Thursday, June 26, 2008

Amy Goodman will be coming to Fairfield this Saturday!

Amy Goodman: It's being described as the most significant revision of the nation's surveillance law in three decades. The Senate is preparing to vote on rewriting the nation's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and giving immunity to phone companies involved in President Bush's secret domestic spy program. On Friday, the Democratic-controlled House approved the measure by a vote of 293-129. The legislation gives the government new powers to eavesdrop on both domestic and international communications. The American Civil Liberties Union has warned it would allow for the mass, untargeted and unwarranted surveillance of all communications coming into and out of the United States.

While Democratic leaders in Congress, as well as Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, have hailed the bill as a "compromise," Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin describes it as a "capitulation." Senator Feingold has been the leading congressional voice against the Bush administration's warrantless spy program since it was exposed nearly three years ago. Today, the Wisconsin senator joins us from Washington, D.C.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Senator Feingold.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Obama's FISA Cave In: A Reverse "Souljah" Moment

I must say my jaw hit the floor when I learned Obama voted for FISA - This bill allows the President to grab all incoming and outgoing international communications without a warrant.

The ACLU says it represents “an unprecedented extension of governmental surveillance over Americans.” It's hard for me to express my disappointment in the candidate I always tell people gave me darshan when he came to Iowa.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Letter to Michelle Obama

Dear Michelle:

Gee, Cindy McCain is "always" proud of our country. What is the matter with you? Weren't you proud when State laws had black folks sitting in the back of the bus? Why weren't you proud that several hundred of thousand soldiers in the gulf war were disabled with Anthrax vaccines given to them by our government?
And hey...are you not proud that we have riddled the middle east with depleted uranium and the children are being born with horrendous disfigurations? What's the matter with you, girl. How could you say that you are not proud, every second, of our Cindy?

Do you have a problem with being black in this country? When I was in the fourth grade in public school in the Bronx (circa 1956. I sat in front of Zenobia Pouncie, I was in the first row. She was behind me in the second row. We were in the middle section directly in front of the teacher. I remember to this day...the male teacher, his chalky face contrasted by his dark hair; black glasses. He asked Zenobia a question which she did not know the answer to.(By the way...Zenobia was the sweetest girl). He looked at her as if I were transparent, and with a voice that thundered through my little body, he yelled, "Why don't you go back to Afrika were you came from?"

We all have been more or less proud of some of the good deeds of our country especially as it concerns the liberties contained in the constitution and the bill of rights. I absolutely agree with you: "Really" proud does come under the heading of a black man becoming president. I am "really" proud too. Perhaps Cindy is "always" proud, but you are "really" proud! (emphasis on "real")

Eileen Dannemann
Director, National Coalition of Organized Women

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My Karma is Better than Your Karma

In past lives I must have done amazing things, earning an abundance of spiritual brownie points. Perhaps I was an Egyptian high priestess – that seems to be popular one, according to many who access the akasha, and I have numerous friends convinced they lived lives in Egypt as caretakers of esoteric knowledge. I could also have been a Native American shaman. Many of my peers were Native American medicine men or women. I’m sure I must have been some type of royalty, or at least, in many lives, a member of the upper classes. It seems very likely I’ve been a martyr – one of the women burned as a witch for being a midwife who used mysterious herbs or something, and while I burned, I remained true to my cause and died with a saintly expression on my face. And, as one past-life reader mentioned, my soul did originate from Venus, the planet of love, beauty, and art appreciation. And, of course, I am here to be a spiritual teacher, a light worker in the wilderness of maya (the illusion that matter is real and all that).
I’m certain I was never a washer- woman from northern England whose husband worked as an iron molder coming home soot covered, coughing phlegm, bone tired, with three kids whose teeth were becoming rotten and bellies were often empty. That is what my ancestors on my mother’s side did, molded iron in Rotheram, England for several generations. Of course, I discovered that on, not from my brother who always gives the impression we are from a line of blue blood, starting its course in England, and making its way to Plymouth where our grandfather was an international trader. According to, my father’s father, John Damon (originally Daemon), who lived in Plymouth, was a bookkeeper, and his wife, Fanny Mae Stevenson came from Rotheram where her mother was a housekeeper in Scotland. There is a lot of steel in our history - steel molding, blacksmithing, filthy lower class work that gave my ancestors backs of steel. It would be nice if that translated to a genetic predisposition to buns of steel. Of course, my brother never talked much about the Gatenby’s, or my mother’s father, Grandpa Gatenby, who came from England in the late 1800’s whose father molded steel. Grandpa Gatenby worked as a steam-engineering in the Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota.
That is the region where whites stole the land from the Lakota Indians after discovering gold in the Black Hills. Philip always spoke of the Gatenby’s with a somewhat dismissive air as if our mother’s family were not a part of us, as if we were Damons, and being a Damon from Plymouth is how we defined ourselves. And I grew up feeling like a Damon, feeling the privilege in my blood that gave me an air of confidence even though I was an orphan and floated unanchored through life moving into land mines that kept exploding my existence into incoherent pieces. Even though I now realized some of the families I would land in were actually a step up from trailer trash by the standards of any self-respecting blue blood. Still I was gifted with that false sense of one-upmanship that lives just under the skin, that sense of entitlement that privileged Anglos have over everyone else – perhaps earned by good karma generated from past lives, I would later rationalize this sense of privilege, as I tried to put these disparate influences into perspective. Now, I am hip to the fact that all of this is an illusion, of course, so we really cannot quantify good karma, versus bad in that simplistic and formulaic way designed to stack the cards in our favor, making us believe our history is a pristine slate of good deeds spotted with periods of politically correct martyrdom and grandiose roles that compare to Russell Crow in the Gladiator.
That being said, and ego aside, the very fact that I am hip to the perils of karmic grandstanding puts me in the category of someone who must have learned some pretty heavy lessons in past lives, and most likely done something right or I certainly would not be able to discern the complexity of cause and effect, bringing me back full circle to “in my past lives I must have done some good things being as spiritually savy as I am in this one.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Good Hair Day

I am now working on a series of masks within mixed media on board - will post soon - It is very exciting and seems to reflect some feelings about the feminine and the aspects of nature. This one is just a picture from a shampoo ad surrounded with paint, a couple of feathers, shells, fabric, and stuff - it has the feeling I am going for now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

God Bless Dennis Kucinich--he keeps doing the right thing!

I called my senators today, asking them to support the impeachment of Bush.

"Since war with Iran is an option of this Administration and since such war is patently illegal, then impeachment may well be the only remedy which remains to stop a war of aggression against Iran," Kucinich said.

My First Mask for Icon Fundraiser

Two years ago, my friend grabbed me off the street while I was on my way to the coffee house, "Do you want to make masks for the ICON Art Gallery Fund raiser?" I said, sure, and went inside to a room full of glitter, glue guns, paint, feathers, and colored puff balls, started in and 4 hours later was hooked. WOW I commented, this is what they mean by art therapy - it's like the world is a nut-house and this is now a therapeutic necessity (and, it is free, and, I am doing community service). So I noticed time is disappearing and I can easily spend 2 hours putting some feather on a face, and it seems like five minutes - in other words--timelessness at last. Since then, I am exhausted and exhilarated by pasting, painting, gluing all manner of broken stuff on clay pots, and other activities requiring lots of on-line ordering from Dick Blick (I swear Dick is like a pusher!), at all kinds of weird hours. I know if you are reading this, you get it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

One of the Wonders of Iowa

They are made beautiful by years of standing in the weather,
bearing storms and scorching sun--only that can produce beautiful barn wood.

My Lipstick is Bleeding

My Lipstick is Bleeding

It is not as if my lips are on fire or anything extraordinary is happening. It’s not as if I need to be rushed to some emergency room for immediate lip surgery because some collagen injection caused an extreme allergic reaction threatening to blow off my face. It is not as if I’ve had an injection of botox that has frozen my lips making it impossible to display any kind of emotion. It is simply that now when I apply lip color, there is a spot where a trace of rose bleeds outside my lip line. This is not a tragedy, yet considering I need glasses to see the details of any make-up application, it can be aggravating. When I put on my reading glasses, the kind I only needed after forty, I see small hairs under my brows that need to be tweezed and the small line at the top of my lip where the rose bleeds. I see other things I chose not to report that remind me of inevitable and unforgiving time. My outsides have changed and my insides, too.
One thing I notice is when a certain man calls me to have lunch, I cringe. I decline, saying I have other plans even though I may not. I don’t feel like making small talk with someone new. I don’t feel like trying to look a certain way. I don’t want to be forced to look down at my midriff and regret the scones I have consumed on days when I was convinced I would never have to look down at my midriff and consider a guy looking at the roll that shows under my tee shirt. In other words, I don’t have the energy to market myself. The hormones that once drove me like some completely mad, mindless woman have diminished. I once did sit ups so my midriff would be taught under a tee shirt, and thought a great deal about what I looked like first in the morning.
I believed lip gloss should look like I had not actually put anything on my lips, when in actuality, I had spent quite a bit of time choosing a gloss that would look like I had not spent any time at all on making my lips look pale peach. The goal was to appear not to have spent much time on making myself look attractive. The reality was, like many women, my life was filled with such enhancements as: perms to achieve that naturally wavy look, blush and face powder to make my face appear naturally smooth and glowing, and trips to the tanning booth (in the early 80's before learning about the dangers) to achieve a naturally, sun-kissed glow. I considered undergarments very carefully, and embarked on a program of daily Jane Fonda (she has since resorted to surgery) exercises.
The question is, at fifty seven, has laziness made me overweight and am I simply making excuses for not caring so much, or have I reached some exulted state of wisdom, where I have transcended superficiality and the trivial concerns of youth? Or could I be rapidly vacillating between the two states at the speed of light and thus, am caught between laziness and enlightenment. Am I declining lunch because of disinterest, or because of fear the man will notice my midriff? When I encountered a man the other day with whom I had had a brief romance ten years ago, I noticed he looked old. He had a belly and his hair had lots of gray. The skin on his face looked looser. I turned to him and said, “A blast from the past,” and we talked and I remembered how slim I was and how fit he was when we lay together on my bed, not actually making love but kissing until six in the morning. As we stood in the art gallery, we talked as if we didn’t notice each other’s changes. It happens to them, too, I thought.
When a woman my age and her husband enter I restaurant where I am having lunch with a friend, and she is thin and in great shape, and her husband looks happy and they are smiling, am I being cynical concluding that she swallows. I imagine she lives for him the way I could never live for the men I believed I loved. She smiles, serves, and swallows as naturally as she breathes; she doesn’t mind that he always gets the channel changer. I wonder, is she naturally a good listener who finds her man genuinely interesting, perhaps more interesting than she finds herself?