“Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” ~ Voltaire

Sunset at Pensacola Beach (NOAA Gulf Coast Collection)

  

“It is important to not let the fight become the life we live instead of the challenges we overcome.” ~ Skyewriter
Pelicans and Seagulls, Cortez, Florida (NOAA Gulf Coast Collection)

I was fortunate enough to glean the beautiful quote above in a comment that I received from Skyewriter on one of my posts. She and I share a sense of great sadness over the current situation in the Gulf. The biggest difference is that she is looking into ways of getting there to help with the cleanup. I am so impressed by her commitment to doing something instead of just bemoaning fate. I only wish that I could participate in the cleanup as well.

Several people have written to me to comment that they, too, feel that something is just out there on the periphery. By that I mean a sense that the escalating incidents of intolerance and madness bespeak a mounting swing of the pendulum; I know that historically, we swing from one extreme to the other, with short respites in between in which life appears to be calm.

There are so many rumblings now: acts of incredible violence, attempts to legislate intolerance, blatant disregard for the planet and its other inhabitants—it’s as if  there are billboards dotting the highway flashing warning signs, but no one is paying attention. Then again, perhaps I am overreacting. 

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about conspiracy theories or paranoia that someone is out to get me. It’s more a sense of feeling the pulse of the nation and noticing that something is not right, is off somehow.

“But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.” ~ Umberto Eco

The news in the past couple of days does not help to alleviate my feelings of dismay.

Gulf Crew Boat Offshore Cameron, Louisiana (NOAA Gulf Coast Collection)
  • In Kabul, Afghanistan, the Taliban has executed a seven-year-old boy for spying. According to The Daily Mail, the child was taken from his home by Taliban militants. He was taken to a neighboring village, put on trial and found guilty of working for the government.  Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai condemned the act as a “crime against humanity.”
  • In Salt Lake City, a leaked pipeline belonging to Chevron spewed between 400 and 500 barrels of oil into Red Butte Creek before being capped. The leak coated wildlife and cause the park to be closed.
  • BP Directors will meet tomorrow to discuss deferring payment of its next dividend to shareholders. Gee. You think? This move by BP comes as a result of President Obama’s request to the company to set up an escrow account for a third-party administered claims process. Meanwhile, more and more individuals who work on the water in the Gulf are watching their livelihoods disappear beneath a tarry sheen of oil. Dave Marino, fisherman and owner of a charter boat business in Myrtle Grove, Louisiana put into words what a lot of people are thinking: “My concern is that it’s going to tip the balance to where it’s too much to overcome. What happens when you tip the point to where there’s more death than life?”
  • In Arizona, Republicans plan to introduce legislation this fall that would deny birth certificates to children born in Arizona to parents who are not legal U.S. citizens—also known by the derogatory term anchor babies. Under the legal principle jus soli, or birthright citizenship, any child born in the U.S. is automatically a citizen. The term anchor baby refers to the belief that these children of illegal immigrants give the parents legal foothold in this country and allow for other family members to come into the country under sponsorship. Once again, state Senator Russell Pearce is spearheading divisive legislation. Pearce admits that he may have a Constitutional fight, but in his mind, illegal immigrants have hijacked the 14th amendment, which states that “all persons, born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”
“Disorder is merely the order you were not looking for.” ~ Henri Bergson
Shrimp Boats, Padre Island, Texas (NOAA Gulf Coast Collection)

Meanwhile, closer to home, we are getting ready for Brett’s graduation tomorrow. Today he went to a graduation party at one of his friend’s houses, which is a good distraction because he’s getting really nervous about graduation. I don’t know why, but he is.

On Friday at rehearsal, he received his honor tassel and gold cord, which he was really happy to get. He’s been .04 points away from being an honor graduate, and his counselor had said that she wouldn’t know whether or not he would be graduating with honors until final grades came through, which was Friday. We’re so proud of him.

So my last baby is leaving high school. I have so many mixed emotions about this, another life milestone, but luckily pride seems to be the overwhelming emotion. Once we get through graduation, I have to see about driving lessons for Brett as he still doesn’t have his license. Unlike Alexis and Eamonn, Brett has never had any desire to drive or to have his own car, but with college looming in the fall, he needs to learn to drive.

Apparently, even though he will be 18, he still will have to have his learner’s permit for a year before he can get a license. That’s how the law is here in Virginia. And he also has to have behind-the-wheel certification because of his age. He never bothered to take it while he was in school, and I never pushed it as I wanted him to focus his energies on his academic classes. So that’s his next big step before beginning college.

That’s all for now as I need to iron clothes for tomorrow. All images are from the NOAA site’s Gulf Coast collection, pre-spill.

More later. Peace.

Music by Damien Rice, “Grey Room”

“If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement.” ~ Jimmy Carter

Pamela J. Smith and R.E. Wall Sitting in front of Offensive Miller Valley School Mural titled “Go on Green” in Prescott, Arizona

   

 

“If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves. We should, therefore, protest openly everything . . . that smacks of discrimination or slander.” ~ Mary McLeod Bethune

In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “The nation is sick; trouble is in the land, confusion all around . . .” And luckily in the years that followed, we, as a country, seemed to find a way to curb that sickness. Unfortunately, we did not eradicate it. Unfortunately, King’s words from over 40 years ago seem to be just as relevant today as they were then. Unfortunately, each day when I peruse the news, I find more and more instances of a society that seems to be losing its way.

Unfortunately.

Unfortunately, the following story (as related in a column on Wonkette) is true, and it is so bleeping offensive to sane people, that I am not going to summarize, or pick and choose which parts to repeat. The whole thing needs to be repeated and spread far and wide because folks, we’re losing it, here. So here it is, verbatimm, courtesy of Wonkette:

Arizona School Demands Black & Latino Students’ Faces On Mural Be Changed To White

Hard to find even the Gallows Humor in this story, so maybe we won’t even try. Maybe it’s time to admit that large chunks of America are in the hands of unreconstructed racists and vulgar idiots, and that the popular election of a black man as president just might’ve pushed these furious, economically doomed old white people into a final rage that is going to end very, very badly. Ready? Here you go: An Arizona elementary school mural featuring the faces of kids who attend the school has been the subject of constant daytime drive-by racist screaming, from adults, as well as a radio talk-show campaign (by an actual city councilman,* who has an AM talk-radio show) to remove the black student’s face from the mural, and now the school principal has ordered the faces of the Latino and Black students pictured on the school wall to be repainted as light-skinned children.

This is America, in 2010, and there’s a dozen more states and endless white-trash municipalities ready to Officially Adopt this same Official Racist Insanity.

From the Arizona Republic:

A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school. The project’s leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children’s ethnicity ….

R.E. Wall, director of Prescott’s Downtown Mural Project, said he and other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on the painting at one of the town’s most prominent intersections.

“We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars,” Wall said. “We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics).”

The children depicted on the mural, as we mentioned before but feel compelled to repeat, are little kids who go to the school — “a K-5 school with 380 students and the highest ethnic mix of any school in Prescott. Wall said thousands of town residents volunteered or donated to the project.”

And these children, for the past several months as this happy mural encouraging “green transportation” was being painted by local artists, have been treated to the city of Prescott’s finest citizens driving by and yelling “Nigger” and “Spic” at this school wall painted with pictures of the children who attend the school. And this has been encouraged by a city councilman, Steve Blair, who uses his local radio talk show to rile up these people and demand the mural be destroyed.

And now the faces are being painted white, “because of the controversy.”

Remember where you were, when you could still laugh about teabaggers and racists and Arizonans, because funny time is almost over. If the unemployment keeps up — one in five adult white males has no job and will never have a job again — and people keep walking away from their stucco heaps they can’t afford and the states and cities and counties and towns keep passing their aggressive racist laws to rile up the trash even more, shit’s going to very soon become very bad, and whether it’s the National Guard having wars in the Sunbelt Exurbs against armies of crazy old white people who are finally using their hundreds of millions of guns, or whole Latino neighborhoods burned to the ground the way the Klan used to burn down black neighborhoods a century ago, we are in for a long dark night and no light-colored paint is going to fix that. [AZCentral via Wonkette operative AZW88]

*To see the unbelievable comments by Councilman Steve-I-Hate-Diversity Blair, click here.

Unfortunately, I can think of no musical accompaniment for this.

More later. Peace.