Monday, December 24, 2007

Cerebrating the Holidaze

Call me a Grinch, if you will, but I don’t celebrate Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or any other religion-based holiday); I do, however celebrate—cerebrate would be more precise—the winter solstice, the New Year, the Spring Equinox, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, the Summer Solstice, Independence Day, Labor Day, and the Autumn Equinox, in that order.

How, you ask, can I not celebrate Christmas? That’s an easy question to answer; I’m not a believer. Jesus was the Prototypical Hippie, and he died not for my sins but because he was an enemy of the State. Get over it.

Why I came to be a non-believer requires a longer answer. For brevity’s sake, suffice to say that observation and experience led me to my current belief system (if it can be called that), the influences of Christ, Marx, Woods, and Wei notwithstanding.

Still, for most people it’s the holiday season, so I’d like to take this opportunity to express my love and deep appreciation for the family and friends who have enriched my life. These include parents and grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, in-laws and outlaws, cousins, friends, mentors and teachers, associates and coworkers (damn that word, can anyone tell me what a “cow orker” is?) and others who touched my life in ways that contributed to the Phil Hanson persona. This space is dedicated to you.

Frank & Pearl
Roy & Sally
Linda & Dan, Tom, and Patti & Bob
Tanya & Jim, Mike & Terra, and Jackie & Steve
Joe & Amber, Destiny, Mariah, and Levi
Ariel, Naomi, and Michaela
Lucas and Kanen
Doug, Mo & Paula, and Jake
Marge, Bud, and Bruce
Tom & Donna
Richard & Linda
Daryl & Tori
Jim, Jim, Jim, and James



Dennis and Dennis

Bill and Bill
Clark, Alan, and Dan

Ron & Irma

. . . and many others too numerous to add to this short list.

Some of these have slipped off the edge of my radar screen, and some have slipped over the edge into the Great Beyond. Regardless of their whereabouts or present state of being, I want them all to know that they are remembered. I wish them all (and you) a Harry Kwanukkahmas.

And for George DUHbya (that’s right, it’s spelled with a capital DUH) Bush supporters, global warming deniers, and oil-addicted pro-war fanatics, I wish you all a . . .

Bah! Humbug!

Now, it’s time to cerebrate. See you all next year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Many Choices, Few of Them Desirable

Okay, okay! I’ll cop to having flip-flopped a few times regarding my preference as to who should be the next POTUS, but, hey, it’s not like numerous people far more influential than I haven’t flip-flopped on numerous issues far less important than that of electing a national CEO. In fact, one could rightfully (and righteously) argue that flip-flopping is a sign of maturity and wisdom in that it’s indicative of the flip-flopper possessing a flexible mind and a willingness to process new information as it comes to light and act—or react—accordingly.

At the beginning of this campaign I was all for Al Gore, but then I realized I was a couple of election cycles out of date. Once I got on the right page, Barak Obama looked pretty good, but only until John Edwards started looking even better. Of course, as soon as Bill Richardson’s star began to shine, Edward’s star lost its luster. But, as fate would have it, Richardson’s star went super-nova, and Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul each got a turn as my number one choice and last best hope for the presidency.

Then, a few days ago, a strange thing happened. I looked outside the circle of usual suspects candidates and found one that’s truly worthy of ascending to the office of POTUS. A former six-term Georgia House of Representatives member and former Democrat who now waves the Green Party banner, Cynthia Ann McKinney is an outspoken critic of the war on Iraq—and of the Bush administration. The few negatives on her record are relatively minor and vastly outweighed by the positives.

These, then, are the top 6 reasons why I’ll vote for Cynthia McKinney (providing she gets the Green Party presidential nomination):

1. She’s not a republican

2. She’s not a democrat

3. She’s a woman, but she’s not Hillary Clinton

4. She’s black, but she’s not Barak Obama

5. As a six-term Congressperson, she has the requisite experience

6. She opposes the war on Iraq, and has from the beginning

If Cynthia holds true to the Green Party ideals of a healthy environment, renewable energy resources, and sustainability, Americans couldn’t ask for a better candidate.

And that, my friends, is why I’m lending my support to Cynthia McKinney’s campaign for POTUS.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More Government Goofiness

Not to be outshone by the Department of Fish & Wildlife, Oregon Department of Human Services lobbed a stupid government trick of its own into the limelight. Consider the case of the Brandt family vs. the State of Oregon, in the matter of Gabriel Allred.

Steve and Angela Brandt, of Toledo, Oregon, are the foster parents that young Gabriel has lived with since he was four months old. They are the only family Gabriel has ever known, and the family that wants to adopt him. Gabe is the two year-old US citizen the State of Oregon wants to deport to Mexico to live with a grandmother he’s never met.

DHS argues that children generally fare better when they’re raised by relatives—this from an agency that regularly separates children from their parents and places them into foster care. The agency further argues that Gabriel’s grandmother is well qualified to act as his legal parent and guardian. But if one looks at the results of the grandmother’s previous parenting attempt (Gabriel’s father is a convicted drug offender and child rapist), it becomes rather easy to challenge DHS’ broad assumption and condemn the agency for its specious argument.

Local network television crews have interviewed the Brandts and filmed Gabriel interacting with the family. Gabe’s situation is well documented; by all appearances and accounts Gabe is happy, secure, well adjusted and, most importantly, loved. There is no good reason to uproot him from this environment and thrust him into one that’s far less certain.

Nor does it seem particularly fair to remove a child who’s only begun to acquire English language skills from a household that speaks only English and place him in a household that speaks only Spanish. This immediate communications gap would only heap trauma on top of trauma, putting Gabe at an even greater disadvantage.

The State’s position that Gabe would fare better raised in his own culture is disingenuous, another specious argument. Culture is learned, not inherited, and you’d think that people who are charged with making life-changing decisions for those unable to make such decisions for themselves would be smart enough to know the difference.

But the most egregious aspect of this whole debacle is that deporting a US citizen sets a dangerous precedent. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen.