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Archive for September, 2010

Clinton offers advice to Obama: go sell your plans

Giving credit to the Republicans for their candor in the wake of Tuesday’s primaries, President Bill Clinton urged President Obama to take his ‘story’ to American voters and make a more rigorous case for what his administration has accomplished and what they plan to do to spur economic recovery and job growth.

Clinton offered his analysis in an interview with Yahoo! News and The Huffington Post. He acknowledged both the administration’s efforts to reverse the economic downturn and the frustration, anger and anxiety so many Americans feel in this precarious financial climate: “He and the Congress have done a better job than they’ve gotten credit for. But they shouldn’t ask for credit because people can’t give credit if they don’t feel better.”

In response to the success of conservative Republicans in Tuesday’s primaries, he urged the President to get “out on there on the stump” and sell his own plan. “He’s got a story to tell. Talk about the stakes, not name call but tell the facts. The Republicans have been very candid and I give them this, with what they intend to do if they get into Congress,” he said.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20100918/el_yblog_upshot/clinton-offers-advice-to-obama-go-sell-your-plans

People seem to have very short memories. Obama did not create the crisis that has beset this country, he inherited it from the previous inept administration. He cannot work miracles, but is doing a good job with what he has. It will take time to reverse the mess he took over. The people seem to forget that Clinton was an excellent president. He brought fiscal prosperity and respect from foreign nations. He seems to be remembered only for his wandering penis, something that snared many previous commanders-in-chief. His advise is sound.

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Ageism Alive & Well

From an article in the October issue of Reader’s Digest: “Make it Stop! 13 Fads That Have Got To Go”

Group Pride

It’s great to take pride in one’s ethnic diversity, but does everyone have to break it down for you? “I’m one quarter Cherokee on my dad’s side and Jewish, Samoan, and one twelfth Minnesotan on my mom’s … ” Who cares? And the other day, the guy who fixed my computer proudly proclaimed, “I’m a geek!” There was a time when geeks were ashamed of their techie status. Not anymore. Know what else is new? “Croning” festivals for women turning 60. Yippee! I’m a full-grown crone! Is there no one who isn’t proud of who they are?

Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids

http://www.rd.com/clean-jokes-and-laughs/make-it-stop-13-fads-that-have-got-to-go/article185429.html

Here’s my response to Ms. Skenazy:

The “Make it Stop” article was quite amusing, but less amusing is your thinking that it’s okay to insult a religious/spiritual rite of passage ceremony called Croning by implying it is a “fad” that should go.  Would you suggest that Bar Mitzvahs are a fad and need to go?

When Pagan/Wiccan/tribal women celebrate their entrance into cronehood it is a very special transition in their spiritual lives.  (This ancient rite of passage is more recently being celebrated by non-Pagan/Wiccan/tribal women as well.)  It is not a matter of being “proud of who they are,” it’s a matter of celebrating those whose wisdom and experience have earned our respect and recognition.

It seems to have become quite acceptable to display a lack of respect for the senior members of our society.  I’m sure when you reach your crone years there will still be people who will be more than willing to push you aside and forget you, but there are those of us who will continue to celebrate life’s milestones and fight the sort of ageism you exhibit.

See:  http://www.oldwomensproject.org/real_life.htm
See: http://www.tryskelion.com/tryskelion/crone6.htm

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By Their Creator…

Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association (like they really care about families), is upset that President Obama made a reference to the DoI and didn’t include mention of a “creator.”

<<<< “On September 17, President Barack Obama spoke to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 33rd Annual Award Gala. During his speech – reading from a teleprompter – he quoted from the Declaration of Independence. Here is what he said: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain unalienable rights, life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

<<<< Obama omitted the words “by their Creator” from his speech. Why? Given the fact that he was using a teleprompter, I can only conclude that this was intentional. Either he, or his speechwriter, did not want to give credit to Almighty God. This kind of action would be in step with modern secular liberalism which is hostile to the Christian faith and hates the historical fact that America’s founders revered and acknowledged God in so many ways that are indisputable, such as these words in the Declaration of Independence: “endowed by their Creator.”

<<<< The best action Christians can take in response to this is to both work and pray for changes in Washington, D.C. You can start by getting everyone you know who is eligible to vote to register and vote November 2. We need more men and women who, like our founders, understand that our rights are from God and not from man.” >>>>

These people are so stupid they don’t realize that Obama was making a reference, not quoting the text verbatim.  It was the principle, not a religious statement that was his message.  He was not attempting to initiate a change in the language of the document.  What Obama did was use terminology that is inclusive of everyone, not just the Religious Reich.  They may not like it, but even atheists have unalienable rights in this country.  And they need to learn that not all of us look to their deity for our civil rights, our rights come from a secular government.

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That should make Bob Maginnis and fellow bigots and homophobes happy.

<<<< Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis (USA-Ret.) was part of the military working group that helped craft the 1993 law, known as Section 654, Title 10 which strictly prohibits homosexuals from serving in the military. That law has often been confused with Bill Clinton’s more lenient administrative policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

<<<< “If you go ahead and do something as radical as allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military, those [who volunteer for military service] are going to begin to evaporate in a major way,” he warns. “We’re going to jeopardize the safety of this country because we’re going to have to return, as far as I’m concerned, to the draft.”

<<<< According to Maginnis, that exodus will occur because the vast majority of those who volunteer for military service support the ban. “They don’t understand, and rightly so, why social experiments have to be foisted on our armed forces,” he explains. “It’s almost criminal — and certainly despicable in my mind.” >>>>

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Politics/Default.aspx?id=1176194

Civil rights are not “social experiments.”  Do these people really think our members of the military don’t know that homosexuals have always served along side them?  If the entirety of our military would be destroyed by removing the fear of being unfairly discharged based on sexual orientation, then it’s being manned by idiots and bigots no sane person should want to serve with anyway.

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Public Prayer

<<<< As students across the country and around the world gather around their school flag poles to pray, a Christian legal group is reminding them of their rights to participate in “See you at the Pole.”

<<<< Organizers predict between one and two million students will participate in today’s annual “See You at the Pole,” and Doug Clark, national promotion coordinator for the nationwide event, explains that this year’s theme is “Reveal.”

<<<< “The world ‘reveal’ is the theme for 2010. We’re hoping that that will ignite some prayer that says, ‘God, reveal yourself to us; reveal yourself through us.’ It really is courageous for students to pray,” Clark continues. “My heroes and sheroes in ‘See You at the Pole’ are that young man or that young woman who [is] standing there praying by themselves for their campus — not to put on a show, but simply because their heart bleeds for their friends.” >>>>

Oh, please. These neo-Pharisees most definitely are putting on a show, and in doing so are rejecting Jesus’ instructions regarding prayer: “And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corner (and around the flag pole), in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” If these people were truly interested in proper worship they would follow the commands of their Lord and go to an “…inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”

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O’Donnell and Witchcraft

Some follow-up on Christine O’Donnell’s dodging of the media after her comment regarding “dabbling in Witchcraft” came to light. This excerpt is from The Wild Hunt http://wildhunt.org/blog/2010/09/the-political-peril-of-dabbling.html

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It’s only a matter of time before some genius in the mainstream media drags a willing media-hungry Witch or Satanist into the limelight to get their “opinion” about O’Donnell’s “dabbling”. Aside from the idle speculation from our community about what sort of experiences she really had when she was dabbling, I think we should be very careful about how we get involved in this. In fact, if anything, we should be paying very close attention to how O’Donnell’s opponents use this against her. As Pagans, we have no real problem with people trying out different religions, practicing multiple religious simultaneously, or even leaving our faiths entirely if it doesn’t suit them. O’Donnell may have unwisely exaggerated her experiences back in 1999 to prove a rhetorical point, but the current inference that there’s something deficient with her politically because she once tried out Witchcraft is one that inherently demeans modern Pagan religions. It says that people who are Wiccan or Pagan can’t be serious candidates, or at least serious conservative candidates, but we know that isn’t true.

The wisest thing O’Donnell could do right now regarding this is to say “so what”, I was a kid, I tried it, I didn’t like it, I returned to Catholicism (which seems to be the direction the campaign is heading). Her silence is only feeding speculation and encouraging her opponents to dig deeper though her old media appearances. Indeed, she has more troubling off-the-cuff statements to explain than this one, so waiting this storm out may not be the best option. In the meantime, Pagan faiths are sent the message that while they may enjoy some perks of mainstream acceptance, they, like other minority faiths, are not fully welcome into the halls of political power. Those trying to use this clip as a political club to hurt her candidacy may not realize that it is also damaging the advances of modern Pagans trying to work for equal treatment and an end to unspoken litmus tests.

There are plenty of reasons to oppose and criticize O’Donnell if you don’t like her positions, but this shouldn’t be one of them. That said, if she decides to respond to this mess by attacking modern Paganism that’s a different story, but so far the only people mocking us are those trying to embarrass this candidate. There should be no political cost to “dabbling” with our faiths, in fact, I wish more people would dabble in Paganism, if only to humanize our experience to those coming from a place of ignorance.

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I may as well admit it at this point, I once dabbled in Catholicism. What can I say, it was back in the early ’60s when we were trying a lot of different things. I went with a date to a mass and sang a few hymns, but I didn’t join a church or eat Jesus meat or drink Jesus blood or light a candle or do anything on the altar, or anything like that. Really.

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The Meaning of Life

A WAY OF APPROACHING THE UNIVERSE

You are a tiny speck of insignificant biological material in an immense universe that probably defies your brain’s ability of understanding. Yet you are remarkable, in innumerable ways. Every second of every day you are a walking ecosystem of life, housing trillions of microbes that continuously interact with you to keep both you and them alive. Your body is constantly building and rebuilding itself, encoding information on simple strains of molecules at the speed of jet engines, in each and every nucleus-possessing cell in your body. You are a walking, talking, living, breathing orchestra of life, a beautiful display of the potential inherent in our particular universe.

You are the remarkable product of an unbroken, let me say that again, UNBROKEN line of descendants stretching all the way back to the very first interactions of seemingly pointless inanimate molecules. You share a common ancestry with every living thing ever, including the estimated 106 billion humans who have ever lived. You are tied to the trees and the birds and the small phytoplankton that gently ride the crests and dips of the oceans of this world. You are part of the vibrant tapestry of what we refer to as life, a piece of art that stretches back billions upon billions of years. Everything this universe has thrown at you and your ancestors has been roundly defeated – from harsh radiation, to extraterrestrial objects, to volcanic eruptions and more. You are a symbol of utter perseverance, of the sheer will to continue onwards. You are a cry in the dark, the voice of one who will not be quiet.

So now you’ve realized that there is no inherent meaning to existence. So what? This doesn’t mean life has suddenly lost meaning – it means there was no meaning in the first place. So you haven’t actually lost anything. Instead, you have gained a wonderful opportunity. Give existence the meaning it is seeking. MAKE a purpose for yourself. Maybe it should be your kids, or maybe it should be giving from the bounty you have (because let us face reality – if you have an internet connection and personal computer, you are in the top 10%, maybe even the top 1%, of humanity). Maybe you should learn a new skill, explore a new facet of creation that you never realized was open to you.

So why do you teach a toddler how to behave? Because maybe that toddler will be the one to find other life, other existences in our so far lonely universe. Or maybe they will be the father, the mother, the close friend, the lover, the supporter of the one who does. Or maybe they will be the person to speak out at just the right moment, the one to stand up and stand out, who will provide the inspiration, or the moment of connection for the person who does. Or maybe that toddler will be the one to protect the life around us from an otherwise inevitable end, from the sucking void of an empty existence that we struggle against every second of our being.

Are you just a breeder? Just biology? What an insult to biology! Just?!? I forgive you, because you know not what you say. You are the product of a few basic particles, a few basic forces, yet you are impossibly complex, impossibly intricate. The sheer unlikeliness of your very existence is staggering, and yet here you are. The title of “breeder” is just a single facet of what you are. You can be a teacher, a leader, a thinker, a cook, a scientist, an artist, a musician, a protector, an enlightener, a champion, a peacemaker, a lover, a friend, a companion, a confidant… the list is as vast as the seemingly infinite complexities of neuron interactions in the collection of molecular structures known as cells in your brain.

And let us not end our poetic license there, for if all that is true, then this is also: There is something after death. The part of you that continues to exist in all life around you will never cease to be, not as long as things from this planet continue to live. You will continue on, interminably, from the beginning of life to its end potentially countless aeons from now, if ever. Maybe through some fluke you will be the Eve for humanity in the future, the one woman every human will trace their ancestry back to. Maybe not. But who can tell what the future holds. Rather than collapse under the imagined weight of nothingness, I posit that you should grasp hold of your life, and take it to heights heretofore unseen.

This essay was originated by a Reddit contributor who goes by Schmeelkster
and was published in Al Stefanelli’s blog http://networkedblogs.com/83zdT

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