The Optimist Creed

Redirecting the negative to positive begins with a new outlook. A promise to look at the possibilities of growth and prosperity rather than constriction and lack. The Optimist Creed says exactly what I hope to do from here on.

Print and post this brilliant piece of inspiration from the past. It still applies and if more of us adopt this creed, perhaps the liberal thinkers in this country can begin a new conversation. We truly need one.

The Optimist Creed

PROMISE YOURSELF . . .
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of life and make your Optimism come true.
To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

By Christian D. Larson
Originally published in 1912 in a book titled: “Your Forces and How to Use Them.”

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Note to Orrin Hatch RE: Planned Parenthood

The Repulbican view of this issue really burns me. I’m on Senator Scratch’s email list as a former Utah, so I can keep up with the rat bastard from Pennsylvania. (He couldn’t get elected there so he sought a consistuency stupid to vote for him – Utah!)

Anyway, he was crowing about his vote to defund Planned Parenthood because no organization that supports abortions should get any taxpayer money. This is a man who sponsors a Day for Women, or used to. Damned hypocrite.

Here’s the response I sent back through his website. Bear in mind I WAS PISSED. And yes I really sent it. I wonder if it does any good, but at least I’m calling it the way I see it and putting it out there for him to see too.

Dear Senator Hatch – Your vote to defund Planned Parenthood is destructive and ill-informed. Only 3% of their services go to abortions and is not federally funded by law. The other 97% is for health services poor women can’t afford elsewhere. Would you have them suffer more health risks because you defunded them? Utah has lots of needy women who need Planned Parenthood for survival, and policies like this, if implemented, would only create more suffering, more poverty, more untreated cancer, more unplanned and unwanted children. Is that desirable? Is that Christian? No, but it seems to be Republican. Hypocrites.

Your party acts like it hates its own constituency for all the wrong reasons. It’s not about fixing the deficit – it’s about hurting people who might disagree with your agenda. It is a class war. That’s un-American. Shame on you and your ilk. I hope the Republican Party goes down in stinking flames in 2012.

Linda Allen
A former Utahn

What the Progressives Stand For

I found this on the website for the Progressive Congressional Caucus.
The URL is http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=63&sectiontree=2,63

Leadership: Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, John B. Larson, Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva
Co-Chairs: Keith Ellison, Raúl Grijalva
Vice Chairs: Tammy Baldwin, Judy Chu, William “Lacy” Clay, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Chellie Pingree
Whip: Hank Johnson
Senate Member: Bernie Sanders
congress members – very long list of members – too long for this entry. Go see . . . My congressman is on it and I couldn’t be prouder. I found out he is one of the few openly gay representatives serving in Congress.

The Progressive Promise
Fairness For All

The Congressional Progressive Caucus believes in government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our fairness plan is rooted in our core principles. It also embodies national priorities that are consistent with the values, needs, and hopes of all our people, not just the powerful and the privileged. We pledge our unwavering commitment to these legislative priorities and we will not rest until they become law.

1. Fighting for Economic Justice and Security in the U.S. and Global Economies
» To uphold the right to universal access to affordable, high quality healthcare for all.

» To preserve guaranteed Social Security benefits for all Americans, protect private pensions, and require corporate accountability.

» To invest in America and create new jobs in the U.S. by building more affordable housing, re-building America’s schools and physical infrastructure, cleaning up our environment, and improving homeland security.

» To export more American products and not more American jobs and demand fair trade.

» To reaffirm freedom of association and enforce the right to organize.

» To ensure working families can live above the poverty line and with dignity by raising and indexing the minimum wage.

2. Protecting and Preserving Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
» To sunset expiring provisions of the Patriot Act and bring remaining provisions into line with the U. S. Constitution.

» To protect the personal privacy of all Americans from unbridled police powers and unchecked government intrusion.

» To extend the Voting Rights Act and reform our electoral processes.

» To fight corporate consolidation of the media and ensure opportunity for all voices to be heard.

» To ensure enforcement of all legal rights in the workplace.

» To eliminate all forms of discrimination based upon color, race, religion, gender, creed, disability, or sexual orientation.

3. Promoting Global Peace and Security
» To honor and help our overburdened international public servants – both military and civilian.

» To bring U. S. troops home from Iraq as soon as possible.

» To re-build U.S. alliances around the world, restore international respect for American power and influence, and reaffirm our nation’s constructive engagement in the United Nations and other multilateral organizations.

» To enhance international cooperation to reduce the threats posed by nuclear proliferation and weapons of mass destruction.

» To increase efforts to combat hunger and the scourge of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other infectious diseases.

» To encourage debt relief for poor countries and support efforts to reach the UN’s Millennium Goals for Developing Countries.

4. Advancing Environmental Protection & Energy Independence » To free ourselves and our economy from dependence upon imported oil and shift to growing reliance upon renewable energy supplies and technologies, thus creating at least three million new jobs, cleansing our environment, and enhancing our nation’s security.

» To promote environmental justice in affirmation that all people have an inherent right to a healthy environment, clean air, and clean water wherever we live, work, and relax.

» To change incentives in federal tax, procurement, and appropriation policies to:

(A) Speed commercialization of solar, biomass, and wind power generation, while encouraging state and local policy innovation to link clean energy and job creation;

(B) Convert domestic assembly lines to manufacture highly efficient vehicles, enhance global competitiveness of U.S. auto industry, and expand consumer choice;

(C) Increase investment in construction of “green buildings” and more energy-efficient homes and workplaces;

(D) Link higher energy efficiency standards in appliances to consumer and manufacturing incentives that increase demand for new durable goods and increase investment in U.S. factories;

» To eliminate environmental threat posed by global warming and ensuring that America does our part to advance an effective global problem-solving approach.

» To expand energy-efficient transportation choices by increasing investment in synthesized networks, including bicycle, local bus and rail transit, regional high-speed rail and magnetic levitation rail projects.

» To preserve prudent public interest regulations that encourage sustainable growth and investment, ensure energy diversity and system reliability, protect workers and the environment, reward consumer conservation, and support an expanding marketplace that rewards the commercialization of energy-efficient technologies.

Budget Cuts Mean More Misery. Why? Life is Cheap.

The New York Times ran an article today about Obama catpitulating to the demands of the depression makers. It made me sick.

I’ve been looking for other voices in this time of accerating chaos. They are out there: Jean Houston, a visionary and activist in Social Awareness, Barbara Max Hubbard, an expert in the human evolutionary process in these times and some others I’ll talk about in another post. There is a way out of the current shit, but it will not come from the system that has made itself so radically sick. Einstein said you can’t solve a problem using the same processes and ideas that created the problem. That’s where we are today. We as a country and culture are very ill, and we have to fire the doctors and find our own solutions, and we have to start talking about it a lot more.

This is the comment I posted as Lallen56 to the article “Obama Budget Pivots From Stimulus to Deficit Cuts.”

The cuts to education and every program that supports actual people shows me that the Republicans are pushing to make the American worker extinct. If fewer people are educated they can justify outsourcing more jobs to countries the demand less in wages but still support education. Cheap engineers, cheap attorneys, cheap computer scientists, cheap everyone.

Our lives are cheap to them and they are the ultimate Grinches. It’s a race to the bottom. I am disgusted that Obama has capitulated to this degree. My only hope now is that the Republicans so overstep their bounds that their cruel, domination agenda becomes obvious to even the most staunch TPer’s. Neither party seems up to the challenges. Maybe the solution will come from the trenches.

There are movements afoot that emphasize evolutionary possibilities. More people should know that this doomed scenario is not the only one. (See Jean Houston, Barbara Max Hubbard and others like them.)

We can do better. We can form a culture that supports those who participate, but it will mean a complete overhaul of our economic and political systems. It can be done with determination and activism toward systems that build caring communities rather than punitive surfdoms dominated and ruled by corporate overseers and cruel warmongers.

It’s time for us to grow up and be civilized. It can be done. Wake up.

Those Wacky Republicans.

Gail Collins’ column “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” about some of the crazy bills Republicans are floating was a good read. My comment was #50 and by 7:00 this evening had 44 recommendation checks from fellow readers.

This is based on what I wrote this morning, but is a little more expanded.

Based on their own actions, I am convinced that the Republican party’s mission is to destroy their own country and give it to their corporate masters. Here’s a thumbnail on how they intend to get us there:

Keep unemployment high. This is important because it provides a large, desperate, and submissive body of peons willing to be employed at rock bottom rates, with no benefits, and who knows what kind of conditions. If more people become employed, give another break to the wealthy and corporations and encourage more outsourcing.

Kill education, period. Anyone who is educated might acquire critical thinking skills, allowing them to recognize when propaganda is being substituted for facts and real news. This would ultimately translate into more people not voting Republican. Can’t have a permanent majority that way, now can we.

Kill any inkling of a social network. Keeps the population desperate and willing to do any work at any wage. This is not kicking people when they are down; it is giving them the opportunity to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Never mind that the bootstrap factory was shut down and rebuilt in China.

As for family planning, drastically reduce birth control options so that childbirth rates remain high and gets higher. This guarantees that future corporate needs for more desperate employees will be filled. It’s economic. We’re just numbers.

I have heard it said that this is the new normal. I say it’s time to fight back from the ground up. If we as a nation will have to face unemployment and reduced resources, then adjustments need to be made. Perhaps we need to be the next Egypt, but hopefully without the violence.

What specifically do we do about it? If this really is the new normal, start talking about reforms like reducing the birth rate and increasing real education.

If access to resources and employment are reduced, then it makes sense that over time, the population should be reduced to mitigate the shortages. Otherwise we only further entrench poverty and shortages.

This means providing universal access to sex education and affordable, effective family planning. Birth control should be as close to free as possible and widely available, even in schools. Abortion must remain legal. Children are considered a blessing, but some of that motherhood and apple pie attitude is just propaganda. Children are also the leading cause of poverty for unwed teen mothers, and are expensive, time consuming, and in many cases, a burden. Not something the spinmeisters want people talking about. Babies are sometimes not a blessing but a burden: blasphemous but true. Not to mention the sometimes horrifying effects on the children themselves of being unwanted. It’s mostly avoidable.

Education reform is sorely neglected in this country. The stats on our students’ standing compared to other advanced nations is appalling. Reform is necessary, but I’m not talking about the reform touted by the hyper-religious, history-revising boards. We need real factual, meaningful, eager-to-go- to-school-every-day reformed education for everyone. That leaves Texas and other fundamentalist leaning states like it, out.

We as a people also must start talking in very personal terms about the effects of the conservative lunacy – more poverty, outsourced jobs, failure of local government due to fiscal starvation, etc. Real human misery as a direct result of conservative policy. (That puts the Texas group back in).

Start demanding positive results for PEOPLE not institutions. Make it very, very personal. Maybe the lunkheads who vote for the lunkheads will start to see the patterns and someday get it – they are voting for their own demise. Vote for partisan lunkheads, you get partisan stupid legislation and devastatingly personal results.

Read George Lakoff. (“Don’t Think of an Elephant” and “Moral Politics.” He has a handle on how to talk about these things in personal, meaty terms, and how far right organizations, including Republican strategists, have deceived, and continue to deceive, the electorate with sleazy, manipulative language.

Just a few thoughts.

On a more personal note to Ms. Collins – You do darn fine work. Don’t stop.

FaceBook Farmin’ Facts

Look at these Facebook gaming stats I found on Viralblog.com this morning. I get information about blogging and business from Who’s Blogging What in my email, and I though this was pretty wild.

1. 53% of Facebook users play games. Facebook has more than 500 Million users, so that’s approximately 265 Million people playing games.

2. 19% say they are addicted. Here’s a comment I found from a reader at the end of the article. I’ll leave the name off, but this is his quote, errors and all:

” I worked for an international bank and in one particular meeting where we reviewed our plans to reduce the bad loans problems, I txt-messaged a friend of mine my Facebook log-in details with the humble request to harvest my pumpkins..Short after that ridicules moment I concluded that it would be better to leave Farmville.”

3. 69% of Facebook gamers are women.

4. 20% have paid cash for in-game benefits.

5. 56 million people play daily. (more than the entire population of England).

6. 290 million people play monthly (nearly as many people as live in the U.S.).

7. Average time spent per month on Facebook: 421 minutes.

8. 50% of Facebook log-ins are specifically to play games.

9. 265 million Facebook gamers X 210 minutes of game-time per gamer, per month is 927 million hours per month.

10. That 105,878 man-years’ worth of virtual farming. (and poker playing, mob-bossing, and frontier conquering.)

I don’t game myself, partly because I’m extremely effective at frittering my spare time in other ways, but also because I just can’t freakin’ keep up. I tried it for two days and they weren’t consecutive. So my first crop of strawberries withered almost immediately and my land has lain fallow since.

Didn’t miss ’em, didn’t care. Did not give a damn, nor a fraction of a damn, not even a hundredth of a damn. I’m not cut out for virtual farming. Maybe I could play the Mafia games and be a gangster. Bonnie and Clyde stuff. Umm, doubt it.

Weird because I have always loved gardening. Oh well, get away from me with that virtual shovel or I’ll hit you with a clod of my virtual chicken poop.

I’m getting the cluck out of here now.

The Drive-by Kissing.

I have a friend who just lost her grandmother yesterday. She and I talked at length last night about it, and what she told me was the total opposite of what I expected.

My friend is usually one who will let emotions not just wash over her but crash over her and press her into a black hole of helplessness. She told me she is the one in her family that feels the effect of changes and events the most. She’s the one bad news hits the hardest. Emotions are not half-way for her. It’s all the way sad, happy, depressed, joyful; never just a little. Whatever the emotion is, it inhabits her completely.

So last night’s conversation was a big surprise.

She said that instead of feeling completely overwhelmed by emotion the way she usually is, she wasn’t sad. She instead felt grateful for the time she had with her grandma and had no regrets about her death. She asked me repeatedly if there was something wrong with her because she wasn’t all that sad about her grandmother’s death.

Grandma was about 92 and had been ill for a few months, declining steadily toward the inevitable, so her dying was not a surprise. My friend had been visiting her regularly for the past few months, sometimes doing what she called a “drive-by kissing.” I love that.

Imagine being at home just puttering around the house and all of a sudden a bunch of people you love and see often, drop in unexpectedly for a quick hug and a kiss and then just as quickly go away and on about their business. There you are with a smile and a lot of love swirling around you. Five minutes max. That’s a Drive-by Kissing.

Well, that what she and her three kids would do. Stop in while running errands just long enough for a hug and a kiss and then be on their way. Grandma loved it, the great grand kids loved it, and my friend loved it. Win win win.

Now Grandma is gone, and my friend is remembering these good days, the drive-by kissings, and memories of a beloved woman. She has no regrets.

That might be the end of the story but for her question: Why wasn’t’ she feeling worse about this?

When I think about her I realize that her whole life has been a series of intense events with intense emotions attached to them. Her childhood and adolescence was unhappy, fraught with uncertainty, panic, and abuse, and her adult life naturally followed that same pattern. Intensity became the norm for either good or bad, mostly bad and it reflected her reality of adolescence. Everything was intense and therefore became her interpretation of what was real and true. She got stuck there.

So when her feelings and emotions are not intense, when she feels calm and happy or finds herself dealing with a new situation without panic, she questions whether it is real or correct. It’s an out of the ordinary experience and she can’t take it at face value. She had to ask me if it was okay to not feel strong sadness.

I can’t second guess anyone’s emotions, but it seemed to me on this occasion that she was actually maturing past her adolescent fixation on intensity. She was feeling genuine grief mixed with relief that her grandma was no longer ill and suffering. She expressed sadness and some tears, but not hysteria or panic. Her emotion was more real to me last night than it has been in the past because it was not tinged with that desperate intensity. It was the true person expressing joy and sadness in real time for a real person she loved and who had loved her.

I have another friend who seems to have the same way of express emotions. They have to be intense and they have to stay intense or they aren’t real. Her relationships are usually short lived and sometimes devastating. I don’t think she will find someone long term until she realizes that her need for such intensity actually keeps her emotional maturity level in adolescence. Maybe she has found that out by now and matured past it, I don’t know. I hope so.

It also made me wonder if the opposite reaction, detachment, happens for the same reasons. What is detachment? If the events causing the intensity are too hurtful, block them and escape to a safe place in your head where nothing gets close enough to hurt you. And stay there for the rest of your life because although people say they won’t hurt you, they will. So just don’t go there, except for the very few who for sure really love you.

My mother dealt with it that way, and much of the time so do I. It’s making me wonder what’s on the other side, and where the sweet spot middle point is where the emotions feel good and relationships are rewarding. Where belonging feels better than solitude. That place where I can commit to something, anything, and feel secure. How do I look for it, and where will I find it? Where did I get stuck and how can I mature past it even at my age?

My friend has no idea what her lovely comments of last night stirred up in me, but I’m grateful that she did.

Drive-by Kissing. What an absolutely, supremely sweet concept.

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