"I have learned this: it is not what one does that is wrong, but what one becomes as a consequence of it." ~ Oscar Wilde

Ted Cruz, who television host Piers Morgan perfectly characterized as the Republican’s new Sarah Palin, waxed imbecilic on the subject of one of my children’s—and now my grandchildren’s—favorite books. He used Green Eggs and Ham to represent Obamacare. “What?” you may be asking. “What has one to do with the other?” As it turns out, nothing! It seems that Senator Cruz, who many Republicans embrace as a party leader, either never finished the book and thus missed the ending, or actually missed the point of the book. In Cruz’s world, this book, created for children ages 3 - 7 in preschool to second grade, said that just like Sam I Am (the lead character) hated green eggs and ham, the country hates Obamacare—and won’t be forced to swallow it. However, since Obamacare is new it can’t have been tasted and rejected. But even more to the point, once Sam I Am is convinced to try the green eggs and ham, he likes them; he really likes them! And that may just be what happens with Obamacare, Senator Cruz, we—referring to those of us who live in the present reality—know that you can project and blowhard all you want, but the truth remains to be seen, and the black man who we the people have elected to the White House twice isn’t going away. And many, particularly those who are smart enough to see that spewing lies and hatred are not American values, may discover that Obamacare in action becomes an acquired taste. 
What We Can Do:

Please write to Ted Cruz at www.cruz.senate.gov and:
  1. Ask him to admit to and stop the lies
  2. Ask him to come clean about his and his like’s pledged vendetta against the President
  3. Mention that his inability to understand a children’s story is a disgrace and that he should re-evaluate his stands in light of his limitations
  4. Remember, keep it simple enough for him to understand!

"People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes." ~ Abigail Van Buren

I always keep an eye on what’s happening in Egypt, because I’ve had a love affair with the country and wonderful experiences there both for work and for pure pleasure. With the advent of the Arab Spring I kept thinking, “Shouldn’t we do something about Egypt?” but soon it felt as though the Arab Spring was changing seasons while everyone was distracted. Then one Sunday John McCain appeared on one of the morning talkfests. It had become a rarity for him to catch my attention since he seemed too often to join in the Republican sport of taking pot shots at President Obama for winning the Presidency in 2008. He became a follower of Mitch McConnell’s edict never to pass anything the elected leader of the free world suggested. But on this particular Sunday, I saw a spark of the “maverick” who had once caught my imagination. That John McCain had become a dim memory, but in this instance I found myself in agreement with what he wanted: for the President to cut off aid to post-Mubarak Egypt while the country was exploding in violence and chaos. But then he teamed up with snarky Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who blasts the president at any opportunity, including railing against Obama’s Egypt policy.

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.” ~ President Barack Obama

So it seems that the massive killing of civilians by Bashar al-Assad in Syria via traditional weapons of murder and mayhem was okay with the Obama administration. But on Aug. 21st when Assad attacked Syrian rebels and civilians with chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb after being warned not to by America, things abruptly changed. I wondered if President Obama borrowed the red line image from Benjamin Netanyahu, who drew his red line across a cartoon bomb with a lit fuse to warn the Iranians not to complete the final stages of building their nuke. I never expected Obama to take on Bibi’s Little Caesar personality. In Obama’s case, he got stuck with his red line, like a 13-year old who made a threat to the school bully and can’t find a way to take it back. So, now that the Syrian government has crossed the line with glee, we are called upon to get into the game.

I’ve heard some talking heads and talking pols like our pals John McCain and Lindsay Graham say that in order to maintain America’s credibility we have to follow through. But that’s far from true. Obama did his best stiff upper lip and the congressional hawks growled for the cameras, but thank God/Allah, Secretary of State Kerry’s convenient off-the-cuff remark about, “What if they just gave us their weapons?” line gave us a second chance. Putin, not to be left in Kerry’s dust then made a smart move and offered to become the world’s primo peacemaker, or as the prime weekly news show on Russian state TV reported it: “The diplomatic duel” between Moscow and Washington over what to do with Syria’s chemical weapons had ended in “the great victory of Russia.”

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called Assad’s act a war crime. He also said no to Obama’s idea about dropping bombs. Let’s face it, why would anyone as smart as our president think we should punish Assad by dropping bombs on the very people who have already suffered mightily at his hand? The people who had looked to us to support the Free Syrian Army and other opposition? Does Obama think death by bombing is less deadly than death by chemicals? Does Obama think Assad’s chemicals give him permission to employ conventional murder?

Rouhani Speaks

Sorry President Putin, your desired image as peacemaker has been usurped by Hassan Rouhani, the president of Iran, in his fine address to the United Nations General Assembly. Since Iran is involved in Syria, we need to pay attention to his intentions. “Iran poses absolutely no threat to the world or the region,” he said. He concluded his speech by highlighting how the differences, particularly with regard to religions and beliefs, also unite us and ask us to believe in peace and tolerance. “My hope, aside from personal and national experience, emanates from the belief shared by all divine religions that a good and bright future awaits the world.... As stated in the Holy Koran: ‘And We proclaimed in the Psalms, after We had proclaimed in the Torah, that My virtuous servants will inherit the earth.'”

What We Can Do And Think About:
  1. If you aren’t familiar with the status, policies, capacity and capabilities of our nukes and the activists that first confronted this danger, do a little research  
  2. With that history and it’s ramifications in mind, be sure that you review what is going on in Syria
  3. Please learn more about Islam, Iran and Hassan Rouhani and decide for yourself about the credibility of his sincerity. I for one, despite harsh, but hardly unexpected, words about him from Bibi Netanyahu, want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Not something I can often give Netanyahu.  
  4. Let the President and your congress people know your position on Rouhani, Syria, and other similarly loaded situations: www.whitehouse.gov/contact, www.house.gov, www.senate.gov
  5. What might you be willing to go to war over?

50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

"A time comes when silence is a betrayal." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Soledad O'Brien and Hill Harper were emcees at the 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington, "Let Freedom Ring." O'Brien is now special correspondent for Al Jazeera’s America Tonight. Harper played a good cop on the long-running CSI New York and is now a not so nice guy on the USA series Covert Affairs. The following selected remarks from speakers follow and cover the spectrum of issues that we face and can directly impact by taking action.

Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation: "Today there are no white sheets, but there are judges in black robes in the U.S. Supreme Court striking down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, opening the floodgates in many states to pass more voter ID laws....”
Roslyn Brock, NAACP Chair: “The opponents of equality oppose our cause.”

Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President: “The dreamer was also a doer. Let us not just walk away from here today.… When they say, 'No You Can’t pass a real racial profiling ban with teeth,' we say 'Yes We Can!' Because yes we did, two days ago in New York City."

Eliza Byard, Executive Director, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN): “Fifty years ago, Bayard Rustin stood on this stage…. A movement spoke through him, but the world would not embrace him because he was gay. Today, LGBT voices are welcomed to this stage. And President Obama has awarded Bayard Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But we have not yet seen Dr. King's 'great vaults of opportunity' thrown open to everyone. We have so far to go before a truly great education is offered to every child."

Bill Russell, eleven-time NBA champion and five-time Most Valuable Player: “Fifty years ago, I met Martin Luther King, Jr. and he asked me to speak. I respectfully declined. I sat in the first row. It’s nice to be anywhere 50 years later.... What I want to tell you now and implore you is to keep up the fight... we can never accept the word status quo has been taken out of our vocabulary.... Progress can only be measured by how far we have to go."

Reverend Al Sharpton: "We come here today as the children of Martin Luther King who faced Jim Crow to face the Children of Jim Crow."


Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers: "Because the Supreme Court turned their backs on voters, the struggle is for public education, re-claiming the promise of public education so that we can keep the dream alive."

Julian Bond, Distinguished Visiting Professor at American University in Washington, D.C and a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement: "We are still being tested by the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act and Stop and Frisk…."

Forest Whitaker: "We must embrace this moment together as good will ambassadors and remember that Martin Luther King said, 'I’ve decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden.'"


Oprah Winfrey: "How will the dream live on in us? Not everybody can be famous but everyone can be great ‘cause greatness shines through service."


U.S. Congressman John Lewis, Georgia: “It’s been a long time coming. We’ve come a long way in these fifty years but there is a long way to go. To those who say nothing has changed, I say take a walk in my shoes."


President Jimmy Carter: "The crucial question of our time is, how do we overcome oppression and violence without resorting to either?"


President Bill Clinton: "He asked the victims of violence to meet that violence, not with violence, but with an open hand."



Martin L. King III: He reminded us that MLK said sometimes we must take positions that are not comfortable or politic, but we must take them anyway.


Rev. Dr. Bernice King, MLK's daughter and CEO of The King Center for Non-Violent Social Change: "Fifty years later we are standing in the shadow of that liberator (the Lincoln Memorial)… we are still chained by economic disparities and social unrest and now we must break the cycle. In 1967 my Father asked, 'Which way do we go, community or chaos?' We must see the dawning of a new day."

President Barack Obama: "We rightly and best remember Dr. King's soaring oratory that day, how he gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions; how he offered a salvation path for oppressed and oppressors alike. His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our time."


What We Can Do:
  1. Notice which of these profound statements moved you most.
  2. If you are an activist, take stock of the level of your participation and check to see if you are satisfied with that participation or not.
  3. If you are already an activist and want to add to your involvement, or if you are new to activism, is there a cause above where you can serve? Each aspect mentioned can use your help.
  4. How can the quality of your life be enriched by the model and memory and mission of Martin Luther King, Jr.?