Thursday, May 31, 2007

Memorial Day, Freedom and the Right Path

Memorial Day, Freedom and the Right Path
Guest Blog By Mike

This past weekend was Memorial Day Weekend, and I couldn't help thinking what Memorial Day meant to me as a child, as well as what it likely means today to both Children in America as well as children in other countries.

I think the main focus of Memorial Day is to honor the brave soldiers who gave their lives to protect our freedoms and liberties, I think the overwhelming majority of our country DOES honor and respect our soldiers and veterans, but I think Memorial day is also an occasion to remember the presidents who sent those soldiers to war -- and in some cases to their deaths. The majority were honorable men who sent our soldiers to war for honorable and legitimate reasons.

Unfortunately this president, George W Bush, has not; he has sent our soldiers to their deaths for a lie and caused much of the world to despise rather than respect our country and our soldiers. For that reason, although I greatly respect and honor our brave soldiers, (many of which are friends and co-workers of mine or relatives of the former) who are being sacrificed and used as cannon fodder for a self serving lie.....I choose to focus on our president since speaking out against a culture of corruption that CHOOSES to put our soldiers in harms way for no justifiable reason and with no finite plan for a solution is in my opinion one of the best ways to truly support our soldiers.

When I was a child, Memorial Day used to evoke images of both our brave soldiers who died to protect our freedom and liberties, as well as great presidents of the past who were great men, good men, wise men,respected by everyone; after much contemplation, I wondered how does the world look at Memorial Day now after 6 years of George W Bush's treasonous reign of evil.

Better yet how does the world look at America now?

America was always a bastion of goodness, a symbol of freedom, a land of opportunity, where hard work was rewarded.

What have we had under Bush's reign: we have become a world bully that attacks pre-emptively like a common street thug. We take what we want and do what is best for us without listening to other countries needs or wants. Diplomacy and peace have become a sign of weakness and a dirty word to the Bush Administration.

Obeying and defending the Constitution and protecting our cherished freedom and privacy has drawn scorn and derision from this Administration, freedom of speech is abhorred by the overwhelming majority of Republicans when it dissents from their talking points. They use fear and safety as talking points to destroy freedom, to undermine and destroy every bit of goodness that has been a symbol of our country and to seize more and more power and push their self serving agenda.

Our Country is slowly being transformed into an evil police state run by a cabal of megalomaniac dictators. The poor and middle class are losing more ground economically to the ultra-wealthy, good-paying middle class jobs are being outsourced overseas while the rich "robber barons" and white collar criminals manipulating the laws and our tax dollars to steal money from working class people become ever more rich and powerful — just as the "robber barons" like Jay Gould did in the Gilded Age.

What do kids think of now on Memorial Day? ("Hot dogs and hamburgers, says Lydia.") It's obvious they honor and respect our soldiers regardless of whether they believe in the soldiers mission, which is dictated by Bush and his cabal of Neo Con cronies, but I'm wondering when kids think of the Presidents behind the wars, do they think of good men like Lincoln and Washington, men they respect and aspire to emulate, or do kids today both in America and around the world associate it with evil men, Bush, Dick Cheney, Hitler etc.......

Hitler is the leader whom the Neo Cons have been emulating — from his rhetoric to instill fear in the masses, to discredit the opposition, to destroy freedom in the name of safety, to attack other countries preemptively, from his giving the masses a common enemy to fear and hate, and a patriotic cause to rally around etc...

I marvel at how in six short years the Republicans have turned Presidents Day into a dirty phrase, just as they have with America or the word Liberal, which are both symbols of freedom and goodness.........hopefully they have NOT done the same with Memorial Day which is a day to honor our dead soldiers, hopefully the world still honors and respects our soldiers as the overwhelming majority of our country does.

George W Bush NEEDS TO BE IMPEACHED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE before he can do anymore damage to this country or our soldiers.

But on a positive note, we can still turn things around. We need to work toward solutions instead of fear mongering and war mongering. We need to put aside partisanship and work together to create a better country and a better world, we need to put more effort into peace and diplomacy rather than war and hatred.

We have been on the the wrong path for most of the past three decades, we need to get on the right path, the last time we had Presidents work toward energy independence from the Middle East and diversification away from oil was in the 1970's and this is not, nor should it be a partisan issue. The ONLY two Presidents who did anything substantive to make us less dependent on foreign oil imports were Gerald Ford who mandated increased fuel economy in cars and Jimmy Carter, who promoted a variety of technologies to make us less dependent on Petroleum imports, Carter promoted solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas etc.....the sad thing is that the Presidents that followed did not emulate their forethought and long term thinking but instead fell victim to the group think and self serving interests of big oil. Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House to symbolize his commitment to energy independence and his successor Ronald Reagan subsequently had them ripped off after ascending to the White House.

We need a President who is smart, who thinks strategically and longer term, rather than what is best for him politically, or what is more palatable at the moment, or how to best save face. We need a President who is selfless and puts the good of the country and the good of the many over the good of the powerful few. We need a President who is wise, and has character and integrity and honesty and speaks truthfully rather than promoting self serving agenda's or demonizing and smearing his opponents, or using fear and half truths to influence and deceive the weak minded and fearful.

The Founding Fathers and the Great Presidents of the past normally thought of on Memorial Day, believed in freedom and justice for all so vehemently that they were willing to die for it, to get back on the RIGHT PATH and become that shining symbol of freedom and land of opportunity the world has always associated with America, "The Land Of The Free and Home of The Brave", we need stop being ruled by fear and hatred and start acting like we value freedom and bravery, we need to remember and honor the great and brilliant men who fought for our freedom and liberties and wrote that timeless ageless symbol and protector of freedom the US Constitution, we need to hold the Constitution and the sacred freedom it symbolizes above ANY President or Any enacted legislation. Any President or any Legislation that defies, challenges or contradicts the Constitution needs to be repealed or impeached ASAP.

Our Founding Father's and our first President fought for our freedom from a King named George who was deemed insane, Once again we have a man named George who deems himself a king that many claim is insane and is the enemy of democracy and freedom.

To get back on the Right Path, we need to focus on freedom rather than fear, peace rather than war. We need to work to make the world a better place for the next generation, we need to take care of the least among us and, put the good of the many over the good of the few powerful wealthy elite!

(This guest post is by Mike.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's Those Little Things

by Larry Every relationship has its ups and downs. Every experience has been filled with a series of mishaps and milestones. It's those little things both good and bad that add up. Perhaps Bobby Goldsboro spoke best of love with these lyrics.

Little things that you do make me glad I'm in love with you.Little things that you say make me glad that I feel this way.The way you smile, the way you hold my hand,and when I'm down you always understand.You know I love those little things in my ear, that you say when there's no one near. Little things that you do, let me know that your love is true.

The way she cooks his favorite meal, the way she makes his dreams seem real, the way she makes a dollar last, the way she always forgets his past, it's those little things.

It could also be the way he ignores her every word, the way he makes her feel so hurt, the way he spends and never saves, the way he takes but has never gave, it's those little things.

As we live another day, we can always remember that those little things always add up, both good and bad. Some little things add up to make someone love their spouse even more. Other little things add up to make the spouse learn to abhor. There are little things in all walks of life.

The way he lied the country into war, the thousands of deaths, and there will be more, the massive debt that we now owe, that we will reap what he will sow, yes it's those little things.

The way he took away our rights, the executive orders signed into the night, the way he uses the fear of terror, the way he overlooks every Presidential error, it's those little things.

The millions of jobs he sent overseas, the millions of Iraqi's just wishing he would leave, The levels of corruption that lay at his desk, the hundreds who've been tortured simply at his bequest, it's those little things.

The way he overlooks each and every law, the lives he has left so torn and raw, the military funerals he refuses to attend, the Katrina victims stranded as help he will not send, it's those little things.

Yes Mr. Bush, everything that you do, it's never me but always you, you are never wrong but always right, you say we're weak since we won't fight, you wonder why your ratings are low, we want you out but you refuse to go, it's those little things.

Maybe soon we'll have our say, that you'll be impeached everyday we pray, for all our freedoms that we have lost, those who have died at wars great cost, as we add our losses this we know, It's those little things, Mr. Bush, that make America detest you so.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


If you missed it Saturday, you can hear our interview with Presidential candidate Mike Gravel by clicking on BASHAM & CORNELL PROGRESSIVE TALK Just click on 'archives' and you can hear all of amazing guests, including: Congressman Rangel, Brian Katsulis; Media Matters' Paul Waldman, Eric Boehlert, Karl Frisch, Dennis Yedwab; Mikey Weinstein; Former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega; and other bestselling authors, scholars and political leaders.

from 9 - 10 a.m. We broadcast live on KLAV -- or go to our website and click on the link to hear the entire show in the archives.

MIKE GRAVEL, 2008 Democratic Presidential candidate and the MAN WHO STOLE THE first DEMOCRATIC DEBATE. We did a 45 minute interview with Gravel, who served 2 terms in the House and was a Senator from Alaska. He is primarily known for ending the draft following the Vietnam War, and for having put into the public record, the Pentagon Papers in 1971!

Gravel is a hero of mine; he is the only cadidate committed to telling the truth and standing for his convictions. He has nothing to lose and no one to impress — but his conscience. He passionately speaks for the majority of Americans, but the mainstream media is focused on dumbing us down with 'celebrities-gone-wild' gossip and obsessive Clinton-bashing.
Military Coffins: The Photos You're Not Supposed to See
"Not to See the Fallen..." by mcjoan at

While memorializing those fallen today, don't forget the 143 journalists and media support workers, the most in any major conflict, who have been killed in Iraq.

If there's one thing the hapless war planners and conducters in this administration managed to do right, at least by their calculation, it's been to manage the media's access to and coverage of the actual story on the ground. Since the war began, they've made the increasingly instituted more stringent rules on what can be covered.

Since last year, the military’s embedding rules require that journalists obtain a signed consent from a wounded soldier before the image can be published. Images that put a face on the dead, that make them identifiable, are simply prohibited.


From blogger MCH1968:
On Memorial Day, people frequently will say "Thank You" to those who gave their lives for our freedom, and certainly I give my thanks to those who perished in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, World Wars 1 & 2, and so on ...

For those who have died in this Iraqi war, thank you doesn't seem to quite fit. Instead, all I can say is "I'm sorry."

I'm sorry it came to this. I'm sorry that the president didn't value your life enough to keep you alive. I'm sorry you aren't still here to help keep us safe from our nation's true enemies. I'm sorry that those in charge treasured their pride, money, greed, and political ambitions too much that you're considered expendable. I'm sorry that lies and deceit was all it took to have you killed. I'm sorry I didn't fight hard enough or effectively enough to keep you home.

To the 3455 (and unfortunately still growing) service men and women who have died for a reason other than our freedom -- we miss you, we love you, may you rest in peace.

Here is a great article posted by Larry:


On May 26, 1907 in a one bedroom home in Winterset Iowa, America's hero a thirteen pound Marion Robert Morrison was born. This was the same town that George Washington Carver lived and worked before he achieved greatness. This quaint little town was also a stop for the Underground Railroad.

Today in Winterset, the town will show three films that the towns most famous citizen has starred in. These films will be shown free to residents of Winterset because the star of all three films is Marion Morrison.

Marion Morrison wore a hairpiece for most of his life, a tidbit very few know. He made his last film in 1976 and he died of cancer three years later. He made action adventures and war films, but he was best known for his westerns.

This maker of such hits at True Grit,(his only Oscar) El Dorado, Rio Bravo, Stagecoach and the Sands of Iwo Jima, and his last film The Shootist were classics in the days when the term hero was more than a political catch phrase. Marion Morrison was in reality John Wayne.

Many are unaware that John Wayne was a staunch conservative. Wayne was a vocal anti-communist and at one time was President of the right wing Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. Critics say Wayne was a racist.

John Wayne was also an outspoken supporter of the Vietnam War and he openly criticized anti-war protesters. Few knew that John Wayne himself was reported to have sought and received numerous deferments to avoid serving in World War II.

John Wayne was a hero to millions on screen, and an ultra-conservative off-screen. John Wayne criticized those who were against the Vietnam War, when in fact his refusal to serve himself was telling of the real Republican John Wayne.

In 1979, John Wayne released an album of narration of which two of the cuts were hits, and it is only fitting that during the weekend of his 100th birthday celebration that we remember the myth of John Wayne instead of the truth. The following prose was one of John Wayne's hits of 1979.

America, Why I Love Her
Written by John Mitchum Poet/Actor
You ask me why I love her? Well, give me time, and I'll explain...Have you seen a Kansas sunset or an Arizona rain?Have you drifted on a bayou down Louisiana way?Have you watched the cold fog drifting over San Francisco Bay?

Have you heard a Bobwhite calling in the Carolina pines? Or heard the bellow of a diesel in the Appalachia mines? Does the call of Niagara thrill you when you hear her waters roar? Do you look with awe and wonder at a Massachusetts shore...Where men who braved a hard new world, first stepped on Plymouth Rock? And do you think of them when you stroll along a New York City dock ?

Have you seen a snowflake drifting in the Rockies...way up high?Have you seen the sun come blazing down from a bright Nevada sky?Do you hail to the Columbia as she rushes to the sea...Or bow your head at our struggle to be free?

Have you seen the mighty Tetons? ...Have you watched an eagle soar?Have you seen the Mississippi roll along Missouri's shore?Have you felt a chill at Michigan, when on a winters day,Her waters rage along the shore in a thunderous display?Does the word "Aloha"... make you warm?Do you stare in disbelief When you see the surf come roaring in at Waimea reef?
From Alaska's gold to the Everglades...from the Rio Grande to Maine...My heart cries out... my pulse runs fast at the might of her domain.You ask me why I love her?... I've a million reasons why.My beautiful America... beneath Gods' wide, wide sky.

Friday, May 25, 2007


There have been many innocent victims resulting from George W Bush's war on Iraq. The U.S troops are obvious victims, as were the brave U.S troops who lost their lives in Iraq. The thousands of Iraqi's who have been killed since Bush's invasion, are all victims of this senseless war, as are the remaining Iraqi people.

One group of victims that are seldom noticed are the children. The children's agency of the U.N better known as UNICEF says that insecurity in Baghdad and other parts have caused schools to close, and left hospitals and clinics nearly impossible to gain access to.

UNICEF reports that only 30% of Iraqi children have safe drinking water as damaged sanitation systems increase the threat of diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea, which is the second highest cause of childhood death in Iraq.

The constant bombings and kidnappings have claimed the lives of many Iraqi parents leaving the children susceptible to abuse and exploitation. Iraqi children seldom receive the help and support they need to cope with such anxiety and fear.

Of the four million Iraqi's who have fled their homes since Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, one million of those are children. Some two million of those Iraqi's who have fled have remained in Iraq. The remaining two million have fled to Jordan, Syria and other countries in the region, where they live in extreme poverty.

The Iraqi children are not alone. Thousands of U.S children whose parent have been assigned to the war lines of Iraq are also in need. Many military spouses live in poverty as the spouse is left to help make ends meet and raise their children.

Those thousands of U.S soldiers who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan left spouses and children behind to cope with grief and life. This has brought added stress on an already heavily troubled life of a child.

It is of great question as to whether or not the Bush administration has taken into consideration how their actions have affected the children in the U.S and in Iraq. One has to wonder if the emotional devastation of a child's life was ever even a forethought.

As George W Bush shouts the servitude of sporadic altruism, he heartlessly ignores the effects of his military actions on the children of this war. Mr. Bush has decided to remake the world in his image, the very image of a man the world has grown to abhor. The life of a child is priceless, and the desires of madman are worthless. You Mr. Bush have proven to be worthless.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


RUN, RUSH, READ Keith Olbermann's riveting special commentary on Wednesday May 23. Bush , he says is the most shameful president in history, and he is "financing the deaths of Americans" in this illegal, heinous war. To paraphrase, Bush has manipulated Congress into thinking the troops will not get armor or protection, whereas a good president -- any honest leader, would never shame Congress and use the troops as barter. A good leader would cut Halliburton's profits — beg, borrow or steal from other "pork" projects before he'd cut troop funding. The American people have spoken, and Bush, in his arrogance has put Democrats between a rock and a hard place.

On the other hand, the Democrats must NOT BACK DOWN. We must end this war.

I received this disturbing news item from my friend Garth Bixxo:

This little known National Security Presidential Directive NDPD #51 of May 9th, essentially gives Bush the authority to take over the country --- like a dictator. I believe it has to be approved by Congress -- and pray that they quash it immediately.

When the Cold War began in the 1950s, Directives were written and put into place in case of an atomic bomb attack on the government. These directives are still in effect---- meaning that #51 is not need, and is merely a power grab by Karl Rove and-or whoever directed it be written.

Here's how states it:
Bush Anoints Himself as
Ensurer of Constitutional Government
in Emergency
Scary 'eh---sounds like we'd better impeach him before he implements NSPD#51.
Every concerned citizen should call, write their Congressperson and Senator to say STOP

Here's the write-up---by way of an Executive Summary which reads between the lines.

Bush Anoints Himself as the Ensurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency
By Matthew Rothschild

In a new National Security Presidential Directive, Bush lays out his plans for dealing with a "catastrophic emergency."
With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack. Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility "for ensuring constitutional government."

He laid this all out in a document entitled "National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51" and "Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20." The White House released it on May 9.

Other than a discussion on Daily Kos led off by a posting by Leo Fender, and a pro-forma notice in a couple of mainstream newspapers, this document has gone unremarked upon.

The subject of the document is entitled "National Continuity Policy."

It defines a "catastrophic emergency" as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function."

This could mean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California, I imagine, since it says it would include "localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies."

The document emphasizes the need to ensure "the continued function of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government," it states.

But it says flat out: "The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government."

The document waves at the need to work closely with the other two branches, saying there will be "a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government." But this effort will be "coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers."

Among the efforts coordinated by the President would ensuring the capability of the three branches of government to "provide for orderly succession" and "appropriate transition of leadership."

The document designates a National Continuity Coordinator, who would be the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

The document gives the Vice President a role in implementing the provisions of the contingency plans.

Please check out

Gas Wars

Kucinich to Speak for Full Hour on House Floor on Iraq Oil LawMay 22nd, 2007

May 22nd, 2007
We encourage you to comment on this press release, and the impact this may have on the presidential race for 2008. This is the first time Congress has had a full discussion on the privatization of Iraq’s oil since the beginning of the war.
WASHINGTON DC - WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2007 - At approximately 11:00 a.m. today, Congressman Dennis Kucinich will invoke a rarely used procedure to offer a privileged motion claiming one hour of time to speak on the floor of the House of Representatives about current legislative plans to privatize Iraq’s oil.
This will be the first time in Congress that there has been a full discussion of the covert efforts to accomplish privatization of Iraq’s oil through the supplemental spending bill.
Kucinich has alerted his colleagues to this concern in the past. Today he will do so on the floor of the House.
Kucinich argued against invading Iraq prior to the 2003 vote that authorized it. He published his case against it and helped persuade many of his colleagues to vote No. Kucinich challenged the legality of the war in court in an effort to prevent it. He proposed a detailed plan to end the occupation of Iraq over three years ago. His current plan is found in his bill HR 1234, which includes these findings:
“Any attempt to sell Iraqi oil assets during the United States occupation will be a significant stumbling block to peaceful resolution. There must be fairness in the distribution of oil resources in Iraq.”
Kucinich has voted against every new funding bill for the occupation, including the recent Supplemental. He supports using the power of the purse to end the war. He opposes any attack on Iran and proposes formally forswearing the use of so-called preventive war. He has proposed the creation of a Department of Peace to address international and domestic violence.
As with all House sessions, this speech will be televised on C-Span.

The increase in gas prices has cost U.S consumers an extra twenty billion dollars so far this year according to the Government Accountability Office. This added cost has taken money out of the economy that normally would have been spent on consumer products.

The GAO told Congress that a large amount of oil refining capacity and lower inventories have led to the rise in gas prices. Many feel the Iraq war has caused oil to be withheld from U.S consumers. Gas prices have risen $1.05 since early February. U.S gas prices are at an all time high and getting higher.

The Energy Departments reports that gasoline prices have risen 50% since January, which ranks as one of the largest ongoing increases recorded in U.S history. The high price of gasoline has hurt retail as sales have fallen 1.5% week by week.

Many are calling for the breaking up of oil companies and undoing the mega-mergers which may bring about more competition within the industry. Calls from consumers and business alike have fallen on deaf ears in the Bush administration.

Americans have watched oil prices rise as the Texas Oil Man became President. They have watched Exxon and Chevron rake in record profits while gasoline prices continue to rise. They have seen the economy increasingly slow to a limp, while U.S Corporations continue to flourish.

One of the many promises the Bush administration made when they overtly invaded Iraq, was that gas prices in the U.S would be much lower. These promises along with many other insincere boasts have never stimulated into truth.

If gasoline prices are to ever return to affordable levels, Congress must stop the Iraq war, force U.S oil companies to lower prices and limit profits that oil companies can make without major relief to the consumer.

The most crucial thing Americans can do to bring gas prices down rapidly is to simply remove the current "Commander In Chief and his catalog of corruption from office. The final step will be to keep oil men from residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


PROFILE OF A PUBLIC SERVANT: Audrey Hepburn has always been my favorite because of her elegant spirit and her humanitarian work. Of the current crop, I admire Angelina Jolie because of her huge heart — as well as her work with Genocide Prevention in Darfur. She is a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador. She was at Cannes Film Festival last weekend. Jolie, who plays the widow of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in "A Mighty Heart," said she was overwhelmed by Mariane Pearl's inner strength and her ability to let go of hatred. MORE BELOW, but first a few thoughts on Einstein's Unified Field...

You can be attractive even if you're not "good looking" because if you radiate love, you attract people. Enthusiasm and courage actually change your brain waves, changing the molecular structure around you. I personally have always believed that science proves God. The proof is in life itself - the multitudinous objects of beauty and creation. Thought is molecular, bringing objects we form (with our thoughts) into view. But the creative force in the universe is love, which can be proven as an energy. Einstein was just short of admitting what he already suspected, that the unified field is love. And by the way, there is no linear time. Step outside the race belief, outside the man made box of space and time. - Lydia

Why this scientist believes in God
By Dr. Francis Collins
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Human Genome Project. His most recent book is "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief."

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (CNN) -- I am a scientist and a believer, and I find no conflict between those world views.

As the director of the Human Genome Project, I have led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book. As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God's language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God's plan.

I did not always embrace these perspectives. As a graduate student in physical chemistry in the 1970s, I was an atheist, finding no reason to postulate the existence of any truths outside of mathematics, physics and chemistry. But then I went to medical school, and encountered life and death issues at the bedsides of my patients. Challenged by one of those patients, who asked "What do you believe, doctor?", I began searching for answers.

I had to admit that the science I loved so much was powerless to answer questions such as "What is the meaning of life?" "Why am I here?" "Why does mathematics work, anyway?" "If the universe had a beginning, who created it?" "Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms?" "Why do humans have a moral sense?" "What happens after we die?" (Watch Francis Collins discuss how he came to believe in God Video)

I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments, and was astounded to discover, initially in the writings of the Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis and subsequently from many other sources, that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of the existence of God on purely rational grounds. My earlier atheist's assertion that "I know there is no God" emerged as the least defensible. As the British writer G.K. Chesterton famously remarked, "Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative."

But reason alone cannot prove the existence of God. Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind. You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page. Ultimately, a leap of faith is required.

For me, that leap came in my 27th year, after a search to learn more about God's character led me to the person of Jesus Christ. Here was a person with remarkably strong historical evidence of his life, who made astounding statements about loving your neighbor, and whose claims about being God's son seemed to demand a decision about whether he was deluded or the real thing. After resisting for nearly two years, I found it impossible to go on living in such a state of uncertainty, and I became a follower of Jesus.

So, some have asked, doesn't your brain explode? Can you both pursue an understanding of how life works using the tools of genetics and molecular biology, and worship a creator God? Aren't evolution and faith in God incompatible? Can a scientist believe in miracles like the resurrection?

Actually, I find no conflict here, and neither apparently do the 40 percent of working scientists who claim to be believers. Yes, evolution by descent from a common ancestor is clearly true. If there was any lingering doubt about the evidence from the fossil record, the study of DNA provides the strongest possible proof of our relatedness to all other living things.

But why couldn't this be God's plan for creation? True, this is incompatible with an ultra-literal interpretation of Genesis, but long before Darwin, there were many thoughtful interpreters like St. Augustine, who found it impossible to be exactly sure what the meaning of that amazing creation story was supposed to be. So attaching oneself to such literal interpretations in the face of compelling scientific evidence pointing to the ancient age of Earth and the relatedness of living things by evolution seems neither wise nor necessary for the believer.

I have found there is a wonderful harmony in the complementary truths of science and faith. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. God can be found in the cathedral or in the laboratory. By investigating God's majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship.

Jolie, Pearl and Brad Pitt, the movie's co-producer, were at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday for the premiere of the movie about Pearl's abduction and murder in Pakistan in 2002 while researching a story on Islamic militants.

The film, shot in a naturalistic documentary style, recounts the search to find Pearl's kidnappers and his widow's struggle to come to terms with his death.

"For me, so much of why this film was important to do is because I highly doubt there is anybody in this room who has more reason to hold hate inside herself than Mariane, and she doesn't," Jolie told reporters.

"That is, I think, a lesson for all of us," the

Friday, May 18, 2007


The Way to Divinity

If anyone speaks ill of you,
Praise them always.
If anyone injures you,
Serve them nicely.
If anyone persecutes you,
Help them in all possible ways.
You will attain
immense strength.
You will control anger and pride.
You will enjoy
peace, poise, and serenity.
You will become divine.

- Swami Sivananda

(Jesus says the same thing in his Sermon on the Mount.)

CATHERINE CRIER from COURT TV had to reschedule. Today, Doug and I wing it with a mix of politics and non-political comedy.

from 9 - 10 a.m. We broadcast live -- or go to our website and click on the link to hear the entire show in the archives.

The following thoughts are from my beautiful sister Kathy.

Here's my opinion.

I hate this kind of thing. The film is simplistic and sentimental
tripe. It addresses a non-issue. Who is this film aimed at? No one
blames the soldiers! No one hates them for "doing their job" or
doesn't "support our troops". The premise of the film is a fiction.
It is propaganda.

This film and "patriotic" statements like it completely sidesteps the
fact that none of those soldiers had to die, because they should not
have been there in the first place. It's selling an old idea that to
die in war is honorable.

If you have a family member serving in Iraq, of course you are proud
of them! The rest of us are just disgusted and ashamed at our
government that even one American has had to die over there. No one
blames the soldiers for fighting an immoral and unjust war right now.
They are just doing the government's (dirty) work.

Also. Don't try to tell me how to feel! I don't have to feel "proud"
of the American soldiers. I can feel that they are very brave, and
strong, and feel very sorry that they are there. I can feel angry and
sad. But no, I'm not particularly proud. I feel afraid, worried,
upset, sorry and sad and deeply angry at my government for creating
the mess we find ourselves in in Iraq where so many beautiful lives
have been cut short on all sides of the conflict. I want all
non-Iraqi troops to get to go home, where ever they are from.

War is not inherently just or good. War is a human tragedy on a grand
scale. It should be considered a last resort. I believe it is only
justified to stop a genocide. But war is more often a strategic game
of the elite - a machine created by the powerful to divide and
re-divide wealth and power amongst themselves.

The idea of patriotism in a time of war is inherently propagandistic.
If you buy into it, then you probably also believe that things go
better with Coke or that Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.
Who benefits the most by selling these ideas to the public?

Can you imagine this type of film coming from the jihad point of
view? Sentimentalizing the self-sacrifice of the suicide bomber,
complete with heart-tugging strings? We would all be spitting angry,
and see the suicide bombers themselves as pawns of an evil elite.

As a nation we have absolutely nothing to be proud of in the current
war in Iraq. Our leadership has destroyed our reputation worldwide
and our economy at home, making the world a much more dangerous place
than it was before and right after 9/11. I don't blame the soldiers
for this, or hold it against them. I'm smart enough to make the
distinction that to hate this war is not the same thing as hating the
people fighting it.

The Newshour with Jim Lehrer is the only news show that still honors
the fallen soldiers every night at the end of the newscast. Why do
you think the other networks stopped doing so years ago? The Newshour
uses no sentimental music - only complete silence, with portraits,
names and home towns. This is a thousand times more powerful to me,
because it isn't trying to manipulate my emotions the way this piece

I do admire men and women who
join up and go off to war when everyone in the country is contributing,
and when we've actually been attacked -- but when the rich keep getting
richer and no one else is expected to make any sacrifices, etc., etc.
-- well, it really is propaganda. Also, I do not like the idea of
mercenary forces, where people are paid to do all the fighting and the
sons and daughters of all the warmongers (and the chicken hawks
themselves) avoid having to serve.

Thanks for letting me express my reaction!


Don't forget to listen to the Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk Show Saturday at 9:00 AM PST. BashamandCornell

Thursday, May 17, 2007


We are pleased to have CATHERINE CRIER from COURT TV on our show Saturday, May 19

from 9 - 10 a.m. We broadcast live -- or go to our website and click on the link to hear the entire show in the archives.

"Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." That's what good preachers, and good journalists, do. It makes sense that comics, who sometimes preach and sometimes report the news, would follow this motto as well.

Imus "broke the power equation," Rogers says. He afflicted the afflicted, which made him a bully instead of a comic. That's not funny.

This happens a lot, not just with comics, but with journalists and preachers too. They get the motto backwards, they break the power equation. The journalists cozy up to the powerful, the preachers become bullying scolds. Both start to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted. It's nothing new, Jesus described the same thing thousands of years ago, "They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them."

The tricky thing -- whether you're a journalist, preacher or comic -- is that "the comfortable" and "the afflicted" are not immutable categories. Anyone, at some point, might be in either category. White House spokesman Tony Snow, for example, has had a lucrative career as a dishonest and thoroughly unprincipled apologist for power. That made him fair game for exposure, for jokes and jeremiads. But Snow now has cancer in his liver and the prognosis is not good. And jokes at the expense of a cancer victim just aren't funny. Kicking a man when he is down is the work of a bully.

This is, again, what I think Orwell was getting at in that essay on Charles Dickens I've taken to quoting a bit too often: Orwell on Dickens
Where [Dickens] is Christian is in his quasi-instinctive siding with the oppressed against the oppressors. As a matter of course he is on the side of the underdog, always and everywhere. To carry this to its logical conclusion one has got to change sides when the underdog becomes an upperdog, and in fact Dickens does tend to do so.

Which underscores Rogers' point, that context matters. The transgressive humor of the underdog is funny. The transgressive "humor" of the upperdog is merely bullying. And that's not funny. (It's not even really transgressive, since the upperdogs make and enforce the rules.)

The dynamic at work here is, of course, justice. Comedy doesn't so much "steal" power as reclaim it. Undermining injustice is funny. Enforcing it is not. This is as true for preachers and journalists as it is for comics.

Posted by Fred Clark SLACKTIVIST

Fred Clark is a religious scholar and minister. Slacktivist is a wonderful website devoted to debunking the sinister and hilarious "Left Behind" novels by LaHaye-Jenkins.

Cartoon by Stephen Pitt: Rove-Gonzales-Abu Grahib

Monday, May 14, 2007

Are You Better Off?

As we are entering the season where the focus shifts to the next election, we see a group of Republican candidates espousing the ongoing war and comparing themselves to their view of the perfect President Ronald Reagan.

As progressives maybe we need to quote Ronald Reagan from time to time in addressing the issues of today. Reagan asked a famous question during the debates of the 1980 election season that brought him to prominence. This question applies today as well.

Are you better off today than you were six years ago? Do you feel that your job is secure now that gas prices have risen well above three dollars per gallon and predictions that they will reach four dollars seem very real?

Are you better off today with the President having the country bogged down in a war in Iraq with no end in sight? Have you gained any benefit from the war in Iraq, or has it cost this country in ways we will never recover?

Are you better off with the majority of the world turning against us and those in the Middle East planning to bring the United States down? Are you safer with the choices that this President and his Republican allies have made in foreign policy?

Are you better able to afford college costs for your children under the economy of George W Bush? Are you confident that your children will be able to afford a home, or raise a family with the direction our country is going?

Are you confident you and your family will have affordable health care in the future, or has the decisions of deficits and war brought that confidence to an end? Are the forty seven million Americans without health care better off today than they were six years ago?

Are the thirty seven million low-income Americans living in poverty better off today than they were six years ago? Are the twenty six million Americans receiving food stamps better off or do they face a Food Stamp program in peril?

Are we better off as a nation to have many of our privacy rights taken away? Are we confident we can trust those in government to protect our identities and our privacy or will we continue to see computers disappear, personal records compromised and our privacy in peril?

Are we winning any of the wars this President has started? Are we better off to coax a war with Iran? Have we seen oil prices fall from the take over of Iraqi oil? Do we have more allies today that we had six years ago?

These are but a few questions that as an American you can ask. These questions go to the basic principle of life in America today. As you hear the Republican candidates espouse war and claim the moniker of Reagan, ask your self the Reagan question. Are we better off today under Republican leadership than we were six years ago.?
Cartoon copyright credit to Stephen Pitt Cartoons stephenpittcartoons

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I.O.U Mom

In 1870 Julia Ward Howe penned the Mother's Day proclamation. Howe had earlier authored the famous Battle Hymn of the Republic. Howe wrote the Mother's Day proclamation calling for the women of the world to unite for peace.

The following piece was written in 1976 in honor of moms everywhere. These lyrics fit the typical mom. It probably describes your mom. Happy Mother's Day to all. We owe you more than we can ever repay.

(Dean / Markes)

Many people look through their wallet or their pocket books and, way down at the bottom, past the
credit cards and baby pictures and so on, you usually find a little 'ol piece of dog-eared poetry.
I was cleaning out my wallet the other day and ran across a whole bunch of I.O.U's, some of 'em
thirty-five years overdue. And you know the funny thing, all these I.O.U's are owed to one person
and I kinda felt like that maybe now would be a pretty good time for an accountin'.
Mom, I sure hope you're listenin'.
Sweet lady, I.O.U. for so many things.....
A lot of services, like nightwatchman for instance.....
Lyin' awake nights, listenin' for coughs and cries and creakin'
floorboards.....hah-hah, and me comin' in too late.
Boy, you had the eye of an eagle and the roar of a lion,
But you always had a heart as big as a house.
I.O.U. for services like, uh, short order cook, chef, baker.....
For makin' sirloin out o' hamburger an' turkey out o' tuna fish,
And big ol' strappin' boys out of leftovers.
I.O.U. for cleanin' services,
The daily scrubbing of face and ears....all work done by hand.
And for the frequent dustin' of a small boy's pants
To try to make sure that you led a spotless life.
And for washin' and ironin' that no laundry could ever do.
Foy dryin' the tears of childhood
And ironin' out the problems of growin' up.
I.O.U. for services as a bodyguard,
For protectin' me from the terrors of thunderstorms and nightmares
Hah, And too many green apples.
And Lord knows, I.O.U. for medical attention,
For nursing me through measles, mumps, bruises,
Bumps, splinters and spring fever.
Oh-oh, let's not forget medical advice....important things like,
"If you keep on scratching that, it'll never get well" or
"If you cross your eyes, they're gonna stick like that".
And probably the most important advice of all,
"Boy, you be sure you got on clean underwear, in case you're in an accident".
And I.O.U. for veterinarian services,
For feeding every lost dog that I dragged home at the end of the rope,
And for healing the pains of puppy love.
And I.O.U. for entertainment.....
Entertainment that kept the household goin' through some pretty rough times.....
And for wonderful productions at Christmas, the Fourth of July, Birthdays.....
And for making make-believe come true.....
And you did it all on such a limited budget.
I.O.U. for construction work, for building kites and confidence, hopes and dreams an'.....
Somehow you made them all touch the sky.....
And for cementin' together a family
So it would stand the worst kind of shocks and blows.....
And for layin' down a good strong foundation to build a life on.
I.O.U. for carrier charges.....
For carryin' me on your books for the necessities of life
That a growin' boy somehow, well, they just gotta have.
Things like, hah-hah, a pair of high top boots,
With a little pocket on the side for a jack-knife.
And one thing, Mom, I'll never forget....
When there were two pieces of pie and three hungry people.....
You were always the one who decided, well, I'm not really that hungry anyhow.
These are just a few of the things for which payment is long overdue..
The person that I owe 'em to worked very, very cheap....
She managed by simply doin' without a whole lot o' things that she needed herself....
My I.O.U's add up to more than I could ever hope to repay,
But you know the nicest thing about it all....
That I know, that she had marked the entire bill 'Paid In Full'
For just one kiss and four little words....Mom, I Love You!

Happy Mother's Day Lydia Cornell. This piece is especially for you!

Saturday, May 12, 2007


AP FAILS AGAIN: 'Coulter Cleared in Florida Vote Probe,' According to Unbylined Article

Report Doesn't Bother to Mention Inappropriate FBI Interference in Case, or Internal Investigation That's Begun Because of It...
How Lazy Can These People Possibly Get?!


from 9 - 10 a.m. We broadcast live -- or go to our website and click on the link to hear the entire show in the archives.

OATH: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that...All information on this form is true. I understand that if it is not true, I can be convicted of a felony of the third degree and fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years.
-- Oath signed by Ann Coulter when she fraudulently lied about her address on her Florida Voter Registration Form

AP never fails to fail. Incredible.

Their unbylined report, out this afternoon, is surely good news for Ann Coulter! And we'll bet their headline is currently scrolling by on the Fox "News" and CNN crawls, it's certainly everywhere else. Here's the headline:
Coulter Cleared in Florida Vote Probe
Commentator Coulter Cleared of Wrongdoing in Investigation of Her Vote in Wrong Fla. Precinct

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. May 11, 2007 (AP)

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter was cleared of wrongdoing after an investigation into whether she violated Florida law by voting in the wrong precinct.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office closed the case April 12, concluding "there was insufficient probable cause to determine that Ann Coulter willfully or deliberately" violated any laws.

We guess the fact that an FBI agent --- who, as we reported earlier today, is apparently her former boyfriend --- interceded inappropriately in the case to claim she was being "stalked" (without evidence apparently) isn't noteworthy enough to include in AP's report.

Neither is the fact that the FBI has begun an internal investigation into the matter, according to the Palm Beach Post this morning.

No, instead, the AP reports --- in an unbylined article! --- Coulter's wet dream headline that she's been "cleared."

And despite the fact that her Loyal Bushie attorney didn't even bother to respond to AP's request for comment, AP passed on his wet dream by reporting completely unsubstantiated horseshit to the effect of: "Her attorney, Marcos Daniel Jimenez, told the detective Coulter may have not changed a previous address because of a stalking incident."

That's a bald-faced lie. Coulter didn't "not change" anything....

BLOGGED BY Brad Friedman ON 5/11/2007 6:56PM PT

Palm Beach Paper Says FBI Agent Attempted to Clear GOP Pundit, BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger Said to be Reason for Fraudulent Info Given on FLVoter Registration Form, Driver's License
Conservative Coulter Critic Borchers Responds; Says Her '98-'99 Boyfriend Has Been 'Her Personal FBI Resource for Her Own Purposes'...

The Ann Coulter Voter Fraud case, which we've been covering for more than a year (see our Special Coverage Page here, including her fraudulent Voter Registration Form, the complaint that started it all, and much more) has taken several bizarre twists this morning as Palm Beach Post columnist Jose Lambiet once again steps up with several fresh scoops in the matter, and The BRAD BLOG, who, as of today's article, has now become a corollary in the story, has an exclusive detail or two of our own to offer on the heels of this morning's Post report.

First, Lambiet reports that the Palm Beach Sheriffs Office, which had been investigating the matter, has closed the case after an FBI agent interceded on Coulter's behalf. The PBSO had been investigating Coulter's fraudulent, knowing use of the wrong address on her voter registration form, a third-degree felony, and the fact that she subsequently, knowingly voted at the wrong precinct.

Second, the reason offered by the FBI man for Coulter's use of a phony address on her form --- actually that of her Palm Beach County real estate agent --- was because of claims that she was being "stalked" by a conservative BRAD BLOG guest blogger!

After the FBI intercession, as Lambiet reports, the PBSO investigator shut down the probe "without interviewing Coulter; a Realtor, whose Indian Road address Coulter used; or neighbors of Coulter's Seabreeze homestead."

The BRAD BLOG has previously shown that, in fact, Coulter had knowingly lied on her voter registration form, signing next to an "oath" swearing that "All information on this form is true" and that she understood "if it is not true, I can be convicted of a felony of the third degree and fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years."

Once the issue was reported originally by Lambiet, Coulter went about lying about it to the media and at public appearances, claiming she didn't even live in Florida, as Michelle Pilecki, who picked up on Lambiet's item today, had previously reported at Huffington Post. Nonetheless, property records and other evidence we've published at The BRAD BLOG, including an affidavit from Republican poll worker James Whited, show conclusively that Coulter lied on her voter registration form, and then knowingly committed voter fraud when she voted at the wrong precinct in 2006.

"We stand by our detective's work," a PBSO spokesman told Lambiet in today's report. "Based on the nature of the allegations, she did as much as she could."

But this gets a lot more bizarre, so keep reading...

* * *

The BRAD BLOG spoke this morning with the "stalker" in question, as named by Lambiet, longtime Coulter critic, and founder of Citizens for Principled Conservatism, Dan Borchers, who tells us that "Ann Coulter used a false allegation as a 'get out of jail free card'" on her voter fraud charges.

He also tells us something that Lambiet didn't mention in his report: The FBI man in question, Supervisory Special Agent Jim Fitzgerald, was Coulter's former boyfriend!

Lambiet, who spoke with Borchers for his piece, didn't report that allegation, but hinted that something wasn't adding up in Fitzgerald's intercession in the matter. He wonders why an FBI profiler from the FBI Academy's Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, VA, "who went after the Unabomber [would] take time from his busy day to even think about a municipal election snafu?"

Fitzgerald wouldn't reply to Lambiet, but he reports that after the Post contacted the bureau for comment on the matter, the FBI "immediately launched an internal review of the agent's involvement."
"We're looking into it," bureau spokeswoman Ann Todd said.

She declined to say whether Fitzgerald acted on his personal behalf or as an FBI agent or on someone else's orders.
County Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson, meanwhile, decried what he called "FBI intrusion."
"This doesn't bode well in terms of the public's impression that celebrities receive preferential treatment," Anderson said. "I'm curious about how anyone can justify the FBI's intrusion."

Anderson and Lambiet aren't the only ones dubious about the FBI's intervention on behalf of Coulter or the excuse that a "stalker" led her to use her realtor's address on her voter registration form....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Tensions among the followers of the three major monotheistic religions are front and center in the news headlines. But history shows that these tensions are nothing new — Christians, Jews, and Muslims have been battling one another for centuries. Each tradition values peace, but generation after generation, hostility and resentment seem to overcome idealism and end in violence. Though the human picture holds little hope, these obstacles to harmony direct our attention to a more spiritual perspective. And it is in this spiritual realm that there is hope for lasting healing and peace.

The history of the Middle East is filled with ironies. First, it’s important to understand that these three religious traditions share a common ancestor: the patriarch Abraham. Bearing a name that some scholars interpret as “exalted father,” Abraham grew up about 4,000 years ago in Ur, a city in a section of southern Mesopotamia, later called Chaldea. Today this region is part of Iraq. Biblical tradition has Abraham receiving a covenant, or formal agreement, from God on behalf of Abraham’s descendants. In God’s covenant, He promised Abraham that his family would become a great people and would inherit land.

The concept of a covenant is central to Biblical theology. Borrowed from ancient contract law, covenant gives a framework and vocabulary to what entered human experience as pure revelation: a sense of God’s identity, nature, and care for His creation. This covenant articulated a bond between God and His children comparable to a contract—a binding agreement. Later, this covenant’s specific terms were set forth in the Ten Commandments. While some groups have interpreted the covenant as limited to a specific religion or culture, in its highest sense God’s covenant is one of love. And this love embraces all, in every place, and throughout all time.

Viewed from a human perspective, the covenant presented two serious problems.

Viewed, however, from a human perspective, the covenant presented two serious problems from the outset. First was the matter of who had a right to the land. Abraham, under divine direction, had left the prosperous city of Ur for Canaan, to settle there. Ger, meaning sojourner, was a term used to describe someone who settled for a time in a country not his own; such an individual had certain rights under the law, but was not a citizen of the community.

According to Biblical tradition, under the terms of Abraham’s covenant with God, Abraham and his family were entitled to lay claim to Canaan, the Promised Land. The Hebrews eventually settled in the land, but were expelled by subsequent conquest. Today, many centuries later, the ownership of that relatively tiny parcel of land is still in contention.

Such contention is fueled by the second problem inherent in a solely human interpretation of God’s covenant with Abraham—ancestry. Who, exactly, are his descendants? And does every descendent have equal claim to the ancestral estate?

In effect during Abraham’s era in the ancient Near East (and for centuries afterwards) was the law of primogeniture, where the majority (and sometimes all) of a father’s estate went to the firstborn son. Abraham had not one, but two, sons. The elder, Ishmael, was the son of Hagar, Abraham’s Egyptian slave. Yet both mother and child were eventually banished from the family at Abraham’s wife’s insistence.

Sarah wanted to be sure that her son, Isaac, received his father’s estate.

Sarah had been Abraham’s wife from the outset, and when it appeared she was not able to have children, she encouraged him to have a child with their servant, Hagar. But God later blessed Sarah with a child, even though she was far beyond childbearing years. So when Sarah’s son, Isaac, was born, she wanted to be sure he, and not Hagar’s son, Ishmael, received his father’s estate.

As the child of the legal wife, Isaac did inherit Abraham’s possessions, including—according to Biblical tradition—rights to the Promised Land of Canaan. It finally came into Hebrew hands some 700 years later, after the Hebrews went to Egypt at a time of famine, became enslaved there, and then were liberated under the leadership of Moses, as described in the book of Exodus.

Ancient Semitic tradition included a vibrant and enduring sense of family, whereby all family members, throughout every generation, are symbolically united in, and present with, their patriarch. So a promise made to Abraham is in effect made to everybody descended from him. That includes both Muslims and Jews, with Christians developing their religion from the foundation of Judaism.

When the concept of ancestry is spiritualized, each one of us can rightfully be regarded as a child of God.

Like the idea of a covenant, ancestry—when weighted down with long-standing traditional limits and viewed from a sense of ownership—leads to inevitable conflict. It can produce a sense of “win/lose” that turns individuals into adversaries instead of brethren. But when the concept of ancestry is spiritualized, each one of us—throughout human history—can rightfully be regarded as a child of God, a member of His family. Therefore, each one is a vital part of Abraham’s kindred and covenant.

The great division between Jews and Muslims on this specific issue arises from differing interpretations regarding the principle of primogeniture. Among Hebrews, primogeniture was repeatedly set aside in favor of the view that God specifically chose a leader from each generation, rather than leaving the matter to birth order.

However, Muslims, who are the descendants of the first-born son of Abraham, Ishmael, hold a strict interpretation of primogeniture in this instance, and claim that the descendants of Abraham through Ishmael are entitled to the land. Those descendants are Arabs, and the land that they claim includes the territory known today as Israel.

This land has been called by several names throughout history.

This land actually has been called by several names throughout history. Before the Hebrew conquest, it was Canaan. Then it was renamed in honor of Abraham’s grandson Jacob, who received the new name, Israel, after his struggle with an angel of God at Peniel. Then in Roman times, cartographers noted several Philistine cities near the coast, and so they renamed the territory Palestine, “the land of the Philistines.”

While technology has improved this land’s value for agricultural purposes in recent times, it nevertheless remains a stony, semiarid territory. And it is also rather small. Other far more promising territories surrounding this land are oil rich and flourishing.

The land of Israel symbolically represents a treasury of spiritual inspiration to all three religions.

But the land of Israel symbolically represents a treasury of spiritual inspiration and strength to all three religions. To the Jews, it is the land of Abraham, Moses, and David; to the Christians, it is the land where Jesus lived and preached; to the Muslims it is the land promised to Abraham and through primogeniture, to his first-born son, Ishmael.

Century after century, the issues of ancestry and entitlement have been the impetus for war. And from this brief overview, it’s clear that the pattern of human history offers little hope for a future reconciliation among age-old enemies. Solutions can only come from a radically different perspective—that is, from a God’s-eye view of His creation.

So long as the discussion begins with disparate groups who demand rights to various claims and convictions, the situation will never end in unity. The discussion must begin with God and what He has created—each individual in every nation and culture in His own image. Not, ultimately, as mortals, but as spiritual beings, as must be the case with whatever reflects God, Spirit.

In God’s creation there is but one Parent and one family.

In this creation there is but one Parent and one family, one power, and one Love that is truly infinite, blessing everyone, all the time. No one is cast out, put down, forgotten, or oppressed in God’s sight. Such human perspectives have no standing with Him, and must eventually be seen for the distortion that they are. In limitless God there is limitless good and a unique place for every one of His children.

Mary Baker Eddy gave a clear explanation of this idea: “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,—whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.” That “one infinite God” tends to it all.

Now all of this could be just brave talk and little else, unless as individuals we actually govern our lives by these truths. Aligning ourselves with peace—being “peacemakers”—aligns us with divine strength for daily life. And our prayers for those directly involved in the conflicts around the world gain authority and practicality to move events and transform lives. We can begin at the beginning—with God—and move in accordance with His grace and love. One step at a time.

BY Elaine Follis
Reprinted from the November 2006 issue of The Christian Science Journal.

Monday, May 07, 2007


The political catch phrase of the 1980's was something Ronald Reagan called "Trickle Down Economics." This brand of economics was said simply to make the richer even richer, and their wealth would trickle down through the economy to the less fortunate class of people.

Throughout the Reagan years, the poor and middle class waited patiently for the trickle down to get to them, but it seldom did. Trickle Down Economics worked very well for the wealthy Americans, but it had an adverse reaction for the rest of society.

Today there is a new version of the Trickle Down Theory. This version also involves the Republican party, the same party Ronald Reagan was so proud of. This theory is called Trickle Up Economics and like cream, it always rises to the top.

One example of the Triple Up theory involves Jack Abramoff. Abramoff never held an office in the White House but his bribery and scandals rose from the visitors area that Abramoff occupied, to the President's closet ally.

Next in the Trickle Up scenario is Scooter Libby. Libby was the close confidant to the Vice President, and helped his ally spread the name of a covert CIA agent for political gain. This scandal has slowly "trickled up" to the hallway of the President of the United States.

The Trickle Up theory raised eyebrows again as Alberto Gonzales became embroiled in firing U.S attorneys because they wouldn't indict Democratic candidates before an election. As the evidence unfolds the deeds once again have risen to the Presidents door.

As more and more revelations unfold, from the scandals of Republican Congressmen, or the disappearance of millions of dollars meant for the people of New Orleans and of Iraq, the cream always rises to the top of the U.S government.

The lying and trickery that brought a war in Iraq to the wounded soldiers lying in blood and urine at Walter Reed, the evidence once again "trickles up" to the Oval office.

The past six years have brought lies and wars, death and deception to a country that was once unified as one. Some call it treason, some call it shame, but the past six years have brought the Republican version of Trickle Up Economics, from the lowest of White House aides to the occupant of the nations highest office.

Our soldiers will not be safe and America will not be secure until those in Congress allow impeachment proceedings to "Trickle Up" to the top two people in the United States government.

Trickle Down Effect cartoon copyright: copyright

Deb & Lyd at Ray & Sharon Courts Hollywood Collectors Show last weekend

Saturday, May 05, 2007


(What's left of the Greesburg High School)

Nearly the entire population of Greensburg is homeless after the community is devastated. Greensburg is a beautiful, historic town in America's heartland. Ten people have now died in the worst tornado in our country's history. Miraculously, a baby was found alive above ground in a bathtub, nestled in her mother's arms. The mother was found alive too. Thank God!!

GREENSBURG, Kan. | This small southwestern Kansas town no longer has a grade school, a high school, a hospital, a fire station, a business district or a main street.

Eight residents lie dead, and it may be days before rescuers digging through unfathomable tons of rubble can figure out if there are more. A ninth victim was found in the Pratt County town of Hopewell. At least 16 others are in critical condition in hospitals as far away as Wichita, 110 miles to the east. (The Wichita Eagle)

Linda Young of ALL HEADLINE NEWS reporting from Greesburg reports:

Adding to the woes of residents of Greensburg, Kansas who survived Friday's tornado was the slow response by the National Guard. The guard had trouble responding because some of the equipment needed is in Iraq. One of the National Guard's primary duties is responding to natural disasters and assisting Americans.

Much of the money allocated to guard units is for the equipment, including trucks used to move equipment to wherever it's needed.

"Your National Guard is prepared to respond to fires, floods, hurricanes, and a host of other natural disasters," reads a statement on the Guard's Web site.

But the National Guard unit responding to the disaster in Greensburg wasn't prepared. It was slowed down in getting there because they didn't have all the equipment they needed to respond.

Some of their equipment is in Iraq, National Public Radio announcer Carl Castle reported Monday morning.

"We're missing about half our trucks" as well as Humvees and trained personnel that are in Iraq, said Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, on NPR Monday morning.


Mayweather beat Oscar de la Hoya in the big fight tonight at the MGM Grand. Our friend Steve Kaufman, the pop artist, did original art for the event.

This is a big weekend. First it was the red skin, then the black skin. The secretive commercials started coming early and I overheard my 12 year old say in a cryptic mesmerized tone, “Cool. The new one." The commercials had no voice over, no music, nothing except the red checkered, masked man.

I took four boys, ages 11-13, to see SPIDERMAN today. INCREDIBLE!!! There is a lot to be said for capitalism when its not abused. The most stressful part was standing in the will-call line, then having to race to get seats, then go back out and juggle 3 hotdogs, 2 nachos, 4 popcorns and assorted sour worms.

One of my sons had a crush on a certain girl last year in 4th grade. Now he says, "I can't be tied down all my life with one girl."

The kids stumble over each other trying NOT to sit next to me in the theater. God forbid I say 'cool, hip, hot, awesome, tight, sweet or bitchin'... or whisper a plot point in their ear. They hiss at me, SHH! SHHHHHHHHHH! Still, it is sheer magic being with them no matter how rude they are to me.

I have gone to the Kentucky Derby several times, as a guest of Anita and Preston Madden. There is nothing like going to the Derby and being driven by a police escort the wrong way on the freeway to get there on time! Those were the days when Mary Lou Whitney and Anita Madden would compete for celebrities to attend their Derby parties -- lavish affairs that would start at noon and last all night.

"There is a long tradition of wild and strange parties around Derby time...the most notorious is Anita Madden's Derby Eve blowout at her family's Hamburg Place farm in Lexington (her husband's grandfather, John E. Madden, bred five Derby winners there). The party, which benefits a Lexington charity called the Bluegrass Boys' Ranch, always has a fanciful theme. A sampling -- Rapture of the Deep, complete with mermaids and mermen and a figure of an octopus surrounded by a dry-ice fog; The Ultimate Odyssey, with young people togged out as Greek gods and goddesses while the Trojan War was reenacted under the gaze of a sixteen foot statue of Zeus clutching a neon thunderbolt." - Kelly Coughlin

Anita Madden would start the day by serving her guests mint juleps and a picnic lunch. We would all travel by a private bus to the Derby.

Robert Dreyfuss was in town Friday and we celebrated Cinco de Mayo yesterday at El Torito Grill. So great to see him. He knows everything about what's really going on in Washington.

Friday, May 04, 2007


FANTASTIC SHOW! TODAY we come up with solutions...on Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk, we interview Brian Katulis – who worked in the National Security Council at the State Department during the Clinton administration. After that, we talk with ex-CIA agent Larry Johnson about his letter to George Tenet and his views on the lies leading up to Bush's invasion of Iraq. Larry Johnson is an old school pal of Valerie Plame and has a terrific blog called

This is a show you won't want to miss. Lots of juicy details.

Brian Katulis is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress where he examines U.S. national security policy in the Middle East and democratization, with a focus on Iraq. Prior to joining the Center, he lived and worked in the Middle East for the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, including projects in Egypt, Iraq, and the Palestinian territories.

from 9 - 10 a.m. We broadcast live -- or go to our website and click on the link to hear the entire show in the archives.

The U.S trade deficit with China has risen to a $46.4 billion deficit for the first quarter of this year, which is twice what the deficit was the first quarter of 2006. In 2006 the U.S trade deficit was an astounding $233 billion.

At least eight million U.S jobs reportedly have went overseas over the past several years, and the manufacturing industry has been hit the hardest. Off shoring of jobs has also hit the technology industry as well as business and professional services.

The U.S auto industry for instance is in serious trouble. Both General Motors and Ford have reported major losses and are teetering on the brink of oblivion, while Daimler-Chrysler hopes to sell The Chrysler Group due to falling profits.

The U.S manufacturing industry will take another major blow as more than two-hundred thousand U.S auto jobs are to be exported to China, India and Mexico within three years which will cause auto assembly and auto parts plants in the U.S to shut down.

Ford has been busy building new plants in China and Thailand while expanding production in India. General Motors has also been investing in manufacturing facilities in several countries while closing many within the U.S.

There are a reported 44 million workers in the U.S who no longer have regular full time permanent jobs. There are at least 60 million workers or 40 percent of the U.S workforce who are unemployed, underemployed, part time or temporary workers.

Rising health care costs and outrageous executive compensation packages as well as the rising level of foreign imports have led the American Industrial base to be in dangerous peril. As the Bush administration seeks further freedoms in negotiating trade agreements, U.S workers of every genre face a future tied to the interests of Corporate America.

Don't forget to listen to the Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk Radio Show Saturday at 9:00 AM PST. BashamandCornellProgressiveTalk

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Who won the Republican debate tonight? Would love to hear your comments. Did John McCain actually say this sentence: "We have to dispose of 12 million people who are in the country illegally." If so, was it a Freudian slip?

How many times did Rudy mention how great he was during 911?
If I had to choose a Republican candidate, I'd choose Ron Paul. But I liked Mike Huckabee's brave response to one question. He said it is criminal for CEOs to take 100 million dollar bonuses, while employees who have worked there for 30 years are laid off and they lose their pension plans. He said this is criminal if its not taken care of or prosecuted, no Republican deserves to win in 2008. Here he clearly blamed the Republicans.

One thing for sure, the Reagan Library is a spectacular place. We visited it on Spring Break with the kids.


Before we talk about the Iraq Accountability Act and bringing our troops home, here's how you can SUPPORT OUR TROOPS. This is a great organization that I just donated to. I tried sending my own homemade care packages to the troops, but this group does it better. Donate whatever you can; let's make our troops' last few months in Iraq full of as much comfort and love as we can send them!

Uncle Sam's question of service to country speaks to us all. Will you help those volunteer servicemen and women stationed far from home in harms way? Will you support our troops and Project: Hollywood Cares? They need donations and volunteer help. Project Hollywood Cares

When 1st Class Petty Officer Tyler Borgwardt of the 1/57 EOD company stationed in Iraq was sent a care package containing a selection of DVDs and CDs, he was invited to send us the names of his fellow service members who would also enjoy a package. This invitation is always extended in the personal letter we include in every individually addressed package we send. Here is his grateful reply...

"...Thank you very much for the package. I just received it today. Everyone here definitely agreed that this has been the best package to date. I can't thank you enough. I especially like the EMMY T-shirt. Its my new favorite shirt. Here's a list of people in our company who would be stoked to get a package from you guys..."

Petty officer 1st class Cedric Wilson
Petty officer 1st class Rob Lewis
Petty officer 2nd class Krishna Hadyen
Petty officer 2nd class Steve Andrews
Petty officer 2nd class John Mantle
Petty officer 2nd class Mike Healy
Petty officer 2nd class Eric Konkel
Petty officer 2nd class Curtis Hall
Petty officer 2nd class Kyle Dewey
Petty officer 2nd class Jeremiah Crum
Petty officer 3rd class Nate Breen
Chief petty officer Ron Olmsted

All these people are at the same address that you reached me at. Again thank you very much. We'll be getting some pics together soon and sending them to you.

This is pretty much standard operating procedure for Project: Hollywood Cares these days, - send one package and receive 19 requests. But what we are now able to do (AND DID) is send completely different programs and movies in each of the 20 boxes and create a video collection for all hands of this large EOD company to share and enjoy. It's the military way "to share".

By the way, what's an EOD company do in Iraq? It's an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit who's daily job is handling,diffusing and disposing of IED's, booby traps and munitions.

Take a moment to again look at the appreciative reaction of these tough bomb experts in the photos above! Would you not agree that we are making a difference in helping our brave servicemen and women serving America far from home in extremely difficult duty!

God Bless the Navy's 1/57 EOD Company and the sacrifices & casualties these tough sailors have endured & suffered
in serving their country.........


Here's a letter I received from John Conley, the disabled Marine combat vet who sent me his Purple Heart:

"The agenda of this Administration seems obvious to me. Until there is tangible proof to the contrary, I strongly suspect that the reason Bush won't accept a pull-out date from Iraq is because he's simply not allowed to by his boss, Dick Cheney, aka 'big oil's best buddy'. I'm not being sarcastic here. Smart alek in tone, maybe, but not sarcastic.

The grand plan (I'm sure this was addressed at the Cheney super-secret 'energy pow wow' with oil execs in 2000) was for Exxon Mobile and others to basically stake their greedy claims to oil drilling and production rights once we took control of the country while 'granting' the Iraqi government a pittance in royalties. The problem is that big oil is refusing to enter Iraq with workers until the violence drops drastically.

Although he'd never admit it, this scenario is the true indicator of success as described by Cheney and Co: that is, when big oil can begin stealing the country's oil without fear of being blown up. Peace is a great idea, but there will never be peace, short of big oil having control of the Iraqi fields.

This is in reality the only 'bench mark' these guys are interested in no matter what it costs in blood and treasure.

Just thought I'd drop you a note to brighten your day."


Clif, our veteran from the Gulf War asked me to post this today. Congressman Jack Murtha is right, Impeachment is a moral imperative. According to the Constitution, and the laws of our nation President Bush has committed many high crimes and misdemeanors, and should be removed from office before he causes more harm. His war powers should be immediately frozen. No person with morals or good conscience — and no true Christian — can stand by and allow this president to lie, break laws and usurp the U.S. Constitution the way Bush has.

If we can't impeach, can't we start the process and freeze Bush's war powers in the meantime? Read the historic resolution of the California Democratic Party below.

Speaker is taking tally for IMPEACHMENT:

PLEASE CALL Nancy Pelosi's office right now. House Speaker Pelosi's office is taking calls voting for Impeachment of Bush/Cheney at 202-225-0100.

Sparked by an insurgency among delegates, the California Democratic Party has taken an historic step forward on the issue of impeachment. In a resolution affirmed by the full state party convention Sunday, the Democrats called on the U.S. Congress to use its subpoena power to investigate misdeeds of President Bush and Vice President Cheney – and to hold the Administration accountable “with appropriate remedies and
punishment, including impeachment.” The delegate insurgency was coordinated by PDA and our allies.

While Speaker Pelosi had declared impeachment “off the table,” the DemocraticParty rank-and-file has demonstrated its commitment to putting the issue “on” the table. And it’s no longer just the rank-and-file: Even among the members of the
convention’s Resolutions Committee (appointed by the California Party chair), the impeachment resolution was the top vote- getter (tied with one other resolution). Coming on the heels of mass actions and resolutions across the country in support of
impeachment, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s introduction of Articles of
Impeachment against Cheney, this action by the powerful California Democratic Party
builds on the pro-impeachment momentum.

The resolution refers to Bush and Cheney
having acted in a manner “subversive of the
Constitution” by. . .

1) using false information to justify the
invasion of Iraq

2) authorizing “the torture of prisoners of

3) “authorizing wiretaps on U.S. citizens
without obtaining a warrant”

4) “disclosing the name of an undercover CIA

5) suspending “the historic Writ of Habeas
Corpus by ordering the indefinite detention
of so-called enemy combatants”

6) “signing statements used to ignore or
circumvent portions of over 750
Congressional statutes”

The resolution ends by calling for “vigorous investigation” and “appropriate remedies
and punishment, including impeachment.”


Thanks to all your help and support - we
really are making a difference!