will brady's ruminations
Bill's cat, Big Boy, sure likes helping empty the grocery boxes!
He even gets starry eyed about it!
Labels: cats, domestics, pets
andy olmsted - and estabilshing a memorial fund
From Obsidian Wings: How to Help
A member of Andy Olmsted's family has just written me to say that if people want to do something in honor of him, they can send donations to a fund that has been set up for the four children of CPT Thomas Casey, who served under Andy and was killed while trying to help him. The address is here:Capt. Thomas Casey Children's fund
P.O. Box 1306
Chester, CA 96020Read hilzoy's full post about this effort
. Other posts about Andy Olmsted are here
CORRECTION: IN my recent post about Andy Olmsted's death, I mis-spelled his name. I also stated a misinterpretation of what he'd said about his own death, rather than his writings. I have since corrected that last post. |
Labels: andy olmsted, honor fund, solace, support
On New Year's Day night a local man lost his house, some of the cats he lived with, and a life time's worth of his belongings
. Virtually all of his documents were destroyed, from bank check books, birth records, phone numbers and addresses to people whom he knew far and wide - even his passport. In minutes he was rendered homeless.
He was fortunate to escape alive. The next day, as the smoke cleared, he realised he had some identification, some of his credit cards were not destroyed. A car key was found. A handful of people in town have helped him out. Overnight use of a couch in someone else's home; clothing that fit, essential grooming items. One man took the time to do repairs on his car and get it working again. It has taken a week for him to sort out some basics and find a temporary place to stay, though that remains tenuous.
Some of his neighbors said that he was very difficult to live near. That may be. He is not quick to speak to others and is easy to misunderstand. He was - likely still is - hermit-like. He could get angry at someone else with little apparent provocation. He was a collector of so much old stuff that what he had accumulated made a typical pack rat seem minimalist. He was determinedly protective of his privacy and would usher trespassers of his land with dispatch, sometimes in unconventional - even scary - ways. He kept to himself because that is - partly, how he chose to live; partly because it seems that few ever made the effort to get to find out who he is as a person.
Perhaps, as a result, only one neighbor family even attempted to find out if he was okay. Although he managed to escape wearing only night clothes, he had to call someone from another part of town to bring him something warm to wear, since he had nothing but what was on his back.
But you know, he's never actually harmed anyone. Working at labor intensive, low paying endeavors, he struggles hard just to get by - spurning human services "safety net" assistance, which always comes with strings anyway. He has an intimate knowledge of the plant and animal life around the area that I suspect few of his neighbors have any idea about. He takes solace in the animals around the area; so much so that even when people have abandoned pets near his property [and others have done this frequently over the years
], he didn't like to see them suffer or starve.
Once you take the time to speak with him, he can be quite sociable with people as well, knowledgeable on many subjects, even funny. Not that many neighbors ever found this out.
Most reprehensible, the worst in my book - was the woman who, in earshot of anyone nearby, spoke with malicious glee while he stood only yards away from her watching his life go up in flames.
She saw him standing there, shivering wearing nothing more than longjohns, a single sandal and a smoke smeared sweatshirt, yet she did nothing to assist him. In fact, she sounded happy to see his home, his property, all that he had accumulated in life, destroyed.
I wonder how she'd have felt if this devastation happened to her and no one offered her solace. She may have had reason for disliking the man, but whatever the source of the dislike, there is nothing that can justify her cruelty and indifference. Such actions on her part are disgusting and foul in ways that I cannot describe. Even vultures wait for their prey to die before feeding on the remains. I'm glad I know who she is and what she looks like. Like the Amish, I can shun her
Labels: bad behavior, connecticut, East Haddam, homelessness, suffering, tragedy moodus
Some updates and observations
"I think it's a good thing to realize that this pain has been felt by thousands and thousands (probably millions, actually) of other people all over the world. That is part of the cost of war, any war, no matter how justified. If everyone who feels this pain keeps that in mind the next time we have to decide whether or not war is a good idea, perhaps it will help us to make a more informed decision. Because it is pretty clear that the average American would not have supported the Iraq War had they known the costs going in". 250,000 Civilians Dead in Bush's War.
a quote from Andrew Olmsted's last post
Juan Cole at Informed Comment
gives specifics when the corporate jingo media doesn't even reflect upon this dire fact. Pentagon rush to drug up returning soldiers?
a solution! Keep traumatized service persons doped up and numb after returning back from taking part in thankless battle. Keeps the mental illness industry in business, and the powers that be get to give a big kick back to the drug companies that help finance their road to power. Nice! The smart soldiers are leaving the ranks of the military.
Washington Monthly reports that
"...the top uniformed and civilian leaders at the Pentagon who think hardest about the future of the military have a more fundamental fear: young officers are leaving the Army at nearly their highest rates in decades. This is not a short-term problem, nor is it one that can simply be fixed with money. A private-sector company or another government agency can address a shortage of middle managers by hiring more middle managers. In the Army's rigid hierarchy, all officers start out at the bottom, as second lieutenants. A decline in officer retention, in other words, threatens both the Army's current missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its long-term institutional future." Andrew Olmsted's final post.
Serviceman Olmsted wrote about his observations of the war in Iraq for almost 5 years. This final post was put up by a friend, written last July with the intent that he be shared after he died. He was killed by sniper fire on 3 January 2008. He often said he did not want his death to be used for political ends. He commented regularly on politics, the war in Iraq and about Military conflict. He discontinued blogging on his own site in February 2007 after it was pointed out to him that he had been "...blogging in violation of a Department of Defense directive that restricts how much political activity soldiers may be involved with..."
He was a thoughtful writer. He is remembered in a post on Obsidian Wings
, where he posted under the pseudonym G'Kar. Although I believe he would say he died without remorse, his loss, is in fact, one more tragedy in the littered battlefield. Godspeed Andrew.
ABOUT THE IMAGE: I did this painting after Dubya's Daddy's war in 1991. It is part of a larger set entitled "Culture of Violence" |
Labels: andrew olmsted, death tolls, drugging soldiers, iraq quagmire
the decider needs his Regime changed! JANUARY 11, 2008, is the six-year anniversary of the first arrival of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.
In symbolic support, today this site wears orange.
After hundreds of detentions and two Supreme Court decisions rejecting the administration's detention policies at Gitmo, the legal status of the detainees there remains unresolved and the fight continues to end unlawful detention and the denial of due process. Learn more about Guantánamo
Torture was never written into the Constitution of the United States. What the war criminals running the Executive Branch of this nation have done to a handful of individuals, they would be happy to expand to practice on the rest of the citizenry. It's time to send them a clear message - that torture and denial of basic due process protections must be discontinued. At the same time, in so doing, that same message shall ring loud and clear to any and all who pander to fear as they race to take the mantle of power from Bushco and their sycophants. Take action. Do your part. Help close Guantánamo
IN symbolic support, wear orange today.
the decider needs his Regime changed!
Labels: due process violations, Guantanamo, habeas corpus, human rights
Eco-criminals seize arctic refuge for polar bears with the stroke of a pen.
Not that the Bushco corporate criminals give a fig but only days before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is due to decide if the polar bear should be listed under the Endangered Species Act due to severe habitat loss from melting sea ice in Alaska's Arctic Ocean caused by global warming the Minerals Management Service (MMS), an agency within the Department of Interior (DOI), issued its Final Notice of Intent for the Chukchi Lease Sale 193 opening approximately 29.7 million acres of the pristine Chukchi Sea to oil and gas activities on January 2.
Perhaps they figure it doesn't matter since many polar bears are already dying from heat exhaustion
Yet another reason why I believe that when the dust settles on this time in history, GWB's biggest legacy with not be his military adventure into Iraq but his scandalous refusal to do anything about the impact of global climate change.
Labels: arctic, Big Oil, Bushco, endangered species, environment, environmntal crimes, global warming, polar bears
I hate the sound of helicopters
be it troop burdened hueys stirring red clay
or civilian medevacs lighting down on the school parking lot
For me copters in the air mean only one thing
disaster drills that are real
At night, especially
that clattering whirr
breaking the silence
lights blinking in advance
afore the searchlight clicks on looking for a landing pad
Once, the clatter heralded napalmolive nightmares
thundering replacements for beyond exhausted grunts
followed by frantic retreats bearing frag wounded soldiers back to base
And now it ain't much effing different
Only last mothers' day, two of 'em came
settling their haunches on the air strip down the road
to retrieve two souls
one merely shocked
the second, her body alive only in basic functions
the soul having already moved on
This is no place for Sky Team Eight
Blissfully blathering traffic patterns
for the benefit of commuters who watched in tv
prior to leaving work
no playful anchor banter about kids' softball teams
or fave recipes
Nope. Here it's just a grim reaper landing so that the lost soul might start the journey heavenward
a bit sooner
even if the ultimate destination
is, as an end run, less glorious
Labels: helicopters, loss, poetry, remorse
in the headlights
During the frenzied brilliance of intoxication
we often say things that
in the sober light of the morn
are stupid and obtuse
How often that faux brilliance causes hurt.
When slashing across another's soul
the frenzy appears as a cheap food coloring trick
even though the wounds course deep
What of the outcome
how thoughtful one might be
after the Spirit has been dashed
when compassion and kindness were dealt near fatal blows
during the drunken surge the eve before.
Labels: angst, hurtfulness, loss, poetry
declines in literacy
Americans are reading less and less these days.
According to a recently published study conducted by the [USA] National Endowment for the Arts:
Teens and young adults read less often and for shorter amounts of time compared with other age groups and with Americans of previous years.Go here to order the published reports
* Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier. Among 17-year-olds, the percentage of non-readers doubled over a 20-year period, from nine percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.
* On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading.
Americans are reading less well – reading scores continue to worsen, especially among teenagers and young males. By contrast, the average reading score of 9-year-olds has improved.
* Reading scores for 12th-grade readers fell significantly from 1992 to 2005, with the sharpest declines among lower-level readers.
* 2005 reading scores for male 12th-graders are 13 points lower than for female 12th-graders, and that gender gap has widened since 1992.
* Reading scores for American adults of almost all education levels have deteriorated, notably among the best-educated groups. From 1992 to 2003, the percentage of adults with graduate school experience who were rated proficient in prose reading dropped by 10 points, a 20 percent rate of decline.
The declines in reading have civic, social, and economic implications – Advanced readers accrue personal, professional, and social advantages. Deficient readers run higher risks of failure in all three areas.
* Nearly two-thirds of employers ranked reading comprehension "very important" for high school graduates. Yet 38 percent consider most high school graduates deficient in this basic skill.
* American 15-year-olds ranked fifteenth in average reading scores for 31 industrialized nations, behind Poland, Korea, France, and Canada, among others.7
* Literary readers are more likely than non-readers to engage in positive civic and individual activities – such as volunteering, attending sports or cultural events, and exercising.
"This report shows striking statistical links between reading, advanced reading skills, and other individual and social benefits," said Sunil Iyengar, NEA Director of Research and Analysis. "To Read or Not to Read compels us to consider more carefully how we spend our time, since those choices affect us individually and collectively."
While no single government agency or entity can solve the problem of declining reading rates, the NEA national reading program, the Big Read, is one response to these findings. The Big Read is designed to restore reading to the center of American culture by providing citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities. In 2007, nearly 200 communities nationwide are participating in the Big Read, reading one of 12 classic American novels such as Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. The NEA presents the Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. For more information, visit www.neabigread.org.
To Read or Not To Read assembled data on reading trends from more than 40 sources, including federal agencies, universities, foundations, and associations. Primary sources include the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the University of Indiana, Bloomington, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Labels: comprehension, literacy, reading, surveys