Monthly Archives: June 2007

Oh why can't he just STFU?

Why, why why must we suffer this ignorant idiot ANY LONGER? Gah! At least muzzle the moron for the next year and a half and don’t let him speak in public….

Bush cites Israel as model for Iraq – Yahoo! News

“Our success in Iraq must not be measured by the enemy’s ability to get a car bombing in the evening news,” he said. “No matter how good the security, terrorists will always be able to explode a bomb on a crowded street.”

He suggested Israel as a model.

There, Bush said, “Terrorists have taken innocent human life for years in suicide attacks. The difference is that Israel is a functioning democracy and it’s not prevented from carrying out its responsibilities. And that’s a good indicator of success that we’re looking for in Iraq.”

It was likely to be controversial — and possibly even explosive — for Bush to set out Israel as a model for a Muslim Middle Eastern nation. Israel has been locked for decades in an intractable dispute with Palestinians in the neighboring occupied territories, a conflict that is viewed as a major recruiting tool for Islamic extremist groups like al-Qaida.

UPDATE: I see Juan Cole agrees with me:

These words may be the stupidest ones ever uttered by a US president. Given their likely impact on the US war effort in the Middle East, they are downright criminal.

The US political elite just doesn’t get it. Israel is not popular in the Middle East, and it isn’t because Middle Easterners are bigots. It is because Israel is coded as the last European colonial presence in the region, an heir to French Algeria, British Egypt, and Dutch Indonesia– and because the Israelis pugnaciously continue to try to colonize neighboring bits of territory. (This enmity is not inevitable or eternal; in 2002 the Arab League offered full recognition of Israel in return for its going back to 1967 borders, but the Israeli government turned down the offer.) But for the purposes of this analysis it does not really matter why Israel is unpopular. Let us just stipulate that it is. Why would you associate American Iraq with such an unpopular project, if you were trying to do public diplomacy in the region? Bush had just announced a new push to get the American message out to the Muslim world, the day before.

More here:

Israel-Palestine is among the world’s hottest trouble spots, and the conflict has poisoned politics throughout the Middle East. It was among the motives for Bin Laden’s attack on the US on September 11, so it has spilled over on America, too. A second one of those would be a good thing?

So who would play the Palestinians in Bush’s analogy? Obviously, it would be the Sunni Arabs, who apparently are meant to be cordoned off from the rest of Iraqis and put behind massive walls and barbed wire, and deprived of political power. That is not a desirable outcome and is not politically or militarily tenable in the long run.

And, let’s just stop and think. Even if it were true that an Israel-Palestine sort of denouement were in Bush’s mind for Iraq, was it wise for him to make it public?

I don’t know whether to sob in grief or tear my hair out in frustration. How much longer do we have to suffer?

Labels: monumental stupidity

Dharana

Dharana: Concentration is the process of holding or fixing the attention of mind onto one object or place. — yoga sutras

Concentration is sometimes identified with “one-pointedness” (ekagrata), but this is not quite correct, for the latter simply represents the arrest of the mental flow, while concentration implies a fixation of the mind in order to gain understanding; as such, dharana is a creative act.” — Georg Feuerstein.

Dharana means ‘to bind, to focus, to hold the mind at one point’. It comes from the word dhri, which means ‘foundation’ or ‘basis’. The foundation of the mind must be stable. Right now none of us has that stable base. Just as the earth shakes during an earthquake, in the same way we are also shaking like that much of the time. The practice of dharana comes when we have become steady, stable and unshakeable. We are unshakeable because we understand ourselves. We understand our mind, our emotions and our thoughts. We have come to terms with them so we are unshakeable. Whatever faces us and whatever situation arises we can manage it without being affected. Dharana is a higher stage, not just in meditation but in life. —Swami Satyadharma Saraswati

I was a bit annoyed at many of the definitions of dharana as focusing on one thing — that just didn’t feel right to me. I like this definition of being able to focus the mind at a stable point – it seems to fit better what I feel and observe when I am in my yoga practice.

“There is a part of each of us that would like to miss the point — a part of each of us that wants to believe that there will be no magic, no mystery, that our own life is not blessed and sacred, that our days are not a miracle, and that we are not connected to all living beings as a leaf is to a tree. In response to this predicament, we have created yoga.” — Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat

Pentu!

Darwin and I had visitors today – Deb and Pentu! We had a great time visiting with them!

Darwin’s all “I think I’ll call him “mini-me”…”

Thanks for coming to play with us, Deb and Pentu! It was FUN!!!!

Great Moments in Parenting

One Good Thing

It’s really a blessing of sorts when your teenagers enter that phase where they’re mortified by the very idea of you, preferring to imagine that they were created by pixies and laid under a cabbage patch, to be discovered and raised later on by wolves. It beats the hell out of having to admit the fat, pasty, middle-aged person in the minivan has shown up at school to pick up you.

It’s a blessing, of course, because revenge is a dish best served cold, and parents have to exact some sort of punishment for the routine humiliation teenagers doled out to their parents ten years earlier.

I have had many such moments, such as the time, and I won’t name names here although he deserves it, one of my kids announced to my mother over the phone that “sometimes my penis gets really big! And it feels good!”

For hands-down humiliation, however, I haven’t yet been able to top my neighbor’s misery, when his three year old daughter interrupted his poker game by running naked into the room and screaming with a joyous voice of discovery, “DADDY! DID YOU KNOW? I COME WITH MY OWN POCKET! AND IT CAN HOLD A PEN! LOOK!”

And while he was knocking his chair over to get across the room to put a stop to her performance, she showed all his friends where the pocket was and how well you could put in and take out all kinds of things.

This is a man who’s going to show up at his daughter’s high school graduation drunk and shirtless, with her name painted across his chest and gut, randomly shouting “WOOO!!!” during her valedictory speech and making devil horns with his upraised hands. And she will have totally earned it.

Wow, I can’t even get close to topping this story. About the closest I can get is when we used to call my son Gregory “Nature Boy” because of his habit of running out of his bath or just his bedroom naked and giggling in the middle of our parties. Somehow when he was 7 or 8 he turned into the boy who would scream, “Mom, get OUT!” if I entered the bathroom or his room unexpectedly and he was undressed. Go figure.

Eight random things

Eight random things about myself

Whig tagged me.

1. All right, here are the rules. 2. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts. 3. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves. 4. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. 5. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1.) I absolutely adore golden retrievers currently have three of them, Roxie, Darwin, and Chance, and want to have a golden retriever ranch one day to raise and train service dogs.

2.) Like Jane Pauley, I have bipolar disorder.

3.) I spent a couple of years studying and blogging about Taoist philosophy. A search for “Tao” on my blog will turn up hundreds of posts. It is the defining philosophy I try to live my life by these days.

4.) My current philosophical and physical passion is yoga. I’m studying yoga this year mainly to get in better physical shape, but also to enjoy the mental and spiritual benefits of this ancient practice.

5.) My other main physical practice is pilates, which is wonderful for the core strength it gives me. It is an excellent complement to my yoga practice. I also need to do a lot more of both, since I’m not very good about practicing regularly.

6.) I got politically active over the last few years in frustration at how screwed up our country has become. When I started, I couldn’t see how people could be so fooled by this administration. I’ve found great comfort and gained tremendous knowledge from all the political bloggers I read, and am grateful that so many devote such energy to informing us all about what is happening. It saddens me deeply that so many people in this country really don’t even seem to care, or don’t feel that they can create change. One of my main hopes is to present my own examples for change in my blogging, and encourage others in making changes in their own lives, and in our country’s path.

7.) I love to garden and watch things growing. There are lots of posts here about my garden, as sometimes it has been one of the few things that has kept me going when I was very depressed. My own garden has taken a lot of effort since i only have like a foot of soil in my yard to garden in. The house is on a cut on a granite hill, and literally has about a foot of top soil in some places. It is a difficult terrain that I’ve worked hard to make both beautiful and practical for this area. I have another blog called Native Growers that I don’t post at often enough, trying to encourage people to learn about and grow the plants native to their area. It is so important for us ecologically to become more aware of our environment and live more in harmony with it.

8.) I love poetry and used to write a lot of it as a way of sorting out my thoughts, but haven’t felt the need to write much lately. I still enjoy reading poetry, though.

Tagging:

Whoever would like to blog on this meme. I think it’s gone through most of my blogging community already! Please comment with a link if you take up the challenge! BTW, tracing back through the tags takes me to PZ’s place. His stories are pretty good there.

Pratyahara

Returning to the Self: the practice of pratyahara

For years I interpreted the teachings I heard about pratyahara to mean that I must physically and literally withdraw from the world in order to be a true disciple of yoga. I would react with dismay at this teaching; I was an engaged person, busy studying physical therapy in school to improve my yoga teaching, additionally I was married and contemplating having several children. I sometimes worried that unless I learned to separate myself from the world I was a lesser or inferior yoga student.

Today I feel differently, I realized life is about interaction and that many of those interactions are about conflict: conflict with those I love and conflict with those I do not. In fact, I do not even need another person to be in conflict. I can be, and occasionally am, in conflict within myself. How am I to withdraw when I am so completely enmeshed in relationships, in life, in the world as a whole?

I like to believe that Patanjali means something different from a simple
withdrawal from life. Today the practice of pratyahara means to me that while I participate in the task at hand, I remain separate from my reactions. In other words, no matter how much meditation and postures and breathing I practice, I still continue react to the people and situations around me. This reaction in and of itself is not the problem; my attachment to the reaction is. Where the practice of pratyahara is manifested is the space between the stimulus that comes into my nervous system via the sense organs and my reaction to that stimulus.

Practice gives me the choice about my reaction. I can choose to dance with that stimulus or I can choose to step back and not add my conscious participation with the stimulus. In other words, the variable is me and how I choose to use my energy. If I physically retreat to a cave in the mountains I can still agitate my nervous system; I can still generate thoughts and re-live past reactions which are stimulating. To me the practice of pratyahara is not about running away from stimulation which is basically impossible anyway, but rather practicing pratyahara is about remaining in the middle of a stimulating environment and consciously not-reacting to it.

Pratya comes from the word pratyaya. Pratyaya are the internal seeds, the basic tendencies in our nature which are there from birth to death. They are the basis of our personality. The word ahara means food or nutrition. Normally in our day-to-day lives, we are concentrated and extroverted in the outside world, so the mind, the senses and the pratyaya, these internal tendencies and seeds of consciousness, are receiving nutrition from outside, from objects, events, situations and interactions in the external world. So, pratyahara means a practice which internalizes the senses and the mind so that the mind begins to receive its nutrition from within. The pratyaya begin to receive nutrition from within. This is said to be the first stage in mental training, when we can learn to internalize the senses and the mind at will. —Swami Satyadharma Saraswati

The Untouchables

Guess things are so bad in the California GOP that they have to hire immigrants to run it…

I don’t blame them. I live in California, have actually sat in the same room with Ron Nehring (shudder!), and I wouldn’t go near these people if I were a California Republican either.

Aussie hired by state GOP embroiled in immigration lawsuit

Michael Kamburowski, the Australian immigrant hired as a top official in the California Republican Party, was ordered deported in 2001, jailed three years later for visa violations — and has filed a $5 million wrongful arrest lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to U.S. District Court documents.

Kamburowski was named in March to be the chief operating officer of the California GOP. He is responsible for the state party’s multimillion-dollar budget and oversees campaign funds and financing for the nation’s largest state GOP organization.

As the state GOP’s new operating officer, the 35-year-old Kamburowski was handpicked for the post by state Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring, who became party chief in February.

Kamburowski is a former registered lobbyist for Americans for Tax Reform and a top operative for the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, both founded by conservative activist Grover Norquist. Nehring — also a former senior adviser and consultant to Norquist’s Washington, D.C., operation — worked with Kamburowski at Americans for Tax Reform in the 1990s.

News of Kamburowski’s troubled immigration past comes on the heels of revelations in The Chronicle earlier this month that the state GOP used a highly sought-after H1B visa to hire another immigrant as a top consultant.

Christopher Matthews, a Canadian citizen with no experience in statewide politics, was hired this month after the California Republican party applied for, and received, an H1B visa specifically to fill the role of “political director,” according to U.S. Department of Labor data.

In a week in which the immigration bill is being revisited by Congress — and after Republican presidential candidates and party officials nationwide have called for secure borders and tough enforcement of illegal immigration — the past immigration troubles of a high-ranking California GOP official has the potential to both endanger Republican fundraising in crucial California, the nation’s political ATM, while also handing Democratic opponents ammunition for coming campaigns.