The Associated Press reports from Iraq that bombings killed at least 35 children there today. "Early" information has "at least" one U.S. soldier dead, at least 141 people wounded which includes....10 U.S. soldiers. (expect more)
In another location entirely, the day of violence left an additional 46 people dead and an additional 208 wounded.
Reports are that this is the largest death toll of children in any insurgent attack since the conflict began 17 months ago.
We must think about this as we listen to the Debate tonight and remember one man wants to keep us in war and the other wants to lead us to peace. Whichever man you choose for President, your vote votes for the Direction he is going in as well. And, once the elections are over, the direction the majority of us vote for will be irreversible.
I, for one, am broken hearted every time I hear the death toll that is being caused by violence in Iraq (or anywhere in the world). So, how ever the Debate turns out tonight and no matter what the "polls" say... I am voting for John Kerry for President to break the cycles of war and begin the 21st century, with what it "should've" begun with...and would be fitting at this advanced time in the history of our cultures and civilizations...the cycles of Peace.
Patty Ann Smith
Please take a few minutes to look at what has been the beauty of Haiti through the eyes of Photographer Leah Gordon: www.haitiforever.com/leah/
The people of Haiti are in dire need of many things, and even if some of us are not able to send them anything else...we can still send them our prayers.
I just read about something called "peak oil". Peak oil is basically when extraction of oil from the earth reaches its highest point and then begins to decline. It signals the end of cheap energy and the beginning of mankind making right choices in advancing civilization with a renewable resourcefulness and ability to adapt to changes.
Many experts are saying we have already reached the peak. In Newsweeks February 17, 2004 update on Technology and Science, a report entitled "Crude Awakening" is about peak oil. So, we really need to start thinking about what kind of world each of us really would want to live in. One way will make it more and more impossible to be civilized and humane. The other way (if we could possibly change our thinking to what should be really important to us as human beings...namely, preventing the extinction of our species and all the good mankind has created in order to preserve it) would make it possible for the middle class, the rich and the poor to work together in harmony with each other for the universal good of all life that inhabits this planet.
Patty Ann Smith
Please check out a recent post entitled "Oil Schmoil: End of Suburbia" at: www.scrutinyhooligans.blogspot.com
First of all, I thought John Kerry's speech at Temple University was outstanding and powerful, and he shined as an example of a true leader. Coupled with his speech at New York University...both within a few days of each other...places him in a firm position as a man of peace with a common sense strategy on how to eventually make world peace a reality.
After the painful candidate elimination of some very good men and a very fine woman, the Democratic party asked John Kerry to be our emissary for changing the direction of this country. Already this past year, great sacrifices have been made by many good people so our beloved America could have one last chance to change our direction away from catastrophe.
One part of that catastrophe would be to privatize what are now many government services and means of assistance. Right now (at least I think it is still true...unless some edict was signed late on a "Friday" afternoon we were never told about!), MOST of our population would not have retirement benefits (ie. social security) without federal assistance...would not have public schools to go to without federal assistance...and could not go to college without federal assistance. In other words, Federal Government Assistance are "not dirty words". It's a way (often not perfect...but a way) to attempt to secure "a safety net" for millions of Americans...protection of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How else could millions of people, with no two people thinking "exactly" alike, feel anything less than a sense of insecurity and chaos...which would turn into anarchy and a two class system of only the rich and the poor and that would no longer be a democracy. We would become nothing more than other countries we see right now whose people fight against oppression by dictators only to find bloodshed in return.
I ask all voters to seriously consider what you're voting for. You're not voting for a man. You are voting for a "cause"...to Keep American Democracy Alive! John Kerry, and the good people who surround him, embody the cause of "Keeping Democracy Alive".
There are many who predict that this chance will never come again in our lifetime. It is not a statement to create fear but one to wake us up and get us off our butts to ..."Vote and Take Our Country Back".
"John Kerry is Our Man" no matter what you think of Vietnam, or his personality, or his financial privileges...or "whatever". Just remember he's a Democrat and what makes Democrats so "cool" is that ALL Democrats, rich or poor, care about "the rights of the people"...it's in our blood!
By the way, don't hold it against him for actually going through a "thinking process" and changing his mind sometimes. That's the mark of a "better man", not a worse one. The type of person I'd want in the White House would be someone who would, if new facts came in, have the "guts" to stop and change course...in order to protect us better.
"Winning and Losing" is a dangerous fantasy played out anywhere else but in sports (and lately, we've noticed that it may even be a dangerous fantasy in sports, too). The alternative to winning and losing is "Cooperation", and cooperation is a "reality" that has a very good record of bearing fruit. My thoughts about John Kerry are about him being a "good" fruit bearer for millions of Americans..and the whole world.
~ Patty Ann Smith
On September 21, 2004, The National Museum of the American Indian opened its doors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
For those of us who care, we are now being given an opportunity to learn from our first American's own stories what they've gone through for the past 500 years ~ in both their triumphs and their tragedies. In the Museum's own words, I give you a slice of the richness of these significant voices:
The building itself has a language of its own...a living museum, located close to nature, designed to make specific celestial references such as an east-facing main entrance and a dome that opens to the sky.
The community galleries feature eight cultural philosophies...the design of these galleries reflects each community's interpretaton of the order of the world.
Traditional knowledge shapes our world...our philosophies of life come from our ancestors.
"We want to preserve our identity, history, land, language, and values for our children. Our children ~ our future ~ must understand our history so no one can say our culture is gone. If we do not preserve this, our lives won't belong to us anymore." ~ Tapirapi curators (Mato Grasso, Brazil), 2002
The National Museum of the American Indian
This is a monumental testament to the first Americans steadfastness to keep their culture alive, and I can only think that the reason it has happened is because it has been based on Universal Truth.
To cultivate and foster a Culture of Peace, the General Assembly of the UN, in 1981, initiated the annual observance of an International Day of Peace. This year is highlighted today by a 24-hour "worldwide spiritual vigil for peace and non-violence" by everyone who seeks peace in this world.
"Peace begins with ourselves, living in harmony with one another and with the earth. Let us all do our share in making war obsolete and peace a reality. This will help create a better future for our children - the people of tomorrow." ~ Manila Bulletin Online
Kofi Annan said, "...Nothing can be more dangerous to our efforts to build peace and development than a world divided along religious, ethnic or cultural lines. In each nation, and among all nations, we must work to promote unity based on our shared humanity."
We desperately need to realize how important our ethnic, cultural and religious diversity is when it comes to preserving the history of the world and building world peace. There is so much we have to share with each other...in our arts, our music, our traditions...that can enrich all on this planet. May this day be a day of thoughtfulness and reverence for you.
Patty Ann Smith
Compassion is not religious business, it is human business. It is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability. It is essential for human survival...Nowadays the world is becoming increasingly materialistic, and mankind is reaching toward the very zenith of external progress, driven by an insatiable desire for power and vast possessions. Yet by this vain striving for perfection in a world where everything is relative, they wander even further away from inward peace and happiness of the mind. ~ Dalai Lama
A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying...that he is wiser today than yesterday. ~ Jonathan Swift
If we think that the more we get away with something, the more we win...we are sadly mistaken, because cheating is really the worst form of failure. Cheating can appear to be "winning" for a while, but in the end..."nobody" wins. Instead, we all lose.
The moon I see is the same one that my mother and father
looked up at when they were children,
the same one my grandfather kissed my grandmother under,
the same moon that shone in the days that
Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, the same one that
shined on Michel Angelo and Leonardo da Vinci,
the same moon of the Mayans and the Incas,
the same moon, thousands of years ago, of the Pharaohs
of ancient Egypt and the early dynasties of China,
the same moon that the great mastodons and dinosaurs
roamed under, the same one that a distant relative of mine
is looking at right now in Ireland and I, here,
an ocean away. We are all so intricately and
forever connected to each other.
~ Patty Ann Smith
...John Kerry knows that a fear-free society
is a healthy society.
And the health of the citizens
come before the wealth of the few
who would exploit fear
for financial gain.
And John Kerry knows that,
just like under Clinton,
America can live in a green world,
and not a code red, yellow or orange.
There is simply no reason why a farmer in Iowa
should have to live in fear,
when the likelihood for terror
happening in his fields
is actually zero.
Choose hope, not fear.
Choose John Kerry and John Edwards.
They will make America safer
and will get America's financial house in order.
You can help.
Learn how to at www.johnkerry.com
...You can have the love you need to live
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind
It always seems so hard to give
...Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
and mostly what I need from you
~ from lyrics by Billy Joel
It is not because things are difficult
that we do not dare;
It is because we do not dare
that they are difficult.
Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate...Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
There is a river flowing now very fast...Know the river has its destination. The Elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above water. See who is there with you and celebrate.
Who would've thought Bob would be gone too soon...but he is.
Who would've thought when I'd tell you "Your Mom's on the phone" while you were taking a shower...that there would be none of that now.
Who would've thought we'd get that call in the middle of the night, in the morning, in the early evening..."passed away"..."passed away"..."passed away"...but we did.
Be good to each other.
It has been said that chimpanzees are the closest link to man. The delightful affectionate Bonobos (pigmy) Chimps are loving and peaceful creatures...the exact opposite of their similar counterparts, the larger chimpanzees, which are known to be aggressive and warring. Why can't people be more like the Bonobos?
I have come to terms with the future.
From this day onward I will walk easy on the earth.
Kill no living things.
Live in harmony with all creatures.
I will restore the earth where I am.
Use no more of its resources than I need.
And listen, listen to what it is telling me.
~ M.J. Slim Hooey
Some of the things that I value are:
the natural world
genuine and stable people
and spontaneous play and laughter
There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America. ~ Bill Clinton
If "no child left behind" means just being trained to pass tests, memorize questions and answers and do what you're told, that would certainly not be enough for our children to grow up with a healthy curiosity about the world around them. In order for our children to greet the future of the 21st century and all the possibilities it holds for building more fulfilling lives, they will need more contact with nature and the natural sciences...more education about biodiversity and ecosystems...more experiences with the rhythms and cycles of nature...more experiences that can heighten their awareness of the interconnectedness of all things. Why? Because, by discovering some things for themselves, children get more involved with learning and gain a deeper understanding of what they're doing. Nature is a great teacher. Science, mathematics, medicine, art, music, all come from nature. With a natural understanding of things, young people become better scientists, better doctors, better teachers, better artists, better musicians. As creative, thinking individuals, they can go out into the world and the 21st century with all they need to be hopeful that they can make a difference in making this world better. And, they will know that everything isn't weighed in titles, awards, or money...and there are a lot more things that are graded by the richness of the experience.
My mission is to increase awareness of our true cultural roots as a means of increasing peace in the world. America is at risk of losing our true history. The richness of music, art, and traditions from cultures all around the world are part of America's history. Pride in taking back our country begins with our multicultural roots.
Lies do not die easily. Peoples lives have been built on them. But, that which is hidden is BEING revealed, and these revelations give us the chance to change our course by voting for change. How can a nation move forward with lies? It Can't. That's why we need John Kerry and John Edwards to take us forward with more honesty and hope for our humanity.