June 22nd, 2009


Surfacing for Air

After being down again for a couple days, the net connection is back (at least for the present moment) so here I am.

We held our Litha ritual today. This being a water ritual for Yemaya, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised at the sprinkle of rain. The day was so warm we just did the ritual outside anyhow. It was really nice. We had the Yemaya flag from Karuna Arts (a review copy from a few years back) for decoration, plus blue and white flowers on the altar.
Drumming and dancing, and talking about our relationship with the ocean, provided the main activities. Then we came inside for the feast, which included Jamaican jerk chicken, coconut shrimp, fresh-made chili, broccoli salad, and sweet bruschetta among other goodies. Afterwards people hung out and socialized for a while. Special thanks to Brianna and Glynis for much cleanup help. I am pleased with the day.

The sweet bruschetta included fresh-made whipped cream. There was a little left after the feast, so we took it outside for the kitties ...


Fieldhaven Flowers and Fruit 6-21-09

Near end of bloom: sage, privet, blackberries, rugosa roses (dark pink and white),

Full bloom: red clover, comfrey, petunias, marigolds, blue lobelia, pansies, torenia, moss rose, snapdragons, zinnias, white clover, million bells, daylilies, tomatoes, dill, feverfew

Beginning bloom: pink echinacea, black-eyed susan, coriander

Green fruit: wild strawberries, Criterion apple, mulberry, black raspberry, gold currant, rugosa roses, tomatoes

Fruit starting to ripen: mulberry

Ripe fruit: black raspberry, wild strawberries

I got one bag of pie cherries; the birds got the rest. I've gotten a bag and a half of black raspberries and Glynis picked another half-bag today. Not much in the way of strawberries, alas. The mulberries are coming in nicely though. Most of the tomato plants now have little green tomatoes on them, with the ones on the south side of the tank fruiting best. I made a meatloaf yesterday and was pleased to go outside and pick thyme and oregano for it.

Meme: What Do You Need to Be Happy?

You Need Success to Be Happy
You are a responsible and serious person. You like to do things well.
Reaching your goals is very important to you, and you don't like getting sidetracked.

You feel great when you are mastering new tasks and solving problems. You believe in hard work.
Nothing makes you feel worse than feeling like you are doing a bad job.

This is pretty accurate ... though I did have to edit the results where it said "a back job" to the obviously intended "a bad job."

FCC Seeks to Regulate Blogs

This really bothers me:

Another DC power grab, FTC to regulate blogs

Everybody with an opinion has a blog. Sometimes those blogs talk about products or services that the blogger might have some experience with. Heck, I've been known to post some product reviewsmyself. Now your federal government wants to make sure I'm not being paid to shill for (or disparage) a particular product.

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) wants bloggers to disclose "conflicts of interest". Those who don't face fines and / or imprisonment.

I think the author makes a savvy point in observing that the FCC does not provide effective protection against obviously dishonest things, such as spam, but seeks to interfere with bloggers because it will be easier. And the corporate news is so full of conflicts of interest I hardly know where to start; journalists get fired for trying to report on things that might embarass sponsors or owners.

Health Care News

Recently I found these articles on American health care (or lack thereof):

Insurers Revoke Policies to Avoid Paying High Costs
Joanne Silberner, NPR News: "According to a new report by congressional
investigators, an insurance company practice of retroactively canceling
health insurance is fairly common, and it saves insurers a lot of money. A
subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee recently held a
hearing about the report's findings in an effort to bring a halt to this
practice. But at the hearing, insurance executives told lawmakers they
have no plans to stop rescinding policies."

Insurance companies do everything they can to avoid giving money to sick or injured customers. This causes extreme stress to people at a time when they most need support, and it often makes health care unavailable to people who need it. Sometimes the result is crippling or fatal. I do not believe that this is moral, and I do not think it should be legal. It demonstrates that America values money over humanity.

Dean Baker | Spreading the Wealth to the Insurance Industry
Dean Baker, Truthout: "This is the time when the excrement starts hitting the fan. The lobbyists are in overdrive, rounding up members of Congress just like the cowboys of the Old West would bring in the herd. The industry groups will also have their friends in the news media working overtime hyping any possible obstacle to health care reform. And they are filling the airwaves with scary ads, warning that people will never be able to see a doctor again if meaningful health care reform passes."

Like I can afford to see a doctor now? Or afford the treatment if I get sick or injured? Not bloody likely. And I don't want other people running around sick and breathing their germs on me either. If America is really as "great" as the Republicans say it is, let's see it do something actually impressive, like taking care of all its citizens. That would impress me.

Insurance Companies Refuse Autism Coverage
Thalia Assuras, CBS News: "An estimated one in every 150 children in America has autism and the number of reported cases is growing. The total cost of caring for an autistic child can reach a staggering $5 million. Parents are increasingly demanding that insurance companies cover the newest treatment."

With autism on the rise for various reasons, this is a really stupid action. A handicap tends to have a family-size footprint, so lack of coverage doesn't just mess up the victim but both parents and any siblings. How well do you think parents will focus on the workplace with an untreated autistic child at home? I'd like to have workers' minds on their work, and not wondering if their untreated autistic child is going melt down.

America's Dirty Little Secret

While America has often criticized other nations for their barbaric treatment of human beings, it's not considered polite here to point out America's own history of multiple cases of cultural and physical genocide (partial and complete) and widespread abuse, torture, theft, murder, and other illegal acts perpetrated upon indigenous peoples. Here is an article about one such example:

FOCUS: Dahr Jamail | Destroying Indigenous Populations
Dahr Jamail, Truthout: "There is uranium all around the Black Hills, South and North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. Mining companies came in and dug large holes through these lands to extract uranium in the 1950's and 1960's prior to any prohibitive regulations. Abandoned uranium mines in southwestern South Dakota number 142. In the Cave Hills area, another sacred place in South Dakota used for vision quests and burial sites, there are 89 abandoned uranium mines. In occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, the uranium that has caused genocide of sorts at home has proceeded to wreak new havoc."

This is personal for me. Pine Ridge is "my" reservation: my father's brother, John Barrette, has kin-by-marriage there (in a rather convoluted way). Our family has visited Pine Ridge. We have visited Paha Sapa, the Black Hills, several times. We have hiked up Harney Peak several times, and Bear Butte once. This is land that I consider sacred. I am extremely displeased by how the land and the native people have been treated. Racism is alive and kicking people to death on the Great Plains.