Monday, October 27, 2008

Human Trafficking Is Wrong.

What the heck is is it with people?

I read yet another story about the trafficking children for sex. Apparently the FBI busted a large ring today. It's part of a broader range of human trafficking, but the deviance astounds me. I don't understand the thinking of people who'd buy and sell other people's flesh, especially children. It chills me to contemplate that they even exist.

It sometimes makes me think of how Darwinian evolution has been thwarted by legalisms. There's no place in the world to which we could exile those people and it's not a a capital crime either.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Marching To Vote For Obama

I seldom march. I marched in one of many Vietnam Moratorium marches held across the country. I marched for the Air Force not long after. (The two are not mutually exclusive, no matter what you've been told.) I marched for social justice when Dr. King was slain. Barack Obama is the first candidate I've marched for. I'm also agoraphobic and not keen on being in a crowd of strangers. But the turf of the march route and terminus was old, well-known, frequently explored territory while in my adolescence and not that far from home. With the help of a mild tranquilizer and a frozen caramel coffee confection from Satellite, I braved the public again. I marched.

We rallied at Obama's campaign headquarters at the corner of Central and Carlisle. It was held in a old building, once a Chevron station, that I remember as having had signs designating 'colored' and 'white' restrooms when I was but 4 or 5 years old. It's been a lot of things over the years. I remember looking at the familiar outlines of the building, seeing Obama pictures, signs in the windows saying "Early Voting Starting" and thinking how absolutely perfect it was housing Obama's campaign. Real fitting.

I picked up a little campaign swag - a Women for Obama button and some earrings with pics of Obama and the words "progress" and "hope" printed below. Any profits support the campaign. I even saw a few familiar faces in the building crowd - a couple of my kid sister's friends. It was good. The crowd swelled, people in cars passing by honked their horns and lots of 'thumbs up" popped out of rolled down windows. Sen. Ken Salazar, (D) Colorado was down to tout for Obama and help spread the good word. Salazar's constituent base is up near the northern NM border, so as a good neighbor knows about our issues as well. He said the West was key for Obama. I agree.

The march commenced. We moved westward along Central waving our placards accompanied by a fife player and drummer in our midst playing Revolutionary war ditties. It was a brisk walk and the terminus was the Student Union building on UNM's campus. The sky was a clear blazing blue with a few streaks of white clouds. The autumn air was warm and kissed with a slight breeze. More people honked and waved and I only heard two shout outs for the opposition along our route. I thought that was pretty damn sweet and awfully telling. I mean, New Mexico was pretty solid red in the last election.

We shed our campaign placards and all the rest well before the "no campaigning within 100 ft. limit of a polling place' limit. The buttons affixed to my tote were taken off as well as my Obama earrings and popped into a pocket. I followed the line into the Student Union where I'd once hung out playing hookey from mid school in order to learn about politics and public policy when I was barely 14 and that was 40 years ago friends! It's been a long time coming to this election. It's probably the most important election of my life time as I believe a better future for my countrymen & women's descendants depends on it.

There was a wait in line for some 45 minutes before getting our ballots and there was still a queue behind me that went all the way to the far north end of the hallway. Lots of folks had shown up ahead of us and after our crowd of some 2-300 people. An election official zipped up and down the hallway cheerfully admonishing us not to campaign, promote our candidates nor discuss politics, but feel free to sing Yankee Doodle if ya want or just get to meet a new friend today. I met a former lecturer of religious studies. We chit chatted some and the time passed fairly quickly. Voting line friends. And no, I didn't ask her who she was voting for. I reckon that is something as sacred as a confessional.

I voted for Barack Obama today and it was a sweet, sweet moment. I was a proud American choosing him.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Ooh my aching bod.

My friend Alley called me Wednesday about being her helper over at Willow again for Thursday and Friday. I show up. I'm on time and I work hard. At least for 3-4 hrs at a time I work hard. I don't have it in me for longer than that when it comes to manual labor, but appreciate the opportunity because it still gives my body a work out which is good at my age.

It was the war of the elm roots. Ya see, Willow decided sometime back she wanted her walkway redone with flagstone. The walkway has been dirt and crusher fine from before she bought her house. A few years ago, her brother-in-law did the inside of the front gate with flagstone but didn't continue it. But things simmered along with Willow planning on it "eventually". So eventual happens.

Now there's been a nice big hump in the walkway that we knew was a root from the elm in front of the house that goes all the way across and deep into the front yard. (Also where Alley and me worked a few weeks ago redoing the lawn - tilling in compost and then leveling, seeding, rolling and so on). Of course if we just laid the flagstone over it, it wouldn't seat flat and would be a hump with an edge. It would be of those edges thats perfect for catching a heel and tripping over or stubbing toes on. We needed to take out the roots so there would be a moderately level surface to work on.

A well established tree's roots can go every which way which is exactly what the elm's did. There were areas I dug in where I felt like I was excavating at an archaeological site with a whisk broom, a dental pick and can of compressed air. Actually my instruments included two types of shovels, large bypass loppers, small bypass shears, a hand cultivating rake, an axe and a saw. Alley got to use the chain saw which was fine with me. You can chop your way through small roots easily enough with a shovel, but roots larger than your shinbone need stouter tools. One one section of root about 16 inches long, we had to make a series of cuts through it, like a row of teeth, then knock each one out with an axe. (I was really glad we didn't have to use the splitting maul on it... it weighs almost 8 lbs!)

Being roots that went everywhere however, we discovered they were in most places as much as 25 inches around, some grown together, others tangled around each other. Digging out roots is not easy. You'd think it would be simple - just ratchet up the chain saw and set to. But you don't want to run the chain in the dirt because it will get dull in a heart beat, so you have to move as much dirt as you possibly can before cutting into the wood. After a while we were able to get ropes around the roots and use her truck to pull out the largest, most stubborn of them.

I remember reading stories of America's early settlers and how they'd clear the land -- taking the trees they logged and building houses of them, and then having to pull the stumps and roots with teams of horses. They'd spend 8, 10, 12 hours a day, month after month at it until they cleared up as much as a hundred acres or more. Men, women and children working at it. I put in about 8 hours on it over 2 days and am really glad it's not my regular work.

The pic is of the roots I'm whinging about. The two big ones weighed close to 200 lbs just by themselves. We set them out in the backyard to dry out and season .. should take about 3 years of so cos' there's so much sap and water in 'em.

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's A Good Time To Buy Stocks.

A lot of traditional stock has become relatively affordable for Joe Six-Pack these day Shares can be had for under $50 per share in a lot of good worthy companies, just so you know. But I reckon its also a good time to take stock. Who are we Americans anymore? Who are we really? At our core? JFK's famous line "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country!" resonates with me this season strongly.

What do we owe as citizens? What are we jack & jill citizens willing to do, to sacrifice, to help our country get back on it's feet? What are we unwilling to do and unwilling to sacrifice? Do you even think about it? Seriously. Meatless Fridays? Dairyfree Tuesdays. Walking Wednesdays? Parking the car 3 days a week and taking the bus? Homebound Thursdays? Sweeping the streets? Could you be happy if you had to participate in an effort where everyone was asked to give up a little bit if the end result left you better off in the long run? Would you dig into your bag of resources and make do or would you whine and go "just" along? Or would you rebel?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Justice Juiced

OJ. The Juice. Orenthal James Simpson was convicted in Las Vegas for kidnapping and armed robbery this weekend.

I think there may be some problems with the conviction though. News reports have already been flying that the jury was actually thinking about his trial for murder 13 years ago and that they had disagreed with his acquittal then. This is not a good thing. How do we really know that he was justly convicted? We don't and that does not make me feel more secure about justice in America.

My opinion of his acquittal is not popular amongst my fellow white folks. I wasn't in that alley, I didn't see the crime. What we did have was some reasonable evidence that OJ had abused Nicole during their marriage and that, along with him being black, made him the only suspect in the murders of Nicole Simpson and the Goldman lad. LAPD's investigation started and stopped with OJ and didn't seek to exclude anyone else. That's not good for the rest of us citizens. Not in the long run of things anyway. I believe in due diligence and all the more because of the number of men and women found to have been wrongly convicted of capitol crimes and sent to death row or sent to life in prison without possibility of parole.

For the record, I think the way OJ went about trying to get his 'stolen' memorabilia back was stupid beyond belief; given his notoriety he should have had his attorney contact the police to handle it.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Just So You Know...

I'm not better off than I was eight years ago.
Our country is not better off than it was eight years ago.
I'm not voting for the same old, same old.
I resent the bailout of Wall Street...
We ordinary folks aren't being bailed out.
We ordinary people would lose our jobs for losing our employer's money.
We regular "main streeters" don't get 'golden parachutes' for screwing things up.
We get prison sentences for things like embezzlement instead.
No, we're not better off at all.
And we've lost our rights in a devil's trade off for a sense of security.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Crone Tattoo

I finally got my 'crone' tattoo this week. Back in August, several women and I were 'croned' in a ceremony at Enchanted Mountain Gathering. Our little group had talked about us getting a triple goddess tattoo - symbolized by the waxing, full and waning moons. So far, three or four of us have had them done. Mine is on my left shoulder.

I deviated a bit...while sticking with the triple goddess moon motif, mine was embellished with a wave symbolizing endurance and three stars - red, green and blue white to symbolize my parents and kid brother who have passed away over the years. I have 4 sisters still alive and hope not to add stars for them for many long years to come.

The tattoo artist was named John and he works at Downtown Ink in Albuquerque.

I'm for Barack