Well, Duh!

My friend, Gene Hewitt alerted me to this story: evidently the GOP did some research and ran some focus groups only to find out that it won’t be OK to make an issue about the eventual Democratic Presidential nominee’s race or her gender.

Which makes me wonder: if they had found out that most Americans are cool with racist or sexist political rhetoric, would they use it in the Fall?

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At a Wedding Water Still Turns to Wine

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on Monday, February 25, 2008.

This column is dedicated to Tony and Jackie DeRose, whose joyous nuptials provided the setting for the miraculous story that follows.

Last weekend, my foster daughter attended her first American wedding. At the reception she danced until the longsuffering folks in charge of locking up the hall kicked us out. When she wasn’t dancing she was gathering rose petals, fallen from various bouquets and boutonnieres, and throwing them into the air so that they fell like aromatic satin rain around the newlyweds. Continue reading

Spring Training Brings New Hope

This column was the featured commentary on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on February 18th, 2008. It also was linked on UPI’s main website. 

In Northern California spring is a confusing thing. Just the other day I drove three and a half hours from my home in San Jose to eat lunch with my brothers and our dad at an old saloon in the small town of Upper Lake, a journey that took me across the wine country and deep into the hills of California’s Coastal Range. It was a beautiful day, warm enough that we ate our lunch outside. Mustard was blooming in the vineyards—carpets of astonishing gold floating between the rows of bare grapevines and the delicate green of new grass—this blooming in stubborn defiance of the snow that still covered the ridgelines above the lake.

We don’t have groundhogs in California. There is no meteorological prognostication in the beauty of a single day. The next several weeks could belong to the wildflowers or to the snow. We won’t know if spring is coming until it’s already well under way.

This is why we need baseball in Northern California.   Continue reading

Waterboarding and the Bush Administration’s Relative Morality

This column ran on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on February 11, 2008.

You may have missed it because you were paying attention to election returns on Super Tuesday, but on the same day that the GOP made a former POW its presumptive presidential nominee, the director of the CIA admitted to the United States Senate that members of the intelligence community had engaged in waterboarding while interrogating prisoners suspected of being linked to Al Qaida. Continue reading

Gobama! The Lions’ Den Makes an Endorsement

This ran on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on February 5, 2008.

As a member of the California Green Party I will not be choosing between casting a vote for an African American candidate or a woman candidate when I participate in the great civic event that will be Super Tuesday. I will be voting for Cynthia McKinney, a former member of congress from Georgia who happens to be both African American and a woman. She is the most experienced and the most inspirational candidate on the Green ballot.

For weeks now I’ve been planning to write a column on the eve of Super Tuesday extolling the virtues of membership in a “third party.” I joined the Green Party when Bill Clinton was president. It seemed to me then—as now—that the Democrats had become too beholden to corporate interests, too much like the Republicans in their willingness to sell their corporate soul for the sake of a positive cash flow. Too often, choosing between Democrats and the Republicans is like choosing between Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee. Between the two coffee chains there are some very real differences in substance and style, but in the end they’re both nameless, faceless corporate behemoths, and I prefer to patronize locally owned coffee shops. In coffee as in politics, I like real choice. Two political parties, like two major coffee chains, is not much of a choice. I want to live in an America and to participate in a political system with more options.

But in the last few weeks Barack Obama has changed my mind. Continue reading