The wretched refuse – bid thee come.

I want to revisit this quote – a quote that should be common knowledge. Alas, like most things these days Americans tend to be so unaware (positive bent) or willfully ignorant (negative bent) of those things which truly made this nation great.

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

“A line from a poem, “The New Colossus,” by the nineteenth-century American poet Emma Lazarus. “The New Colossus,” describing the Statue of Liberty, appears on a plaque at the base of the statue. It ends with the statue herself speaking…”

These, these are the people who for three hundred years have come to these shores. We did the native Americans no good, yet with them in their downtrodden state, these came. We did the Africans no good, yet with them in their downtrodden state, these came. So came those from nations all who sought to leave their oppression, their poverty, their plight to find new life in this place called America.
Here, here is the unfounded dream that they can make a life for themselves far beyond what they could have known in their old places. And they did, come. And they still, come! Here in New York City, in Vermilion, Ohio, in Seattle, Washington they come and they make for themselves a better life and they with us all continue to make America.
We forget our past and selfishly clutch to ourselves our own stuff material and ideological for fear that it will all be taken from us. We forget the Dream, but they do not. Do we not remember that it is because of those ancestors of ours that came and with the native Americans and with the Africans and with the poor, dirty, huddled masses of nations all that this America was apprehended and fashioned? If we forget, we condemn ourselves to become something other than America. Too many of us have forgotten, because now we only want the clean, the educated, the well-off, the right-thinking and right-behaving to come to our shores. Woe to those who in seeking to preserve their privilege deny and defy the very American spirit that enables us to draw the best of the world to our shores, even if at first they look not like us – the wretched, tired, dirty, poor, huddled masses all.

The Dark Night (of the soul)

The dark night is God’s attack on religion. If you genuinely desire union with the unspeakable love of God, then you must be prepared to have your ‘religious’ world shattered.
-Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

Look out, McDonald’s

McDonald’s, the hamburger chain, is in big trouble! Oi!
First, the American Family Association has called for a boycott of the chain by anyone concerned about AFA’s definition of “family-values.” Why? Because by AFA’s estimation, McDonald’s has not “remained neutral” in the Culture Wars by “promoting the homosexual agenda.” In other words, McDonald’s does not abide by the demands of anti-gay forces such as AFA to not support in any way positive images of or groups related to gay people. The crime – McDonald’s sponsors events and contributes money to gay causes (this time, specifically the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce).
Anything or anyone that does not side with AFA in its anti-gay agenda or capitulate to its demands is considered non-neutral, biased, or radical. Convenient, isn’t it? They do know what “neutral” really means, but they spin the word for their own effect to try to manipulate people to their partisan, sectarian cause. It is a shame when so-called Christian groups do this kind of thing – just aping the worst of the world system.
It now seems that the “socially responsible” mutual fund, the Timothy Plan, has declared that they will no longer include McDonald’s stock in their portfolio. Here is what they say, according to source (I can’t find anything on The Timothy Plan website):

The president of a pro-family values mutual fund company says the extreme actions of McDonald’s has forced the investment firm to publicly clarify that its portfolios won’t include any stock in the worldwide hamburger retailer.
Timothy Plan’s socially responsible investing includes screening of companies whose revenues or actions support pornography, abortion, anti-family entertainment, or promotion of non-married lifestyles. But Art Ally, president of the investment company, says his group normally does not spotlight or publish notices on businesses they screen out. In this case, however, he says the Timothy Plan could not stay silent when McDonald’s went “over the edge.”
Read the whole report

The politicized Christian-right really has made an idol out of homosexuality, just like it’s predecessors did out of Communism in the 70’s and 80’s. Fear mongering does tend to help raise money and gather legions of followers to your cause.

Heavy weights

It seems that major players are coming forward to push for a dramatic change from business as usual with regard to energy usage in the U.S.
Thomas Friedman has a new book entitled: Hot, Flat, and Crowded. Wired Magazine has an article about his call for a change in the way we all deal with this stuff.

Thomas Friedman is about to dive into the green-tech fray. In his latest book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, the multi-Pulitzer-winning journalist says everyone needs to accept that oil will never be cheap again and that wasteful, polluting technologies cannot be tolerated. The last big innovation in energy production, he observes, was nuclear power half a century ago; since then the field has stagnated. “Do you know any industry in this country whose last major breakthrough was in 1955?” Friedman asks. According to the book, US pet food companies spent more on R&D last year than US utilities did. “The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stone,” he says. Likewise, the climate-destroying fossil-fuel age will end only if we invent our way out of it. (emphasis mine)

Then there is T. Boone Pickens’ plan. Recently, NBC refused to air his most recent commercial, the latest in a series where Pickens advocates for reducing our dependence on foreign oil by increasing our production of wind power and natural gas.
Here is the “Iran” commercial that is causes the rouse.

The ONE Campaign & American Prayer

They did a good job with this:

The ONE Campaign
See all the advert’s on YouTube
This is good, too, whether you are a supporter or not. American Prayer – Dave Stewart (Barack Obama Music Video)

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

“A line from a poem, “The New Colossus,” by the nineteenth-century American poet Emma Lazarus. “The New Colossus,” describing the Statue of Liberty, appears on a plaque at the base of the statue. It ends with the statue herself speaking…” Source

Please God Save Us…

I don’t know what to make of this:

From the Website:

What Is Please God Save Us From Your Followers
A book of art and words that address a variety of modern day topics including: the Republican Party, the Christian right, America’s foreign policy, the environment, the Iraq War, stem cell research, evolution, rock and roll, the Fox News Channel, SpongeBob and Santa Claus. The book is intended to educate and inspire its readers whether or not they agree with either the art or the words. The book is not, however, meant to be an attack on Christianity but rather an interpretation of how religion is perverted to fit the needs of its followers, whomever they may be.

The Mindset List for the Class of 2012

Here is the Beloit College’s “Mindset List” of characteristics that describe the new incoming Class of 2012. Considering that this is my “Summer of Harry Potter” (I’m reading all the books for the first time), I can appreciate the first characteristic!
Read it and weep, those over, say, 40.
————— From Beloit:
This month, almost 2 million first-year students will head off to college campuses around the country. Most of them will be about 18 years old, born in 1990 when headlines sounded oddly familiar to those of today: Rising fuel costs were causing airlines to cut staff and flight schedules; Big Three car companies were facing declining sales and profits; and a president named Bush was increasing the number of troops in the Middle East in the hopes of securing peace. However, the mindset of this new generation of college students is quite different from that of the faculty about to prepare them to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Each August for the past 11 years, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college. The class of 2012 has grown up in an era where computers and rapid communication are the norm, and colleges no longer trumpet the fact that residence halls are “wired” and equipped with the latest hardware. These students will hardly recognize the availability of telephones in their rooms since they have seldom utilized landlines during their adolescence. They will continue to live on their cell phones and communicate via texting. Roommates, few of whom have ever shared a bedroom, have already checked out each other on Facebook where they have shared their most personal thoughts with the whole world.
It is a multicultural, politically correct and “green” generation that has hardly noticed the threats to their privacy and has never feared the Russians and the Warsaw Pact.
Students entering college for the first time this fall were generally born in 1990.
For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.
1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.
3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.
4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
6. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.
7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
8. Their parents may have dropped them in shock when they heard George Bush announce “tax revenue increases.”
9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
11. All have had a relative–or known about a friend’s relative–who died comfortably at home with Hospice.
12. As a precursor to “whatever,” they have recognized that some people “just don’t get it.”
13. Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando.
14. Grandma has always had wheels on her walker.
15. Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.
16. Haagen-Dazs ice cream has always come in quarts.
17. Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family.
18. WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
19. Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
20. The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.
21. Students have always been “Rocking the Vote.”
22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
23. Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.
24. We have always known that “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”
25. There have always been gay rabbis.
26. Wayne Newton has never had a mustache.
27. College grads have always been able to Teach for America.
28. IBM has never made typewriters.
29. Roseanne Barr has never been invited to sing the National Anthem again.
30. McDonald’s and Burger King have always used vegetable oil for cooking french fries.
31. They have never been able to color a tree using a raw umber Crayola.
32. There has always been Pearl Jam.
33. The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
34. Pee-Wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.
35. They never tasted Benefit Cereal with psyllium.
36. They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.
37. Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.
38. Lenin’s name has never been on a major city in Russia.
39. Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.
40. Balsamic vinegar has always been available in the U.S.
41. Macaulay Culkin has always been Home Alone.
42. Their parents may have watched The American Gladiators on TV the day they were born.
43. Personal privacy has always been threatened.
44. Caller ID has always been available on phones.
45. Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.
46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.
47. They never heard an attendant ask “Want me to check under the hood?”
48. Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.
49. Soft drink refills have always been free.
50. They have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about “nothing.”
51. Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.
52. Muscovites have always been able to buy Big Macs.
53. The Royal New Zealand Navy has never been permitted a daily ration of rum.
54. The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.
55. 98.6 F or otherwise has always been confirmed in the ear.
56. Michael Milken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate cancer research.
57. Off-shore oil drilling in the United States has always been prohibited.
58. Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.
59. There have always been charter schools.
60. Students always had Goosebumps.