Saturday, September 16, 2006

A restful sabbath book thread, by listener

The most recent Edwin update is here. You can light, or re-light, a virtual candle here.


Since I work in a small bookshop, I want to pass along to the blog community some information about new, worthy books to nurture your good souls.

PEACE PLANET, by Nan Merrill. Friends of Silence, $15.00

This is a collection of meditations, spiral-bound for daily reading, and including a page for EVERY country in the world, even the most obscure. It is a heartfelt response to the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. Nan (who is a much beloved author and a personal friend of mine) embraced the world's grief by collecting striking photos from all over the world and pairing them with maps and meditative texts that express hope for the future. Makes an excellent gift. I keep one on my desk.

FAITH AND POLITICS: How the 'Moral Values' Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together, by Senator John Danforth. Viking, $25.95

Danforth, a former U.S. Senator and ordained Episcopal priest examines the controversial intersection of faith and politics in America, and calls for a reconciling rather than divisive role for persons of faith in civic life. (Due out September 19th)

THE LANGUAGE OF GOD: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, by Francis S. Collins. Free Press, $26.00

Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, is one of the world's leading scientists. He works at the cutting edge of the study of DNA, the code of life. Yet he is also a man of faith. In his view, a "richly satisfying harmony" between scientific and spiritual world views is possible. He proposes a new synthesis, a new way to think about an active, caring God who created humankinf through evolutionary processes.

INTO THE SILENT LAND: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation, by Martin Laird. Oxford University Press, $18.95

"We are built for contemplation. This book is about cultivating the skills and openness necessary for this subtlest, simplest, and most searching of the spiritual arts..." (adapted from the Introduction). This is a beautifully written, wise and helpful book for both newcomers to the practice of contemplative prayer and those who are very experienced and desire to journey even deeper into the life-giving silence of God.

GOING TO HEAVEN: The Life and Election of Bishop Gene Robinson, by Elizabeth Adams. Soft Skull Press, $14.95

Gene Robinson's election as the first openly gay bishop in Christendom set off a worldwide firestorm of reaction, but it also elicited an outpouring of goodwill. E. Adams seeks to understand the person and the circumstances that have provoked these disparate reactions. She offers a compelling story of a man who has been thrust into the center of one of the defining social and political struggles of our time.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: LAWS OF THE HEART, by Joan Chittister. Orbis Books, $15.00

"The Ten Commandments are laws of the heart, not laws of the commonwealth. They are laws that last, that lead to fullness of life - beyond the culture, above the culture, and more enduring than the culture..." (From the Introduction). Joan Chittister explores the Ten Commandments as a way of life rather than a set of rules and asks: What does it mean to love God and neighbor in a world where violence, greed and fear threaten our loves, or values, and our hearts?

ENCOUNTERING THE OTHER, by Jean Vanier Paulist Press, $8.95

The author, Jean Vanier, is the founder of L'Arche communities for person with mental disabilities and their assistants, and was friend and mentor to the late Henri Nouwen. For Vanier, the question of peacemaking is centered on trust, and for peace to endure it cannot be imposed by external authority but must grow within each person. In his new book, he provides a spiritual roadmap towards peace and understanding between people from different backgrounds.

If anyone has difficulty finding any of these books, let me know and I'll help.
I hope just the fact that these books are available will be a balm for your weary souls.
heart thingy

All For Love, listener

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Defending Church-State Separation: National speaker comes to Columbus

Crossposted at Daily Kos, Booman Tribune, and My Left Wing. I'd appreciate recommendations from those who can.

I posted about this a while ago, but since the event is tomorrow, I thought a timely reminder was in order...

Sunday, September 17, 2006 3:00 P.M.

North Congregational UCC
2040 W. Henderson Rd.
Columbus, OH 43220

Rob Boston (assistant director of communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State) will be speaking on speaking on "Defending the Separation of Church and State in Difficult Times"

Click here for more details.

You can read more about Rob Boston here.

Rob Boston's book, The Most Dangerous Man in America?: Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition is available at,, and Barnes &

Update: As I was posting this, Denise posted this in the comments of the old thread...

Just got off the phone with Thankful.

Everything is status quo with Edwin. They are going to try some new meds, and she will have an update later today.

Keep those prayers coming!!

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Comics Thread

And my favorite for today: Out To Lunch

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Open Thread

Of course, we continue to keep Edwin and Subway and anyone else who needs it, in our thoughts and prayers. But I wanted to post something upbeat. On the Sims--one version of the game, anyway, if you put balloons around your house, people just will automatically come by to visit. The balloons must emit some sort of "welcome visitors" call that affects people on a subconscious level. I'm just guessing, but, heck, it's worth a try. ;-)

If I had a plate of cookies, I'd put those out too. How about kittens instead? Not for eating, of course, but for "awww". Here are a couple of "homegrown cute overload" pictures from listener.

Speaking of people who need the vibes/prayers/good wishes, there is a comment from ChrisNYC a couple threads down. Actually, she posted with good news, but I'm sure it can't hurt to keep the vibes comeing for that family as well.

Update... Just popped over to Firedoglake and noticed something that might be of interest...

You asked for it, you got it: On November 5, two days before the election, Keith Olbermann will be joining us on the FDL Book Salon to discuss his book The Worst Person in the World: And 202 Strong Contenders . You'll remember that after his Edward R. Murrow moment taking the wood to Donald Rumsfeld, we posted a link to his book on Amazon and asked people to buy it as a way of saying thanks. It subsequently moved from #19,000 on the sales ranking list to #4 and is currently sold out (and now requires 1 to 3 weeks for delivery).

Click the graphic above to order Keith's book from It is also available at Barnes
and Noble
and, once back in stock, at

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Edwin update from Linda


Please keep those prayers and wishes heading over to Edwin.

Thankful didn't have much time to talk and will update as soon as possible.

Edwin did not have a good night last night. That is all I know.

They will update us from the hospital as they can.

Please continue warm light and wishes for {{{EDWIN}}}

Big hugs Puddleriver and Thankful.
Light a virtual candle for Edwin here.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

New letter from Howard: 50 State Turnout

Just logged into my e-mail account and found a new message from Howard Dean. I think I *didn't* post other recent ones, so I'm making a point of posting this one. Click here for the most recent update on Edwin, here for Edwin's candle page, and here for Subway's page.

Dear Renee,

The 50 State Turnout

Did you know that, on our web site alone, a quarter million people sent letters to the ABC network about the right-wing 9/11 propaganda film they aired? This mobilization was part of a new attitude for the Democratic Party -- we stood up, held our ground, and refused to let ABC off the hook.

But we're not just mobilizing online. We're mobilizing on the ground in every single state across the country. As we near the November elections, our 50-state strategy operation is being transformed into a 50-state get-out-the-vote effort.

Our push down the home stretch is the "50-State Turnout" -- an unprecedented, nationwide operation to turn voters out to the polls.

It kicks off on October 7th -- exactly one month before the midterm elections. Many state parties have planned hundreds of events using our brand new PartyBuilder grassroots action tools.

There are hundreds of get-out-the-vote events -- phone-banks, neighborhood canvasses or volunteer events at campaign headquarters across the country. Find one here:

The 50-State Turnout is a perfect example of how a 50-state strategy to build our party everywhere can deliver results now while building the kind of infrastructure we need for the future.

We've got nearly 200 staff and thousands more trained volunteers on the ground across the country right now.

They've been building towards this election for over a year in all 50 states.

The 50-state strategy has meant that they got to work earlier than ever before -- and it means that all the work we do between now and November will be the foundation for next year and the year after.

The final 30-day sprint will kick off with events across the country on October 7th. Check for an event near you:

If you really want change, your vote isn't going to be enough. You've got to get out there and organize.

The 50-State Turnout will be the broadest off-year election mobilization in our party's history -- and rightly so, because the stakes couldn't be higher.

I hope you'll join us on October 7th.

Thank you.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

Turn Congress Blue

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Planets Strike Over Pluto Demotion

Solar System News Service
Staff writer

The eight remaining members of the Planet Union have walked off the job to protest the demotion of Pluto from the status of "planet" to that of "minor planet/icy dwarf."

"We'll stay here [on the picket line] till management reinstates him," the union's spokesbeing, Venus, told SSNS. "I mean, it's a question of solidarity and of self-protection. If they can do that to Pluto, then Mercury's going to be next, and then…Well. It doesn't bear thinking of!"

Official word of the demotion came in last night, though rumors and suspicions had been circulating for some time.

"They didn't even have the decency to notify him personally," an irate Venus explained. "He had to read it in the press. Now, I ask you, is that insensitivity, or is that insensitivity? The poor fellow's a wreck, and understandably so. He's in seclusion now with his family."

The Amalgamated Satellites, Asteroids and Comets Union, which also represents Kuyper Belt and Oort Cloud objects, supports the planets' strike 100 percent.

"We're with them all the way, of course," confirmed the Amalgamated Asteroids' Spokesbeing, Ketzalkoatl. "We have our admission rules, and they have theirs. And, Pluto very clearly falls within their eligibility guidelines."

Ketzalkoatl continued. "Management has no business decreeing this sort of stuff. I mean, we'e talking identity, here, culture and heritage. We're all related, sure. But, planets are a separate group. They're sort of, well, special."

He concluded, "You can't legislate who somebody is."

Management has not issued a response to the strike. But, unconfirmed rumors of internal descent over the ruling have reached this reporter. If these rumors are true, then it will be difficult for management to present a unified front in the face of the strikers' unanimity, determination and their single, categorical demand.

Picketing has already begun, with some of the picketers carrying homemade signs. The slogans this reporter has seen include Bring Pluto Home, We Want Pluto Back, and Pluto: Once and Future Planet.

Meanwhile, Pluto himself has been unavailable for comment. In a brief statement Charon, largest of Pluto's satellites, said only that the honorary chair of the Kuyper Belt Benevolent Society was taking some private time to rest and reassess. He added that Orca, Secretary-Treasurer of the KBBS would shortly issue a statement on behalf of the Society addressing the matter.


All SSNS material is protected by galactic copyright law, in accordance with the Alpha Centauri Convention.

This material may be distributed and transmitted only in full and with proper attribution to SSNS.

Light Speed delays apply. For this reason, correspondence with the main office on individual items is discouraged. For editorial matters, address your regional bureau.

Received, transcribed and transmitted by Kerry Elizabeth Thompson, Inner System Bureau.

Alt Comment Link

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Remembering Ann Richards

Bummer--I didn't even know she was sick.

Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards dies

Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards -- the witty and flamboyant Democrat who went from homemaker to national political celebrity died at her Austin home.

She was 73.

Richards died Wednesday night surrounded by her family after a battle with esophageal cancer, family spokeswoman Cathy Bonner said.

Richards served as Texas governor for one term.
Click here for more.

The image above is from the Texas State Library.

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Subway Serenade Update

Thankful posted this message from puddle, and I thought I should front page it since a number of people have asked.

Subway update: just talked to his friend: he's still in ICU, but they're planning on moving him to a regular room in a couple of days. That he sounds better and looks better. Guessin' light, prayers and good vibes wouldn't hurt. . . .

So much love from me and mine to you and yours. Some day I'll write an encyclopedia about how much I love and appreciate you amazing people.
I didn't know about the virtual candle site when we first started sending light and prayers and vibes to David, aka Subway Serenade, but now that we do know about the site, I think he should have his own page, just like Edwin does.

Here's the link. I went with "David" for the candle group name, since you're limited to 5 letters, and that looks better than "Subwa".

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More from the Strickland-Blackwell debate in Youngstown

I actually wasn't going to take the time to do this, but The Other Paper's stunningly craptastic front page article about the recent Ohio gubernatorial debate changed my mind. I missed the very beginning of the debate, but will pick up where I started recording, which was maybe 15-20 minutes into it...

Ted Strickland: We need to streamline government.We need to spend our money wisely. We need to get rid of the corruption tax. What do I mean by the "corruption tax"? I mean the pay to play system that has been presided over by Bob Taft and Ken Blackwell and others, that has wasted multiple millions of Ohio dollars. And my TurnAround Ohio plan is paid for. And so, this scheme, which he says will raise 4-6 billion dollars, without supporting any collaborating evidence, is a scheme, and Ohioans have rejected this. You talk to the mayors along the turnpike, they're all against it. I think most Ohioans recognize that this is an election year scheme. Other states that have done what Mr. Blackwell is suggesting have seen the tolls on their highways go up dramatically.

Blackwell is given 60 seconds to respond.

Ken Blackwell: As we speak, fellow Ohioans, Indiana has leased its turnpike, has cashed its $3.8 billion check, and is receiving a half a million dollars a day in interest. This is no gimmick. The only way that we're going to be able to finance these big economic stimulus projects that will grow our economy and produce jobs, like restructuring or relocating U.S. Route 62, or restructuring and widening I-80 is by actually finding out a creative way of financing. The reality is, and Wall Street has validated this, Indiana's not by itself. Illinois is out in the marketplace now...we could get 6 billion dollars to actually grow our economy and produce jobs. Mr. Strickland doesn't have an alternative. His alternative is to raise your taxes, which is consistent with his behavior in Washington D.C.

Strickland is given 30 seconds to respond.

Ted Strickland: Well, Mr. Blackwell just told you something that is not true. I am not going to raise taxes. But what I am going to do is live within our means, and invest in those things that are truly important to Ohioans. We're going to get rid of the corruption, we're going to streamline government, we're going to hold people accountable, and that's what Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher will do if we are given the opportunity to lead this state. My opponent can talk about me raising taxes all he wants to, but he's blowing hot air--that's absolutely not true.

Moderator: Now we come to the second round of questions, and Dennis Mangel (sp?) will ask his question of Mr. Strickland.

Mr. Strickland, you mentioned in your opening statement, getting money back to the local communities from Columbus. I would note that Columbus is not one of those cities that's in danger of being classified as one of the nation's poorest. Cleveland has the Lottery Commission, but aside from that, basically everything is in Columbus. And so, that raises the issue of decentralization. What, specifically, could you pledge to do to decentralize government in Columbus and to get some of that money scattered around the state?

Ted Strickland: Well, many parts of Ohio that are not part of the "three Cs" feel like they are part of "the other Ohio". But I am concerned that we have had a tendency to divide, to segment this state into winners and losers. I think we need a governor who's willing to pull this state together, and recognize that every part of this state is important, and every part of this state is unique.

Now when I talk about getting money back to the local economies, I want to share with you that I have worked with all of the big city mayors, who by the way are supporting me, including Mayor Jay Williams here in Youngstown, but the mayor of Cincinnati, the mayor of Dayton, the mayor of Columbus, ...the mayor of Toledo...all of these mayors are supporting me, because we have sat down together, and we have worked out a plan to revitalize our cities and towns. And as a result, these mayors know, Dennis, that when Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher take office, that we're going to consider ourselves their partners. We're going to work with the mayors and with the local economies. Not every part of Ohio's economy is like every other part--we need to recognize the unique strengths in the regional economies and make sure that the economic development dollars that are in Columbus, Ohio flow to these local communities for the projects that the local leaders decide are important.

Blackwell is given 60 seconds to respond.

Ken Blackwell: The governor is responsible for helping to guide our state economy back to a state of renewal where it's producing jobs. We do it simply by doing a couple of things. We need to reform our confiscatory tax code, which is right now a steeply graduated income tax structure, make it fair, make it competetive with the states in the neighborhood in which we reside. I think that rate is a 3.25 percent rate that we get to over the next two budgets. That's what we need to do is to cut taxes.

Let me tell you, the Republican General Assembly actually reformed our taxes and created a tax cut that jump started our economy and started to produce jobs. Only one Democrat voted for that, to cut those taxes. He's not going to come in here and deviate from his party. He is a tax increaser, and I would suggest that what he's going to do will not help the cities, but hurt the cities.

Strickland is given 30 seconds to respond.

Ted Strickland: Well, I would just point out that there's a reason why all of the big city mayors--all of them--Mayor Mallory in Cincinnati, Mayor McLin in Dayton, Mayor Coleman in Colulmbus, Mayor Jackson in Cleveland, Mayor Williams right here in Youngstown. There's a reason why these big city mayors are supporting me. Because they know that I have a plan, and I will be their partner, and we will work together. We will not continue to neglect our cities, as has happened under Bob Taft and Ken Blackwell. They've been in charge for over 16 years. Ohio needs change.

Question: Mr Blackwell, with so many communities here in the Mahoning Valley struggling to make ends meet, let alone across the rest of the state, what are you planning to do, as far as pushing reforms, if you are, through the General Assembly, to encourage communities, like those here in the Mahoning Valley, to consolidate, or merge some of their services to create effieciency?

Ken Blackwell: Well, many, many of the cities are doing just that. We have mutual aid pacts, we have joint purchasing pacts, and we will continue to encourage that. But let me just tell you why all of these big city mayors are supporting Ted Strickland, probably because they're all Democrats. You know, presiding over cities that are going the wrong way. What we want to do is give them leadership, give them cooperation that will actually cut taxes, reform our regulatory environment, streamline government, make our state more conducive to capital investment.

There's a simple principle in market economies like ours: capital seeks the path of least resistance and greatest opportunity. Right now capital is fleeing, jobs are fleeing, and the governor has to bring about change. That's why I've been on the cutting edge of restraining state spending, reforming our tax code, cutting taxes. Our burden right now is the third highest in the nation. We must continue to cut it away in order to jumpstart our economies at the state and the local level. I'm going to provide leadership, not goal-setting. You know, this "I'm okay, you're okay" is nice in psychology, but I tell you right now, what Ohioans are looking for are people who will provide leadership to put them back to work and actually strengthen the education that their children are receiving.

Ted Strickland has 60 seconds to respond.

Ted Strickland: Well, I would just say to my worthy opponent, my ideas are okay, your ideas are not okay for Ohio. The fact is that we have a plan to discourage one community from trying to steal from another community. I'm against poaching--that hasn't helped anyone. And so we're going to use our economic development dollars, and make those dollars contingent upon these communities being willing to cooperate, rather than to compete. It doesn't help either community, eventually, if all we do is trade jobs from one community to another. We need to be building and creating new jobs, and in order to do that, we're going to invest in our regional economies, and we're going to make sure that the local leaders have significant input into how these dollars are spent. We're sick and tired of Columbus, Ohio exercising the heavy hand, trying to tell local communities what is best for them. And so we're going to work cooperatively, we're going to invest in the local economies, and in that way we're going to create jobs.

Blackwell is given 30 seconds to respond.

Ken Blackwell: Look at his record, don't read his lips. Listen to what he's said on his own accord. He said, "You know, after twelve years, I didn't leave a deep footprint in Washington D.C." He said, "My voting record is the mirror image of Dennis Kucinich and other liberals like Nancy Pelosi." The fact is, this is going to be a race between my time-tested approaches of cutting taxes, restraining government spending, and growing our economy to create jobs, and his tired, liberal approach of tax and spend, tax and spend. He's a taxer, and his record indicates that.

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Open Thread

Well, 9/11 is over, so we can officially turn our attention to "Talk Like a Pirate Day, right? I've got a copy of Photoshop and eyepatch and pirate hat images. So I am prepared to milk this thing for all it's worth--isn't that right, Brady? ;-)

(Want to translate a web page into "pirate speak"? Click here.)

jc has also been working on some new designs, as has Catreona.

Here's that link again to light a virtual candle for Edwin. And here's a link to the most recent update from Thankful that I'm aware of.

Congratulations to listener, who has her first front page post up at Scudder Parker's blog.

Finally, thank you to Susan for pointing us to the new baby panda in Atlanta, complete with PandaCam. I know a lot of us will enjoy watching another little one grow up.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The View Is Always Better From The High Road

A Michigan newspaper revealed that an RNC-funded organizer in Michigan is coordinating "Catch an Illegal Immigrant" and "Fun With Guns" events at the University of Michigan, similar to Republican events in other states like Pennsylvania and Texas. In the first event participants would win prizes for catching others posing as illegal immigrants and in the latter, "young Republicans would shoot cardboard cut-outs of Democratic leaders such as Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)."

The report of these RNC-funded activities also comes just two days after the Washington Post reported that "in a pivotal year, [the] GOP plans to get personal."

In response, Howard sent a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman today calling on him to stop RNC-funded campaign activities that promote discrimination and endorse violence against political opponents.

Ken Mehlman, Chairman
Republican National Committee
310 First Street, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

September 12, 2006

Dear Ken,

A troubling article today reported that a Republican National Committee-hired intern is planning events that can only be described as divisive, potentially dangerous, and discriminatory to promote the Republican Party's agenda at the University of Michigan.

Promoting "Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day," which has been used by the Republican Party in other states including Pennsylvania and Texas, is not only offensive, it promotes discrimination for political gain. And an event titled "Fun with Guns" that encourages young Republicans to shoot cardboard cut-outs of Democratic leaders further promotes intolerance and violence. These un-American activities cannot go unchallenged.

We'd read that the RNC would use its funds to engage in negative campaigning in a desperate attempt to hold on to power and mobilize Republican voters in November, but these un-American attacks and violent, inflammatory campaign tactics are beyond the pale. As Chairmen of America's two major political parties, we have a responsibility to elevate the political discourse in America. Whether this is directly an RNC funded activity or not, I ask that you not only order such events ceased but also denounce these types of campaign tactics that breed only hatred, division and fear.

You said yourself to a gathering of Hispanic elected officials that America is a "nation of immigrants.a nation united by ideas, not race, creed or place of origin." That same day you also acknowledged that "we are all held to account by a common rule of law," and that "respect for this basic concept is critical to an America where we are all treated the same." To demonstrate your commitment to these words and ideals you must immediately act to have these desperate, inappropriate attacks stopped. America's democracy can only continue to work if we respect each other, and uphold the values that have made our country great. I hope to hear back from you on this important matter promptly.

Best regards,

Howard Dean, Chairman
Democratic National Committee

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Vermont Primaries

Retrieved from the comments at the other blog (where it had been troll-rated)

It's Primary Day today here in VT! DFV is supprting Matt Dunne for Lt. Governor. We endorsed him after 4 of our local Link-Ups endorsed him, in a pretty good bottom-up process we came up with...OK, bottom up to our level anyway. DFA hasn't endorsed him. *sigh*

We have a little problem here, in that many people are planning to pull an R ballot to vote against some Rs they don't like. I personally know about 1/2 dozen that voted early and did this, and I've talked about another 1/2 dozen out of doing it just here in Rutland. DFV sent an email out about it yesterday. It's very disturbing...

I have to work for another candidate today, so I can't do anything for Matt (except maybe go to his Victory Party ;-), so wish him well.


Unless you're a Republican, pulling an R ballot is NOT a good idea!!!!! Skewing the poll results will REALLY hurt the candidates you support (for offices like US Senate, US House, and Governor) strategize as they move towards the November election. Let the Republicans choose their candidates. We will not stoop to their level.

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Tuesday Primaries to Watch

This article can be found on the web at

Antiwar Primaries


[from the September 18, 2006 issue]

Antiwar challenger Ned Lamont's defeat of prowar Senator Joe Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic primary is generally accepted as a referendum-like victory for the message that progressives have been urging the Democratic Party to embrace. But the 2006 primary season--which will see its busiest day September 12, when nine states and DC pick nominees for national seats--ought to be seen as a series of referendums on the war. Lamont's win was not the first of its kind since The Nation pledged last year to identify and support only those candidates prepared to bring a speedy end to the war ["Democrats and the War," November 28], nor, we hope, will it be the last.

Montana Senate contender Jon Tester and Iowa House contender Bruce Braley won primary contests before Lamont bested Lieberman August 8, and September primaries could see additional wins for candidates who want to start bringing troops home from Iraq. Some of the most telling contests will take place in Maryland. In the crowded Democratic primary to replace retiring Senator Paul Sarbanes, former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume staked out a strong antiwar position early by joining a summer 2005 rally supporting the demand by Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, for a meeting with George W. Bush. Mfume highlights his participation in protests against the war and features a "cost of war" ticker on his campaign website. That's in stark contrast to the other frontrunner, Representative Ben Cardin, who opposed authorizing the President to go to war but has failed to join the push for an exit strategy by the House Out of Iraq Caucus. Last year he voted against California Democrat Lynn Woolsey's call for a withdrawal plan, and his campaign pronouncements about the war have been distinctly cautious.

The Maryland Senate race is complicated by several less prominent candidates who have taken strong antiwar positions, but polls suggest that the contest is between Mfume and Cardin--who have split major endorsements from unions and top Democrats. A Mfume win would be another signal that grassroots Democrats want their party to join the clear majority of Americans who would like to start bringing troops home soon. A similar message could come from the state's 3rd Congressional District, where the primary frontrunner in the contest to replace Cardin, John Sarbanes, the retiring senator's son, says, "The Democratic leadership in Congress must take action immediately--that means today--by petitioning the President to deliver to the appropriate committees in Congress within thirty days two proposed disengagement plans for Iraq: one that would bring our troops home within six months; the other that would bring them home within twelve months."

But the Maryland race that most closely resembles the Lamont-Lieberman contest is playing out in the state's 4th Congressional district, where Donna Edwards, former executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, is mounting an aggressive antiwar challenge to Democratic Representative Al Wynn, who voted to authorize Bush to wage the war and who has backed the Administration on a host of other issues. Says Edwards, "Albert Wynn is Maryland's Joe Lieberman."

In Rhode Island another test of sentiments regarding the war will come in a Republican primary, where moderate Lincoln Chafee, the only GOP senator to oppose going to war, is being challenged by Steve Laffey, who has big-money support from the conservative Club for Growth. A Chafee win would set up a rare November race between two war critics, since the Democratic primary candidates share Chafee's skepticism about Iraq. The more tepidly antiwar Sheldon Whitehouse, a former state attorney general, is the clear frontrunner, but retired Marine Carl Sheeler has run a spirited "Bring Home the Troops" campaign that calls for the President's impeachment for deceiving Congress and the American people.

Every vote Sheeler wins against Whitehouse, the choice of party leaders, will tell Washington Democrats that party activists want to see more muscular opposition to Bush and his war. The same goes for votes cast in the New York Senate primary for former National Writers Union president Jonathan Tasini, who is taking on Hillary Clinton. The Lamont win in neighboring Connecticut is focusing attention on Tasini's antiwar challenge to Clinton, who has responded by edging away from her Lieberman-like support for the Administration's stay-the-course policy. Even with the New York Times telling Clinton she should debate Tasini--if only to clarify exactly where she now stands--the low-budget challenge to the presumed frontrunner for the party's 2008 presidential nomination faces daunting odds. But Tasini's run has succeeded in making the war what it should be in every 2006 contest: the central issue.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Keith Olbermann's September 11 Commentary

The video is available via MSNBC and Crooks and Liars. The text of the commentary can be found here.

Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space. And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

All the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and -- as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul -- two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize that, for me this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.

And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft,"or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante and at worst, an idiot whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.
Click here for the rest.

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From puddle

Crossposted at Wordpress, because Blogger is vexing me again. But not enough to actually switch this blog completely over to Wordpress, because that would be a huge pain in the a--.

Hi. About half an hour til next visiting.

Am at a loss to thank you guys. And usually don't have enough energy left to even try (bless Thankful!!) She reads me parts of threads and relays messages, and I need to keep telling you how wonderful you all are, and how much I'm depending on you. I also relay your messages to Edwin, and I'm sure he hears them and is as glad for you all as I am.

And thank you Howard!!!
puddle | 09.11.06 - 5:34 pm

And here's what Thankful wrote a little earlier...

Edwin Update

No dramatic news from this visit - but they restarted the nutrition so he's getting a great liquid steak dinner. Fingers were a little colder than last night but of no concern. Some time this afternoon he'll be switched to a different bed that helps prevent bed sores! Call me crazy but that says they're expecting him to stick around long enough to possibly get bed sores )))))))))))))))))))))))))

~ ~ ~

What we wanna know is - is there any news on Subway?

and puddle sez thank you thank you thank you
Thankful | 09.11.06 - 5:12 pm

From Renee--here's the link to Edwin's candle page. Also, Barbara in Seattle has pictures of puddle and Edwin on her DFA link page. Hopefully she doesn't mind that I snagged one of the pictures so that people who don't have a DFA login would be able to see it.

The instructions Agatha posted about sending a check or donating via PayPal to help puddle with expenses can be found here.

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The Challenge of Terror

For anyone who would like to donate to help puddle with the expenses of her unplanned/unexpected trip to Texas to be with Edwin in the hospital, Agatha has posted details here.

I thought this might be a good time to excerpt and link The Challenge of Terror, written by John Paul Lederach in the days that immediately followed September 11, 2001. Lederach is a Professor of International Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame. Clearly, the U.S. government didn't heed his advice when responding to the events of 9/11/01, but I still think the essay is worth reading. And, since the media is busily revisiting everything else about that tragic day, I can't think of any reason *not* to revisit these thoughtful words.

Military action to destroy terror, particularly as it affects already vulnerable civilian populations will be like hitting a fully mature dandelion with a golf club: This will further perpetuate the myth of "evil United States military might" and will assure yet another generation of recruits.

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Here's the latest from puddle:

Hi ever body ~~ surviving. And hanging in. So's Edwin. He's an awful pretty peach color. Still hasn't said anything, or opened his eyes. If I were where he is, I don't think I would either. . . .

Love you all so much!

xox puddle
At my religious ed class tonight, we did a closing prayer which comes from an order of compline. The first time I remember saying a compline was at a retreat I attended last year at an Episcopal convent. (If you were unaware that there was such a thing as Episcopalian nuns, so was I until fairly recently.) But there was something very peaceful about gathering together at the end of the day and praying for people everywhere, especially, as I recall, those who work throughout the night, and those who have no one praying for them.

The words of tonight's closing prayer reminded me a little bit of that. It's from the Book of Common Prayer. I feel moved to share it, but also want to be sensitive to the diversity here. I've replaced the specific deity names with elipses, so that the reader can fill in a name or not.

Keep watch, ..., with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, ...; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

The "keep watch" part really made me think of what we've been doing here in recent days--that there is Something connecting us, even if we don't use the same words to describe that Something. In fact, the truth is that we are all connected, but we're not always aware of it. In the past few days, members of this community have been acutely aware of that connection.

But, whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you believe or don't believe, there is always someone praying you through the night, sending you beams of love and comfort. I know for a fact that there's a group of Episcopalian nuns near Cincinnati doing that, but for all I know there are many, many more. And that sort of thing gives me hope. I'm just describing one example from the faith tradition I know best, but I'm sure people in all different traditions, all around the world do something like this. Intentionally taking time to recognize their connectedness to everyone, everywhere, and calling out to the Infinite to watch over people they have never met.

Here's that candle link again, for anyone who'd like to light or re-light a virtual candle for Edwin.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Action diary by cdmarine

AKA hyperbolic pants explosion at Daily Kos, but those of us who were at Blog for America during the primary campaign remember her as cdmarine.

She's got a diary that some of you may be interested in. And I do feel like I've been dropping the ball as far as posting about this. So, here you go--and feel free to post other relevant links if you've got them.

IMMEDIATE research help needed for PT911 Rebuttal Site [UPDATED]

Edwin and puddle and Thankful are still in our thoughts and prayers--the latest update I've seen is here. And at last check, there were 62 candles for Edwin burning from 3 countries--check out the page here.

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The Great Turning

So, it's September 10 already, huh? Hopefully someone will post updates about the ABC/Disney propaganda piece about September 11, because I haven't had time to keep up with that story. Obviously, I'm not planning to watch it. I know that there are some interfaith peace vigils going on in my area, and I would be attending one of those, except that tonight is the first night of my EFM classes for this year. But I encourage you all to find out if positive, uplifting events like our local interfaith vigils are available in your area.

I was trying to come up with something to post on the eve of September 11, and thought back to The Great Turning. I think there is something worthwhile in this metaphor, whether or not you buy the "whole ball of wax" of what Joanna Macy is saying...

A revolution is underway because people are realizing that our needs can be met without destroying our world. We have the technical knowledge, the communication tools, and material resources to grow enough food, ensure clean air and water, and meet rational energy needs. Future generations, if there is a livable world for them, will look back at the epochal transition we are making to a life-sustaining society. And they may well call this the time of the Great Turning. It is happening now.

Whether or not it is recognized by corporate-controlled media, the Great Turning is a reality. Although we cannot know yet if it will take hold in time for humans and other complex life forms to survive, we can know that it is under way. And it is gaining momentum, through the actions of countless individuals and groups around the world. To see this as the larger context of our lives clears our vision and summons our courage.
As Captain Picard would say, "Make it so."

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From Grace to Glory

Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.

"What is it you want?" he asked.

She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom."

"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?"

"We can," they answered.

Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father."

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Matthew 20:20-28
A mother's love for her sons knows no bounds, logical or otherwise. It is often said that a mother will throw her husband under a bus for the sake of her sons - even throw herself under the bus for the sake of her sons - but the bond between a mother and her sons is something unusual, something irrational, something special.

Unconditional love.

When we're trifling Mom still loves us. When we're acting a fool Mom still loves us. When we've been caught red-handed doing dirt Mom still loves us, believes in us, and is often willing go on CNN to declare our innocence before a condescending world. There is nothing that we have done to earn our mothers' love. There is nothing that we have done to justify our mothers' love. The truth of the matter is that our mothers often love us in spite of a mountain of evidence that ought to tell them that they should have cut us off a long time ago, yet they still love us anyhow. They still look out for us anyhow. They still try to get us the hook-up when we in no ways deserve it, simply because we are their sons.

Unmerited favor.

The wife of Zebedee, mother of James and John, came before Jesus with her two sons to try to get them the hook-up, to try to get them prime-time positions in Glory. She did not make a merit-based case, giving evidence of how her sons deserved the positions of honor. She did not make a pragmatic case, arguing the utilitarian value of elevating her two sons to positions of honor. She simply asked for Jesus to command that her two sons be positioned by His side in His Kingdom. Jesus' inner circle consisted of three disciples - Simon Peter and the two sons of Zebedee - and it would seem that the mother of James and John wanted this circle to tighten to two.

A mother's love can drive her to do some unusual things, as anyone who has been involved in cheerleader wars can attest, but Jesus didn't even address her - He addressed the sons of Zebedee, James and John, telling them that they knew not that for which they asked. Too often we ask for things without understanding the implications of a granted request. As children many of us asked for a puppy to love as our own, but we didn't understand that the puppy needs cleaning and walking and feeding and a pooper-scooper. As teens many of us had our eye on that certain someone, not understanding that they had more issues than the New York Times. As young adults many of us wanted a certain job with a certain company or organization, just to find out that all that glitters isn't gold. Too often our $10 mouths ask for things that our 50¢ behinds can't handle - just like the mother of James and John.

Jesus asked the sons of Zebedee, "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" They flippantly answered, "Yes" and Jesus responded with something that probably rocked their worlds - they would indeed drink from His cup but He could not command for them to be seated at His right and left - that perrogative belonged to the Father, not the Son. Jesus essentially told them that kissing up to the boss won't advance your career; sending your mom to make a request that you yourself were to cowardly to make will not advance your position; maneuvering politically will not change your relationship with God. We are not saved by works or politics or plenary indulgances - we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

It is a state of grace.

Each of us who has been graciously saved through faith in Jesus Christ is indeed a grace case, and when you walk in this state of grace you treat people differently than those who are walking according to the flesh. Those who are operating according to the flesh look to position themselves over others in order to lord authority over them, while those who walk in this state of grace look to lower themselves into a servant's position. Those who are the lord of their own lives - the captains of their own souls - look to glorify themselves, to make themselves look good, to magnify themselves in the eyes of men, while those of us who submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ look to lower ourselves such that we may glorify God in our service to men. When you're walking in this state of grace you smile in the face of those who hate and despitefully use you. When you're walking in this state of grace you can love the father that abandoned you, the uncle that abused you, the cousin that called you everything but a child of God. When you're walking in this state of grace you model the mind of Christ, the Imago Dei, the very image of God. When you're walking in this state of grace you let your light so shine that men might see your good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. O taste and see that the Lord is good in the life of a grace case.

But it gets better.

In the hereafter we will be with Jesus in Glory. Each of us who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ will move from grace to Glory. There will be no more weeping and wailing over there. There will be no more sobbing and crying over there. There will be no more pain and suffering over there. In that day - in that great gettin'-up morning - we will go from grace to glory, taking residence in our own dwelling place that Jesus has prepared specifically for each of us; what God has for me is for me, but what God wants from me He will get from me as well. When God decrees blessings I receive them in full, and when God decrees work I receive it in full. God blesses us to be a blessing to others, not merely to enjoy our blessings all by ourselves. James and John were looking for positions of authority, but they didn't understand that with great authority comes great sacrifice. James and John truly drank from Jesus' cup - James was the first of the disciples to be killed for his faith in Jesus.

"Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom."

Be careful what you ask for, it may come sooner than you think. Walk in this state of grace, seeking to serve others out of our love for Jesus Christ such that our Father in Heaven might be glorified, our brothers in the Spirit might be edified, and someone through our example might seek to be justified in the eyes of God.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to walk in that state of grace,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

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