When Calm Makes Us Nervous

An interesting article today in the Times comparing this campaign to the duel in Paradise Lost–i ends by saying, “Last Wednesday, campaigning in New Hampshire, [McCain] spoke sneeringly about Obama’s campaign being “disciplined and careful.”

Aren’t these the fundamental puritan values of this nation? Since when is this a failing?

Well, maybe it was when these stopped being our nation’s values. In a loud and melodramatic world, I have friends who distrust “No-Drama-Obama not because of the crazy claims people make about him, but of the traits that gave him that very nickname. For me, that calmness (and reluctance to get ugly) that is a big part of his appeal.

But for some, the louder the ranting and yelling, the more they trust, they more they assume with all that yelling probably no information is being held back, while in all that calm and choosing to hold one’s tongue there must be much unsaid. I can see that argument can make sense, but it is a shame that blustering has become an American virtue.


You’re in for it III (read previous posts first)

Ok, I really feel like I have it all almost worked out now. Soon we’ll be back to talking canning and kids, and posting pictures. But not yet.

Rant, part three and final:

A quick word on judges—as I know this is an enormous point of concern for many of my friends. I’ll just say this–both sides will tell you scary stories about the kind of judges the other candidate will appoint—these fortune tellers love to keep you up at night with all the things the candidates will do to destroy America and your life once elected.

But after all I’ve taken in on this, my consensus is that with either of these guys, you are likely to get a moderate swing voter appointed, like an O’Connor. I won’t list all my reasons now, but in brief, if McCain returns to his old real “maverick ways” (the kind that doesn’t have to say it to make it true), and if it’s true he won’t likely run for a second term and will have nothing to lose, he’ll do whatever he wants, and that won’t be to appoint a religious ideologue.

As for Obama, he understands better than anyone else the enormous divides in this country. He is not a defender of corrupt behavior who will put judges in that will overturn Roe v Wade, etc.—people continually listen to the pundits on this instead of seeing what is right in front of their face when Obama is talking policy—he is a boring, painstaking pragmatist.(And seriously, if you believe the crazies when they tell you he’ll try to put Hillary on the bench–she isn’t even a practicing attorney, which is required–you need to turn off the Hannity and start learning things for yourself).

Do I differ with Obama on policies? Heck ya. Does he say things that bother me? Yes sir. But in both cases, this is less the case with him than the differing and bothering that goes on between me and McCain these days–we, who once were almost idealogical friends before he let Rove take over his campaign after the primary—so yucky!

And, really for another post, is the enormous issues of respect for life that is trampled by war, preventable sickness and death related to quiet corporate license to poison air, water, soil and food at will and grinding the faces of the poor around the world. The quickly expanding disparity between rich and poor in this country can easily be laid at the feet of a Republican administration—and study after study shows that increased poverty impacts abortion rates.

Here are the boring facts: We have two flawed people to choose from, neither of whom can be called a defender of life or the family, but one of whom has sincerely thought about the issues from multiple perspectives, and that he empathizes, respects and understands with those who disagree with him, and the other merely wants to give the “right” answer that will get him in power. The candidate that agrees with everyone on every issue does not exist. I believe Obama is not only smarter, he is wiser. He is a more consistent, thoughtful leader and communicator—even in his campaign management he is exponentially better than his rival.

(And sorry, but I fundamentally dismiss the “he’s secretly something else” theory, in part because the Republicans have openly discussed that tactic as being part of the campaign strategy—it’s pure marketing. But mainly I don’t believe this theory because I’ve read and thought myself to death over it, reading both men’s actual words wherever I could. And as I’ve said before, I love a conspiracy theory and suspect them practically everywhere—but on this one I just see marketing.)

Oh my goodness, you’re STILL reading this?? Okay, I’ll reward you by finishing. Yes, we should vote for life and the family, ESPECIALLY in the state elections, which actually have jurisdiction and greater relevance in these matters. But please, don’t vote for a party simply because they say these two issues are part of their platform—because their performance shows exactly the opposite is the case, and they’re only pulling it out now to get your vote.

You’re in for it II (read previous post first)

Ok, I’m just going to get it all out and then maybe next week I can get back to talking about my cute kids and my real life. What else is a blog for than to vent backed-up political angst? No one is making you read this, so I’m not oppressing anybody, right?

Some time ago I came across a very lengthy article (source) in the New Yorker that perfectly encapsulated these issues and why I switched to Obama, and I really hope you’ll stay with me as I quote it at great length (all quotes in blue). Yes, the NYer is a flaming liberal magazine and assumes the reader is too, which sometimes bugs—but this article was very intelligently written, in depth and gave interesting insight into both candidates that was not too kind to either of them, yet explained well where they really are on these issues, and discussed religious conservatives who found themselves falling more naturally into Obama’s court.

First, let’s talk about McCain’s rough road with the evangelicals:

John McCain’s accidental education in apocalyptic theology began late last February, on a bright, breezy afternoon in San Antonio. His campaign had arranged for a joint appearance by the candidate and the megachurch pastor John Hagee, who, after months of hesitation, had finally agreed to bestow his endorsement. At that point, McCain had the Republican Presidential nomination in hand, but the Christian right still regarded him with deep misgiving. This was owing, in part, to a sense, widely held by many conservatives, that McCain was really the standard-bearer for the one-man Maverick Party, which made him an unreliable ally in such first-principle matters as gay marriage and judicial appointments. [as a former McCain supporter of many years who appreciated this moderation, I can tell you right now there is a reason they should feel this way].

Religious conservatives had been put off by tales of McCain’s temper, and by his ungallant termination of his first marriage. They remembered how he had lashed out against their own in 2000, condemning Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as “agents of intolerance,” and likening them to Louis Farrakhan and the Reverend Al Sharpton. “I am convinced Senator McCain is not a conservative, and, in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are,” the evangelical leader James Dobson said in a statement read to a national radio audience on Super Tuesday. “I cannot and I will not vote for Senator John McCain, as a matter of conscience.”

Shortly after this time, Obama had tired of the God vs. the Democrats line and addressed it directly in a speech that became a turning point for many religious conservatives:

“There are some liberals,” Obama said, “who dismiss religion in the public square as inherently irrational or intolerant, insisting on a caricature of religious Americans that paints them as fanatical, or thinking that the very word ‘Christian’ describes one’s political opponents, not people of faith.”

Obama then said, “The single biggest gap in party affiliation among white Americans today is not between men and women, or those who reside in so-called red states and those who reside in blue, but between those who attend church regularly and those who don’t.” He told secularists that they “are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square,” and suggested that “a sense of proportion should also guide those who police the boundaries between church and state.”

He went on, “Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation—context matters. It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase ‘under God.’ I didn’t. Having voluntary student prayer groups use school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats.”

Among those who were impressed by that speech was Douglas Kmiec, a professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University School of Law, a Christian school in Malibu, California. Kmiec (pronounced Kuh-meck) was the embodiment of a Reagan Democrat—a Catholic reared in the Democratic Party, who felt that he had been driven into Republican arms by the leftward lurch of the McGovern-era Democrats. When Kmiec turned Republican, he did so with a vengeance. He worked in the Reagan Justice Department (sharing an office with Samuel Alito), and, as it happens, when George W. Bush was elected he returned to Washington from California—he had gone there to teach at Pepperdine—as the dean of Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law, spending time with fellow Federalist Society members such as Antonin Scalia and Alito. His son, Keenan, clerked for Alito at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and for John Roberts at the Supreme Court. Kmiec’s advice on judicial appointments was heard by the White House, and he was himself considered a candidate for the federal bench. Kmiec was the sort of Republican jurist—smart, devoutly Catholic, and a committed pro-lifer—that Democrats had learned to fear.

After returning to Pepperdine, Kmiec was recruited by Mitt Romney to be the chairman of the Committee for the Courts and the Constitution, for Romney’s Presidential campaign. In the era of judicial-appointment wars, such committees are a way of signalling to the Republican base that the candidate is right on such issues as abortion, and Kmiec’s association with Romney was meant to give a pro-life seal of approval to a candidate who was once pro-choice. Kmiec became a Romney true believer, and, when Romney withdrew from the race, Kmiec found himself without a Presidential favorite. John McCain held no ideological allure, and Kmiec, like many Romneyites (and Romney himself), felt a lingering resentment toward him. He believed that McCain had resorted to Swift Boat tactics in misrepresenting Romney’s position on Iraq. “Let me put this as kindly as I can,” he says. “Senator McCain was not the most generous of heart, or honest of disposition, toward his primary opponents. I always want to concede his integrity, because I can’t ever envision myself surviving a P.O.W. experience of the kind that he survived, and I admire those years of his life—but that admirable contribution to American history was greatly dimmed by seeing him up close and personal in the primaries.”

Kmiec found himself reflecting on Barack Obama, and his Call to Renewal speech. “His insights there were not only significantly different from the Democrats of the past,” Kmiec says, “but they were significantly better than either the Democrats or the Republicans of the past, in the sense that he argued that religion shouldn’t be a wedge issue, and that we should stop demonizing each other on that basis. Religion necessarily is a source of morality, and morality is necessarily the place where we draw laws from. That in itself, to have acknowledged that, was a key sales point for me, because even the Supreme Court gets itself tangled on that proposition.”

A week after Romney withdrew from the race, Kmiec wrote about his Obama reflections in an article for the online magazine Slate, which bore the provocative title “Reaganites for Obama?” Kmiec wrote that Obama’s politics of hope reminded him of Reagan’s sunny optimism, and he mused that, while abortion was still of paramount importance to Catholics, years of Republican rule had not significantly reduced its occurrence [my bold]. “Beyond life issues, an audaciously hope-filled Democrat like Obama is a Catholic natural,” he wrote.

Kmiec’s conservative Catholic friends were aghast, and several of them, including Deal Hudson, rebuked him in Catholic publications, some even suggesting that he was motivated by ambition. Kmiec thought the response heavy-handed, and observed that if this was an example of Republican religious outreach, then John McCain’s campaign was in trouble. “It was a brick through the window with a note attached, and the note said, ‘Obey, or else,’ ” he told me. “I never quite figured out what the ‘or else’ was. I’m a tenured old professor not looking to go anywhere. And I live in Malibu. What is it they’re going to dangle in front of me?” [I don’t mean to imply that I am harassed as he was, but I see that having two consecutive Obama lawn signs stolen and having my cousin told she needs to “have a talk with her about that sign” is along these same lines of backwater religious and political discourse.]

Shortly after his Slate article appeared, Kmiec received a call from a young woman working in the Obama campaign, a friend of Keenan Kmiec (himself now an Obama supporter) who had clerked with him at the Supreme Court. She asked if Kmiec would consider supporting Obama more formally. In that and other conversations with the Obama camp, Kmiec expressed his admiration for the candidate but also his reservations about Obama’s position on abortion. Obama was such a staunch supporter of abortion rights that he received NARAL’s endorsement over Hillary Clinton, and, at an event for Planned Parenthood, he’d promised that “the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act”—which would nullify most state restrictions on abortion. Kmiec was assured that Obama’s position on abortion was more nuanced than it seemed, and that, although Obama was pro-choice, he was not pro-abortion.

Kmiec eventually got an opportunity to air his doubts to Obama himself, at a Chicago meeting with a select group of religious figures. (Among them was the evangelist Franklin Graham, who asked Obama, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the way to God, or merely a way?” Obama responded, “Jesus is the only way for me,” and Graham left the meeting impressed.) “I even raised the objection to just talking about abortion as a vehicle for gender equality,” Kmiec recalls. “I said, ‘You know, this is not language that a Catholic will accept, and I don’t accept it. You don’t need to use it, if I understand your position correctly. So tell me your position.’ And out of that I got an answer that said, ‘I would never counsel my daughters to have an abortion. I view it as a profoundly moral decision. It is my purpose to discourage the practice. But it is also my belief that there’s no other actor on earth than the mother who can address this question. And to be pro-choice means that you contemplate that the choice can be the choice in favor of life.’ That suggests to me that he’s got the mental disposition to understand, at least from the Catholic perspective, how abortion is more a tragedy than a method of equality.”

Deal Hudson told me that he was astonished by Kmiec’s abrupt shift. “Has Doug Kmiec never met a charming politician before?” he asked. He said that Kmiec seems to have adopted the liberal-Catholic construct of “a consistent ethic of life,” contextualizing abortion in a spectrum of other Catholic issues. “It sounds like my friend Doug has just completely gone over to the other side,” Hudson said.

“I want to say back to Deal, ‘We’re worshipping at different churches, then,’ ” Kmiec responded. “The church I have attended since my mother walked me down the block to St. Pascal’s, in Chicago, was one that had taught this social gospel. . . . I would say back to Deal, ‘Yes, I’m in the Federalist Society, and, yes, I believe in private property and federalism and the separation of powers and all that. But these other beliefs I find fully compatible.’ ”

Kmiec endorsed Obama on March 23rd—Easter Sunday. [His priest refused to give him communion on that day.]

I found this part of the article enlightening on McCain’s tepid commitment to family issues:

Activists in California, anticipating a ruling by the state Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage, launched a drive to put an initiative on the ballot in November that would amend the state’s constitution to ban gay marriage. The proposal prompted an extensive support effort—forty-day fasts, prayer marathons, and the like—among Church leaders in California and the two other states that have similar measures, culminating in a daylong stadium rally on the weekend before Election Day. “There has been no dialogue with the McCain campaign at all,” says Jim Garlow, the pastor of the Skyline Church, in suburban San Diego, who is one of the drive’s organizers. “If I were Senator McCain, I would do everything I could to identify with this issue. I don’t know that he will. I have no idea what his campaign is about. At this point, he seems quite low-key on these types of things.”

Before the meeting of Obama and McCain at Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in August, McCain had a heavy-handed education in the fact that he must appear pro-life to get the religious conservative electorate. Obviously there was a clear right answer to this question, but Obama wouldn’t give the pat answer—why? They were asked:

“At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?” Obama’s response, characteristically nuanced, came across as a dodge. “Well,” he began, “I think that, whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.” Asked the same question, McCain didn’t hesitate. “At the moment of conception,” he said, to the loud approval of the congregation.”

When I look at Obama’s answer, I see some humility and some thought going into it–not a dodge–and I also am reminded that the LDS Church itself is similarly equivocal and humble on pinpointing the moment when life begins. I see McCain’s answer as an easy pander.

It’s like if you’re asked in a job interview: “Do you like to work hard?” Do you answer honestly? My honest answer would be “Well, I actually work in intense spurts, burn out, have a hard time focusing, then repeat the cycle—but I still get more done than most people.” If you were doing the interview, would you trust this answer more, or the potential hire that says, “Yes, Sir!”

It’s King Lear and his daughters all over again.

Based on all I’ve read, I’ve come to the opinion that the right’s support of religious issues of life and family are nothing more than a cynical election tactic, admittedly and openly implemented in a concerted strategy by that conniving worm Karl Rove himself (remember, the one who would be in jail right now for corruption if he hadn’t received a presidential pardon?). They trust that the religious right will line up and play pawn whenever they cry, “Life!” even if they do absolutely nothing else as it relates to the subject.

That strategy was designed and implemented for Bush–and is now being lamely put into play by Rove and the exact same team on behalf of McCain–but they’ve had a harder time because McCain doesn’t speak the evangelical dialect. And neither do I, so I can’t fault him for that.

(But I have to say that it bothers me that McCain calls their belief in a second coming of Christ and a new millenium as “crazy and unacceptable.”)

An attempt to resurrect coherent political discourse for just a minute (or 30)

Oh, you are so in for it now. I’ve got the blogging back into my veins and months of unspouted rants have backed up and are ready to erupt.

I kid, of course, but seriously, this is going to be a very long post. I hope you’ll read it anyway, because I know there are lots of my friends who are still puzzling over my apostasy from the Republican Party (yes, did you know I used to be a registered GOP’er?).

Sweet Pam, this one goes out to you. Thanks for your email—let’s begin.

Pam is one of my favorite people and she and the sweet Picketts, who sent it to her, both sent me this video today: http://www.catholicvote.com/

The Picketts said: If you want something to think about look here and see what the Catholics have done to encourage their 67 million people on election day. They don’t tell them how to vote but they sure do get their message across. I believe this is an inspiring message for this coming election, so I’m sending it out to everyone I know.

Go ahead and watch it now. I’ll wait.

OK. Although my sweet and gentle Pam proffered this video to me as “another view,” I want to start by saying that I agree 100% with this video. (And I’m sorry to break your heart, my sweet and socially liberal Natasha, I hope you’ll take some consolation when I actually post my epistle on marriage that I posted to the NY Times in response to the CT ruling a few weeks ago, I’ll do it here one of these days. If you don’t take consolation, then love me anyway, OK?)

It is the assumption people take from this video (and likely the intended assumption of the video itself) that I take very strong issue with. It is the assumption that there exists a pro-family, anti-abortion, defender of marriage candidate in the presidential race. It is the assumption that because these issues are included in the Republican platform that they have something to do with what Republicans actually do in office, although years and years of evidence prove that on the presidential level, these principles are not for performance, but are merely used for election purposes to get people who care about them to think they have to vote Republican or they will be instantly killing babies and destroying the family.

Then they will put these issues away until the next election when they need you again to stay in power.

Let’s look at the past for a minute: Abortion rates and the political advancement of gay marriage (both state issues) have only advanced under a Republican president in the last eight years, at breakneck pace in fact, and this was under a more evangelical president who may have actually cared about this issue at some level beyond election rhetoric—not so for McCain. (Ironically, other Republican mainstays like smaller spending/government, avoiding sweeping financial socialism, right to privacy, etc. also became irrelevant once everyone was comfortably seated).

We had Bush I, Clinton and W—20 years!—and only saw an increase in all of these problems relating to the family, under both blue and red banners. The last eight years have seen greater blows to the family than we’ve ever witnessed before. Were those in power alarmed? Did they change laws? Did they care? No. Unless there was an election involved.

Yes, John McCain has a better voting record on this than Obama. But that is not where it stops – as we’ve seen again and again, people act differently as President, and we need to know the ideology there–based on their own words. In looking into that, it was made it clear to me that McCain’s stance is far more seated in political imperative than in personal ideology. (And relating to the definition of marriage, I can tell you right now that McCain couldn’t care less—unless it means your vote).

With Obama, I saw in his discussions on the topic that he has actually spent time on this issue, has thoroughly and personally explored the causes, aftermath and implications of abortion in a way that gave him an understanding of all the full ramifications, causes and effects involved. He is very clear that abortion is a bad thing–something that Dems have been afraid to say for fear that it meant “women are not equal.” He sees it as his mission to deter abortion at its roots.

His approach to this issue reflects his ability to think through the implications and complications of difficult issues the people are divided on–which will only be an asset as he handles the many, many other crises we are facing right now in the same pragamatic way.

You see how this email thing is going to be now, don’t you?

I took a quick break to check the plummeting stocks.  I got an email last night from the statistician/stockbroker I get emails from that said a 2000 point move is coming in the next little while and that I could get a paid subscription to find out which way it would go.  I think I can guess.  Plus, despite my obsession with the market, I don’t own any stocks.  It’s like fantasy football for me.


There is a real-time blogger on the NYT watching financial markets today because of the global downturn in the last 24 hours.  He quoted The Jerome Levy Forecasting Center at Bard College (which he sais “has been among the most worried — and therefore, most accurate — forecasters over the past several years):


His excerpts:


Our view of the next 12 months no longer appears to be unconventional, at least not on the surface. Now everybody thinks the economy is in a recession, and many think it will be long and severe. People make comparisons to the 1930s all the time. Everyone thinks consumer spending is in big trouble. Lots of people think the Fed will ease. Financial instability, a theme we harped on ad nauseam during the past three years, is now the primary economic topic of discussion.


Still, conventional wisdom leaves out much that is important about the economic situation, and it encompasses much that is wrong. . . .


Most investors, businesses, and analysts, despite their deep pessimism about the consumer outlook, will be surprised by the length and severity of the consumer pullback.


The public is starting to discover the seriousness of the state and local fiscal position, but the magnitude and fallout of the developing nonfederal government crisis will prove shocking.


Many fear that the present financial mess is setting the stage for surging Treasury yields, and most will be surprised by how low yields will fall. . . .


House prices will probably fall another 20%. . . .


The emerging market sector of the global economy is facing more than a financial crisis; it is facing a depression, which unfortunately is likely to be uncontained and severe in many countries. . . .


Lending is not going to be fixed by recapitalizing banks. The underlying problem is not just that aggregate private loans are too large relative to bank capital; it is that they are too large relative to aggregate private income. Thus, the problem is with the borrowers, not just the lenders, and households need to lower their debt relative to income while corporations need to lower their debt relative to revenue. . . [AMEN!]


Even if the recession does end before 2010, employment will continue to decline. It is likely to fall for another year or two as downsizing and restructuring persist. The unemployment rate is likely to reach 8.5% by the end of 2009 and will be near 10% before it reverses.


That said, fortune telling is a tough business, although it seems to be one everyone is dabbling in these days.

One last thought

One problem with email posting is I can’t edit—forgive the typos. 


Hey, do you remember a week or so ago when in church we were read the First Presidency announcement and they said that principles consistent with the teachings of the gospel are to be found in both political parties and that we should vote for whomever we thought would be a wise leader and whose policies were consistent with our own idea of good government?  That was nice.


Wow, posting every random thought is so liberating!


Has the Blog Been Given a New Lease on Life?

The reason I don't blog anymore is not because I don't have time or thoughts to share–au contraire!  It is that Blogger is blocked at work, and outside of work, I really don't have time to write or read any blogs.  While at work I take the occassional break to read the newspaper, email a very little, and often have thoughts that I think, "I want to put that on my blog." but alas, I can't.   Then I remembered that I could go deep into the bowels of my blog settings and identify a posting email address—and voila!  The blog has been resurrected.
That said, I can't be a time thief and blog all day, so I'll probably should keep posts under control.  But, now that I've lost my entire audience from neglect, I can start posting every random thought I have.  This rocks!!
I need to work now, but I'll leave you (that one person who still reads my blog–me?) with two things–first, a great website for self-discovery and a clearer understanding of the political spectrum–left, right, socialist, facist, communist, autocratic, etc… I LOVED THIS.  So far, everyone I've sent it to is with Ghandi, including myself.  I don't know how I feel about that, because I think he was interesting and had some noble virtues, he was also a bit nuts and extremist.  Make sure you look at the US Presidential page after taking the quiz, and if you have even more time to waste, take the quote quiz to see who you think said a list of eye-opening things–that was a shocker on some of them:

Lastly, I would like to pronounce intelligent and educated political discourse in this country as officially dead.  Although there are a handful of friends I have where we can still openly discuss the vast sins of both parties along with their respective virtues, it appears that for the most part we are reduced to regurgitating marketing spin, pundit operatives and talk show hosts, and letting the TV tell us what to think because we simply (and truly) don't have the hours and hours it takes to sift through all the sources of information to find the very buried facts. 

As a result, this election season we are left not with two flawed but capable and intelligent candidates who differ on policy, but we instead we have merely the pathetic choice of deciding between a socialist closeted America-hating muslim terrorist plotting to overthrow the country or a wandering, vascillating senile opportunist warmonger devoted to protecting the rich in W's third-term.  People who lean Obama are written off by the other side as uninformed star-struck sheep oblivious to his dark secret intentions and robotically parrot the jingle the right's marketing staffers have carefully crafted, "Who is he?  You can't trust him!"  People who lean McCain are written off by their counterparts as uneducated, gun-toting, racist, judgmental religious zealots blind to their party's abandonment of its founding principles.

The 24-hours newscycles insist upon playing up the most ridiculous details of the political scene and random opinions of random people–all at the same pitch and intensity they announce actual news and people apparently can't tell the difference anymore.  Insane conspiracy theories and fear-as-persuasion abounds on all sides among formerly intelligible people–the blogs and emails are screaming with lies and panic with what each candidate will "surely" do to destroy this country in a few short months.  This country is falling apart intellectually, spiritually, politically and economically.  

It is interesting that conference was so heavily focused on unity–it is surely a lost virtue in our society.

Goodbye, intelligent rational discourse–you will be missed!

Final Harvest

I’m so glad the first frost came on a day that gave me a full Saturday to work. Seven hours of hard labor in the morning (part of which while being snowed on), and 6 hours of canning and preserving in the night, to crash happy and satisfied at 1:30 a.m. I picked all the apples, the grapes, the squash, the remaining tomatoes, the remaining corn, and replanted the basil and the mint in pots.

It was a happy, exhausting day. Pictures will come soon.

How not to rant

Here are 14 very interesting comments about the government socializing our banks. 


See, we can’t afford nationalized healthcare, we can’t afford nationalized education (I’m not really for that anyway), but, it turns out, we CAN afford nationalized trillion-dollar banks. Who knew?


So I’m just passing on various thoughts of other people, some of which I agree with.  The last one was very interesting, and at first I didn’t know if I agreed:


 Perhaps our country is too concerned about having a growth economy. We are obsessed with the notion of having more everything including money but, do we really need it? I think both our planet and ourselves would benefit from a zero growth economy. Perhaps now is a good time to learn to make that work and consider what we can do to reduce our patterns of consumption.

To be ambitious to expand self development, learning, love, kindness, spiritual knowledge, connection to God, charity–now what kind of world would it be if we only sought to expand those things we can actually take with us? 


It made me think of the wonderful lyrics of “Simple Gifts,” that teaches a principle this year’s garden has really brought home to me:




‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come round right.




Could it be that man’s requirement to work the earth by the sweat of his brow demands just the things that get us back to God?  Humility, work, diligence, and being subject to (and working with) cycles of nature. 


When true simplicity is gained, to bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.

How did this happen?

Tomorrow Sophie is the special student and Maw-in-law just gave her this picture for her poster. I’ve been lamenting how we haven’t had a decent picture of our family taken in forever, because someone is always frowning, yelling, hiding, making faces, crying, looking WAY too fat, etc. But here we are–imperfect, yes, but all together and kind of cute.