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Monday, August 27, 2007

Bushspeak - A Forked Tongue Masterpiece

TimesSelect In Today's New York Times

Writes about a

"A Socialist Plot"

Suppose, for a moment, that the Heritage Foundation were to put out a press release attacking the liberal view that even children whose parents could afford to send them to private school should be entitled to free government-run education...

The truth is that there’s no difference in principle between saying that every American child is entitled to an education and saying that every American child is entitled to adequate health care. It’s just a matter of historical accident that we think of access to free K-12 education as a basic right, but consider having the government pay children’s medical bills “welfare,“ with all the negative connotations that go with that term.

And conservative opposition to giving every child in this country access to health care is, in a fundamental sense, un-American.

He makes a clear and cogent argument for a universal health care system and makes the neo-con Bush argument against it seem absurd - which it is. How indeed have we come to consider 12 years of free education for all of the children in our country an un-alienable right, and access to health care -socialistic?

Even the most casuist Jesuits would blush at this kind of rationalisation.

Wake up America, you're being conned - again!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Woman's Place -2007

In the home, in the workplace, with her children and on the campaign trail, Michelle Obama just keeps moving on.
She is proving that today's women is completely capable of wearing many hats and looking good in every one.
Win lose or draw, the Obamas are injecting a fresh, passionate and articulate flavor to this country's political scene and I believe, that it will signal a new era in American politics with politicians finally accepting the fact that American voters will no longer be fooled by the tired rhetoric, vain promises and spin that have been the substance of discourse up until now.

In a sense, we must thank our very lame duck president. He went so far over the top with his "shock and awe" and similar theatrics that people have now decided that:
"that's enough and we're not going to take it any more"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Road to Happiness is not paved with Gold

A reading list for anyone who is seriously seeking a path to happiness courtesy of:

Crash course for 'happier millionaires'
Money can't buy happiness, but can happiness buy money?
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

  • "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind:" Shunryu Suzuki. "Which is more important; to attain enlightenment, or to attain enlightenment before you attain enlightenment; to make a million dollars, or to enjoy your life in your effort, little by little, even though it is impossible to make a million; to be successful, or to find some meaning in your effort to be successful."
  • "Stumbling on Happiness:" Daniel Gilbert. Another Harvard professor, who says in his new book: "If everybody realized constant production and consumption aren't a source of happiness ... how many of us would get up in the morning and say: I know it's not going to make me happy, but I want to keep the economy going?"
  • "The Art of Happiness:" The Dalai Lama. "Everywhere, by all means imaginable, people are striving to improve their lives. Yet strangely, my impression is that those living in materially developed countries, for all their industry, are in some ways less satisfied, are less happy, and to some extent suffer more than those in the least developed countries."
  • "Money & the Meaning of Life:" Jacob Needleman. "The battlefield of life is money. Instead of horses and chariots, guns and fortresses, there are banks, checkbooks, credit cards, mortgages, salaries, the IRS. But the inner enemies remain the same now as they were in ancient India or feudal Japan: fear, self-deception, vanity, egoism, wishful thinking, tension, and violence."
  • "The Millionaire Mind:" Thomas Stanley. "As most millionaires report, stress is a direct result of devoting a lot of effort to a task that's not in line with one's abilities. It's more difficult, more demanding mentally and physically, to work at a vocation that's unsuitable to your aptitude."
  • "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience:" Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. "Isn't it funny? I've been studying happiness for at least 40 years, but I still don't have a definition of it. The closest one would be that happiness is the state of mind in which one does not desire to be in any other state. Being deeply involved in the moment, we do not have the opportunity to think about anything but the task at hand -- hence, by default, we are happy."
  • "Seven Spiritual Laws of Success:" Deepak Chopra. "Everyone has a purpose in life, a unique gift of special talent to give others ... Sit down and make a list of answers to these two questions: Ask yourself, if money were no concern and you had all the time and money in the world, what would you do? ... Then ask yourself: How am I best suited to serve humanity? Answer that question and put it into practice."
  • "The One Thing You Need to Know." And if all else fails, take Marcus Buckingham's incredible advice: "Discover what you don't like doing and stop doing it."
  • "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior:" Dan Millman. "The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in the capacity to enjoy less ... This is the final task I will ever give you, and it goes on forever. Act happy, feel happy, be happy, without a reason in the world. Then you can love and do what you will."
  • "The Alchemist." Paulo Coelho's novel is a spellbinding must-read about everyone's lifelong search: "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it ... God has prepared a path for everyone to follow ... The secret to happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

A short time ago I read a piece in the NY Sunday Times about some "poor" millionaires in Silicon Valley who were having a hard time making ends meet on 7 million dollars a year. They felt so "poor" compared to their billionaire neighbors. Some kind of a disconnect?
Tell me.

Fantasy Politics

Maybe it's just the "Dog days of summer" combined with a darker side of my "Golden Years" but whatever it is, I'm losing my enthusiasm for the real political scene. The long, drawn out melodrama that we call the 2008 Presidential Campaign. So I'm going to play Political Fantasy instead and put together a "what if" scenario of my own.
First, I'll fast wind past the conventions and announce the winning ticket.

For the Democrats, from Hawaii, by way of Chicago, the first Democratic, non-white nominee for President of the U.S.:
47 year old Barack Obama and his running mate, the ex-senator from North Carolina and second-time -around nominee for V.P.; 55 year old John Edwards!

For the Other Guys: The ex District Attorney who put Laura Helmsley in Jail and went on to star in the New York City 9/11 disaster : Rudy Giulianni and his running mate, the TV actor and ex-senator from Tennessee: Fred Thompson.

Round one: Guilianni leads with malicious slander and tries to "Swift Boat" Obama with undocumented charges of corruption and bribery. Obama retaliates with concrete proof that the charges are false but refuses to join in the mud-slinging contest. Meanwhile, Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Edwards score a knockout at the League for Women Voters "Presidential Wives' Debate" . (Mrs. Guilianni was unable to participate in the debate due to the illness of her dog.)
To be continued...