Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pics - a few minutes ago - 01272007 - Onyx/Rojo

Onyx - more pics

Onyx - Our 2nd Puppy !!

Yesterday I got a phone call asking if I would be willing to foster a (Black Miniature) Golden Doodle - 3 months old - until a permanent adoption was completed. I drove an hour and picked up two pups - each around 10 lbs in size - and brought them to another foster home - which had a 3rd littermate of the two pups. When I got home the three other (human) household members said: Geo, can t we keep him! Now - we have two pups for good - Onyx - is about 10 lbs vs. perhaps 36-38 for Rojo, who now looks huge!

Onyx has peed and pooped in the kitchen this evening already.

He should be somewhere in the 30-35 lb range when fully grown perhaps. Rojo will probably end up 60+ lbs in size. So our - Labradoodle - is Red or Golden and our Golden Doodle is Black!

Fun - and 2-4 hours of sleep - before taking him out - if he does not pee in the plastic crate we will use for a few days.

Friday, January 26, 2007

A "Simple Time"

I went to California for my mother's surgery on Monday. My mother is approaching age 80 and my step-father is approaching age 85. Nothing is ever simple with the "ole folks"!

Tuesday morning we were off to the hospital at 5:30 a.m. The surgery was completed ahead of schedule. My step-father held up quite well (for him). We went home Tuesday evening, got a good night's sleep and came back to take Ma home Wednesday morning.

Things seemed very normal at home Wednesday and we all went to bed perhaps a little early.

At 3:30 a.m. Thursday - Ma - said: "Wake up G - I's - in tremendous pain - and wants to go to the emergency room. We were in the emergency room from 4:00 a.m. til 4:00 p.m. - when there was finally a room to admit I. By that time most possible problems had been ruled out with various tests.

Then Ma - discovered that she was dehydrated because she's not drunk anywhere enough liquids. Once she began drinking water, her digestive system went from - way too slow - to ooooooooooeeeeeeee - and wouldn't let up.

I took her home to get a nap, but she couldn't lay down without ooooeeee - and quickly made an appointment to see a doctor at 7:00 p.m. at the clinic at the hospital. Her appointment felt rushed in her estimation - and gave her no relief.

It took forever for her to get her blood test done. She seemed more than a little out of it - and went with me back to the emergency room - and asked a nurse we'd dealt with earlier - if she could get a bed to lie down on there (understand that there were a good 20-30 or more people waiting for help in the emergency room). That (of course) didn't work!!! We went up to I.'s room - and then were sent home to get some sleep.

Friday morning - we were up and doing fine until we were about to head off to the hospital. I couldn't find Ma's keys - which I'd had. I looked all over several times and couldn't find them. We used I's keys and I dropped her off at the hospital.

I went back to the house - looked a 3rd or 4th time and still couldn't find the keys. M .- picked me up and we both searched unsuccessfully for the keys. We were off to the airport for my flight home. M. - said - we've searched the whole house - Ma - must have the keys in her purse. I told her she'd searched the purse, but acknowledged that this was possible. M. talked with her husband - who was with the Ole Man and Ma - and Ma said again - that she'd looked in her purse and that I'd lost the keys.

A minute later - as we arrived at the airport to drop me off - M.'s cell phone rang - and she said: "She's found the keys in her purse" - and - yup - she was right!

Flying home was rather a relief!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (*smiling*!!!)


Monday, January 22, 2007

The Absent Minded Regressor (me!)

Yesterday, in preparation for my trip which I am now on, I bought some dental floss. Of course, while emptying my pockets before doing laundry I didn't feel nor remove the dental floss. I couldn't find it and then looked in the dryer. There was the entire dental floss wrapped around parts of the laundry with separate pieces of the plastic and metal elsewhere in the dryer, fortunately not melted!

Silly me!

Gettin Old and Fergetful!


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ehren Watada - Objections to War ?

Ehren Watada, an officer the the U.S. Army, has taken a courageous stand in refusing to go back to Iraq, contesting the legality of this War. He has appeared at various protests against the War in the Pacific Northwest. Watada had offered to go to Afghanistan instead, indicating that he wasn't opposed to wars in general. Now he faces up to six years in military prison, facing a certain military court conviction, after the military judge has indicated that he can't contest the legality of the Iraqi War in his court defense.

In this case strangely I find that I agree with the court position. The place where this War should be contested should be in protests in the streets as well as in Congress. The military is not the place for individual soldiers to Not Face Consequences when they refuse military orders. If Watada's resistence leads to others doing similar, perhaps politicians will finally take strong enough action to stop the War. I admire his stand. I think that he should do as he is doing and face his trial standing up for his beliefs.

Watada is doing an admirable thing! He will pay for his convictions in part. He also is growing as a person and hopefully will be a better person for his actions.

Watada apparently though doesn't see the clear pattern of U.S. foreign policy which includes Afghanistan, Iran, Venezuela and elsewhere today as well as Nicaragua, Cuba, The Phillipines, Iran (again), Mexico and many other countries. Native Americans were lied to and conquered as the U.S. was "settled" and our country has a shameful history since then.

We are not "bad people" or a "bad country".

We do need to recognize that our foreign policy intends to support what are labeled "our interests". Such interests often represent a narrow view of the world which at various times ignored and ignores the interests of most people in other countries as well as in our own country.

Seeing the similar patterns over time and working to change the system as a whole is most important! Labeling other countries such as France negatively when they refuse to support our aggression is not helpful. Recognizing how our foreign policy often represents powerful U.S. and increasingly multi-national economic interests is important.

It is said in the media now that there is a political divide between:

1.) some Republicans (primarily) who remain scared of "terrorism" and support an aggressive foreign policy largely supportive of Mr. Bush (or at least his aims) and

2.) most Democrats (primarily) - whose voting public wish a withdrawal from the international arena (not just Iraq and Afghanistan) including not supporting a hypothetical future military action in a country where there is a known terrorist threat to the U.S.

The "War on Terrorism" represents a political effort of Mr. Bush and his allies to paint many groups opposed to U.S. policy as somehow in a united effort against us. Ignorance and scare tactics help make people believe that Sunni and Shiite bitter enemies of each other are somehow united against us. Individual efforts elsewhere are bunched together generally totally inaccurately.

There are serious threats of nuclear war and terror particularly with countries like North Korea. Iran is certainly a potential threat to the U.S.

We should be talking, talking, talking with our "enemies" and others. We will disagree with others, but we can respect them and respect the threats they may pose to us by talking with them and keeping communication open.

The efforts of the Bushites help create new real threats and build a state of perpetual war efforts. As people in other countries are not listened to and are labeled "the enemy" by the Bushites, more and more people do in fact turn to Islamic fundamentalism and other efforts that do in many cases become real "terrorist threats".

The reaction to this among many U.S. citizens unfortunately is not to learn the deeper meanings of what is going on. People generally don't see much of this! They react in some ways similar to popular U.S. reaction after World War I - putting their heads in the sand and wanting no part of what is going on in much of the rest of the world.

After World War I the rise of Hitler and facism was heavily influenced by how the U.S., England and France tried to punish the Germans and ignored the effects of their actions until it was too late.

It is unclear what the effects may be of U.S. efforts to disengage from foreign conflicts. Some politicians are trying to work on a middle ground which might help. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico brokered a peace agreement in Somalia. Jimmy Carter, despite his age, works for peace in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Hopefully over time U.S. citizens will begin to be more aware and help push our politicians in good ways. - is a good source of self-education on Israel-Palestine issues.

Howard Zinn ( - wrote a wonderful book (available in paperback) entitled "A Peoples History of the United States" which is a great primer for understanding the present state of the U.S. as being a continuation of the past.

There are many similar good sources of information on the internet related to other important issues.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Venezuela - "How We Operate"

Venezuela is an interesting example of defiance of U.S. Government desires!

It's elected leader Hugo Chavez is a "socialist" and regularly makes statements that are not exactly supportive of Mr. Bush and his administration.

Venezuela is approximately the 8th largest exporter of oil in the world. It is in both the U.S. and Venezuela's best interests that the oil keep coming to feed our large SUV's and other gas guzzlers.

The U.S. has already been highly supportive of a coup attempt where briefly insurgents took power.

As the U.S. attempts to pressure Mr. Chavez, he quite naturally becomes more paranoid about the forces seeking his demise, cracking down on anti-government media and similar. He becomes more like a "Fidel Castro" of old at least partially as a result of the pressures upon him, which of course feeds the "I told you so" mindset of right-wingers in the U.S. who want to end his rule.

Unfortunately for the Bush Administration, many people in Venezuela support Mr. Chavez in his "class warfare" favoring the poor at least in his rhetoric.

We will see how things change in Venezuela over time. If Mr. Chavez should miraculously prove successful in the long-term, his leadership might inspire other countries to defy the U.S.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Who Are You ?

Who Area You?

How can you heal
from the abuse
permeating your Soul

of Trusted Ones'


Of safety within

a Blurry
Distant Cloud
Now - where the Hurt
comes Instead

Myths about you

Where -
Your People
Those You Love Deeply

are said to be:

Not Good People
-- as You Know They Are

So, you are Responsible
for the Myths
the Craziness
of Others

at the Same Time
You Must Struggle
with the Insanity Itself
Digging Inside

Who Are You?
- an Iraqi - in an insane world
- a Palestinian - trying to cope
- a Person of Color - in a White World
- a Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Transgendered one in a land foreign to whom one is
- or Many Others
- or Several of these - Together

I probably don't Know You.
Will I listen?
Can I hear?

You are Important !
You Do Matter !

I hope that I will See
and be an Ally
if Not
a Friend

January 18, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Iraq - Palestine, etc.

I note that in the entire time that this blog has existed never has anyone commented (positively or negatively) on my writings about issues relating to my Judiasm and issues relating to Israel and The West Bank and Gaza. This seems peculiar to me!

It is sad and fascinating to see the latest "plans" for Iraq. Initially I read that President Bush intended to maintain his military position in Iraq until the end of his presidency, to leave issues to his successor. This seemed to me a difficult pose for the "Great One", as it seems obvious to me that continual war into 2009 looks difficult to sustain politically given its likelihood of failure.

Now I read of how the Bushites have a two part strategy:

1.) Pressure the Iraqi Government to get control of its Shiite forces - who have a strong vested interest in success and:

2.) Force cooperation with Sunni forces - else 1.) will no doubt fail and IF this fails over the next 6 months or so:

3.) Regime change - bringing in others - who will put forth the Bush Agenda - No Focus Here - upon "democracy" - or leadership increasingly from Iraqis - but US - Agenda - #1 - the only important thing.

I found most of this very interesting! The "De Baathization" - of the Sunnis - with increasing involvement of Sunnis in leadership as well as the pressures upon the Shiite leadership exposes the fact that the Iraqi Government and agenda MUST represent what the U.S. wants, not what the Iraqis want.

It seems sad and funny - that people in the US largely do not see a pattern in US Foreign Policy - that views the US as "benevolent" or ("Father Knows Best") and the rest of the world as needing to go along with our "benevolent leadership".

Prime Minister Blair and the British leadership seem to be separating themselves completely from the Bush Position in these areas.

It seems strange that somehow this military strategy with 21-22,000 new troops - focussing upon Baghdad will somehow succeed now. Bush is now appointing new leaders of the US effort on the ground in Iraq - most of whom were "outsiders" or left the cause in disgust in 2003-2004 because they saw the stupidity and futility of what was done in various areas then.

Clearly 70-80% of the U.S. public want the troop levels to drop and troops to be withdrawn over the next few years, rather than an escalation of the War effort. It will be interesting to see what happens!

Now Ms. Rice - is seeking peace in Palestine - The West Bank and Gaza. Unfortunately no one sees her efforts as being more than token - nothing behind them.

Jimmy Carter has written - what seems to be - an insightful book on the Palestinian issue and he, as others before him, has been pillaged - as being "wrong" because his attempt at balance calls upon the need for Israel to withdraw from The West Bank and Gaza, rather than "The Palestinians to be reasonable".

Few in the US seem to understand that Israel has not been holding the U.S. back by not making peace with the Palestinians. During the periods where peace looked faintly or faintly-faintly possible, the U.S. has consistently pressured Israel to do things which prevent peace from having a chance. Israel paid a heavy price last summer - fighting largely for the US - under pressure from the US during at least the latter part of the War in Lebanon.

The perceived strategic interests of the US often rely upon "states of war" - economic and other interests which rely upon avoiding real peace. "Democracy" in this context really means US friendly governments which act not in their own interests when the chips are down. Unfortunately for Ms. Rice and President Bush, his "plans" now do not really help any governments in the Middle East besides perhaps the perceived short-term interests of the Israeli Government.

A continued state of war - helps maintain (some) Israeli and US economic interests. The West Bank has potential Palestinian economic interests who want the water that Israel controls, and may create a future economy which might eventually threaten Israeli economic domination in various areas.

Hopefully Israelis and most importantly people in the US (particularly us Jews!) will start seeing the importance of taking the risks to make real peace!

Perhaps if we succeed some day we might help create a world where it will no longer be OK for the US to always be: Number One - and others to hate us - as their interests are kept at bay.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Telling a "Higher Truth"

November 7th - I wrote of my image of the deteriorating health of one I care about who had just confided in me about the cancer she had. She told me then that she wanted me not to tell her sister, one who is Very close to me. I struggled with the issue of hiding the truth, which I knew was completely wrong. At the same time I didn't want to betray her confidence.

I talked in vain with all the family members I thought might be of help in allowing the truth to be told directly between the sisters. Others outside of her husband agreed that the truth shouldn't continue to be hidden. The excuses for secrecy included: 1.) She can't "do anything now" due to a health condition that needs treatment soon, 2.) It will be hard for her to hear the news and 3.) Her first allegiance should be to her (aging) husband and this would take her away from her primary responsibility.

My issues related to the feelings and need for closure - after being two sisters together for over 75 years, with no other siblings. Though they are very different and live a long way apart, they have a bond between them that is important.

Finally yesterday I called a rabbi who had known both of them (the sick one less closely) for around 40 years. He advised me to tell the truth immediately, which I did, after consulting with my partner. He said that it was a "religious necessity" after questioning me about several things related to both of them.

My feelings now are positive, though a little conflicted. I think that I did what was right. A lot of tears are flowing now. There still is truth hidden, as now both know the truth, but one still doesn't know that the other one knows.

Life can be hard! Thanks!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Palestinian Autonomy - and Endless War

I am Jewish, have many Israeli relatives, and have no desires to see the death and destruction that many Jews fear with cooperation with the Palestinians in The West Bank and Gaza.

Today on NPR I heard of older Palestinian women who are beginning to become visible seeking a Palestinian State in two contrasting ways. The first featured woman rejects the fighting between Hamas and Fatah and seeks a third path coming from protesting the status quo - a new movement.

The second woman had been recruited by Hamas - age 72. Initially she served as a diversionary force to help free some Hamas "militants". In the end her family celebrated her life - as she died as a suicide bomber who "only" slightly wounded two Israeli soldiers.

The story concluded indicting that Hamas was the far stronger force, with programs for its people. It also talked of how Islamic law was pushing restrictions upon many areas as part of Hamas's efforts.

As Jews in Spain, Eastern Europe and many other places, most of our ancestors rejected the "easy path" refusing to convert to Christianity despite great pressures from the dominant forces in many countries. We wanted the freedom to be our own people amidst a world that was often very hostile to us.

Jews from much of the world came to Palestine and unsuccessfully tried to convince the native population that "modernity" through the leadership of the immigrants was their way to the future. The Palestinians stubbornly insisted on trying to save their lands (and water), their most valued resources, as well as their general way of life.

We seem to have lost these basic facts in our fears that have developed over Palestinian and Arab resistance to Israel's formation and early development. Israelis and Jews from outside Israel have translated the resistance of the Arab countries and native population out of a position of relative (Israeli) weakness prior to and shortly after the formation of the State of Isreal in 1948 into a pathological fear of "Arabs" and "Muslims" which is no longer realistic today.

Certainly it is dangerous to allow Palestinians real power and a viable state of most of the West Bank and all of Gaza. Unfortunately the giving up of water rights and the rights to land - the economics are masked by the very real fears of killing and death.

Israeli's army is far, far stronger than any potential opposition despite the huge population of the "enemy" vs. Israel's small popultion. Israel's economy is far stronger than much of the nearby Middle East, despite the oil wealth.

The United States pressures Israel to support American foreign policy which greatly weakens and denies moderate forces, helping build the support of radical forces like Hamas. Once radical forces like Hamas gain power, We do all we can to confront them and deny their legitimacy.

Similar to the results in Iran, Iraq and even Egypt - our ideological driven - pressures result in countries which have leaders - such as Saudi Arabia has, who seemingly are "allies", but are doomed in the long run to losing power to (likely) radical forces of reaction. We support a doomed strategy in The West Bank and Gaza.

Someday, perhaps in my lifetime, Israel will have little strategic importance to the United States. The oil in the Middle East will likely be exhausted and much of the Middle East will have little economic value to the forces of "capital".

At that time Israel will have only its military might to defend itself, to fight the forces of its Palestinian neighbors and own people.

Today, Israel can and should build a real peace through real negotiations - without pre-conditions - to try to build a lasting peace. I can't predict the exact peace agreement that could exist. I would imagine that it would necessitate - Jews leaving 99% of the ("illegal") settlements - of the West Bank and granting Gaza true, not pseudo-autonomy (as it now has).

For Israel such a peace would be "dangerous" because of the real uncertainties of an independent Palestinian State as well as needing to confront and move thousands of its "settlers" into "old Israel".

For the Palestinians such a peace would be "dangerous", because it would have to trust, despite its fears, that the areas proximate to Jerusalem and parts of Jerusalem itself would be subsequently negotiated upon, rather than losing these entire areas to permanent, unrestrained Israeli rule - as exists today.

For both sides - peace - would allow a life - that they have never had! I hope that Israel will resist the pressures of the United States and look out for its real interests by working incessantly for peace. Jewish Voice for Peace - - is a wonderful group and website - which strongly supports Jews and Israel, while not supporting the continued oppression of Palestinians.