Monday, July 28, 2008
Jesse had football mini-camp tonight, he moved up to middle school league, so new faces etc. I signed him in, paid his fee, while he visited with teammates he hadnt seen in awhile. Ciarra was with me, and just as I finished up, the coach stuck out his hand to her, shook her hand, and said "So, Jesse, you're 12?" :lol I about died laughing, he thought Ciarra was signing up for middle school football, and he didnt bat an eye. Im SURE he was wondering, but he handled it like a pro.
At Tiller's clinic, abortions after 21 weeks gestation require three to four days to complete. Women from across the country come to WHCS because these late abortions are not widely available in other states.Kansas state law requires that two independent doctors determine there would be "substantial and irreversible" harm to the mother without the procedure before late-term abortions can proceed.
Kansas law states that abortions past 22 weeks gestation must be to save the live of the mother or prevent "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." The term "bodily function" has been assumed to include mental health risks. All of Tiller's post-viability abortions have been done under "mental heath" excuses.
Tiller, who runs a politically influential PAC in Kansas, faces criminal charges filed by former Attorney General Paul Morrison alleging he failed to follow state law regarding late-term abortions, and a trial on those counts has been delayed several times. (Morrison is an abortion supporter and past beneficiary of Tiller's PAC. The charges he filed were made after intense public outrage, and were the least enforceable and punishable of the many charges he could have filed, misdemeanors. But at least he did something. This case is an outrageous example of bias in prosecution.)
When Morrison filed the lesser counts, he said, "The Kansas late-term abortion statute, K.S.A. 65-6703, states that the doctor performing the abortion must have 'a documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with the physician performing or inducing the abortion and both physicians determine that: (1) the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman; or (2) a continuation of the pregnancy will cause a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.'"
"Due to the serious nature of late-term abortion, the Legislature chose to require that two independent doctors make the determination of 'substantial and irreversible' harm before an abortion can be performed," Morrison said.
Tiller is scheduled to be arraigned on the 19 Morrison charges on August 7, in Sedgwick County. Tiller's attorneys had filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on their opinion that the part of the law Tiller was charged under is unconstitutional..
Judge Owens denies Tiller's motion to dismiss criminal charges. Upholds constitutionality of Kansas post-viability abortion ban
July 28th, 2008
Wichita, KS - District Court Judge Clark V. Owens released a 35-page opinion today on the constitutional challenge to the Kansas post-viability abortion ban, saying that "K.S.A. 65-6703 survives all of the constitutional challenges" presented by Tiller. His motion to dismiss the 19 criminal charges against him was denied.
This ruling will send Tiller to trial to face allegations that he illegally aborted 19 viable babies without first having obtained the second concurring opinion from an unaffiliated Kansas physician. If convicted, Tiller faces the possibility of 19 years in jail.
"We have just one thing to say to Tiller today and that is, 'See you in court!'" said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "Today's ruling by Judge Owens vindicates our efforts to bring Tiller to justice. All along, we knew that it wasn't the law that was faulty, but it was Tiller's interpretation of the law that was faulty. This gives us a glimmer of hope that we could eventually see some shred of justice."
The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation
Parent/Family Public Policy Fellowship Program 2009
The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation is seeking outstanding leaders who are parents or family members of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and who are working towards the enhancement of inclusive services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for an intensive one-year Public Policy Fellowship in Washington, D.C. During this one year Fellowship, the successful applicant will learn how legislation is initiated, developed, and passed by the Congress, or how programs are administered and regulations promulgated by federal agencies. The purpose of the Fellowship is to prepare emerging leaders or experienced family advocates to assume leadership in the public policy arena, in their home state and or nationally. The coming year promises to be an exceptional opportunity to participate in the policy development process as we go through both the Presidential and congressional election processes and begin the 111th Congress.
Each year the Foundation brings talented and accomplished people to Washington for a full year, where they actively participate in public policy development in the offices of Members of Congress, congressional committees, or federal agencies. Former Public Policy Fellows describe the Fellowship as a major turning point in their lives. The coming year offers exciting opportunities to be involved in policy and legislative development in key areas such as The Developmental Disabilities Act, special education, health and mental health care for persons with disabilities, disability civil rights, child care, housing, justice, child welfare and other areas related to improving the quality of life for individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities.
Since its founding in 1946, the Foundation has supported the creation of practical programs to benefit persons with intellectual disabilities, their families and their communities. The Foundation has always worked with national leaders who understand the realities of government. The need for skilled leadership has never been greater. In response to this need, the Foundation initiated the Public Policy Fellowship Program in 1980. Fellows receive first-hand knowledge and experience in the development of public policy and the opportunity to participate in an advocacy training workshop, national disability policy seminars and the intensive week-long Bioethics course at Georgetown University’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics.
We seek people with outstanding experience in:
State or national level advocacy for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families;
Vocational rehabilitation, education, child care, child welfare, law, employment, community organizing, housing or development of inclusive community supports and services;
Health or mental health care for people with mental retardation; or
Development of family training or family support services.
The successful applicant’s background will include distinguished involvement in efforts to improve the lives of persons with intellectual and other developmental disabilities at the regional, state or national level. The expectation is that fellows will become future leaders in the field of inclusive community supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and after their year in Washington will make significant contributions to policy and program development in their home state or continue to advance their work on the national level.
The program provides a one-year full-time exposure to the federal public policy making process, and includes a stipend and modest relocation expenses. Selected fellows must be prepared to live in the Washington, DC area during their fellowship year and to devote themselves full-time to the fellowship. In addition, applicants have the opportunity to participate in the Intensive Bioethics Course offered at the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Institute of Bioethics at Georgetown University. For more information on this course go to http://kennedyinstitute.georgetown.edu/
Application process and guidelines:
Applicants should submit a letter of application between 2 and no more than 4 pages in length stating their interest and accomplishments at the local, state or national levels to date, as well as what they hope to do with the knowledge and experience gained from the fellowship. They should also attach either a résumé or a summary of their involvement in the field, along with three letters of support from people familiar with their work. Applications should clearly show the candidate's name, address, telephone number(s) and e-mail address on the first page. The preferred method of application, letters and résumé submission is via e-mail attachment (i.e. not in the body of the e-mail) to email@example.com. PDF attachments are strongly encouraged but not required. Applicants may follow up with hard copies via regular mail if they wish. Letters of support are also encouraged via e-mail but a hard copy on letterhead with the supporter's signature must follow in the mail.
The application deadline for 2009 is August 15, 2008. The Fellowship starting date will be negotiated with the successful applicant. The Foundation anticipates one Fellowship beginning in February, 2009 and running through July, 2010. Two other fellowships will be available for the period September 2009-August, 2010. As early 2009 will be the beginning of a new administration and Congress, the Foundation may delay the starting date until congressional committees have been reconstituted. Finalists will be invited to Washington in the fall of 2008 to be interviewed by a distinguished panel of Public Policy experts.
Address letters of application to:
Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver
The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation
1133 19th Street NW, 12th Floor
Washington, DC 20036
Attention: Parent/Family Public Policy Fellowship Program
I am 40 years old. Seems hard to imagine sometimes, life has been so busy, crazily hurtling forward, I blink and another year has passed. I love this life, most days. The insanity and the craziness, watching my children grow, watching age appear on Jim's face and my own. We earned these wrinkles, and we lived the life that caused them fully. It has not always been easy for any of us, but we are survivors and we learn from our mistakes. The one thing that matters to us the most is family, raising our kids right, loving each other well. At this time in our lives, we have finally learned to laugh together, to have fun and relax, to enjoy it for what it is, imperfect, warts and all, life.
We had a BBQ here Saturday, Rob & Wendy and the kids came over. It is likely one of the last times that will happen, as I have blogged about before, they are moving away very soon. I am trying hard to be a big girl about it, trying to support my best friend as she makes this huge change. She needs me to be here for her, even across the country. I will miss her so much, but I know that time does not stand still, and I will blink my eyes and the days will pass, somehow. I believe she will come home again, it might not be until we are old and gray, but this kind of love doesnt just stop. Like Jim and I, we have certainly been beaten by life a few times, but I could never walk away from him, he is so deeply a part of me, and I of him.
When I went grocery shopping to get food for the BBQ, I was walking through the produce aisle when I spotted corn on the cob in a big bin, they hadnt had any for the last few visits, so I was happy to see it. I walked towards it, then heard a voice saying "Young lady, I see you eyeballing this corn, you'll be needing this", I looked up and there was a sweet looking and very elderly gentleman standing there with his hand extended towards me, holding a bag for the corn. I smiled and said thank you, took the bag, and stood across from him at the bin, picking through the corn quietly. I was having trouble finding any that looked good when he spoke up again, "Seems this corn didnt grow very well, did it?" I nodded in agreement, and then took a better look at him. He had on a "Retired U.S. Army" hat, and big square glasses, grey hair framed a strong face, on a body made small by time. I doubt he was ever a big man, but you could see he had been a strong one. He looked weathered and worn, but distinguised, too, in a suit jacket over a crisp white collared shirt.
He was the kind of man that makes you want to stop and talk for a minute...or at least makes ME want to. So many people are so quick to walk by the elderly, dismiss them, forget the sacrifices they made to make this country great. I love old people, my mom worked in a nursing home the entire time I was growing up, and I learned to love and respect them through her. I stood looking at this man, and I knew it was silly, but I wanted to talk to him awhile, right there in the grocery store, shucking corn, I wanted to hear his story, and to take the time to listen to whatever he had to say.
"US Army Retired, huh?" I said
"Yes ma'am, thats right."
"When were you in?"
"WWII, Burma (Myanmar)" he said more, but I cant remember them all
"What did you do?"
"I was in the signal corp, in a combat zone but fairly safe. I was lucky."
He talked more about the war, and I thanked him for his service. Then he really started talking.
"You know, not many people take the time to listen to us old soldier's tell their war stories."
"I love hearing them, thank you for sharing them with me."
"Well, you are a good listener, I havent talked to anyone for this long in over three years. I think I have about enough corn now, only needed 2 pieces."
"2? Are you shopping for your wife and you?"
"Yes, she is in advanced stage Alzheimers disease, hasnt spoken in three years, except the occasional cuss word. She cant tell the difference from one food to the next anymore, but I keep feedin it to her."
"Oh, Im so sorry, that must be hard. Do you not have any help? None of your children help out?"
"Oh, we didnt have children, I was only 17 when I left for training, and by the time we were ready, it just didnt happen for us. We just lived for each other then."
"That's very sweet. But you dont get hospice or meals for me or anything to help you?"
"No, I made a vow to this woman the day I married her, 'till death do us part'. Taking care of her is my job, and I dont want no welfare."
I am now almost in tears, he is standing straight with his shoulders back and his head high, and I certainly am not about to argue with him. He doesnt seem like a fragile old man now, he seems powerful, strong, capable. I want to ask his phone number, to find a way to keep in touch, this stranger that feels like a friend. I want to hug him, but it seems more respectful to shake his hand. I ask his name, it is Ben.
"Nice to meet you, Ben. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, I have enjoyed it."
"Have a nice day, young lady," he says, and I realize, he is right. I am young. I feel old, feel like life is rushing by me. But I will live many years in the next blink of my eyes. My children will grow to adulthood, the world will change, but always, always, there will be love. May it be as powerful and sure as Ben's for his wife.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
-when the man you love has spent hours preparing the new pool to be filled, be grateful that he is out in the hot sun, levelling and preparing the ground.
-when the above man goes to the store to get pool chemicals, while waiting for the pool man to come fill said pool, do NOT take it upon yourself to "try to help" by "fixing" the one side of the pool that just doesn't look level to you.
-resist the urge, at all costs, to lift the side of the pool just to have a peek beneath it to see if you can "fix it better"
-Do NOT...never, for any reason, grab a rake to "just touch it up a little"
-don't decide that "maybe if I dig down an inch or so on this side, it will level out.
-run screaming from the thought that you can smooth out the bottom (like he had it before you "fixed it") he makes it look WAY easier than it is. TRUST ME.
-when it feels like it might tear, stop. By all that is holy, stop.
-smoothing the ground back out (except the obvious ridge about 1/3rd of the way under the pool)and making it look like you didn't touch it wont work.
-telling him, when he arrives home to find you panting heavily, rake in hand that "the dog dug a hole, I'm fixing it" is a REALLY bad idea. He may act it, but he isn't dumb. Usually.
-When he looks at you, with those gorgeous brown eyes full of disappointment and...shall we say...doubt?....deny deny deny. Stick to your story, you have not much else to lose.
-"I was trying to help" is not a good excuse.
-DONT try to help. It makes much more work for him. Admit there are some things you aren't that good at. Like anything he can do, he usually is doing it because he is afraid you might try to help.
-when he is looking at you with amusement, even though you know he is mad, thats a good time to fess up. Of course, you will stick to your story and look really foolish. Fetching him a cold water from the fridge wont make it better, although if you time your exit just right, it does have the effect of getting you out of-the LOOK.
-when he says that the pool has shifted way too much to work, agree. Dont find reasons why it is still fixable. Learning to be still is a virtue, I think.
-when he puts one end of the hose in the pool, then takes the other to the ditch and sucks on it to draw the water down using gravity, be amazed at his maleness and ability to know these things.
-heres the biggie. Write this one down. When you think that you can just grab that other little piece of hose and show him just how capable you are in a mans world, dont. I mean it, helping here will only cause you great embarrassment and humiliation.
-A woman's place is not in the yard helping fix what she has screwed up. It REALLY isnt sucking on the end of a garden hose for 20 minutes, getting nothing but air and the occasional something that you are sure is a bug. Suffering through it because you deserve to have to pay a little price is not noble, it is stupid.
-When the man says "Michelle, I will do it, just wait a second, will you please?", dont look at him sadly and say "I got it." He doesnt think you are helping. He thinks you are being a pain in the ass.
-when you realize that the reason you are sucking air and stuff is because you forgot to put the other end in the pool, go do so discreetly. You look dumb enough.
-Do not then take a big suck on the hose. Just dont. It is the worst idea you have had all day.
-If you are determined to take that big haul on the hose, feeling good when you hear water gurgle at the other end, let go. Put down the hose.
-And lastly, if you arent smart enough to put down the hose, at least purse your lips a bit so you dont drown, or as you are about to discover, swallow a huge load of black ants and their eggs.
-If you do manage to get a mouthful of the delicious Sunday morning brunch consisting of maggot-ooking white eggs and squirming black ants, spit...quickly. It aint girly, but neither is vomitting repeatedly on the side of the lawn while your husband and son ask you if "you got a mouthful of water?" and then their concern grows, as you vomit so much your insides turn inside out, and they come rushing to your side (is this what it takes to earn forgiveness? It is pity, ok, I will take it.)
-When you cannot speak because you are currently occupied, point your finger in the direction of the squirming mass you almost had for breakfast, then turn quickly away as the sight of them makes it much worse.
-When your man says "omg that is gross! If you would have waited a minute I would have had that in my mouth." resist the urge to wish you had waited a minute. You deserve this, and besides, he would have been even madder if it was him.
-when he asks you in all seriousness, and even a twinkle in his eyes (which arent so pretty anymore, you notice) "I wanna know if they were moving around in there?" ignore him. Look at him plaintively and shrug your shoulders, then walk slowly into the house. You are off the hook, dont try to fix anything else for at least a week.
PS one last bit of advice? Dont Google "ant eggs in my mouth". And forget that feeling that just maybe there is an ant in your nose.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
when Ciarra was a baby, we bought a touch screen monitor for her to use. It snaps right on over a monitor and allows a kid who is very young to touch their answers on a screen. It works with ANY software you can find, taking the place of a mouse. It allowed Ciarra to become very independant on the computer very early on. If you can, I would highly suggest a computer of their own, on a kid-friendly child sized desk, with a touch screen and as many GOOD kids software programs as you can find. I blogger here about some of the better ones we used. You will be amazed at the things your child can learn, and considering it is time to start thinking Christmas (EEK) then you might want to suggest a touch screen to grandparents etc. Any questions you have, feel free to ask. I have a video somehwre of her at 2 using a touchscreen very successfully, with a Clifford cd rom, AWESOME program. Jump Start too...hands down the BEST investment towards reading we EVER made for Ciarra was her own computer and a touchscreen.
Magic touch can be easily installed and removed. No need to open up the computer case, and no power supply is needed.
Magic touch can be activated on touch by almost anything - finger, fingernail, gloved hand or stylus.
Magic touch and mouse can be used concurrently. On-screen utility icon allows easy swap of left-right mouse-button functions.
Magic touch can eliminate the electrostatic and significantly reduce the radiation generated from the monitor.
Magic touch has excellent scratch resistance and chemical resistance. It may be cleaned with household cleaner, like Windex.
Magic touch is available for USB or Serial (ProE) interface. Compatible with Win Vista, XP, 2000, 98, 95, ME, NT, Linux, Mac.
Now the world will watch and remember what we do here – what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?
Campaign Speech in Berlin, Germany
July 24, 2008
Yes, Barack, "we" will. Or, better yet, some already have. For instance, your rival in the run for the Presidency, John McCain. Mr McCain has 7 children, 3 of them adopted: Doug and Andy are the two children that he adopted when he married their mother, Carol - his first wife. He and Carol then had Sidney. After his divorce from Carol, he and second wife, Cindy, adopted Bridget from Mother Teresa’s orphange in Bangladesh. He and Cindy are the biological parents of Meghan, Jack and Jimmy. Pretty words are nice, but what have you done, personally, to back them up?
John and Cindy McCain adopted Bridget McCain... From Bangladesh.
Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., talks on the cell phone in his hotel room on election night in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008. At right are his daughters Bridget and Meghan McCain.
In 1991, John and Cindy McCain adopted a beautiful young girl from Bangladesh.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
Cindy McCain visited Mother Teresa’s orphanage in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where she saw 160 newborn girls who had been abandoned. The nuns handed her a small baby with a cleft palate so severe that she couldn’t be fed. Another baby, also just a few weeks old, had a heart defect. Worried they would die without medical attention, Cindy applied for medical visas to take the girls back to the United States. But the country’s minister of health refused to sign the papers. “We can do surgery on this child,” an official told her. Cindy, frustrated, slammed her fist on the table. “Then do it! What are you waiting for?” The official, stunned, simply signed the papers. “I don’t know where I got the nerve,” Cindy said.
When she arrived in Phoenix, she carried the baby with the cleft palate off the plane. Her husband met her at the airport. He looked at the baby. “Where is she going,” he asked her. “To our house,” she replied. They adopted the little girl and named her Bridget. The second infant Mrs. McCain brought back ended up being adopted by a young McCain aide and his wife.
"We were called at midnight by Cindy," Wes Gullett remembers, and "five days later we met our new daughter Nicki at the L.A. airport wearing the only clothing Cindy could find on the trip back, a 7-Up T-shirt she bought in the Bangkok airport." Today, Nicki is a high school sophomore. Mr. Gullett told me, "I never saw a hospital bill" for her care.
Video of Meghan McCain telling about Bridget McCain
Friday, July 25, 2008
Ciarra's 3rd grade teacher is tutoring her over the summer, working on keeping her reading and writing up to par. She ended 3rd grade at an ending third grade level, which is a testament to this teacher (and others) ability to really teach her WELL.
Ciarra's writing has been coming along, she has good fine motor skills, but writing requires 1) having a train of thought you want to express and 2) spelling each word individually as you go to create the story. Sometimes the story ends up not going where she wants because the spelling and planning take up all of her time/energy. Yesterday, she brought home this paper. her teacher told me that she wrote it ENTIRELY on her own, no spelling help, no nothing help. I was excited. She has written many papers, but this one is a cohesive train of thought with pretty darn good spelling if I do say so myself. :) Im a proud momma. And yes, it isnt what most 9-10 yr olds could do, but it is what SHE can do. And I will gladly take it.
Google is to face criminal charges in Italy over a video which appeared on one of its sites showing a disabled teenager being taunted by his peers.
Italian prosecutors have indicated that they will press charges against four Google executives over a video which was posted on one of the search giant's Italian sites in 2006, which showed four youths making fun of a disabled teenager in a classroom in the northern city of Turin.
Magistrates who have recently ended a two-year investigation into the incident claim that the airing of the 191-second clip, which showed the youths making fun of the teenager before hitting him over the head with a box of tissues, amounted to a breach of privacy and was defamatory.
A spokesman for Google was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying that the company co-operated with Italian prosecutors throughout their investigation and that the video was removed from the site in question within hours of administrators being notified of its existence in September, 2006.
Google has had several run-ins with governments around the world over its video-sharing site, which does not screen content before it is uploaded and relies on its users to point out offensive content.
The case bears resemblances to an incident in the UK in November last year, when a video which appeared to show a 23-year-old woman being sexually assaulted was posted on YouTube. Google, which owns YouTube, was not prosecuted in that case, although it admitted that it had been too slow to remove the clip.
The Italian investigation was prompted after a group acting on behalf of people with Down syndrome was alerted to the video. The four youths who filmed the incident are also reported to have faced criminal prosecution.
A Google spokesman was quoted as saying that there was no basis for the legal action because under EU legislation - which has been incorporated into Italian law - Google isn't required to monitor third-party content on its sites. It must only take down offending content when it is notified.
In the past governments in several countries - including Pakistan, Thailand, and Morocco - have temporarily suspended YouTube for streaming what they said was offensive content.
A spokesman for Google today declined to comment on the proceedings.
He ventured forth to bring light to the world
The anointed one's pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a miracle in action - and a blessing to all his faithful followers
BY: Gerard Baker
And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.
The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.
When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”
In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.
And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth - for the first time - to bring the light unto all the world.
He travelled fleet of foot and light of camel, with a small retinue that consisted only of his loyal disciples from the tribe of the Media. He ventured first to the land of the Hindu Kush, where the
Taleban had harboured the viper of al-Qaeda in their bosom, raining terror on all the world.
And the Child spake and the tribes of Nato immediately loosed the Caveats that had previously bound them. And in the great battle that ensued the forces of the light were triumphant. For as long as the
Child stood with his arms raised aloft, the enemy suffered great blows and the threat of terror was no more.
From there he went forth to Mesopotamia where he was received by the great ruler al-Maliki, and al-Maliki spake unto him and blessed his Sixteen Month Troop Withdrawal Plan even as the imperial warrior Petraeus tried to destroy it.
And lo, in Mesopotamia, a miracle occurred. Even though the Great Surge of Armour that the evil Bush had ordered had been a terrible mistake, a waste of vital military resources and doomed to end in disaster, the Child's very presence suddenly brought forth a great victory for the forces of the light.
And the Persians, who saw all this and were greatly fearful, longed to speak with the Child and saw that the Child was the bringer of peace. At the mention of his name they quickly laid aside their intrigues and beat their uranium swords into civil nuclear energy ploughshares.
From there the Child went up to the city of Jerusalem, and entered through the gate seated on an ass. The crowds of network anchors who had followed him from afar cheered “Hosanna” and waved great palm fronds and strewed them at his feet.
In Jerusalem and in surrounding Palestine, the Child spake to the Hebrews and the Arabs, as the Scripture had foretold. And in an instant, the lion lay down with the lamb, and the Israelites and Ishmaelites ended their long enmity and lived for ever after in peace.
As word spread throughout the land about the Child's wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.
And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.
The Great Prophet Algore of Nobel and Oscar, who many had believed was the anointed one, smiled and told his followers that the Child was the one generations had been waiting for.
And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again.
Black gold gushed from the ground at prices well below $140 per barrel. In hospitals across the land the sick were cured even though they were uninsured. And all because the Child had pronounced it.
And this is the testimony of one who speaks the truth and bears witness to the truth so that you might believe. And he knows it is the truth for he saw it all on CNN and the BBC and in the pages of The New York Times.
Then the Child ventured forth from Israel and Palestine and stepped onto the shores of the Old Continent. In the land of Queen Angela of Merkel, vast multitudes gathered to hear his voice, and he preached to them at length.
But when he had finished speaking his disciples told him the crowd was hungry, for they had had nothing to eat all the hours they had waited for him.
And so the Child told his disciples to fetch some food but all they had was five loaves and a couple of frankfurters. So he took the bread and the frankfurters and blessed them and told his disciples to feed the multitudes. And when all had eaten their fill, the scraps filled twelve baskets.
Thence he travelled west to Mount Sarkozy. Even the beauteous Princess Carla of the tribe of the Bruni was struck by awe and she was great in love with the Child, but he was tempted not.
On the Seventh Day he walked across the Channel of the Angles to the ancient land of the hooligans. There he was welcomed with open arms by the once great prophet Blair and his successor, Gordon the Leper, and his successor, David the Golden One.
And suddenly, with the men appeared the archangel Gabriel and the whole host of the heavenly choir, ranks of cherubim and seraphim, all praising God and singing: “Yes, We Can.”
An analysis of federal records shows that the amount of money journalists contributed so far this election cycle favors Democrats by a 15:1 ratio over Republicans, with $225,563 going to Democrats, only $16,298 to Republicans .
Two-hundred thirty-five journalists donated to Democrats, just 20 gave to Republicans — a margin greater than 10-to-1. An even greater disparity, 20-to-1, exists between the number of journalists who donated to Barack Obama and John McCain.
Searches for other newsroom categories (reporters, correspondents, news editors, anchors, newspaper editors and publishers) produces 311 donors to Democrats to 30 donors to Republicans, a ratio of just over 10-to-1. In terms of money, $279,266 went to Dems, $20,709 to Republicans, a 14-to-1 ratio.
And while the money totals pale in comparison to the $9-million-plus that just one union's PACs have spent to get Obama elected, they are more substantial than the amount that Obama has criticized John McCain for receiving from lobbyists: 96 lobbyists have contributed $95,850 to McCain, while Obama — who says he won't take money from PACs or federal lobbyists — has received $16,223 from 29 lobbyists.
A few journalists list their employer as an organization like MSNBC, MSNBC.com or ABC News, or report that they're freelancers for the New York Times, or are journalists for Al Jazeera, CNN Turkey, Deutsche Welle Radio or La Republica of Rome (all contributions to Obama). Most report no employer. They're mainly freelancers. That's because most major news organization have policies that forbid newsroom employees from making political donations.
As if to warn their colleagues in the media, MSNBC last summer ran a story on journalists' contributions to political candidates that drew a similar conclusion:
"Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left."
The timing of that article was rather curious. Dated June 25, 2007, it appeared during the middle of the summer news doldrums in a non-election year — timing that was sure to minimize its impact among the general public, while still warning newsrooms across the country that such political donations can be checked.
In case that was too subtle, MSNBC ran a sidebar story detailing cautionary tales of reporters who lost their jobs or were otherwise negatively impacted because their donations became public.
As if to warn their comrades-in-news against putting their money where their mouth is, the report also cautioned that, with the Internet, "it became easier for the blogging public to look up the donors."
What is truly remarkable about the list is that, discounting contributions to Paul and Rudy Giuliani, who was a favorite son for many folks in the media, the totals look like this: $315,533 to Democrats, $3,150 to Republicans (four individuals who donated to McCain).
Let me repeat: $315,533 to Democrats, $3,150 to Republicans — a ratio of 100-to-1. No bias there.
the tone of the coverage sometimes bordered on gushing, as in this Associated Press dispatch before the appearance in Berlin:
"In this city where John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton all made famous speeches, Obama will find himself stepping into perhaps another iconic moment Thursday as his superstar charisma meets German adoration live in shadows of the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate. He then travels to Paris and London where he can expect to be greeted with similar adulation.
"It's not only Obama's youth, eloquence and energy that have stolen hearts across the Atlantic. . . . Obama has raised expectations of a chance for the nation to redeem itself."
A Rasmussen poll this week found that 49 percent of those surveyed expect the media to favor Obama this fall, while 14 percent expect favoritism toward McCain.
Not everyone is drinking the Kool-Aid.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I wish the world could see you as I see you
Wish they knew the joys you've brought to me
So many people quick to judge us
and see you as someone who shouldn't be
They tell me that your life is not worth living
if they were I, they would have never let you live
They cannot know the thing it is that we know
They will never know how much you have to give
They talk a lot of sacrifice and burden
They imagine that your being is our loss
How can they know you saved me when you found me
when I never even knew that I was lost.
True enough, my world has changed forever
nothing in it is as it was so long ago
Your entry in our world has changed so many things
but none so much as they have changed my soul.
Why do we live our lives at all, then
if there is some race that we must finish first
Why do we deny ourselves it all when
we drown so that we may quench our thirst
You taught me to stop and smell the tulips
they are different than the roses, this is true
their scent is in my every pore now
I never would have known them without you
To all the many people who would not choose you
who think your life is somehow tragedy
I say you have outlived them and outloved them
I am grateful God chose you just for me
You love your life and everyone thats in it
you shine your light without knowing that you do
Illuminate the darkness with your sparkle
my child, my love, my life, thank God for you. ~Michelle Harmon
Monday, July 21, 2008
My daughter Ciarra is ten years old, and she happens to have Down syndrome.
Shocking, huh? Not to you, you all are likely here because you have children with DS, too. (And "all" is subjective, teehee) So, if you have a child with DS, how do you label them?
What, you mean you don't label them? I hear ya. I don't label mine, either, but there are plenty of people who do. Ciarra is one of "those" kids with DS, the..."high-functioning" type. Not my label, not my choice of descriptors. In fact, "high-functioning" has come to be a little bit hurtful to me. I rage internally against the term, it is just another way of setting us apart from one another. But...I have used it, too. Guilty.
I have talked about our lives together since she was born, when she hit her milestones more or less on pace, I celebrated. maybe too much? Maybe somehow I left the impression that she is different, not like other kids with DS. But, oh, she is. She really is. She has the same sorts of concerns, the same issues with her heart and upper respiratory stuff that so many of "our kids" have. She struggles to learn, but is feisty and determined, and doesn't quit easily. She has stubborn in triplicate, and it serves her well. She learns in the same way many kids with DS do, visually is best. She has the same types of speech delays and social issues to overcome. Her future is just as uncertain as any other, and perhaps more...being "high-functioning" means that peoples expectations of her are higher, and their willingness to help her are less.
"She's fine", "She understands, she just doesn't WANT to do it", "she will be OK, stop worrying". I have heard all of the above, and I cringe. Should I worry less because right now she is reading well enough to make it in a regular class? Does it matter that her math skills are just shy of abysmal? Does it matter that the friendships we so treasure take a lot of planning and work on my behalf?
DS works for us, it is not a huge impact on any of our lives, yet. But as Ciarra grows, so too does the gap between her and "typical". She may fit in that world, but gosh it is a lot of work for her, a constant struggle to keep up. I can only imagine that as her friends grow older, the time they have for her will lessen, that is reality, and I wont sugar coat it. We have been blessed with some incredible friendships and unwaivering support from this community. Ciarra is doing very well. But she still has DS, and she always will. High functioing doesnt take away the struggles, and it doesnt take away my need to feel like we belong..somewhere.
To read the words "high-functioning" or "DS superstar" are painful, to me. If she is a "DS superstar" does that mean others see her as a negative? Is she so different that she cant even be one of the gang here, in this world we create for our children? That is painful to imagine. And yet, I think people think it is easy, that somehow we dont have any struggles, that it might even be fun to be different...again...even more...in the community set apart by their differentness. No one asks me about her medical issues, the constant ENT battle we have fought for years. No one asks me how SHE is doing emotionally, did I make it seem that life is too easy? No one ever considers how painful it is to be viewed as the "DS superstar" and not just as a little girl.
She is JUST a little girl. She struggles hard to do as well as she does. And I struggle too, although I wont pretend our battles are any bigger than they are, they are not non-existant either. I have days when I wish things were different, but I have learned that people expect me to "consider myself lucky"...and I do. I promise I do. But I am not always strong, either. I sometimes feel sad, overwhelmed, angry. And God know I count my blessings, I know that DS is not even close to the end of the world. But please stop seeing us as different, we simply arent. No rose colored glasses, no guarantees of a future any brighter than any others. Just real life, the good and the bad. Ciarra has Down syndrome, too. And just once, I would like to say that it is painful to feel so different, in this community where its supposed to be ok. And to please understand that terms like "DS superstar" can be very painful to hear.
Friday, July 18, 2008
From Shelley's blog:
I am giving away my Blackberry Curve. It is in excellent condition....I've had it less than 6 months and always carried it in it's case. It works with a T-Mobile SIM card(and I'm sure it can be unlocked for other carriers). When we changed cell phone providers, I decided to downgrade to something cheaper. I sold my husband's identical phone on ebay in less than 5 minutes for $170. I decided to give mine away instead. So, here's the deal:
On July 27th, I will pick my Xander up out of his bed, kiss his chubby little cheek.....and thank the Lord for putting him in my arms one year ago. To honor that moment one year ago, I am auctioning off my Blackberry Curve with every penny of the money raised to go into the grant fund for Raina, who is waiting in Bulgaria. Raina, like Xander, has Down Syndrome and clubbed feet. She is destined to live her life confined to a crib unless a family takes a leap of faith and adopts her into their family.
So, here's how this is going to work. There is a Chip In widget over on the side of my blog. A $5 donation made through that account will enter your name in the drawing. You can enter as many times as you want....each entry requires $5. The auction will end on July 27th and Xander will draw the winner himself. Every penny of the money in the chip-in account will go to Raina.....and someone will get my Blackberry Curve. You can keep it, resell it yourself....whatever you want to do with it. My intention is to get some money in this little girl's grant fund.
If you are reading this and you blog, PLEASE mention this on your blog. You can even put the widget on your blog too. You can get the code here. Some of you that read this get hundreds of readers a day on your blog. My prayer is to raise at least $500 for Raina's grant. That's going to take 100 entries. My husband thinks I'm crazy and I'm going to give my Blackberry away for like $20. Help me prove him wrong and raise some money for this little angel who's waiting on a mommy and daddy to call her own!!!!
I am trying to get over this heartache of losing Hunter and Wendy. Today after work, I went shopping and bought a bunch of stuff for him to keep him busy on the road to Florida. I spent about 2 hours trying to plan this out, get just the right stuff to entertain a 4 yr old in a car for 3 days. Im sure his Grandma will be doing the same, so hopefully my pile will complement her pile and he will have plenty of fun things to do along the way. Truth be told, I dont want him to go...at ALL. I am still trying so hard to bite my lip and stop from crying half the time. But they are going, and I want him to be ok, and this is the only way I can tell him that I love him without losing it and bawling my eyes out, and he doesnt need that. Anyway, its coming fast, and I have a few more things to grab (doesnt ANYONE sell those pillow bottomed lap desk things anymore?) Hunter is 4, Cars, Diego, matchbox cars...God Im gonna miss him.
Monday, July 14, 2008
discovered the above link while searching the internet for a photo of CGs apartment this weekend (Ciarra was sure he lived in Boston)
Sad, sweet, tragic, beautiful...all of the above
Curious George Takes a Job
As stated in an interview, the book Curious George Takes a Job was inspired by a true story. A boy, whose name is not known today, was born in Hamburg in 1909 with Down's Syndrome. He was institutionalized by his parents, condemned to a life at the facility.
When the boy was 15, he escaped from the institution and fled into the city streets. Hungry and in search of food, he found the briefly unattended kitchen of a restaurant, where a cook found him playing with the food and eating it. The cook, intrigued, put him to work to clean dishes, and took him home that evening. Within the following days, the cook arranged with a friend to have the boy wash windows at an office building.
The boy's work went well at first. But in one office, he found colored paints. He used them to paint a mural on the wall of the office. The tenant returned to his office after a lunch break to find the boy busy painting, and he started to chase after him. The boy jumped out a third-story window, breaking some bones.
The story made local headlines. After several weeks of hospitalization, the boy was formally adopted by the cook, and he later became the star of an amateur movie. He was recognized in the coming years as a talented artist. Some of his artwork was sold by the renowned bookseller, A.S.W. Rosenbach.
Tragically, his identity, art, and other details of his life were lost in the ravages of World War II, and he is believed to have been put to death by the government of Nazi Germany.
Rolling Stone magazine last month ran this, included in a piece called "Full Metal McCain":
And when it comes to Obama's and his wife's America-hating, well . . . McCain really doesn't need to say anything about that. All he needs to do to remind audiences of Reverend Wright and Michelle "I'm proud of America for the first time" Obama is to offer a few bons mots in the opposite direction. "I seek the office with the humility of a man who cannot forget that my country saved me," McCain likes to say. And while he doesn't believe he was anointed by God to lead the great nation of America, he insists, "I am her servant, first, last and always.".
That's it — that's the entire argument. McCain is a canny enough old goat to know that the public's insatiable appetite for traitorous enemies will do the rest. He'll wave as many flags and stand in front of as many fucking fighter jets as you like, while the other guy lectures us about why he doesn't always need to wear a flag pin in his lapel and calls a bomb-throwing Sixties terrorist "a guy who lives in my neighborhood" instead of calling for his immediate beheading
What's especially creepy about this flashback this time around is that it seems to mirror the tragic loop in McCain's own psyche. For all his frantic recanting of the many embarrassingly bipartisan episodes from his Senate past, McCain has never betrayed even a nanosecond's worth of memories from the central catastrophe of his life: his capture and torture in a Vietnamese prison. But now that he is finally pitted, in the great battle of his life, against a smooth-talking peacenik nearly half his age who wants American troops to withdraw instead of pressing on for "victory" in an unpopular war, McCain can keep reliving all those old hurts and all those old battles over and over again, in front of sympathetic crowd after sympathetic crowd.
But God forbid we should offend Obama...
Why is it only good for Conservatives to be caricatured? If one is wrong, so is the other. One makes national news, the other is never mentioned? One is an attempt at irony, intended to point out the supposed misperceptions in the media. The other is just plain mean. Is either one fair? I dont think so. But what is even more unfair is the lack of outcry when the caricature was depicting the torture and imprisonment of a man who has dedicated his life to service of his fellow Americans, and who once sat in just such a cell and was tortured for real.
The date was Oct. 26, 1967. I was on my 23rd mission, flying right over the heart of Hanoi in a dive at about 4,500 feet, when a Russian missile the size of a telephone pole came up—the sky was full of them—and blew the right wing off my Skyhawk dive bomber. It went into an inverted, almost straight-down spin.
I pulled the ejection handle, and was knocked unconscious by the force of the ejection—the air speed was about 500 knots. I didn't realize it at the moment, but I had broken my right leg around the knee, my right arm in three places, and my left arm. I regained consciousness just before I landed by parachute in a lake right in the corner of Hanoi, one they called the Western Lake. My helmet and my oxygen mask had been blown off.
I hit the water and sank to the bottom. I think the lake is about 15 feet deep, maybe 20. I kicked off the bottom. I did not feel any pain at the time, and was able to rise to the surface. I took a breath of air and started sinking again. Of course, I was wearing 50 pounds, at least, of equipment and gear. I went down and managed to kick up to the surface once more. I couldn't understand why I couldn't use my right leg or my arm. I was in a dazed condition. I went up to the top again and sank back down. This time I couldn't get back to the surface. I was wearing an inflatable life-preserver-type thing that looked like water wings. I reached down with my mouth and got the toggle between my teeth and inflated the preserver and finally floated to the top.
Some North Vietnamese swam out and pulled me to the side of the lake and immediately started stripping me, which is their standard procedure. Of course, this being in the center of town, a huge crowd of people gathered, and they were all hollering and screaming and cursing and spitting and kicking at me.
When they had most of my clothes off, I felt a twinge in my right knee. I sat up and looked at it, and my right foot was resting next to my left knee, just in a 90-degree position. I said, "My God--my leg!" That seemed to enrage them —I don't know why. One of them slammed a rifle butt down on my shoulder, and smashed it pretty badly. Another stuck a bayonet in my foot. The mob was really getting up-tight.
we all ought to be ashamed. If we would all treat each other like people and not political pawns, then maybe we would all stand together and decry such things. Unfortunately, the media seems to be biased. did you hear a word of this until today? Did you ever even know about the one of McCain? I doubt it.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
"commote" is remote in Ciarra speak.
"time long ago" is "a long time ago"
When Jesse was little, he had a minor speech delay. Our babysitter, Sarah, was "Sailah", and shoulder was "shurdle". Kristin used to say "be cafully, Daddy" for "be careful".
Kids grow up so fast, I never want to forget the way they were when they were little, it helps me not beat them when they get big and mouthy. ;)
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Mr. Obama, I am an AMERICAN, I speak ENGLISH. I teach my children to speak English... their primary language is and always WILL be ENGLISH. There are FAR too many of you liberals out there, wanting to throw away our heritage and become a melting pot. Pardon me if I choose to hold on to MY heritage in MY country.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
When Jesse was born 12 years ago, I was a Girl Scout leader for Kristin's Brownie troop. I loved it, loved the kids (who are all 19-20 now) and had so much fun with it. One of my girls was a darling little girl named Andrea. You may notice a recent picture of her in a post titled "For Andrea". It is a picture of her with Ciarra. Andrea is like my own in many ways, and her new baby Aislynn is family, too. They became my family when Andrea's mom (and dammit, I will admit, I knew the tears would flow writing this one, so forgive me as a I type with blurred vision) when Andrea's mom Wendy became my co-leader. Wendy was a single mom, kind of a redneck girl like me. We hit it off so well, and our girls did too. She doted on Jesse, was his wrestling buddy and biggest fan. She went with me when we picked up Alex in Connecticut, and when we buried him. She was there for me when Ciarra was born. We have gone through puberty in 2 sets of kids, I held her son before she did. I took the first pictures of her holding her first grandchild. Over those 12 years, we have become very close. It is that comfortable kind of close, where you can fall asleep watching tv late at night and she does, too. Where a weekend when they havent been here is rare. When the high sweet voice of her precious 4 yr old son Hunter isnt wailing "I wanna stay at Chelle's house!!"
Wendy is the best friend I have ever had. We look alike, we think alike, people either think we are sisters or lesbians, and I laugh more with her than I ever have in my life. She has listened and talked quietly many times, she let me tell her to "grow a backbone" and then listened to me whine when she did grow one and used it on me. She is my BEST friend.
We introduced her to our friend Rob years ago, and they have been married since about 2000. Jim was their best man. Hunter joined Wendys daughter Andrea and Robs daughter Amara, and was the glue that bound them all together. A few years ago, things got really tough financially, and they moved to Florida, to stay with Robs folks. I thought I would never breathe again. We had dinner with them the day before they left, and as I came through town with the groceries, I passed their house, and the piles of trash and throwaways waiting at the curb, and the sight of the trailer with all of their stuff in it undid me. I came home, cooked dinner, then tried to sit and eat, but I couldnt swallow. I left the table, and they left and drove away with hardly a word spoken. What words do you use? "I'll miss you"? It doesnt come close. For 12 years, we have done everything together. She is the sister that was taken from me through adoption. She and the kids come every year to help decorate the tree. Thanksgiving isnt Thanksgiving without our famous apple dumplings and all of us crowded around my little kitchen table laughing and eating till we want to die.
Rob and Wendy lasted about 8-9 months in Florida that time. They hated it. Too hot, too city, too far away. We stayed in touch, went down for a week and hung out, but the hole they left was so big that I could easily have fallen into it. I missed Hunter's voice, I missed Amara...who stayed here with her bio mom but might as well have been on the moon. I missed Andrea. But mostly I missed the best friend who made me laugh so hard I cried, and cry so hard I couldnt breathe. They came home finally, restarted their lives, brought back the baby boy who is a part of all of us...filled the hole in my sons heart that will always be Hunter's.
Life was good again. There have been fishing trips, camping trips, paintball parties, Christmas's, birthdays and illnesses, train rides, Halloween hanuted houses, a new Grandchild, Buddy Walks, life...
A few days ago, Jim told me that he had news for me that would break my heart. I thought somebody died. They might as well have. Rob and Wendy and Hunter are leaving again. Winters in Maine are grossly expensive, Rob is on disability and Wendy cant do it alone financially. They are broke, and behind. Once again, the allure of Floridas weather, Robs parents and a free place to stay to get back on their feet has won out. and we have lost. Once again, I am planning a gathering of goodbyes. But this time...Wendy hasnt said a word to me. She must know I know, but it isnt because we are chatting about it. We havent. I know only because Jim told me. I think she knows it is too painful for me to take without being angry and resentful and crying my damn eyes out. She isnt just my best friend, she is my family. This time feels like it will be forever, and HOW do you fill that kind of hole? How do I just smile and say it will be ok when all I can think of is how much I will miss hearing "Hi Chelle!" from that boy, and missing my best friend and almost-sister peeling potatoes on the weekends, hearing the guys BBQing on the porch? How do I just smile and say it is ok when i KNOW how much she doesnt want to go? when Andrea will be here, and Aislynn...and i know she will cry all the way there wondering how she can drive away from first steps, first words, first birthdays? And what about Amara? will she be lost to me, too? I cant breathe for thinking that half of what feels like my family is being taken away. This time, I think, Florida will become their home, and they will make it work. And I will never walk away from maine and its woods and mosse and people. We can talk by phone, no doubt. But in my heart, this is the end of one of the best parts of my life. I never had much for family, as a kid. Certainly never anything/anyone I could count on to be here whenever I needed them. (extended family I mean) My only sister was given up for adoption.
but this is not just me hurting. Rob is Jim's best friend. Wendy is mine. Jesse & Amara have been buddies since the days we dressed them up in "wedding clothes" and married them off. Hunter and Ciarra are best of friends. Kristin and Andrea....it is all of us. We match. We understand one another, get each others jokes. even our dogs are siblings. How do you just lose all that? I know people survive this, but right now I cant breathe. My heart feels like it is on standby, and the tears have flooded my nightgown. And I have to go get groceries and gather up kids and dogs and bathing suits and head out to camp to face whatever awaits me, to say goodbye a thousand times, in my mind. To watch Hunter play knowing that the next time I see him, he will probably be much taller, much older, and not so excited about "Chelle" anymore. To watch Jesse slowly get used to the fact that his beloved Hunter, and Wendy (who has been a HUGE part of his life since he was born, closer than family) will really not be coming over to play WII tonight, or make him blush, or get him to smile. To hear Ciarra ask, over and over because this is simply too big to really understand.."When is Wendy coming home?"
And I have to do it all while trying to remember to keep breathing and not cry. Im not sure I can do that. Who was it that said big girls dont cry?