Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bastille Day 2010

130 years ago the people of France stormed the Bastille to end the rule and the abuses of a rich, ruling minority. Like the millions of unemployed in the U.S. today, they had no means of supporting themselves, no way to buy food or clothes, much less homes. The  indifference of the ignoble nobility, their obsession with fashion and the splendors of Versailles, were too much to bear. The excesses of the revolution that followed were a backlash against the suffering and poverty and starvation the people of France endured for centuries.

What we can learn form the French Revolution, from our own revolution, and from Bastille Day is that compassion creates a society that succeeds, not tax breaks for the rich, not war, not corporate abuse of man and nature. We have an election coming soon and the message we need to send is that we want compassion for our fellow human beings and for the beauty of the natural world around us. We don't want a return to the Bush/Cheney decade of war, corporate greed, and economic disaster for everyone but the banks, big oil, and big business. We want progressive representatives who will fight for clean energy, benefits for average citizens, not corporations, and regulations to protect our planet. 

In the nation with the highest percentage of jailed citizens in the world, we should take Bastille Day very seriously.

14 July 2010

Monday, July 05, 2010


When in N'awlins...
Photos from our new home in the French Quarter:

 4 July 2010: everything flowed to perfection- the flight to New Orleans arrived early. Chatted with a violin teacher  on the flight. KT and Dan whisked Dar and me to the Acme Oyster Bar uptown- for, yes, char-broiled oysters and a shrimp po-boy. Yum. We visited in the garden of our new home, sipped Mimosas, listened to the local jazz and blues and Cajun music on the sound system/ radio. Listened to Dar's salty talk and made Plans for the evening. Spoke Yat. Called Starr.

Took a swim in the refreshing water of the pool. Nap time.

Sunset. As the fireworks burst over the Mississippi River, as the art party of KT's friend Bryan (from clever Howard Finster pieces to original erotic Picasso Etchings) roared on high on a balcony overlooking the Quarter, as we ate raspberries and strawberries, I felt transformed into a timeless New Orleans being. After the party, after the fireworks, we strolled down reveling upper Bourbon to the Pirate bar where KT treated us to drinks made with the blood of a shark and a back scratch swizzle (no, not real blood). The jazz band was just too loud for me so we returned to our French Quarter oasis garden on Dauphine to fall asleep to the zen splash of water in the fountains.


Friday, July 02, 2010


4th of july
Atlanta 2007
Photo by Jack

As the 4th of July arrives, patriotism is on the wane. What exactly is there to be patriotic about? The Afghan war drags on in a quagmire of corruption and opium-- with crates of cash disappearing daily. The quagmire in the Gulf of Mexico is killing wildlife and destroying a way of life going back generations. There are nearly two million unemployed workers whose benefits will end thanks to a Republican filibuster in the disfunctional Senate. The tea bag party is a farce of early 19th Century attitudes that allows unchecked corruption by corporations including the one that is killing a good portion of the U.S. and the planet. Our Supreme Court is 5/9 owned and run by corporate interests-- thanks in part to the two appointments by oil men Bush and Cheney. There is no Green Party at all and way too few Progressive Dems. to elect. As many of us hold hands on beaches in protest of bad energy policy and off-shore drilling, Obama's hands appear to be tied. We want fireworks, not just a 4th of July show, but a spark of fervor that will bring the reforms we wanted in Nov. 2008.

For now, I can only muster a Diogenes-like response. I'll sit in my bathtub and forget about quagmires for the weekend. I'll watch the fireworks above the Mississippi River in New Orleans. My Epicurean garden awaits me by the pool in the courtyard in the French Quater. Maybe a touch of Buddhist detachment will let the universe adjust. Indifference, though, is our nation's problem, not the answer.