Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
If the Obama administration replaces the Bush administration’s self-righteousness with respect, openness, humility and sincerity it would be a monumental step forward.
On the other hand, if the Obama administration continues the military solutions of hi-tech death over intelligent nonviolent engagement in Afghanistan, all possible gains with its new approach will be lost and only perceived in the eyes of Afghanis as cynical hypocrisy.
US Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass) tried to amend the bill before the vote yesterday, adding the requirement for an Afghanistan exit strategy by year's end. The amendment did not make it to the approved legislation."I'm tired of wars with no deadlines, no exits and no ends," said Rep. McGovern. Aren't we all tired of that? I can assure you - Afghanis and Pakistanis and US military personnel and their families are tired of it. More troops won't bring more peace. It's easy math. Call your senators. Peace.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Ladies and gentlemen in preparation for landing in Buffalo please be certain your seatback is straight up and your seatbelt is fastened. Please pass any remaining service items and unwanted reading materials to us as we pass through the cabin. Please turn off all portable electronic devices and stow them until we have reached the gate.It was 10:09:15 PM. Isn't this the moment most of us secretly breathe a sigh of relief? We're home. We're about to land. We start thinking about what's waiting for us at baggage claim or home or the office. We look out the window and see the lights of our destination. In the cockpit, that's exactly what was happening that night. The 47-year old pilot and 24-year old first officer were chatting about planes they'd flown, ways around airline hiring systems, and whether or not their ears were popping. Then, at 10:12:05 PM the young first officer says this:
I've never seen icing conditions. I've never de-iced. I've never seen any— I've never experienced any of that. I don't want to have to experience that and make those kinds of calls. You know I'dve freaked out. I'dve have like seen this much ice and thought oh my gosh we were going to crash.The captain quickly lets his FO know that he knows what he's doing 10:13:01 PM:
But I— first couple of times I saw the amount of ice that that Saab would would pick up and keep on truckin'....saw it out on the spinner. Ice comin' out about that far - my eyes about that big around. I'm going gosh. I mean Florida man— barely a little you know out of Pensacola.For the next three and a half minutes they chat about finding the sweet spot in a seat adjustment, descent checklists, and approach checklists. Then that stick shaking sound begins - the sound that I've learned this week means the plane is about to stall - at 10:16:06 PM. Ten seconds later the pilot says, "Jesus Christ," and makes a grunting sound followed by, "..ther bear." Perhaps this was the moment in which there was a pull on the stick that should have been a push. My husband, who holds a sport pilot's license, crash landed an ultralight several years ago after an engine failure on take off. You push, so the nose goes down, he tells me. This keeps you from stalling. You do not pull. Everyone knows this. At 10:16: 51 PM the pilot of Continental flight 3407 said, "We're down." At 10:16:52 PM his first officer said, "We're..." and she screamed.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
"Vietnam veteran Joe Smith has been arrested today and is expected to be charged with murder..."We never mentioned the name of a soldier from the war in Southeast Asia without "Vietnam veteran" attached to the front end. It seemed a necessary descriptor, especially in the case of a crime of violence, terror, or just plain lunacy. It was as if we were providing our viewers with an answer to the ever-present question: Why would someone do that? This comes to mind today as we all face, with our hearts aching, the event yesterday at Camp Liberty in Baghdad. Five US coalition force members were shot and killed in a clinic set up to help soldiers deal with the stress of war. Two others were wounded. One US soldier - the suspected shooter - is in custody. While we wait for names and faces and horrifying details to go with the story, our search for information turns up only a pile of sobering statistics:
- there has been a steady rise in violent crime within the US military in the last year;
- sexual assault cases in the rank and file were up 26% in 2008;
- the incidence of suicide among Iraq vets, some of whom have been sent 4-5 times into the war zone, is at record levels and rising every year;
- suicide among military recruiters is climbing, as the stress to replenish the dwindling supply of recruits reaches an all time high...73% of the recruiters are soldiers back from a tour in Iraq.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
"Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
"Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience.
"We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice! Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as the means whereby the great human family can live in peace,
And each bearing after her own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
Julia Ward Howe died in 1910. Mother's Day became a national holiday when Woodrow Wilson declared it so in 1914.
Mother's Day...not Mother's Day for Peace.
And so we have forgotten Julia Ward Howe.**
I can't help but wonder how the world might be different today if, "Disarm! Disarm!" had become the annual sentiment of the day. What if, for the last 95 years, instead of Hallmark cards and FTD orders, we'd been gathering together as mothers united with hopes and promises for peace on this earth?
A "great and earnest day of counsel" for women who love their children.
A day to imagine, together, "the great human family" living in peace.
Happy Mother's Day.
**Julia Ward Howe is remembered as the poet who penned the words to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in 1862.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The voice of Leonard Pitts - so strong, so clear - so necessary...
Why This Tolerance for Torture?
Between 1933 and 1945, as a series of restrictive laws, brutal pogroms and mass deportations culminated in the slaughter of six million Jews, the Christian church, with isolated exceptions, watched in silence.
Between 1955 and 1968, as the forces of oppression used terrorist bombings, police violence and kangaroo courts to deny African Americans their freedom, the Christian church, with isolated exceptions, watched in silence.
Beginning in 1980, as a mysterious and deadly new disease called AIDS began to rage through the homosexual community like an unchecked fire, the Christian church, with isolated exceptions, watched in silence.
So who can be surprised by the new Pew report?
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
what one is about to describe to us is egg whites outside from the timeEgg whites outside from the time? In context it seems to be something wonderful. One thing is certain - music is the universal language of peace and love and hope. From Leipzig, Germany to Lausanne, Switzerland to Bilbao, Spain - these six kids have shown up at crowded venues full of people who live under different governments, speak different languages, travel, eat, and live their lives in wholly different ways. But they love music. And they have welcomed these Americans with gourmet meals, comfortable accommodations, spirited applause, and lively post-performance conversation (sometimes about George Bush, since the band is from Texas...). It's a van full of beautiful instruments and gracious young Americans who still have 3,371 miles of this music-meets-world-peace adventure left. Perhaps we need a US Department of Live Music to facilitate a way to a kinder, more inclusive world view. Like egg whites outside from time... Peace.
- ► 2013 (13)
- ► 2010 (32)
- ▼ May (11)