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Yeah, I was just reading in the Bible where Jesus said he absolutely loved it when he could kiss his wife and kids goodbye not knowing if he as husband and daddy would return, sling his automatic weapon over his shoulder, walk into the jaws of death, and have a GREAT REASON to KILL SOMEBODY, WOOO HOOO!!!

I know I’m supposed to be being kinder, not stronger, not righter. So I’ve suppressed the urge to say this directly to people… I almost forgot I wanted to say it yesterday, but today I hopped on facebook and… I’ll just say it here.

I wholeheartedly agree: Captain Richard Phillips is a national hero. What a horrifying situation. His poor family! What a brave man. He left his ship with the pirates to ransom his passengers, crew and ship. If he’d lost his life it would have been a horrible tragedy– but it would have also been a loving and honorable sacrifice.

I also agree that the sharpshooters who freed him are heroes, truly brave and honorable, who waited to shoot until they felt his life was in danger.

What I do not agree with is all the high-fiving and ‘that’ll teach you to mess with us, sucka’ I am hearing and seeing everywhere regarding the rescue.

Human life was taken.

The sanctity of human life is a favored platform from which to bash political opponents, women forced to ‘choose’ and the unwarshed.

I guess life is sacred unless the sucker deserves it?

When you get down to it, whose life is less precious than another’s? And whose pain or need or sin is greater than another’s? Are we sure we can say?

There is theft of property, which is wrong, and then there is violence against human beings and other living things– double, triple, exponentially more wrong in my book. Most criminals just want property, not to hurt anyone. Many criminals want property in response to, in an attempt to get out of, insane, inhuman conditions– and that’s the kind of conditions they have in Somalia, for darn sure.

Vice Admiral Gortney of the US Navy says this incident could further destabilize this part of the world.

I am very, very proud of how the Americans involved handled this situation. They did what they had to do. Their own lives were at risk. They are heroes. They rescued a hero.

But taking a life is a horrible consequence, and further horrible consequences are possible.

Celebrate Captain Phillips’ well-deserved rescue and the rescuers– God bless them for bravery and honor!

But this is a grave situation.

Those pirates blundered into what has become an international incident and three lost their lives.

Yes, we do reap what we sow, in this world or the next… but do we as fallible human beings get to decide what others reap?

The pirates left the boat peacefully, and kept the captain alive perhaps in hopes of saving their own sorry skins.

I wonder what was going through their heads in those last hours? Were they thinking of wives, children, villages, their once innocent and hopeful childhoods left behind? What they would do if they survived? Or were they just bloodthirsty, greedy animals? Or a bit of each? We’ll never know, I guess.

There are so many people suffering in Somalia– hunger, violence against women, violence in general, corruption, lack of education… how now can we get at the root causes of this piracy, instead of just picking people off one at a time, allowing the cause, and therefore the violence, to continue?

P.S. Speaking of theft and harm to other human beings… is this true? What is the truth?

From Johann Hari, London Independent columnist, April 13, quoted on the Huffington Post (thanks bro)

The words of one pirate from that lost age – a young British man called William Scott – should echo into this new age of piracy. Just before he was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, he said: “What I did was to keep me from perishing. I was forced to go a-pirating to live.” In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention.”

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish-stocks by over-exploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea-life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia’s unprotected seas. The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.”

This is the context in which the men we are calling “pirates” have emerged. Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a ‘tax’ on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and it’s not hard to see why. In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters… We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.” William Scott would understand those words.

if true…


Tuesday May 5 at 4pm, The Governor’s Square Library Kids’ Club will embark upon their exploration of the fine artworks of the Picturing America series.

Kids 5-12 are invited every Tuesday at 4pm, and parents are asked to donate their time, healthy individually wrapped nonperishable snacks, water, or juice boxes.

Discussion questions will help kids reflect on and remember┬áthe women– mothers, grandmothers, relatives, older sisters,┬áteachers, church friends and others– who nurture them, create a positive environment for living, learning and growing, and help to build our community.

Our stepping off point will be Dorothea Lange’s poignant portrait Migrant Mother.

blog post photo

Learn more about this important work of American history and art at the Library of Congress website:

Please bring a child aged 5-12 Tuesday May 5 at 4 pm for snacks, thought provoking discussion and as always a little bit of fun.

See you Tuesday!

As we were leaving DC last week we were listening to the testimony of Edward Liddy, who came out of retirement to try to get AIG back on track– manage all that bailout money– for no pay. He sounded like a decent guy to me. Here are the three thoughts that occurred to me  as he talked about those bonuses.

1. they were an infinitesimal percentage of the total bailout package– getting them back isn’t even a drop in the bucket.

2. Legacy knowledge is an all important form of capital. you lose productivity big time when you lose the folks who saw it go down before the shit hit the fan. you lose productivity big time when you lose folks ever. retaining staff is so important to the wellbeing of any company. provided they are honest and have true honest professional intent. Only a very very small group amongst AIG’s vast divisions is responsible for this mess. The many honest people who were there before are the best ones to pick up the pieces and bring the company back.

3. We, the American people, are a bunch of sheep. Know what a derivative is? That’s what caused this mess. If we– the working or middle class with decent careers, decent homes, our health or at least health insurance, and decent opportunities for education– whether in school or through self education and lifelong learning–  willfully choose ignorance about how our economy works, we deserve what we get.

Come on. This is f-ing ridiculous. All this mess comes from our acquiescence to the huge pyramid scheme that is our economy. As long as we are scraping by okay, screw the rest, right?

We don’t teach our children about debt and compound interest rates (whether in our favor or racking up on our credit card debt). Every child should know how our economy works and how personal finance works.

I have a dear little colleague, a very sincere financial advisor. She is urging folks to attend the latest Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University. My husband and I used Dave to crawl out of I don’t want to tell you how much debt, accrued through years of near constant life change and increasing salaries.

But here’s the thing. I love Dave. LOVE HIM. But if we all adhered to his principles, paid cash and lived within our means our economy would collapse! I said as much to my friend and she said yeah… yeah that’s true.

It is in banks’ and lenders’ best interest that we little people should live outside our means, not understand the consequences, and fail– or at least fail just enough that they can levy insane finance charges and ruin our lives.

That whole ‘derivatives’ thing… I heard it explained and defined on Marketplace on NPR, though i cant quite tell you now what the lady said. See what I mean?

So we go on. we fail to pay our bills or invest poorly– we pick up the pieces, if we are lucky enough to have pieces. We can’t get a car loan. Financial giants like Enron or AIG make it look so easy — and when they screw up–no worries! The government will bail us out! Oops, sorry about all those retirement investments that weren’t even there.

But the bottom line is, our economy is at any and all times a bubble ready to burst. This has got to stop. Corporations,  lenders and elected officials have us all by the short hairs. We are too scared to say no, afraid to rock the boat– and refuse to give up the giant houses (like mine) with the insane heat and cooling costs. And we refuse to educate ourselves about what, personally, locally and nationally, would provide us personal and national security. We let our finances, our food, shelter, health, happen to us.

STOP it! Get educated– the economy, local agriculture, local energy, renewable energy, walkable and sustainable communities. Think about how it affects your family, your community– yes, I am asking you to look at the big picture, at what would be good for human beings and families across town and around the globe– and our national security– or you get what you get.

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