Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Unveiling

I had the privilege of going to an unveiling of a tombstone today in a Jewish cemetery. It was a wonderful service, full of joy and remembrance of Paula, the lady who had passed away. The beautiful tombstone had both Hebrew and English written on it.

I am not Jewish, but I was so honored to be there for this lovely service - among a family that I really like a lot. To see the closeness and faith in this family, and friends, was beautiful. They even had a recording of her laugh - a contagious, hearty laugh

It also reminds me that we are all more alike than different. Whether Christan, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim....does it really matter? We all have our beliefs and should all respect the differences. If we remember and honor the differences and try to learn and understand from each other, that just makes our own worlds that much more rich. God said to love and not judge. I wish everyone in the world could see it that way.

Paula was a very special person, and she will continue to be missed. I remember when I met her. She made a very sweet comment to me about my fiance: "He's a great person. You won't hear a bad thing about him," she said. I suspect the same is true about her. I also suspect that, although she will continue to be missed here on earth, in heaven everyone is probably really enjoying that hearty, contagious laugh right about now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rest in Peace, Senator Kennedy

Serving as a Senator for over four decades, Ted Kennedy did much in his lifetime. As a Kennedy, he was born into a life of priviledge, but suffered so much tragedy and loss.

Despite his status, he always looked out for regular folks - and the underdogs. He authored legislation on a so many things, among them being better access to health care (he was still fighting to take it further), increasing the minimum wage, and even funding Meals on Wheels for seniors on fixed incomes. He also looked out for the youth by reducing the voting age from 21 to 18, and helped women athletes to get better funding. His goals were not only varied but very needed.

I will remember him for being a fellow Massachusetts resident many years ago and for all he did for people. He will always have my respect and he will be missed. Rest in peace, Senator.

Soylent Communications

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Don't Pull the Soul of Uptown

When I left Minneapolis in 2001, ultimately to come back, the things I missed the most were Uptown and the lakes. I still love Uptown and still feel the most at home there, and additions are nice. But there is such a thing as taking away its soul when too many "usual" places are added and too many of the landmarks are leveled.

Calhoun Square only has a couple of unique places left. It used to be there were some very quirky shops that you couldn't find other places. Those have slowly disappeared. There are only a couple left and they are pricey.

Now they are talking about taking away the Uptown Bar. Is it super classy? Not really. But that's not the point - and it is a landmark. According to the Star Tribune:
"Hopes of saving the Uptown Bar & Cafe at its present location dimmed Monday as the Minneapolis Planning Commission unanimously approved a development plan to level the long-beloved rock club and brunch spot in favor of a new, three-story retail space."
When they built the ridiculous condo development on Calhoun Parkway and Lake Street that absorbed the Uptown Theater sign that you could always see from across the lake, well, that was somewhat tolerable. Adding cool restaurants and shops - also tolerable. But, don't continue to take away the things that are landmarks and really make it a unique place to go. Uptown is the closest thing to the Village in New York that we have here. It isn't supposed to be the regular stuff that you can get everywhere else.

For those of us who like to hang in Uptown, it is the unconventional people, landscape, and places that make it so....well, unconventional. It is already bad enough when suburbanites flow into the scene with their big
SUV's and act like the own the place.

Try to remember what Uptown stands for and leave some things as they are. It is, after all, what makes it Uptown and what gives it its very original heartbeat. I guess as things continue to change, there is some comfort in what is left. If not, at least we'll still have
Magers & Quinn.

Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hurricane Bill

The ocean has always been the most relaxing and inspiring place in the world to me. The waves on the shoreline are rhythmic and beautiful - they spark my creativity, and bring me peace.

As Hurricane Bill plows through the east coast, we are reminded that the beauty of the water can quickly turn powerful and frightening. In this picture, you can see the height and strength of the waves. As it crashes - literally - on the shore, the beauty and peace of the water changes dramatically.

I'm reminded of all the times I experienced hurricanes when I lived on the east coast - especially the time a tree crashed on our roof in Massachusetts. But, the funniest memory is a conversation I had with a fellow student when I moved to the Midwest. They insisted that they too had hurricanes in Ohio. I stated they were a little too far from the ocean for that, but they became even more insistent. As it was not an uncommon trait in that town to be a bit ignorant, I am continually thankful I spent only nine months in that tiny town. I'm not much of a small town girl anyway.

One thing I learned from my oldest brother when I was very young: "Don't get in an argument with an ignorant person, you're just wasting your time, and they'll just frustrate you to no end." I remembered that in this conversation too.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Way to Go, Barney Frank

After the yelling matches when a healthy debate would have been much more useful, it was nice to see Barney Frank yell right back at a crazy woman who said Obama was a these people have any idea just how evil Hitler was and what he stood for? And what on earth does that have to do with health care? Let alone, she says this to a Jewish man? Could she be more offensive? Cudos to Frank for standing up to her, sarcasm and all:

Then, we have Limbaugh. Instead of realizing it was an offensive and ridiculous question in the first place, he makes this statement about Frank, as noted on Huffington Post:
On his show Wednesday (via Mediaite), Limbaugh responded, mocking Frank and asking, "Isn't it an established fact that Barney Frank himself spends most of his time living around Uranus?"
Oh, funny one, Rush. How original - and way to go off on something totally irrelevant and even more stupid, and defend a woman who is nuts. You continually prove yourself over and over again: as a close-minded, malicious, pig. Maybe after Glenn Beck finally departs the airwaves, you will be next.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Socialized Medicine"

The health care reform debate goes on....

Working in social services, I know there is a need for reform. Working full-time in a job that supplies my health care for only as long as I work, I know we need reform. Living in one of the richest countries in the world and having some of the worst health care - well, isn't it obvious?

So, we go on with this debate. The lies go on. The "death squads," the socialism, the blah, blah, blah. Fact is, we need reform. Spreading lies only proves more and more the fear that is out there. The same old argument that has been going on for years continues. It is now just padded more with lies and scare tactics, especially for older folks.

So, to quote a great blogger:, quoting another great blogger: Hunter at DailyKos,
this is quite well put:

Three general guidelines for the health care debate:

First, whenever someone is spouting off about "communist fascism", you may ignore everything that person says from that point forward. Fascism and communism are two entirely different things, and a primary tenet of fascism is its opposition to communism.

[...]Second, you cannot be "against socialized medicine" and at the same time think Medicare is good. Medicare is, in no uncertain term, socialized medicine, and government run, and all of that very scary stuff. If the concept of "socialized medicine" outrages you, you are against Medicare. If you are for Medicare, then by definition there is some level of "socialized medicine" you are willing to accept, and at that point you are exactly where the entire rest of the country is, and we're merely arguing about the details.

All of the people who say that they are afraid of socialized medicine but that they support Medicare are liars. All of them. They either secretly don't support Medicare but are unwilling to say such an unpopular thing out loud, for obvious reasons, or they aren't in fact afraid of "socialized medicine" but still want to use the talking point.

[...]The third guideline: the first two guidelines are freaking obvious.

I'd also add a fourth guideline: call them a liar to their face, and walk away. Anyone who says one. some, or all of the above talking points has drunk the kool-aid for far too long to listen to reason.

What else is there to say? It gets funnier and funnier, except it isn't funny anymore. Most of the people debating this are older folks on Medicare! Get real, and see past your own nose. As Craig T. Nelson, a mediocre actor at best (what was that silly show he was on years ago?) said in his incredibly stupid comment last spring on the even more half-baked Glenn Beck show: "I've been on food stamps and welfare. Did anybody help me out? No!"

Really? Didn't help you out at all? What do you think food stamps and welfare are?

Let's face it, these folks aren't only drinking the kool-aid, they are drowning in it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thank you, State Farm

I've been with State Farm insurance for years. I know there are others out there that are great - and have great ads - like Geico and Progressive - but State Farm has been good to me in my coverage thus far.

I was ready to write them a letter this morning about supporting Glenn Beck's craziness, and was happy to read they had pulled their ads from his ranting show as well. According to Daily Kos, a letter from State Farm stated that:
"We have a policy of not advertising on political or opinion programming. These ads were mistakenly aired, we have corrected this issue and have taken steps to make sure it does not happen again."
Thank you, State Farm. And here is to many others pulling their support from this lunatic.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Daily Show's "Death Panel Debate"

As many far right conservatives continue on with the massive fear of the health care bill, with little knowledge of what it is really about, the Daily Show addressed it in such a funny way I had to post it. Between the "Birthers," the plants at town hall meetings, and the just plain ludicrous lies that are out there, it is amazing to me that people are actually buying this. In a hilarious way, the panel on the Daily Show really shows how crazy these ideas are:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Healther Skelter - Obama Death Panel Debate
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fidel Has Spoken

In something right out of a movie, our dear friend Fidel is finally waking up after six weeks in a coma. His first words: When his girlfriend, Melissa, said "I love you," he said "I love you too, babe." Could there have been a more appropriate set of words for the first ones? Could it have been to anyone better than her?

She told him he had been asleep for a long time. He asked how long. She told him it had been six weeks and it was almost time for his birthday. She said he smiled. There will be a big party in a couple of days when he turns 49.

Of course, this isn't a movie and in real life he will slowly be coming to and slowing getting back to normal. But these are good signs. And he has been missed.

Now the rest of the recovery continues. We will all be there every step of the way. But, hey, he is slowly waking up, he has smiled, and he is moving around. But most of all, he has spoken.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Freedom for Laura Ling & Euna Lee

As writers, we are always talking about creativity and freedom of expression. This is something we take for granted in the United States and many other places. I cannot begin to imagine the thoughts that have run through the minds of Laura Ling and Euna Lee over the last five months. Both were used to that freedom of expression that they had always known. Both were used to not having strict limitations.

When their ordeal began, there was not even a real trial. They were quickly sentenced to twelve years of hard labor. I can't even imagine how frightening it must have been. I'm sure they hoped and prayed that someone would step in and help them to know freedom again.

President Clinton has been accused many times of getting involved in things when he shouldn't have. In this case, I'm glad he did. He was the right person to step in and free these two women. The grateful families commented on his efforts in the Washington Post:

"We are counting the seconds to hold Laura and Euna in our arms," said a statement from their families, whose united effort to free the women display the qualities - discipline, determination and devotion - that friends said marked the captives' lives.

"We especially want to thank President Bill Clinton for taking on such an arduous mission and Vice President Al Gore for his tireless efforts to bring Laura and Euna home," the statement said. "We must also thank all the people who have supported our families through this ordeal, it has meant the world to us. "

People can criticize former President Clinton for getting involved, and people can criticize the two women for going where they shouldn't have. But, they are journalists and they need to tell a story - and it is never logical anyway when you are dealing with a communist country and an unhinged leader.

So, thank you, President Clinton (and former Vice President Al Gore, who worked behind the scenes)
- for helping two young women who's futures went from very bright to very bleak. Thank you for sticking up for them when everything else going on pushed them far away from the headlines. It speaks volumes for journalists and writers around the world.

As for Laura and Euna, welcome home. I hope that now you will not only taste freedom again, but your futures will begin to brighten once more.

Monday, August 3, 2009

...And on the View

Let's now Michelle Malkin is pumping her book on "The View," and I suppose everywhere else. I'll refrain from talking about the obvious. Just a couple of points:

1) Talking louder and over everyone else does not make you smarter, just louder.

2) Saying you wrote "400 pages" does not mean much. It can be 400 pages of total crap, which I suspect it is.

3) Most interesting, you stated a couple of times that "enough about Bush." Well, you basically wrote a book on six whole months of an administration stating that they are doing everything wrong and that there is not enough change? Bush was in office for eight years and screwed everything up. Do you really think everything is going to be changed - and fixed - in six months? President Obama is not perfect, but he isn't a superhero either - however, he does have an IQ over 100.

5) You STILL support the war we never should have been a part of in the first place?

4) Lastly, loved your comment about the girls on the view who were on the "friendlier side of the aisle." As nasty as you are to people, it is amazing to me you can find friendly sides anywhere.

You aren't that smart, honey. And, yes, there is corruption everywhere in government and no administration is perfect. However, there isn't an administration in our history that hasn't had a lot of imperfect people in it. If a president was going to fill his administration with people with perfect histories, I suspect there would be a lot of empty chairs. This is politics, after all. It is more what the people do to move on, work together, and stand up to make the country better.

Really, Michelle. You just don't get it. You are insult to writers and to women. You're even an insult to ignorant, stupid people.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Michelle Malkin's Obvious Jealousy

One has to wonder why certain members of the media have to be so nasty. I've never figured it out with Ann Coulter. She just seems to be nasty for no other reason than to be nasty. This also seems to be true with Michelle Malkin, who is just another version of Coulter. Both of them like to twist things around just to get attention - true or not. Malkin's latest attacks are on our First Lady, Michelle Obama. As noted on Media Matters, her comments don't seem to hold any real truth to them:

"In the Chicago patronage culture that made Michelle Obama, the color that matters most is neither black nor white, it is green - the color of money. Mrs. Obama was literally born into the Chicago political corruptocracy. Her father, Fraser Robinson, was a volunteer precinct caption for the Democrat Party. Washington Post writer Liza Mundy called him "an essential member of the powerful political machine run by [Richard J.] Daley, who, in addition to being mayor, was the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee, meaning he controlled both the government and the political party, and could use one to do the other's bidding." Former alderman Leon Despres bluntly told Mundy that it was "overwhelmingly likely" that Robinson's job at the city water department was a reward for his loyalty. "The water department, where Fraser Robinson worked, was a renowned repository of patronage jobs."

Malkin ignored the biography's argument that Frank Robinson had little choice but to be politically active while holding a city job.

A former Chicago alderman told Mundy: "The majority of the people were [serving as precinct captains] because their jobs depended on it." Mundy reported:

As a precinct captain, you could expect, in return for this political policing, a city job. In fact, doing "volunteer" work was almost the only way you could get one. "To get a city job, you'd have to have some kind of recommendation from your ward committeeman," says Don Rose, describing a system in which it was crucial to have a recommender, somebody watching out for you -- your patron. Daley kept a file cabinet with a list of jobs in it and was said to know the names of everybody who held them.

Get a clue, Ms. Malkin. Even in your interviews you use a lot of big words that you clearly don't understand. And the facts are either distorted or ignored. This is journalism? Seems more like twisted sensationalism.

Let's face it, Michelle Obama has more class, integrity, and intelligence than you will ever see. Maybe that is the real reason why you keep seeing green.