Monday, January 29, 2007

A friend asked me tonight "How would you describe Noel?"

Here is my answer:
  • Busy!!
  • Cute.
  • Smart.
  • Sweet, serious, good sense of humor.
  • Hard worker.
  • Likes calculus - almost did a minor in physics with calculus but didn't when he found out it would take an extra year of college.
  • Pretty quiet.
  • Used to be VERY shy as a little kid - until he discovered acting at 9
  • Loves to read, loves music, theater, ballet, opera.
  • And his cat Linus.
  • He can cook! And bake. He has been vegetatarian since high school.
  • Quite healthy. Gets a good bit of excersize. Walks or bikes to work usually. Learned rock climbing.

Of course I know I'm a bit biased. But he IS all that and more.

Fresh Air on NPR: Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada Refuses to Deploy to Iraq

January 25, 2007 · Politics & SocietyOfficer Refused to Deploy to Iraq
Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada is the first American officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq on the grounds that he thinks the war is illegal. He is joined by one of his lawyers, Eric Seitz, a civillian. Watada is now being court-martialed for his refusal, and for statements he made opposing the war and the Bush administration's leadership.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Alec and I are going to The Sex Workers Art Show in about an hour

See Sex Workers Art Show comes home by Alec Clayton ~ published in the Volcano, Jan. 25, 2007 ~ then posted on Alec's blog South Sound Arts etc.

and Annual Sex Workers' Art Show coming to the Washington Center! on OlyBlog

For more information see

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Bill

Bill would have been 29 years old today.

Here is a list of music that his brother Noel picked for his memorial service in 1995. Some were songs Bill loved, and others were ones that Noel though
t needed to be included as part of his & our goodbye:
  • "Hold Back the Dawn" by Robbie Robertson
  • "Calling You" by Jevetta Steele ~ from the wonderful 1987 film Bagdad Café ~ a.k.a. Out of Rosenheim.
  • "Fare Thee Well" by The Indigo Girls
  • "Nightswimming" by REM
  • "Vuh" by Sky Cries Mary
  • "Imagine" by John Lennon
  • "All Apologies" by Nirvana
  • "Healing Chant" by The Neville Brothers
  • "Ghost" by The Indigo Girls
  • "Silent Lucidity" by Queensryche
  • "Cursum Perficio" by Enya
  • "Be Careful of My Heart" by Tracey Chapman
  • "Sweet Lullaby" by Deep Forest
  • "Love of My Life" by Queen
  • "Ain't No Cure for Love" by Leonard Cohen
  • "Sounds of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel
  • "Pesky Angels" by The Righteous Mothers ~ a 1994 song by this great local band. The lyrics to "Pesky Angels" are here.
  • "These Are Days" by 10,000 Maniacs
  • "Let It Be Me" by The Indigo Girls
  • "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd
  • "Yesterday" by The Beatles
This is the photo and words that Noel put on the cassette
he made for Bill's memorial:

I also would also now include these:
  • "Let It Be Me" by The Indigo Girls
  • "Why Worry" by Dire Straits ~ which I used as the soundtrack for an animated film called Window Bill that I created of Bill wiping the dew from our apartment window on Christmas morning in 1988 while I was a student working on my senior project in a contract at The Evergreen State College. We were waiting for Catherine so we could open our presents. Luckily I had my video camera out ~ there was something magical happening, and I knew then I was going to work with the images of Bill that I was catching.
Images from "Window Bill"

And it wasn't written then, but I would now add "Will It Always Be Like This? (Gabi's Song)" by Steve Schalchlin. Its on two of his albums The Bonus Round Sessions and Beyond the Light. The lyrics are on Steve's website here. Steve sang the song in public for the first time at a national PFLAG conference in Washington DC in 2000 with Alec and I sitting in the audience. The money raised from the sale of his CDs goes to support Youth Guardian Services.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bush and the Psychology of Incompetent Decisions

President George W. Bush prides himself on "making tough decisions." But many are sensing something seriously troubling, even psychologically unbalanced, about the president as a decision-maker. They are right.

Because of a psychological dynamic swirling around deeply hidden feelings of inadequacy, the president has been driven to make increasingly incompetent and risky decisions. This dynamic makes the psychological stakes for him now unimaginably high. The words "success" and "failure" have seized his rhetoric like metaphors for his psyche's survival.

The president's swirling dynamic lies "hidden in plain sight" in his personal history. From the time he was a boy until his religious awakening in his early 40s, Bush had every reason to feel he was a failure. His continued, almost obsessive, attempts through the years to emulate his father, obtain his approval, and escape from his influence are extensively recorded.
A president's psychology and his inner secrets are his or her own business, except in one important area. That is area covered by the question, "Does the psychology of this individual interfere with his or her ability to make sound decisions in the best interest of the nation?"
Read Bush and the Psychology of Incompetent Decisions
by John P. Briggs, MD, and J.P. Briggs II, PhD | t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributors | 1/18/2007

"Hillary for President?" by Cindy Sheehan

Soon after Camp Casey, in August 2005, I was meeting with some Hollywood people who pretended that they supported me, but really were big money donors and supporters of Hillary. I was told that the senator was really against the war, but she was waiting for the politically correct time to come out against it. I was told that she was the best hope for the Democrats in 2008, and I should give her a break.

I don't know who Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood and Mr. Hollywood Got Rocks thought that they were talking to. My son was used as a "soldier of Christ" in BushCo's crusade against the world and a political pawn in this pro-war Democrat's moves toward the White House. I was disgusted and noted this in many blogs that I wrote at the time.
I, my sister Dede, and another Gold Star Mother, Lynn Braddach, whose son, Travis Nall, was killed in Iraq in 2003, met with Senator Clinton in DC in September of 2005. We poured our hearts and souls out to her. We cried as we told her of our sons and our fear for the people of Iraq and the escalating body count of our brave young people. She sat there stone-faced and walked out and told Sarah Ferguson of the Village Voice, "My bottom line is that I don't want their sons to die in vain.... I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal.... I don't think it's the right time to withdraw." She may as well have slapped us in the face using Bloody George's line and using our son's sacrifice to justify her war-mongering.
Read all of Hillary for President?
by Cindy Sheehan | t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor | 1/22/2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007

word for the day is "disingenuous"

Just because I like the word and have heard it several times recently. See disingenuous at

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bill Moyers | Life on the Plantation

Bill Moyers, speaking to the National Conference for Media Reform states: "Our democracy is now put to a vital test, for the conflict is between human rights on the one side and on the other, special privilege asserted as a property right. The parting of the ways has come."
By no stretch of the imagination can we say the dominant institutions of today's media are guardians of democracy. Despite the profusion of new information "platforms" on cable, on the Internet, on radio, blogs, podcasts, YouTube and MySpace, among others, the resources for solid original journalistic work, both investigative and interpretive, are contracting rather than expanding.
Worrying about the loss of real news is not a romantic cliché of journalism. It has been verified by history: from the days of royal absolutism to the present, the control of information and knowledge has been the first line of defense for failed regimes facing democratic unrest.
I think what's happened is not indifference or laziness or incompetence but the fact that most journalists on the plantation have so internalized conventional wisdom that they simply accept that the system is working as it should. I'm working on a documentary about the role of the press in the run-up to the war, and over and again reporters have told me it just never occurred to them that high officials would manipulate intelligence in order to go to war.

Read Bill Moyers | Life on the Plantation

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Psychology Behind the Worst Possible President

The longer Bush is in office, the more his psychology becomes clear. He's not a well-meaning doofus; he's a madman.
How do you build yourself a madman? Well, first you flatter him, and then you try never to make him angry, and then you feed him ideas that flatter him even more by making him seem to himself sentimentally visionary and powerful and righteous. You appeal to his already evident mean streak and his hot temper by reminding him all the time that he has enemies, and you cultivate his religious side so that the sense of righteous victimization inherent in extreme religion comes out.

If he were not already an ignorant, dependent, fragile, and rigid person, he would not be susceptible to this sort of conditioning, but by temperament and practice, he has nothing of his own to counter your efforts. Then you hire a few shyster-sycophants like John Yoo to tell him (ignorant as he is, with no actual understanding of the Constitution), that as president he can do whatever he wants.

So, here he is, Little George, caught between the devil (Cheney) and the deep blue sea (fifty-some years of being infantilized by B/S/B). Cheney and Rumsfeld, aided by Rice and Miers and Hughes, convince him that his masculinity will only be enhanced by doing all the masculine things he missed out on over the years, especially making war. And Gerson gives his war a virtuous, godly gloss.
The Psychology Behind the Worst Possible President by Jane Smiley, ~ posted on AlterNet on January 17, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Views ... Mistakes Were Made, but There Is No Mistaker

My, my. Such a great big mess, such a small little space in which to write about it.

I speak of George Bush's new Iraq plan, of course, and his speech last Wednesday night. My mouth was so long agape as he proclaimed one bizarre thing after the next that I fear I began drooling on myself.

And here I find myself struggling to wrestle it all into one coherent bit of commentary. A column should be about only one thing, and I've had to go through a painful process of elimination to zero in on just one thing to write about.

It is for that reason that I'm not going to write about the president's absolute contempt for the American people. Never mind that we made it clear in November that we want our troops out of Iraq. And never mind that the Iraq Study Group recommended that we fold up our tents and come home.

Never mind that. Not only did Bush announce that he'd be staying in Iraq against our wishes and against all common sense, but he's going to send more troops over — 21,500 more.

But I'm not going to write about that. Or about how this escalation of his is not actually a new plan at all but just the same old disaster, only bigger. Nope. I'm not going to write about any of that.

Instead, I've decided to write about grammar.
Read Mistakes Were Made, but There Is No Mistaker by Beth Quinn, published January 15, 2007 by the Times Herald-Record (Middletown, New York) and then on

Sunday, January 14, 2007

African lion gives his rescuer hugs and kisses

Ana Julia Torres kisses Jupiter, the African lion she rescued malnourished from a life of abuse in a circus six years ago to her Villa Lorena animal shelter, in Cali, Columbia.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Encircled by my Heritage ~ updated

I've updated this essay I wrote in college with a bunch of photos and a scan of the article about my dad when he was a 21 year old student at the London School of Economics and hitchhiked to Leeds for a National Union of Students conference.

Read and see the photos in “Encircled by my Heritage” on my website.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Seattle Voices interview with Real Change Newspaper's Tim Harris

Seattle Voices with Tim Harris, Real Change Newspaper 1/9/2006
Tim Harris, who as a 17-year-old runaway came to appreciate homeless people for their "honesty" and "realness," said Real Change has helped shape opinions and defuse misconceptions about homelessness and its causes, but there still remains much to do. Tim founded the Real Change Newspaper Program in 1994 to "be a voice for the poor and homeless, and to create flexible and immediate employment for those who want it."
Watch the Seattle Voices interview with Tim Harris

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Bill Moyers: For America's Sake

Here is the real political story, the one most politicians won't even acknowledge: the reality of the anonymous, disquieting daily struggle of ordinary people, including the most marginalized and vulnerable Americans but also young workers and elders and parents, families and communities, searching for dignity and fairness against long odds in a cruel market world.

Everywhere you turn you'll find people who believe they have been written out of the story. Everywhere you turn there's a sense of insecurity grounded in a gnawing fear that freedom in America has come to mean the freedom of the rich to get richer even as millions of Americans are dumped from the Dream. So let me say what I think up front: The leaders and thinkers and activists who honestly tell that story and speak passionately of the moral and religious values it puts in play will be the first political generation since the New Deal to win power back for the people.
Read For America's Sake by Bill Moyers
The Nation ~ January 22, 2007 Issue
(An adaptation of remarks made to a December 12 gathering in New York sponsored by The Nation, Demos, the Brennan Center for Justice and the New Democracy Project. - The Nation's Editors)

Friday, January 5, 2007

celebrity look-a-likes for my family :-)

I saw this on my friend Elliott's blog and decided to try it - has a cool demo of face recognition. You upload a photo of yourself or family members and it will tell you in a few seconds which celebrity looks just like you ~ or who it thinks does...

So here am I:

and Alec:

and Noel:

Noel again:

and here is Bill:

one more of Bill:

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

A Mile of Flags ~ by Cindy Sheehan

Gerald Ford is dead. Every time I get a chance to turn on the TV, I am incessantly reminded of this fact.

His body is lying in state on the same structure that has held up every dead president's body since Abraham Lincoln. His widow constantly has a military honor guard to support her, sometimes even physically. The flag-draped coffin is never left alone: There is always a military presence there to guard and honor the body. We have seen Ford's flag-draped coffin entering and exiting planes and cars. The tradition can be quite moving at times, but, to me, also quite frustrating and gut-wrenching.
On December 31st, our 3,000th child was killed for the lies of another president. While Gerald Ford lies in state, our 3,000th troop will be brought home on his final airplane flight in the cargo area. This fine young example of humanity will be sneaked into the US as if he, and not his commander in chief, were a criminal. His family will be left to mourn alone, and his body will not be guarded night and day. After the funeral (which Bloody George will not attend), he will be forgotten by the country that sent him to die in a war that is as corrupt as the day is long, but his family will never be able to recover from his loss.
Read A Mile of Flags by Cindy Sheehan | t r u t h o u t | 1/2/2007


from Gabi:
They keep talking on television now about how Gerald Ford made the right deision when he pardoned Nixon for Watergate. I didn't agree then and I still don't. Nixon should have gone to prison. It sent a message that presidents and other politicians were above the law. That is bulllshit. Just as I think what George Walker Bush and his cohorts are doing in Iraq. I believe they should go to prision for war crimes.