Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Sunday, July 27, 2014



My mother gave birth to me on this day, and this pop song by Joni Mitchell resonates:

But for incomparable beauty and affirmation of life, despite its tragedies, I always return to Mahler.


Poetry and classical music soothe one's heart and tell us more about ourselves and the world we struggle to make sense of than anything else I know.

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good. 
You do not have to walk on your knees 
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. 
You only have to let the soft animal of your body 
love what it loves. 
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. 
Meanwhile the world goes on. 
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain 
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers. 
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again. 
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination, 
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -- 
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.

Wow!  I was surprised with this:

Birthday dinner HERE tonight!  Can't wait!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What Have We Become?

This is what Americans once believed in:

“Give me your tired, your poor, 
 Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
 The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 
 Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: 
 I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” ― Emma Lazarus

Now groups of Americans scream at refugee children, telling them to GO HOME!  WE DON'T WANT YOU HERE!

The nasty posts we've read on so many conservative blogs shows us, sadly, that we've learned nothing and we do not believe a word of what the plaque on Lady Liberty says.  We're now repeating what we've done in our recent past to other refugees.  After the Vietnamese conflict, many refugees who supported America in the war came to this country.  They were met with exactly the same sort of abuse and animosity that the refugee children from Central America are receiving.

Shame on us.  We brag about being the beacon of hope and freedom in the world, then when we're tested on how serious we are about those ideals, we tell the freedom seekers to GO BACK HOME!  WE DON'T WANT YOU!


Unfortunately, this is as American as apple pie. The following is an excerpt from Rick Perlstein's forthcoming book called "The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan." It's about how we welcomed the Vietnamese refugees who were forced to leave their country after having allied themselves with the US during the war:

After the Vietnam War, the US accepted 531,310 Vietnamese political refugees and asylum seekers.

At the time, a majority of Americans objected to the immigration. Despite protests, the Congress passed several pieces of legislation allowing Vietnamese refugees to stay in the US and eventually become citizens. Over 85% of those refugees became American citizens.

"Some of the Vietnamese who made it to the United States were preliminarily resettled at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida panhandle -- in defiance of a hastily assembled petition got up by residents of the base's host city, which was called Niceville.  A radio poll that found 80 percent of Niceville's resident didn't want them.  The Associated Press reported, "Children in one school joked about shooting a few."  High school kids spoke in class of plans to organize a "Gook Klux Klan."  Student in a twelfth-grade psychology class told their teacher they were worried the refugees would try to convert them to Communism.

Disease, disease, disease , that's all I've heard," complained a congressman representing another relocation site, the San Diego County Marine base, Camp Pendleton of the phone calls he was getting.  "They  think of the Vietnamese as nothing but diseased job seekers."  In Arkansas at Fort Chaffee which admitted twenty-five thousand refugees, the compound was so well guarded that a radical journalist compared it to the "strategic hamlets" the U.S. m military used to build in South Vietnam.  A recently returned veteran told him, "I don't like the people personally.  I didn't see anything worth saving and I don't now."  

The protest placards read "GOOKS GO HOME."

Tea Party town hall erupts as Texas state Rep urges ‘compassion’ for migrant kids 

What have we become?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Massachusetts Tops US in Study of Children’s Well-Being

Well done, Massachusetts.  

But there's still lots of work to be done.  

Young people have a better chance to thrive in Massachusetts than in any other state, according to a national analysis of children’s overall well-being. 

 Nearly all children in the state, 99 percent, have health insurance. Reading and math proficiency rates exceed the national average. 

About 1 in 7 children live in poverty, compared with about 1 in 5 nationwide, according to the 25th annual Annie E. Casey Foundation “ Kids Count” report, released Tuesday. 


Several other New England states fared well in the rankings. Vermont placed second, with New Hampshire and Connecticut also in the top 10. 

Mississippi placed last.