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Everyone deserves the same chance at permanence and happiness
By Keith Olbermann
updated 6:13 p.m. PT, Mon., Nov. 10, 2008
Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.
Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.
And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.
If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.
Only now you are saying to them—no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?
I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.
The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.
You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.
And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.
How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?
What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.
It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.
And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?
With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.
You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.
This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.
But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:
"I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love."
Good night, and good luck.
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An American tragedy made into a political commodity
By Keith Olbermann
updated 6:20 p.m. PT, Wed., Sept. 10, 2008
As promised, a Special Comment about our sad anniversary tomorrow.
Or, more correctly, what our sad anniversary tomorrow has been turned into by the presidential administration, and the current Republican candidates for President and Vice President.
This is supposed to be a day of remembrance. Remembrance of the attack, remembrance of the national unity which followed it.
Most important of all, remembrance of the dead.
But 9/11 has become a brand name. A Republican campaign slogan. Propaganda of the lowest form. 9/11 has become 9/11 with a trademark logo.
9/11 (TM) has sustained a president who long ago should have been dismissed, or impeached. It has kept him and his gang of financial and constitutional crooks in office without — literally — any visible means of support.
9/11 (TM) has made possible the greatest sleight-of-hand in our nation’s history.
The political party in office at the time of the attacks, at the local, state and national levels, the party which uniformly ignored the warnings and the presidential administration already through twenty percent of its first term and no longer wet behind the ears, have not only thus far escaped any blame for the malfeasance and criminal neglect that allowed the attacks to occur, but that presidency and that party, have managed to make it seem as if the other political party would be solely and irredeemably responsible for any similar catastrophe in the future.
Thus, Sen. McCain, were you able to accomplish a further inversion of reality at your party’s nominating convention last week.
There was the former Mayor of the City of New York, the one who took no counter-terrorism measure in his seven years in office between the first attack on the World Trade Center, and the second attack.
Nothing, except to insist, despite all advice and warning, that his Emergency Command Center be moved directly into the World Trade Center.
Yet there was this man, Sir, Rudolph Giuliani, quite succinctly dismissed as “A Noun, a Verb, and 9/11,” and repudiated even by Republican voters, transformed into the keynote speaker, Sen. McCain at your convention.
And his childish, squealing, braying, Tourette’s-like repetition of 9/11 (TM), was greeted not as conclusive evidence that he is consumed by massive guilt - hard-earned guilt, in fact but rather as some kind of political tour-de-force, an endorsement of your Vice Presidential nominee, a rookie governor , a facile and slick con artist.
The blind endorsing the bland, to a chorus of 9/11 (TM), 9/11 (TM), 9/11 (TM.)
Your ringing mindless cheer of “We’ve Kept You Safe Since Then.”While nobody asks “doesn’t then count?”
All of this, sadistically disrespecting the dead of New York, and Washington, and Shanksville. Endorsed, Sen. McCain. Exploited, Sen. McCain. Trademarked, Sen. McCain by you.
And yet of course the exact moment in which Sen. McCain’s Republicans showed the nation exactly how far they have fallen from the Better Angels of Mr. Lincoln’s Nature, came the next night.
The television networks were told that the Convention would pause, early in the evening, when children could still be watching, for a 9/11 Tribute, and they were encouraged to broadcast it.
What we got was not a tribute to the dead of 9/11, nor even a tribute to the responders, or the singularity of purpose we all felt. The Republicans gave us sociological pornography, a virtual snuff film.
Years ago, responsible television networks, to the applause of the nation, and the relief of its mental health authorities, voluntarily stopped showing the most graphic of the images of the World Trade Center, except with the strongest of warnings.
And yet, the Republicans, at their convention, having virtually seized control of the cable news operations, showed the worst of it.
This is all anyone with a conscience can show you of what the Republicans showed you. The actual collapse of the smoking towers.
A fleeting image of what might have been a victim leaping to his death from a thousand feet up. And something new. From this angle, ground-level, perfectly framed, images, of the fireball created when the second plane hit the second tower.
It was terrifying. After all its object was to terrify. Not to commemorate, not to call for unity, not to remember the dead. But to terrify.
To open again the horrible wounds, to brand the skin of this nation with the message — as hateful as the terrorists’ own, that you must vote Republican or this will happen again and you will die.
And just in case that was not enough, to also dishonestly and profanely conflate 9/11 with the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis, to stoke the flames of paranoia about another Middle Eastern Nation.
This was a 9/11 Tribute. Not to the dead, nor to the unity. But a tribute to how valuable 9/11 has been as a political tool for the Republican Party. 9/11... (TM.)
Sen. McCain, you had promised us a clean campaign. You could be Snow-White the rest of the way, Sir, yet that manipulative videotape from your convention should tar you always in the minds of decent Americans.
And still, as this seventh 9/11 (TM) approaches that, Sir, is not the worst of your contributions to the utter politicizing of a day that should be sacrosanct to all of us.
Hard to believe, but the Senator has done worse with 9/11 and the evil behind it.
We heard it last week in Minnesota, we’ve heard it off and on since January but Senator McCain said it most concisely in June.
“Look,” he said. “I know the area, I’ve been there, I know wars, I know how to win wars, and I know how to improve our capabilities so that we will capture Osama bin Laden — or put it this way, bring him to justice. We will do it. I know how to do it.”
Sen. McCain seems to be quite serious, that he and he alone, not the CIA, nor the U.S. Military, nor the current President can capture bin Laden.
Thus we must take him at his word, that this is no mere ludicrous campaign boast.
We must assume Sen. McCain truly believes he is capable of doing this, and has been capable of doing this, since last January. “We will capture Osama bin Laden… we will do it. I know how to do it.”
Well then, Senator, you’d better go and do it hadn’t you?
Because, Sir, if a man or woman in this nation, Democrat or Republican, had a clear and effective means of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden…
If that person had been advertising his claim, Senator for eight months.
But if that person not only refused to go to responsible authorities in government and advise them of this plan to catch bin Laden, but further announced he would not even begin to enact this secret plan to corral the world’s most hated man until the end of next January.
What would be your description of such an individual, Senator? Charlatan? Do-nothing? Opportunist? Sen. McCain, if you have, if you have had a means of capturing Osama bin Laden, and you do not immediately inform some responsible authority of the full scope of that plan, you are to some degree great or small aiding and abetting Osama bin Laden.
If you could assist in capturing him now, Sen. McCain, but you have chosen not to you, Sir, have helped Osama bin Laden stay free.
Free to inspire and supervise the terrorists. Free to plan or execute attacks here.
You, Sir, are blackmailing some portion of the American electorate into voting for your party, by promising to help in the capture of bin Laden only if you are made president!
I’d rather win an election than catch bin Laden! No more cynical calculation has ever been made in this nation’s history, Sir. If you lose the election, Senator, are you not going to tell the President-Elect?
Are you intending to keep this a secret until the next election and your party’s next nominee? Senator, as you and your Republicans shed your phony, crocodile, opportunistic tears tomorrow on 9/11 TM, in front of the utterly disingenuous banner “Country First,” the fact is, you have shown that it is John McCain first, and the country last.
The fact is, Sir, by holding out on your secret plan to catch bin Laden by searing those images into our collective wounded American psyche at your nomination last week, terrorists are not what you, John McCain, fight. Terrorists are what you, John McCain, use.
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This just in: Even the Lord has abandoned the desperate, shameful Right
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
This just in: Hurricane of delicious irony slams Republican National Convention, flooding the streets of Minneapolis/St. Paul with rivers of savage hypocrisy as levees of evangelical denial and sexual confusion overflow into the streets, leaving stunned party members scrambling in vain for shaky moral high ground.
Meanwhile, clever looters smash windows of opportunity and steal valuable quips about underage sex and teen pregnancy, as everyone gets a very unsettling if not downright weird taste of warped pro-gun anti-choice elk-kabob conservative Alaskan family values. YouTube at 11.
Yes, the rumors are true. The cosmic votes have all been tallied, and I do believe we can now say, with some measure of happy certainty, that God appears to be just as sick-to-death of the Republican Party as the rest of us.
But let's back up for a moment, just to be sure. Let's imagine the hot 'n' febrile reaction if, say, an enormous storm had come thundering through Denver during DNC '08, if some gale force winds or bowel-shaking rainfall had shut the city down, prophetically timing itself just right to thwart the Democratic Party's biggest party and stop Barack Obama from making all sorts of stunning history as he delivered his record-breaking speech to a wary and Bush-ravaged nation.
Let us, in other words, imagine that "rains of Biblical proportions" had slammed the DNC to a halt, just as those nutball pastors from Focus on the Family prayed it would.
Can you imagine the joyful outcry? The righteous outpourings of "Praise Jesus!" from the scandal-plagued evangelicals from Orange County to Colorado Springs, with the corpse of Jerry Falwell itself rising from the depths of Hell's own restroom to yelp "Ha! God smites the gay-loving heathens once again! Now, who wants to come down here 'n' wash my back?"
Funny, then, the ironies of nature and time and God, no? For there was Gustav, roaring through the eastern seaboard and shutting down a large, sweaty chunk of the Republican National Convention as he conjured all manner of painful Katrina-esque nightmares, reminding anyone with the slightest sense of integrity of just how inept and dangerous the Republican Party has been lo these past eight insufferable years. Ah, cosmic irony. Sweet like candy.
Perhaps God has shifted political allegiances? Perhaps She has finally revealed her true liberal colors? Or perhaps She's simply indulging in a bit of the same cosmic Schadenfreude as the rest of us, enjoying the various miseries, scandals, humiliations, missteps, gay-outings, meth addictions and unmarried teen pregnancies of the crumbling GOP as they writhe and squirm and attempt to make this McCain/Palin ticket seem even the slightest bit palatable, as opposed to downright frightening. You think?
How else to explain the latest smack of GOP shame, the lovely news that Sarah Palin's unwed 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is five months pregnant? Even in Alaska, that's still considered "a little young" to be knocked up, despite how the Palins say the father, 18-year-old Levi Johnston, a self-proclaimed "f--in' redneck" who "lives for hockey" and doesn't want kids, will "do the right thing" by Bristol, which certainly seems like sad shorthand for "sham marriage to lock down desperately needed evangelical support for John McCain." Oh, you poor kids.
To be sure, it's moments like these that make it difficult not to take some delight, not to sit back and feel the ironic righteousness melt over us like hot Cheez-Whiz over an Alaskan mooseburger. After all, Sarah Palin is anti-choice, pro-abstinence, anti sex-ed, religiously fundamentalist, a creationist, about as friendly to feminism and women's reproductive rights as John McCain is to his beloved "gooks."
But here's the saddest part of all: Governor Palin knew. She absolutely had to realize that her daughter's unfortunate condition would come to light when McCain offered her this bizarre gig. To which we can only say: Way to shove your own daughter under the wheels of the GOP Machine, Governor Palin. Ultimate sacrifice indeed.
Ah, but perhaps it's all a bit too much. Perhaps you think this perspective is just too negative, ugly, far too similar to how the right itself operates, full of low-vibration energy and fear and abhorrence of the Other, all topped by a cheerless belief in a cruel, micromanaging God who is so petty and small as to actually care about who you love, or how you vote, or what kind of sex you enjoy. Let me say this: I agree completely.
So let's flip it around. After all, if there's one thing we've learned in the past eight years, it's that the cavalcade of wanton scandal and hypocrisy among the GOP is never-ending, unstoppable, far more the rule than the exception. We could be here all day.
So, on to the good news: A staggering 40 million Americans watched Obama deliver his spectacular, rain-free speech in Denver. That's more than the opening ceremony of Olympics. More than "American Idol." Half again as much as Kerry or Bush earned for similar speeches from years before and an all-time record for any televised political speech anywhere. What a thing.
And let's recall, for a moment, Obama in Berlin back in July, where nearly a quarter million locals turned up to see a man who wasn't yet even a world leader, but merely a candidate. Recall those stunning images of cheering throngs at the Victory Column, hundreds of thousands of eager, curious foreigners, all there to catch a glimpse not of Mick Jagger or the Pope, not of the Dalai Lama or Brad Pitt, but a brilliant young American senator.
That's not middling celebrity. That's not merely good PR on behalf of Obama's team. That's something else entirely, a world electrified by new possibility. Hell, McCain would be lucky to draw 100 onlookers to the airport Sheraton, and most of those would be EMTs.
Even Bill Clinton, with his effortless charisma and fantastic oratory skill, could never draw like Obama. This man fills stadiums. Electrifies not just Democrats, but entire nations. He has that rarest of political power, the ability to make people want to get out there and feel it, be part of the shift. Bush gave the world hives. McCain gives the world the creeps. Obama gives the world goosebumps. Simple as that.
You gotta admit, amidst all the GOP scandal and meltdown and Obama's revitalizing, meteoric rise to international beacon of change -- a guy who, in Joe Biden's words, has "grabbed the lightning" like no one he's ever seen before -- it's tempting to say even God has abandoned the religious right.
Then again, it's probably far more accurate to say She was never really over there in the first place.
Thoughts about this column? E-mail Mark.
Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate.com. To get on the e-mail list for this column, please click here sfgate.com/newsletters and remove one article of clothing. To get on Mark's personal (i.e.; non-Chronicle) mailing list (appearances, books, readings, blogs, yoga and more), please click here visitor.constantcontact.com/d.jsp and remove two more.
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Jerry and Susannah Wood, (Jill and Jerry's 7-year-old daughter) will be coming back to Southern California from their new home in Colorado Springs on the weekend of Sept. 13th. When Jill passed away on July 22nd, most of her friends from California and from Renaissance Faire could not make it to Colorado at that time.
Jerry would really like to see everyone and to give anyone a chance to say a word or two about Jill.
Please pass this on.
Thank you, Michael Foster
The Memorial Service for
will be held at
10:00 a.m., Saturday, September 13, 2008
Kindred Community Church
8712 East Santa Ana Canyon Road
This is a Celebration of Jill's Life
There will be an open microphone for you to share your stories or memories
Please Dress Nicely, not Casually. Black or Mourning Clothing is Not Necessary
Reception will follow at a Private Home in Yorba Linda
(maps should be available at service -- or -- see below)
10:00 a.m., 09/13/2008
Kindred Community Church
8712 E. Santa Ana Canyon Rd
Anaheim, CA 92808
Traveling east on the 91 freeway: exit at Weir Canyon and turn right
go to Santa Ana Canyon Road and turn left
head down Santa Ana Canyon (along side the freeway) approx. 3 miles
church is on the right hand side
Traveling west on the 91 freeway: exit at Gypsum Canyon and turn left
go to Santa Ana Canyon Road and turn right
head down Santa Ana Canyon (along side the freeway) approx. 2 miles
church is on the left hand side
(link to mapquest)
Home of Ken & Ali Eastburn
19972 Glenhaven Dr.
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
Directions from Google Maps (church to home) -
1. Head northwest on E Santa Ana Canyon Rd
toward Woodcreek Ln 0.7 miles
2. Turn right at S Weir Canyon Rd 0.7 miles
3. Turn left at E La Palma Ave 1.7 miles
4. Turn right at Fairmont Blvd 0.9 miles
5. Turn left at Glenhaven Dr 0.1 miles
It is with great sadness and a very heavy heart that we make this
announcement. Just a short time ago, Jill passed on, succumbing to
her struggle with cancer.
Jerry, her husband, best friend, companion, love, partner, co-
planner, and biggest supporter was present. He had to begin the
process of notifying the hundreds of friends and family to all of
whom this loss will be deeply felt.
Their daughter, Susannah, is in the loving care of her grandparents
in Orange County, Larry and Ethel, who have taken on the mission of
letting her know and of providing her comfort until she can be
reunited with her father.
If you can find any joy within yourself, express it for Jill; she is
in a better place.
Bless those who mourn, eternal God,
with the comfort of your love
that they may face each new day with hope and the certainty that
nothing can destroy the good that has been given. May their memories
become joyful, their days enriched with friendship, and their lives
encircled by your love.
Michael & Patricia Foster
I think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue; he approaches nearest to gods who knows how to be silent, even though he is in the right.
Cato the Elder
Roman orator & politician (234 BC - 149 BC)
This one is priceless.. Wrong email address. A lesson to be learned
>From typing the wrong email address!!!!
A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a
particularly icy winter.
They planned to stay at the same hotel where
They spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier.
Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their
So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day.
The husband checked into the hotel.
There was a computer in his room,
So he decided to send an email to his wife.
However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the email.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston , a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral.
He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack.
The widow decided to check her email expecting messages from relatives and friends.
After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted.
The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the
Floor, and saw the computer screen which read:
To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I've Arrived
Date: October 16, 2005
I know you're surprised to hear from me.
They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones.
I've just arrived and have been checked in.
I've seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow.
Looking forward to seeing you then!!!!
Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
P.S. Sure is freaking hot down here!!!!
There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.
Edward Wallis Hoch, Marion (Kansas) Record
(1849 - 1925)
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