Friday, August 17, 2007

A Mermaid in Denver

I'm about to escape for a week or so. I have the most unlikely destination: Disney's new stage version of "The Little Mermaid." It's set to open on Broadway in the fall, but like all Broadway extravangazas, they're working out the kinks in a quiet place far from the scrutiny of New York Critics. The show is already in previews in Denver, and I'm going to drive out there to see it. As many of you know - I pretty much grew up in musical theater. It was a huge part of my early life, and still has a hold on me.

I also love seeing a work of art being born, like a newborn colt, rising on wobbly legs, and watch it transform into something beautiful. I saw the first preview performance ever of Stephen Sondheim's brilliant musical "Into the Woods," a show any activist should see, as it explores the themes of community and responsibility and how "No One is alone, really." When I saw it, at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego many years ago, it was almost four hours long! So you can imagine how much got cut, but ah well, that's how it goes. I later got to see it on Broadway and was surprised at some new additions. But the show was wonderful at every step of the way. I expect the same will be true with "Mermaid."

Now, several people have reminded me that the Southwest will be brutally hot. Duh! And thank goodness! I've been living in an air conditioned, artificial environment for months (years!) and I crave real heat. I'm a fire sign, after all (Sagittarius, which should come as no surprise to anyone remotely familiar with astrology).

I'll be viewing natural arches and bridges (yes, there's a difference) and hiking past hoodoos. I'm even going through one of the world's official "Dark Sky" parks - the first to be so named. I got to see the Milky Way from Joshua Tree National Park last weekend, to catch the Perseid meteors shattering against our atmosphere. The night sky is so beautiful, but with all the light pollution (and wasted energy) it's harder to find a place to see it. On this trip, I should see many stars.

I'll be in mountains and streams, in hot pools and in deserts, in diners and ghost towns, in cities and sacred places. I'll see red rocks and blue streams, green mountains and gold-rimmed clouds. I'll go back in time to visit the cliff dwellings of the Anasazi. I'll catch the latest fantastic dish in Santa Fe. And I’ll finally see the Grand Canyon. Can you believe I've been to the rim by car twice, but BOTH TIMES it was fogged in and I could not actually see into it?? That's so not fair! The third time should be the charm.

So wish me luck. I have no idea if I'll have the access or the energy to post from the road. But I’m sure I’ll have much to say about whatever I learn along the way, sooner or later. And get some travel time yourself. There's nothing like nature to refresh one's soul.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Connecting the dots re Bush's power grab

Jerry Policoff wrote this to me in email. I'm posting it here with his permission, as it is the simplest, most succinct summary of my own fears that I've seen to date:

You know, no one seems to be connecting the dots on this stuff. Every one talks about the scary potential of these Bush initiatives, but no one is asking why he is amassing all of these police-state powers to himself if he doesn’t intend to make use of them.

I have no doubt Nixon would have invoked the Huston Plan if Watergate had not intervened.

We need another intervention or we’ll all be in Guantanamo soon (or maybe they’ll just pack us into those detention camps Halliburton has been building all over the place).

Now why would Bush get rid of Habeas Corpus, declare the right to run all three branches of government in the event of some undefined “national emergency,” radically expand his right to eavesdrop on us, eliminate the prohibition against the Federal Government deploying the National Guard here at home, and build Concentration Camps strategically placed all over the country, unless there was some scheme behind it all?

And why is he trying to provoke a Constitutional showdown with Congress now that he has all of this in place?

Am I being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
(Of course, my answer is, he is absolutely justifiable suspicious!)

Robert Parry has done some excellent articles connecting the dots on this whole nightmare over at Consortium News. For example, see his story today - New Spy Law Broader Than Thought. This is serious. And if we don't even try to impeach and undo some of this damage, all this remains in place for the next despot who comes along....

Saturday, August 04, 2007

CA decertifies electronic voting machines!

Wow! She did it. Calif. Secretary of State Debra Bowen did exactly what a bunch of dedicated activists elected her to do. Summary below but details at
  • She reviewed all the voting systems used in the state that were submitted for review.

  • She decertified all systems from the one vendor who refused to turn over their code for examination - ES&S, owners of Los Angeles County's popular, but of unknown veracity, InkaVote system.

  • She decertified Diebold, Hart Intercivic, and Sequoia DRES (including at least some optical scan systems).

  • Only ONE Diebold AccuVote-TSx system is allowed per precinct, to aid the disabled.

  • "User jurisdictions are required to conduct a 100% manual count audit of the electronic results tabulated on each DRE machine in use on Election Day." (That's from the conditional recertification requirements for Diebold.)
Look for hundreds of news stories on this tomorrow. This is the biggest news re our vote in the nation right now. Huge. And Debra Bowen deserves THUNDEROUS applause and support for taking such a brave action on behalf of the people, against all the moneyed private interests that are desperate to control our elections.