Saturday, August 29, 2009

On Ted Kennedy and The Kennedy Legacy

I realized today watching the eulogy for Ted Kennedy presented by President Barack Obama, that we wouldn't have an Obama, a chance for change, a new face in politics and an opportunity to overturn the status quo in this great country, if not for Ted Kennedy.

He was born a child of privilege and certainly faced his demons in his life as did many in his family. Yet, something in this wealthy and entitled family made them think as much of those that have little as those that have much.

That is the legacy he left us. He truly believed in country and had hope that all of us might actually be able to live our lives as Americans based on an idea of equality, regardless of his genetic gift of being born into wealth and fame.

He surpassed the gifts of wealth and genetic "fame" by always thinking of those that were not born into such circumstances.

If only all people could be so kind and so considerate, we might all become "one nation united" for a central cause.

Now is certainly the time to reflect upon the gifts that this man bestowed upon our country; the gift of ignoring race, of ignoring the American "caste" system and treating all human beings in this country and in this world as human beings worthy of being listened to and human beings whose causes are worth fighting for. The world that Ted Kennedy envisioned is one where we all might one day be, to use a sailing euphemism, all be sailing on an "even keel".

There aren't too many people born into a life of privilege that use their voice and power to try to make the world better for the "little guy" that didn't have their advantages. I must applaud Ted and the Kennedys for sticking up for those that were not born under that same golden cloud. I also must applaud them for overcoming much grief yet still continuing their agenda of "liberty for all".

I can't say enough yet I hope I've made my point. This family has had more extraordinary members than any other in our last 6 decades. They could have decided to just be rich and hedonistic and live their lives for themselves, yet many in the Kennedy family have decided to use their voice, their wealth and their power to help those that were not born into such a situation and it makes my heart happy that there are people that are willing to do this.

I can't honestly say that I would be so altruistic had I been born with wealth and power, but I have to admire those that will go the distance for the disenfranchised. Someone in the Kennedy family at some point planted a seed that grew and that seed gave us many, many great politicians and community activists within the Kennedy family. This family gave us people who actually cared about other people and the environment and used the wealth that could have afforded them endless days lounging about in the world's greatest vacation destinations. Instead of hanging out in Ibiza or other destinations of the rich, they spent most of their time fighting for the little guy, and using their loud and powerful voices and influence to help those that weren't born under such great circumstances and this is wonderful.

We can all learn a lesson from how the Kennedy's lived their lives. Detractors will also find unsavory episodes within the lives of the Kennedy's. I still can't help but believe that all of the good that they've done WAY outweighs the personal demons that they have faced down.

Monday, August 17, 2009

So much screwin' up in such a short time!

The earth has been around for 4.5 billion years. Humans, Homo sapiens, for only 2 million years. Organized somewhat "modern" humans for only 10,000-20,000 years, depending on what criteria are used for defining what "modern" means.

In those 10,000-20,000 years we've created cultures and cities and multitudes of gods and religions. We've also fought each other and undermined each other in at attempt to push one agenda over another. We've fought wars over the gods and religions and political agendas that we've created.

We've created countries and within those countries we've created cliques. Some examples of these cliques are religions and political parties. We humans that share so many similarities love to fracture ourselves into cliques or groups. These groups are then destined to war against each other. It's one of our tragic flaws as a species. We first united as a species tribally and we continue to operate tribally, the tribes continue to battle each other but our weapons have "advanced" from spears and rocks to rhetoric and words.

As we've evolved our brains have grown larger. I am hard pressed to find any significant proof that our larger brains have served us in any beneficial manner. All too often we've used these big brains to to fracture our human society rather than create a cohesive environment that would make us all stronger as a species.

A species. Humankind. A miracle of nature that will perhaps never enjoy the 160 million year reign on Earth that even the small minded dinosaurs enjoyed if we don't work together for a common cause.

The dinosaurs didn't have religion or politics yet they ruled this Earth for 160 million years basically operating on instinct and a brain stem. The big ones ate the little ones. We can do better than this.

Yet us humans, this happy accident of evolution, we will most likely not have such a long and prosperous future because we've created a scenario in which our life is just too complicated.

It's in our nature though, human nature, to make things too complicated. We are too superstitious and too war mongering. We are too distrustful of each other.

Until we can "fix" some of the basic flaws in the human makeup we are destined to fail. We'll fail at politics, we'll fail at maintaining a healthy planet whose conditions allow us to flourish, we'll fail at preserving our species in a healthy manner because we as humans are programmed to disagree based on concepts that we ourselves have created. Concepts of inequality and the idea that one religion, skin color, nationality or political affiliation is better than another.

Any human on the face of this Earth shares more than 99% of our DNA makeup with any other human. We are a happy accident of nature that, because of no catastrophic climate or asteroid/comet events in recent history, have been given a window of opportunity to survive here on good old planet Earth.

There are few guarantees in the future, except for the fact that our sun will turn into a red giant and engulf the Earth in another 5 billion years. The other guarantees are that something big from space will hit us again at some point and mother Earth herself will cycle through ice ages and climate changing volcanic episodes. The continents will once again join together and pull apart.

If we don't start becoming a cohesive unit regardless of religion or politics or race, then we won't be around to witness the next global challenge that mother Earth or even our solar system will send our way.

This is not just true for the USA but for the world as a whole.

I want to put the healthcare debate and this great fractioning of America into perspective and this is the best way that I know to illustrate how absolutely ridiculous our behavior is.

We are one species, Homo sapiens, united by DNA, yet fractured by our ideas, courtesy of our big brains. If we can't agree to take care of each other in this time of relative calm here on Earth, how will we ever make it though a global catastrophe?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Please don't judge all Alaskans Based on the behavior of one.

Please don't judge all Alaskans by the standards recently set forth by a certain ex-Gov lady.

Please don't paint all Alaskans with the same conservative paint brush.

We are a diverse community of human beings; a small community of humans occupying a very vast stretch of global real estate.

Alaskans deal with problems that run the gamut from urban decay and homelessness to rural subsistence cultures still attempting to live from the land and enjoy modern conveniences as well.

There are Sierra Club members that live next door to avid hunters and snowmachiners. There are people living in upscale neighborhoods that share their woods with homeless camps. There are Libertarians living down the street from Republicans and Democrats and Alaskan Independence Party members.

We 600,000+ Alaskans all share this 600,000+ square mile patch of land and for the most part we agree to disagree but all take pride in the fact that we are "Alaskans".

One would be hard pressed to find a city of 600,000 people that has the same diversity as our Alaskan population.

Alaskans are Yupik, Inuit, Inupiat, Inupiaq, Aleutiiq, Aleut, Ahtna, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Gwich'in, Athabascan, Eyak, White, Black, Latino, Phillipino, Pacific Islander, and more European cultures than one could imagine.

I apologize if I left anyone out of the list above, or messed up the spelling of your cultural identity, but what I'm trying to say is all of us here have one thing in common and that is we are Alaskans, and there is a certain amount of pride associated with that.

This is a melting pot of humanity and we all have something to offer.

And that's it folks, I will not address the crazy lady by name any longer because she has done more damage to the reputation of this fair state than, well, than anyone else ever in it's history.

I just wanted to make sure that people know that we are a vast and varied state full of a myriad of different cultures and races and we all seem to make it work because we take pride in being Alaskan and helping each other.

It doesn't always work and we have the same problems as any other state but we don't deserve to be judged based on the actions and words of one person who was given a national platform on which to share her views and spew hatred.

We're not all like that, in fact the majority aren't, so please don't judge us based on the Palin yardstick. Also, don't be afraid to travel here. It's beautiful and we are friendly and we love to share our state with visitors.

We are NOT all crazy.

Palin has broken herself AND flip flopped AGAIN!

Palin has broken her image and turned herself into a joke; a political joke.

The higher calling that she resigned her Governorship for, well, has turned into a lower calling; she is now spending her days pandering to the lowest common denominator of the GOP. The portion of the GOP that do not have the power or the numbers to ever "progress" her political career. Regardless of her family issues: Todd sleeping on the couch, another wild teenage girl to control and the constant Trig maternity speculation, Palin is doing herself in politically with every word that comes from either her mouth or her keyboard.

I think we can all rest assured that she is done politically. Now we can all sit back and just look forward to the latest "pearls of wisdom" that drop from her Facebook. (what, no Tweets, Sarah, oh why, oh why?) I no longer worry about Sarah Palin being a political force in our country, however I do worry about her "base" and how passionate and well-armed they are. She will incite bloodshed at some point with her ill-informed rants.

I wrote this last night and did not post it. Now today it comes out the Palin has issued another Facebook statement, so obviously not written by her. We know it was not written by her because it actually states text from the Healthcare bill, which means that she actually would have to have read it, and really, how many hours does she have in a day to actually read anything other than blog entries that she must show to her lawyer, and tabloids that question the solidity of her marriage?

So now, she has someone on the payroll doin' the readin' and the fact findin' and the writin' on the Facebook, but oh, there is something that her readin', fact findin, and writin' team was not told before this latest Facebook entry regarding healthcare....wait, wait, wait...

Yep, Sarah Palin was FOR the same thing that she is now against. She basically had a Death Panel Day here in Alaska. That is, she declared a "Healthcare Decisions Day" in Alaska back in April 2008. A day dedicated to encouraging people to make known their wishes for end of life care before they were unable to speak for themselves.

Yep, she's a flip flopper again. Just like the bridge to, wait, where was that bridge to again, oh yea, nowhere, the bridge to nowhere....Sarah Palin is her own bridge to nowhere, she just doesn't realize it yet.

In her heart of hearts I hope she knows that the God she says guides her in all of her decisions would not agree with some of her recent behavior. I cannot believe that she would be found worthy of the kingdom of Heaven when her life was presented to her God for judgement regarding her place in the afterlife.

When Heaven's "Death Panel" reviews the actions of Palin, I can only feel that it will be "thumbs down", rather than "thumbs up".

Too much talking the talk Palin and not nearly enough walking the walk.

Good to be done and rid of you. I just really thought it would take much longer than 17 days after your resignation from your elected position of Governor of Alaska for you to become a complete political joke and now, well, nothing more than tabloid fodder, oh and a BIG FLIP FLOPPER, AGAIN!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Like Minded People Meet on The Trail

I've met many people via my participation on national and Alaskan blogs, but well, I had met them all in cyberworld, and really hadn't met very many in real life (I'd met a few in the "real world" before we all began blogging, but that is a story for another blog entry.)

At any rate, I had the pleasure of meeting "The Rubber Room Hotel" on The Mudflats (see my favorite blog list for link) last night and learned that she was here in the valley and wanted to meet and do a dog walk at Hatcher Pass with my brother and his wife and some of our furry friends.

We met up at the Willow Creek trail over Hatcher Pass and enjoyed a few hours of fantastic conversation and fun hiking, all while watching our furry friends frolic in the high mountains. (Note: Higher areas of our mountains are becoming "colorful" and somewhat fall-like at a rapidly increasing rate...the "f" word, Fall, that is, is not very far away.)

But, the "F" word is not that bad, really. The "F" word means that our favorite trails will very soon become much less crowded. It means that our highways will be less burdened by traffic. It also means that it's only 2.5 months until the snow falls. The same snow that will hang around until April, but hey, that means that skis and snowshoes will be part of our lives soon, and really, that's a good thing.

So, here are some photos from The Rubber Room Hotel and AKPetMom and friends on the Willow Creek trail.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Stupidity, Personified

Palin graced the world with a Facebook entry today....Oh she of much wisdom, NOT!

Do ya think this Facebook from Palin from "out of the blue" is really meant to deflect attention from the bribery charges just filed against her?

If not, then perhaps she has been silent for nearly two weeks post resignation because it's taken her that long to pen this little gem.

That's my guess, cause ya know, it's a whole lot more that just a 140 character Twitter! It's a whole Facebook post and a big one at that!! (We understand, it's hard to move from the Twitter world into the world of Facebook and actually harder to move from the world of Facebook to an actual blog or website....but why Facebook? Why no Palin website where she can share at length her very astute insight into how this country should be run????)

If this Facebook entry took her two weeks to write how long will it take her and her to pen her memoirs???

She uses another Ronald Reagan quote in her Facebook rant. (recently she loves quoting Reagan; she must have picked up the Ronald Reagan "book of quotes" at some point in the last few months, as she quotes him more and more often these days).

However, I'm amazed that she keeps using Reagan quotes because as we all know she could have been down there at the Reagan Library very near where her quote giver and apparent hero lived, on this very weekend, if she could have shown some class and not really freaked out the classy women that run the little shindig that is the event hosted by the Simi Valley Republican Women at the Reagan Library. Instead, Sarah Palin has chosen to Facebook hatred.

I can just see those "ladies that lunch" with their pinkies extended and their noses turned up as if they'd smelled something "a little off" when they heard that Palin might rear her head in their neck of the woods.

I know, it was reported that she was actually "invited" to the Simi Valley Republican Women event at the Reagan Library this coming weekend, but the whole thing went off the rails a few weeks ago...

What I think happened was one of the ladies had a few too many Bloody Marys with breakfast and ended up inviting Palin. Obviously that didn't go over well with Nancy Reagan and the rest of the Simi Repub women. SP will never ever be part of that segment of the Repubs, no matter how hard she tries.

Sarah's place is with the "base". The not as well-educated and not as well-connected segment of the Republican Party. The more blue collar and evangelical, crazy talking-in-tongues segment of the Republican party. Ah yes, they love her there. They think she is smart and speaks well and would make a gosh darn great President. Ahhh, yes, feel the love emanating from that segment. Heck, they even send her $5 to $10 bucks at a time, from their minimum wage paychecks! That's love if I've ever seen it. I hardly see the Simi Valley Republican Women being quite as impressed with Sarah Palin.

Sarah's supporters don't "do lunch", they do McDonalds. These people don't give a rats ass about a big fancy shindig at the Reagan Library, they watch Glenn Beck and eat a frozen burrito, then go off to crash a healthcare event and make a big fat stink about something they know nothing about. Yup, 'cause their heroes told them to and that's all these people need to know.

Personal Note to Sarah Palin, also too (sic). When the US decides to start killing old or sick people, I'm sure they'll call you to be in charge of that program because, well, because a whole bunch of old and sick and infirm and disabled Alaskans died UNDER YOUR WATCH!

Yes Sarah Palin should be in charge of the new "death panel" that she speaks of in her Facebook entry. Sarah Palin should be in charge of triage for our new healthcare system! She has proven that she knows healthcare and can take care of her constituents.....NOT!

Sarah Palin, you have the deaths of over 200 Alaskans over your head because you were "too busy" to address the issues concerning coverage for the elderly and disabled through Medicaid. The system wasn't working and you were paying no attention. Put that on your much touted list of "successes" during your abbreviated term. Your much hated Feds had to step in and try to fix the problem that YOU IGNORED yet you proclaim to be so in love with old people and disabled people in your latest public statement.

In your Facebook you proclaim to love "the disabled" and "the elderly" equally. If I was your grandson Trig I'd head for the hills immediately after witnessing how well your love of "the elderly" and "the disabled" worked out for the over 200 elderly and disabled Alaskans that lost their lives during your tenure as Governor of Alaska! If I was elderly or disabled I'd not want you in charge of my healthcare, that's for certain.

It seems that Palin's job now, her higher calling, is to run around the country and Facebook hatred and stir up the base into a frenzy so that no real work can get done healing this country.

Great reason to quit the job of Governor of Alaska. A job in which Palin could have actually made a difference. But hey, that job is hard and that job takes time and smarts that Palin does not have. Instead she has chosen to join the fringe and try to make Obama's job harder than it should be.

Obama will prevail, and it will do nothing more than piss off Palin and the GOP base even more, but they have to realize it's OUR TIME NOW....They had 8 years. They can stomp and whine and cry and lay on the floor beating their little hands and feet and scream until they are red in the face but the will fail, epically.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Twitter Quitter

Alas, the Twitter Quitter, has also too, quit Twitter, for what 10 days now, leaving her Twitter Followers, well, much a-Twitter as to why the Twitter Quitter has not Twitted to her peeps.

Once a quitter always a quitter. That's what my Daddy used to tell me.