Saturday, February 28, 2009
Created a new blog for news related to the new Zen Group, and some of the more dharma-based postings here. This will remain a place for your Gabriel fix, thoughts on politics, and mad musings on life.
For the Zen stuff, hop on over to the Deming Zen Group blog.
Friday, February 27, 2009
This weekend, five folks interested in sitting here are going to come over, see the space, meet me in person, and we'll talk about schedule and logistics. We are getting underway.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Call Rush, Hannity, Michelle Malkin, all of them. This will provide them with their unsubstantiated smear du jour: a major hub of the blogosphere revealing its secret connection to the evil scourge of Islam. They might even get some Washington Republicans from Congress in on it, the way they roped some of them into their loony conspiracy theories about Obama's citizenship.
Wait -- what's this? I just left another comment and the word verification was SOCIALISM!
Let me try another one. Oh my God! The word verification was PAUL_IS_DEAD!
Number 9...number 9...number 9...number 9...number 9...
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
For my part, I asked the boy if he knew what that word meant. He shook his head. To him, it was a vague insult word like "fool." Some of the kids knew its more specific connotation and some didn't. So we talked about it. I introduced the word, its various old meanings, and how it is used against homosexuals. No one was chastised in this conversation. I told the lad (who was a little embarrassed) I just wanted him to know, so he could choose his words with care.
It's a matter of cultural education.
Sean Delonas, a cartoonist whose cartoons appear in the New York Post, evidently could use some cultural education himself. He has apparently passed through his adult life so far without noticing that a common racist stereotype through the history of cartooning is to depict black people as chimpanzees, gorillas, and other simians. This is why his cartoon appearing in the Post this week startled and repulsed so many readers.
You may have heard about the cartoon. I am loathe to clip it and print it here, but it shows two policeman and a chimpanzee they have just gunned down. The main reference is to a recent news story about a chimp attack: some madwoman gave her pet chimpanzee Xanax and the animal mauled one of her friends, forcing police to shoot the chimp. However, the cartoon causes the room to make that awful lurch when Delonas has one of the policeman say, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
If we give Delonas the benefit of the doubt and assume his humor was not intended to be racist, we are left to consider him tasteless and ignorant. The stimulus bill is closely identified with President Obama (who else do you think of when someone mentions it?). His image is thus evoked in a cartoon showing a chimpanzee that has been gunned down.
"Absolutely friggin' ridiculous," says Delonas in response to the immediate firestorm over the cartoon.
The Post has made more than one response to the protests, including an apology to anyone who was offended, that show either a willful sidestepping of the issue or a complete lack of cultural sensitivity. The paper insisted the cartoon was about the chimp attack in the news. When it acknowledges the reference to Obama, the Post merely says it is making fun of "an ineptly written stimulus bill."
Um, this is ignoring the elephant in the room. Or rather, the chimpanzee in the room.
It is easy to point a finger and call someone a racist. Delonas might be, but again -- benefit of the doubt. It could be a simple case of ignorance. Maybe he really doesn't understand the relationship in our history between cartoons of chimps and attacks on African-Americans, or the spectre of assassination that looms over Obama.
Other cartoons by Delonas are on the internet, and I looked at many of them. He targets gays, transgenders, celebrities and politicians he does not like, with humor that is often so juvenile I wince with embarrassment for him.
His response is to dismiss the concerns as "absolutely friggin' ridiculous." My fourth grader, on the other hand, was embarrassed but mainly grateful to know. He was lucky to get his instruction in a classroom among friends. It is time for someone close to Mr. Delonas to sit him down with some historic cartoons and give the man some background. It probably wouldn't change Delonas's sense of humor, but at least he could no longer plead ignorance.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Schroeder appeared to take our move to New Mexico well and was reconciled to the addition of a baby human in the household, provided he still got to snack on salsa occasionally. We got him new toys that he seemed to like.
One day in September, he left a fecal offering on the kitchen floor and Sarah put him outside so she could clean up. She heard him meow. And during the time Sarah swabbed the floor with vinegar, Schroeder ran off. It was that abrupt. He was there, he was gone.
We walked the neighborhood, including the alleyways between blocks where the trash is collected. We drove around. Friends or family members would tell us they saw a black cat, and we'd look. But no Schroeder.
We gave him up for dead. Schroeder was a spoiled indoor cat who dreamed himself a deadly panther, yet cowered in fear from spiders. How could such a creature survive out there with large dogs, pickup trucks, freight trains, and lots of spiders?
This month, however, Sarah discovered Schroeder alive and well, right in our neighborhood, sniffing around our neighbor's yard. She called to him and he sauntered away. He has a new home around the corner. He might have thumbed his nose at her, if he had a thumb.
Just like him! That's Schroeder to a tee.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
While recovering from my medicine and following my doctor's command to rest, I have been reading a history of the American labor movement from the Civil War to the Eisenhower Administration. Some of the events that have taken place in labor relations are truly stunning. People who called George W. Bush things like "the worst president in history" might not know we have had presidents who allowed the national guard and the United States army to be deployed against citizens, as strike-breaking forces. Today, we complain about corporate bonuses and other excessive spending by corporations. How many of us recall Ford turning machine guns on its own employees who were striking for the eight-hour day?
One tried and true tactic against progress has been the red scare, a play still very much in use today. With the eight-hour day and living wage, there come a point where the public simply rejected the idea that decent working conditions and reasonable pay was a Communist ideal.
Perhaps, at last, it will be the same with American health care. A new poll suggests that maybe, just maybe, public opinion is warming to the idea of government involvement in health care, and turning away from the ongoing red-baiting and fear-mongering about it. (Today subsidized pharmacies, tomorrow bread lines and gulags!!)
Let us be cautiously optimistic.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Baby Gabriel clucked and spat, and tugged at the carpet until it flew up and stood parallel to Lincoln's silhouette for an instant before the shadow flew away on brittle wing snaps, two crow feathers falling in his wake, which is always how Lincoln leaves me. Alone with the monkeys out in the side yard, starting their mad barking a little early today.
"Lost, fella?" I turned to the left and it was Hondo, all faded WarnerColor goodness. "My bed," said I, "I think I was a little overzealous with the monkeys."
"I know how that is," said Hondo with a shrug. "Here, step into my tent."
I did, wonderful burlap-sage-burnt smelling tent, and down I crashed through buttery jade leaves and sandpaper cat tongues while the nurses pulled my bed up around me and I hung from the fireplace snug in my bedstocking content to sleep til shambhala.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 09, 2009
I ask this question frequently, and it stands: Why do we assume these are the only two political parties competent to address the people's business? Why are must we embrace "bipartisan" efforts incorporating insane and discredited ideas? Isn't there a point where we grant higher status to good information and sensible ideas, and dismiss the stupid and incorrect? The assumption that the only solutions to a sluggish economy can come exclusively from the owner class is wrong, disproven, documented, and put away.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Monday, February 02, 2009
. . .