Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No man is an iland

This passage from Thomas Paine's Corner:
First, Katrina is symptomatic of a form of negative globalization that is as evident in Ottawa, Paris and London as it is in Washington, D.C., or New Orleans, or any other city throughout the world. As capital, goods, trade, and information flow all over the globe, material and symbolic resources are increasingly being invested in the "free market" while the social state pays a terrible price. As safety nets and social services are being hollowed out and communities crumble and give way to individualized, one-man archipelagos, it is increasingly difficult to struggle as a collectivity, to act in concert against a state that fails to meet the basic needs of citizens or to maintain the social investments that provide life-sustaining services. As nations fall under the sway of the principal philosophy of the times, which insists on the end of "big government" in favour of unencumbered individualism and the all-encompassing logic of the market, it is difficult to resurrect a language of social investment, protection, and accountability.
reminded me of John Donne's famous passage:
"No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe;
every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse,
as well as if a Promontorie were,
as well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine owne were;
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee."

[MEDITATION XVII, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions by John Donne (1623)]
Despite a few incidents in as many weeks, things like these serendipitously appear and remind of why I have chosen a particular path. Unfortunately, the unreality that most live in on the path I have chosen requires great amounts of anti-toxin to counteract the poison that enters our lives every day from everywhere.

I have to believe it IS possible to do good and help others to find it too. I suppose this something I take on faith. And even if it may not do the good I hope, it will be another step along the way. At the very least, I will have lived my principles.

Katrina: How government was drowned in the bath tub

From the NY Times (excerpted and paraphrased by The Huffington Post):

President Bush made a doggedly optimistic appearance today in Biloxi, Mississippi today as part of the White House public relations effort leading up to the one-year anniversary of catastrophic Hurricane Katrina and the government's botched relief efforts.

Facing criticism that his administration has made little progress in rebuilding areas affected by the storm, Bush admitted that the recovery efforts have been slow, but insisted that "things have changed" since his visit a little less than a year ago. Standing in front of recent construction, cameras that recorded the President's speech did not capture the rows of destroyed houses, the beach that is still empty, or the hotels and motels that remain deserted.
It is apparent that Grover Norquist has achieved his goal of drowning government in the bath tub. Katrina swept right on over the shore demolishing everything in its path. The levee failure in New Orleans did the rest. And so we see the affect of ideological demagoguery, stupidity, and inhumanity on the land of a once great nation and in the lives of its people.

Given the circumstances of this photo op, there can be no doubt that what we can see with our eyes at home bears witness to the lies being told about Iraq. What we see at home is what is being done abroad. It is for this reason that Jefferson gave us all a duty to find new guards for our future safety.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Terrorism, Joker Style

Has it occurred to anyone else that the latest terrorist threat from toiletries--which are being confiscated at airports--is reminiscent of the Joker's fatal rictus potion in the 1989 Batman movie?

I still remember the scenes with the newscasters looking more and more groady as time went on because no one knew what combination of deodorants, hairspray, toothpaste, cologne, mouthwash, etc., created the fatal rictus potion so they stopped using them all.

In listening to Anderson Cooper just a few minutes ago--my dad always has CNN on--I was struck by how much this latest terrorist threat seems like it came straight out of the Joker's playbook in Batman. Even Cooper's description sounded just like the newscasters in the movie.

I really gotta wonder if this isn't just a sick joke being played on people as the situation in the Middle East melts down and the Republican reptiles need something to bolster them up after Ned Lamont beat No-mentum Loserman.