Let Freedom Ring

I recently heard this on NPR and I found myself moved by both the story and song. Therefore, you can only imagine my surprise upon hearing that many were outraged by Rene Marie’s rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.

Outrage? Seriously?

I guess I just don’t get it…at all.

What in this is outrage worthy?

I ask you, what is there to be outraged over in the words she so eloquently sang?

I am proud to be an American, and extremely proud of the ability that we all have in our freedom of speech that our Constitution upholds for us!

I will leave you with the youtube video of Ms. Marie singing along with the annual tradition that NPR has of reading the Declaration of Independence.

Have a safe and blessed fourth!

Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

Provoking thoughts for Thirsty Thursday

I recently found a new podcast – The Dinner Party Download. I have been enjoying it tremendously; the hosts are Rico Gagliano and Brendan Frances Newnam of Marketplace Money fame.

Anyways, the idea behind the podcast is to give you “…a fast and funny “booster shot” of unconventional news, cuisine, and culture to help you win this weekend’s dinner party,” and one of this week’s “unconventional news” items was this stunning piece of information: over 50% of Americans think that torture is acceptable in some circumstances.

Yes, you read that right that would be over 50%.

I do not know about you, but that news saddened and depressed me.

Greatly.

I think that maybe the just under 50% of us that do not think that torture is acceptable in any circumstances need to be a bit more vocal about our belief that torture does not add any value to our society, nor does it make us any safer as a nation.

Seriously, Gentle Reader, if your beliefs on this issue lie in category that mine do – the less that 50% category, then we need to open our mouths, pick up a pen, or send off an email to our representatives in Washington DC and do so quickly.

In case you have never written to your elected officials, modern technology has made it incredibly simple. You can do it all online, and with amazing ease! I encourage you to try it!

To end this on a more positive and warm fuzzy note (yes, that would be a fiber reference!) I have been knitting and spinning. I would have snapped some photos to share with you today, but the sun has evidently gone on vacation. Bad lighting does not a good picture make. Stay tuned for sweater updates, spinning updates, and what is fresh off the loom!

Now I am off to gather the ingredients to make a “Casey’s Killjoy” from Alex and Ika’s.

Cheers!

The Graduation Hangover

I survived, now where is my tee shirt?

A new chapter unfolds and now the work begins in earnest to get things ready for Heidi to head off to college in the fall. Therefore, I went to work in earnest to earn money to help pay for this new endeavor! Overtime, FTW!

It was a big week at Casa Del KatKnits, and last week was, in my not so humble opinion, an historical week for the world. A week which holds promise for finding common ground with those who differ greatly from us in some ways, and have more in common with us than we care to admit.

It started when my President said these words in Cairo, “And I’m also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum.” It profoundly struck me how very appropriate these words are. In fact, his entire speech was profound, un-political, and heartfelt.

Calm words echoed by his calm demeanor, coupled with his forthright tone resonated loudly across the world. How amazing to have our nation represented so eloquently to the watching world.

It saddened me to see someone post something on a social network in anger about President Obama’s speech and how “they had killed over 3000 Americans” and that he was a “traitor.” I however strongly disagree with those statements. I think we have spent far too much time being students of fear and hatred. Indeed, there has been too much justification of prejudicial attitudes that encourages the world to continue on the course it is traveling – a journey that for many will be the very last one they take. There has been enough bloodshed, with far too many lives lost.

After all, if we focus on those things that we have in common, how hard can it be to overcome or overlook those things we do not have in common. Moreover, I believe that is where Barak Obama began the journey last week, and he is calling to each of us with encouragement to look at what we share with the world around us rather than focus on what makes us different.

Change unfolding before us with someone encouraging us to step forward without fear or trepidation. It is almost as if we are all at our graduation and unknown possibilities lay before us.

Exciting times, don’t you agree?

To Sotomayor or not to Sotomayor…

Wow.

Just wow.

January 20th was truly a day of incredible change for America. Finally, we have a leader whose face is a true representation of the face of America – the WASP image fading and in its place; a richer, more vibrant tapestry was slowly taking shape.

America is a vivid and diverse tapestry, but our leaders have not been a true reflection of that diversity. President Obama has been working on revealing the lush image in an amazingly and incredibly intelligent way. At long last, we have a Hispanic selection for the nation’s highest court, one that Mr. Obama described as a candidate with empathy for “people’s hopes and struggles.”

Wow.

Empathy in a justice, what a novel idea.

I am more than impressed with her and him!

I would say that the naysayers would have a tough time taking her down.

I have a feeling she well knows how to rise above the fray, with her eyes fixed on the prize nothing could get in her way.

Let the Republicans cry foul, I think you more than measure up, Sonia Sotomayor!

So, Gentle Reader – I Sotomayor, do you?

On a side note, I have done some remodeling here at Casa Del KatKnits; there may be more so stay tuned!

Can I get a protest, please?

Who is excited besides me that there our President gave the commencement speech at Notre Dame last week?

Well, I am off the charts excited for a number of reasons!

No, I have not become a closet Notre Dame fan – but, I am utterly enamored of our President and the calm confidence that emanates from him and surrounds him like an aura.

There in the audience were protesters – yes, in the audience.

Protesters.

Speaking freely.

Protesting.

No government officials had relegated them to a “sanctioned site” some dozen blocks away.

They were there, in the building.

Moreover, our President handled them with gracious confidence.

Democracy in action… just a few miles south of my house.

It almost makes me giddy!

Last week was a banner week – not only were there protesters, our President actually mentioned Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers. In a sentence that actually made sense! In the 8 years of the Bush Presidency, I do not believe I heard him mention the civil unrest there once.

It is refreshing to have someone in office that cares about what is going on in the world around him.

Very refreshing.

Adding to all this excitement are what have been a month of “lasts” for my household – as in Heidi’s last classes, Heidi’s last concert, and Heidi’s last day of school – a momentous week to be sure. I have been unexpectedly melancholy about her graduating. I have shed a tear or two, vacillating between wanting to wring her neck and wishing she was just starting high school. Fortunately, the feelings of wishing she was just starting high school have been winning – so she will live to graduate on June 1st!

In addition, there was knitting…in case you were all wondering. FLS is off the needles and on the body and I love it! Pictures coming soon, I promise! I would knit this again! It is the perfect sweater!

This just might become the Summer of Sweaters – I am breezing along with my other summer sweater. Sleeves soon to be cast on…

Also, just to keep things interesting, I have cast on Indigo Ripples II – I have about 3 inches and knitting! Last time, silky wool, this time a little denim-y number!

All this in a week with overtime! Okay – So just, do not expect a well dusted home… seriously.

Anyway, I am off to bed – have a good holiday weekend all!

Springtime in Holland…

Springtime in Holland…

I have had several quite startling conversations with people recently about some topics that on the surface seem to have nothing to do with each other, however it could be that they are indeed, more closely linked than one would imagine.

Therefore, I ask you, Gentle Reader, where you fall in the following topics. I am seriously interested in your responses.

Why? Because, someone told that I represent a minority in my beliefs and I find that incomprehensible. Not from the standpoint that my belief is in the minority, because seriously – I often find myself in the minority. Rather because it seems to me there is an obvious right and wrong.

It all began over breakfast with a friend a couple of weeks ago, when she mentioned the termination of Rick Wagoner and included the word Dictatorship in the same sentence. Curious phrasing, to be sure, and I tried to joke that I did not believe that we woke up in Cuba. She did not laugh.

She went on to express her extreme dislike with what President Obama is proposing with his national health care plan. She went on to lament that any form of a nationalized health care plan would equate itself to no care, like our poor neighbors in the world for whom the government controls health care.

At this point, for me the conversation became heated.

I pulled out my soapbox, climbed to the top, and shared with her my thoughts on health care…

What we have is not working.

At least it is not working for the majority of us.

I have been saddened to see more “self-pay” patients who are coming to the hospital much sicker, requiring hospitalization and treatments that are more rigorous. This has become such a problem, at least for the hospital that I work for that they recently started a new initiative just to encompass the people who find themselves without any health care at all. I am not sure how many other hospitals are doing this, but I can tell you that I am proud to work for an organization that is taking steps to help the people who live in West Michigan! If you are interested in reading about the details of MetroCare, you can find the link here.

Lastly, on the Torture Debate that seems to be everywhere you go. I heard this report on NPR. When I brought it up to discuss with a friend, he shocked me with his statement that my beliefs were in the minority and that a majority of my fellow Americans think there is nothing wrong with torturing another human being. Yeah, if that does not depress you, I do not know what does.

I guess you can just call me a dictator-loving socialist who would not hurt a flea, much less another person!

I am just looking for a kinder gentler world, really…much kinder and miles gentler.

On a lighter note, I took a weaving class from the amazing and incredible Jane Patrick of Schacht Spindle Co. fame… she is a great teacher and add to that the opportunity to spend the weekend at Beth’s shop and you have the ingredients for a most remarkable weekend. I learned volumes. All I have to say is that what happens in Mecca stays in Mecca… however; the look on Lousmith’s face when I paid him a dollar was worth the price of admission!

Spring has been quietly arriving here in West Michigan and it is more than welcome. I leave you with a shot from the Crab Apple tree in my front yard!

Do not forget to share your thoughts on health care and torture; I am eagerly awaiting your input to this ongoing debate!

Spring '09 by you.

Have a great weekend!

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