Monday, December 31, 2007
Wishing everyone a healthy, happy New Year
Two excerpts from a report on Queen Elizabeth’s New Years Honors:
Sir Ian McKellen joins the exclusive Order of the Companion of Honour, which is restricted to 65 members, including the Queen.
Actor Sir Ian McKellen, 68, who also campaigns for gay rights, said after finding out that he was becoming a Companion of Honour: "It is particularly pleasing that 'equality' is included in my citation."
This recipe is for Lewis in Portland OR (Spirit of Saint Lewis) and for anyone else who might like to try a great vegetarian dish from Fritz’s own cookbook:
1 cup uncooked lentils
½ cup uncooked rice
I large onion, chopped
½ cup olive oil
½ to I teaspoon ground cumin, to taste
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
4 cups water
Boil lentils in the water for 25 minutes over medium heat. Do not drain.
Sauté the chopped onion in the olive oil with the cumin, salt and pepper.
Combine onion and rice with the lentils (for variety, add raisins, sultanas, chopped walnuts and/or chopped dried apricots—use your imagination). Cover and cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
We’re right in the middle of our four day New Years House Party. So far there’s been great food, fellowship, a couple of Body Electric School rituals performed naked, a Sweat Lodge gathering, and much catching up among old friends, one of whom brought a handsome and charming new boyfriend.
I also learned that one of our oldest friends, a man of many talents, has a new website for his photography, all landscape work from around the world and all strikingly beautiful. The image from his home page appears above. The site is Christopher Morgan Photography and you can access it at http://christophermorganphotography.com There’s also a link to the left under the rubric The Art of Photography.
The Concord [NH] Monitor made headlines and created quite a stir locally by taking a firm editorial stand against Mitt Romney for President. The word “phony” was deployed. Here’s the anti-endorsement editorial:
Romney should not be the next president
December 22. 2007 3:00PM
If you were building a Republican presidential candidate from a kit, imagine what pieces you might use: an athletic build, ramrod posture, Reaganesque hair, a charismatic speaking style and a crisp dark suit. You'd add a beautiful wife and family, a wildly successful business career and just enough executive government experience. You'd pour in some old GOP bromides - spending cuts and lower taxes - plus some new positions for 2008: anti-immigrant rhetoric and a focus on faith.
Add it all up and you get Mitt Romney, a disquieting figure who sure looks like the next president and most surely must be stopped.
Romney's main business experience is as a management consultant, a field in which smart, fast-moving specialists often advise corporations on how to reinvent themselves. His memoir is called Turnaround - the story of his successful rescue of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City - but the most stunning turnaround he has engineered is his own political career.
If you followed only his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, you might imagine Romney as a pragmatic moderate with liberal positions on numerous social issues and an ability to work well with Democrats. If you followed only his campaign for president, you'd swear he was a red-meat conservative, pandering to the religious right, whatever the cost. Pay attention to both, and you're left to wonder if there's anything at all at his core.
As a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1994, he boasted that he would be a stronger advocate of gay rights than his opponent, Ted Kennedy. These days, he makes a point of his opposition to gay marriage and adoption.
There was a time that he said he wanted to make contraception more available - and a time that he vetoed a bill to sell it over-the-counter.
The old Romney assured voters he was pro-choice on abortion. "You will not see me wavering on that," he said in 1994, and he cited the tragedy of a relative's botched illegal abortion as the reason to keep abortions safe and legal. These days, he describes himself as pro-life.
There was a time that he supported stem-cell research and cited his own wife's multiple sclerosis in explaining his thinking; such research, he reasoned, could help families like his. These days, he largely opposes it. As a candidate for governor, Romney dismissed an anti-tax pledge as a gimmick. In this race, he was the first to sign.
People can change, and intransigence is not necessarily a virtue. But Romney has yet to explain this particular set of turnarounds in a way that convinces voters they are based on anything other than his own ambition.
In the 2008 campaign for president, there are numerous issues on which Romney has no record, and so voters must take him at his word. On these issues, those words are often chilling. While other candidates of both parties speak of restoring America's moral leadership in the world, Romney has said he'd like to "double" the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, where inmates have been held for years without formal charge or access to the courts. He dodges the issue of torture - unable to say, simply, that waterboarding is torture and America won't do it.
When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state's first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney. If a candidate is a phony we assure ourselves, and the rest of the world, we'll know it.
Mitt Romney is such a candidate. New Hampshire Republicans and independents must vote no.
Perhaps even more significantly, the ultra-conservative Manchester Union-Leader also roundly rejected Romney in the following (excerpted) editorial. In this case, the question is his place on the liberal/conservative scale, but the core issue is Romney’s honesty on ANY topic:
The Romney backlash: Conservatives are coming home
Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007
There is a reason Mitt Romney has not received a single newspaper endorsement in New Hampshire. It's the same reason his poll numbers are dropping. He has not been able to convince the people of this state that he's the conservative he says he is.
Like a lot of people in New Hampshire, we wanted to believe Romney. We gave him the benefit of the doubt. We listened very carefully to his expertly rehearsed sales pitch. But in the end he didn't close the deal for us. Now, two weeks before the primary, the same is happening with voters.
How could that be? Romney has all the advantages: money, organization, geographic proximity, statesman-like hair, etc.
Last week Romney was reduced to debating what the meaning of [the word] "saw" is. It was only the latest in a string of demonstrably false claims -- he'd been a hunter "pretty much" all his life, he'd had the NRA's endorsement, he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. -- that call into question the veracity of his justifications for switching sides on immigration, abortion, taxes and his affection for Ronald Reagan.
In this primary, the more Mitt Romney speaks, the less believable he becomes. That is why Granite Staters who have listened attentively are now returning to John McCain. They might not agree with McCain on everything, as we don't, but like us, they judge him to be a man of integrity and conviction, a man who won't sell them out, who won't break his promises, and who won't lie to get elected.
Voters can see that John McCain is trustworthy. Mitt Romney has spent a year trying to convince Granite Staters that he is as well. It looks like they aren't buying it. And for good reason.
This is the first time that I've seen influential print media get beyond the Mormon issue and call to task Romney on his single greatest negative personal quality—that he’ll lie out of both sides of his mouth whoring for votes, blatantly picking up and then ditching beliefs and policies depending on the market he's carpetbagging into at any given moment. These newspaper editors have finally come right out and nailed him on it.