Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Today's Poem

As Death Approaches

by Susan Deborah King

I can't believe I'm laughing!
I'd have sworn I'd be
shaking or sniveling.
And I sure didn't expect
a limousine.
I've never been in a limousine.
No biggy.
I've had better than fame.
Who needs the pressure?
As for fortune, I'm filthy.
That's why I'm laughing.
I've had so much love:
the giving, the getting.
It's shameful.
It's embarrassing.
And it's too late.
No one can take it away!
And I've had the pain
to help me appreciate it.
Thank God for the pain!
Easy for me to say
now that I'm going!
But no, seriously,
the kicks in the teeth,
the gut, the rugs
pulled out, slammed doors,
setbacks, snubs.
Without them, I'd
never have recognized
Love, bedraggled,
plain eyes shining,
happy to see me.
Do I want more?
Of course I want more!
I always want more
of everything: money, hugs,
lovemaking, art, butter,
woods, flowers, the sea,
M&Ms, chips, tops, bottoms,
trips — I did give up drinking —
time, sure, and yes,
I'd like to see
my grandchildren,
if there are any.
I'd like to see my books
but more has never
been good for me anyway.
Enough — that's what I've
always needed to learn,
and is there a better way?
So this laughter
I had to work up to
through so many tears,
it just keeps coming
like a fountain, a spray.
Let it light on you
refreshment, benediction,
as I'm driven away.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Yup, still a Calvinist.

Got this from Kirstin, who didn't expect to be a Calvinist. I, on the other hand, would have been surprised to be anything else.

Eucharistic theology
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Calvin

You are John Calvin. You seek to be faithful to Scripture, and to harmonize difficult sayings. You believe that in the Lord's Supper those who have faith are united to Christ, who is present spiritually, yet in a real way.













Monday, October 22, 2007


Haven't been blogging much, way behind on reading my blog buds, feeling sort of overwhelmed by life at the moment. Some bullets, in no particular order:
* Got a bookcase from my mom on Friday (beautiful!) which made me start to sort through the umpteen boxes and shelves of books in my basement.
* Discovered mildew on most of them.
* Spent large parts of Friday, Saturday and Sunday in my basement wiping mildew off books and standing them around the dehumidifier to dry.
* Brutally rid myself of a large portion of my books -- 8 boxes now ready to give away.
* Reshelved rest of books. (I still have lots).
* Got horrible news last week of a young woman who volunteers in our office being date-raped.
* Got other sad news of a bad car accident with a church member who is now in a coma.
* Worked the past two Sundays, meaning I missed my own worship time.
* Missed LEAF, big, wonderful music festival near-by.
* Had my first live blogger meet-up with Jane R. of Acts of Hope! We ate sushi and I got caught up on much gossip from my alma mater.
* Still struggling with boss. Ended up in tears at office twice in recent weeks. This does not please me.
* On the other hand, had a good board meeting last week.
* Came home from the office sick today and spent afternoon sleeping or resting.
* Have a presentation to give on "Sabbath" later this week and can't find time to prepare for it. HA!
* Was treated to an amazing meal out last night after work and wished I had felt better to fully enjoy (though I did enjoy! Scallops, yum.)
* Am experiencing repeated blogger difficulties which is part of why I'm blogging less these days and ending this now.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Message from Color of Change

For far too long, the Republican party has suppressed the votes of Black folks and other minorities, while the Democratic party has stood by and done nothing. Now, President Bush and his allies in the Senate want to give Hans von Spakovsky -- the architect of some of the worst voter-suppression schemes in the last decade -- a six-year appointment to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). It's a slap in the face to Black voters and anyone who cares about democracy.

Can you tell your senators to reject von Spakovsky's nomination? It takes only a moment:

sign here

Republicans have been fighting for months to get von Spakovsky confirmed, and, last week, Democrats in the Senate caved. They made a deal with the Republicans that would allow von Spakovsky's confirmation to be voted on as a part of a "package" with three other nominees, essentially guaranting his appointment. Thankfully, Senators Barack Obama and Russ Feingold stepped up and blocked it.1,2 Now they need our support to convince their colleagues to do the right thing and take a stand against voter suppression.

Given von Spakovsky's history, it's sad they need any convincing at all.

A long history of undermining our vote

During his first term, Bush installed von Spakovsky in the Justice Department's (DOJ) voting rights section, which enforces the Voting Rights Act. There, von Spakovsky undermined the DOJ's historic mission of protecting minority voting rights and actually transformed the department into a tool to suppress the vote. Here are just a few examples:

When long-term, career attorneys at the Justice Department unanimously recommended rejecting Tom Delay's infamous Texas redistricting plan because it discriminated against minority voters, von Spakovsky led the charge to overrule these voting rights experts, and approved the plan.3 The Supreme Court later ruled that the plan violated the Voting Rights Act.

Similarly, when career attorneys recommended rejecting a discriminatory Georgia voter ID law -- a law that even the Republican Governor said would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Georgians -- von Spakovsky overruled them to approve the law.4 Again, the law was later struck down by the courts, with the ruling judge likening it to a Jim Crow-era poll tax.5

This summer, seven of von Spakovsky's former colleagues at the DOJ said that he blocked career attorneys from filing at least three lawsuits against local governments that had violated the voting rights of Black people and other minorities, and that he derailed at least two DOJ investigations into discriminatory election laws.6

Von Spakovsky's career in suppression didn't start at the DOJ. In 1997, he set the stage for Florida's 2000 voter purge when he wrote an article that called for purging felons from voter rolls. Serving on the board of the "Voter Integrity Project" (VIP) he quickly put his ideas into action -- VIP met with the company that designed Florida's purge to disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters, most of whom were Black.7,8 During the recount, von Spakovsky was in Florida as a volunteer for the Bush/Cheney campaign.

A key part of what has allowed von Spakovsky to push his suppression agenda is the myth that "voter fraud" -- individuals voting illegally, or voting twice -- is a real problem. Republican politicians invoke these concerns to justify stronger restrictions on voting and voter registration (like voter ID laws), as well as voter roll purges. But the problem simply doesn't exist. When the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) researched voter fraud, they found that it wasn't a problem.9 But before the EAC went public with its report, von Spakovsky pressured them to change it.10 The final report said that there was "a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of [voter] fraud."11

Does the Senate support voter suppression?

As shocking as these examples are, they only scratch the surface. Hans von Spakovsky has built a career solidifying Republican control by disenfranchising untold thousands and subverting our most fundamental democratic right.

Bush gave von Spakovsky a recess appointment to the FEC in 2005 (which doesn't require Senate confirmation). Now he has nominated him for a six-year term. It's been clear since von Spakovsky's arrival at the FEC that he is playing the same role he did at the DOJ -- scoffing at the spirit of campaign finance laws, thumbing his nose at the law as he seeks to help create routes of circumvention."12

Republicans want von Spakovsky on the FEC so much that they threatened to block all FEC nominees unless the Democrats let von Spakovsky through.13 But last week, instead of fighting back, the Democratic leadership agreed to give the Republicans what they wanted -- a vote on all four FEC nominees as a package, which would have guaranteed von Spakovsky's appointment. By blocking that vote, Senators Obama and Feingold went against the leadership and thwarted its compromise with Republicans.14 That gave us the fighting chance we need to defeat his nomination.

It's hard to know exactly why Senate Democrats have come so close to letting von Spakovsky through. Some say it's because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is afraid that if he blocks von Spakovsky, Republicans will retaliate by blocking another FEC nominee who's a friend of Reid's.15 Some senators may just not care enough about protecting voting rights to make a real effort. Whatever the reason, it's part of a pattern that has existed for far too long -- Republicans trashing our right to vote and Democrats looking the other way.

A vote for von Spakovsky is a vote for voter suppression. Anything less than the strongest condemnation of his nomination sends the message that the Senate will turn a blind eye to Republican attacks on our voting rights. Let's demand that our senators send the opposite message -- that they will fight tooth and nail to defend the right to vote, and that their rejection of von Spakovsky's nomination is only the beginning of a much needed reckoning for his assault on voting rights over the last six and a half years.

Sign here

psssst ... Do something.

Just in case any of my readers don't get these messages sent to you already, I wanted to pass this one along. That nuclear is now lining up to be counted as green is a clear sign of the Orwellian world we live in.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

What I Did and Saw and Thought

What I Did:
*Hiked the Appalachian Trail along the French Broad River up to Lover's Leap for a gorgeous view.
*Soaked in the natural mineral springs hot tubs
*Enjoyed a lovely dinner on a deck overlooking a creek
*Slept deeply for 9 hours
*Hiked up Max Patch, which one book calls the best views on the entire AT and another calls the best views in NC (photo above doesn't come close to doing it justice).

What I Saw:
*The rocky, wide French Broad River
*Kayakers practicing in said river
*A smattering of bright red and yellow trees amidst the green views
*Couples hiking
*Families hiking
*Friends hiking
*Dogs hiking
*Wildflowers galore: buttery snapdragons, purple clover, goldenrod, milky Queen Ann's lace
*Native grasses
*At least six different kinds of butterflies
*Gargantuan grasshoppers
*Wild blackberries
*Cerulean skies
*cottony clouds
*360 degree views of mountains -- as far as the eye could see in every direction!

What I Thought:
*I don't need to wait for the right job, the right relationship, the right boss.
*I need to practice the difficult task of loving with a whole heart here and now.
*Today. Tomorrow. This is it. This is my life. This is not practice, but the real thing.
*And God is calling me to love.

Here is the reading my spiritual director gave me this week, before knowing of my most recent considerations about my job and boss:

I Wonder
by Derek Tasker

I wonder what would happen if
I treated everyone like I was in love
with them, whether I like them or not
and whether they respond or not and no matter
what they say or do to me and even if I see
things in them which are ugly twisted petty
cruel vain deceitful indifferent, just accept
all that and turn my attention to some small
weak tender hidden part and keep my eyes on
that until it shines like a beam of light
like a bonfire I can warm my hands by and trust
it to burn away all the waste which is not
never was my business to meddle with.

Source: Pilgrimage, An Exploration Into God, by Ivor Smith-Cameron

Friday, October 5, 2007

I'm Off

I'm taking off for a short retreat into the mountains for some hiking, quiet, and mineral spring hot tubbing. Hold down the fort while I'm gone.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Four Things

I've been tagged by Diane for this Fabulous Four meme. A while back Kirstin tagged me and I never responded and then I felt guilty for weeks. So to avoid further guilt, here goes:

Four jobs I've held:
fry-vat scrubber at McDonald's
docent at the Audrain County Historical Museum
safer sex educator for women in prostitution

Four films I could watch over and over:
The Wizard of Oz (who couldn't?)
The Sound of Music (I'm such a sap)
sex, lies and videotape (only thing I ever liked James Spader in)
She's Gotta Have It (favorite Spike Lee joint)

Four TV shows I watch:
OK, I don't even get any TV reception these days. None. But if I did I would watch:
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
Dave Chappell
(and to get away from Comedy Central) Countdown with Keith Olbermann

Four places I've lived:
Mexico, Missouri
Chicago, IL
Indianapolis, IN
Rochester, NY

Four favorite foods:
California rolls with plenty of pickled ginger
pecan-encrusted mountain trout
mashed potatoes

Four websites I visit every day:
(I visit an embarrassing number of blogs and I'm not going to narrow down to four of my blog buds. Sorry).

Four favorite colors (from the big Crayola 64):
Carolina Blue
Lime Green
Forest Green
Deep Coral

Four places I would love to be now:
A pub in Ireland
The coast of Spain
The Serengeti
The Carolina Coast

Four names I love but wouldn't name my children:
(well, I tried a couple of these for our son, but they got nixed by his dad)
Hezekiah (noticing a trend here?)
and one of these things is not like the others:
Clyde (after my grandmother. yes, that's mother)

OK, since I didn't name 4 blogs above, I'll tag these 4:
Grandmere Mimi

Monday, October 1, 2007

Today's Portion from the Prayer Book

Lord, open unto me
Open unto me -- light for my darkness.
Open unto me -- courage for my fear.
Open unto me -- hope for my despair.
Open unto me -- peace for my turmoil.
Open unto me -- joy for my sorrow.
Open unto me -- strength for my weakness.
Open unto me -- wisdom for my confusion.
Open unto me -- forgiveness for my sins.
Open unto me -- love for my hates.
Open unto me -- thy Self for my self.
Lord, Lord, open unto me!

--Howard Thurman