Thursday, December 21, 2006

Over The Mountains and Through the Woods....

I am off to be with family, friends and loved ones for the holiday. During this time while watching basketball and bowl games, I'll also be reflecting quite a lot about what to do next when I come back.

It's been three months (!?!) since the blog has been started. And in the midst of work and life, I've tried to write and keep up with the latest developments of the day. However, I also explored some other issues as "think pieces" such as communication skills, not to mention my forays into sports. Politics, of course, is heating up. When we return from the Christmas dinners and the good tidings, a new Congress will be installed. A close scrutiny will be made upon the first hundred hours to see if Rep. Pelosi (now Madame Speaker of the House) will deliver as promised in restoring domestic issues back to America.

It will be also interesting to note how the situation in Iraq will be dealt with. After all, there are still ideas afoot in Washington that there isn't a civil war. Although others can see it, it doesn't mean that this harsh fact has sunk into all circles. After all, to admit the civil war is happening is to admit defeat. This too will be watched with certain aplomb especially when the new Secretary of Defense gives his recommendations about what to do about our overseas situation.

But now, it's time for the Emerald Bowl, Holiday Bowl (and begrudgingly, of course,) the Rose Bowl (Go Michigan!!!!). Not to mention, the Fiesta Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Orange well as all of those other bowls in between! ;-)

I send my love and holiday wishes to all of you, but especially (in no particular order):

Gemwolf, Duzey, DCFusion, Just Generic, HarlemHottie, donwhite, maria_stardust, Nikelbee, Yarium, whaaa, Bripe Kimun, ZeddicusZulZorander, truthseeka, Ngydan and psyopswatcher.

If I forgot you, I am sorry. But, I wish you too a very, merry holiday and the best during this festive, wonderous season.

As Vincent D'Onofrio says in The Player, "See you in the next reel!" :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Very Merry Holiday

Before I forget, I would like to send out a happy holidays to all of you near and far. It is wished that you experience the best of times. Please stay safe and well during the last two weeks of the year. It is also my hope that it is special and fantastic time had by all.

I am especially grateful for those of you who have stuck by me and continue to be patrons of my blog. Although the last two months have been very busy, you all have my continued appreciation and respect for your interest and care. From all of you, I have learned courage and tenacity in the midst of changes of fortune. And believe me, y'all, I have experienced all spectrums of it recently.

The good thing about the holidays is that it allows us time to reflect where we've been throughout the year as well as where we might want to be headed. And, I feel especially blessed that I have exchanged comments from thoughtful and gracious people who have taken the time to share their opinions and comments about many events of the day. Their words have caused me to think deeply about many issues far more than I would have ever done. Furthermore, their input has given me the art of expression. I still have a lot to learn, but it is great every step of the way.

Please enjoy yourselves and have a lovely time. And of course, spend a little time to reflect on those who need compassion and kindness during these two weeks as well. The least of us are also in great need during the holidays. They also deserve comfort and care as well. :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Desperate Times for Desperate People

The other thing that is troubling during this time is the gap between the classes in America. Historically speaking, the United States has always been perceived as a "classless society", one that does not reflect the Old World and its attachment to one's station in life. However, the Gilded Age of the 19th and early 20th Century changed that. Today's society lends further evidence that the "haves and the have mores" possess more of the pie than the rest of us.

During the present Administration, we are more separated by class possibly than in the past. The ultra rich have made stupendous amounts of money during this age while the middle and working class has floundered due to the shifts in the economy. And the poor? As a quip that has ironically been said from time to time, let them eat yellow cake. After all, the poor (as evidenced from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina) remain invisible in a society increasingly being convinced that the government has no role in trying to help them.

As a result, there are a rash of stories coming out in the news of people doing desperate things in the name of money. Everyday, there seems to be story on identity theft or hacking into a system of personal information. Since we have become an increasingly electronic society in which cash and personal information have become more valuable to make transactions, desperate acts become more and more apparent only to exist.

Just like the eighties, money has been the sole part of being acknowledged and accepted in society. It almost seems that the "morals" that have been constantly thrown at us equate "godliness" with being an "acceptable member" of society through how much is owned. This is a shame that the present value system of American society relating these ideals has been increasingly noticable in entertainment, speeches and news. However, when you see the rich doing what they want without any ethical compass to guide them while people like you and myself getting caught on the smallest offenses, one can see that desperate measures come from desperate times.

When national leaders constantly talk and ignore their way out of culpability, what kind of example does it set for the rest of us? Not a very good one. And if politicans don't care, then should the rest of us care? That answer requires a lot of thought for some while for others it doesn't take a New York minute for the answer. It only shows that we are not an egalitarian society--not for one second.

Desperation has become a signifier of the post-9/11 society, it seems. There seems to be a hurried, expectant nature to get the results required. Whether it is vanquishing terrorists or trying to put a lid on the latest scandal, people demand things to be done quickly and succinctly without any second thoughts. As a result, the sense of right and wrong seems to be ignored without any sense of empathy.

Still here, there is more to be said in searching for the reasons why. When it comes to the state of America, one needs to come back to the notion of a country trying to search for its soul once again.

We are definitely lost in many ways. We won't be found again until we listen to the pleas of our citizens and work on getting better wages for everyone while narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor. People must definitely stop voting against their best interests. Instead, justice and fairness must be explored again in order to set right the inequalities that the difference in classes convey.

There's Still Work to be Done

In our usual talks over the phone, my father told me something that I didn't find out until the late night news: that the Dems control over the Senate might be in jeopardy.

Knowing my forays into the cyberspace world, Dad told me, "Read it on the Internet. They probably have something more to say on this matter."

A quick glance over the daily news (apart from the sad news about actor Peter Boyle's passing :( )revealed what he was telling me earlier this evening:

This comes from the Houston Chronicle:

Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota was hospitalized Wednesday with the symptoms of a stroke and underwent surgery several hours later, officials said.

There was no word on the nature of the surgery, which lasted past midnight, or on Johnson's condition.

Apart from the risk to his health, Johnson's illness carried political ramifications. Democrats emerged from last month's elections with a 51-49 Senate majority. If he is forced to relinquish his seat, a replacement would be named by South Dakota's GOP Gov. Mike Rounds.

A Republican appointee would create at 50-50 tie, and allow the GOP to retain Senate control.

It is amazing how the winds of fortune can change in the blink of an eye. It is definitely serious if there is brain surgery. And at this time, all best wishes go to the Senator's family in this time of dire need.

The thing that comes up with news like this is whether the GOP would be callous enough to treat this sad incident as roadkill and name the appointee before it is said and done. This is not to be said lightly. The present Administration is not that hospitable to "the enemy"--the opposing party. For the acts that have happened (like putting Rep. John Conyers (D.-Mich) in a basement room of the White House to hold a press conference or the skewering of former Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney by the passage of a resolution), it is not surprising that the lack of empathy and candor which would otherwise be held by those more thoughtful would not be practiced in this case.

However, even the most tactful of those in the GOP might notice that if such an act were to take place, it might reflect badly in their stance to quickly tip the scales of power. One would hope that the notion of humanity would appeal to some. It is hoped that someone of the elephant party would have a sense of civility in this matter.

Politics is a cutthroat business not for the faint of heart. Keep your eyes peeled and your senses keen. Things will probably happen that will never cease to surprise you.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Oh, The Places We Will Go

After reading dcfusion's entry on his wonderful blog, Scripted Musings for No One in Particular, I found out that ATS now has a great look from the last time I saw it. It only gets better for those who continue to stay with and nurture its growth. It was amazing to see the changes that have come forth. Let us hope that with its transformation, a plethora of empathetic and wise voices come forth to help it blossom. Let them continue to carry on the fight for knowledge and compassion for the least of us. And, I certainly hope that in such a place for the fruition of information, that the wise are given a platform to speak especially in difficult and controversial topics.

To those that carry on this action, I give my utmost blessings and hopes. I wish them the best. :)

P.S. For those of you still in contact with Harlem Hottie and donwhite, please give them a warm hello, happy holidays and my best regards. I miss them very much and certainly hope that they know that I think about them often--especially on days like this. And...encourage those two to start blogs!!!!!!! :)

Thank God for the Rebel Rousers

A pearl of wisdom from my sister made me also reflect on the state of things. She told me, "Thank God for the rebel rousers for they open our eyes to what isn't there."

At first, this saying might seem odd or even obtruse. Thinking about it, a lot of pioneers have been troublemakers in their own right because they challenged what has been accepted and taken as gospel. They openly questioned the state of things and fought for the rights of all opposed to some. They introduced ideas that were revolutionary, but not taken very well by those well adjusted to the status quo. And they were not being "disruptive" perse; instead, they were just doing their duty to wake up the consciousness of the asleep. And those who are asleep mainly say that they "didn't see anything" or that "nothing happened".

At first, in the eyes of the status quo the "rebel rouser" might be seen as tilting at windmills and making pictures out of the clouds. But to those who are deeply sensitive to the actions of some against others, the actions of the "disruptive ones" awaken them to the inequalities and degredation that often happens under the surface. Sadly enough, it costs less to be amongst the conventional who cross every t and dot every i. Making a difference costs more.

And for the number of people who try to make a difference in their lives, there are those who angrily fight back because silencing dissent is part of their modus operandi. When the questions refused be acknowledged and answered, it might seem good. But in the end, it creates another wall against learning and knowledge that might cause a new aspect of social change.

Social change, I gather, is not for the weak-willed or the followers of society. Those that are willing to root out their neighbors and sell them down the river pretty much given up their freedom of thought and action. But for those who are willing to embrace the aspect of inquiry and the search for making things better in society has the world in their hands.

This time more than ever, people are searching for answers. They are hungry for change. The last election showed that a lot of citizens were sick and tired of business as usual. It even caused some heads to roll. Most notably, Mr. Rumsfeld was sent his walking papers due to the disgust of the people over the outcome of the second Iraqi war.

Of course, the quest for "bipartisanship" is a smoke screen. The GOP has no interest in working with the Democrats to make government better. However, it is a time for those who are willing to suggest changes that will make the United States better domestically and internationally. That means mending fences at home and abroad. It also defines the aspect of helping Americans through making their quality of life better.

So, the government, right now, needs rebel rousers. They need the ballsy, disruptive types to get things done in the face of turmoil. These are the people who are brave enough to withstand the pogroms and shout down the loud voices sent to impede social progress in the face of a dire time. It is time that we get courageous, intelligent and tactful leaders who are willing to stick their neck out in the effort to take our country back from the hands of those who have attacked its principles and derailed its efforts against liberty.

Liberty does not always mean what it does because it is turned into a soundbyte or a solemn reminder of an act of aggression. It also stands for freedom of speech, civil rights and the ability to question our government when it is doing things that are detrimental to the progress of its station here and overseas. Liberty also calls for those who are just in their attempts in using the tenets of the Constitution instead of dismantling them for the petty needs of a few.

And it is the rebel rouser who will hold those petty needs in check in the effort progress the civility and gentility of the many who honestly believe that the tenets which made America great should be bestowed to everyone.

Beginning To Search For the Soul Under the Surface

A couple of posts back, Gemwolf had written some interesting and thought-provoking things on the state of America. Glancing at his words once again, I began to think deeply about what he had spoken. Is America truly at the precipice of decline?

After much thinking, this is my answer to him.

I suppose that it is a view very much in the eye of the beholder. However, I tend to think that every country has a moment of its rise and fall. The United States is in the midst of a nadir of influence. It is fraying at the edges and even coming apart at the seams. But, I tend to agree with the view of others that we have returned back to the Vietnam era. America had sent its young off to die. It isn't the rich and the privileged who is fighting in the front lines; it is poor and the middle class who feels they must serve their country in this matter. Some, unfortunately, have returned in body bags with a lot of fan fare and little explaination. That expository notion regarding the reasons of the war had been hashed over by a committee. But still the President of the United States pooh-poohed the findings and decided to go off on his own in the next two weeks to come up with his "own recommendations".

But that does nothing to decrease the decline of the country or eliminate the suffering caused by occupation. It still goes on. And our young people continue to get injured or killed. When they get sent home, the public is not supposed to see them except for carefully constructed news reports to minimalize the horror that this conflict has brought to the world.

All of these things contribute to the decline. We have turned into a nation of denial being led by the "Denier in Chief". We are constantly led by the media and entertainment to not really believe what we are seeing and hearing. The only thing we must repeat are patriotic words used to promote nationalism above our own misgivings and feelings. And when the truth silently floats to the surface of the mire we call "public information", the loudest of us all practice very well what our leaders taught us: deny, deny, deny.

And while all this flag-waving and nationalist action is taking part, America domestically falls to shambles. We constantly ignore our economic and health situation. We do not notice crime--unless it has to do with being searched in the airport or "rooting out terrorists". We are given free license, due to our nationalism, to insult and openly deride efforts to increase diversity and brotherhood. Instead, the pundits help this action along by telling us it is alright to shout down the opponent instead of engage in thoughtful and much needed discussion. Authority, in the end, has gained superiority because for those who feel that the country is "less moral" and "Godless" have taken over and surrendered their free will to people who don't have their best interests at heart.

Sad at it seems, fear has also caused the rest of us to do the same.

So, the question still stands: is the United States at a decline? Yes. Have we reached rock bottom? We're heading there. Do we have the power to change our situation? Heck yeah. More than we know.

The solution here is to turn a deaf ear to the deniers. They have caused too much damage to the fragile state of things without thinking about the welfare of the rest of us. For five years, we have had to suffer their attitudes and ignorance afforded to sticking their head in the sand and only repeating what the national leaders have told them. It is about time, we embrace the truth and begin to practice it by taking our country back and making it better.

I truly believe that America, in her largesse, has a soul buried under the mire of denial. It takes the courageous, the earnest and the intelligent to find it and to make it shine like a beacon again.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Second Fall of Troy!!!!!!!!!

Okay, folks. Do the eight-clap with me. My gutty little Bruins defeated the Trojans today. However, one has to feel sorry for Pete Carroll. The coach stunned, there is no way USC will meet Ohio now. Yes, Virginia, there is a Christmas. It was made at the Rose Bowl!

U-C-L-A Fight, fight fight!!!!

When I simmer down after Sunday (Bruin Basketball plays tomorrow afternoon), there will be more entries on politics. But right now, I am simply elated. It is the coolest feeling seeing your team triumph over adversity. Now, it's time for the Emerald Bowl and Florida State!


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