contribution to our understanding of the cosmos. It will be broadcast at 10 p.m. Friday on WQED-TV.The film is part of the celebration of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009 that commemorates the anniversary of Galileo's first use of the telescope for astronomical purposes in 1609. Subsequent telescopic observations disproved the widely held belief that Earth was the center of the universe; rather, our planet is one of eight major bodies that orbit the sun with a congregation of other objects that include minor planets, asteroids and comets.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
This bible verse shackled the minds of men for thousands of years, and held back
the advance of science. It was this verse that was used as evidence against Galileo, who argued for the theory of Copernicus, that the earth is not immovable, but rotates around the sun. It was for teaching this that he was called to Rome in 1633, and tried for the crime of heresy. The aged Galileo, in his 70's, was taken down into the dungeons of the church and shown the instruments of torture that were going to be used on him if he did not recant. Fearing the torture, and fearing that he might share the fate of Giordano Bruno, whom the church burned at the stake a generation earlier for the same crime, Galileo recanted the truth. He was confined to his home under house arrest, neither allowed to leave or to receive visitors, for the last seven years of his life.
It wasn't until 1832 that Galileo's work was removed from the list of banned books that Catholics were forbidden to read. That's two hundred years after his trial... and well after Isaac Newton established the truth of the theory!
In 1992, Pope John Paul II (reluctantly) formally apologized for the persecution of Galileo. They finally admitted that they, the Catholic Church and all the Popes since the beginning of the Church, were wrong, and that Galileo was right. For fifteen hundred years they had argued that every word in the bible was true-- that it was the perfect word of God, true in it's history and in all of its sciences. They were wrong. They threatened, tortured and killed people who disagreed with this error in the most brutal ways imaginable.
Thirty years after Three Mile Island. I was only a young teenager when it happened, and barely remember it as a blip on the radar screen of my youth, even though I live here in the Keystone State. I found this Walter Cronkite newscast and it is fascinating to watch. Even if just to see how much things have changed in broadcasting and news conferences. The black and white video also makes it strangely surreal. Like you are waiting for the end of the world and Walter Cronkite will patiently tell you when it will arrive.
I've been in sort of a self imposed newsblock lately, so I didn't even realize the 30 year anniversary of the event until I started Googling it. Actually I was going to rave about North Korea's missle launch today, and how we really need to put this nuclear nonsense to bed somehow before the whole planet gets destroyed. Now I feel this need to dig up something from the No Nukes Concert from way back then. I think I had it on an eight track.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Since when did conservatives start caring about diplomacy, much less obscure rules of diplomatic decorum? I seem to remember these same bloggers defending a previous president who (while not actively pissing off the entire world with his policies and rhetoric), took the time to give the Chancellor of Germany an awkward neck massage, told the Pope he gave an "awesome speech", and, after implying that the Queen was over 200 years old, turned around and winked at her. Indeed, I'm pretty sure that these same bloggers would have lept to George Bush's defense if he had tackled the Queen 'Naked Gun' style or belched in her face.