Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year !

Special greetings to all with the hope the sentiments expressed in my previous post prevail in 2008.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Greetings '07-'08

Compassion, Tolerance, Peace On Earth

December is a time of year when various religious and other special celebrations occur. Events of most importance for some may have already been celebrated. Others have special holidays yet to be experienced.

Shared by all, usually, is a gathering of loved ones, family and friends on these occasions. Phone calls, emails, greeting cards and holiday letters across the miles may necessarily provide other individuals this feeling of connectedness we treasure especially during this winter season.

I have experienced these varied means of togetherness with those for whom I care and who care about me, just as each of you probably have, also. I've been present in family groups varying in size from large to very small, with even occasional holidays away from relatives during my lifetime. This year I am with a very few family, as our member numbers have been slowly diminishing for some years, as has been our ability to all travel and meet in one location.

Whatever the number of our individual family members and friends, I've come to believe those of us who are bloggers are able to experience a feeling of connectedness with each other, too. I think we realize we can come to feel we know and genuinely care about one another, so we exchange special greetings. We even have the opportunity to extend our good wishes in this unique written manner to others who simply read what we write, whether or not they leave a comment.

So warm sentiments are especially reserved for each and everyone who visits this blog. You are invited to take as much as you need of joy, happiness and love. Most importantly, please share these feelings with those with whom you have contact.

My special wish for you and the whole world is compassion, tolerance and peace on earth.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Disharmony Relieved by Music/Book

I've been sputtering and spewing in my mind over so many issues, as I think about the State of the Union and what is being wrought upon our country.

I'm upset that media falls more and more under the control of increasingly fewer large corporations.

I'm really distressed that one really major corporate owner has a grip on communications distribution all over this world now, with his final take over of a prominent publication here in the U.S.A.

I'm really angry at the high-handedness of the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) who blatantly disregards congressional and citizen wishes.

I don't want to get into providing links and quotes to these issues above. I would have to read even more about those topics in order to do so. That would only serve to provoke additional distress.

I'll just assume anyone reading this will know of what I speak, and if some don't, feel free to ask questions that can be answered later.

Instead, I find the music and lyrics of "Salala" I first heard earlier tonight at Tamarika's "Mining Nuggets"" playing over and over in my my mind, warming my soul.

Also, I'm remembering reading an uncomplicated activity I came across on another blog some time ago. For some strange reason the post attracted me -- must have been the simplicity. Sorry I can't recall on what blog I read it, but I do recall the blogger stating they credited the idea to Winston at "Nobody Asked," but that he had credited some other blogger, and who knows where else the credit lay.

It's pretty simple, just select a book, then complete the following. Here are the results from the current book at my fingertips:

Title and Author:

Musicophilia - Tales of Music and the Brain

by Oliver Sacks

Is the book dedicated to anyone? If so, whom?

For Orrin Devinsky, Ralph Siegel, and Connie Tomaino

What is the first sentence?


"What an odd thing it is to see an entire species -- billions of people -- playing with, listening to, meaningless tonal patterns, occupied and preoccupied for much of their time by what they call 'music.' "

Turn to page 47. Please share the first sentence of the first full paragraph.

"It is this fidelity--this almost defenseless engraving of music on the brain--which plays a crucial part to predisposing us to certain excesses, or pathologies, of musical imagery and memory, excesses that may even occur in relatively unmusical people."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Mind Trips" and Other Blogs

I'm long overdue to write about some more blogs I enjoy visiting. There is no particular significance to their listing sequence here. Yes, there are more blogs about which I want to write and will in the future.

"Mind Trips" is such an intriguing blog title that I was attracted for my first visit a few months ago. Pam, who writes there captured my attention with colorful Vermont fall photos. These stimulated a "mind trip" of my own from past visits there.

Pam writes from a thoughtful perspective, often threading some humorous events through more serious commentary. Read her 9/28/07 post titled 'Politics, Survival and Exploding Eggs.'

Another post will be of interest to anyone who might wonder what blogging can be all about, why time might be spent writing posts and to other bloggers -- questions I'm asked often by non-bloggers. Pam's personal perspective will be appreciated. She shares her reaction and feelings with photos of meeting in person someone she first met through blogging.

I keep returning there to read about some serious topics, as with some of her more recent ones, including issues associated with spanking children, government intrusion into our lives, and privacy.

The artistic endeavors of this successful artist are especially interesting. Most recently I've been fascinated with a visual pictured there of a "fractal" -- a new term to me. I find "Mind Trips" to be well-written, delightful, enjoyable, informative, humorous, and emotionally stimulating.

Pam is a very active lady judging by family photos, and her accounts. We all encounter challenges throughout our lives and Pam has not been an exception in that regard. She's youthful as elders go -- anyone younger than me is youthful. You'll definitely want to read her profile where she describes some of the physical activities in which she has participated. I wouldn't be at all surprised if she's just being modest with her artist background description, as she continues to engage her skills and honor her talent.

"Ageless Marketing" written by David Wolfe, a marketing consultant, is a blog I began visiting long before I ever started my blog. He's very interested in the consumer and what truly is of interest to us. What fascinates me is how he integrates his knowledge from his child-rearing days to his perspective these many years later.

He continually introduces stimulating books and writings that prompt thought about the world in which we live today, such as his current post titled 'Lessons for Prospering When the Economy Isn't.' He writes in depth about issues of interest not only in our country but world-wide which sometimes requires multi-part series. A recent series is titled 'A Look At The Likely State of the Economy Over the Next Several Years.'

He associates psychological and philosophical thought to business today. He certainly has pinpointed the reasons for my lack of receptiveness to much of present day advertising. The people writing too many of today's ads lack a knowledge of how to communicate with elders such as myself. David has noted part of the problem may be the failure of older more mature individuals being utilized in the marketing world. He has noted ageism continues to be much too prevalent in the advertising and marketing world. I certainly agree.

"Elusive Abstractions" written by Canadian, Roberta, is truly a word-lovers delight to read. She devises such a word potpourri in phrases and sentences describing her perspective on daily events. Somehow these events and her activities lend themselves well to expanding into thoughts about much broader issues in a delightful humorous manner.

Most recently I was pleased to become acquainted with her friend, Matador through one post she wrote. She suggested what necessarily followed was considering Asimov's three laws of robotics. These laws may have increasing significance in many of our lives in the future, but will have in mine beginning this year.

Another of her writing topics reminded me of so many instances in my own life when her term, silly-happiness, prevailed. Such a special liberating feeling exists during those times. Of course, I am mindful of the precautions one must sometimes take then for the self-preservation of decorum in certain places.

As if those posts weren't enough to intrigue interest, consider reading 'Presence Rather Than Presents' for holiday gift-giving this year. Keep in mind there is more than one way in which to be present. The most recent post there clearly demonstrates you don't have to have children to enjoy the commentary on discipline as associated with new age approaches versus the old fashioned way.

"Eclectic World" is written by Bob Frank. He is also involved with activities described in two other blogs, "Home Baking" and "Citizens for Peace." His most current blog post is of interest as he provides information about a very special way to celebrate gift-giving these holidays. What he suggests is an idea that can benefit children -- our own and those less fortunate in other countries.

He's referring to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program. This program has been described on CBS-TV's "60 Minutes" with action video of children using these especially designed inexpensive computers. The man on the TV program who created this computer, Nicholas Negroponte, continues on leave from his work at MIT to promote the distribution of this tool designed to educate children in other worlds.

You can obtain the details in Bob's 'Give One, Get One' blog post along with links to a site where you can see this computer's features.

"Fried Okra Productions" -- Kokopelliwoman Speaks through the voice of Claudia Snowden.
Now this is a blog I can really get my teeth into. This writer doesn't mince any words. One post I'm lulled along by her expounding on music, her love of the classics, and a fascinating article about singer Beverly Sills. The next post is bah! humbug! on Christmas and the rampant consumerism in our capitalist society. She relates this debacle to some much more complex issues about which we're all concerned, coupled with a related source link.

Earlier commentary on her site has included sharing informative family history, events with a humorous edge. Then, there is that article she wrote about 'The Dark Side of Austin.' She carefully related a radio host's programming that perfectly expressed the tragic non-ecumenical climate that has been fostered to develop in our country today, to a degree I haven't known in years, except for isolated pockets.

Anyone reading this blog is destined for an unexpected treat on a wide variety of topics that will surely include deep thought mixed with humor, a chuckle or two, and some hard laughter.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Devil is in the Language


More Than "Just Words"

...words that could be used to take rights from American citizens.

"Thought Crime" bill S1959 Could Steal Citizens Rights

I wrote my Congressman, David Dreier, in the House of Representatives expressing my distress that he had voted for this bill that has the potential for violating individual citizen's rights (mine and yours) at the whim of our government and asked him why he did so. This was the crux of his reply:

"As you know, H.R. 1955 amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to add provisions concerning the prevention of homegrown terrorism. This legislation directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a grant program to prevent radicalization and homegrown terrorism in the United States. H.R. 1955 also directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish or designate a university-based Center of Excellence for the Study of Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States. On October 23, H.R. 1955 passed the House by a vote of 404 to 6, and now awaits its consideration in the Senate."

I already knew what the bill does when I wrote him. Does he know what all it does? How do I interpret his reply? He read the bill, and didn't mind there was wording that could take away my rights? Or, maybe he just skimmed the bill, got the gist of it, and didn't bother reading a lot of those pesky incidental little words? Or, perhaps he didn't even read the bill, so didn't really know what it said other than those four sentences he wrote that I quoted above.

Well, words matter! Some of the words in the "Thought Crime Bill" were recently the center of focus in comment dialogues at the "Time Goes By" blog. You can access these various references listed in Ronni Bennett's post there titled "Thought Crime Bill Index" HERE.

One reader, Brian, commented, citing the following as being a safeguard written in the bill to protect our rights:

"Any measure taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism in the United States should not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, or civil liberties of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents." (From HR1955/S1959)

Another reader, Pamela, responded:

"Note use of the word "should" instead of "shall". I worked for years in a highly regulated industry, and the difference between these two words is significant, in the world of regulatory verbiage. I'm sure the words were carefully chosen. SHOULD means preferable but not mandatory. SHALL is the word used when nothing less is ever acceptable."

So, reads to me like our rights are protected if our government wants to, but they don't have to do so. That's not good enough for me.

Then, Brian's comment later was:

"this act _creates a commission_. Admittedly, I'd be more comfortable if the clause I cited use the word "shall" instead of "should," (as Pamela notes) but I see nothing so worrying here."

Commission? Commission?? Does anyone remember the instances of "Commissions" of this proposed type and the damage they can do? What immediately comes to my mind are memories of The McCarthy Era and the witch hunts that ruined so many lives. Read one such story HERE.

The "Thought Crime Bill Index" lists "Thought Crime Bill Video." I quote Ronni Bennett from her post there:

"This is the first terrorism-related legislation that specifically targets U.S. citizens and the vagueness of the wording is a dangerous threat to the First Amendment and to each of us in ways that have not been attempted before in the United States. The definitions in the bill hold the frightening keys to the undermining of our most basic liberty - to speak freely [bolding is mine]:

“VIOLENT RADICALIZATION - The term ‘violent radicalization' means process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change."

"The difficulties here are that “extremist belief system” means anything the government wants it to mean as does the word “facilitating.”

“HOMEGROWN TERRORISM - The term 'homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

"Again, this refers not just to violence, but to thought and speech for any undefined “political or social objectives”. In other words, it could mean universal healthcare, equal rights, abortion or anything at all about which you or I might want to make our views known that the government objects to. And, it establishes U.S. citizens as the targets of this legislation.

“IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term ‘ideologically based violence' means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs.

"This repeats legislative intolerance of speech and thought.(bolding is mine)

"The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism and Prevention Act does not establish penalties for these thought crimes; it “only” establishes a commission to study them. But it tells us where the thinking in Washington is heading.

"The Commission is required to send a report about its findings to the Congress and president every six months for a year and a half. As disturbing as the bill itself is, so is the additional requirement that there be a “a public version” of the reports – that is, something different from what Congress sees." She adds, "Even with only a commission at this point, there is no way to understand the bill except as a warning of what is to come..."

"Please read the entire bill. It is not lengthy and there is more in it to be concerned about.." as Ronni urges.

What mainstream media sources have you seen mention this bill? Shouldn't they be bringing this to the attention of the American people? Isn't that the job of the press to help protect our rights, or at least acquaint us to the possibility these rights could be under assault? I sent a letter to the Editor of the Los Angeles Times because I haven't seen mention of the bill in their paper and they haven't printed my letter, either. Someone please write and tell me there was an article in the Times and I just overlooked it.

My Senator Barbara Boxer responded to a letter I sent her, but didn't indicate how she would vote. I have yet to hear anything from my Senator Diane Feinstein. My Representative, David Dreier, has already voted against my interests and yours. How are your Senators going to vote? Have you told them how you want them to vote on your behalf?

The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, S1959, awaits a vote in the U.S. Senate very soon this month. Passage means the next step is for the President's signature. There is no reason to believe he won't sign the amendment.

Again, I urge everyone to read this bill HERE.

The devil is in the wording and we should be very concerned about the rights that all those Senators who vote for this bill could be taking from each American citizen. All but six of our House Representatives have already betrayed us.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"Thought Crime Bill" Update -- TGB/RB Musing

Thought Crime Bill -- S1959 The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism and Prevention Act of 2007 (Read the Bill HERE)

Here's an update on my efforts to bring the "Thought Crime Bill" S1959 to my Legislators' attention. The present early result is one email response. Sen. Barbara Boxer's email to me actually addresses the subject matter about which I wrote. Many of us have commented previously that most of the time the responses we receive from our Congresspersons have little or no relation to our questions or comments. (See my "Politicians Communication Shortcomings" post November 7, 2007 in archives.)

Sen. Boxer writes words to the effect my point of view will be considered if the issue about which I wrote comes before her according to this paraphrase of her standard form response. There is no indication of what her stance will be when the vote is called. I'm awaiting a response from one more Senator and accountability from my House Representative as to why he voted for this Bill. Yet to be seen is if there will be any reader comments to these letters. I wonder if others are receiving any responses from their efforts?

The Bill is in the Senate now, but the expected vote will likely be soon this month. For new readers and others, I believe it's important we each contact our Senators and make our views known that this bill's wording has the potential for taking away our rights, that we are AGAINST passage of S1959. Read the Bill and other related posts in the "S1959 'Thought Crime Bill Index' " at links still available at "Time Goes By" written by Ronni Bennett.

Two of three newspapers to whom I sent letters, printed the information. (See my previous post.) We have very important reasons to express our views on this and other issues -- as citizens, to help preserve our freedom -- as elders, to help shape our country for our children and generations to come.

I continue to believe one person can make a difference with their actions, especially when that one person becomes many.

Musing About...
"Time Goes By" - Ronni Bennett

For anyone experiencing absence pains from Ronni Bennett's sudden "cold turkey" word and idea withdrawal, and for newcomers, you might enjoy reading Parts I and II of a recent interview Ronni gave at "Boomer 411." She provides a link to both parts of that interview in the "Time Goes By" introduction of today's story at "The Elder Storytelling Place."

I'm still in a state of disbelief that Ronni Bennett has "shut down" her blog permanently. I believe her writings to be unique -- intelligent, humorous, and so many other adjectives which I could use. Perhaps I've taken her and the blog for granted, believing she and the community that formed around her would always be here throughout the rest of my life since I'm older. At my age, given the losses in my life, as probably many others have experienced, I should know better than to allow myself to adopt that attitude.

Somehow I like to believe she will re-surface, sharing her words and talents in some way, somewhere. If she doesn't, most important to me is that whatever she does, wherever she goes, that her life is filled with pleasure and happiness. I also hope Crabby Old Lady continues to express her views somewhere. Already, I miss "Time Goes By" and I miss Ronni Bennett.

Monday, December 03, 2007

"...A Stand Against S1959" -- Thought Crime

(Update: Another newspaper has printed in their Opinion section today, 12/03/07, a variation of a different letter I sent the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin they titled "Thought Police.")

I'm pleased to share with you that my local news media has provided a forum to inform citizens about "Thought Crime Bill" S1959 concerns. I hope even more media outlets across our country will respond to efforts others are initiating for that same purpose. Perhaps my experience described below will provide encouragement letter writing efforts can be productive.

The "Thought Crime Bill" S1959 is being brought to the attention of our local residents by my local newspaper, the Claremont Courier. This community has been extremely fortunate that this award-winning California publication has a long-standing history of presenting pertinent local, national and international issues, including controversial ones, to the attention of readers.

The Claremont Courier Opinion Section of the Saturday, December 1st bi-weekly edition headlined a letter I sent to the Editor, "Take a stand against S1959," giving me a byline. This issue does not yet appear on their website as I write this, so I'll print it here as suggested by Ronni Bennett at
"Time Goes By."

Thank you to Ronni for so effectively researching and writing about the "thought crime bill" concerns, then providing organized informative timely links to the most current information about the bill. We clearly need to continue our efforts to bring this bill to the attention of our fellow citizens through all the means at our disposal.

One individual can make a difference in our democracy/republic – especially when we are many, is my belief.

Letter to Claremont Courier:

"I strongly urge voters to contact our Senators Feinstein and Boxer to VOTE AGAINST S1959 The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism and Prevention Act of 2007.
"This bill's wording is couched in terms that can take away our First Amendment rights. The "thought crime" potential of this bill in the name of so-called security does as much to destroy our democracy as anything the terrorists are doing. My letter to this newspaper could be regarded as suspect should this amendment be passed. There is no reason to believe our President would veto the bill.

"I am not willing to give up any of my rights which have already been undermined by legislation. We should also ask our House Representative, David Drier, why he voted for the House Bill version 1955. In fact, only 6 Representatives from both political parties had the insight and courage to vote against the House Bill, or maybe they were the only ones who actually read it.

"I recommend you read this bill with a direct link at: and additional posts catalogued under this "thought crime bill." The blog writer was the first Managing Editor of one of the major television network Internet news organizations. She brings the highest journalism standards to her writing. Current media has failed to bring this pertinent issue to the attention of the American public.

"I am strongly opposed also to any sort of legislation that would limit and curtail my right to express my and others views and opinions on my blog and the Internet. This Senate bill's current wording creates that possibility, too. I embrace Jay Rosen's statement that 'Blogs are Little First Amendment Machines.' "(Bold Print Added.)

(My apologies to all Readers who are unable to leave a comment on my blog because they don't have a Google Blogger Account. You can only send me an email, then I will have to reprint each one on my blog. This makes our having a dialogue incredibly complicated and serves only to stifle communication.)