Wednesday, September 22, 2010


In my last post I spoke of my intense dislike of cockroaches and blogger Shaw Kenawe shared a poem she created in hopes that she could change my attitude:


Hildegard Cockroach lives in the city

And lives a life that's not very pretty.
She spends her days down in the drain
Of a smelly old sink. It's really a pain.

At night she crawls onto a sticky plate

or a stain of gravy that's second rate.
And if she's lucky, she's sometimes able
to feast on leftover food on the table.

"Nobody likes me," Hildegard thought,

"because of the life I lead, and it ought
not to influence how the feel.
It isn't my fault I must scrounge for a meal.

They jump when they see me, they run and yell.

They reach for the bug spray, and I can tell
how they hate me. But what did I do?
Just munched on a moldy old crumb or two.
O, it's true. The life of a cockroach is very hard,"
sighed the sad little cockroach, Hildegard.

It is a very nice poem and I appreciate her efforts.  Here is my response.


I’m almost persuaded.
She near touched my soul.
As the many sad hardships
Of her bug life she told.
Poor Hildegard Cockroach

A cockroach life is no crystal stair
And Hildy certainly does have a story to tell.
She’s a real sob sister
And a pitiful victim as well.
Poor Hildegard Cockroach

First she complains she must scrounge for her food.
Oh. she whines about every little this and little that.
“Nobody likes me; everybody hates me.”
The wailing and  moaning Hildy has down pat.
Poor Hildegard Cockroach

Tom writes in the comments, loving those bugs still.
How could he? One jumped on his head!
And Jeny write of bugs in her mouth!
Blaaah—I want all Hildys DEAD!
Gross Hildegard Cockroach

Not one to give up in having his say,
Tom maintains there’s good in all bugs—even Hildy, by the way.
So, quite disdainfully,  and sure I am right, I googled cockroaches today.
6 million nasty hits--but wait--2 were good
 What can I say!
AH Hildegard Cockroach!

It seems in September of 2010
The Docs found cockroaches to be of some use
Fighting infections they searched for new antibiotics and found,
if you please, hot diggidy,  they could use cockroach brain juice!!!
Valuable Hildegard Cockroach

I’ll donate to science; I’m up for that.
I’ll kill ‘em and keep the carcasses all 
In a trash bag out of my sight
Till the bug hearsh comes to call.
Recycled Hildegard Cockroach

 Do we jump when we see her?
 Do we reach for the bug spray?
Oh yeah, you betcha! Without delay!
Disgusting Hildegard Cockroach

I’ve searched my heart in iambic pentameter* verse         *sort of
Should we cut her a break? Does she deserve her fate?
Yeah, cause she’s icky, she’s yucky, she carries disease.
Stomp on her; smash her;  run her down. Hate! Hate! Hate!
Goodby  Hildegard Cockroach

Poor Hildegard Cockroach

Sunday, September 19, 2010

War Steals From the Poor and Unemployed

Military spending is causing huge deficits and wasting money needed for education, housing, healthcare, infrastructure, and developing clean, renewable energy. 14.9 million Americans are unemployed. 50.7 million Americans did not have health insurance and 43.6 million or 14.3% lived beneath the poverty level in 2009, according to the Census Bureau and the numbers are even higher now. Expenditures for our bloated war complex are about 55% of all discretionary spending. We have spent more than a trillion dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 and much more in bribes to government officials, and tribal chiefs and payments to corrupt private contractors. According to the Democratic Leadership Council, US military spending accounted for 44% of all money spent globally on war, weapons and the military in 2009.Our military spending is as much as all of the next 15 countries combined. The number of people killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is anywhere from 100,000 to a million or more depending on who does the estimates. Statistics on the number of civilians and military personnel killed are often distorted by military propaganda.

Glorification of the mass terrorism of war by media, politicians, weapons makers and other violence peddling war profiteers is depressing. Killing people by war and willful violence is the most demented activity of our species. War is intrinsically evil. Peacemakers like Jesus, Mother Theresa, Gandhi and Martin Luther King are real heroes rather than the war complex hyped “warriors” who “fight for our freedom” by killing people in Iraq and Afghanistan so the US can control their governments and natural resources. Metaphors like the war on poverty seem inappropriate in describing anti-poverty programs, which are diminished by the diversion of resources to make war. Lyndon Johnson took on the pervasive poverty

of the 1960 by promoting broad anti-poverty social programs like civil rights, education, Medicare and Medicaid as part of his Great Society.

Rather than advocate more social programs that provide jobs, Obama wants to tinker with middle class tax cuts and a roll back on tax breaks for the fat cats, but how much will trickle down to poor and unemployed people?

When a reporter asked Obama to discuss his views on the poverty agendas of LBJ and Dr. King, he answered, “I think the history of anti-poverty efforts is that the most important anti-poverty effort is growing the economy. It’s more important than any program we could set up. It’s more important than any transfer payment we could have.” Economic growth and tax cuts that increase corporate profits will not eliminate poverty. Such praise of Reagan’s supply side economics isn’t new for Obama.

During the presidential campaign in 2008, Obama said, “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.” Does Obama model his super smooth style after Reagan’s slick salesman act?

Reagan was a mediocre movie actor when he became the host of the General Electric Theater on NBC. General Electric launched his political career by sponsoring a national speaking tour for their handsome, look-um-in-the-eye, all-American guy, who promoted their conservative philosophy. He was the ideal political huckster for corporate America's unbridled greed. Reagan put a nice face on the mean-spirited politics of fear and greed, blaming welfare mothers, social programs, government regulations and the “evil empire of the Soviet Union” as causes for America's troubles. Scapegoating poor people and criticizing government programs enabled him to deliver a giant tax break for the rich, roll back health and safety regulations, and push through a gigantic military buildup for corporate defense contractors like General Electric. His racially charged attacks on affirmative action hurt racial minorities and women.

Obama’s smooth rhetoric can’t conceal his role in bailing out Wall Street, cutting deals with corporate interests to dilute the healthcare reform bill, and developing financial regulations in closed-door meetings with bankers.

Rather than praising Reagan, Obama should make Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Roosevelt his role models and work to establish social programs which provide jobs for poor and working class people. LBJ can also teach Obama that endless wars won’t work. We should end tax cuts for the rich and transfer funds from war and Wall Street to social programs that put people to work and reduce poverty.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Tom and I agree on most things--politics for instance. We both are progressive, but not slavishly Democrat.  We have voted for a Republican before (rarely) and are supporting a Green candidate this election cycle. It is truly about the issues and the person.

We also agree on movies--musicals, movies with a message (or sappy movies as Jeny calls them), quality cartoons, like Up, movies with a historical theme.

We both like sports, especially basketball and soccer. Tom loves football; I love tennis. We are CRAZY for the Tar Heels, hate Duke, enjoy USC and are interested in Clemson. We follow the NBA.

Tom and I like the same food--basically all food, except that I don't like beets. I can't stand beets. 

                                                         Yuck to beets.

There are some things we do not agree on, but that would be the subject of a different post.

Well, it is sort of, in a way, relevant to this one.  Tom and I absolutely agree about the sanctity of life, about the worth and dignity of every person and the interdependent web of all existence. In some cases that means the same thing to both of us.  We do not believe in the death penalty.  We do not hunt for sport. We do not believe in using fur or exotic animal skins for designer accessories--fancy fur coats, leopard Prada handbags, alligator shoes, meat dresses.

Tom and I also agree that we should not destroy animals or insects that invade our home.  Though their natural habitat is outside--in the yard, forest, or garbage or whatever/where-ever, on occasion a creature will come into our house uninvited.  There have been many times when the visitor has been drug in by the cat--as they say,  ungrammatically. Muck is the hunter one of our two cats, who likes to bring her prey in through the cat window, usually still alive. She brings in crickets, grasshoppers, baby rabbits, birds, snakes, frogs, mice. Other creatures wander in on their own--ladybugs, spiders, bees. We always try to get the creature back outside, by picking it up, which works for ladybugs, spiders, even snakes sometimes. We shoo them out through broadly open doors.  That works for birds, rabbits and bees. If we can put a container over the top of them and carry them out, the crickets, grasshoppers and frogs make it outside.  Even the mouse is treated humanely.  We use the type of trap that draws him inside an enclosure with peanut butter bait, slams the door behind and allows us to transport him outside and release him far far away from the house, far away. We respect the sanctity of all creatures, including insects.

........except one.........

When I see a COCKROACH, I step on him. I step on him with a vengeance.  I grind him into pieces. I run him down.   I have no mercy. I am glad he is dead.  If I see one outside, sometimes I kill him as a preventative measure.  That is one cockroach of the 200,000,000,000 in the world that will not be coming into my house. 

Cockroaches abound in South Carolina.  It is hot and damp, which makes an ideal breeding ground for them.  Euphemistically we call them Palmetto bugs.  And, in fact,  there is a slight difference between the two.  Palmetto bug are larger and they can fly!

Tom argues that we should treat them as we do other 
 creatures, that they should be carried outside and set free to live their cockroach lives. This is one thing that we have argued about pretty consistently.  I don't think they deserve to live and the thought of picking one up is so revoltingly repulsive that I can taste the bile in my mouth at the thought.  I try to educate Tom about cockroach facts. They spread filth; they cause allergies, including asthma. He maintains that is all Orkin propaganda.

 Recently, I was at the computer in our home office.  He was in the den watching the news on notFox. I heard him   say, rather loudly, "Woooow."  Then he said "Umph."  In a minute he remarked, in a peculiar voice, "The oddest thing just happened!  A huge cockroach just landed on my head. When I tried to knock it off, it kinda got tangled in my hair."  I was incapable of a response.

I do not anticipate that Tom will, upon sighting the next cockroach, be carrying it outside to continue its cockroach life.  In my opinion, some bugs deserve the death penalty.  I wonder if  Tom now agrees.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Listen to the Tea Partiers Speak for Themselves

Tom posted on our blog recently about the Restoring Honor Rally in Washington.  It was a controversial post that elicited a lot of angry comments, on our blog and several other places where it had been published or reposted. He was called some really bad names!  The commentors said over and over that he was an angry man (that was the nicest thing they said about him).  I read the post, in fact I helped edit it, and I didn't sense any anger in him as he wrote the article.  I did think that the commenters sounded quite angry, however.

Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin as leaders of the gathering, held center stage in Tom's post.  There were others who were hand picked to speak at the gathering. 
I was curious about what the other folks, the common folks-- those who were not on the podium--were thinking about the whole event.  What would they have said if they had been at the mic? Would it have been exactly the same rhetoric, or would some have had a slightly different take on it all.

To my delight, I found a video of a young reporter who had been there, circulating through the crowd, interviewing ordinary people, people who had come with friends and family to be part of the huge event. They were eager to talk to the young man, and very enthusiastic about sharing their views.  Here is the video. If you have a problem watching it on the blog, click on it and go to YouTube to watch it.  It is over 13 minutes long, but worth watching if you are interested in hearing some Tea Partiers  in a conversation about the issues.

 What did you think?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Myth of the Founding Fathers

With Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the Tea Partiers

Led by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, Tea Party worshippers of the Founding Fathers want to return to the “good ol’ days” of 1787, when most African-Americans were slaves, many poor whites were indentured servants, and women couldn’t vote. At the time the Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, Native Americans were being slaughtered for their land, and Mexicans who were indigenous to the Southwest and the West coast of what became the United States were included in the genocide.

None of the ancestors of the African American, Native American, or Latino speakers addressing the mostly white Tea Partiers at the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech would have been among the Founding Fathers. No women, Jews, Muslims, poor people or non-land owners were numbered amongst the Founders who were rich white men.

Conservatives have trouble seeking sensible solutions to our present-day problems of poverty, violence, and perpetual war that make rich folks richer while poor people suffer and weapons makers and war profiteers make big bucks while killing and injuring innumerable innocent people. The problems are caused by big moneyed interests with the help of simple minded sycophants like Beck, Sarah Palin and the Tea Partiers. Their answer is to look backward to the wealthy Founding Fathers for guidance. The Tea Partiers believe the mythologized Founding Fathers are more intelligent and moral than anyone today except maybe radical right-wingers like Beck and Palin.

While hosting the Glenn Beck Program, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show and the Glenn Beck Show on Fox News Channel, Beck has been promoting conspiracy theories and delivering incoherent diatribes against socialists and environmentalists. Beck has called President Obama a Marxist, communist, and socialist who is taking America down the road to fascism. He has accused Obama of being a racist with a “hatred for whites”, and alleged that the Obama Presidency is like evil gorillas, endangering humankind and compared Obama’s America to “the Planet of the Apes”. He said that Al Gore wants to create a new “Hitler youth” because he promotes environmental awareness among young people. Beck doesn’t believe in global warming, but loves guns and militarism.

In Washington Beck did not mention Obama or Gore, but rather, assumed the role of an evangelist, presenting a religious theme of “Faith, Hope and Charity” which was a lame attempt to mask his worship of Mammon, the God of big business. Beck’s big show “just happened” to be at the Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King II made his iconic speech 47 years ago to the day. Beck said he was totally unaware it was the anniversary of King’s address when he scheduled his event and he believes the Lord led him to schedule the event at that time and place. He also boasted that the right wing rally had “reclaimed the civil rights movement.” Beck said he heard the voice of God while addressing his flock, a symptom characteristic of schizophrenia. He and his far right friend and probable Republican Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin repeatedly mentioned King’s legacy, as giant screens carried King’s image and brief excerpts of his 1963 address. Earlier this year Beck denounced King as a “radical socialist” and questioned why a national holiday had been named in his honor. Beck was born in a Roman Catholic family, but converted to Mormonism. He says he “found the Lord” who saved him from his alcohol and drug addiction and his channeling the voice of God sounds like the faith required in a 12 steps effort to stay on the wagon. .

In his rambling speech Beck gave several quotes from the Declaration of Independence, recited the Gettysburg Address, invoked trite clich├ęs of Americana and read bible verses. Palin said she was the mother of a “combat vet” and led a chant of USA, USA, USA.”

In the past other extremist populist movements in America also wrapped themselves in the cross and the flag, but espoused some social and economic policies that appealed to the common man. Father Charles Coughlin and Rev. Gerald L.K. Smith were demagogic leaders in the depression days of the 1930s, who at least talked about the dangers of capitalism, with Coughlin advocating a guaranteed annual wage and nationalization of some industries and Smith calling for income limits for the wealthy and old age pensions for everyone.

When he announced the rally, Beck promised to present a plan which would provide “specific policies and action steps” to found “a new national movement to restore our great country.” Instead, in his speech on Saturday, he said he decided to not reveal the plan, because of a conversation he had with God. Rather than explaining his plan “to restore our great country”, Beck said that people should turn to the Lord by praying on their knees and leaving their doors open so their children could see them doing so. Could it be that the billionaires and corporate entities who fund the tea party movement nixed the plan that might help poor and working class people at their expense?

Beck, Palin and their fellow Tea Partiers worship the rich white men and moneyed interests who fund their movement and their politics. Their gods are 21st century manifestations of the rich white men who were the Founding Fathers.