Democracy Now interviews David Barstow, co-author of the Sunday NYT piece on the Deepwater Horizon disaster. This is the kind of valuable coverage of news events that makes Democracy Now my go-to news source.
I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays as much as we are. We're going with our family to Richardson Beach and I'm making fancy picnic sandwiches. Our water is still clean.
I was up just before dawn watching Democracy Now . I decided to give them some money for the fine work they do. Yesterday the DN crew got to work in spite of the snow. That's dedication. A friend my husband was talking to about some business yesterday has been shoveling out his driveway. It's a repeat of last year, when they also had terrific snow. Now it seems the temperature will go up to around 50 in NYC by New Year's. Our visitors from the East Coast who are now in Kona are returning (I think) today. I hope they will be all right. They have a small child with them. The disruption is just amazing, but people are resourceful.
Doctor and human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen has been given a life sentence in India. He said in an earlier interview with Amy Goodman that 45 percent of Indians suffer from chronic malnutrition which he equates with slow starvation. When asked what Americans can do about the dreadful situation there, he stated that we have to look at poverty and inequities in our own country. I don't think we can get away any more with telling other countries how to deal with their poverty. People around the world saw those pictures from New Orleans and now know that poor people exist here, too.
So, after all that heavy stuff, here are some pix from the extraordinary sunrise today, all taken off my deck.
It's been busy. We went over to Kona and had a fun time with relatives visiting from the Mainland. We found another car, so we have wheels again. We took a lot of photos of the heiau (sp) near Spencer Beach, which I will post later. More family visits are coming up. The holidays aren't over.
And the Sunday Times was full of goodies. Some quotes:
From Obama to Enact End-0f-Life Planning for Medicare: A Dr. Berwick was quoted as saying, "Using unwanted procedures in terminal illness is a form of assault." This speaks to the fear people have of being at the mercy of medical professionals who can't always be held accountable for the suffering they may inflict on dying patients.
From Chapel Hill Campus Takes on Grade Inflation:
At Reed College, transcripts are accompanied by an explanatory card. Last year's graduating class had an average G.P.A. of 3.20, it says, and only 10 percent of the class graduated with a G.P.A. of 3.67 or higher..."only 10 students have graduated with a perfect 4.0 average--and three of them were transfers who didn't get all those grades at Reed,"said NoraMcLaughlin, the registrar at Reed.
This is a school with high standards that believes in the life of the mind. I do not know what my grades were. They are not revealed unless you ask for them, and I never had the nerve. It doesn't seem to matter now, anyway.
From Who Killed the Disneyland Dream:
"Disneyland Dream" was made in the summer of 1956, shortly before the dawn of the Kennedy era. You can watch it on line.
The Barstows are delighted to discover that the restrooms in Fantasyland are marked "Prince and "Princess." In America, anyone can be royalty, even in the john.
This is about a family that entered a contest to win a free trip to Disneyland, which they did by creating innovative things out of Scotch tape. I tried to watch the film, but I could not stand the cornball humor. It was redolent of all the things about the 50's that I found hard to bear. I guess those sophisticated New Yorkers always feel as if they have to pay homage to the hicks of yesteryear, but not me. I grew up surrounded by that stuff. It was an era when being a consummate bore was considered to be a sign of virtue.
From a very interesting piece by A.O. Scott, Films are Starting to Reflect the Economy's Impact:
...taste and money are things all of us can--and should, and surely want to--acquire. For the price of a movie ticket, perhaps.
In the Great Depression, and now again, Hollywood is our dream factory.
I read a review of a book that is probably quite good that I won't read, because I don't think there is anything in it that would surprise me: Poser:My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, by Claire Dederer. It's about a young mother who inhabits the same mileau of young Seattelites as my daughters. She experiences the terrors, the need to keep up appearances, the discovery of yoga, her misery, etc. etc. It might be of use to young mothers going through these things to know others are experiencing similar joys and fears.
Now here is something that really got my attention: a review by Alan Wolfe of a book by the French social scientist Olivier Roy, Holy Ignorance: When Religion and Culture Part Ways:
Fundamentalism, in his view, is a symptom of, rather than a reaction against, the increasing secularization of society. Whether it takes the form of the Christian right in the United States or Salafist purity in the Muslim world, fundamentalism is not about restoring a more authentic and deeply spiritual religious experience. It is instead a manifestation of holy ignorance, his biting term meant to characterize the worldview of those who, having lost both their theology and their roots, subscribe to ideas as incoherent as they are ultimately futile.
I can't get this book on Kindle yet, but I did find his earlier work, Secularism Confronts Islam, which is fascinating. He explains things I did not understand, such as why burka wearing is such a big deal in France but not so much in the U.S. While not in the least simplifying his subject-- the social strains of assimilating large populations of Muslims into Europe-- he analyzes his material so well that the issues become clear. Because of their long struggle with Catholicism, the French always worry that religion will overcome secularism. They feel that religion has to be segregated, walled off from the rest of society. We don't worry about religion that way.
What we think of as religious intrusion is nothing of the sort. It is instead a reaction to modernization among people who are having trouble keeping up and who feel that their lives have gone out of control. There is way more to say here!
And there is a piece of trivia about a young, beautiful, ludicrously busy society girl who got accepted at MIT. Go look it up if you're interested.
Oh, and that dramatic front page piece about the Deepwater Horizon debacle. I found it a little hard to believe. But I wasn't there.
Well I suppose a holiday post is in order. So, happy holidays! Here is our epic fail Christmas tree from last year. This year we're limiting ourselves to the tiny ceramic tree my mother gave me a long time ago,as seen in Hattie's profile picture. Owlsey approves of ths common sense approach.