Thursday, October 14, 2004

Why America Needs Rumi

This We Have Now

This we have now
is not imagination.

This is not
grief or joy.

Not a judging state,
or an elation,
or sadness.

Those come and go.
This is the presence that doesn't.


Why America Needs Rumi
by Maliha Masood

"In the polarized tensions between Islamic militants, global terrorism, homeland security and national interests, the teachings of Rumi are all the more relevant in deflecting misunderstandings. It seems odd that the same poet is read with voracious intensity across America, Afghanistan and Iran. One would think that the World Trade center attacks would have also obliterated appreciation of Islamic literature and poetry in the US. But the Rumi resurgence in spite of or perhaps because of September 11, is a strong testament to Americans new found receptivity to learn more about Islam. Rumi is a necessary voice to bridge the gap between the Islam which stands for pluralism and tolerance and the belligerent abuse of religion branded by extremist factions, that gets the most media attention to distort public perceptions.

Since many Americans admire and relate to Rumi's philosophy, they can also learn to distinguish between Rumi's message of a peace loving Islam that embraces humanity and the misdirected Islam of bigotry and desperation that leads to violence."


BulgeGate / Third Debate

BulgeGate / Third Debate

Okay, people, what the hell was this thing on the president's back at last night's debate? It isn't a bunched-up shirt, so don't even try handing me that explanation again!

UPDATE- October 18, "At Each Ear a Hearer", Bush Bulge Bulletin

Signs Point to Bush Loss in November

Signs Point to Bush Loss in November

The signs are pointing to a Bush loss in November. (Unless desperate corruption steps into the free path of the American election).

LA Times Editorial
"It should be clear by now that Kerry is not for some Stalinist government healthcare system, that he won't give Paris a veto over U.S. foreign policy and that he doesn't think terrorism is merely a nuisance. He was thoughtful and firm in all three debates, despite his enduring stiffness. The shrillness of the Bush camp's attacks on Kerry betrays an unbecoming desperation, and adds to the sense that the challenger came out the convincing winner."


Thomas Friedman/NYT:
"I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I hear the president and vice president slamming John Kerry for saying that he hopes America can eventually get back to a place where "terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance." The idea that President Bush and Mr. Cheney would declare such a statement to be proof that Mr. Kerry is unfit to lead actually says more about them than Mr. Kerry. Excuse me, I don't know about you, but I dream of going back to the days when terrorism was just a nuisance in our lives...

...I want a president who can one day restore Sept. 11th to its rightful place on the calendar: as the day after Sept. 10th and before Sept. 12th. I do not want it to become a day that defines us. Because ultimately Sept. 11th is about them - the bad guys - not about us. We're about the Fourth of July."


Informed Comment/Juan Cole: Bush v. Kerry: The Persian Gulf Empire and Perpetual War:
"The visions for the American future laid out by George W. Bush and John Kerry differ starkly on matters of war and peace, and the shape of American power in the Middle East.

Bush has put enormous resources into the Iraq war compared to those he has committed to fighting al-Qaeda. Kerry pledges to concentrate on stamping out al-Qaeda. The American public has a clear choice between a continued US push into the Middle East, with bases and very likely further wars, and between a calmer, more patient foreign policy that makes room to address the problem of practically fighting terrorism.."


Also at Informed Comment...6 US Troops Killed/Mass Grave Exhumed

"...the Kurdish mass grave is not only a testament to Saddam's monumental brutality. It is also a sad commentary on the immorality of US policies in the region in the 1980s under Reagan. It is not a legacy over which Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and other figures on the Right can take any pride in, or political comfort from"


Bush's OBL Debate Comment-BUSTED!

Bush's OBL Debate Comment-BUSTED!

In last night's debate:

KERRY: Yes. When the president had an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, he took his focus off of them, outsourced the job to Afghan warlords, and Osama bin Laden escaped.

Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, Where is Osama bin Laden? He said, I don't know. I don't really think about him very much. I'm not that concerned.

We need a president who stays deadly focused on the real war on terror.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. President?

BUSH: Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those.... exaggerations. Hh-eh-eh.(goofy grin/guffaw).


13 march 2003 press conference:

Q: Mr. President, in your speeches now, you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? [...]

BUSH: ... I don't know where he is. Nor -- you know, I just don't spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you [...]

Q: Do you believe the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

BUSH: As I say, we hadn't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, you know, again, I don't know where he is.

I'll repeat what I said: I truly am not that concerned about him.

*Thanks to Daily Kos

QUESTION: Mr. President, in your speeches now, you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that?
Also, can you can tell the American people if you have any more information -- if you know if he is dead or alive. Deep in your heart, don't you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won't really want to make...

BUSH: Well, deep in my heart, I know the man's on the run if he's alive at all. And I -- you know, who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not? We hadn't heard from him in a long time.

And the idea of focusing on one person is really -- indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission. Terror's bigger than one person. And he's just -- he's a person who has now been marginalized. His network is -- his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match.

He is -- you know, as I mention in my speeches -- I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death. And he, himself, tries to hide, if, in fact, he's hiding at all.

So I don't know where he is. Nor -- you know, I just don't spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you. I'm more worried about making sure that our soldiers are well supplied, that the strategy is clear, that the coalition is strong, that when we find enemy bunched up, like we did in Shah-e-Kot mountains, that the military has all the support it needs to go in and do the job, which they did.


Rumor About After-Debate Bush-Kerry Conversation

Rumor About After-Debate Bush-Kerry Conversation

From Daily Kos:

"This is exactly what the Kerry blog entry said:

"anyway, I am new tonight... as you may not have seen me before in here.. just a FYI that I am deaf here and can read lips okay..
at the end of debate where Kerry and Bush shook hands.. Bush was asking Kerry, Can I talk to you later tonight? Kerry said sure then Bush said where would you be? I missed what Kerry said.

I wondered what Bush wanted to talk to Kerry about??

... not good. Not. Good. At all.
I watched them talk after, and it seemed like Kerry was surprised... something was off. I was wondering what was said...

When the president asks to talk to you, you don't not meet with him...

Whatever Bush says, whatever it sounds like, I wouldn't trust it worth a damn.

But Kerry's a senator... he knows the game
If I had to guess, I would say that something is up with Bush's health. With all of the comments on how Bush's face is drooping on one side, and the lack of a physical until after the election, you really have to wonder what is going on."

Another Comment from Kos site by kfractal on Thu Oct 14th, 2004 at 08:58:46 GMT :
Bush: Can I talk to you (later tonight)?
Kerry: ???
Bush: Where you gonna be?
Kerry: ???
Bush: ... We'll find each other.

Kerry had his back to the camera for this.

Not that I have any clue what this means.

Another Comment from by Geotpf on Thu Oct 14th, 2004 at 09:17:29 GMT:
Could be Bush wants more debates

Could be Bush really has health issues (either mental or physical) and is about to drop out of the race (!!!)

Could be a security/terrorism thing

Comment from Akapl on Thu Oct 14th, 2004 at 17:43:20 GMT:
At the end of the debate.......

When they were shaking hands Bush clearly asks "Can we talk later" and Kerry a bit surprised seems to say yes and then U see Bush clearly say "Where you gonna be later".....
This was posted on the Kerry blog last night so I re-watched the end it absolutely DID happen. Is there any more info today about this??????
I'm wondering if there isn't something going on within the Bush family with someone's health....

Next Comment from smubbard on Thu Oct 14th, 2004 at 17:20:05 GMT:

I have questions about his whole left side of his face. It wasn't even his mouth. His left eye looked drooping as well.
I was surprised that no one mentioned it last night.

Review-Vote For Change Concert Oct 11 Washington DC

Review-Vote For Change Concert
October 11, 2004
MCI Center, Washington D.C.

"I am a patriot
and I love my country
Because my country is all I know
I want to be with my family
With people who understand me
I got nowhere else to go

And I ain't no communist, and I ain't no capitalist
And I ain't no socialist
and I sure ain't no imperialist
And I ain't no democrat
And I ain't no republican either
And I only know one party
and its name is freedom
I am a patriot.."

-from the song I Am A Patriot (and the river opens for the righteous) by Little Steven Van Zandt, sung by Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and Keb Mo at the Vote For Change concert finale, October 11, 2004 in Washington, D.C.

The sun was shining on a clear Sunday afternoon in Washington D.C. The mall was sprinkled with people tossing footballs and frisbees, tourists strolling the sculpture garden at the Hirschorn Museum, and students reading their schoolbooks at the Starbucks on 7th Avenue. You could tell which people were headed to the Vote For Change concert finale at the MCI Center either by their Kerry-Edwards T-shirts or anti-Bush statement shirts. If you listened carefully, you may have heard some say jovially to one another "So, have you heard the rumors on the internets?"

A few hours before the show, four or five Freeper-types stood across the street, one with a Saddam Hussein costume on, another holding a sign saying something ludicrous like " rocks for Osama" and "Saddam-Aid 2004". I waved to them while happily, thinking about the great music they were never going to be hearing that evening while they backed Bush the loser whose big-name entertainment supporter is Wayne Newton.

As concert time drew near, a large crowd gathered outside the MCI center. There were people handing out flyers and stickers, groups looking for volunteers to travel to swing states, and 'Billionaires for Bush' looking dapper and darling. Inside the arena, a large crowd swarmed the T-Shirt concession area, lining up six-deep to gaze upon the Vote For Change merchandise.

By the time the show started, at 7pm sharp, most people were not yet in their seats. By the time the first artist, John Mellencamp, had taken the stage, the crowd had quickly gotten into their assigned places to enjoy the show, which had been sold-out 30 minutes after tickets had gone on sale last month.

Before Mellencamp sang, a group of artists came out to make a brief political statement. Bruce Springsteen, Emily Robison (of the Dixie Chicks), Dave Matthews, Michael Stipe, and Eddie Vedder came onstage together. Without mentioning Bush or Kerry, Springsteen said, "We're here to raise our voices loud and clear...we want to change our government."

Eddie Vedder added, "We want government that's open, rational, responsible for the citizenry, and humane."

I enjoyed Mellencamp's set. I'd seen him at a small club when he was still John Cougar Mellencamp back in the 80s, and watching him at the MCI Center, I realized he has never lost his energy or his spirit through the years. He set the tone for the night with a solid acoustic performance. Mellencamp's rootsy band included a drummer, two guitarists, violin, accordian, upright bass, and background singer. Songs performed:

1. In my time of dying (blues version)
2. Paper in Fire
3. Walk Tall (prefaced by the statement, "This next song is about what the Devil can do if you don't keep your eye on him.")
4. Authority Song
5. Pink Houses

By the time Mellencamp had finished his set, the crowd was on its feet with an energy that would last the whole night long.

Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds was next, doing one smooth, blues-injected song, "Change the World" (a hit song written by Eric Clapton, produced by Babyface).

Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and KebMo were next, performing the following songs together:

1. Worlds in Motion
2. For What It's Worth
3. I am a Patriot
4. Stand up and be Strong

At the end of the set, Bonnie Raitt stated, "America, we'll see you at the polls!"

"I am a Patriot" was one of my favorites of the concert. It was written by Little Steven Van Zandt, and I believe its lyrics and reggae spirit stayed closest to the theme of the raucous evening of political rock for change.

Jackson Browne came back to the stage after a short break as the stage was rotated to a new set and he introduced the hip hop act, Jurrassic 5.
1. I Am Somebody
2. And you Don't Stop
3. Freedom
After the performance, members of the group stated, "It starts with you first."; "Don't point the finger at no one else."; "Vote yes on Proposition 66"

At about 8:30pm, REM took the stage. I was thrilled as it was my first opportunity to see them in concert. It was a dream-set with stellar guest-singers. REM gave a CD-quality performance of the following songs:

1. The One I Love
2. Begin the Begin (with guest singer Eddie Vedder)
3. Leaving New York (an excellent new song)
4. Losing My Religion (oh, man, this was great)
5. Man in the Moon (with Bruce Springsteen)

Pearl Jam was next.

1. Grievance
2. Save You
3. New World (by X) (with guest singer Tim Robbins)
4. Bushleaguer
5. Master of War (The Bob Dylan song, and Vedder sang the tune with a decided high-lonesome Appalachin feel, a bone-chilling rendition--one of the best performances of the night.)

Vedder was heard saying, "I guess now everyone is going to vote" Also, Vedder remarked that everyone is talking about November 3rd--how the work will have just begun on November 3rd. He said he was worried people would forget the actual day they need to vote and he asked the audience to raise their hands for the television cameras and show them the day they have to vote. The 2nd sign doubled for the peace sign, and Eddie Vedder was pleased with the resulting visual mass statement.

"I hate it when they say you shouldn't change horses in mid-stream. The horse can't swim and it's in way over its head and that horse shouldn't have crossed the stream in the first place, and there's a good democratic mule right there. So change that horse. Change it."

--James Taylor

Pardon my adolescent-sounding admiration, but I was blown away by James Taylor.

1. The Secret of Life
2. Hold Them Up

(Out came the Dixie Chicks to join Taylor for a couple songs)

3. Sweet Baby James (A sweet rendition with Natalie Maines on vocals and Taylor on harmony--the audience went wild with appreciative applause after the song.)
4. Shower the People

James Taylor made the most astute remarks of the evening:

--"I hate it when they say you shouldn't change horses in mid-stream. The horse can't swin and it's in way over its head and that horse shouldn't have crossed the stream in the first place, and there's a good democratic mule right there. So change that horse. Change it."

--"We started the tour on the eve of the first debate and I've been asked 'What advice do you have for undecided voters?' You take a look at the two candidates; you study 'em real close... and YOU CHOOSE THE SMART ONE. You choose the smart one."

The Dixie Chicks performed the next set on their own:

1. Some Days You Gotta Dance (with guest James Taylor)
2. Truth No. 2
3. Mississippi (Bob Dylan song)

Natlaie Maines' comments included:

"Gosh, I hope y'all show up to our next tour." and "After 'the incident', people asked me if I wanted to take back what I'd said. I thought, well, no, because after that, Bush would just call me a flip-flopper." The audience cheered with amused delight.

At about 10:20, the Dave Matthews Band took the stage. Their set list:

1. Don't Drink the Water
2. One Sweet World
3. Joy Ride
4. Ants Marching
5. So Much to Say
6. Too Much

Bruce Springsteen took the stage a bit past 11:00.

1. The Star Spangled Banner (guitar version)
2. Born in the USA
3. Badlands
4. No Surrender

John Fogerty was introduced by Springsteen as the Hank Williams of our generation. Fogerty, along with the E Street band, started with a new song called Deja Vu. It was another one of my favorites of the night. It sounded as if the song was written just for the evening. It was a fresh look at what's happening today through the eyes of someone who's lived long enoughto have seen it all before. Shades of "Won't Get Fooled Again". Fogerty then performed a rousing version of "Fortunate Son" to a responsive and enthusiastic crowd.

Springsteen continued on with his set.

5. Because the Night /with Michael Stipe (It was GORGEOUS.)
6. Mary's Place (From the post-9/11 CD "The Rising", a song which contained the key line for the whole album, "How do you live brokenhearted," with a juxtaposition of sad lyrics and complete party music with Clarence Clemons playing a mean, mean sax).

Public Service Annoucement -Bruce Springsteen, in a televangelist preacher style, called all believers to their television screens and asked them to touch the screen and chant (three times) a healing: "Halliburton, Halliburton, Halliburton". ;) Springsteen then got serious and it was the one and only time he mentioned his confidence in and support of John Kerry and John Edwards, which he expressed with a serious yet hopeful patriotic tone.

7. Born to Run (with Peter Buck and Mike Mills of REM--and just about every member of the audience!)

I can't begin to tell you about the energy that was running through the arena by this time. It was more intense than I'd ever experienced at a concert in the past--and I've attended many a concert in my day. The E Street band sounded like they did in the late 70s/early 80s, with a vibe that sent shivers down my spine.

It was time for the finale. All the stars came to the stage to join in singing:

8. What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding? (With Michael Stipe and Eddie Vedder playing air guitar and bouncing joyously.)

11. People have the Power

I watched the finale from the stage left door looking directly onto the singers onstage. It's a moment I wish I could have recorded by means other than memory. It's a sight I'll never forget. I only hope the message sent by these fine, conscientious performers will travel straight to the hearts of Americans and will be translated to their hope--our hope---which is new leadership in the capital of the nation we all love so much.