I miss you Sam!!

I miss you Sam!!
I miss you Sam!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

We Can Be Proud

It’s been nearly a week since we the people of this country made history by electing Barack Obama as our 44th President! And people are still celebrating not only here but around the world. In spite of battered markets, enormous job losses and a national economic crisis, we have proved that there is still a continuing promise of America.

We voted against a continuation of division and incompetence, of the racism that has been such a blight on our country. We made history on November the 4th and we can and should celebrate it.

In an Op-Ed column by Bob Herbert, he spoke of Arthur Miller who liked to say that the essence of America was its promise. In the darkest of the dark times, in wartime and drastic economic downturns, in the crucible of witch hunts or racial strife, in the traumatic aftermath of a terror attack, that promise lights the way forward. And it has indeed!

We have risen above all the negativity and horror of racism to show that we are indeed, one country, one world, one people and we will overcome the difficulties our country is facing – that the rest of the world is facing and we will see a new day! Yes we can! And Yes we did! Pat yourself on the back, America! Now lets get to work to make sure we continue to move forward in the weeks and months to come.

Now, if you want to see just what this has meant to people everywhere, check this out. I promise you, you will be amazed!

This is an amazing collage. You can click on any of the images to see a larger version.


And here is another one, photos from all around the world when the news broke. Amazing! Got this from Paul.


A Few Reasons Why Our Country Got in Trouble

DC airport ticket agent offers some examples. I hope you get a chuckle, too. As for me, after reading these, I felt really pretty brilliant!

1. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!)

2. I got a call from a candidate's staffer who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information. Then she interrupted me with, 'I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts' . Without trying to make her look stupid, I calmly explained, 'Cape Cod' is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa. Her response, 'click'.

3. A senior Vermont Congressman called furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando . He said he was expecting an oceanview room. I tried to explain that's not possible, because Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, 'Don't get smart with me, I looked on the map and Florida is a very narrow state!' (Oh, my God!)

4. I got a call from a lawmaker's wife who asked, 'Is it possible to see England from Canada ?' I said, 'No.' She then said, 'But they look so close on the map.'

5. An aide for a cabinet member once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas . When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he only had a one-hour layover in Dallas . I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he replied, 'I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time.' (Aghhhh!)

6. An Illinois Congresswoman called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 AM and got to Chicago at 8:33 AM. I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she couldn't understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went really fast, and she accepted that.

7. A New York lawmaker called and asked, 'Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?' I said, 'No. Why do you ask?' She replied , 'Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said FAT, and I'm overweight. I think that's very rude. After putting her on hold for a minute while I looked into it --I was laughing--, I came back and explained that the code for the Fresno, CA airport, is 'FAT' = Fresno Air Terminal, and the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.

8. A Senator's aide called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii . After going over all the cost info, she asked, 'Would it be cheaper to fly to California , and then take the train to Hawaii ?'

9. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman who asked, 'How do I know which plane to get on?' I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, 'I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them.'

10. A lady Senator called and said, 'I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola, Florida . Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?' I asked if she meant she was flying to Pensacola , FL on a commuter plane. She said, 'Yeah, whatever, smarty!'

11. A senior Senator called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China . After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him that he also needed a visa. 'Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and I have never had to have one of those.' I double-checked, and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this he said, 'Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!'

12. A New Mexico Congresswoman called to make reservations, 'I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York ..' I was at a loss for words. Finally, I said, 'Are you sure that's the name of the town?' 'Yes, what flights do you have?' replied the lady. After some searching, I came back with, 'I'm sorry, ma'am, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a Rhino anywhere.' The lady retorted, 'Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!' So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, 'You don't mean Buffalo , do you?' The reply? 'Whatever! I knew it was a big animal.'

Now you know why our Government is in the shape that it is in, and who is causing it!

The Beauty of Autumn

A good friend of mine and her husband made a trip a few days ago to the Aboretum and Japanese Gardens here in Seattle. She took some wonderful pictures and sent them to me and I asked if I could share them with all of you and she was delighted. We were both looking wistfully at these pictures because only a few days ago we were enjoying mild fall temps, blue skies and brilliant colors, but the last few days has brought the rain, the gray and the chilly winds and it will be a while before we can enjoy this rich tapestry of color again.
The wind blows the leaves about leaving colorful piles everywhere, but at least here they don't have to rake them up on a daily basis as the rest of us have to do.
But that's the beauty of having cameras and being able to catch and hold on to the beauty as a reminder during the dark winter that spring will come again and summer and a colorful fall.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I have and thanks to Mary for taking and sharing them.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Morning Giggle

Well, maybe a kind of sad giggle -- more truth than humor.

Letter to bank:

Dear Sirs,

In view of current developments in the banking market and financial shock, if one of my cheques is returned marked 'insufficient funds', does that refer to me or to you?

Yours Faithfully

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sky Watch #17

Beautiful fall sunsets here in Seattle.
Click on any photo to enlarge.
Geese headed south from Oregon
Sunset in Oregon
Posted by PicasaClick on the Sky Watch icon in my sidebar and enjoy skies from all over the world. Join us and add your beautiful skies!

Inspiring Words

Several people have mentioned Roger Cohen's Op-Ed column in the New York Times on their blogs today and I would like to add my recommendation. It is inspiring. Take a few minutes, you'll be glad you did.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And Now the Hard Work Begins

I have been so excited, so moved over the past twenty-four hours, that I managed to ignore the fact that I was coming down with a serious cold -- one of the benefits of working with little kids, they have germs to spare and I wasn't paying attention as they unloaded some for me to carry home. But aside from that I was too euphoric to write anything to post today. Then I found a piece on Huffington Post written by John Cusack and he said so well what I was thinking and feeling today that I decided to post it here.

Real Shock and Awe

More powerful than was imaginable, we are almost in a state of collective shock/awe. The promise -- Antigone before the king comes to mind -- wonderfully hard to process. He looked as a man with providence; the opposite mirror of Bush. There was humility inside it. He was even careful not to get too frenzied -- gave a soft landing. Sober, reflective, determined... emotional beyond words.

The world looked to America... we showed our best. For one night at least, the world was sane. The planet sighs in relief and deserves a righteous party. We have beaten back the worst in ourselves, the old and inevitable forces of cynicism and greed. No more patriotic primates to rule the roost.

Real change will take sacrifice, vigilance and will. The bailout of Wall Street, the wars and the final gorge of the right wing must be stopped now, a return to Keynesian balance. Bottom up instead of top down. Real value -- and the gold standard that every human has value -- be awarded respect, dignity and opportunity -- The currency of grace. A wave of renewal and possibility. And now the real work begins.

There was also this, posted by Paul Krugman

November 5, 2008, 8:25 am
The monster years

Last night wasn’t just a victory for tolerance; it wasn’t just a mandate for progressive change; it was also, I hope, the end of the monster years.

What I mean by that is that for the past 14 years America’s political life has been largely dominated by, well, monsters. Monsters like Tom DeLay, who suggested that the shootings at Columbine happened because schools teach students the theory of evolution. Monsters like Karl Rove, who declared that liberals wanted to offer “therapy and understanding” to terrorists. Monsters like Dick Cheney, who saw 9/11 as an opportunity to start torturing people.

And in our national discourse, we pretended that these monsters were reasonable, respectable people. To point out that the monsters were, in fact, monsters, was “shrill.”

Four years ago it seemed as if the monsters would dominate American politics for a long time to come. But for now, at least, they’ve been banished to the wilderness.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We Did It!!

We did indeed inspire the eagle to scream with joy and I know that all of you feel the same excitement and gratitude and amazement that I do at this moment. The whole world has been watching and they are as excited as we are. This is an unbelievable night in our history. Now, let's help Barack Obama make the most of his time in office, for each of us, for our country, for the world.

Let's Give Our American Eagle a Reason to Scream for Joy!

Make sure you vote! Vote for Barack Obama!

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Monday, November 3, 2008

My World for Tuesday #2

Even a chilly, foggy October day can be a joy here in Washington. A lovely stand of trees near the shoreline of Puget Sound, the colors are beautiful, the ducks are still enjoying an early morning swim, a lone crow on a bare limb and my son and his dog. We all enjoyed the morning! And I share this part of my world with you.
You can click on any picture to enlarge.

Click on the My World logo in my sidebar to visit the site and enjoy the wonderful photos from all over the world. Join us!
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Last Moment Thoughts

Last evening I read the text of the speech that Obama gave on race in Philadelphia some months ago. It moved me as many of his speeches have and I thought it was worth putting a reminder here. I've talked and written a lot lately about the fact that we are one people, one world and how we need to have that view in order to move past all the negatives that have been thrown at us day in and day out for more months than I care to remember. Below are just a few paragraphs from that speech. It's worth reading the entire speech as we wind down this long, ugly campaign.

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at its very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

And those are Obama's words that I would leave with you on this day before perhaps the most important election of our lifetime. This is our chance to restore honor to our country and hope not only here, but around the world -- a world that is watching eagerly with the same hope that each of us share. The hope for a new day, a new beginning, for us and for the world.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cleaning Up Nuclear Waste at Hanford

This was sent to me by a good friend, whose son, Greg, is an Advisor to the activity going on at Hanford. He has been working to clean up Hanford for almost 20 years, fighting the government regarding how Hanford leaks are creating horrendous pollution in the Columbia River. This is aimed primarily at people living in Washington and Oregon, however everyone in this country should be aware of the possibilities as there are other nuclear plants all over this country.


PUBLIC MEETING:November, 18, 6PM Best Western Hood River Inn.

No meeting in Portland or Seattle. Just when you thought the focus at Hanford was finally on clean-up, the nuclear industry has a new plan to resume nuclear production at Hanford. This new proposal would create more waste on top of the 444 billion gallons of radioactive and chemical waste they have already dumped in the ground back in the days when we were in a Cold War with Russia.This ill-fated, illogical plan called the "Global Nuclear Energy Partnership" (GNEP) would reprocess the highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel that is sitting at reactors around this country. They want to reprocess this fuel to extract the plutonium that could be used in a new class of nuclear bomb. The GNEP worldwide partnership, including Russia, wants to sell you a new version of nuclear power that is "safe, cheap, and very clean". How many times have we heard this one? Have we not learned from our past?On one hand the U.S. is forging a massive war on Iraq that supposedly had weapons of mass-destruction. We threaten countries that are trying to produce nuclear weapons. On the other hand we are the ones proposing to produce more plutonium and make a new round of nuclear weapons.With a new President Barrack Obama we must help him remember our past. We must not forget that the U.S. holds the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. This new plan to re-process spent nuclear fuel sends the wrong signal around the world. It only increases the desire of other countries to enter into a new arms race for protection against our massive arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.The message the Bush administration has told the world is we will do what we want, while we dictate to others what they can have or not have. It is obvious that President Bush does not care about the Non-Proliferation Treaty that was designed to end the nuclear threat worldwide.This is not about being pro-nuke or anti-nuke. It is about making the world a safer place. It is about not creating more deadly waste when we still have not safely contained or treated the over 50 years of nuclear waste remaining from the Cold War.I find it ironic that the old Cold War warriors and the almost dead nuclear industry are trying once again to justify their existence by trying to sell us reprocessing as something that is green and perfectly safe. They even state that nuclear power is good for the planet. They still have not found permanent safe storage for all their waste, but yet they want to make more waste. Good for protecting the ozone. Simply too many lies for too many years.Few people know that back in the 1960's the nuclear industry discovered that the noble gas krypton-85 was a key player in ozone depletion. Yet with all of the concerns now surfacing about global warming, the fact this by-product of nuclear production and reactors is directly linked to ozone destruction. Yet they still want to call nuclear green? Even worse the National Academy of Science has concluded after years of study that there is "No Safe Dose" of radiation and that any dose has some risk to health. Yet knowing all of this, they want to try one more time to jump start a failing nuclear industry by feeding us even more half baked truths.

This proposal is like a horror movie that has been played too many times. Too many people have suffered and died because of the nuclear age. This arrogant behavior of few thinking they know what is best for the rest of us must be stopped.A public meeting has been scheduled to discuss the Draft GNEP EIS in Hood River. If you care about our National Security, if you care about Hanford being cleaned up, if you care about having high-level extremely radioactive waste being shipped on our highways and want to put and end to this craziness, then show up Tuesday night November 18th and bring your friends and family.

Greg deBruler, Hanford Technical ConsultantColumbia Riverkeeper 20 years. Dedicated to Cleaning up Hanford & the Protection of the Columbia River and all life dependent upon it.
Who Are the GNEP Members: http://www.gneppartnership.org/. Send Comments on GNEP-PEIS: http://www.gnep.gov/. Below is one more example that GNEP does not want the public to comment. Instead of having a single e-mail address to send your comments to, they want you to jump through all this to submit comments. They also are holding only two meetings in cities that are not supported by the pro-nuclear industry.

To find out more about Hanford you can check out this government website http://www.hanford.gov/ . This is a government site, so take it with a grain of salt.

Renewal in Nature's Beauty

It seems to me that particularly during the fall, our skies here in the area of Washington where I live, change almost minute by minute. Their beauty is breathtaking and every time I look up I feel a sense of renewal, of gratitude, of joy, of awe. During difficult times such as we are all experiencing these days, I find that the way for me to renew myself, my faith, my joy is found in taking a few minutes to focus on the beauty in our lives regardless of where we find that -- in nature, in family, in whatever lifts us out of the dark hole it is so easy to slip, slide or fall into during the week. So here are some of my reminders, I hope they work for you as they do for me.

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What Can I Say?

What Can I Say?
I'm interested in almost everything. Use to like to travel, but it's too expensive now. I take Tai Chi classes, swim, volunteer in a Jump-start program for pre-schoolers. I'm an avid reader and like nearly everyone these days I follow politics avidly. I'm a former teacher and Special Projects Coordinator for a Telecommunications company, Assistant to the President of a Japanese silicon wafer manufacturing company. Am now enjoying retirement -- most of the time. I have two daughters, one son-in-law and two sons scattered all over the country. No grandchildren.

Portland Time