Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chaos and Blowback

General McChaos is Canned;
Times Square Bomber Blowback

Faisal Shahzad pled guilty to all ten counts of charges stemming from his failed terror attempt to detonate explosives in crowded Times Square on May 1. He said, “It’s a war” and that he was avenging the deaths of innocent Muslim women and children killed by US drone attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq. The guilty plea was heard in Federal District Court in New York on June 21. Shahzad was referring to the deadly drone attacks which have been doubled by President Obama over the number of attacks made by the Bush administration. The attacks were carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command which was headed by General Stanley McChrystal from April 2003 to August 2008 with the help of the CIA. Obama removed McChrystal as commander of American forces in Afghanistan on June 23 and replaced him with General David Patraeus.

Obama stood in the White House Rose Garden with Vice President Biden, General Patraeus and other top military brass and “regretfully” accepted General McChrystal’s resignation. Obama said he did so because snide and derogatory remarks from the general and his staff about senior administration officials in a Rolling Stone article were contemptuous. Among many other disparaging comments, McChrystal told a Rolling Stone reporter that he felt the new President looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” while meeting with senior military officers just after Obama was inaugurated. In the chaotic turn of events, Obama summoned McChrystal to the White House from Afghanistan where he has been commander of the increasingly unpopular war. A recent ABC / Washington Post poll revealed that people felt the war was not worth fighting by a 53 to 44 margin. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll had 62% of the American people saying the country was going in the wrong direction and Obama’s approval rating at 45% with 48% disapproval.“War is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general or president,” Obama said. “As difficult as it is to lose General McChrystal, I believe it is the right decision for national security.” “I welcome debate among my team,” he said, “but I won’t tolerate division.”

McChrystal’s first controversy in the Afghanistan war was in 2004 when he tried, amid the chaos, to cover up the fact that former NFL star Pat Tillman was killed by “friendly fire”.

Obama stressed that this was a change in personnel, but not a change in policy and did not signal a shift in his overall war strategy in Afghanistan, which was designed by McChrystal and adopted by Obama.
Under it, 30,000 new American troops have been arriving in recent months, but US and NATO are suffering the most casualties since the war began.

Even people who approve killing of innocent civilians by drone attacks paid for by our tax dollars should have some understanding of Shahzad’s motives for his failed act of terror which will result in his serving a mandatory sentence of life without parole. When the judge asked “You wanted to injure a lot of people?” Shahzad replied that he wanted “to injure people or kill people.” “One has to understand where I’m coming from.” He considered himself “a Muslim soldier,” and that United States had attacked Muslim lands. The judge interjected: “But not the people who were walking in Times Square that night. Did you look around to see who they were?”
Shahzad answered, “Well, the people select the government; we consider them all the same.”

Including the children?” the judge asked.

Shahzad replied, “Well, the drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq…don’t see children; they don’t see anybody. They kill women, children. They kill everybody. It’s a war. And in war, they kill people. They’re killing all Muslims: I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing the Muslim nations and the Muslim people. And … I'm avenging the attack. Living in the United States, Americans only care about their own people, but they don't care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die."

Mr. Shahzad was unapologetic. “I want to plead guilty, and I’m going to plead guilty 100 times over, because until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan,…and stops the drone strikes and stops the occupation of Muslim lands, and stops killing the Muslims, we will be attacking U.S., and I plead guilty to that.”

Shahzad also answered the judge’s questions about his background and even his family. “I had a wife and two beautiful kids.” They have returned to Pakistan to be with his parents.

US officials portray the missile strikes as attempts to kill leaders of al Qaeda. US media quote unnamed intelligence officials who claim the victims of the missile strikes are all “militants,” without any validation of who were killed.
A Pakistani newspaper reported that 687 civilians had been killed in approximately 60 drone strikes carried out since January 2008. More than 30 drone attacks have been launched since and the number of Pakistani civilians killed may be more than a 1,000 by now.

General McChaos is canned and Shahzad is going to spend his life in jail, but how many more casualties from the longest war in US history and blowback from avenging terrorists will we tolerate?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ragheads, Rednecks and Greene Machines

Peculiar politics in South Carolina is a never ending
saga. On June 15, South Carolina Republican State Senator Jake Knotts of Lexington told the South Carolina Senate he is proud to be a redneck and would not resign from the Senate for having called Nikki Haley and President Obama ragheads. Haley is a former Sikh of Indian ancestry and front-runner for the Republican nomination for Governor in the June 22nd run-off.

On June 17, Democrat Alvin Greene’s stunning landslide victory in the Democratic Primary for the US Senate seat held by Jim De Mint was upheld by the SC’s Democratic Executive Committee’s 38.5 to 7.5 vote after hearing a protest by his opponent Vic Rawl. Rawl’s witnesses argued that voting machines malfunctioned to provide a landslide victory for Greene. Greene, a Forrest Gump figure, is an unknown, unemployed, African-American veteran, who also faces a felony obscenity charge. In a brief phone interview Greene said. "They did the right thing," "I am the best candidate for the United States Senate in the state of South Carolina." Rawl is a former judge, and legislator whose 59 to 41% loss shocked the political establishment. Rawl said he didn’t have enough time to prepare his case before the hearing.

Jake Knotts said the Lexington Republicans who asked him to resign for his raghead comments were hypocrites because he had been called a redneck and no one came to his defense. He said he is a true redneck if that means a farmer who works from dawn to dusk and whose neck is red from the sun. When Knotts said, “If all of us rednecks leave the Republican Party, the party is going to have one hell of a void,” he was telling it like it is.

In 1968, the party of Lincoln devised a Republican Southern strategy to co-opt George Wallace’s appeal to white bigotry which has been the building block for Republicanism in the South ever since. I was a Wallace staffer from 1967-71 and became Executive Director of the Wallace Presidential campaign. I witnessed Wallace’s clever appeal to the prejudices of working class white folks.

In 1970, Wallace spoke to a crowd of textile workers in Alabama railing against the "Northern, liberal media who want the Federal Government to control every phase and aspect of our daily lives.

I mean, the long-haired, pointy-headed, pseudo-intellectuals writers at the New York Times, who don't have enough sense to park their bicycles straight. They look down their noses at us and call us pea pickers and pecker-woods, lint-heads and red-necks. If they call us red-necks because our necks might be red from an honest day's toil in the Summer sun, then call us rednecks because there's two things about them; they wouldn't do an honest day's work in the summer sun and

their hair's so long their necks wouldn't get red anyway.

When Fidel Castro was launching his offensive in the hills of Cuba, the New York Times called him the Robin Hood of the Caribbean and we all know he is a Communist.

But if you had asked any cab driver in the streets of New York City or Montgomery, Alabama what they thought about Castro when the New York Times was singing his praises, the cab driver would have told you that he was a Communist. The cab drivers know this by instinct. They are everyday people like us who have fierce contact with life.

We had fierce contact with some contentiously contested election protests when I served on the Democratic Executive Committee of South Carolina in the 1980s and ‘90s, but never one as interesting as when Vic Rawl made his case for a new primary election for the Senate race. Rawl’s attorney argued that they did not have to prove corruption, but only that because the machines were unreliable, the outcome was not correct.

Rawl’s protest focused on the voting machines that leave no paper trail to substantiate their reliability. The Election Systems & Software (ES&S) machines use software whose reliability was criticized in the 2008 Presidential election race in Ohio. Dr. Duncan Buell, a mathematician and computer science professor from the University of South Carolina testified that” “We should treat these machines with an enormous amount of skepticism.”

Rawl’s protest claimed that: the machines are susceptible to accidental or intentional modification, alteration or tampering; numerous voters experienced difficulty in trying to cast votes for Rawl; that the results cannot be verified; and that inherent unreliability of the machines constitutes evidence that the election is invalid.

Big money controls politics. The US Supreme Court has just ruled in the Citizens United case that money counts as free speech. Money talks in America. If the votes were accurately counted, and the candidate who spent no money on media ads, signs, or a web site won, it would be a good thing for our democracy.

When South Carolina seceded from the Union in 1860, James L. Petigru, a former South Carolina legislator and Attorney General said, "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.” Considering our ragheads, rednecks and the Greene machines, Petigru’s description still applies.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Remembering My Daddy

On Father’s Day I think about my Daddy, who died in 1964 when he was 57. Daddy was an Alabama country boy from the black belt, 25 miles Southeast of Montgomery. Daddy was a self-described Southern Conservative and segregationist, but not nearly as outspokenly racist about black folks as his Father, who was known within our family as Big Daddy. Big Daddy was a Klansman who was convicted by an all white jury for killing a black teenager who had “sassed” him. I was so influenced by my family’s traditional prejudices that I became Executive Director of Alabama Governor George Wallace’s National Campaign and named my only son Jefferson Davis Turnipseed in honor of the Confederate President.

Daddy was a down-home person and proud to be a country boy. He was quiet mannered, like his Mother, who was known in our family as Mammy. I felt proud of my Daddy as a young boy when grownups would go out of their way to tell me what a good man he was, even if it was intended at times to make me feel ashamed when I misbehaved. My friend Jim Laney and me were about seven years old when we were caught slipping a couple of apples into our pants pockets at the grocery store. The store manager said, “I can’t believe the son of as good a man as your Daddy is would steal and I hate to have to tell him what you’ve done”. I hated he had to tell him too, because Daddy took off his big ol’ belt and whacked me a few times across the butt so I “would remember not to ever steal again.”

Daddy was good to his family and friends and was kind and sympathetic to the underprivileged, but followed in the foot steps of Big Daddy by adopting some of his racist beliefs. Daddy told me that separate-but-equal, racial segregation was the only system that would work in the South. Daddy said that "folks up North claim to like nigras as a group, but they don't know and like them as individuals like we do down South."

Daddy’s favorite black leader was Booker T. Washington, the President of the Tuskegee Institute, an all black, state supported college located 20 miles from Daddy’s childhood home, and about half way to Auburn where Daddy went to college. Daddy admired Washington because he exhorted blacks to work hard at the jobs they were given and “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”. Booker T. Washington was invited to make a speech at Auburn when Daddy was a student. Daddy said Washington drew applause when he said about the two races, "In all things social, we shall be as separate as the fingers of the hand, but joined together as one hand to do the common purpose."

Daddy told us stories about his black friends he played with as a young boy growing up on a Alabama farm in the early 1900's that sounded much like The Tales of Uncle Remus. Daddy said they would all go rabbit hunting and his black buddies used sticks as weapons to throw and hit the rabbits as they darted from the clumps of weeds and underbrush where they were hiding. Daddy said he and his young black friends also enjoyed fishing and just playing together. Wary of going over the line by describing forbidden racial bonding to us, Daddy said he never, ever, shared a meal with the black boys except when he slipped some food out the back door and they had their own little picnic outside, away from Mammy's view. They were Daddy’s friends--in their place. Good Southern white folks simply did not eat with nigras, especially inside the house at the same table. Black cooks and servants ate in the kitchen.

While growing up in the rural South with his black friends, Daddy was also influenced in his manner of speaking. If a stranger heard Daddy’s voice on the phone, with its inflections and soft mellifluous Southern accent, they would swear it was a black man's voice, because Daddy talked like and sounded like the black folk he knew as a youth. His favorite food, like many other Southern whites, was soul food (called home cooking back in his day) prepared by black cooks.

He was far from being a political activist, but believed very strongly in conservatism and advocated a realignment of the Democratic and Republican parties into a Liberal and Conservative Party. Daddy told me that Hitler wasn't all bad and did a lot of good for the German people. Daddy was proud of his German ancestry and said Hitler instilled pride in the German people, reduced unemployment and put people to work. But Daddy was not anywhere close to being a Hitler sympathizer. He supported the United States effort in World War II and wanted to be in the army himself, but was 4-F due to his heart condition from rheumatic fever he had as a child. Big Daddy, his beloved Father, was virulently anti-Jewish and anti-Negro, but Daddy never really bought into the Klan’s malignant message of hate. Daddy was an everyday family man and devoted churchgoer who always sat down front in church.

With his farm and ranch upbringing he wanted to be an agricultural scientist. After graduating from Auburn in 1929 Daddy went to work for them and for the State of Alabama Extension Service at an experiment station in Spring Hill, a western suburb of Mobile. Daddy was an entomologist who did experiments with insecticides to control bugs on citrus fruits and ornamentals like azaleas and camellias.
He worked with Japanese American nurserymen who grew camellias. At a reception of The Men’s Camellia Club of Mobile attended by some of his Japanese friends, Daddy told a woman who made a racist slur against one of his friends telling her that she should be ashamed and apologize. Daddy let her know the man’s son was a US soldier fighting against Japan.

In 1945 Daddy was offered a large salary increase to go to work for Shell Oil Company and we moved to the Eastern Shore of Virginia so Daddy could test Shell's new, oil-based insecticides on vegetable crops. Daddy and his fellow researchers successfully concluded tests of the insecticides which made billions for Shell. When their research for the giant corporation was completed, Shell let them go. Daddy applied for jobs at many colleges and universities. I remember how much anxiety my brother Sam and I shared when Daddy got a tentative offer to become a staff member at Penn. State. We did not want to live in Pennsylvania – it was Yankeeland.

Daddy took a faculty/research position with the Entomology Department of North Carolina State testing insecticides and developing a spray program in Wilkes County in the mountains of Northwestern North Carolina that would control insects and diseases for apple growers. We moved there when I was a 13 year old eighth grader and Daddy vowed never to leave the public sector again, because the big corporations put profits over people.

Daddy was good to me and just about everyone. I liked his unsophisticated manner and ability to be friends with and understand the farmers, fruit growers and everyday people he worked with. Much to my Mother’s chagrin, Daddy was even fond of having a chew of tobacco with the apple men.

I had bipolar disorder as a young person and Daddy went into debt to provide me health care. He came down to Chapel Hill to help me when I suffered from depression and was hospitalized. Daddy persuaded my German professor to reconsider a borderline failing grade. When I was down he always reached out to lift me up. Without his help I would probably be either dead or institutionalized. I realize that Daddy’s simple kindness was a big influence for me changing from a racist-in-denial and George Wallace’s aide to an activist for racial justice about 35 years ago. I was co-counsel in a suit against the Klan for burning a church in South Carolina in 1998 that resulted in a $37,000,000.00 verdict. I’m a life member of the NAACP and have been a leader in efforts to remove the Confederate flag from our State House in South Carolina. As a former racist, my message to racists who continue to deny their racism, is----if I can change, anyone can. It makes me feel good to remember my Daddy whose love brought me here and taught me to become a better person.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Thanks for Nothing, Dad!
A sort of Poem

On this Father’s Day week I want to thank you for those things you passed down  through your DNA, Dad
The things to be grateful for
As I look at your picture on my wall, frozen in time, your long, slender frame I see--
To My brother you passed it, to our son, Jeff, you passed it

good gosh

what happened to me!

 As I step on the scales and look down at the numbers
I can only say—Thanks for nothing,  Dad!

Huuum, so many other things ----------------
That brain of yours, Georgia Tech educated,  engineer honed
Which awed me every night—“yeah, Dad--but how did we do the equation? get that answer, tomorrow in class I have to know?”  “Well—It just comes to me,” you’d say. “I can’t explain it to you.” And really, you couldn’t.
So Grandaughter Madeline and Davis too have mad math skills they got from you.
And me, a grown woman—I still can hardly add two plus two

So as I try to balance the ledger, in vain,  I can only say
Thanks for nothing, Dad!

You drank way too much and chain smoked too, but still had some pretty awesome healthy DNA.
Till the day you died you eyes were clear and you could hear what was said a mile away.
So as I twist in my hearing aids each morning and clean my glasses to put them on.

I look in the mirror to see if they’re straight and I can only say
Thanks for nothing, Dad!

But then there're other things I think of -- not so much DNA
Nature or nurture kind of stuff, see-- if you want them to be a certain way, live it and they will see, they say----
The time we had with you--too short
Death ripped in one night and you were gone.
In all the years you had on earth, I never heard you say an unkind word about a living soul--
 that’s just how you were, every day.
 And another thing Dad—you never ever raised your voice in anger, ever—for me the calm in the center of a storm, so kind a man,
You know—I’m working on all that, still
And someday maybe I’ll get it, I so hope that I will

So as I look in my heart, I can only say
Thanks for everything,  Dad! 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sex and Silliness in South Carolina

In the most stunning upset in South Carolina’s sordid political history, Alvin Greene, unknown and unemployed, defeated Vic Rawl, former judge, legislator, and county council member, by a 59 to 41 percent margin to win the Democratic nomination for US Senate. The mysterious Greene will face Republican incumbent Jim DeMint, an ultraconservative tea-bagger, in November. The state Democratic Party has asked Greene to withdraw from the race because he faces a felony obscenity charge. Greene was recently charged with disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity. Police say he showed obscene photos to a University of South Carolina student. He has been appointed a public defender which requires proof of being an indigent. The 32-year-old unemployed veteran haltingly insisted he was a democrat and would not withdraw as he discussed his curious campaign with Keith Olbermann, but had “no comment” on the criminal charge.

The mysterious Mr. Greene told reporters he was the “real deal” and would “make a difference”, “I knew I could win if I worked hard, just like I knew I could win in November if I work hard, and we can get South Carolina back to work.” “I can beat DeMint.” “Education, better education for our children, jobs and justice in the judicial system are my issues.”

Greene recently got out of the Army, and lives at his dad’s home in rural Clarendon County. He presented a $10,400 personal check to the Democratic Party headquarters for his filing fee but was told it had to come from a campaign account. He left and came back soon with a check that was accepted. Greene said he got the money by saving it up in the service.

He had no campaign signs, website, or media ads and didn’t attend the South Carolina Democratic Party convention in April.

SC Congressman Jim Clyburn said it was “shenanigans” and that Greene must have been “planted” and financed by those who opposed Rawl and supported DeMint. Former Democratic Chairperson Dick Harpootlian told NPR that the alphabetical placement of Greene above Rawl on the ballot could be the reason for the unbelievable upset and also mentioned the extremely low quality of life of poor and working class people in South Carolina.

In the South Carolina Republican Gubernatorial primary contest a week before the June 8th vote, State SenatorJake Knotts of Lexington County called Representative. Nikki Haley, an Indian-American candidate, a “raghead” Knotts said Haley was hiding her true religion from voters. “She’s a f…king raghead,” Knotts said. He later clarified his statement, saying he did not mean to use the F word. Haley led the ticket in the Republican Primary, 49% to 23 % for Congressman Gresham Barrett the 2nd place finisher. Haley and Barrett are competing in a June 28 runoff.

Knotts is a likable former cop. He’s a friendly caricature of a Southern Sheriff like Rod Steiger’s portrayal of Sheriff Gillespie in The Heat of the Night. Knotts told Corey Hutchins of Free Times of Columbia that Haley was set up to run for governor by a network of Sikhs and outside influences in foreign countries. Knotts said Haley is ashamed of her religion and is hiding behind being a Methodist. South Carolina is a religious community. We need a good Christian to be our governor,” he said. “She’s hiding her religion. She ought to be proud of it. I’m proud of my god.”

Knotts says he believes Haley’s father has sent letters to India saying that Haley is the first Sikh running for high office in America. He says her father walks around Lexington, SC wearing a turban. “We’re at war over there,” Knotts said. He said he did not mean the United States was at war with India, but was at war with “foreign countries. “We got a raghead in Washington; we don’t need one in South Carolina,” he said, referring to President Obama, whose father was a Muslim from Africa. Knotts has rejected the Republican Executive Committee of Lexington County’s request that he resign, saying that libertarians were taking over the party.

Recently, political blogger Will Folks said he’d had an intimate relationship with Haley in early 2007. Folks is a former campaign staffer for Governor Mark Sanford, who is a Haley supporter. On June 2, Larry Marchant, a prominent lobbyist said he had sex with Haley while they were both married. Haley has denied any sexual infidelity, and volunteered to resign if the charges were proven to be true after she becomes Governor.

Political nuttiness is nothing new in South Carolina: In 1858, US Congressman Preston Brooks "caned" abolitionist US Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, crippling him for life; when South Carolina seceded from the Union in 1860, James L. Petigru famously remarked, "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum”; Strom Thurmond impregnated his family's 15 year old black maid and sent his daughter up north to hide her away; in 2009, Congressman Joe Wilson shouted, "you lie" at President Obama who was addressing a joint session of the US Congress; and in 2009, Governor Mark Sanford told us he was hiking the Appalachian Trail while he was in Argentina shacking up with his "soul mate".

Sex and silliness, mystery and meanness, South Carolina politics is a never-ending mess.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


He died in September, 1998 -- Governor George Corley Wallace, the fighting little judge -- a broken, pain wracked, humbled human being.  I didn't get to go to the funeral, but I would have liked to.  It would have brought closure to that part of my life and I would have known a lot of folks there -- his kids, George Jr. and Little Leigh, Bobbie Jo and Peggy Sue, and Dothard,  the burly, joking State Trooper I liked so well who was wounded when the Governor was gunned down, and maybe several of his ex wives and a lot of other old friends -- the three other young attorneys, Stan and Joe, and John, who with Tom traveled the whole country accomplishing what they said was impossible at the time -- getting the Governor ballot position in all 50 states --  a first in the history books.
I wonder if speech writer Asa Carter was there, who penned the Governor's most famous words:

I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny. And I say Segregation Today, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever!

Or Tommy Gallion, the Secretary of State’s college student son who was our squirrel coordinator -- in charge of all the nut calls.

I was once a terrible racist --working on the national campaign staff of The Governor (we called him that as though there was only one in all the world). 
 For three years I was a paid campaign staffer helping him "Stand Up for America"--our slogan was a clarion call for the working class of Alabama and across the country.  It was a white America of course-- an America where we had all the power and privilege and those others "knew their place."

So how did we get from there to here -- working to end the politics of hate and fear that is designed to divide folks; working to end oppression and create a more just society--on our Journey toward Wholeness.

The vehicle of change for us was working in the community.  Tom and I have always been political animals -- trying to effect public policy -- even when we were wrong -- and that was how we began to question, examine, grow and change.  Going to meeting in school cafeterias, barber shops, pool halls, black Baptist churches, to talk about utility reform and economic inequity,  we met folks who seemed very unlike ourselves -- but when they talked about the issues important to their lives -- the health and safety of their children, educational opportunities, decent jobs, fair electric rates -- we began to see and feel and understand that we are more alike than we are different -- that all of us have similar fears and uncertainties and all of us have similar hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow.  So I am a great believer in our ability to change -- to change unfair and oppressive laws, to change systems that oppress one group and empower another,  to change a human heart.

If I can change, anybody can change. I believe in transformation. I can tell you that transformation almost never happens suddenly,  but it does happen.  I can't detail every encounter with those who were not racists, every exposure to those who lived and breathed their celebration of our common humanity ,  every positive example large and small that changed me -- but they did.  I am living proof that small acts of bravery, kind words spoken to others, ideals lived out, can transform a heart, a life, an institution, a country, a world.  Be confident that each of us can make a difference.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Tom and I are members of  the Simplicity movement—involved in voluntary simplicity – the resolve to rescue ourselves  from the runaway consumerist culture and begin making intentional decisions about how to live our lives. We honor simple, just, and sustainable ways of life and act to inform and organize others like us to actively work towards changing the culture and policies that drive overwork and overconsumption.

We realize that simplicity is not just about making personal decisions to slow down and simplify, to unclutter our lives and the earth we live on, but in fact we need to change society to make it more simplicity friendly.  Right now the structures of our society discourage simplicity and encourage the opposite – overconsumption, overproduction, overwork, overcommitment. We are organizing to change that.

At a Simplicity Forum meeting in Seattle, there was a talent show.  Tom and I  wrote a song/poem  as our contribution.

The Simplicity Poem
A Parody of
I'm Late, I'm Late

With apologies to Lewis Carroll and Walt Disney

I'm late....I'm late...
For a very important date.
No time to say hello, goodbye,
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.

Consumption reigns, Our lives are out of whack
Our time is not our own -- to play, to rest, to dream
We must get back on track

No time to cook a meal at home
No time to play with kids
It's sad to say, It's the American way
And here's the reason why

(You see)

The ads tell me to buy, buy, buy
And you and you and you
I'm mall ward bound, consumption to be found
I hurry off to shop, shop, shop
I just can't seem to stop, stop, stop
Shop till we drop, shop till we drop

Electronic leash, I want to make it cease
Voice mail, e mail, phone, fax mail too
Quite more than I can do, do do.
I surf the web, and then I channel surf
But none of it is real and true
Don't really talk to you or you

Keep up the pace,  no time to waste
We work from dawn till dark, dark dark
To guarantee our place
Overload, I'm in a burnout mode
Must make my corporate mark, mark, mark
What danger if I dare to stop !!
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late

I'm overdue, make way I'm coming through
Can't even grab a lunch to go

I'm late, I'm late, I'm late

What will the neighbors think
 If we don't have enough---
Hummers, yachts and all that stuff
Keeping up with the Joneses is tough, tough, tough

To please our yen for SUVs and such
We attack Iraq and kill, kill, kill
For oil to bring it back, back, back

Up to our ears in stuff,
can't seem to get enough
To get rid of it is rough, rough, rough
We sort it out and run about and take it to the dump
Where does it go? Tis not our woe
Our landfills they are full, full, full
Our streams with filth oerflow

We're late, we're late, we're using up the earth
We're in a stew, the solution's over due
But  wait, but wait
We haven't sealed our fate
We  can still save planet earth
it's not too late, late, late
We've got a plan for you and you
of ideas there is no dearth

Just slow it down, take back your time
and then get others to,
sides me and you, and you and me, and me and you, and you and me

The future's clear to see
Simplicity is here to stay
and here's the reason why

(You see)

It's overdue, there is no turning back
It's up to us to save the world

Saturday, June 5, 2010


If you scratch Jeny, she bleeds green.  She is conscious of her family’s carbon footprint on the planet at all times.  She composts, plants a garden, recycles everything—glass, plastics, paper, clothes, toys, books. The family uses cloth napkins, one for each family member for three days, instead of stacks of paper ones.

We have been doing many of the same things for a long time, but Jeny always seems to be ahead of the curve. Just when I think I am doing pretty well, she will mention something that has yet to occur to me, or something I have thought about, but which has seemed too much trouble so far.

Both Jeny and I switched from plastic to canvas grocery bags long ago—with her leading the way. Tom and I bought a number of Publix bags and were off and running. For the longest time we had the bags, but would forget and leave them at home--in the house or in the garage--and be forced to use plastic again.  Finally we got in the habit of taking them back out to the car as soon as we emptied the trunk  and put up the groceries.  We felt really good about that. Problem was, we keep misplacing them.  We would leave one at Finlay Park when we went to feed the homeless on Sunday, or another at Penn Center at the church conference, or wherever……

I was complaining to Jeny one day about how much I was spending on replacing canvas bags because of our carelessness. “Mom, really! Are you buying canvas bags? There’s another whole way for you to think green!”  Well, that was sure beyond me.  What more could we do?  I was not quite willing to put the groceries into the car one by one without using a bag at all.

“Go to the middle bedroom and look in your closet”, she said. What was that all about, I thought? Clueless, I marched in and took a look.  There they were shoved up on the corner shelf.   The stack of empty, canvas bags I had collected from conferences, recently, and over the years.  C-Span, Trial Lawyers, The Democratic Party, Palmetto Health, Interfaith Alliance, Pro-Law, and, the most recent one from just two weeks ago, Robert Ford for Governor. All colors, all shapes, all sizes.  Waiting to be recycled. Waiting to be filled with groceries. 
Why hadn’t I thought of that? Another lesson from my daughter.