What Will Be . . . ©

What will be the next detractor, distracter?  What will divert our attention and what will we attend to . . .

What will we avoid?  What do we not wish to know, to think of, and what will attract our attention next?

Will next be related to Schiavo,
A reaction to Schiavo,
Actions taken with thanks to Schiavo,
Distractions from Schiavo,
Or fractionalizing the effects of Schiavo.

Next as it relates,
Temple News, Americans Should Not Decide Life or Death for Others, Noah Potvin
Next as a reaction,
CBS News Poll, Keep Feeding Tube Out,
March 23, 2005 – CBS Poll, THE SCHIAVO CASE
As actions,
Miami Herald, Much Legal Debate About Action Taken by Congress, Viglucci and Lebowitz
As distractions,
Maureen Dowd discusses, “DeLay, Deny, and Demagogue”
Or as fractionalizing.
San Francisco Chronicle, Schiavo case widens divide between Congress and courts, by Bob Egelko
Atrios, offers “It was fitting that reporters were in danger of outnumbering pro-life supporters”
Daily Kos, “Republican Backlash Against DeLay?” By Armando

May Terri Schiavo find peace and serenity.  Written on the morning of her passing and stated with sadness for diminished dignity.

Schiavo, Schiavo, Schiavo, With A Touch of Survivors ©

On this, the week of March 21, 2005, there is much madness.  There is madness in the message, madness among the masses, and madness in what we are missing.

Mass media, and public media are in a frenzy; each is covering the Schiavo situation in greater depth than any other story.  Those that study the media and the message note that the networks have devoted more airtime to this narrative than those covered in the past.  This saga dominates; in the last five days, each of the twenty-two minute news programs has devoted a full sixty-minutes to this accounting.

We the people are absorbed in words of wisdom.  There are words of warning, words of woe, and of course, there are those words that tout the need for living wills.  We are speaking of death, of dying, of deliverance and yet, we are barely speaking of dropouts [or a number of other important subjects.]

If you desire A Loving Perspective on Pain and Passing you may wish to reflect upon,

Making End-of-Life Decisions for a Mother

Yesterday, a disturbing report was released.  The Civil Rights Project of Harvard University stated that the high school graduation rate in California is a mere 71 percent.  The Los Angeles Unified School District [LA Times March 2005] was among the worst sited in this study.  In 2002, 39 percent of Latinos, 47 percent of African Americans, 77 percent of Caucasian, and 84 percent of Asian students graduated from high school.  More than half of the Asian Pacific students drop out of high school before receiving a degree. [MSNBC March 2005]

Numerous young people in our society feel devastated, distraught; they have little hope.  These adolescents are not disabled or facing the possibility of death; they are facing life, a life of desperation.

Many students feel invisible, misunderstood, discouraged, and disheartened.  Consider the recent reality of a quiet young man, one who “walks into his high school and methodically commits mass murder.”  After this agonizing action, he then takes his own life.  While it is true that many and thankfully most do not engage in such extreme expressions of despair, many, even those that are part of a close-knit community, or a seemingly supportive family, feel disconnected, distressed.  Often young people feel a deep sense of desolation.  When they assess the quality of their lives, they feel none.

Our youth are looking for answers, looking for their life, and essentially searching for quality within their lives.  Yet, we, as a people, are focusing on death.  There are some are speaking of birth, for there are those equating the removal of a feeding tube to abortion.  However, few are discussing what lies in-between.

I hear people speak of “playing God.”  They speak of it as it relates to life, as it relates to the taking of life, and I wonder.  How often do we, as a society, “play God” with those that are living life?  We seem to decide who and what is worthy of our attention, how, when and where we are going to attend to the needs of the living and in doing so, we “play God,” and we leave many behind.

We do not tell their stories, see their pain, experience their struggles, or concern ourselves with their existence.  We ignore the living in deference to those that are dying.  We are fascinating beings; we build and we destroy.  We give birth and we die.  We celebrate these milestones; we cover them in the news, and yet, lives and living pass with little fanfare.

You may be interested in . . .

Maureen Dowd Discussing “DeLay, Deny, amd Demagogue”

Media Matters For America writes of

“Conservatives Claim that Liberals “want” Schiavo to Die”

John Leland asks, “Did Decartes Doom Terri Schiavo?”

When Do Two Wrongs Make A Right? ©

As a child, my grandfather taught me that two wrongs never make a right. I have honored that wisdom throughout my life and I still do. I thought that everyone did. However, after hearing yet another report on how this Whitehouse produces political propaganda, presents it to the public as though it were objective news, and then justifies the practice, I wonder.

At a recent press conference, Whitehouse spokesperson Scott McClellan was given an opportunity to discuss the ethics of this. He declaratively offered, “The informational news releases that you’re referring to are something that have been in use for many years. It goes back to the early ’90s.” Trusting this to be true, NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell reiterated the claim, stating that the Clinton Administration was the first to engage in such questionable antics. Nonetheless, she added, “the Bush Administration has spent a quarter of a billion dollars on public relations, mostly for videos,” and apparently, this is “double what Bill Clinton spent.”

While speaking of the policy, neither of these comments addresses, what for me is the truer issue of “right” [otherwise considered admirable and amenable] or “wrong” [otherwise considered cruel and corrupt]. These proclamations seem as childish games. First, they hopscotch; then, they move from that game onto another. Mr. McClellan begins on the square marked “two wrongs make a right.” He then jumps to the equally childish box titled the “blame-game!” Ultimately he lands solidly on “Follow the leader.” Ms. Mitchell, on the other hand, is playing “Gotcha,” and “Can you top this?”

Neither addresses the question of values directly. The issue of morals is lost; manipulation is the rule. Communication morphs into competition; the stakes are raised or are they actually lowered. Propriety has been vanquished and programs are pushed, promoted, and prepackaged. Words have become weapons and the process of governing or discussing the government has become an Olympic event, one in which winning is the only goal.

There was a time when, participants in play, just as those in politics spoke of “good sportsmanship.” There were respectable forums; people were gracious even in defeat. There was a time when we in the United Sates of America spoke of “good governance” and acted on these principles. Politicians, people, and the populous acted with honor.

We were working towards a more perfect union, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. There was a time when we were thought to be equal, working together for the greater good, however, that was then.

Now, we are players and we pick our teams. There are spectators and coaches, broadcasters and bloggers, and, of course, we have color, lots, and lots of color. We have a Red team and a Blue; there are the Greens and there are the Grays. Actually, there are many shades of gray.

On the Red Team the players run with “He did it too.” Then, they advance with “He started it!” The Blue Team races in, “No, he did” or at least, “He did more of it than we did!” Some in the stands scream in protest, others in support. The coaches call for greater aggression and the crowds roar. There are spectators on the sidelines, some sitting silently, some barely stating their thoughts, and others never speaking above a whisper. There are broadcasters to bolster, and there are bloggers to berate. Politics is now play; and all is a bona fide event! I wonder; is this fun, is this folly, or is it futile to believe that this need not be our future?

Is our intent to find fault or is it to form a fellowship? Is the onus always on the other and will we merely perish all principles? Will we continue to play as we are, or might we look at history and possibly learn from it?

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905

Let us look at the past. Let us look at the history of packaging, prepackaging, propaganda, and political presentations.

Let us begin with the Reagan Administration, for many speak of his as being the example that George W. Bush follows. During the Reagan reign Sam Donaldson served as a Whitehouse correspondent; he first secured this position when Carter was in office. However, under Reagan he observed a change. Access was extremely limited, security was tight, and secrecy was the agenda. Press conferences were staged. Daily briefings were deliveries; in these, the Administration dictated what they deemed to be the news of the day. This caused, then, devout Republican Donaldson concern. As a reporter in a democratic society, a society founded on freedom, Donaldson began to question the reasons, the rationale, and the ethics of concealment. He wrote of this in his book, “Hold on Mr. President.”

While Reagan preceded both Bush and Clinton, he was not the first to manipulate the media or the message. You may recall reading “The Making of a President, 1960”? This book helped to bring the writings of Marshall McLuhan to life. For it seemed to be true, in the making of a Kennedy presidency, “The Medium [was] is the Message"! Yet, Kennedy did not commit the original sin of deception. All of our Presidents have postured, posed, and presented an image, a façade, an illusion or a philosophy that they then ask the people to buy. They have learned from history; they have learned to do as their predecessor did; only they do it bigger and better.

It is for this reason that many have decided to apathetically accept what is. They relent; they find no “right” in the world of politics and reluctantly they tolerate what is “wrong.” They shrug their shoulders and woefully state, “This is the path of a president; this is the path of politician.” People give up, protest, or they participate, yet, no one chooses to define what is differently.

How would we define right, correct, ethical, moral, or just if we felt that we had the power to do so? Who would define these and who defines these now? Is it we the people that would or could determine the definition, is it the religious right, the moral majority, and those that twice elected a more moral man to preside as President? Would or could it be the electorate, the elected, or might it be our Supreme Court justices? Possibly, it a superior being, after all, was it not his holiness that told Mr. Bush that his mission in life was to be President?

Possibly the

Government Accountability Office decides what is wise and esteemed, or at least what is defined as political correctness; more than a month ago they attempted to do so. They warned the present Administration “pre-packaging of news for purposes of publicity or propaganda has been banned since 1951, unless the reports are clearly labeled.” However, their words were not welcome and therefore considered unwarranted. Their words were not the wisdom that the administration preferred or was seeking.

The Bush Whitehouse had not turned to the GAO asking, “Mother May I?” Instead, Bush and his band turned to the

Justice Department. On Friday, March 11, 2005, “the Justice Department ruled that video news releases are legal.” Apparently, for the current presiding Justice Department the game is “Just Do It! Why? Because we can!”

Can [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]
transitive verb
1. to be able to do, make, or accomplish
intransitive verb
1. to have knowledge or skill
a. know how to
b. be physically or mentally able to
c. be permitted by conscience or feeling to
d. be made possible or probable by circumstances

Please read Daily Kos The Most Massive Propaganda Campaign in History and Government Propaganda is Illegal!

Weeks later, the game continues and now we have a coach!  I first learned of this after reading, “NINETY PERCENT OF BLOGGING IS HALF MENTAL,” by MaxSpeak, and “OKAY, WHAT’S THE DEAL . . .” by Josh Marshall.  Then, I discovered from many other sources that Tommy Lasorda is on tape.  The recordings are part of a telemarketing program; they promote the Bush Social Security Privatization plan.

You may wish to read of the new coach, Tommy Lasorda, or wait; he may call you and ask you to play in this game.  When he calls, you might ask him of his own words, “No, we don’t cheat.  And even if we did, I’d never tell you.

The First Official Date [Chapter Two]

copyright © 2005 Betsy L. Angert

It was now the morning of April 17, the day of the first “official date.”  On this night, I was going to formally meet with the man that I met two evenings earlier, the man that introduced himself to me at a local restaurant.  Let us call him Gary.

Hours and hours before my date with Gary, a friend of mine was planning to come over just to chat.  The friend coming to my home on this day was, and I assume still is, male.  He was a male friend, however, he was not a boyfriend, nor was he a best friend.  Actually, he was barely a friend; he was merely a person that I was becoming familiar with.  The man coming to my home for an afternoon of conversation was not as the “best friend” that Gary’s spoke of in our first conversation.  You may recall that the first time Gary noticed me, he was dining with a person that he called his “best friend.”  The friend that was coming to my home that morning was not a person that I “slept” with.  I mention this for it seems significant now.  Later, I would discover that Gary regularly “slept” with what he was calling his “best friend.”

The friend that was coming to my home was not a person that I would ever want to be more than a “friend.”  He was not one that I would wish to “sleep” with, to snuggle with; he was not one that would bring me a sense of solidarity.  He was and would never be more than a platonic partner.  Even if we were closer than we were in that moment, the man visiting me during daylight hours was not a person that excites me in a special way; he was not infinitely interesting to me.  His interests were not as intellectually broad as I prefer.  For long ago, even as a young child, I knew that I wanted and needed to be with one that actively and heartily uses their brilliant brain.  I knew that I needed an animated, vibrant, empathetic, and enthusiastic energy to feel whatever it is that creates a connection.

At least I knew that much of myself.  I knew my preferences, my desires; however, at this time in my life I did not realize that I needed, wanted, and desired more than a powerful mind, more than a liveliness, more than a mere sense of compassion.  I had no thought of what was truly essential before I was able to feel a deeper, more genuine, and healthy connection.  I could not imagine what was to come.  I had no idea of what I would learn; nor could I conceive of how this person, Gary, this story, would change my life.  I did not even know why I was going on this date; and this is what I was saying all that afternoon.

[Chapter Two in a series.]

The Apple of My Eye ©

You are the Apple of my eye; the Apple that I look at lovingly, and often,
For it is on you, that I rely.
You connect me to myself, to the “me” within “me, my self, and I.
Never once, in all these decades have you belied what I believe.

You are a work of art.
Your design, your ability to drag, to drop, to do all playfully, is as I value.
You are friendly, fun, and help me to fulfill my deepest dreams,
And to think that your creator was hoping to make you more amicable, agile, and able.
You give, you receive, you accept my gentle strokes,
And yet, I know that these can never show the appreciation that I truly feel.
You are the Apple of my eye, you are my Macintosh, and I thank you so much for being you!
In homage to Jef Raskin, he is the Man that Made the Mac, and inspired others to make all computers, friendlier.  He recently passed and I will miss his caring and creative energy.

You may listen to another remembrance of Jef Raskin on All Things Considered.
You may read even more remembrances of Jef Raskin at   DigiBarn Computer Museum