Monday, July 30, 2007


Please read Larry's excellent article "Stereotypes" below. But first I want to add this riveting news. Bush is trying to sell the Saudis a large cache of U.S. made high-tech weaponry for a $20 billion dollar asking price. Just now on Randi Rhodes show, evidence was presented that this is absolutely high treason, considering that most of the 911 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. And right now Saudi Arabia is emptying their prisons to unleash all their high-risk criminals. Guess where they are sending them? To Iraq, to kill American soldiers.

Remember, our government once upon a time, PROMOTED Saddam! We were “in his corner,” giving him support. Until he was no longer useful to us, that is, and served us better as a “bad guy” (which he already was, granted, but up to then we found it convenient to ignore that fact).

And we wonder why the rest of the world doesn’t trust us.

According to CNN, one of the more controversial proposals will probably be selling the Saudis, for the first time, satellite-guided bombs known as JDAMs. The sale may include a 500-pound and a 2,000-pound version of the aerial bomb. The Israelis are said to be very concerned about the Saudis having that precision-strike capability, so the United States will discuss basing the weapons as far away from Israel as possible, the official said. Other elements under discussion are new naval vessels, an advanced version of air-to-air missiles already used by the United States, and advanced Patriot missiles.

Hmmm... Bush wants to sell our weapons to the Saudis. Will we never learn? - Lydia

Guest Blog by Larry

We all face being stereotyped in one way or another. That is just a part of life, a view that people may have of us, right or wrong. Some stereotypes are totally inaccurate, while a few may be close to reality.

Some of us are viewed as having the world at our fingertips, that we can do no wrong, when in reality the private world may be filled with insecurities and failures that are masked to the public eye.

Some of us may be stereotyped as elusive and cold when in reality we are shy or just not comfortable with being open with others for fear of betrayal or possibly even disbelief.

There are some of us who are stereotyped as being perhaps merely a country hayseed, one who can barely string two audible sentences together, or write anything of significance, when in reality we may be fluent in the proper settings and have the gift of written words.

Whatever the stereotype you fall under, you are viewed in a certain way by those who have never taken the time to know you. They have never taken the time to see the person inside of you, and what you are all about.

In 2000, America was presented with a projected stereotype of George W Bush. There were millions who were led to believe that George W Bush was a kind man, a compassionate man. A man of good morals.

Millions of Americans were led to believe after 9/11 hit, that Mr. Bush was a fearless leader who would seek those who harmed our country and bring them to justice. Some believed that Mr. Bush was the only one who could save our country.

Often in stereotypes, we discover that the person we have one view of is totally different than what we once believed. We find that those we thought had it all together is really scrambled and confused, that the country hayseed is really very articulate and gifted with words.

Those millions who thought George W Bush was a kind and compassionate man, discovered he is really cold and calculating. Those who thought Mr. Bush was filled with morals and principles now see a man with the principles and morals of an alley cat.

Those millions who stereotyped Mr. Bush as honest and trustworthy now see a vision of corruption and greed. Those of religious beliefs who once thought Mr. Bush was a man of peace, now see a man filled with hate and war.

As we see people we barely know in a vision we have in our minds, we often see the wrong stereotype. We see what we want to see, not what is behind the surface of the inner person.

After nearly seven years, America now has the true stereotype of George W Bush. As we see the arrogance and contempt for our rights and freedoms being stripped away, as we see thousands die shameful deaths due to greed and power, we now have the true stereotype.

Let us all hope if we get another opportunity to choose a leader for America, we will look inside the soul of the person before we choose. America can't afford another stereotype of shame.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Now Bush wants low-income children to have no health insurance? Can this be possible? Aside from bankrupting our nation, lying us into war with three different, changing versions of lies, usurping the Constitution with 750 "secretive signing statements" giving himself absolute power with no Congressional oversight; manipulating intelligence in the rush to war; declaring global permanent war in order to usrurp our rights; war profiteering (over 12 billion of taxpayer "reconstruction money" was stolen in Iraq by Haliburton ghost employees; illegally wiretapping us, allowing TORTURE of human beings by usurping Habeas Corpus; not helping the people of New Orleans during Katrina; declaring himself the sole 'decider' of who is a terrorist sympathizer; being able to confiscate U.S. citizens' property, money and computers without allowing the citizen a right to legal counsel; appeasing Osama Bin Laden by quietly closing our military bases in Saudi Arabia; not pursuing Osama Bin Laden after saying he would never stop pursuing Bin Laden; putting people in secret prisons; advising his advisers to ignore subpoenas in contempt of Congress; yelling "Fire' in a crowded theater by manufacturing false "terror alerts" and keeping us in constant state of fear; covering up the murder of Pat Tillman; covering for criminal behavior in the outing of a CIA agent; trying to sell our ports to the United Arab Emirates — the very people who harbor terrorists; using a preemptive strike and war of aggression to invade a defenseless nation for reasons we cannot know; usurping our civil rights and lying to cover crimes within his own administration... John Conyers drafted a 370 page report documenting the full scope of Bush administration misconduct and "crimes," the WORST OF WHICH is possibly the election theft and replacement of all Federal judges with Bush cronies and "yes men" who do the president's bidding, resulting in a complete dismantling of our fragile democracy.


We have an astounding report on a 1933 plan by right wing businessmen - including Prescott Bush (W's granpappy) to stage a military coup against the US government; assassinate FDR; and set up a fascist government. It's an absolutely amazing report - and the best part is - it didn't come from a fringe, whack-job site, it came from the BBC this week! From an award-winning investigative series no less!

In the second half, we have Tina Richards, a Marine mother whose son is in the military - served 2 tours in Iraq - has PTSD - he's tried to commit suicide more than once since being honorably discharged - tells his mother he killed too many innocent women and children in Iraq. Please go to her amazing site: Grassroots America 4 Us

She's the lady whom Democratic Congressman David Obey yelled at in his hallway, that was captured on tape. She was also arrested outside Nancy Pelosi's office.

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

George Bush promises to veto a popular bipartisan program that provides health insurance for low-income children. Below, please read Rev. Jim Wallis' astounding article. "Remember, this is a president who is content with spending $12 billion a month on war, yet finds spending $7-10 billion a year on making sure that kids have health insurance 'wrong' and 'a mistake.' I can’t imagine a more clear case of utterly distorted priorities..." (or more un-Christian!)
Before reading Jim Wallis' article, please read this by Doug Basham:

"We all know how the right bristles whenever a comparison is made between George W. Bush and/or his administration and either Adolph Hitler and/or fascism. Perhaps this BBC report will shine some light on why they bristle. Perhaps it hits a little close to home?"

From Wikipedia…
“On October 20, 1942, the U.S. government ordered the seizure of Nazi German banking operations in New York City. President Franklin Roosevelt’s Alien Property Custodian, Leo T. Crowley, signed Vesting Order Number 248 seizing the property of Prescott Bush under the Trading with the Enemy Act. The order, published in obscure government record books and kept out of the news, cited only the Union Banking Corporation (UBC) connections with Von Thyssen.”
This is a huge report,folks, and it doesn’t come from any fringe organization. I’ve already received one email asking me “Where do you get this stuff?” Well… this “stuff” comes from the BBC. From an award winning investigative series. I strongly recommend y’all give this “stuff” a listen.

I’ve always found it fascinating how right wing mouth pieces have no problem calling far left liberals “communists,” but so vociferously reject the truism that far right conservatives are “fascists.” (Or maybe not even so far right?)

Anyhow, this is just one more reason why I have contended for the longest time that the biggest threat to this country isn’t communism or terrorism - but rather, conservatism." - Doug Basham

HEARTS & MINDS by Jim Wallis of Sojourners

The Right Thing to Do

Imagine a popular program that has existed for 10 years with bipartisan support, providing health insurance to about 6 million low-income children. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is up for reauthorization this year, and Congress is debating how to extend the hope of coverage to 9 million children who are currently uninsured, while protecting coverage for the 6.6 million children who depend on SCHIP to see a doctor. But SCHIP is caught in the middle of a political battle—between a bipartisan majority in Congress and the nation’s governors on one hand, and an isolated, defiant, ideological president on the other.

A Senate bill was approved by the Senate Finance Committee last week by a 17-4 vote, with six Republicans and all 11 Democrats supporting an increase of $35 billion dollars over five years. Several leading conservatives were strong supporters. The New York Times reported Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) as saying, "I am proud to support this important bill, which will provide health insurance coverage to approximately four million more children who would otherwise be uninsured." According to the Los Angeles Times, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), one of the original authors of the program, said: "It doesn't make me comfortable to advocate for such a large increase in spending. But it's important to note that [the program] has been tremendously successful. And one of the lessons we've learned is that it's going to cost more to cover additional kids." The bill is scheduled to be on the Senate floor next week.

For its part, the House is proposing legislation that would provide an increase of $50 billion, which would cover about 5 million more children. Both versions would be at least partially funded by an increase in the federal tax on tobacco products.

Last weekend at their annual summer meeting, the National Governors Association sent a letter to the president and Congress. While not specifically supporting either bill, the governors said: "While we have not taken a position on the actual overall funding amount or the sources of revenue used as offsets, we are encouraged by the Senate Finance Committee's efforts to move a bipartisan reauthorization bill that provides increased funding."

And President Bush? He says he’ll veto either version. "It's a way to encourage people to transfer from the private sector to government health-care plans. ... I think it's wrong, and I think it's a mistake." A White House spokesman added that the president’s advisers "will certainly recommend a veto" of the Senate committee's proposal because of its size and the plan to fund it with a tax increase. The administration's plan for an additional $5 billion wouldn’t even cover all the children currently insured.

Remember, this is a president who is content with spending $12 billion a month on war, yet finds spending $7-10 billion a year on making sure that kids have health insurance "wrong" and "a mistake." I can’t imagine a more clear case of utterly distorted priorities. Compassionate conservatism has been on life support for the last several years of this administration. President Bush's threatened veto of SCHIP will officially pronounce it dead.

We have been working with the PICO National Network, one of the leading groups organizing for SCHIP, to remind policymakers that children’s health coverage is a moral issue for the faith community. Father John Baumann, executive director of PICO, had this reaction to the president’s threat: "(SCHIP) is a highly successful program that has always had bipartisan support as a pragmatic way to help states reach children who are not poor enough for Medicaid but whose parents cannot obtain coverage for their children at work. SCHIP is a popular and successful program that should not be dragged down into a partisan political fight over health-care ideology."

I agree. For far too long, Americans in poverty have been trapped in a partisan debate. Now, a strongly bipartisan program that works is trapped by a president who sees only ideology. Call your members of Congress, and urge them to support the necessary expansion of SCHIP for America’s kids. It’s the right thing to do.

Take Action

Your congressional members need to hear that as a person of faith you believe that no child should go without treatment or depend on an emergency room for care because they lack health coverage. If we are judged by how we treat the least among us, we must make sure that all our children have coverage. Call your members of Congress today at (877) 367-5235, a free number set up by our friends at PICO National Network.

Tell them that people of faith are counting on them to stand up for the millions of uninsured children in the U.S. SCHIP has successfully reduced the uninsured rate for children by one-third over the past decade. Now Congress needs to pass a strong SCHIP bill by a veto-proof majority to provide hope to the millions of children in America who still go to sleep at night without health coverage.

For more information and other ways to take action, please visit

And finally, this:

Quote of the Week: "Not surprisingly, the poll data showed that white evangelicals were somewhat more permissive toward torture than other religious groups."

- from a New York Times report on the Evangelical Declaration Against Torture (Source: The New York Times )


copyright of "Bush with Sheik" 46593/Gadafi-the-Blogging


We all know how the right bristles whenever a comparison is made between George W. Bush and/or his administration and either Adolph Hitler and/or fascism. Perhaps this BBC report will shine some light on why they bristle. Perhaps it hits a little close to home?

I’ve always found it fascinating how right wing mouth pieces have no problem calling far left liberals “communists,” but so vociferously reject the truism that far right conservatives are “fascists.” (Or maybe not even so far right?)
Anyhow, this is just one more reason why I have contended for the longest time that the biggest threat to this country isn’t communism or terrorism - but rather, conservatism.

Firstly, this excerpt from Wikipedia…
“On October 20, 1942, the U.S. government ordered the seizure of Nazi German banking operations in New York City. President Franklin Roosevelt’s Alien Property Custodian, Leo T. Crowley, signed Vesting Order Number 248 seizing the property of Prescott Bush under the Trading with the Enemy Act. The order, published in obscure government record books and kept out of the news, cited only the Union Banking Corporation (UBC) connections with Von Thyssen.”
This is a huge report,folks, and it doesn’t come from any fringe organization. I’ve already received one email asking me “Where do you get this stuff?” Well… this “stuff” comes from the BBC. From an award winning investigative series. I strongly recommend y’all give this “stuff” a listen.

This is huge “stuff.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wisdom From The Past Guides Us Now!

Guest post by Mike

Certain core principles and tenets are classic and timeless, Such as the freedoms and liberties enumerated in the U.S. Constitution and the Golden Rule..........The amazing visionary and prophet Edgar Cayce gave us such core tenets in the wake of the looming Nazi threat and shadow of WW2.

Cayce warned over and over again that the only obstacles to peace and prosperity were imperialism, racism, religious zealotry, and the greed of self serving elites...........I read this warning from the Great Edgar Cayce and it was like he was screaming this warning to our society from the grave.........GWB says EVERYTHING changed after 9/11, I say beware of snake oil salesmen who say "Everything Has Changed" or "Things Are Different This Time", for they usually NEVER are, particularly for core principles and tenets that are classic and timeless.

Like Detective Columbo, I'm a little slow on the uptake at times, so hopefully you guys could help me put together the most recently divulged facts from the Attorney gate saga.

Lets see now, The Attorney for the President, and the President's Chief of Staff both go to the hospital, BUT allegedly NOT for the man they work for The President but as he CLAIMS for a completely different branch of government .......(cough cough) the spirit of bipartisanship. Now mind you Bush and his counselor have shown nothing but contempt and disdain for both Congress and for bipartisanship, not to mention Congressional over site and the checks and balances ......but I digress.

Where were we, oh yeah, the Chief of Staff and the attorney FOR President Bush went to the hospital bed of a man in intensive care who was incapacitated to get him to sign and authorize an illegal unconstitutional spying program of President Bush's that he refused to authorize and stated was illegal when he WAS of sound mind and health............

Now the plot thickens so bear with me here, because as it turns out the Attorney General John Ashcroft, KNEW he was not fit to perform his duties and make critical decisions when he became ill, so he appointed James Comey as Acting Attorney General and lo and behold President Bush and his cronies tried to get Comey to approve his illegal spying on American Citizens Program and Comey ALSO refused stating it was unconstitutional.

So, AFTER Ashcroft did not approve Bush's illegal spy program and then mysteriously became ill, Bush and Gonzalez attempted to get Comey who they obviously KNEW was acting AG to approve it, THEN when Comey ALSO refused to approve the illegal program FOR BUSH, The Presidents Chief of Staff AND his Attorney KNOWING full well that Ashcroft was incapacitated and Comey was the real and legitimate Attorney General and the ONLY one who could legally approve the program at the time, illegally tried to pull and end around, and get the incapacitated Ashcroft to sign and authorize President Bush's illegal and unconstitutional program illegally, knowing full well that he was not the legal AG and lacked the authority to authorize such a program not to mention was not of sound mind.................

Oh and lets not forget of course that although Gonzalez's boss GWB was obsessed with getting the illegal spy program rubberstamped and was attempting to do everything in his power to do so both legal and illegal, and although he claimed on many prior occasions he would continue the program regardless of the legality or of Congress's disapproval.........

Gonzalez had the audacity to claim that he went to Ashcroft's hospital bed with authorization document and pen in hand NOT for his boss GWB who was adamant and obsessed with getting it authorized but instead as a bipartisan ambassador of good will for a COMPLETELY different branch of government despite the fact that he has never showed this benevolent bipartisan spirit of cooperation before or since.

Now my head is spinning from that last paragraph from all those illegals so I could use some help here people...........does it sound the least bit plausible or logical that two of the presidents most loyal henchman would illegally go to a sick mans hospital bed NOT for the man they worked for who was moving heaven and earth to try and authorize his illegal program that both legitimate AG's denied authorizing because they stated it was illegal and unconstitutional but rather for a separate branch of government that they have shown NOTHING but contempt for.

What kind of man could go to an incapacitated man in intensive care's hospital bed and try to get that man who was not of sound mind to illegally authorize an illegal program Gonzalez KNEW he lacked the legal authority to authorize in the first place.......further picture how nefarious, ill intentioned and untrustworthy Comey and the FBI would have to deem this man to think it best NOT to allow him to be alone with Ashcroft without FBI supervision.

Do you think this man, Alberto Gonzalez merits the trust to remain Attorney General and head of our Department of Justice when not only has he tried to compromise and infect our justice system with partisanship, but every action he has committed has show his disdain and contempt for honesty, equal justice for all and the rule of law..........this man must be ripped from the levers of power and the fabric of our nation like a cancerous tumor!

We must keep Cayce's warning in mind when we evaluate the actions of Gonzalez and the Bush Administration, for it is a benevolent voice of reason screaming a warning from the grave.

Image by Stephen Pitt Cartoons

Sunday, July 22, 2007


We are in Belize, in the tropical rainforest and it's really hot here. There is a lot of poverty in the surrounding villages. We visited Altun Ha, the name given ruins of an ancient Maya city 30 miles north of Belize City and about 6 miles west of the shore of the Caribbean Sea.

We climbed to the top of the largest of Altun Ha's temple-pyramids, the "Temple of the Masonry Altars." A drawing of this structure is the logo of Belize's leading brand of beer, "Belikin".

Our guide was an amazing scholar, a young guy who stood six foot four and could have been descended from Mayan kings. He told us that the Mayan peasants revolted against the corrupt kings, which helped end the Mayan empire.

There were no beasts of burden here. The peasants were forced into slavery, and forced to carry heavy stones on their backs. They were short in stature due to lack of nutrients (the best food was always saved for royalty.) The kings were very tall, as they always had the best crops, the best of everything. The kings forced the peasants to live in fear of never earning a place in the afterlife, a few levels above hell. They forced them to constantly build large temples. In Mayan culture everyone went to hell, but you could earn points toward heaven. So the slaves lived with this fear that if they did not obey the lords, they would spend eternity in hell.

Finally the peasants revolted. Without slaves, the elite could not survive, for they never did any hard labor and could not live without the workers.

Doesn't this sound familiar? What's going on now with Steve Schwarzmann and the Blackstone Group, Haliburton, and the 400 other multi-billionarire elitists who run our world, is a travesty. These private equity billionaires pay no taxes (only 15%) and even Buffet admitted he pays less tax than his housekeeper (respectively.)

Sorry this is rushed but the internet is sporadic on the island.

We are in Xanadu! Our kids went night diving and saw a huge octopus changing colors, as well as a giant rainbow parrot fish and a green eel with a monster head.

The Scmooze Award recap

We have gained many new regular commenters here. Two new friends with wonderful blogs of their own, have separately bestowed the popular Schmooze Award of which Larry named 5 more to pass the award onto.

Thank you Tomcat of the widly popular Politics Plus and also to the popular Betmo of Life's Journey for the award, and for your comments here.

The people that this award will be passed to have become regulars here on Lydia's blog and elsewhere, and they each have excellent blogs of their own. It's hard to choose five people, with so many making a presence on various blogs.

Mirth of Liberally Mirth has a popular blog which can be attributed to Mirth's daily visits on various blogs, that bring many to want to visit hers.

Chuck and Karen of Divided States of Bushmerika2 make their way around dozens of blogs, and really do have the art of schmoozing down pat.

Tom Harper of Who Hijacked Our Country has been appearing on many blogs including this one, leaving his thoughts on the issues of the day. Check out his blog, it's a good one.

Jim of An Average American Patriot makes his way to various blogs commenting on the way our country is headed. Check out his blog.

The very popular Lynn of Zelleblog writes some great articles. Check her blog out.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Lydia!

Please join us as we wish our friend Lydia Cornell a Happy Birthday! Please give Lydia your birthday greetings, and then please read Lydia's amazing article following this birthday greeting titled "When The Peasants Revolt.

Instead of counting candles,
Or tallying the years,
Contemplate your blessings,
As your birthday nears.

Consider special people
Who love you, and who care,
And others who’ve enriched your life
Just by being there.

Think about the memories
Passing years can never mar,
Experiences great and small
That have made you who you are.

Another year is a happy gift,
So cut your cake, and say,
"Instead of counting birthdays,
I count blessings every day!"

By Joanna Fuchs

Suzie Q has another Birthday tribute!

Lydia, you make our lives better and we hope you have a very Happy Birthday!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Schmooze Award

Just want to interrupt to say please read Brad Blog for news about the Holt Bill. Also, thanks for the award! I am writing from Belize, where we are on vacation with the kids and father-in-law. We are in the most beautiful place, Ambergris Caye. Went to Altun Ha, the Mayan ruins, and to Maruba Jungle Spa, in the middle of the jungle. Went scuba diving and snorkeling with sharks and sting-rays.

Also here are some photos of famed pop artist/Warhold protege Steve Kaufman (top) and actor Chris McDonald (bottom) at the Mrs. United States pageant in Vegas. We were all judges.

Schmoozing is the natural ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.” Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. Bloggers who accept the award should then each pass it on to five blogs of their choice.

We have gained many new regular commenters here on Lydia's blog, and it's nice to have them come to schmooze with Lydia and become another blogging friend. Two such friends with wonderful blogs of their own, have separately bestowed the popular Schmooze Award of which I will name 5 more to pass the award onto.

Thank you Tomcat of the widly popular Politics Plus and also to the popular Betmo of Life's Journey for the award, and for your comments here on Lydia's blog.

The people that this award will be passed to have become regulars here on Lydia's blog and elsewhere, and they each have excellent blogs of their own. It's hard to choose five people, with so many making a presence on various blogs.

Mirth of Liberally Mirth has a popular blog which can be attributed to Mirth's daily visits on various blogs, that bring many to want to visit hers.

Chuck and Karen of Divided States of Bushmerika2 make their way around dozens of blogs, and really do have the art of schmoozing down pat.

Tom Harper of Who Hijacked Our Country has been appearing on many blogs including this one, leaving his thoughts on the issues of the day. Check out his blog, it's a good one.

Jim of An Average American Patriot makes his way to various blogs commenting on the way our country is headed. Check out his blog.

The very popular Lynn of Zelleblog seems to be everywhere making comments as well as writing some great articles for her blog. Check her blog out.

Don't forget to listen to the Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk Show Saturday at 9:00 AM PST. Each week they have well known guests, lively commentary and your phone calls.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Is Bush Smarter Than Bill Gates or Warren Buffett

Please read the article from Warren Buffett. It is very telling.

Guest post by Mike

Republicans often accuse Progressives of not being successful, or of even hating the success of others and wanting to unfairly penalize them. They also accuse Progressives of not knowing what is best for the economy or society as a whole, they claim to know more than us how run the economy.

So I ask if we are talking economics or success in business or just plain being smart who would YOU rather listen to, some of the most brilliant and successful businessmen in the world like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, George Soros, Ted Turner etc......who say they don't WANT or NEED tax free dividends or tax cuts and it would benefit the economy and society FAR MORE and be FAR MORE fair to give them to the poor and middle class; or would you rather listen to GWB and Dick Cheney a couple of ne'er-do-wells, who failed at most everything they have ever done and have been dead wrong about essentially EVERYTHING.

According to GWB, its fair for a billionaire to pay less than 1/10 the percentage of his income in taxes as a working class person struggling to raise a family...............Oh, one more thing the economy has consistently done MUCH better under Democratic administrations in almost every measurable metric, so it would seem it is the Democrats who REALLY know what is best.

"The taxes I pay to the federal government are roughly the same proportion of my income about 30% as that paid by the receptionist in our office. My case is not atypical, my earnings,like those of many rich people, are a mix of capital gains and ordinary income nor is it affected by tax shelters (I've never used any).

As it works out, I pay a somewhat higher rate for my combination of salary, investment and capital gain income than our receptionist does. But she pays a far higher portion of her income in payroll taxes than I do. She's not complaining: Both of us know we were lucky to be born in America.

Now the Senate says that dividends should be tax free to recipients. Suppose this measure goes through and the directors of Berkshire Hathaway (which doesn't now pay a dividend) therefore decide to pay $1 billion in dividends next year. Owning 31 percent of Berkshire, I would receive $310 million in additional income, owe not another dime in federal tax, and see my tax rate plunge to 3 percent. And our receptionist? She'd still be paying about 30%,which means she would be contributing about 10 times the proportion of her income that I would to such government pursuits as fighting terrorism, waging wars and supporting the elderly. Let me repeat the point: Her overall federal tax rate would be 10 times what my rate would be.

When I was young, President Kennedy asked us to "pay any price, bear any burden" for our country. Against that challenge, the 3 percent overall federal tax rate I would pay if a Berkshire dividend were to be tax free seems a bit light. Administration officials say that the $310 million suddenly added to my wallet would stimulate the economy because I would invest it and thereby create jobs. But they conveniently forget that if Berkshire kept the money, it would invest that same amount, creating jobs as well.

The Senate's plan invites corporations indeed,virtually commands them to contort their behavior in a major way. Overall, it's hard to conceive of anything sillier than the schedule the Senate has laid out.

Indeed, the first President Bush had a name for such activities: "voodoo economics." The manipulation of enactment and sunset dates of tax changes is Enron-style accounting, and a Congress that has recently demanded honest corporate numbers should now look hard at its own practices. Proponents of cutting tax rates on dividends argue that the move will stimulate the economy.

A large amount of stimulus,of course, should already be on the way from the huge and growing deficit the government is now running. I have no strong views on whether more action on this front is warranted. But if it is, don't cut the taxes of people with huge portfolios of stocks held directly. (Small investors owning stock held through 401(k)s are already tax favored.)

Instead, give reductions to those who both need and will spend the money gained. Enact a Social Security tax "holiday" or give a flat sum rebate to people with low incomes. Putting $1,000 in the pockets of 310,000 families with urgent needs is going to provide far more stimulus to the economy than putting the same $310 million in my pockets. When you listen to tax cut rhetoric, remember that giving one class of tax payer a "break" requires now or down the line that an equivalent burden be imposed on other parties.

In other words, if I get a break, someone else pays. Government can't deliver a free lunch to the country as a whole. It can, however, determine who pays for lunch. And last week the Senate handed the bill to the wrong party. Supporters of making dividends tax free like to paint critics as promoters of class warfare. The fact is, however, that their proposal promotes class welfare. For my class."

Warren Buffett

Sunday, July 15, 2007

More Tears Than Laughs in Sicko by Michael Moore

A young child gets sick with an imminently treatable virus; her temperature soars to 104° yet the hospital refuses to treat her. She has a seizure, followed by cardiac arrest. Still no medical care. Eventually, she dies. Was this little girl an impoverished Haitian? A rural African or better yet, an inner city kid from Detroit? No, she was a white American with health insurance whose carrier insisted that she be transported to another hospital within the network. How could that happen?

In his finest film to date, Michael Moore provides a devastating critique of the US health care system, or the lack thereof. He opens the movie by talking about the 50 million Americans who don't have any health insurance but quickly moves on to focus on the remaining 250 million who are insured, largely by health maintenance organizations whose sole goal is profit at any expense.

Moore traces the origin of the HMO to a highly inflammatory conversation that President Nixon had with an aide back in 1971 whereby Nixon announced that it would be a terrible idea for government to expand its role in health care but a wonderful prospect if it were to be privatized. And so we find ourselves in the sorry state that we have today where people work their asses off, believing that they will be protected if they get sick but in fact, they are routinely denied coverage and/or benefits by HMOs for any reason under the sun. Pre-existing conditions can disqualify people from getting insurance. Failure to disclose a benign and ridiculous problem such as an ordinary yeast infection led Blue Cross to stop payment on a hospital bill for a distraught woman with endometriosis who had been faithfully paying her Blue Cross premiums.

Moore contrasts the American system with that of other countries and points out that the United States is the only Western industrialized country that lacks a universal health care system. He visits Canada, Britain, and France -- and even Cuba, in a particularly daring, in-your-face maneuver that only he could pull off -- concluding that they are vastly superior to the US.

What Moore doesn't mention is that most of the countries above, as well as Australia and New Zealand, have a parallel private system. He tends to glorify Canada with his selective perspective and interviewing techniques, dismissing news reports about long waiting lists for procedures and lack of proper equipment in Canada as being sheer propaganda; he interviews Canadians in Windsor, Ontario who claimed that they had only been waiting for 20 minutes or so to see a doctor.

Having had the advantage of living in the US for 26 years and the remainder of my 28 years in Canada, I can say with confidence that any time I've had to go to the emergency room in Ottawa, I've waited four to eight hours. I also waited 18 months for a hip replacement that I needed at the age of 47 as a result of a car accident; and there is a marked shortage of MRI machines in Canada's capital. As a result, a small private system has emerged in Québec where people go across the line to pay $700 for their MRI so as to discover a tumor before it metastasizes. Canadians also pay for medications, physiotherapy and dental care, although these services are subsidized for those with low income.

Despite these minor problems with the Canadian system, I would choose it hands-down any day of the week over American health care. Canadian Medicare is unquestionably better which is why it wouldn't have hurt Moore at all to have made a more balanced presentation of the facts.

Aside from the outstanding medical care that Michael Moore managed to subversively obtain for some 9/11 workers in Cuba, the country that stood above all others in his analysis was France -- 35 hour work weeks, five weeks paid vacation per year even for part-time workers, full universal health care, nannies who are sent out by the government to help new mothers (and even do their laundry!), excellent subsidized day care, and romantic couples kissing in parks along with families relaxing, so unlike their American counterparts, filled with road rage as they drive home after their backbreaking 10 hour day to pick up some fast food at Kentucky Fried Chicken. The French have it all, including the pastries.

What Moore doesn't address is the recent election in France. Why was the left-wing government voted out and replaced by a strong right-winger if everyone was so happy with their idyllic situation?

Lastly, Moore asks what's wrong with the American government. I ask what's wrong with the American people. They're only 435 members of the House of Representatives, 50 members of Congress and a handful of people in the White House. If there's power in numbers, the people have it. Why aren't they using it? When did they become so complacent? Why aren't they marching in the streets, holding dead children in their arms and missing fingers that they couldn't afford to reattach? Has the Bush regime rendered them all terrified? But the problem predates Bush by a long shot and didn't seem to improve during the eight years that Clinton/Gore had in office.

Don't buy the argument that the government can't afford universal health care -- according to the Associated Press, US taxpayers are spending an estimated $10 billion a month in Iraq. Ouch.

I loved Sicko and I'll see it again on DVD so I can pause, rewind and reflect on the horrors of the American health care plan. No one says it better than Moore and I've been a fan of all of his movies, however, he always has his POV (point of view) and it wouldn't hurt him to balance things out just a tiny bit. That won't prevent me from giving this documentary a five-star plus rating but I didn't find it as funny as others did. Sarcastic, yes. Black humor? Definitely. Laugh-out-loud funny? Hmmm. I missed that! But don't you miss this brilliant, acerbic exposé.

Review by Sigrid Macdonald

Sigrid is a friend of mine that has written an amazing book titled D'Amour Road which you can learn more about by going to her blog at D'Amour Road

Thursday, July 12, 2007

MRS. UNITED STATES * Out of the Ordinary

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."
- Helen Keller

The Winner! Mrs. Michigan Stephanie Hunt

Mrs. Michigan Stephanie Hunt, the first black woman to win Mrs. United States, has a child with a rare disease, and she works tirelessly to raise funds for the RTS foundation. She also weighed over 250 pounds one year ago, having lost 100 pounds in one year. This is an amazing American woman.

The Silverton Lodge & Casino

I just want to take a moment to acknowledge the amazing women I've met this week. I have the honor of being a judge in the MRS. UNITED STATES pageant here in Las Vegas at the elegant Silverton Hotel, which reminds me of being in a grand lodge in Lake Tahoe. Check out these extraordinary creatures at: MRS. UNITED STATES

This is not an ordinary beauty pageant. These women are remarkable for the struggles they've each gone through and their committment to helping the world and their communities through volunteer work. Many have suffered enormous odds, while juggling careers and taking care of families. Some have adopted special needs children, some have struggled with abuse, abandonment, autisim and infertility — and others are taking care of spouses with PTSD. All of them are magnificent women, and all are married. Some have written books and inspire others through being good role models. One is a member of the National Guard. Two of these women are expecting their first child! The age range is 20 to 60. And what I appreciated the most is that some of these women have defied age; they are in better shape and more beautiful over 50.

I had tears in my eyes during their interviews. Not only are they GORGEOUS, but deeply compassionate and intelligent.

Thursday night were the finals and we chose one woman out of 54, representing every state in America plus Guam and the Virgin Islands. Wednesday night we had the difficult job of judging swim suit and evening gown competition. They all have great bodies, but some of them have better abs after having children!

The inimitable Chris Rafael of the Really Spectacular Company produced the event. I love the people I'm meeting. Shannon Devine is Mrs. United States 2006; she's gorgeous, hilarious and down-to-earth. Tony Newton from E-Channel, Talk Soup, VH-1 and Price is Right is the host, and the other celebrity judges are Chris McDonald (Thelma and Lousie; Happy Gilmore) Steve Kaufman, the world-famous pop artist; Lindsay Clubine from "Deal or No Deal;" Andrea Preuss, Mrs. United States 2003; Howard Jochsberger, Boyd Gaming Commission, Benson Lee, Esq.

I want to mention Mrs. Vermont, who needs to get her message out there. For the past three years she has been nursing her husband, who came back from Iraq with PTSD. She has been supporting the family while her husband suffers through night tremors and incapacitating problems. Here is her bio:

Dr. Stephanie Mills is the wife of Sgt. Bradley Mills and the mother of two beautiful daughters, Brooke (8) and Emilee (5). Her family has endured the stress and heartache of Bradley''s 13 month Iraq deployment over three years ago. Stephanie is a volunteer and spokesperson for the national Adopt-A-Platoon Organization and since her husband''s return, Stephanie has founded the Community HEART Program, promoting the importance of "Helping All Returning Troops" and raising awareness of PTSD. Please ADOPT A PLATOON!

Don't forget the Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk Show on Saturday at 9:00 AM PST. You always hear lively talk, excellent guests and your calls are taken.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Darklords, Dunces and Dictators!

Guest post by Mike

Darklords, Dunces and Dictators! Truth oftentimes mirrors or is stranger than fiction, this article will compare history to fiction to illustrate the similarities both in motives and actions between historical and fictional darklords, dunces and dictators.

An interesting commonality when examining evildoers is the theory that evil may start out with fair motives before the all consuming desire for power to exert their will and control and dominate others eats them up and becomes the sole objective. Now keep in mind when I say "fair motives" I DON'T mean benevolent or good intentions that benefit society as a whole, what I do mean is that originally the motivations were more likely self serving and megalomanical in nature such as seizing power to do what these people felt was right or beneficial to themselves rather than genocidal or nihilistic. Hitler for instance most likely didn't ORIGINALLY intend on committing genocide by throwing people in ovens and gas chambers but the quest for total power lead him to those twisted actions eventually.

Lets examine this theory first by looking at one of my all time favorite authors Tolkien. Tolkien states that the Darklord Sauron was not wholly evil in his beginning, in fact Tolkien states that at the beginning of the second age Sauron's motives, the rehabilitation and reorganization of Middle-Earth were indeed fair, however his arrogance and desire for the power to control and effect how that change and reorganization were carried out eventually consumed him and metastasized into something very different, the desire to exert his will and control and dominate other's.

I think this is a very common theme, for the rise of dictators/darklords, although we will likely never KNOW definitively I would speculate that Bush, Cheney and the Neo Con's original intentions weren't to torture, destroy the US Constitution or get bogged down in an almost 5 year and counting unwinnable quagmire in foreign lands............

I think they were energy men who KNEW peak oil was fast approaching, they also KNEW our economic and military dominance is predicated on cheap oil, and that Iraq and Iran were just about the ONLY countries with relatively untapped oil and gas reserves that could be increased significantly. In fact Iraq probably has the cheapest oil reserves in the world and Iran has enormous natural gas reserves and could probably almost double oil output with significant investment, all that was needed was the implementation of the Neo Con plan to overthrow the USA hostile governments and install puppet governments loyal to them and we not only would we have cheap oil to keep our economy humming for almost 2 decades, but American oil companies and those in league with them could reap vast fortunes developing and buying those reserves and rewriting the laws to give our oil companies favorable contracts. ........problem is it didn't go as planned and now the desire to dominate and exert our will in ANY way possible has superceded the original plan.

The original plan was to usher in another 20 year economic boom by insuring our access to cheap oil, they also wanted to continue Reagan's work to maintain our military dominance, and continue the erosion of safety nets and regulations protecting the working class, and permanently rig the system in favor of the wealthy. Essentially they wanted to undo the NEW DEAL, abolish Social Security, destroy unions and neuter regulatory agencies like the SEC, FCC, FDA, EPA, OSHA......etc.

Similarly, although we will never truly KNOW, although Hitler despised the Jews I think in the beginning, his original plan was not the nihilistic and genocidal extermination of a race, but rather to restore Germany's former economic and military power and pride and extricate it from the yoke of harsh, punitive war reparations. I think his seething hatred and racial prejudices combined with his megalomanical obsession with exerting his will and dominating and controlling others consumed him and transformed him in to the monster we read about today.

Lets move on to the movies, in Revenge of The Sith, when Padme is witnessing the rise of the Empire, Palpatine who manipulated the republic into war to seize and cement absolute power via dictatorship, triumphantly proclaims himself emperor and Padme says "so this is how democracy dies with thunderous applause" . It chillingly reminded me of how people cheered as the heinous Patriot Act was railroaded through Congress to give the "DECIDER" special "war powers" that further eroded the checks and balances and started the transformation of our country to a police state and dictatorship.

Another "interesting" Star Wars comparison is Dick Cheney stating he is President of the Senate and thus does not fall under, nor is he subject to Executive Orders and oversight.............kinda reminds you of Emperor Palpatine shrieking "I AM THE SENATE" or cackling "unlimited power" as he implements his coup to hijack the republic and seize ultimate power.

Anakin Skywalker is another perfect example of fair motives being corrupted and replaced with the all consuming and nihilistic obsession for the power to implement the desired changes. Anakins original desire was for the power to protect the ones he loved, end the war and restore order and justice to the universe...........eventually his obsession with power transformed him into the very thing he despised and opposed.

Fortunately if we follow this theme to its logical conclusion evil always turns on itself and defeats itself, its arrogance often blinds it. Sauron never imagined any one would even attempt to destroy the ring, the irony here is that it wasn't one of the good guys that actually destroyed the ring, it was evil that turned on itself that destroyed the ring and laid the mighty Sauron and his evil empire low, it was Gollem's greed and obsession that led to Sauron's demise. Same for Hitler, it was his arrogance that caused him to overextend himself in Russia, and hastened his demise. similarly Evil once again turned on itself when Darth Vader turned on the emperor and destroyed himself and his master. Arrogance and the megalomanical perception of omnipotence and obsession with unrivaled and untouchable power led all of the previous dark lords, and dictators to the same ruinous path to the void and the nothingness and irrelevance that awaits them.

Now that we covered the darklords and dictators its time to focus on the dunces...........GWB and the Neo Cons will be brought down by their own incompetence, pompous arrogance and perceived omnipotence, exactly WHAT will bring them down is the question of the century........lets see we have attorneygate, Iraqgate, Spygate, Libbygate, and most recently Commutationgate, that is clearly a plan to further obstruct justice by providing Libby an EXCUSE to not have to testify and likely implicate GWB and Cheney in the Plame civil suit while his appeal is going on etc..............too many more to list! I'd like to hear your opinions on what will bring about the demise of the Bush Administration

Image by Stephen Pitt Cartoons

Monday, July 09, 2007


I was reading comments in an online blog recently and I came across a comment by a conservative commenter in a thread about the 50 Presidential Scholar children who handed Bush a letter asking him to stop torturing. The comment was as follows.

When torture is outlawed, only outlaws will use torture!

We all have seen this quote before. Its a favorite of the RNC and the NRA for defending gun ownership rights and bumperstickers bearing these words adorn pickups throughout the south. But what kind of logic really exists in that tired slogan, particularly when applied to torture? That slogan leaves many questions, as does the act of torture itself.

For example, by that exact same logic, why bother to outlaw raping children?

After all, if raping children is outlawed, only outlaws will rape children.

Or why bother outlawing bank robbery?

After all, if robbing banks is outlawed, only outlaws will rob banks.

And why bother outlawing car jacking?

After all, if car jacking is outlawed, only outlaws will jack cars.

Or perhaps is it possible, just possible, that there are some moral absolutes? Could it be things like, raping children and beating pregnant women with tire irons, and torturing our fellow man, are just morally wrong, under any circumstances?

I’m fully aware of the old tired RNC argument that “what if someone had information that would save 10,000 lives from being killed, is torture worth it then?”. Well, in the same vein I ask, what if that same person had information that would save 10,000 lives from being killed, and the terrorist wouldn’t break under torture, but he offers to provide it if you let him rape a 6 year old girl.
Would you do that?
Would it be “worth it”, to let a 6 year old girl be raped mercilessly while you watch, so that 10,000 Americans could keep from dying today, instead of sometime down the road? And if so I ask, what kind of people are these 10,000, who would be ok with living longer if a 6 year old girl had to be raped to do it? What sort of person would be ok living under those circumstances?

Are such lives worthy of being spared? And if so, is the guy your torturing the right guy?

Is he a terrorist or an innocent college student with the same name?

Will he tell you the truth, or just tell you whatever he thinks you want to hear that will make him stop hurting you?

Will the information he has be valid, or will he be missing a peice of the puzzle?

Will you be competent and capable enough to stop it even if he does give you correct information, or will the event play out before your impotent eyes?

Is torturing helpless human beings the only way Americans can survive now?

Is tortuing helpless human beings what Americans are about?
50 Presidential Scholars who met with Mr Bush as a reward for their scholastic acheivements, asked and answered these questions for Mr Bush last week. He didn't get it.

How we, as a country answer these questions, will determine who we are, and more importantly, who we are not.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Thinking Blogger Award

We are happy to announce that the Lydia Cornell blog has been tagged with the "Thinking Blogger Award" by our friends Chuck and Karen at their widely popular blog The Divided States Of Bushmerika 2.

Thank you Chuck and Karen for your kind words and your regular comments on this blog. As many of you know we now have to choose 5 blogs that make us think. So many have been chosen in the past that we want to pick some that make us think, and maybe our viewers haven't discovered, or rediscovered yet.

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

Last Left Turn Before Hooterville is a popular blog by good friend Alicia Morgan. Alicia writes about political matters with wisdom and humor. Alicia is an excellent writer.

Watergate Summer marks the recent return to the blogosphere of Enigma4Ever from her exile of being a whistle blower in the recent Attorneygate scandals that rocked the Bush administration. Check this site out. It is worth the read.

Morning Martini is the popular blog by our new friend Pissed off Patricia. Patricia has become a regular commenter here and her articles on her blog are worth the read.

We welcome the return of famed blogger Neal Shakespeare and his way of wit and humor that has always made us think.

Our last entry is Left of Centrist is a growing blog put out by Robert Rouse and his team of contributors. Is has updated political stories and is worth checking out.

Thank you for viewing and making your comments on the Lydia Cornell blog. Your thoughtful comments are appreciated, and look for many big additions and new features with this blog, as we bring you fresh insight into different areas of politics and life. Please come back.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Please listen to the Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk Show Saturday at 9:00 AM PST. Each week we have lively commentary, well known guests and call in segments that enhance the show. Don't forget Saturday at 9:00 AM PST for the Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk Show

The 4th of July 2007 HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA! It can only get better.

Scooter Libby Roundup

FACE THE FACTS: The reason Bush commuted Scooter Libby's sentence was SO LIBBY WOULDN'T TALK. Bush “guaranteed not only that Libby wouldn’t talk, but retaining Libby’s right to invoke the Fifth. This amounts to nothing less than obstruction of justice.” Now, the Bush administration is legally protected from having to answer questions. If Libby had been in prison, anyone could have gotten to him. Now, no one can get Libby to say a word about the real culprits, which are obviously Rove and Cheney/Bush.

photo All Hat No

(check out Basham & for our videos and Keith Olbermann's Worst Person in the World: George W. Bush)

**First of all, it's vitally important to understand what Valerie Plame was actually doing, and how her "blonde good looks" were a perfect cover for the dangerous work she was doing in finding nuclear weapons in enemy territory. Along with Plame, what we never hear about is that this entire CIA covert program is now gone and several other CIA agents lost their jobs and their cover.

The reason this whole thing is different than any Clinton pardon is because this is a White House-related crime. You can't pardon or commute the sentence of someone who is directly related to your office!!

** Bush gleefully sent people to their deaths without commuting a single death sentence as governor of Texas. He sent mentally retarded children to their deaths. He probably sent innocent people to their deaths.

Doug Basham says: "Bush freed Libby... this is your “law and order” “strong on national security” republicans in action again. They have no problem outing someone who was working on nuclear proliferation issues, and then they have even less problem pardoning the person who leaked it. Well, at least Bush (Cheney) made sure Libby wouldn’t flip on them, and start talking."

According to Marcy Wheeler, Bush “guaranteed not only that Libby wouldn’t talk, but retaining Libby’s right to invoke the Fifth. This amounts to nothing less than obstruction of justice.”

And the worst part of this is… we’re now going to have to listen to all the right wing media hosts and their fellow propagandists tell us once again, that no crime was committed, even tho’ republican prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said there was.

They will tell us it’s Patrick Fitzgerald who should’ve gone to prison, and that it was Richard Armitage who told Robert Novak, even tho’ Libby told at least 2 other reporters. So what if it was Novak who reported it? Libby leaked the name of a covert CIA operative to at least 2 other reporters, whether they reported it or not! So yes, a crime was committed. He just wasn’t charged with the crime of leaking.

Bush did not consult with the Justice Department or special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald before commuting the sentence of former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, according to Tuesday’s Washington Post. Bush commuted Libby’s sentence for perjuring and other crimes related to his role in the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson.

This is the first time in Bush's presidency that Bush commuted a sentence without going through his lawyers at the Justice Dept. Bush didn't even ask the Prosecutor in the case Patrick Fitzgerald, for his opinion as has normally been done in the Justice Department.

"First, President Bush said any person who leaked would no longer work in his administration. Nonetheless, Scooter Libby didn’t leave office until he was indicted and Karl Rove works in the White House even today."

President Bush on Tuesday left open the possibility of an eventual pardon for former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

"As to the future, I rule nothing in and nothing out," the president said a day after commuting Libby's 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak case.

Bush openly proclaimed on national television that "any person who leaked would no longer work in his administration." Libby now is free, awaiting a full pardon and Karl Rove is still directing the steps of the Bush administration.

Survey USA conducted a quick, automated survey to gauge response to President Bush's decision to commute former White House aide Scooter Libby's prison sentence.

According to the poll:

17% say Bush should have pardoned Libby completely.
60% say Bush should have left the judge's prison sentence in place.
32% of Republicans agree with the President's decision, compared to 14% of Democrats and 20% of Independents.
26% of Republicans say Libby should have been pardoned completely, compared to 21% of Independents and 8% of Democrats.

A wide majority of Americans are against letting Libby go free. The Bush decision regarding Scooter Libby portrays the conclusion that he will do anything to protect those within his inner circle.

Equal Justice Under Law is a phrase engraved on the front of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. This phrase was apparently first written in 1932 by the architectural firm that designed the building. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes subsequently approved this inscription, as did the United States Supreme Court Building Commission which Hughes chaired.

It has become increasingly clear that in Bush's America, there is no "Equal Justice For All.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


CLICK on the photo for a closeup of the GIZA PYRAMIDS which were constructed around 2500 BC as monumental tombs. The largest and oldest pyramid was originally over 480 feet high and is made of 5.7 million tons of limestone.

This is from the Smithsonian Institute's "Earth from Space" collection of satellite photos. EARTH FROM SPACE

QuickBird satellite, February 2002

The world is so incredibly beautiful. We should all travel the globe and visit other cultures. I just read a terrific description of Bali by Elizabeth Gilbert in her mulit-milliion bestselling book "Eat, Pray, Love" which is her memoir of divorcing her husband, and traveling the world to find God, great sex, food and love -- not necesarily in that order.

Bali is not at all relaxed; they have so many religious ceremonies and rituals, they spend every waking hour busily trying to stay in balance by appeasing the Great Spirits. If you are wandering aimlessly in Bali, it makes people horribly uncomfortable. When you pass someone on the road, they will ask, "Where are you going?" and you better have a definitive answer. It freaks them out if you have no concrete purpose. Also, if you're not married, you are looked upon with pity and suspicion, as marriage is considered the most important rite of passage. The ancient priests handed down all these elaborate rituals to give the people structure and order. To me, this kind of hypervigilance is micro-managing and overcontrolling one's life leaves no room for creativity. But you have to respect their culture because they do not want to change. They are very happy staying in "balance" this way. I find it adorable to observe the customs of other cultures. It's not my business to change anyone. And I find it ridiculous that we are arrogant enough to think we can force Democracy down Iraq's throat at the point of a gun...

Or in the words of Stuart Smalley, "It's easier to wear slippers than to carpet the whole world."

Of course you know who Stuart Smalley is, right?