Thursday, October 21, 2010


I once considered trying out for the Blue Man Group. That lasted for about a day and then I was normal again.

"Hell does not last forever"

"I have more faith in Hitler than anyone else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people."

This book never gets easier, and it sure took me longer to finish this round. But it's a necessary road.

"I remember: it happened yesterday, or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the Kingdom of Night....and now the boy is turning to me. "Tell me," he asks, "what have you done with my future, what have you done with your life?" And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep the memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.

And then I explain to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.....when human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant."

~Excerpt from Elie Wiesel's Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, 1986 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And a point goes to the Obama Administration...

Gotta give credit where it is due.

Settlement is Reached in Keepseagle Case
USDA, DOJ settle case brought by Native American farmers alleging racial discrimination.
Compiled by staff 
Published: Oct 20, 2010

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Attorney General Eric Holder have settled another class action lawsuit filed against USDA. This suit, the Keepseagle case, was filed by Native American farmers alleging discrimination by USDA. The settlement generally covers the period 1981-1999. Under the settlement agreement, $680 million will be made available to eligible class members to compensate them for their discrimination claims. President Obama called the agreement an important step forward in remedying USDA's unfortunate civil rights history.

Two payment "tracks" are available. Under the first track, persons who meet the class definition and provide substantial evidence of discrimination to an impartial adjudicator will receive a uniform settlement of up to $50,000. The second track is for those persons who meet the class definition and believe they have stronger evidence of economic losses caused by discrimination. This track requires a higher evidentiary standard and damage awards are capped at a maximum of up to $250,000 per individual.

In addition, the agreement provides up to $80 million in debt forgiveness to successful claimants with outstanding USDA Farm Loan program debt. The settlement also provides a broad range of programmatic relief for Native American farmers, including creation of a new Federal Advisory Council for Native American farmers and ranchers.

President Obama says this settlement underscores the federal government's commitment to treat all citizens fairly. In light of that he urged Congress to implement the settlements of the Pigford II lawsuit*, brought by African American farmers, and the Cobell lawsuit, brought by Native Americans over the management of Indian trust accounts and resources. The President says his administration is also working toward a resolution of claims made by women and Hispanic farmers against USDA.

*Note: A similar settlement was reached for African American farmers earlier this year, but Republicans have blocked the funds.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I left the girl there...

A daily remembrance...daily lesson.
Muddy Road
Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.
Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
"Come on, girl" said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"

"I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"
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