Monday, October 30, 2006

Thought for the Day

A few weeks ago a friend introduced me to Kate Nowak's "Heartfelt Blessings" . Kate's messages are indeed blessings. Here is a message from Saturday, October 29th
that I hope will encourage you.

Love you,

A Heartfelt Blessing:

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."
~Robert F. Kennedy, former U.S. Attorney General

The moment your fear of not trying overrides your fear of failure--
in that one spectacular moment -- the pathway to success is cleared
of all debris and you take the first steps toward amagnificent future.

Never let fear stop you when it can just aseasily push you forward.

If you would like to listen to today's Heartfelt Blessing,
click here:

And until then...

Know that you are loved beyond measure and a cherished blessing to me.

May your day be filled with all things good,

Today's heartfelt blessing may be accessed on-line here:

The May You Be Blessed movie is available for viewing here:

If you are not a subscriber to the daily version of HeartfeltBlessings but would like to be, you may subscribe here:

Please feel free to forward this message to others.

© copyright 2006 by Kate Nowak, Live More Abundantly Productions.
All Rights Reserved

Live More Abundantly Productions,
111 Pura Vida Way,
P.O. Box 58, Strawn, Texas 76475, USA

Friday, October 27, 2006

Compounding a Political Outrage - New York Times

Read the entire article at: 
The sleazy way in which campaigns and the political parties use loopholes in the campaign finance laws to evade responsibility for their attack ads is on full display in the Tennessee Senate race. Slick as a leer, pernicious as a virus, a campaign commercial transparently honed as a racist appeal to Tennessee voters has remained on the air, despite assurances from Republican sponsors that it was pulled down.

The ad is directed at Representative Harold Ford Jr., the Democratic candidate for the Senate, who is African-American. It includes a bare-shouldered white woman claiming to have met the candidate at a Playboy party and signing off with a close-up, whispered come-on: "Harold, call me."

The ad, resonating with the miscegenation taboos of Old South politics, may or may not be the nadir in the low-blow salvos now assailing the nation. But it takes the statuette for political hypocrisy as G.O.P. leaders insist they were hobbled by campaign law from cutting off what is clearly their own handiwork.

"We didn't have anything to do with creating it," insisted Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. All Mr. Mehlman's committee did was finance the ad by way of a supposedly "independent" political shop that serves as a shadow party operation specializing in attack ads on behalf of the Republican candidate, Bob Corker.

Mr. Corker eventually criticized the ad as tacky and not part of his campaign, asking that it be killed. But Republican assurances that it was finally off the air after days of damage have proved untrue, according to news reports. The 30-second fiction continued to air like some monstrous G.O.P. orphan.

Strategists from both political parties use the "independent" route of the campaign law for launching sleaze and disclaiming provenance.

Voters across the nation are hard-pressed to separate wheat from chaff in the whirlwind of political ads. But one of the few keys they have in figuring out who's responsible for something particularly egregious is the tag line required at each commercial's close.

In the anti-Ford ad, viewers transfixed by the blonde's vixenish sign-off may miss the commercial's only truly enlightening statement, tacked on in quick-talk: "The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising."

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer


The Fifth Anniversary of The "Patriot" Act

"Liberty is the possibility of doubting, the possibility of  making a mistake, the possibility of searching and experimenting,
the possibility of saying “No” to any authority – literary,  artistic, philosophic, religious, social, and even political."
-- Ignazio Silone

On PATRIOT Act’s Fifth Anniversary, We Celebrate the Resistance
by Hope Marston
Published on Thursday, October 26, 2006 by

The USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law by George W. Bush on October 26, 2001 – five years ago. At the time, many of us recognized it as the beginning of an enormous erosion of Bill of Rights protections. Though we didn’t know it at the time, President Bush had begun dismantling the Bill of Rights weeks earlier when he approved the National Security Agency (NSA) warrantless wiretapping program. That program guts Fourth Amendment protections by circumventing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which Congress enacted specifically to codify executive-branch spying

Soon after Congress returns from its election recess on November 9, it is expected to consider legalizing the warrantless wiretapping program and providing amnesty for the telecom companies who handed our call information to the government without first seeing warrants. Regardless of the election outcome, the President’s bid to legalize warrantless wiretapping will doubtless be considered. And once more, dirty tricks and unbridled executive power will come up for a vote by the same lame-duck Congressional representatives who recently voted to pass the Military Commissions Act.

So, what can we do?

The same thing we did in 2001 when the PATRIOT Act was passed. We continue to resist. We work against any warrantless wiretapping bill that legalizes the illegalities of the Bush White House. We appeal to Congress to stop this runaway executive excess. And we continue to resist laws that we know are unconstitutional.

The PATRIOT Act was a mammoth intrusion on the Bill of Rights, but that didn’t stop ordinary people from organizing in their communities. It didn’t stop public forums, rallies, marches, conferences, and other local events to bring the excesses of the Bush Administration to light. It didn’t stop hundreds of local, county and state resolutions from being passed opposing the PATRIOT Act and other post-9/11 Administration abuses of the Bill of Rights.

The story of how that local agitation and 408 resolutions have held ground for the Bill of Right is often untold, but needs to be repeated again and again so we can see how far we’ve come in these five years.

In 2001, only 67 members of Congress were willing to vote against the PATRIOT Act. Four and a half years later, in 2006, 184 members of Congress voted against the PATRIOT Act Reauthorization. In those intervening years, the House of Representatives twice passed bills by clear majorities that would have removed funding from crucial parts of the PATRIOT Act – the sneak and peek home search provision and the Section 215, the library/bookstore provision. Unfortunately, under threat of presidential veto neither of those bills passed the Senate – but the House votes are a clear mark of Congress taking note of grassroots work to defend the Bill of Rights.

We can also look back on the past five years and mark the pieces of repressive law the Bush Administration was not able to move through Congress, or fully activate.

  • The TIPS program, which was an effort to make spies of our neighbors, plumbers and cable installers;
  • and PATRIOT II (the Domestic Security Enhancement Act), which has not been introduced in Congress on its own, granting power to strip citizenship from anyone providing material support to unpopular organizations the administration labels as “terrorist.”

Though parts of each of those programs have wormed their way into Administration policy in some form or another, neither was passed whole cloth by Congress. Barring the existence of any yet-unrevealed programs, the overall effect of each of those Orwellian proposals was seriously muted by public cries of outrage fostered by a grassroots civil liberties movement.

When our grassroots resolution effort began in late 2001, we hoped that by 2006 we would have successfully rolled back the PATRIOT Act and re-established the Bill of Rights as a hallowed and heeded part of our Constitution. But civil liberties veterans warned us even back then that our work would take years, and to complete that work, we would need stamina, drive, and commitment.

Following the passage of the Military Commissions Act in late September, there has been a renewed vigor from ordinary people throughout the country who are still committed to protecting our vanishing freedoms. Many are planning Veterans Day events to stir local outrage against sanctioned torture and the abolition of habeas corpus. Others are using Halloween as the day to mark the horrors of post-9/11 reality, as they costume themselves as the dead and tortured of the Bush Administration. Still others are organizing public forums, marches, rallies, and conferences to once again bring to light the excesses of an executive branch gorged on power.

There are also newly emerging resolutions. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the California Bar Association, the Hampton, CT City Council and the Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp 5 in Haines, Alaska represent new popular will expressed against warrantless wiretapping and against the Military Commissions Act.

As in 2001, ordinary people are not waiting for the courts to declare these Presidential actions and Congressional laws unconstitutional. We are organizing locally, and our work will ripple out nationally. The Bill of Rights Defense Committee recommits to the work we started five years ago -- work we know will take us years to produce tangible change. But already we can look back to see our progress, and seeing that is the encouragement we need for this long struggle ahead. Join us! Start by taking advantage of the information and organizing resources available at our website:

Hope Marston is west region organizer for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. She has been organizing locally against infringements on the Bill of Rights since 2002, and working with local Bill of Rights groups west of the Mississippi since 2005.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cultivating Roses

Dedicated to everyone that is helping me blossom. May I do the same for others. plk


A certain man planted a rose and watered it faithfully, and before it blossomed, he examined it.

He saw the bud that would soon blossom and
also the thorns. And he thought, "How can any beautiful flower come from a plant burdened with so many sharp thorns?"

Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose, and before it was ready to bloom, it died.

So it is with many people.

Within every soul there is a rose.

The God-like qualities planted in us at birth grow amid the thorns of our faults.
Many of us look at ourselves and see only the thorns, the defects.

We despair, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from us.
We neglect to water the good within us, and eventually it dies. We
never realize our potential.

Some people do not see the rose within themselves; someone else must
show it to them.

One of the greatest gifts a person can possess is to be able to reach
past the thorns and find the rose within others. This is the
characteristic of love, to look at a person, and knowing his faults,
recognize the nobility in his soul, and help him realize that he can
overcome his faults. If we show him the rose, he will conquer the thorns.

Our duty in this world is to help others by showing them their roses and
not their thorns. Only then can we achieve the love we should feel for
each other; only then can we bloom in our own garden.

-- Author Unknown


I've never met a person, I don't care what his condition,
in whom I could not see possiblilites.

I don't care how much a man may consider himself a failure.
I believe in him, for he can change the thing that is wrong in
his life any time he is ready and prepared to do it. Whenever
he develops the desire he can take away from his life the thing
that is defeating it. The capacity for reformation and change
lies within.

Preston Bradley

I will make love my greatest weapon and none on who I call can
defend against its force....My love will melt all hearts liken to the
sun whose rays soften the coldest day.

-- Og Mandino
 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Author Asks Us To Accept Responsibility for Halting Climate Change

Activist and author George Monbiot spoke to an Oxford audience Thursday about our unique responsibility to halt runaway climate change. He detailed how the UK could achieve a 90 percent cut in CO2 emissions by 2030--if the public can trigger enough political will.

Click on the link below to hear his message:

How America's Homegrown Terrorists Operate

Excerpt from

How Sam Dickson Got Rich

The former Klan lawyer from Atlanta has always been interested in money. What's remarkable is how he's been able to earn it.

by Alexander Zaitchik

One afternoon in July of 2005, Atlanta real estate investor Steven Ogletree received an unusual phone call. On the other end of the line was a local retired lawyer and real estate prospector named Sam Dickson. Ogletree had never heard of Dickson, knew nothing of his outspoken white supremacism, and was surprised when the pushy stranger urged him to undersell a plot of land in Atlanta's resurgent Vine City district. Dickson claimed to have already bought out Ogletree's three junior partners; he now needed the remaining portion to gain full title. Dickson named a price and demanded that the deed be signed over to him at once.

Ogletree recoiled, refusing the offer. It took several more phone calls, offers and rejections before a flustered Dickson told Ogletree that he no longer believed he was speaking to the right person. The reason, Dickson said, was that Ogletree sounded African-American, which indeed he was. Dickson declared that "no black man was capable" of masterminding such a profitable investment, Ogletree said.

The statement was a revealing burst of honesty in Sam Dickson's short but lucrative career in real estate. The year before, Dickson had declared at a conference sponsored by former Klan leader David Duke that "Negroes ... are hopeless."

But not without their uses, especially when they own property. It was at that same conference that Dickson declared, apropos of not much at all, "I like money. There's no virtue in poverty. I want money."

So he does. Since 2001, Dickson, a 59-year-old former Klan attorney and active veteran of numerous extreme-right causes and groups, has built a multi-million dollar business in the niche field of tax lien and title acquisition. His success has depended in no small part on keeping his otherwise well-known racism concealed from his targets, many of whom are poor and black. According to those who have observed and worked with Dickson, his profits have been earned through a combination of bullying, stealth, and legal pretzel-making in the arcane world of tax lien purchases, redemptions and foreclosures. When contacted, Dickson declined to comment on the charges.

Though unusual for the surfacing of racist bile, Ogletree's anecdote is consistent with other reports of Dickson's methods.

"Before he insulted me, he tried to swindle me," says Ogletree. "Everything he told me was an exaggeration. He called me at midnight and threatened me, using jargon, as if he had some special powers because he passed the bar. I wasn't intimidated by him, but [what if] he does this to defenseless old ladies, and makes it sound as if a siren is coming to their door -- it's just evil."
It's profitable, too.

'Bullying Title'

Famous for their complex legal and procedural nuances, tax lien and deed auctions are essentially how cities and counties collect delinquent property taxes. In the case of south Atlanta's newly revitalized black neighborhoods, where Dickson is most active, the lots in question are sometimes little more than narrow strips of overgrown weeds.

But in today's high-growth Atlanta, where land values are soaring in neighborhoods considered worthless a decade ago, these craggy patches are worth chasing.

The chase begins when someone like Dickson purchases an unpaid tax debt. The purchaser (or "transferee," because the tax debt has been transferred to him) then has a legal obligation to notify the owners of record of the property that the execution of the unpaid tax debt has been transferred to him. If the notice to an owner of record is returned undelivered, the transferee has an obligation to try to identify his whereabouts and notify him. At this stage the property owners can clear the tax debt by paying the amount owed, plus certain fees and interest at the statutory rate, to the transferee.

But the clock is ticking. If the transferee's bill goes unpaid too long, he can force a sale of the property. At such an official tax sale, there is rarely much money left over for the property owners after the taxes, interest, fees, and other expenses are paid. Faced with this prospect, the property owners may end up selling their property to someone like Dickson to get what they can.

"Sam Dickson creates a sense of false urgency about the back taxes," says Dan West, a disgruntled former business partner of Dickson's who runs a real estate firm specializing in tax lien and deed acquisition. "He won't inform people of their full rights. He'll twist the information to gain their interest in the lot."

There is an industry phrase for Dickson's style: "Bullying title." It's not illegal, but it's
not a pretty sight.

Nightmare on Ormond Street

Deborah Hobson has seen Dickson the Bull charge. In 1993, Hobson's mother and father died within a month of each other. They left no will, but Hobson didn't think she needed a piece of paper to tell her that she and her two sisters had rights to her mother's "shotgun shack" at 76 Ormond Street in southwest Atlanta. Hobson paid the taxes on the land until 1995, when she fell behind. In September, 2003, Sam Dickson bought the tax deed on the south Atlanta property for $7,000.

Here began Deborah Hobson's self-described "nightmare."

Within days of acquiring the deed, Dickson approached Hobson about buying her interest in the property. She was entertaining the idea of selling, she says, until she realized that Dickson had no intention of offering anything near fair market value; his first offer was $1,500 on a lot worth between $35,000 and $60,000. She told him that she did not want to sell the land. Instead, she would try to pull together the money needed to redeem the tax deed and retain all her pre-existing rights to the property, possibly by cracking open her 401(k) account.

That's not what Sam Dickson wanted to hear. Hobson says that he stepped up pressure on her and her sisters to sell the property at once, telling them to forget ever trying to pay his bill. Unable to convince Deborah Hobson, Dickson began contacting her sisters independently, playing one off the other, whispering that their family spokesperson in the matter, Deborah, did not have their best interest at heart and was costing them money.

At one point, Dickson even tracked down a Hobson sister at the hospital where she was being treated for a head injury. He suggested he come down and she sign the papers then and there.

"When we refused to sell, he got aggressive. He was relentless. I felt like I was being stalked," remembers Deborah Hobson. "I considered trying to get my Cingular Wireless records and suing him for harassment."

"He'd leave these threatening letters on my door," says Hobson. "They'd say, 'I know you're bitter because you lost your land, but you aren't going to get it back so you might as well take what you can get.' It was like, how dare we question him! He's a liar and a snake in the grass."

Worn down and eager to be rid of Dickson, the Hobson sisters hired a lawyer to sell their property to someone else. The other buyer offered them more than Dickson — but still less than what the property was worth — but by then money was no longer the sisters' main concern.

"It got so ugly that we took the path of least resistance," explains Deborah Hobson. "We still didn't get fair market value, but I would have given it away just to keep that evil man from getting his hands on my mother's house."

It was after months of dealing with Dickson and his associates that Hobson learned of her suitor's Klan connections and extreme views on race. After running an Internet search on Dickson, she was furious and horrified.

"I started to have nightmares about him," she says. "I couldn't believe this man was coming to my home, that I ever talked business with him. It will always haunt me."

Read the rest of the article at:

Expressing Your Faith in the Global Community

The point is not that religion should necessarily retreat from the public sphere. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.,
Bishop Desmond Tutu and Gandhi all blended religion with fearless engagement in the public realm, but they did it in
a way that brought people together and dissipated violence. Gandhi went so far as to say:
"I am a Muslim and a Hindu and a Christian and a Jew and so are all of you."
excerpt from

The Super-Powered Gospel:

Evangelical Sabre-Rattling Doesn't Advance Global Understanding


by Will Braun

Published on Monday, October 23, 2006 by the Winnipeg Free Press (Canada)


The Grahams -- widely respected in Christian circles and beyond -- have consistently provided a visible, public symbol of the church's blessing of the United States and its international forays, both in Republican and in Democratic eras.


This may be good or bad, depending on your view of the U.S. or a particular president, but it raises an issue beyond partisanship and national allegiance: What is the role of religion in an increasingly divided global village? With political leaders on many fronts talking tough, waving their guns and clinging to national self-interest, is the best role for religion that of bolstering the bravado?


Franklin Graham, brandishing a tone not heard from his father, called Islam "a very evil and wicked religion" and, in the wake of 9-11, said the U.S. should drop nuclear weapons on Afghanistan. He has backed down somewhat from the former statement but refuses to retract the latter. Rather than countering increased division in the world with calls for understanding and unity, he is digging the trenches deeper.


To be clear about what Rev. Graham suggested for Afghanistan, picture in your mind the apocalyptic images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- disfigured people and a lifeless smouldering moonscape.


Is that what the religious imagination has to offer the world?


Compare that with the Amish of Nickel Mines. When faced with senseless violence, they did not respond with righteous vengeance but reached out to the family of the man who killed their children, setting up trust funds for his kids. Confronted by unthinkable violence, they responded with unthinkable forgiveness and compassion.


For them, faith meant replacing the human impulse for fear and retaliation with something kinder and gentler.


Whether or not one believes in God, war or America, likely we would all agree that our volatile, fearful world would benefit from more voices of compassion and calm rather than more voices that turn us against each other? In this world, does religion not have a higher calling than aggression? As the world becomes increasingly polarized, will religion simply follow suit?


Right up until his final sermon in New York last year, Billy Graham called his services crusades, maintaining this allusion to Christianity's most violent and impositional phase. Though President Bush was forced to apologize for referring to the war on terror as a crusade, Graham somehow gets away with it. Though Franklin is moving away from the term, the undercurrent of aggression still seems strong.


The point is not that religion should necessarily retreat from the public sphere. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Bishop Desmond Tutu and Gandhi all blended religion with fearless engagement in the public realm, but they did it in a way that brought people together and dissipated violence. Gandhi went so far as to say: "I am a Muslim and a Hindu and a Christian and a Jew and so are all of you."


Where are the religious leaders with the courage and breadth to make such a statement today?


Perhaps religion, at its seldom-seen best, should allow society to imagine the unimaginable -- like responding to evil with goodness and forgiving murders. Maybe the power of such actions can do more for our world than the superpower of religio-political might.


Will Braun is editor of Geez magazine and attends Hope Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.


© Copyright 2006 Winnipeg Free Press

Thought For the Day -- Expect God To Answer


We all have something to learn from this young girl.

As a drought continued for what seemed an eternity, a small community of farmers was in a quandary as to what to do.

Rain was important to keep their crops healthy and sustain the towns people's way of life.

As the problem became more acute, a local pastor called a prayer meetingto ask for rain.

Many people arrived. The pastor greeted most of them as they filed in. As he walked to the front of the church to officially begin the meeting he noticed most people were chatting across the aisles and socializingwith friends.

When he reached the front his thoughts were on quieting the attendees and starting the meeting. His eyes scanned the crowd as he asked for quiet.

He noticed an elevenyear-old girl sitting quietly in the front row. Her face was beaming with excitement. Next to her, poised and ready for use, was a bright red umbrella.

The little girl's beauty and innocence made the pastor smile as he realized how much faith she possessed. No one else in the congregation had brought an umbrella.

All came to pray for rain, but the little girl had come expecting God toanswer.

-- Author Unknown

<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><


Helen Roseveare, a missionary doctor from England to Zaire Africa, told this as it happened to her in Africa.

"One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but inspite of all we could do she died leaving us with a tiny premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter.

We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator. (We had no electricity to run anincubator.) We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts.

One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst. Rubber perishes easily in tropical climates. "And it is our last hot wate rbottle!" she exclaimed.

As in the West it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles.They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

"All right," I said, "Put the baby as near the fire as you safely can,and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts."Your job is to keep the baby warm.

"The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warmenough, mentioning the hot water bottle. The baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During the prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children.

"Please, God," she prayed, "send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.

"While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added by way of a corollary,
"And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?"

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, "Amen?" I just did not believe that God could do this.

Oh,yes, I know that He can do everything. The Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there?

The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle?

I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door.

By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the verandah, was a large twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.

Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing eachknot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly.

Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.

From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out.

Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas--that would make a nice batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the.....could it really be?

I grasped it and pulled it out--yes, a brand-new, rubber hot water bottle!

I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, "If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!

"Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone!

She had never doubted.

Looking up at me, she asked: "Can I go over with you, Mummy, and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?"

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months. Packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator.

And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child--five months before--in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it "that afternoon.""

Before they call, I will answer!" Isa 65:24

-- Author Unknown<><

<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><

courtesy of E-Mail Ministry
To learn more about E-Mail Ministry and read previous messages, visitour web site at:

 Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 23, 2006

FCC Media Ownership Policies Make Television's "Vast Wasteland" Even Vaster

Creative Voices Tells Commission
Read the entire news release at:

CONTACT: Center for Creative Voices in Media
Jonathan Rintels, Center for Creative Voices in Media, (202) 747-1712

WASHINGTON - October 23 - - - Misguided FCC media ownership policies harm competition, diversity of viewpoints, and localism -- the Commission's key policy goals in regulating media ownership -- and prevent the American public from receiving better broadcast television, the Center for Creative Voices in Media told the Commission in comments filed today.

"Former FCC Chairman Newton Minow once famously referred to television as a 'vast wasteland,'" says Jonathan Rintels, Executive Director of Creative Voices.  "By harming competition, diversity of viewpoints, and localism, recent ill-considered FCC media ownership policies have had the unintended consequence of making that 'wasteland' vaster.

In its current media ownership proceeding, the Commission must reverse these policies and remedy these consequences, so that the public gets what all would agree is truly in the public interest -- better television.

"At the FCC's recent public hearing in Los Angeles, the Commissioners heard for themselves from every corner of the creative community, from writers to directors to actors to producers, as well as from their audience, the American public.

The opinions were unanimous: action to reverse the consolidation trend in television is pro-creative, and creativity is in the public interest.   Network broadcasters have used their control over the public's airwaves to put their competitors -- independent producers -- out of business.

"General Electric's recent announcement that it would reduce or eliminate scripted programming on its NBC network in the 8-9 p.m. hour of primetime is particularly illustrative of the unintended harmful consequences of FCC policy changes that have had the practical effect of eliminating independently-produced programming from the public's airwaves.

Just two years ago, NBC’s 8 p.m. hour block was home to Friends, a hugely popular hit produced by strong independent producers – one of the few shows still running from the days when FCC policies properly protected the right of independents to access the network airwaves.  Prior to that, NBC's 8 p.m. hour block was home to The Cosby Show, Family Ties, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Golden Girls, Diff'rent Strokes -- the list could go on and on -- all family-friendly shows, all produced by strong independent producers.

But with GE/NBC taking advantage of FCC rule changes to eliminate independent producers and take over for itself the production of programming, NBC's own in-house studio has developed and produced few successful 8 p.m. scripted shows.

Could anything more starkly illustrate how solidly shut the network's doors are to programming from independent sources?

"Tim Winter, Executive Director of the Parents' Television Council, correctly observed at the Los Angeles FCC hearing that families and children benefit as much as anyone from a diverse media environment.

Groups like the PTC are not often on the same page as the creators they sometimes criticize.  But it has become clear that family-friendly programming has a better chance of reaching audiences in a creative environment where competition, diversity of viewpoints, and localism exist, while crass, lowest common denominator programming is much more likely to proliferate in a consolidated media environment.



Active-Duty Troops Launch Campaign to Press Congress to End U.S. Occupation of Iraq

Contact: Trevor Fitzgibbon, 202-246-5303, or Alex Howe, or Laura Gross, 202-822-5200, for Fenton Communications

News Advisory:

For the first time since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, active- duty members of the military are asking Members of Congress to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and bring American soldiers home.

Sixty-five active-duty members have sent Appeals for Redress to Members of Congress. Three of these people (including two who served in Iraq) and their attorney will speak about this on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. EDT.

Under the Military Whistle-Blower Protection Act (DOD directive 7050.6), active-duty military, National Guard and Reservists can file and send a protected communication to a Member of Congress regarding any subject without reprisal.

What: Three active-duty members of the military and their lawyer, a retired U.S. Marine Corps JAG, make comments and take questions from the media.

When: Wednesday, Oct. 25, 11 a.m. EDT

Conference Call Details: 800-362-0574, Conference ID: "Active Duty"

Sunday, October 22, 2006

May The Force Be With You

Almost 13 years ago,  a friend and I were having a conversation about "hearing from God"  and I stated that I believed that God speaks to us through virtually everything
but so many of us are simply too religious to hear him.   At the time,  I recounted how so many movies, including Star Wars"  had spoken to my heart and I knew other
people that felt them same way.  In fact,  I believe that there are certain universal truths that are mentioned in all of the major religions and that many of our spirits somehow
recognize as truth.  In the mid-90s that kind of thinking was considered way too  "new age"  for a good baptist girl and bordering on heresy by many evangelical
Christians.   Of course,  at that point in my life I didn't consider myself a good baptist nor particularly enlightened.  In fact,  I was really struggling with my faith.  
 But now the word is out,  God IS speaking to YOU.   Are you listening?  
As you begin your new week, "May The Force Be With You"  and may you hear His voice. 
Pamela Lyn
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
by Neale Donald Walsch
"Hear Me, everywhere.  Wherever you have a question, simply know that I have answered it already.  Then open your eyes to your world.
My response could be in an article already published.  In the sermon already written and about to be delivered.  In the movie now being made.
In the song just yesterday composed.  In the words about to be said by a loved one.  In the heart of a new friend about to be made.
My truth is in the whisper of the wind, the babble of the brook, the crack of the thunder, the tap of the rain.
It is in the feel of the earth, the fragrance of the lily, the warmth of the sun, the pull of the moon.
My Truth, -- and your surest help in time of need -- is as awesome as the night sky, and is simply, incontrovertibly, trustful as a baby's gurgle.
It is as loud as a pounding heartbeat -- and as quiet as a breath taken in unity with Me.
I will not leave you,  I cannot leave you, for you are My creation and My product, My daughter and My son, My purpose and My .. Self.
Call on Me, therefore,  wherever and whenever you are separate from the peace that I am.
I will be there.  With Truth, And Light.  And Love."
To learn more about "Conversations With God" visit:
"Conversations With God -- The Movie" opens in theatres in the US nationally the weekend of October 27th.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Getting to Know God

a message from Joel & Victoria Osteen


"But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is." (John 16:13)

Word from Joel and Victoria

God wants to help us make the right decision. He's there to warn us when we're about to make a mistake, or about to get into areas that are questionable and may bring us harm. It's just like an alarm clock going off in our conscience. He is that nervous feeling you get, that uneasiness we all hear telling us when we are about to do something that is not in our best interest. The Holy Spirit can speak through an inner feeling, an impression not in your head but in your heart. God speaks through your conscience and you can learn to hear His voice. The more time you spend with God the more you will be able to discern His voice guiding and directing you and leading you to a new level of joy and fulfillment.

A Prayer

God, when I spend time with You, I grow closer to You and learn to better hear Your voice. Thank You for giving us Your Spirit, that we may grow wiser. I will hear Your voice and I will obey it. In Jesus' name. Amen.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Today's Message:  "Go Forward"
by Rev. Beverly Saunders Biddle
Today's Inspirational Reading:
The people of Laodicea were described in the book of Revelation as lacking in zeal.  The angel was told to write them: "I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:15-16 (NLT).
One who is "lukewarm," lacking in interest and a zest for living, is a person who is denying his God-given opportunity to take the high road through life, denying the expression of his innate powers, and interfering with his progressive unfoldment of greater potentialities of mind and body.
We do not have to be limited to being just one of the crowd, trudging through life at a slow rate of progress, dying by degrees.  By awakening our positive, powerful faculty of zeal, we can become not a follower, but a leader – not a plodder, but a radiant, enthusiastic exponent of the Christ zest for living.  Your God-Given Potential: Unfolding the Twelve Spiritual Powers, Winifred Wilkinson Hausmann, pp. 133-134.
How often do we find ourselves stuck in a rut, seemingly unable to make any progress?  We feel as if we just can't get anything going, or if we do get something started, we don't seem to have the interest needed to manifest our desired result.  This circumstance is, unfortunately, the way that many of us can describe the better part of our lives.  Much like the Laodiceans, there is no energy to get things done, no inspiration, no motivation, no "oomph".
Or, the flip-side may be our experience.  We are just so charged up about a particular issue or cause that we put all of our effort and all of our energy into it.  Yet, we are all over the place, not really directed and just wearing ourselves out . . . still without yielding the results for which we had hoped.
When we have one these experiences, it may mean we have forgotten the truth of who we are.  When we forget that we are divine in nature, and spirit in essence, we allow ourselves to be directed, (and too often mis-directed), by our own ego needs.  We attempt to make things happen of our own volition.  And, we go off on our own without proper guidance, floundering on our way.
When we go within and remember who and whose we are, we tap into a Source and a power that is immeasurable.  And, we then allow ourselves to be in-spired, filled with Spirit.  We gain an excitement and an energy that cannot be compromised nor equaled by any other source.  When we draw from our spiritual essence, we access the same forward impulse that powers the entire universe.  We capture our divine gift of enthusiasm that is always available to us – when we open ourselves to become available to it.
Let us pick ourselves up, out of the living death of stagnation and inertia in which we so often find ourselves.  Let us tap into the power within us, and allow ourselves to be uplifted and guided toward our divine purpose.  We can get still and know that we are divinely guided and protected.  And, we can open ourselves to that guidance so that we are propelled forward by enthusiasm, God's energy, moving wisely and lovingly forward in the direction of the vision that God has for each of us.
Our Trigger Releases: 
Today, I willingly release the belief that I must make things happen on my own.
Today, I willingly release the belief that I am stuck in a rut with no hope of ever moving forward.
Today, I willingly release the tendency to charge blindly ahead in my life.
Our Healing Affirmations: 
I now affirm that I am the radiant energy of God that moves in, through and around me.
I now affirm that I am enthusiastically co-creating my life in accordance with Divine Law and opening myself to be divinely guided toward the vision that God has for me.
I now affirm that I am inspired to go forward and to take action as directed by Spirit.
The Inner Visions Full Life Fellowship is an Interfaith Ministry dedicated to the evolution of the consciousness of humanity. We believe that the presence of Christ Consciousness is the spiritual authority on the planet and the divine path to personal transformation. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful;
for beauty is God's handwriting -- a wayside sacrament. Welcome
it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower,
and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The America I Believe In

Dear Friends,

I'm joining Amnesty International's campaign to stand up for the America I Believe In. We're in a struggle for the soul of our nation. Congress has just given the President authority to detain people indefinitely without charge or trial.

Outraged, and in response, Amnesty International has launched a new campaign that will fight to restore our traditional American values of justice, rule of law and human dignity.

Please join me in signing the Amnesty International Petition.

Follow This Link to visit the website.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Laugh Medicine - Saturday, October 21st


Good News: You baptized seven people today in the river.
Bad News: You lost two of them in the swift current.

Good News: The Women's Guild voted to send you a get-well card.
Bad News: The vote passed by 31-30.

Good News: The Elder Board accepted your job description the way you wrote it.
Bad News: They were so inspired by it, they also formed a search committee to find somebody capable of filling the position.

Good News: You finally found a choir director who approaches things exactly the same way you do.
Bad News: The choir mutinied.

Good News: Mrs. Jones is wild about your sermons.
Bad News: Mrs. Jones is also wild about the "Gong Show," "Beavis and Butthead" and "Texas Chain Saw Massacre."

Good News: Your women's softball team finally won a game.
Bad News: They beat your men's softball team.

Good News: The trustees finally voted to add more church parking.
Bad News: They are going to blacktop the front lawn of your parsonage.

Good News: Church attendance rose dramatically the last three weeks.
Bad News: You were on vacation.

Good News: Your deacons want to send you to the Holy Land.
Bad News: They are stalling until the next war.

Good News: Your biggest critic just left your church.
Bad News: He has been appointed the Head Bishop of your denomination.

Good News: The youth in your church come to your house for a surprise visit.
Bad News: It's in the middle of the night and they are armed with toilet paper and shaving cream to "decorate" your house.
Forward this joke to a Friend: Forward to a Friend
General Enquiries and Comments:
Check out the WWJ website for….
More Jokes:
Everything you ever wanted to know about....:
Life's a Laugh:
Links to other sites of interest:
Till Death do us Part!:

Friday, October 20, 2006

Somebody Please Tell Me They're Joking

"WASHINGTON --- New electronic voting machines have arrived in Yolo County, Calif., but there is one hitch: the audio program for the visually impaired in some of them works only in Vietnamese."
To Whom It May Concern:
HELP !!!
Sincerely Yours,
New Laws and Machines May Spell Voting Woes
by Ian Urbina
Read the entire article at: 

"Talk about panic," said Freddy Oakley, the county's top election official. "I've got gray-haired ladies as poll workers standing around looking stunned."

As dozens of states are enforcing new voter registration laws and switching to paperless electronic voting systems, officials across the country are bracing for an Election Day with long lines and heightened confusion, followed by an increase in the number of contested results.

In Maryland, Mississippi and Pennsylvania, a shortage of technicians has vendors for new machines soliciting applications for technical support workers on job Web sites like  Oakley, who is also facing a shortage, raided the computer science department at the University of California, Davis, hiring 60 graduate students as troubleshooters.

Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania are among the states considered most likely to experience difficulties, according to voting experts who have been tracking the technology and other election changes.

"We've got new laws, new technology, heightened partisanship and a growing involvement of lawyers in the voting process," said Tova Wang, who studies elections for the Century Foundation, a nonpartisan research group. "We also have the greatest potential for problems in more places next month than in any voting season before."

Election officials in many of the states are struggling with delays in the delivery of machines before the election as old-fashioned lever and punch-card machines are phased out.

A chronic shortage of poll workers, many of them retirees uncomfortable with new technology, has worsened matters.

Wendy S. Noren, the top election official for Boone County, Mo., which includes Columbia, said delays in the delivery of new machines had left her county several weeks behind schedule and with 600 poll workers yet to be trained.  Noren said she also had not yet been provided with the software coding she needed to print the training manuals.  "I think we will make it," she said, "but my staff is already at the point of passing out, and the sprint is just starting."

New computerized registration rolls and litigation over new voter identification laws in states like Arizona, Georgia, Indiana and Missouri have left many poll workers and voters unclear about the rules, including whether they are in effect, as the courts have blocked many of the new laws.

"We're expecting arguments at the polls in these states that will slow everything down and probably cause large numbers of legitimate voters to be turned away or to be forced to vote on provisional ballots," said Barbara Burt, an elections reform director for Common Cause.

Meanwhile, votes in about half of the 45 most competitive Congressional races, including contests in Florida, Georgia and Indiana, will be cast on electronic machines that provide no independent means of verification.

"In a close race, a machine error in one precinct could leave the results in doubt and the losing candidates won't be able to get a recount," said Warren Stewart, policy director for VoteTrustUSA, an advocacy group that has criticized electronic voting.

Deborah L. Markowitz, president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, was less inclined to sound the alarm.  She said that since it was not a presidential election year and many states had encouraged voting by mail, fewer people would turn up at the polls than in 2004. 

Markowitz said, there will be far fewer people incorrectly excluded from the new databases compared with when registration rolls were on paper. "There will be isolated incidents, there is no doubt about that," she said.  "But over all the system will move faster and with fewer problems."

Charles Stewart, head of the political science department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published a study this year indicating that from 2000 to 2004, new technology helped reduce the number of improperly marked ballots by about one million votes.  "If you think things are bad and worrisome now, they were much worse before 2000," Mr. Stewart said, adding that breakdowns in the mechanics of voting are simply more highlighted, not more prevalent.

Still, this is a year of firsts for some local election officials.

Cherie Poucher, elections director for Wake County, N.C., which includes Raleigh, said she expected 350,000 voters on Election Day, up from the 30,000 in the May primary. She worries that the county's 218 optical scan machines may be unable to handle the increased load.

The machines were replaced within hours, she said, and since her county uses optical scan machines rather than paperless machines, voters were able to deposit paper ballots into a ballot box until replacements arrived.

Justin Levitt, a lawyer with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, said that on election night his organization will be keeping particularly close watch on North Carolina, Florida and South Dakota, because of new voter registration databases there. These databases were intended to help streamline registration and decrease fraud, and they help political parties track potentially supportive voters.

In some states, however, the databases have blocked large numbers of eligible voters from joining registration lists.  North Carolina, for example, requires that information provided by voters for registration forms match information in the motor vehicle or Social Security databases.

A report released last Thursday by the Century Foundation, Common Cause and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights cited concerns that most states have only vague, if any, standards for voting machine distribution. There is no federal minimum for the ratio of voters to machines and there is wide variation in state standards.

Election officials in Ohio, which had some of the longest lines in 2004, passed a law this year setting the ratio at 1:175, the report said.

Keith A. Cunningham, director of the Allen County board of elections in Ohio and former president of the Ohio Association of Election Officials, said most counties were close to the ratio required by the law.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer



There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, in which lightening played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.

But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush
growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her
nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother
bird on her nest ... perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize?

The King chose the second picture.

Do you know why?

"Because," explained the King, "peace does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in
the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is
the real meaning of peace."

-- A Wardrobe from the King, Berit Kjos, pp. 45-46

<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><

The following is an E-Mail Ministry message.
To learn more about E-Mail Ministry and read previous messages, visit
our web site at: Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Do Your Reps REALLY Support the Troops?

Find out with IAVA Action's new Congressional Ratings

A Message from Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Dear Friend,
Sure, your Senators and Representatives say they support the troops. But do their votes match their rhetoric? There's only one way to know for sure.

Click here to see your legislators' official IAVA Congressional Rating.

We've tallied up every Congressional vote cast on IAVA issues (from armor to VA funding) for the last five years, crunched the numbers, and given every legislator a letter grade - the IAVA Congressional Rating.

Did your Senator get an A or an F? Click here to find out.

Take Action! These new ratings are the first-ever comprehensive guide to your legislators' performance on issues that affect the lives of the newest generation of troops and veterans, and their families. We need your help to spread the word!

  • After you see your legislators' scores, use our email tool to say thank you - or to ask why your representatives haven't put their money where their mouth is.
  • Please forward this email to your friends and family, and let them know about this crucial new tool from IAVA Action.
  • Click here to download our new flier to spread the word in your community about the new scorecard.

As the war in Iraq continues to be the number one issue facing our country, it's more important than ever that Americans hold their representatives accountable for the choices in Washington that affect troops on the ground. Thanks for spreading the word.


Paul Rieckhoff
Executive Director
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America