Friday, May 26, 2006


"No tree is so foolish as to have branches that fight among themselves." PRAY FOR PEACE


MEMORIAL DAY 2006: An Open Letter to Congress from a Mother Who Gave Her Son for America
Karen Meredith Remembers Her Son, Kenneth Michael Ballard, KIA in Iraq on May 30, 2004... from BRADBLOG.COM

Karen Meredith Remembers Her Son, Kenneth Michael Ballard, KIA in Iraq on May 30, 2004...
We first met Karen Meredith in Crawford, Texas last Summer where she was one of many Gold Star family members standing with Cindy Sheehan who'd also lost her only son...

On September 9, 2005, nearly a year and a half after she learned of the death of Ken in Najaf, the Army informed her that her son's death was an accident. They had known for a year, but failed to tell her. We blogged about that here.

An Open Letter to Members of Congress and the Senate

I want to tell you about one soldier that will be remembered this Memorial Day. 1Lt Kenneth Michael Ballard of Mountain View, California was 26 years old when he was killed in a fierce battle in Najaf, Iraq on 5.30.04. His gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery is plain. That headstone in Section 60, Site 8006 tells when he was born and when he died. It describes his valor and heroism with his medals, his 3 Bronze Stars, 2 with valor and his Purple Heart.

But you need to know more than that about Ken. You need to know this because you sent my only child to his untimely death. You are keeping our members of the military in harm's way in Iraq and you have the power to bring them home and to stop this senseless killing...

Ken was my only child. He was the oldest of 15 grandchildren. I raised Ken on my own for 25 years and I loved him a lot.
A mother wants to know her child is loved, but she doesn't want to find that out at his funeral when he is only 26 years old. And she surely doesn't want to watch his 26 year old friends bury their best friend. There is just something not right with that picture, but there is nothing right about this story.

A mother wants to watch her son grow to be the man he would have been. She wants to see him gaze into the eyes of the woman who will be his wife, and a mother wants to dance with her son at his wedding. She wants to hold his firstborn, counting the fingers and toes of this, her first grandchild. Would that baby have had the same cleft in their chin- just like their daddy? I'll never know because my baby came home in a box covered with a flag.

My son took an oath to defend the Constitution and to obey the orders of the President of the United States. In return, his Commander in Chief and this country owed him the TRUTH about the mission and why he and his men were going into harms way. They should never be sent into combat without suitable equipment or proper training. They should never be sent to into war without proper planning and without an exit strategy. They should never be sent into hostilities unless it is our last option. In March of 2003, there were other options.

You sent my only child to his untimely death. You are keeping our members of the military in harm's way in Iraq and you have the power to bring them home and to stop this pointless killing.

When you visit that cemetery to participate in Memorial Day ceremonies and proclaim the words of a grateful nation, look beyond the names on the headstones. Know there is a loving, broken family left behind every single one. Think about Ken. Look at his face; look at his eyes. He is one of 2463 US soldiers to die in this illegal war so far. He was the 100th soldier from California to die in Iraq. Ken is not a number, he's not a statistic. Think about Ken and the life that was stolen from our family when you vote to continue funding this war. It is time to end the lies. It is time to put up a vigorous fight to come up with an exit strategy that will end this war now. Do that because it is the right thing to do. Do it for Ken and for me. No other family should have to travel this hellish journey.

Where will you be on Memorial Day? What will you do to really honor our soldiers? I will be at Arlington National Cemetery on this Memorial Day 2006. It will have been two years since Ken was brutally killed.

Karen Meredith
Proud Mom of Lt Ken Ballard- KIA 5.30.04
Gold Star Families Speak Out

GOD BLESS THE REPORTERS WHO DIED TODAY, and the critically injured journalists in Iraq.

Tuesday I'll put the Vegas show back at the top. This is more important now. Just saw the Da Vinci Code and it resonated with me in the way Christ's true words do -- deep inside there is no denying the truth. The controversy surrounding Dan Brown’s blockbuster has opened an important dialoge about the foundations of the world’s oldest religion. I think its important to say here that whether or not one believes that Jesus was married or not, makes no difference; his essential message stays the same: "Love one another." I happen to believe he performed healing miracles and wanted us all to do the same, for the same mind that was in Christ is in us; and the kingdom of heaven is within. "And these signs will follow those who believe: they will heal the sick and raise the dead." He wanted us to uncover the Christ consciousness within all of us. It’s important to keep in mind that the Da Vinci Code in no way diminishes the beauty and reality of Christ’s ministry; after his crucifixtion, his name and his teachings exploded. Christianity grew exponentially and took on a life of its own: the Romans saw this as an opportunity to capitalze on this movement and form a ritualistic church in order to control this booming trend. But Jesus himself taught no theology whatsoever. In fact, the main evil he warned against repeatedly was overly religious people — and Pharisaical thought. The right-wing evangelicals have also mistakenly twisted Christ's message and have wrongly focused on the letter over the spirit of his teachings. Their obsession with sexual immorality tells a lot about them, not anyone else.

THE DA VINCI CODE: Why it Matters

Theologian: Clergy need to learn why ‘Da Vinci’ resonates by Helen Yanulus
A professor in the Theology/Religious Studies department of the Jesuit school, University of Scranton , Eric Plumer, is apparently working on a book called The Da Vinci Phenomenon: Why the Religious Claims Made in ‘The Da Vinci Code’ Have Struck Such a Chord in America. A rather unweildy title, but my heart sings with the knowledge that an institutional scholar is taking the reaction to DVC seriously in potentially positive ways.

Eric Plumer…noted that Brown’s religious thriller is “selling like hotcakes” because an element of the book — which was adapted for the big screen and made its debut last weekend — has resonated with readers. That interest swirls around the role of Mary Magdalene. Plumer’s belief is that Mary Magdalene’s mistaken reputation as a harlot is what people are responding to, as people realize how her faulty identity and the devaluing of women throughout Christian history has damaged the appreciation of the feminine in Western culture. Plumer noted that thoughts of sexuality were at one time regarded as degrading, impure and disgusting. But Jesus didn’t have that fear of women or sexuality.

My note: The Church has tried throughout history to erase women. I heard Al Rantell on KABC Talk Radio actually read from the Canon of the Vatican a paragraph that said something to the effect that "nothing was worse than lying down with a woman -- and it implied that even sexual contact with minors or boys, though wrong, was preferable." My jaw dropped when I heard this.

Also, what is wise or helpful in making priests celibate? How can they understand their married parishoners? And Jesus said, "Call no man 'father' on the earth." Where do priests get the gall to have people kiss their gold rings and call them "Father?"

I believe that the appeal of the book goes beyond this into an extra-Christian interest in the “sacred feminine,” but we’re going in the right direction here. Although Plumer obviously believes that Jesus was celibate, he goes on to reflect on issues of sexuality and the acceptance of women in Jesus’ ministry: “Many people like the idea that Jesus was more human and capable of understanding love between a man and a woman."

“It’s not Dan Brown’s fault that the novel is so popular. Churches have to ask themselves, ‘What aren’t we doing?’” Plumer said. “I think people sense that women were left out. That wasn’t the attitude of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ attitude towards women isn’t fully reflected in the church.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds - Albert Einstein

Photo by Margery Epstein.

This site is dedicated to truth, spiritual growth and awareness.

The most touching gift: I was blown away by the gift I received from JOHN CONLEY of Oklahoma, who sent me his PURPLE HEART in its original case. Conley is a disabled Marine combat vet who received 2 Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in Viet Nam. He is one of the true HEROES of America, and he was a great support during a very trying time. After getting death threats from so-called "Christian" Ann Coulter fans, his letters of encouragement helped me immeasurably. He wrote: Dear Lydia, "This is for the slings and arrows you took for today's soldiers and Marines and I'm proud to call you my friend. There is no Purple Heart awarded for the wounds you suffered at the hands of mindless critics who wouldn't know a true patriot if one fell on him. There are so many troops who not only agree with you, but veterans who are also grateful. A great example of someone who "supports the troops" in ways that go beyond simply slapping a magnetic yellow ribbon to a car. Our country needs more people like yourself to stay active and if I can do one little thing to inspire you to this end, then it makes me happy. God bless, my dear, John"

This last line make me think how vital it is that we speak out against lies and corruption in our government. I hardly recognize America anymore. IT IS VITAL TO keep in mind that if, instead of siding with Hitler, the Christians of Germany - who represented some 96% of the population - had joined with the Jews, handicaps, homosexuals and the "Liberals", there would have been no war and no holocaust! But Hitler responded: "I have the churches in my back pocket." He then proceeded to arrange for the Nazi government to pay for the support of the clergy, their churches and their schools, so long as they didn't get in his way. That is just one of the many reasons why so few of the Christian clergy dared to speak out against Hitler, no matter how heinous his policies became! (From

As the Native Americans reminded us: No tree has branches so foolish as to fight among themselves.

My father-in-law from Wisconsin

Went to the REAGAN LIBRARY on Mother's Day. My father-in-law was in town and really wanted to see it. I must say, it's pretty magnificent. Strolled through Air Force One, which sits inside a stunningly beautiful glass pavilion. Kids learned all about the Cold War. At least Ronald Reagan was a communicator, and was a statesman; he believed in talking face-to-face with world leaders to befriend them. I came away from there with a new found respect for this great Republican, air-traffic controllers' strike excluded. BUSH shouldn't even be in the same White House as Reagan; they are light-years apart. I can't believe they even allowed his portrait to hang with the other presidents.

The above photos are: my mother on Mother's Day with the flowers we sent her; Charles, my father-in-law; me in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall (the flower side is the West side of course;) portrait of Regan; and the presidential chopper.

Sorry about the problems with Blogger the past week. It's finally back up and I'll post more soon. Will be in Detroit this weekend for Motor City Comic Convention, and at the Riviera Vegas June 5-11 doing standup with Destiny. Steve Schiruppa from the Sopranos owns the Comedy Club at the Riviera.

ABC News: Federal official says US tracking calls made by ABC News, New York Times, Washington Post

RAW STORY Published: Monday May 15, 2006
ABC's Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report:

A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation.

We do not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

One former official was asked to sign a document stating he was not a confidential source for New York Times reporter James Risen.

Our reports on the CIA's secret prisons in Romania and Poland were known to have upset CIA officials.

People questioned by the FBI about leaks of intelligence information say the CIA was also disturbed by ABC News reports that revealed the use of CIA predator missiles inside Pakistan.

Under Bush Administration guidelines, it is not considered illegal for the government to keep track of numbers dialed by phone customers.

The official who warned ABC News said there was no indication our phones were being tapped so the content of the conversation could be recorded.

A pattern of phone calls from a reporter, however, could provide valuable clues for leak investigators.


Monday, May 08, 2006


This site is dedicated to truth, spiritual growth and awareness.

As the Native Americans reminded us: No tree has branches so foolish as to fight among themselves.

We need to understand our enemy. The more I obsess over a problem, the more I bring it into my life (because I’m thinking about it all day long!) The less I diet, the more weight I lose. The less I nag my husband, the more agreeable he is. We give our enemies life, we empower them, validate and give them "body" by fighting them! That's why Christ said, "Resist NOT evil." Whatever you strike out at, only hits you back harder. When I expect the best in people and see the good in them, the good is all I see. (They rise to the occasion.)

I will dedicate a page every month to one of the Great Wayshowers. The greatest Wayshower of all time is Jesus Christ - and there's a reason they separate centuries by his name. It's hard to argue the point that he is the most famous man of all time. Whether you believe him to be man, prophet, myth or fanatic — you'll haves to concede that no one ever grabbed the attention of mankind so consistently or for so long as Jesus Christ. But wouldn't it be important to know what he stood for? Other great wayshowers are: Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Pope John Paul, Mary Baker Eddy (the founder of Christian Science; Christ's essential healing power demonstrated;) Emmet Fox, the minister from England who wrote the best book I've ever read on Christ: "The Sermon on the Mount", the spiritual key to Matthew; Wayne Dyer; Viktor Frankl, Albert Einstein; Depak Chopra and "Conversations with God" author Neal Donald Walsch.

But only Jesus Christ performed the healing miracles.

Gandhi dedicated his life to the wider purpose of discovering truth, or Satya. He tried to achieve this by learning from his own mistakes and conducting experiments on himself. He named his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Gandhi found that uncovering the truth was not always popular as many people were resistant to change, preferring instead to maintain the existing status quo because of either inertia, self-interest or misguided beliefs. However he also discovered that once the truth was on the march nothing could stop it. All it took was time to achieve traction and gain momentum. As

Gandhi said:
"The Truth is far more powerful than any weapon." Gandhi said that the most important battle to fight was in overcoming his own demons, fears and insecurities. He thought it was all too easy to blame people, governing powers or enemies for his personal actions and well-being. He noted the solution to problems could normally be found just by looking in the mirror.

More to come ....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Check out this terrific site SIMPLY LEFT BEHIND which has the ENTIRE crystal clear version of COLBERT at White House Correspondents' Dinner...

My friend John Amato at Crooks and Liars put this up yesterday: WATCH COLBERT GIVE HALF OF IT TO BUSH


NEW YORK E&P's article on Stephen Colbert's speech at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner was one of our most read articles ever, touching a nerve with people on all sides of the political spectrum. E&P's opinionated readers sent over a hundred responses to the article, many of which we will attemp to include in this week's letters pages. Here is our first edition.

The Colbert Retort:

Great article. As far as Colbert's lampoon, he was right in doing what he did--and doing it in front of the whole world.
Bush should be run out of town for what he has done to this country and especially the misuse of our military and their families. We tire of him hiding behind the few soldiers continuing to support him. I also blame the corporate owned media for their part in cheerleading this country, ill prepared, into a war of choice.

I wonder which one of Bush's children he would sacrifice for this war. After all, he expected me to willingly sacrifice my son. He expects Cindy Sheehan to be pleased sacrificing her son's life for lies. Most military families (the educated ones, anyway) found no humor when Bush at a previous press dinner pretended to look for WMD in the Oval office. Not a drop of class in his supposed blue blood...

Teresa Dawson
Military Families Speak Out
Central Ohio Chapter
I watched the whole show and I was deeply offended for my country, the President and the military. Stephen Colbert proved beyond a doubt that liberals are worthless human beings, a danger to all of our freedom and lack any sense of decency. Their contributions and value to the country are nil.

Tom Wegmann
Seattle, Wash.

I totally applaud Colbert for his "comedy talk". In a gathered, gala event, it would have been a mistake not to nail the atrocious conditions to which this president and his administration have unshamefully brought our country, our reputation, and the Iraqis. I was cheering. This had to be done because Bush's miserable policies have to stop and he must go. It's no joke and I'm glad he and Laura weren't smiling.

I also applaud C-span and the WH Correspondents Assn. for letting things roll.
Susan James

OF NATIONAL URGENCY! Got this from Larisa at RAW STORY: FYI, this is remarkable and the silence is even more so:

Bush challenges hundreds of laws
President cites powers of his office

By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | April 30, 2006

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.

Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.


Larisa Alexandrovna
Managing Editor - News
Raw Story Media, Inc.