Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Work Goes On

Rep. Mike Thompson held a town hall meeting on health care in Eureka here on the North Coast of CA Wednesday, which was by this early account from people who were there, well attended, civil and informative. That's been the trend of recent town meetings elsewhere--there have been thousands, with most people attentive, interested and largely in support, as E. J. Dionne notes in the Washington Post today. Now that people are prepared for rudeness from the Rabid Right, it's not being allowed to dominate and keep others from speaking, and people are telling their stories about this tragic absurdity called health care in America, asking their questions and getting information. Next week President Obama will address Congress on the essentials of the bills they will be considering in September. This photo, by the way, isn't from Eureka but from a town hall elsewhere. The quote is Ted Kennedy's.

Nightmare Daily Quote

This is for Rush, Michelle, Glen, the birthers, the deathers, and guys like this who Dan Savage fingered on Keith for "actively and, consciously or subconsciously, trying to get, I’m just gonna say it, trying to get the President killed." People who don't care about the atmosphere of hatred they create and the permission they give and the violence they incite, or the devastation they can cause a world, a nation, a generation, and a family... It's from Sixty Days and Counting, a novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, in which a President named Phil Chase is the victim of an assassination attempt:

"In reaction to it they would all mouth the same platitudes they had said before. The lone assasin would turn out to be a nonentity, hardly noticed by anyone before, and no one would point out that the constant spew of hatred against Phil in the ring-wing media had created the conditions for such madmen, perhaps had even directly inspired this one, just as no one had said it about the Oklahoma City bomber back in the interregnum between the end of the Cold War and 9/11, when for lack of anything better to hate the hatred had been directed at the federal government. Their culture was a petri dish in which hatred and murder were bred on purpose by people who intended to make money from it. And so it had happened again, and yet the people who had filled the madmen's addled mind with ideas, and filled his hand with the gun, and even now were sneering in the commentaries that Chase had risked it after all, daring so much, flouting so much, the only suprise was that it hadn't happened sooner--these people would never acknowledge or even fully understand their complicity."

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Southern California Burning

Fire wiping out homes and hiking trails in the Angeles National Forest--very close to LA (I stayed there on my last trip)--and threatening the Mt. Wilson Observatory and a lot of communications towers. Another fire near Yosemite, and in Pasadena the evacuation of the Jet Propulsion Lab meant that the rovers stopped in their tracks--on Mars. There are still seven major fires in all. Says Salon's LA-based TV writer:"Los Angeles is a smoky, apocalyptic hellhole today." Bruce Sterling posts some eerie time-lapse film, and a southern CA native posts a concise explanation for why these fires are so unusual--and so related to the Climate Crisis drought. LA expects fires with the Santa Ana winds in October. There are no winds yet, but the parched forests are burning anyway. The impact will be felt not only in LA--and not only on Mars. See American Dash for more on that. Update: Joseph Romm quantifies the influence of global heating on the CA fire season.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What Kennedy Said About Obama

Senator Kennedy made what he knew might be his last major public speech at the Democratic national convention exactly a year before his death, to support the candidacy of Barack Obama for President, as he had done at a crucial moment in the Democratic primaries. From his speech at the convention:
"I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and to elect Barack Obama President of the United States...We have never lost our belief that we are all called to a better country and a newer world...
"For me, this is a season of hope: new hope for a just and fair prosperity for the many, not just the few. New hope--and this is the cause of my life--new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American-- north, south, east, west, young, old--will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege. We can meet these challenges with Barack Obama--yes we can, and finally, yes we will.
"There is a new wave of change all around us, and if we set our compass true, we will reach our destination--not merely victory for our party but renewal for our nation. And this November the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans, and so with Barack Obama and for you, and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on."

What Obama Said About Kennedy

From President Obama's eulogy at the funeral Mass for Senator Ted Kennedy:
"Ted Kennedy was the father who looked after not only his own three children, but John's and Bobby's as well. He took them camping and taught them to sail. He laughed and danced with them at birthdays and weddings; cried and mourned with them through hardship and tragedy; and passed on that same sense of service and selflessness that his parents had instilled in him. Shortly after Ted walked Caroline down the aisle and gave her away at the altar, he received a note from Jackie that read, "On you the carefree youngest brother fell a burden a hero would have begged to be spared. We are all going to make it because you were always there with your love."
"We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know God's plan for us. What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and love, and joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures. And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we can know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of other human beings. This is how Ted Kennedy lived. This is his legacy."
"The greatest expectations were placed upon Ted Kennedy's shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became. We do not weep for him today because of the prestige attached to his name or his office. We weep because we loved this kind and tender hero who persevered through pain and tragedy - not for the sake of ambition or vanity; not for wealth or power; but only for the people and the country he loved."