Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

Today's KMUW commentary

It’s felt like the dead of winter around here lately - day after day of dense fog, damp air and cool temperatures. We’re not used to this kind of fog here in Kansas.

Combine the oppressive gray skies with the relentlessly bleak recent news: The tragedy of Haiti; the political quandary of a legislature that must come to terms with our financially strapped state; and locally, the sad loss of a wonderfully philanthropic community leader. Our fog seems to take on a metaphorical significance, standing for the somber circumstances that can weigh on us and point our eyes, not upward but down instead, and elicit heavy sighs.

In my own spiritual quest I still have a long way to go before I reach that place of being able to, as writer Eckhart Tolle encourages, “say yes to what is.”

But walking my dog, Ollie yesterday, I found myself beneath a favorite old cottonwood tree. It’s an occasional meditation spot where I try, with only mixed results most of the time, to quiet my mind and feel the positive flow of life.

That scarred but uncomplaining cottonwood stretched toward the dank, clinging fog just the way it stretched toward the blazing sun on other days. And one of its smaller lower limbs had a mid-winter message for me in the form of budding new growth – not yet green, still hard because there may be more snows on the way, but pointing on nevertheless. It was pointing toward the promise of a new cycle, of a softening green season to come. Pointing toward the ebb and flow of life.

Saying yes to what is.

For KMUW, I’m Richard Crowson.

Of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court legalized unlimited corporate political bribery. There's simply no other way to look at it.

This link is to a website where you can sign a petition against that ruling. Please take a moment to check it out and sign if you agree. The effort is called "The Campaign to Legalize Democracy." So sad that in America this is now necessary.

Here's what the petition calls for:

* Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.

* Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.

* Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate "preemption" actions by global, national, and state governments.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This is my idea of heaven!

From the book Guardians of Being

I truly love this wise little book which combines the art of Patrick McDonnell (of the Mutts comic strip) with the words of Eckhart Tolle.

Windows into the mind of Limbaugh

No one in the world could blame you if you don't have the stomach for it, but here's a clip of Limbaugh trying to debate a caller about some of the ignorance that he continues to dish out.

I watched it after a friend sent me the link. It reminded me of all the reasons I decided some time ago to no longer subject myself to even a short clip of his madness.

You can see it in his body language and hear it in his inflection. Not to mention, of course, the actual words he says.

He's the head of the Republican party now by default. And that shows us why the GOP is running right over a cliff these days.

His mind turns to tampon metaphors automatically when he talks to a female because he's obsessed with his womanhate. Weirdly, even at the very end of his rant to her he makes a little pass at her: "If I'd known you were there I may have stayed."

I was actually listening to his program one day about 5 or 6 years ago when he compared someone's weak effort to the "ejaculation of an 85-year-old man." These moments are windows into his stunted mental development. And he's the leader of the Republican party.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Okay, it's long but still worth reading


An old pal in Japan forwarded this to me. I love it. Of course, I'm a former fundamentalist. See what you think.

A brief interview with the devil
Given how he was a little busy, what with the world the way it is, and such

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The devil wore patent leather Bruno Magli wingtips, a Dolce camelhair jacket, houndstooth fedora.
We met at a small café on the outskirts of Amsterdam; he was dashing off to a climate meeting where he planned to heckle scientists in the form of a trembling flat-earther before cruising over to North Korea to whisper backwards Latinate phrases into the tormented ear of Kim Jong Il. Then on to Alberta to broker some new oilsands deals, and finally, off to Rome to further tempt Vatican clergy in the form of a beautiful, smooth-skinned altar boy named Rodrigo.

Not bad for an afternoon's work, he said, grinning.

Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. I understand you're very busy.

Hang on, just finishing up this text to Ballmer. "Congrats on Windows 7! We finally did it!" Now let me just Twitter about finding irrefutable proof that Obama is a Nazi sympathizer, then plant this item on Drudge about the new health care bill secretly taking H1N1 vaccines away from white Christian children and giving them to Mexican illegals. There.

OK, make it quick, I gotta pack for a petrochem summit in Davos. Keynote, as usual. Those boys f--king love me.

I appreciate your time. Now, many say the world is in a horrible state of turmoil...

Isn't that great, by the way? That's just f--king great. Dear God, I rule.

I'm sorry?

It's not, actually, just FYI. Here's a little secret I don't talk about much, but you'll forget it the instant I leave anyway: The world is actually teeming with beauty and life and rejuvenation, hope and awe and epiphany, every moment of every day. There is pure bliss, entire universes of knowing, pure God consciousness available in the smallest instant, the complete breath, the gentlest human touch. But you didn't hear it from me! (Laughs, concrete curdles).

Well, there have been some pretty difficult, even horrifying events in the past few years...

Let me just clear up one misconception right here. People thought I was swamped during the Bush years, running that whole glorious, bloody spectacle. And it's true, I was busy. But it was also wonderfully easy.

What do you mean?

Honey, I had armies of devoted minions in power back then. I basically sat back like a fat, narcotized Hamptons housewife while my staff brought me cupcakes made of war and fear and homophobia, Christian evangelicals and Muslim hysteria and economic failure. Glorious, glorious time.

But now? Now it's ... different. Bloom is off the black rose, you might say. I'm still busy, still plenty of ugly out there, but I'm not in control anymore. Now I'm just herding cats. Very, very dumb cats.

But we still have all these problems...

Sure you do. But now there's this sickening movement toward responsibility and progress that I find totally nauseating. I spend all my time planting these ridiculous stories, going lower and lower on the intellectual food chain just to get the dittoheads to scream about, what's that crap again? Birthers? Death squads? Teabagging? ACORN? This is what I'm reduced to. F--king hate it. But at least I'll always have oil. And guns. Talk radio. Monsanto.

But even the world's finest scientists say we're on the cusp of meltdown, what with global warming and ...

Global warming? Please. Total hoax. Evolution? Hoax. Electric cars? Hoax. All of existence? Hoax. The Bible? Actually not a hoax -- the true, literal, perfect English transcript of floaty magic-winged creatures living on sparkly clouds and judging what you eat and how you have sex, because everyone knows the Almighty loves war, college football, and large caliber handguns, hates gays, Muslims and the French, and wears a U.S. flag lapel pin that was actually made in China. Ha!

I don't see how that relates to...

You don't? You don't see how I can hurl BS into the culture on a spit and a whim before I even eat my morning sacrifices? Let me put it this way: Millions of you actually believe the Bible is literal fact, but you think climate change is a grand, devious ruse. Come on. Who but me could pull off such a masterstroke? I should have my own goddamn reality show. Oh wait, I have all the reality shows.

So you're saying humanity's really not on a collision course with destruction?

Oh hell, of course you are. It's all decay and annihilation and flow and flux. Human civilizations come and go like a divine menstrual cycle. I set my Panerai by it. Never forget, sweetheart: change is the only constant. But as any good mystic or pagan will tell you, destruction and creation are the same god with two intergalactic calling plans. Existence bounded up in a nutshell, the king of infinite space. This is all just a delightful illusion. I should know; I co-designed it.

But what about all the corruption and deception?

Look, I don't care how you measure. Trilateral commission, U.N. security counsel, NSA, CIA, Blackwater, communism, shadow governments, all of them. It's just a grand circus, you know? This is all just a ride. My day-to-day power lies in making millions forget what a cosmic joke it all is.

You take yourselves so damn seriously: your raging political parties, the "crucial" issues, Wall Street, gun control, organized religion, banks, credit card companies, big oil, even the endless wars, dictators, all this nefarious churn. You know what it is? It is the silliest charade. It is monkeys playing piano. It is a grand flea circus on the back of a celestial dog, and he's about to scratch himself.

But what of the pain and suffering? The agony of existence?

Oh my sweet Allah with steaming pork sandwich, what an egotistical species you are! Millennia of war and death and pain and fighting over tiny scraps of land, little dusty strips of nothing, thinking God bestowed it upon you! Let me tell you something: the divine has no agenda whatsoever except to know itself in myriad form. God is a life energy. I am a death energy. Creator/destroyer. Light/dark. Inhale/exhale. Shiva/Shakti. Spit/swallow. Both vital. Both omnipotent. Both essential. You have to choose to see it. You feel me?

I think I do.

How about now?

Please take your tail out of there.

Sure thing, lovebug.

All right, since we're already out of time, let's do a quick lightning round.

Love lightning. Drizzle it on my virgin sacrifices every morning.

I'll toss out some names and current events, and you tell me the first thing that comes to your mind. All right?

Bring it.

Barack Obama

Ha! Dude pisses me off. Can't seem to rile him. Thinks he understands things. Actually does. Know what I hate more than anything, and that includes laughter and singing in the shower and multiple orgasms? Wisdom. Calm, assured wisdom in the face of all the whining and screeching I can muster from my minions. Such gall. Makes my soul pimple.

Rush Limbaugh

I have hangnails more interesting.

Glenn Beck


Ann Coulter

Has a bizarre thing for dwarves dressed in Chewbacca costumes while she's in full body latex and covered in Crisco. Oh wait, Glenn Beck? Now I remember. All about yodeling, self-flagellation, sniffing the tailpipes of monster trucks, usually simultaneously. They make a cute pair, like a puppet show in an asylum.

The world's dictators. Mugabe, King Abdullah, Hu Jintao...

Ah, now we're getting somewhere! My boys! Some of my best work at the moment. Monsters in different skins, the shadow side incarnate. Love them. What a terrific mirror they are for that part of you so many of you refuse to see!

How about the "New Atheists?" Richard Dawkins, Chris Hitchens, et al?

Cute. Harmless. Completely missing the point. Look, it's way too easy to point out the childish folly, the cute mythology of every major faith in the world. Of course they're fiction. Of course they're totally absurd. Of course those in charge use them to keep millions weak and guilt-riddled and forcibly detached from the idea that they already are divine. A no-brainer, really.

So they're misinformed?

To say the least. They're also only half right. Atheists have merely cut off part of their soul to spite their fate.

After all, it's far more interesting, more challenging to peek behind the silly religious rulebooks and church politics and the obvious myth-making, and taste the source, the wider energy at play. Believing in floaty angels and immaculate conception is for children. Not very bright children, at that. The tantrikas had it absolutely right: the divine is available in an instant, in every moment -- no rules, no complicated hierarchies, no institutions. You are god. You are the devil. Everything else is just maya -- illusion.

But wait, what about...

Whoops, hang on, that's my phone. It's a text from Jesus. Wants to meet for a drink. And it's only noon! That kid is so crazy. If you people only knew. Bye now.

The depths of Pat Robertson's depravity

From the Huffington Post:

Televangelist Pat Robertson said Wednesday that earthquake-ravaged Haiti has been "cursed" by a "pact to the devil."

"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it," he said on Christian Broadcasting Network's "The 700 Club." "They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal."

Robertson said that "ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other" and he contrasted Haiti with its neighbor, the Dominican Republic.

"That island of Hispaniola is one island. It is cut down the middle; on the one side is Haiti on the other is the Dominican Republic," he said. "Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to god and out of this tragedy I'm optimistic something good may come. But right now we are helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable."

Why don't they just admit they hate public education?

Somebody's been to Hatman Jack's

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Deepak on "health care reform"

This is from Deepak Chopra's website. It's well worth reading.

Is this about health care or spiritual care?

By the time this post appears, the Senate will probably have agreed on some kind of health care bill. I wanted to assess the hidden side of the bill, whatever emerges. It took five months for Congress to grind its way to a conclusion on this issue, and along the way we got to see an ugly side of the democratic process.

There was a shocking display of bad faith in both houses. A single pay solution, which most advanced countries already have, was never in the cards. Sen. Joe Lieberman will go down as the worst of the worst, living proof that one stubborn legislator can bring national reform to a halt if he is willing to put special interests and self interest ahead of the public interest. Many are understandably livid. But the problem goes far beyond him. A kind of spiritual malaise has set in. Ronald Reagan’s mantra, that government is the problem, not the solution, was never true. We made it true by the government we chose.

Trust, faith, honorable intentions, personal integrity, and basic morality are optional in Washington today, and as a result we find ourselves with an idealistic president who is on the right side of almost every issue being sabotaged by opponents, including some in his own party, who have lost touch with their conscience. As a wise cynic vividly remarked, it’s one thing to let the whores sit in the back pew on Sunday; it’s another to let them take over the church.

For thirty years the American public has been conditioned to accept reverse morality in politics. Certain core values — rooting for the underdog, taking care of the weak and poor, searching for the middle ground, judging politicians by their vision for the country — turned into their opposite: selfishness, class antagonism, intolerance, and demagogic manipulation. The victory of reactionary forces was made possible by a kind of spiritual corruption. The very fact that intolerant religious fundamentalists were given blanket power in a secular government was an enormous betrayal.

Unfortunately, people can be conditioned en masse. Eventually it became “normal” for lobbyists to write their own regulations, for regulatory commissions to passively allow any infringement of the law, for the rich to buy and sell legislators, and for politicians to run on bogus social issues while indulging in gross waste and misspending. In the age of Tom DeLay, their only interest was to get re-elected.

President Obama stepped into this situation with a clear-eyed view of the problem. A wave of “yes we can” idealism ran head-on into three decades of reactionary politics and a public that had long ago surrendered its power. Against that background, it was inevitable that healthcare reform would turn uglier than the fights over civil rights, Medicare, and Social Security. Even in the face of the obvious success of those programs, and the overwhelming need for healthcare reform, we are witnessing not a single Republican voting for healthcare legislation, while a handful of Democrats plus Lieberman hijack historic reform for the pettiest and most selfish of reasons.

I am not joining the chorus of condemnation from the left. My purpose is to offer a deeper diagnosis. We cannot expect much from a system that has become spiritually atrophied. Sadly, words like “values” and “morality” were co-opted for cynical reasons by the right and used to promote the very opposite of values and morality. A smiley face has been put on selfish, bigoted, narrow-minded reactionary politics. If the Iraq War had not caught the neocons in an outrageous act of overreaching, we would still be swamped in the same conditioning, which convinced the voting public that their worst instincts are worthy. Now those worst instincts have seats in Congress and a 90% chance of re-election.

As more than one astute observer has noted, the passage of healthcare reform is at once a huge step forward and an indication of just how crippled the legislative process has become. In many ways the reactionaries have won a twisted victory. They have hobbled all attempts to lower medical costs, throwing a massive boondoggle to the insurance companies, while all the while divorcing themselves from the entire debate. I hope the public sees through this kind of double-dealing, but even more, I hope the era of anti-morality is slowly being reversed. We need to take spiritual care of this country as a first priority. Compared to that, even health care comes second.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I only gig so I can draw trees

I love drawing trees. It combines two of my favorite things: Drawing and trees.

It always cracks me up when people use "tree-hugger" as a pejorative. What exactly is insulting about that?

This tree has a crow in it. So here's a link to my most recent KMUW commentary about crows, audio version. This link is to the copy.

How's that for a segue?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dog wisdom


This is a Mutts strip which appears in the Eckhart Tolle/Mutts book, "Guardians of Being," which I love.

Dang. Wish I'd thought of this one.

Great toon from Ted Rall.

Another banjo hit!

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) -- A banjo player accused of assaulting another man with his instrument will get to keep pickin' while awaiting his trial. Joseph Stancato, 33, of Denver faces second-degree assault charges after allegedly hitting another man upside the head with his banjo on New Year's Eve. Authorities said Stancato got into an argument with two men at a bus stop.

District Judge James Boyd on Monday approved Stancato's request to be allowed on the road to tour with a band while awaiting his next court date Feb. 6.

The banjo is considered ''a deadly weapon'' under Colorado law, so Stancato could face prison time, the Aspen Daily News reported.

Thanks to Orin Friesen and Mike Theobald for the links!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A good link about Best Buy scam