S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Thinking about my heart

(from "free-picture-photos")

Some personal reflections - Earlier this week I was involved in taking care of my health. During that process I began to focus on my heart. It was beating faster than usual, which is a sign of stress, normal under the circumstances. That is the physical manifestation of "heart."
U-ugh! And then there is the emotional side. This late-breaking Yahoo! News story about a suicide bomber killing 40 at a Baghdad college just made me heartsick. Attacking the future leaders and current intellectuals, the finest of the fine Iraqis, is just beyond my comprehension. So I started thinking about my heart again, and why it is that this writing process often touches my heart.
Exploring "heart" in South by Southwest - The word "heart" has an additional set of very different meanings, according to the Dictionary. I'll quote three defintions that apply to this blog;
  • the center of emotion, esp. as contrasted to the head as the center of the intellect
  • spirit, courage, or enthusiasm
  • the innermost or central part of anything; the vital or essential part; core.
and the words, the several idioms describing what is often behind my posts/my writing passions:

  • after one's own heart, in keeping with one's taste or preference
  • at heart, in reality; fundamentally; basically
  • have a heart, to be compassionate or merciful
  • near one's heart, of great interest or concern to one
  • take heart, to regain one's courage; become heartened
  • take or lay to heart, a. to think seriously about; concern oneself with; b. to be deeply affected by; grieve over
  • set one's heart against, to be unalterably opposed to
We can take to heart the notion that our current president (OCP) has not ruled out bombing Iran. In fact you can probably take it to the bank. "No plans" does not mean no plans, literally. Reuters carried this very chilling story yesterday, from which I quote:
Despite the Bush administration's insistence it has no plans to go to war with Iran, a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from President George W. Bush, The New Yorker magazine reported in its latest issue.
The special planning group was established within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent months, according to an unidentified former U.S. intelligence official cited in the article by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in the March 4 issue.

No way! For example, I have set my heart against states implementing the Real ID Act of 2005. US News & World Report carries a story today that explains why. I quote:
Among other things, the law requires the DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles] to not only verify an applicant's identity but also scan the proof-of-identity documents–such as Social Security cards, birth certificates, and proof of lawful residency in state and country–and to store them in digital files for at least 10 years or as paper records for seven years. DHS [Department of Homeland Security] says while each state must maintain a database that can be queried by other states to determine whether an individual has a driver's license already issued in another state, the actual data won't be shared.
But civil liberties and privacy groups say these will in essence amount to linked databases. And although the law does not mandate sharing data with the feds, the ACLU believes that's inevitable. Sparapani says if the databases are hacked into, identity thieves could get not only Social Security numbers and other sensitive information but also the biometric data to which the documents are tagged, including digital fingerprints, photos, and signatures.
Congressional hearings are near to my heart. What a great service to the country these have been! Besides, they are often broadcast after hours on C-SPAN, which is handy and interesting when I have insomnia. Another US News covers what will be coming out of Congress when they return to work. Headlined, "Democrats to Press for More Hearings," the article begins,
Even though House and Senate Democrats have so far held an estimated 70 oversight meetings and hearings into key elements of the war in Iraq and other administration programs, top leadership and committee aides this week said there will be no let-up as the session continues. "In fact," said one key aide, "I see many more oversight hearings as we get into the new budget."
Take heart from this - I noticed the Reuters story of the Chinese government's recent change of heart regarding freeing an AIDS activist to visit the U.S. Quote,
A 79-year-old prominent Chinese AIDS activist is to fly to the United States as early as Sunday to receive a human rights award after she was freed from house arrest thanks to U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The South Beach Diet is after my own heart. It seems rational, rooted in science and nutrition and the recipes are really tasty. I have high cholesterol and need to lose a few pounds, so this regimen is one I have tried before with some success. Last month I watched my guru on a Larry King Live (/1/27/07) program: " South Beach Heart Health" featured Dr. Arthur Agatston's new book "The South Beach Heart Plan." To quote from the transcript,
More than a million Americans will have heart attacks or stokes this year. The doctor behind the super successful South Beach Diet, Cardiologist Author Agatston is here to talk about his new heart program book and the four steps plan that could save your life.
. . . This is the four-step plan that can save your life.
Each step is described in detail. Step one is following the South Beach diet. Step two, follow the South Beach heart workout, right? Step three is getting the right diagnostics test. You tell them what test to get? And step four, getting the right medications. And this, of course, depends on the right doctor.
Progressive bloggers at heart are generally positive, and I include myself in that group. We want our country to make progress, to become a better place to live, work and play. And every now and then we even have a heart when it comes to those with whom we vehemently disagree. That is why I can refrain from name-calling when it comes to OCP. I just sigh, and chalk his choices up to arrested development. And I can muster up some genuine compassion for the good Republican people in Congress, who in defeat, sit in the impossible position between their president and their consciences.
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My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is about ambivalence.


betmo said...

i know that many hearts break at the violence and aggressions done in our names and our hearts sing at the number of people who are trying to work towards peace :) thanks for a heartwarming post :)

John R. said...

As a conservative, I have to agree with you that the REAL Act is a horrible idea. It is legislation everyone can despise.

I am concerned about the intrusion of biometrics into our lives--booking everyone, criminal or not.

LInked databases are also a bad idea. How far does the linkage go? To other countries, eventually? Where does this merry-go-round stop?

Wired News says:

Paula Arcioni, the information security officer for New Jersey's Office of Information Technology, envisions the identification cards eventually morphing into smartcards that can be used by the government to help authenticate people and deliver services over the internet.

I thought the purpose of REAL ID was to fight terrorism and restrict illegal immigration. But human nature is predictable. Paula Arcioni's statement shows that whatever "purposes" REAL ID initially had, many more imagined uses are desired--and the law hasn't even been executed yet.

If REAL ID is defeated, we'll still have to fight similar ideas all along the way.

But seeing so many states resist REAL ID does my heart good.

John R.