Friday, December 19, 2008

6 ($40 or less) Last Minute Gift Ideas for Last Minute Shoppers!

Can you guess what all of these gift ideas have in common?!


1. Three Cups of Tea. American Greg Mortenson sets out to climb Pakistan's mighty K2, but learns that it's not how high you climb that brings satisfaction and accomplishment to one's life, but how high you enable others to climb. This absolutely fantastic true story read tells the journey of one man's mission to promote peace in the world...one school at a time. Available wherever books are sold.






2. December by Jeni Fleming. One thing I love about a snowy, cold winter is the feeling that occurs when you begin to warm up from the inside out after a day of skiing, sledding, or just shoveling the walkway. There's just something magical that happens when you sit by a fire or drink hot chocolate with marshmallows on a cold, snowy day. This CD sets that feeling to music and sets it beautifully. Available through the link posted or check your local Boarders, Barnes & Noble, or music store.



3. New West Cuisine by Chase Reynolds Ewald and Amy Jo Sheppard with photography by Audrey Hall. Who cares if your family member or friend is not really a cook? Just having this masterpiece of art sitting on their coffee table will be impressive. A truly stunning book in both visual image and content. Thank God someone is telling the world we in the wild west eat more than pork and beans -- we just happen to like our delicacies in a rustic, but spectacular setting. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Boarders, and various book sellers.


4. Vital Ground collector or specialty car license plates by Monte Dolack Visually captivating, these license plates stand out from all the other specialty plates. And the good thing is that you don't have to have a car registered in Montana to purchase them! Benefiting the important and productive nonprofit organization, Vital Ground, proceeds from the sale of each license plate work to reconnect fragmented landscapes in the U.S. and Canada critical to wildlife movement and biodiversity. Specialty plates for cars registered in Montana are available through all local Montana treasurer's offices. Collector plates are available through Vital Ground (click on the link posted).


5. The Abundance of Summer by Tom Murphy. The final stamp on all four seasons in Yellowstone National Park, this spectacular book documents famed nature photographer, Tom Murphy's reflection on the beauty which is Yellowstone in summer. Each of Tom’s seasonal books takes the reader on a journey through America’s oldest national park and each captures the intimacies of life in Yellowstone that comes only from the knowledge and experience gained through 30 plus years of traveling by foot or ski through the park. Tom’s love for all that is Yellowstone passionately reaches out to each reader through image and word. One need not have experienced Yellowstone personally to fall in love with its unique beauty; one only needs to see it through the lens of Tom’s camera. Available through the link posted.



6. Christmas in Yellowstone directed by Shane Moore and narrated by Linda Hunt. Perhaps as a companion piece with The Abundance of Summer or as a stand alone gift, this DVD is one of the most stunning films of winter life in Yellowstone National Park I've ever seen. Beautifully narrated by Academy Award winning actress Linda Hunt, director Shane Moore delivers what feels to be our own personal journey through Yellowstone. Could there ever be a place more romantic at Christmas? The magic of this film is that while the temperature in the park is clearly frigidly cold, the imagery is anything but. Life continues through the frozen land and it's as if the wildlife, geysers, terraces, and hot pots have opened the front door of their home and welcomed us in. Available at Amazon and various online shopping sites where DVDs and books are sold.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Danny DiVito, GOOD Magazine and the Big Idea

Sometimes it just has to be about the laughter.

And

This morning, it was!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Auto Maker Bailout Solution

From guest author, retired editor of MAD Magazine, Al Feldstein:

I've got a simple solution to the Auto-Maker-Big-Three's request for bailout:

Since they are asking for 34 billion dollars...which, under current management would be quickly flushed down the toilet...

...and their three companies' combined stocks are only worth a total of 18 billion dollars...

Buy the companies by buying their stock...saving 16 billion dollars...

...and put Lee Iacocca (who resurrected bankrupt Chrysler) in charge of the new Government owned "United States Automobiles Corporation"...

...let him fire the incompetent idiot CEO's...who got the industry where it is today...

...let him hire his own, inventive, imaginative CEO's for each of its three divisions...

...and put our American Auto Industry back on its feet with well-made, well-designed Green Products that put foreign producers to shame.

Pass this on.

MAD-ly yours,
Al

Friday, November 28, 2008

Brenden Foster Dies

I have no doubt Brenden was greeted by God with the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Well done."

What an amazing child.

May we all follow his lead...





Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks for the Men and Women Serving in the US Armed Forces

For ten years, I flew throughout the world working as a Flight Attendant. For five of those years, much of my life was spent flying MACs and CAMs in and out of "hot spots" in the world. Panama, Africa, the Middle East, South America, Central America, Turkey, Athens, Europe...if American troops needed to be somewhere or return from somewhere, the airline I worked for most often carried them to and fro.

I express my thanks to God every day for the brave men and women who serve in the military, but today, as we approach Thanksgiving, I dedicate this space and this time to them. Please take the time to watch this wonderful video and say an extra prayer of Thanksgiving for the men and women who have served in the past, are serving today, and will be serving in the future. God bless and protect them all.

The Voice / Imagine sung by Sam Harris

Photography by Corporal Jayel Aheram

Please join Sam Harris on http://SamTube.com as he welcomes Corporal Aheram as his guest this Friday, November 28th.

For more information, please visit http://tiny.cc/2lFK8



more about "Giving Thanks for the Men and Women S...", posted with vodpod

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Voters Approve to Protect Open Space

The following appeared in The New York Times. Looks like protecting open space with public money is important to the voters!

Editorial

A Resounding Vote for Open Space

Published: November 18, 2008

Almost unnoticed in the election results was some very good news for the environment — and for land preservation in particular. Despite the financial crisis, voters made it clear that they want to increase spending on preserving open land, even at the cost of higher taxes.


Across the nation, voters approved $7.3 billion in new spending for parks and open-space preservation. Sixty-two of the 87 referendums to acquire or otherwise protect open space were approved. And the support came in rural, Republican areas, as well as in those that lean toward the Democrats.


California and Florida said yes to more than $700 million in new spending on open space. In Minnesota, voters increased the sales tax by three-eights of a cent to generate $5.5 billion over the next 25 years for land preservation and environmental protection. It was the largest open-space state referendum in the nation’s history.


Despite especially tough economic times, New Jersey voters showed that they feel strongly about acquiring open space before it is all eaten up by strip malls and McMansions. The state is reeling from high property taxes, unemployment and a budget deficit. But voters still approved 14 of 22 county and municipal referendums to increase or extend property taxes dedicated to acquiring or preserving open space.


These votes are an explicit rebuke to President Bush, who failed miserably to honor his 2000 campaign promise to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the government’s main vehicle for buying open space. They should give Congress a strong push to approve a public lands measure that, among other things, would grant permanent wilderness protection to two million acres of public land.


We had hoped that Congress would approve the legislation in the current lame-duck session. On Monday, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, withdrew it from the calendar after Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, threatened to filibuster the bill. Mr. Coburn called it a waste of money and an unnecessary expansion of federal control over public lands.


Mr. Reid said the Senate needed to focus on the economic crisis, but he promised to bring the measure up for immediate action early next year.


Old business tends to get lost in the early days of a new Congress, especially when there is a new administration. Come January, we will remind Mr. Reid of his promise and of the voters’ clear commitment to preserving open spaces.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19wed2.html?_r=2&ref=opinion&oref=slogin


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Veterans Day Tribute: The Comfort of a Gifted Generation

A Veterans Day Tribute
by Penny Ronning
(Written November 10, 2007)


Today as I think of tomorrow’s significance I realize I was born into a “gifted” generation. History tends to define generations by their response to war. For those of us born during the Vietnam War, we’ve never experienced a military draft. The human rights, the freedoms we’ve experienced our entire lives were gifted to us. I wonder…what have we done with these gifts? Are we prepared to “pay it forward” as previous generations did for us? How will my generation be defined?

Tom Brokaw writes of the “Greatest Generation” and if I were to have met no one else from that generation other than a man by the name of Ben Steele, I would still agree with Mr. Brokaw’s assessment. Surely, a man such as Ben Steele would have to come from the “Greatest Generation.”

Benjamin Charles Steele was born November 17, 1917 to ranchers in Roundup, Montana. At the age of 24 and in the middle of the Second World War, Ben was living one of the things his generation would become known for – victory. But, you see, you have to know Ben to know that he tells the story somewhat differently. But that’s where the story takes another twist because to know Ben IS to know victory.

Ben was a member of the Army Air Corp’s 19th Bomb Group and in late 1941, they found themselves stationed at Clark Field in the Philippines. While many of the soldiers at Clark Field may have been dreaming of their loved ones back home on Christmas Day in 1941, orders were coming down that would change their lives forever. It was that day they were ordered to Bataan.

As the Japanese were zeroing in on General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in Corregidor, the United States government was deciding that America could not fight two fronts at the same time. Hitler would come first and then the Japanese. In March of 1942, General MacArthur was ordered out of the Philippines and to Australia. With this decision, came consequences unimaginable to the thousands of American soldiers left stranded in the Philippines. Already in a dire situation, for the next three and a half years, no supplies, no ammunition, no fuel, no food, no clothing, no help was sent to these American soldiers from the U.S. government. As one person said, “No Momma, No Papa, No Uncle Sam.”

With no changes of clothing or boots, food rations almost nonexistent, no ammunition coming to replace what had been used, no additional military help, and virtually no medicine to aid the sick and injured, these brave soldiers held the battle front at Bataan for nearly 4 months.

April 9, 1942, Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese.

At that time in Japanese culture, to be a prisoner of war was to be one of the lowest creatures on earth deserving of no respect. To be a guard of these POW’s was considered to be the lowest level of rank within the Japanese military. Quentin Tarantino could not come up with anything as bloody and as horrifying as to how these Japanese soldiers were desensitized to the humanity of a prisoner of war. During World War II the mortality rate in German POW camps was 1.1%, but in Japanese POW camps the death rate was a shocking 38%.

For 9 days, in 100-degree heat with almost equal humidity, no hat, less than 2 cups of rice each day, and no water, Ben walked 60 miles shoulder to shoulder, body to body, among the 11,796 American, 66,000 Filipino, and 1,000 Chinese Filipino prisoners of war on what would become known later as the Bataan Death March. This nightmare of a march would leave a death trail of an estimated 3,000 Americans and 12,000 Filipinos. Those that survived, including Ben, were crammed sick body upon sick body in waiting railroad cars to be taken to Camp O’Donnell and then later to Cabanatuan, Japan, or other POW Camps. (Cabanatuan was the largest POW camp on foreign soil; 9,000 people lived there; 3,000 Americans died there.)

In June of 1942, Ben was selected as one of 325 men from Camp O’Donnell to be assigned to a Japanese work project known as the Tayabas Road Detail. With no shelter, virtually no food and no water, these men worked in the jungle day and night. Ben was only one of 50 to survive.

Survive…that he did. However, the worst and the worst yet were yet to come.

The harshness of the Tayabas Road Detail met its match in Ben Steele. Beri beri, malaria, blood poisoning, pneumonia, and dysentery all raged within Ben’s body. For the next eighteen months he continued to define this “Greatest Generation” while he interned in Bilibid Prison. In the midst of circumstances more horrible than I want to close my eyes to try to imagine, Ben began to draw the realities of what his mind had recorded.

Sometimes we discover gifts God has given us only when the hottest of heat is applied to our lives -- kind of like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

In Bilibid, something more powerful than the combination of beri beri, malaria, blood poisoning, pneumonia, and dysentery was at work within Ben. Something more powerful than the fear of death was growing inside of him. What was this all-powerful thing? It was the desire to honor. After all, Ben is from the “Greatest Generation” and that is what they taught the world – honor.

With no formal art training, Ben began to draw on whatever scraps of paper he could find images of what his eyes had seen and his mind worked overtime to process. These drawings were Ben’s way to honor his fallen comrades and record his experiences. At risk of death if discovered, Ben continued to pay tribute by secretly drawing the bravery of each soldier facing the most horrific of human cruelty. Sadly, all but two of Ben’s drawings were lost on a transport ship.

But Ben’s story of victory continues. And if you remember, the worst yet was yet to come.

Most Americans may not remember being taught about the hell ships of World War II. I certainly didn’t. The appropriately named hell ships transported prisoners of war from the islands in the Pacific to Japan or other destinations to work as forced labor. These prisoners were crammed, once again, sick body on top of sick body into cargo compartments located at the very bottoms of these ships. One bucket of rice and one bucket of dirty, salty, fish water would be lowered to the prisoners once a day. Because each bucket contained only enough for one ration per man in the compartments, when a prisoner would die the others would keep his body amongst them for as long as they could stand so the rations would not be cut back. As in the Death March, the railroad cars, the POW camps, the Tayabas Road Detail, and Bilibid Prison, the dead bodies began to pile up. Only now in the lowest compartments of these hell ships, there was no access to fresh air. This truly was Hell. But this is a story about victory and Hell has no place there.

Ben survived what he describes as the worst experience of all and went on to serve three months in a hard labor coal mining camp in Japan before the Japanese surrendered and the war was over. Upon Ben’s return to the United States, he made his way through the lines with all of the other prisoners of war reporting back in with the military. When he reached one of the desks, he was asked how many days he was a prisoner of war. Ben replied with the exact number. Not long after that Ben received a check in the mail from the United States government -- $1.00 for each day he was a prisoner of war. Skills Ben learned while growing up on a ranch were put to use during his time in action in the Philippines. These skills saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers and earned Ben the Silver Star. Sadly, to the best of my knowledge, this heroic medal has still never been presented to him.

Ben and his beautiful wife, Shirley settled in Billings, Montana and raised a family. Ben became and retired as a professor of art from Eastern Montana College, now known as Montana State University – Billings. He also recreated his drawings that were lost on the transport ship. His drawings and original oil paintings can be seen at Montana State University – Billings and online at www.artmontana.com/article/steele.

I once heard Ben say that the Americans fighting in the Philippines during that time didn’t win a victory over the Japanese because they were forced to surrender. Funny thing that word victory…I guess we often think of a military victory as one country winning a battle against another. Perhaps that’s where we lose sight of what makes up a collective generation. It’s individual human lives, each with meaning and each with purpose. Merriam-Webster defines victory as 1: the overcoming of an enemy or antagonist and 2: success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties. By both definitions, I believe, the collective individuals that survived those three and a half years in the Philippines achieved the victory for all of those left behind. Each survivor and each life lost has meaning and purpose. After all, this was the “Greatest Generation” and they taught the world the meaning of honor.

So, today as I think of tomorrow’s significance I wonder as collective individuals how are we defining our generation? Do we stand at attention with our hands over our hearts when we see our flag being raised? Do we teach our children that freedom is never free? When we drive by a cemetery filled with white tombstones do we acknowledge the lives given so that we may live out our human rights?

I ask these questions of myself because like many of you, I am entering into the second half of my life and I believe that our lives are defined by our actions not our intentions; and that our generation will be defined by our collective individual actions. Will the world be a better place because my generation lived?

To those that have served in the military, fought in a war, healing from injuries received in a war, or are now fighting in a war – THANK YOU. I am humbled in my mind to think of how different your life is from mine. With all of my heart – THANK YOU. To those that I know personally, my grandfather Sigurd Ronning and his brother Paul, both citizens of Norway drafted into the American Army in 1918; my own uncles that fought in World War II (Edwin and Leon, the Pacific fleet; Mike and Maurice, Europe; Glen, wounded in Iwo Jima; Andy, Army Air Corp; and George, bomber pilot both in WWII and the Korean War); to my friends Leonard Dahl, who fought in the Pacific in World War II and Eddie Boehm, Africa, WWII; to my friend Al Feldstein, Special Services artist, WWII; to my Dad’s cousin Orville Graslie, the Pacific WWII; to my Dad, who served in the Army; to Ken Fisher, who served with my Dad; to Lawrence Brotzel, Marines; to Jesse Hammer, Marines; to my uncle Harold, Army; to Captain Dale Dye, 3 tours in Vietnam; Dale Shack, Vietnam War hero; Robin Chadderdon, retired Air Force; Tom Fortner, Army; Casey J. Porter, currently serving in his 2nd tour in Iraq through Stop-Loss; to my younger friends that fought in Desert Storm; to all of the pilots who were veterans I flew with while I was a Flight Attendant; to all of the soldiers, SEALS, and military personnel that were passengers on the MACs and CAMs I worked; to all of your relatives and friends that have served in the military; and to Ben Steele:


THANK YOU.



My soul is heavy with the knowledge that my generation has been given a gift. It is my hope that we will be defined as a generation that used the gifts of education, science, communication, finances, travel, the media, journalism, freedom of speech, the right to vote, and the power of prayer among many others to further the cause of human rights and to leave this world a better place because we lived. It is my hope that the generations that come after us will feel the desire to say thank you.



Suggested viewing:

The Great Raid, a film by John Dahl. The director's cut is the version to watch. Included with the director's cut DVD is additional material that is life impacting; at least it was for me.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Change Has Come


From my friend, author Lutishia Lovely:

It all started at a dinner party. That's where I met Valarie Kaur, a fiery, Sikh American whose passion for positive change matches my own. She'd produced a film, Divided We Fall (www.dwf-film.com) about life for diverse America in general and Sikh Americans in particular in the aftermath of 9/11. We began talking about our country, its problems and possibilities. That rambling and lively conversation during the course of a wonderful evening sparked a lifelong friendship, and my beginnings in politicking for Barack Hussein Obama.

Valarie had been a precinct captain for Obama during the primary and after receiving an email from her requesting volunteers, I found myself, along with thousands perhaps millions of others, phone canvassing for Obama from the privacy and comfort of my home. The campaign's astute use of the internet made it as easy as the click of a mouse to log on, get a caller list, and join the process. I called citizens across the country, and was encouraged and inspired as I talked to, at that time, Clinton, Obama and McCain supporters. What struck me was not how different we were, depending on our political preference, but what we shared in common: a desire for change, a right to our ideals, and the American flag.

From that first phone call in late 2007 until election night, I engaged in the political process: phone calls, knocking on doors, talking to friends and fellow citizens about why I felt Barack offered positive change that transcended politics. I believed then and know now that what was happening was not a campaign, but a movement: a response to the collective consciousness's desire to see the glass half full instead of half empty, to believe that we can turn poverty to prosperity, hate to love, enemies to allies, "no we can't" to "yes we can". Words can't express my gratitude in participating in the TX elections, winning a small, suburban, heavily Republican community called Pflugerville for Obama and helping him to win the very important caucus vote in that state. Words can't describe being at the Democratic Convention, and at Invesco Field, as a microcosm of America: every race, age, religious affiliation, military branch, and socio-economic background imaginable came together with a shared sense of purpose. Not a campaign but a movement...to change the world. Eighty-five thousand strong, with millions watching, we shared the historic moment when our next president accepted the Democratic nomination for president of the United States of America.

Millions of us across America continued to campaign for change until the last possible moment. My final push was at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Los Angeles, at a mega phone bank where hundreds of us dialed frantically to secure swing state voters. I made my last call at 6:00 pm PST, which was 7:00 in Colorado, the time their polls closed. Afterwards I followed the sound of cheering and screaming, which led me to the hotel lobby where the state-by-state results were coming in. Vermont was first, then Maine, New Hampshire, etc. Pennsylvania: a big one. Ohio...oh my. Can this be real? Yes, it's really happening. At 7:59 Obama had 207 electoral votes. We knew he'd win, but I wanted to see a Virginia/Florida security blanket before I celebrated.

The last poll closed at 8:00 PST and we counted down a momentous election day: 10, 9, 8...3, 2, 1! And then something happened that I didn't expect: the announcement that leapt onto the MSNBC screen: Barack Obama Elected President. That's when life became a high from which I've yet to come down. Change has come to America, and to the world.

I am an American who has African, Native American and European blood flowing through my veins, with friends of almost every ethnicity spread across almost every continent. Under the cover of darkness, my great-great-grandparents used cloth to muffle their horse's hooves and fled slavery in South Carolina. They settled in Arkansas and continued to struggle against racism and economic disadvantage. One day a White man called my great-grandfather the n-word. It was the wrong day to do so. After enduring this and other indignities his entire life, he'd had enough. A fight broke out between the two men and when it was over, the White man died as a result of his injuries. A posse came looking for my great-grandfather and he ran to save his family from harm. They never saw him again.

My grandparents were sharecroppers, and while my grandmother didn't have a college education, she had common sense. So when the landowner kept promising to upon his death, give them the land that they farmed for a pittance, my grandmother insisted the promise be put in writing. As a result, more than one hundred acres of rich Arkansas soil is now our inheritance. (We got more than forty acres, but we're still waiting for the mule. :) My mother pulled us from working to middle-class America by getting first an associates, then two bachelors and finally a masters degree in the areas of nursing and social work. My father, who never finished high school because he had to help work the farm, told me that I could go anywhere, and could be anything. And I have. I am the person Barack speaks of when he talks about the parent that didn't achieve their dream, but believed if they worked hard, their kid could.

In short, I am an embodiment of the American dream; one who is standing on the shoulders of the people who've come before me. I've seen much of the world, its warts and its wonders, and continue to do so now in the blessed position of full-time, published author. All because millions of people before me of every religion, age and race believed the words President-Elect Obama has once again made our positive mantra: a new message for a new day...yes we can. And today, November 5th, a day after the earth has shifted into a positive paradigm, I am grateful to have witnessed this firsthand, to have been a part of creating a world as it should be, and to participate in a democracy that is unparalleled. Last night, when a woman began singing the national anthem and the television station went to commercial, thousands of us at the Hyatt Regency continued singing. With hands over hearts and tears in eyes, we embraced America as it should be: ...the land of the free, and the home of the brave. Yes.

If you are on my mailing list, that means you are my friend. So whether you voted for McCain or Obama, I love you. And I ask that you consider this woo-woo vibe to usher in a brighter tomorrow, for all of us. I ask you to believe in yourself and this country's ability to make the dream of peace and prosperity for all a reality. I ask that you embrace this one simple word...YES. I ask you to believe in the world as it should be, divinely ordered and permanently perfect as Spirit ordains.

PS: A photo album of my journey with Barack can be viewed at: www.myspace.com/lutishialovely.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

It's a New Day!

It is a new day and the world is singing and dancing with us!

FINALLY, once again!

My heart continues to be overwhelmed with emotion.

The past 4 days I have found myself in such a state of euphoria that I can't seem to stop dancing and smiling and dancing some more and smiling even harder! This must be how the Suffragettes felt in 1920 and how the Civil Rights Activists felt in 1964. For the moment, just for the moment, I want to continue to bask in this amazing sense of possibility, of hope, of all that can be because now we know -- we KNOW all that can be CAN BE!

My desire is for the United States of America to continue to move forward rather than just move on. Once my basking is manageable (hopefully it will never be done), I look forward to working with each of you, whether it is side by side in person or side by side by State or country by country, to continue that move forward. The election was only the beginning to all that we can achieve together. Let's work to keep all the doors open that we opened, let's back our new President like the world has never seen our country back one before, let's continue to make history.

It's a NEW day!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No matter what...

No matter what...

Today is the first day of a brand new world.

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress approved The Declaration of Independence, severing ties with the British Crown and establishing the United States of America.

In doing so, this new nation declared that all Men are created equal.

TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY-TWO (232) years later, the grandest acknowledgment of that equality is manifesting. Today, a person of color or a woman will be elected to one of the two highest and most influential offices in the world. What a moment in history and we are not just witnesses, but we are participants.

The news is reporting that this election will record the highest American voter turn out in more than 100 years!!

History is being made.

Tonight, as I close my eyes to sleep, I shall say, "Sleep well, New World, for tomorrow is a Brand New Day!"

Signs of Hope & Change

It's about the people...the possibility of an administration once again remembering that it's about the people...what HOPE and what a wonderful, welcome CHANGE.




more about "Signs of Hope & Change", posted with vodpod

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Go Viral with Your Voice


For more than five and a half years the people of Darfur have lived under a brutal reign of terror. The government-sponsored genocide has taken hundreds of thousands of civilian lives and driven more than 2.5 million from their homes. In 2008 alone, violence forced more than 230,000 civilians to flee—sometimes as many as 1,000 per day!

Strong action from the next president can bring peace and protection to the people of Darfur. That's why the Save Darfur Coalition is bringing together people from all faiths and political beliefs to raise their voices and call for Darfur to be a Day One priority for the next president.

Be a Voice for Darfur. Go to www.AddYourVoice.org to send your postcard to the new president, demanding that this humanitarian crisis be a Day One priority in the White House.

Add your voice today!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ponder the Following Facts

Once again, I don't know who wrote this since I received it in an email, but I think it is excellent.

PONDER THE FOLLOWING FACTS

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once and Obama was a divorcee?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

Educational Background

Barack Obama: Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations. Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden: University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science. Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)

vs.

John McCain: United States Naval Academy - B.S. Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin: Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester; North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study; University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism; Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester; University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Education isn't everything, but .............


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Quick thoughts on "The Shack"


I LOVE books!

Love book stores, libraries, book clubs, etc...

I was always the geeky kid that ordered the most books from Scholastic Books during my grade school years.

Love books. Love to read really good books. When I'm in the middle of a really good book, I can't wait for the time in each day where I get to pick up my book and read.

So when I read a book that has been highly recommended and I find it less than wonderful, I feel a great sense of disappointment.

And that's how I feel about The Shack.

As a Christian, I agree with almost all of William Paul Young's descriptions of relationship versus religion and the importance of the first and the detriment of the second. As best I can remember, at only one point in the book did I think, "Nope, don't agree with that." (In reference to relationship versus religion.)

But

It could be that I have misinterpreted his point.

For those that have not read the book and are planning on doing so, I'll not go into detail. If anyone would like to know the point I am referring to, please ask me in a comment and I'll discuss it there.

While I'm glad to see a fiction book that takes on the difference between relationship with God and religion on the New York Times bestseller list, I just wish it would have been a book with smartly written dialogue.

The dialogue in The Shack is actually painful it's so poorly written.

The basics to a good story is there, but the dialogue is just plain bad.

Sadly, this is what I find in most "Christian" books and movies -- really, really, really bad dialogue.

It's as if these writers are so afraid of being real, they use some sort of "writing for the Christian market" formula and the dialogue turns out to be nothing but a bunch of cliches and "usable" words and phrases from popular TV shows.

And The Shack is full of this type of dialogue between the characters.

Knowing that Mr. Young did not write this story with the intent to publish it, but rather as one for his children makes me feel a little hesitant to comment on the writing...

But

Since he is looking to turn his book into a movie, I am sincerely hoping any producer that options this book will include the right to hire a [dialogue] writer in his/her contract.

And

Then will hire a good one.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Ron Howard, Henry Winkler and Andy Griffith: A Call to Action!

Being a long time fan of all three gentlemen and their careers aside, this is one of the best "election" videos I've seen so far.

Smart, creative, straight-to-the-point message and enjoyable!




more about "Ron Howard, Henry Winkler and Andy Gr...", posted with vodpod

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Finding Hope

Politics...

Whether we like it or not, politicians are the lawmakers of our country.

For me, the more I watch and observe politicians the more this becomes an increasingly disturbing thought.

But

Hope continues to reign supreme.

Where do I find this hope?

My faith, of course...

But

Also through the amazing phenomena called social networking.

A small number of my real life friends poo-poo social networking because of this or that, but for me, every time one of my social networking "friends" posts a link or a humorous status update or an amazing blog about the current political atmosphere, I am encouraged by their strong voice and hope prevails.

Today's posts on Political Voices of Women serve as a fine example -- no, the posts serve as one of THE BEST examples.

Intelligent women writing with integrity about important issues and making solid points in positive, constructive, and often times humorous ways -- good job, ladies! You are the voices that bring hope. You are the voices that make a difference. You are the voices that bring about change.

How nice to go to a website focused on political issues and not feel like I need to take a shower after reading only a small handful of posts and/or commentary.

To the remarkable, intelligent women of integrity posting on Political Voices of Women, you are the Alice Paul's and the Lucy Burns's of today.

Keep talking. Keep writing. Keep posting.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Call + Repsonse

Do your part to END human slavery NOW!

Finally less than 100 days left in office for Bush and buddies

Finally...the long awaited day when the Credo counter would register Bush and his administration with less than 100 days left in office.

What an unbelievable path of destruction this administration continues to leave in its wake.

And, to me, from everything Sarah Palin has presented, she is more of the same if not worse.

She reminds me of the type of person that one would initially trust and then later get burned for doing so.

John McCain...after the last debate, what more is there to say?

Except to remember the two words that will probably haunt John McCain for the rest of his life and on November 4th vote for:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Debate a LONG Time Coming

U.S. Marshall escorting James Meredith to class at Ole Miss in 1962


I will be watching tonight's debate knowing just how historical this event truly is.

Oh and gee, glad to know John McCain has decided to show.

Yes, the economy is in the toilet. It has been for sometime, Senator McCain.

But

Tonight's debate and the INCREDIBLE significance of where the debate is taking place has been YEARS in the making and has come at a very high price for many Americans.

The acknowledgment of their sacrifices and their challenges should not be postponed one minute longer.

Segregation was and is horrendous. Why should any American have to fight, be humiliated or denied their right to receive an education based upon race [gender, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation]?

This is a terrible, terrible, unbelievably horrendous mark in American history.

I applaud those that stood up to an unfair system and created a path for either themselves and/or others to change the status quo.

Tonight is significant and I shall be watching.

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/sep/14/new-era-takes-root-at-ole-miss/

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

URGENT ACTION NEEDED TODAY

Today a potentially innocent man is scheduled to be executed in the state of Georgia.

URGENT ACTION is needed!

Please read more about Troy Davis, his case, and then help justice truly be served -- take action!

Help justice to truly be served. This case needs to be reopened and new evidence needs to be heard.

Please click here for more information.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Peaceful Protest


A few years ago I joined a small group of women in a small town in Montana stand in protest of the war in Iraq every 1st Monday of the month. Our peaceful protest includes signs and little white Christmas tree lights - one light for each American military death in Iraq. (I don't think this little town has enough lights to represent ALL of the deaths from this war in Iraq even if each of the 6,000 + residents donated their lights.)

Most of the women in this group are 50 years of age and above. I am in my 40's and I was one of the younger women! I remember at one of the protests one of the really younger women (in her 20's!) asked all of us if we were truly making a difference. I understood what she was asking...here we were in this little, tiny town in a state that has more sheep and cattle than it does people, and we were a little, tiny group of women standing on the sidewalk in front of the post office holding signs protesting a war that had more American military personnel fighting in it than we had people in not only our state, but in the two or three states next to us combined. Were we making a difference?

My dear friend Margot Kidder, one of the fearless leaders of our group and the original Lois Lane of the Superman movies, walked by with her sign just as this young woman asked that question. Margie (pronounced Margee) turned so quickly and responded emphatically, "Yes, yes, yes, we are making a difference and we will continue to protest because that's what we have to do. It's our right and it's our voice that is going to make a difference. This country has changed before because of peaceful protesting and it will change again."

Our peaceful protesting along with many other similar protests happening throughout our VERY politically conservative state helped to defeat long standing, senior Republican Senator Conrad Burns and elect Jon Tester (D). Senator Burns had been deeply entrenched in the Bush administration politics. Over the past couple of years, Senator Tester has been instrumental in the passing of the recent GI Bill, has worked tirelessly for American military veterans, and continues to speak out against the "war on terrorism" in Iraq.

Did our little group protest make a difference? Yes and it continues to do so.

More people are registered to vote in Montana now than at any other time in history. More people came out for the primaries than at any other time in history. And it's not because of the political ads on TV or in print - those have been around during every election. It's because of the small groups of people peacefully protesting, peacefully marching in the little, tiny 4th of July parades that take place each year, peacefully holding screenings of films like Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath, and American Made, peacefully talking with their neighbors they see outside or in the coffee shops or at the grocery store, peacefully sitting at a table passing out bumper stickers and yard signs at their local college, peacefully writing emails, blogs, letters to the editor, etc.

How funny...just as I was typing that last paragraph a film director friend of mine in Los Angeles sent me an email letting me know that the presidential race in Montana is tight - McCain is polling at 49% and Obama at 45%. He was asking in his email what I was going to do about it! (Right on, Lance!) For those that know me, that's a funny question! I'm not much of a wallflower when it comes to something I believe in. (Lance, who does know me, was asking if as a Hillary supporter I was going to actively support Barack in MT. Lance very actively campaigns for Barack in California.) Yes, Lance...I am actively campaigning for Barack!

It is emails like my director friend Lance Mungia's today that inspire me to keep standing strong, to keep using my voice and to keep peacefully protesting and it's stories like the one I'm about to share that continue to reinforce the words Margie stated a few years ago to that young 20-something-year-old girl.

In 1983, I traveled as a cast member in Up with People. A few days ago another alumni from Up with People sent me two links to a story I found incredibly inspiring. The friend who sent me the links traveled in Up with People in the 1970's. For those of you not familiar with Up with People, the organization started in 1965 during a turbulent time in the United States and became fully recognized as a nonprofit organization in 1968. It started because a small group of people believed peacefully "protesting" violence in the world by means of music and song could make a difference. And they believed that the greatest impact would be made if the music and song came through young people brought together from all over the world to travel as a cast and get this...stay in people's home as they traveled all over the world with their musical show!

You may be wondering what Up with People, Margie Kidder, Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath, peaceful protesting, and elections all have in common. The incredible story contained in these links brings it all together. With the upcoming presidential debate at the University of Mississippi, please take the time to learn about its history and why THIS debate at THIS place is so significant.

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/sep/14/new-era-takes-root-at-ole-miss/

http://www.djournal.com/pages/archive.asp?ID=187521

The presidential debate at the University of Mississippi is going to be truly historical. So much history has been made so far in this election...

But

In regard to peaceful protest and how it works to change the world, I believe the story contained in the two links speaks volumes.

I encourage each of you to read the stories and then as you watch the presidential debate on TV, give thanks to those that protested before us. And then keep running with the baton that has been passed to you. As my friend Lance wrote, his 4-year-old daughter needs me. She needs you. She needs each one of us to keep peacefully protesting because as Margie so powerfully stated, protests have changed this country in the past and they will change it again.

While I no longer live in the earlier mentioned small town in Montana, I continue my peaceful protest.

My peaceful protest is in each call I make on behalf of the Obama campaign, each email, blog, and letter to the editor I write, each sign I post and carry, each time I talk with a friend about Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath, each 4th of July parade I march in, each time I pray for peace, each time I encourage people like Valarie Kaur to keep staying strong in her life, each time I see something special in film directors like Sharat Raju and Lance Mungia and I take action to get to know them as people and friends, and each time I write a blog people I don't even know may read.

I shall continue to protest and I shall vote because a shockingly small group of incredible women won that victory for me 80 years ago.

And

I know I have victories to win for others.

Harold Koh, Dean of Yale Law School, recently told this year's incoming students:

"When I was graduating from college, heading off to England on a scholarship, a family friend came to me at graduation and congratulated me on my accomplishments. My older sister, who was standing next to me, waited politely until the friend left, and then she asked, "What accomplishments? You have no accomplishments. All you have done is go to school!" She said, "There are many people who have no schooling but have made genuine accomplishments; and there are many people with world-class schooling but no accomplishments. And the difference between them is that those who have really accomplished something know what they stand for."

Smart sister.

Standing for human rights, a change in America's foreign policy, the end to genocide, peace in the world, and much, much more,

~ Penny


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Montana, Google, and Android

Congratulations, Jeffrey Sharkey!

You put your brain to work and it paid off!

With a 2008 master's degree in computer science from Montana State University in your hand what are you going to do next?

Right...win a $275,000 cash prize from Googleland!

When Google announced a design contest for their new cell phone operating system, Android, Jeffrey Sharkey heard the call.

Creating a system that uses a cell phone to read a product's bar code and then using the phone's Internet connection to read reviews, prices, product availability, and other information on the Web, Sharkey developed his entry, Compare Everywhere.

Compare Everywhere earned Sharkey a place in the top 50 out of approximately 1,800 applicants. With the top 50 placement, Sharkey was given $25,000 and the summer of 2008 to refine his entry. In August, Compare Everywhere was one of the final 10 entries to earn the top prizes in the Google contest.

Way to go, Jeffrey!

And people think Montana is just about mountains and cowboys.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Real Sarah Palin

Before Sarah Palin came into the national spotlight, I campaigned against not just her stand, but also her actions promoting big oil and aerial killing of wolves in Alaska. Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund recently produced a commercial that speaks volumes.

Warning: images in this video are gut wrenching and gruesome, but this is the reality of aerial killing of wolves and this is what Sarah Palin promotes.




more about "The Real Sarah Palin", posted with vodpod

Thursday, September 18, 2008

OK, much clearer now!

I have no idea who wrote this, but I LIKE it! I received it as a FWD in an email.

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."
Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.
Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive t hat registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs,
Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people,2020 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

STOP the execution of Troy Anthony Davis

Please help stop the execution of Troy Anthony Davis.

Take action here.

From Amnesty International USA:

Amnesty International
Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

GEORGIA ATTORNEY GENERAL’S DECISION TO ISSUE DAVIS DEATH WARRANT ‘AN APPALLING DISPLAY OF INJUSTICE,’ SAYS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
----
Human Rights Organization Demands Stay of Execution

Contact: Wende Gozan, 212-633-4247, wgozan@aiusa.org
or Jared Feuer, 404-876-5661 x14, jfeuer@aiusa.org

(Atlanta, GA) – Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) is shocked that the State Attorney General’s office today has issued a death warrant for Troy Anthony Davis. Given that Mr. Davis has not been able to see justice served, the human rights organization maintains that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles must prevent the execution.

“The Attorney General's decision to issue the death warrant is an appalling display of injustice,” said Larry Cox, executive director for AIUSA. “Given the Georgia Supreme Court’s failure to order an evidentiary hearing for Mr. Davis, it is all the more essential that the Georgia Board step in. We are disappointed by the Attorney General’s decision to short-circuit justice.”

The death warrant is dated for September 23, signifying that his execution could occur anywhere from the 23rd to the 30th of this month.

“Last year the Georgia Board stated that they will not carry out this execution unless there is no doubt as to Mr. Davis’ guilt,” said Jared Feuer, Southern regional director for AIUSA. “Throughout his legal appeals, the courts have relied on technicalities to ignore essential evidence as to Mr. Davis’ guilt. Not only do doubts remain, but they are pervasive. Letting this execution go forward simply should not be an option.”

Mr. Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing off-duty police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. His conviction came despite police failing to produce a murder weapon or any physical evidence linking Mr. Davis to the crime. Since his conviction, seven of nine state witnesses have recanted or changed their testimony in sworn affidavits, during a time in which convictions relying solely on eyewitness testimony have come under scrutiny. One of the remaining two state witnesses is alleged to be the actual killer, but this lead was not investigated by police.

Support for Mr. Davis has been far-reaching. To date Amnesty International has collected more than 100,000 letters and petition signatures for Mr. Davis from Georgians as well as concerned citizens across the United States and around the world. Groups ranging from the NAACP and European Parliament have passed resolutions calling for Mr. Davis’ sentence to be commuted.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech

This Hillary supporter supports Barack Obama!




more about "Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech", posted with vodpod

Friday, August 29, 2008

Shocking Choice by John McCain

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2008

Shocking Choice by John McCain

WASHINGTON-- Senator John McCain just announced his choice for running mate: Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. To follow is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

“Senator McCain’s choice for a running mate is beyond belief. By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has clearly made a decision to continue the Bush legacy of destructive environmental policies.

“Sarah Palin, whose husband works for BP (formerly British Petroleum), has repeatedly put special interests first when it comes to the environment. In her scant two years as governor, she has lobbied aggressively to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, pushed for more drilling off of Alaska’s coasts, and put special interests above science. Ms. Palin has made it clear through her actions that she is unwilling to do even as much as the Bush administration to address the impacts of global warming. Her most recent effort has been to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the polar bear from the endangered species list, putting Big Oil before sound science. As unbelievable as this may sound, this actually puts her to the right of the Bush administration.

“This is Senator McCain’s first significant choice in building his executive team and it’s a bad one. It has to raise serious doubts in the minds of voters about John McCain’s commitment to conservation, to addressing the impacts of global warming and to ensuring our country ends its dependency on oil.”

###

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund (www.defendersactionfund.org) provides a powerful voice in Washington to Americans who value our conservation heritage. Through grassroots lobbying, issue advocacy and political campaigns, the Action Fund champions those laws and lawmakers that protect wildlife and wild places while working against those that do them harm.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Body at War with Itself

Michael Phelps is probably the most famous 23-year-old on the planet today.

With a body that did not fail him, Michael Phelps achieved a personal goal that has now surpassed all athletes in the history of the Olympic games -- 8 gold medals won at one Olympic competition.

This is more than achieving a personal goal -- this is creating history! Amazing!

While every athlete's achievements are the result of years of dedication, sacrifice, and hard work, the pay off of when their bodies perform at their very best is a reward of tremendous glory and well-deserved recognition.

But

For me personally, those that live in bodies that are at war within themselves every single second of every single day, are also true athletes of dedication, sacrifice, and hard work, if not even more accomplished than those that win medals or large advertising contracts.

Let me introduce to you Tyler Boshae.

Like Michael Phelps, Tyler is 23-years-old.

From the age of 9, Tyler has been dedicated to a physical, mental, and spiritual regime that may astound even the most accomplished of athletes.

From the age of 9, Tyler has climbed a mountain called Tourette's Syndrome every single second of every single day of his life.

The type of Tourette's Syndrome experienced by Tyler not only creates great physical pain within Tyler's body, but the mental and emotional fatigue are beyond any I've ever seen experienced by medaled athlete.

Tyler Boshae is a true fighter, a true athlete, a true winner.

And

He is in need of your help.

Tyler has been approved to be evaluated to receive a special brain surgery to implant electrodes to help reduce the tics. The surgery is called DBS -- Deep Brain Stimulation. Approximately $200,000 will be needed for this surgery to take place -- and that's with the reduced fees from his medical team.

Please meet Tyler through the video and visit his website at www.clubtwitch.com.

Any and all help you can give is greatly appreciated. Even if you can only afford to pass this message along , please do!

Thank you!


more about "A Body in War with Itself", posted with vodpod

Monday, August 18, 2008

Net neutrality: Why you should give a damn

Guest author and friend, Michael Janover, contributes an interesting and thought provoking blog today on Net Neutrality. You may also find Mike's article published in the Rocky Mountain News.

Net neutrality: Why you should give a damn

By Michael Janover

OK, I'm old. I was around when Channel 2 went on the air in Denver in the early 50's and brought us Blinky the Clown. It was exciting. Television. In Colorado!

In the mid-60s, cable TV and the dish staked their claims, and folks in the mountains could finally see Star Trek and Mary Tyler Moore. A whole new world was opening, no longer limited by four or five basic channels. Cable and satellite promised real choice. Hundreds of channels! Wow! You could see anything!

So what happened to all the choices?

Why is it that TV and the movies are always the same old, same old?

For one thing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made it possible to merge control of the television and film industries into fewer and fewer networks. What started out as infinite possibilities gradually became three super networks. These entities gobbled up the studio system and the cable channels. Creative decisions were gradually assumed by corporate boards that prefer safe, tested and bland to innovative, daring and dramatic. It's one of the reasons hard news became infotainment, and rich, life-changing drama is now "reality" programming.

Too much creative control is in the hands of too few people who aren't creative.

The beginning of the 80s was the start of the Computer Age. I went out and bought a Kaypro, a clunky box, with black screen and glowing green text. It was great. Totally cutting edge.

Computers became more wonderful with color graphics and the mouse thingy, but the most amazing and subversive change was INTERNET. In a few short years, it turned the planet into one big neighborhood; and with broadband access, it also offered interactivity.

We are no longer simple couch potatoes in front of the living room TV. Today, we're interactive potatoes and use computers to communicate, shop, or read and comment about everything from elections to Dancing With the Stars. We converse with people around the country and world as if they lived across the street. How quaint and microscopic those "hundreds of channels" seem now.

Blogs and YouTube are the new political language. They were vital in the Writer's Guild's recent successful struggle with management - the very people who own the mainstream media. Truth is, the Internet does more to democratize the world than any of the wars currently being waged. It truly offers an infinity of choices that TV can't deliver, and freedom of interactivity that telephones only dream of.

Something this massive and good just begs for someone to control it, don't you think?

Well, that group has surfaced. It's not the Chinese government, not even your government. No, it's the telecommunications companies. The same folks who offer you three-tiered packages of programming instead of just charging you for the shows you want to see; the same people who offer expensive long distance packages when you can do better for next to nothing over the Internet; and the same people who want immunity from prosecution for accidentally illegally wiretapping millions of our phone conversations.

Since the telecoms deliver the Internet to you, they think the government should grant them the power to control how you use it. They want to make more money and put limits on what you see and how you see it. In their world, websites should be charged for the privilege of being seen by their customers. And sites should pay extra for making it possible for consumers to download their material faster (-- by removing the telecom's artificial restraints). Failure to pay these tolls results in your site not being seen, or in ultra-lengthy download times that drive impatient users elsewhere.

Imagine going online to CNN or to download music or watch an old TV show, but the feed is so slow that it no longer works properly. The grass on your lawn is growing faster. Why? Because someone didn't pay tacked-on fees to the local cable or phone company, and the feed was restricted.

The Telecoms are spending millions to convince Congressional candidates that giving them control makes for a less expensive, better Internet. As you read this, they’re donating money like there's no tomorrow, because after this election, the new Congress will be forced to decide if Telecoms should be given this power.

"Net Neutrality" basically means "Leave the Internet alone," and it's the battle cry for those who think handing over management and control of information to a few mega-corporations is the worst possible idea.

Net Neutrality isn't another "nutty left wing crusade." Internet giants like Google and Microsoft, consumer advocates such as Consumer Reports, small businesses who might be relegated to the slow lane, and iPod users who might find it harder to download tunes -- all want to maintain Net Neutrality.

"Maintain" is the magic word. Net Neutrality doesn't ask for new regulations; it only wants to be sure that the freedom we already have is preserved. If you believe in a true open market and don't want to give your freedom of choice to some corporate Big Brother, if you don't want your Internet experience censored or restricted, if you enjoy watching YouTube or visiting Facebook without limitations - you probably support Net Neutrality without even realizing it.

It's time for you to speak up and ask a few questions. Now is when you have the clout. Does your Senate candidate support maintaining freedom of the Internet - or increasing profits for the Telecoms? If you don't know, find out.

For more detailed information on the fight to save the Internet, please check out www.freepress.net/files/nn_fact_v_fiction_final.pdf, a fact sheet put together by Free Press, the Consumers Union, and Consumer Federation of America.

Michael Janover grew up in Denver and went to school and graduated from CU in Boulder in 1967. He’s been a WGA writer since 1978, worked for HAWAII 5-O, Wide World of Disney and wrote THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT while in Hollywood. He also helped start the Colorado Film School in Aurora.