Tag Archives: correspondence

Emergency Petition to Save the Courts

MoveOn.org has got a petition drive going that’s worth looking in to. I did, and here’s the message I sent to my Congresspeople:

Checks and balances means when one branch of the government is conservative, another is by necessity liberal. When Republicans control the executive and legislative branches of government, by necessity they MUST NOT be allowed free reign to appoint the members of the judicial branch. They should KNOW this, if they are in fact believers in democracy. If they are NOT supporters of democracy, they have no business running this country.

It does not matter whether you agree with the conservative or liberal, Republican or Democratic platforms. That is NOT the issue. It is not about who WINS. It is about maintaining DEMOCRACY, about sustaining bipartisanship, about encouraging dissent, about preserving the checks and balances which are so imperative to safeguarding the Constitution. The Constitution is at stake here, NOT some party line. And without the Constitution to back it up, without people who are willing to go to the mat, to fight to ensure that it is NOT freely interpreted except in the interest of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL Americans, there is not much of a democracy to speak of. And worse off, there are a lot of people drawing paychecks for protecting that democracy that aren’t doing their jobs.

The Senate must oppose the “nuclear option” to eliminate the filibuster, and preserve the checks and balances that have kept our courts fair and independent for centuries.

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Democrats … Start Doing it for Yourselves

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
House Minority Leader

Dear Congresswoman Pelosi:

I recently received a mailer from you that included the following text:

>> Dear Friend … why don’t you take the enclosed George W. Bush Disapproval Poll and use it to me me how high (I doubt it) or low President Bush ranks with you. It’s your chance to tell me exactly what you think of the 43rd President. If you give George W. Bush grades of A or B, then I have bad news: First, you are a Republican. Second, you are going to be on the losing side of history. BUT … if you give George W. Bush C’s, D’s or F’s then you are a true-blue Democrat and I urge you to join us in our fight to hold the line against President Bush’s radical agenda and begin laying the groundwork for victory in the 2006 mid-term election … <<

I would like to offer you my thoughts on this effort of the National Democratic Committee.

I am in fact what most would consider to be a “true-blue Democrat”. I don’t think there’s any doubt of that. For 22 years I have voted a straight Democratic ticket. However, I find myself having a great deal of trouble believing what you say, despite my inclination to give more credence to junk-mailers who at least pretend to be on my political wavelength. Your message sent up a number of warning flags, I must admit.

To start with, “History” is written not by those who are right, but by those who are in power. What determines the “losing” side of history is what the “winners” determine the opposite side from their own. At this juncture, I’m not too sure that the “losing” side is going to be written in a manner pleasing to “Democrats” for quite some time. Why? Because the problem is not just that George W. Bush is doing wrong. Although I agree there is a lot of wrong-doing going on.

The problem, as I see it, is that giving George W. Bush a “failing” grade on this poll doesn’t make me a true-blue Democrat, as much as it makes me a complete and total IDIOT. Because I appear to be supporting a political party that has no vision of their own, that has not been too effective in countering these horrible policies, that is afraid of being called un-American for fighting a fascist-leaning, right-wing, neo-conservative agenda. A party that has no plan of their own, except to tell me what’s wrong with the other guy’s plan. That has in essence conceded that morality, right, truth, justice and the American Way are the property of the Republicans, and has contented itself with whining and bitching that those damn “righty-tighties” are just misusing those properties differently than a Democrat might misuse them if given the opportunity. What line exactly are “we Democrats” holding? And what good does it do to hold some imaginary line when there are so few of our so-called representatives that are willing to stand up for what they claim their constituents stand for? Further, for all these issues where George W. and his radicalized cronies have forced their way upon the unsuspecting American public, where have the Democrats been? In short, what good are they?

I’d like to see some groundwork, Congresswoman Pelosi. As you state in your letter, even though the right-wing doesn’t have one, I’d like to see a platform that unites, instead of divides. I’d like to see the Democratic Party come up with such a platform, and stick with it. I don’t think anyone can claim sole right to morality and doing the right thing. And surely, the 80% of people in the USA that claim some affiliation with Christianity (and the other 20% that follow equally valid and morally-based religions, whether Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Wiccan, Sikh, Shinto, Zoroastrian, Druid, Bah’ai or even Atheism) can’t be all Republicans. And Republicans aren’t the only ones capable of girding themselves with the mantle of the self-righteous … what about a little Democratic righteous indignation now and again? I can’t think of a better time that right now.

To be frank with you, Congresswoman, I’m disgusted with the political process. I’m disgusted with voting Democrat just because it seems like the lesser of two evils. I’d like to be able to vote, with a clear conscience and sense of accomplishment, for something worth believing in. Something that the big party Democrats are willing to state, in public, they believe in, too. Something, and a serious set of someones who are not straw dogs, but actual contenders. But remember, there’s not much point in picking who we’re going to travel with until we’ve figured out where we are going. The journey dictates the skills we’ll need, and not visa versa. So please, give us a something before trying to foist off another glad-handing someone in a suit more expensive than the average Democrat’s income can afford.

Just a suggestion: if you want a Presidential candidate to be elected “by the people”, you’ve got to be “for the people”, and whoever you put on that ballot had better be “of the people”. Not Democratic leadership people. Not Beltway Brotherhood people. Not “because anything is better than a Republican” people.

Don’t worry. I’ll keep voting Democrat until I die. However, I’m sick of knowing that underneath the surface, regardless of which candidate I choose, the bottom line doesn’t change for me, nor for millions of others who seemingly cast their votes in a seeming maelstrom of futility. After that, watching the few Democratic candidates who DO make it into office only wring their hands and cry, “oh, those neo-cons are ruining the country” is decidedly anti-climactic. And discouraging.

The bottom line is that George W. Bush’s F looks like an A to most people, and that’s why they voted for him. That occurred only because in order to give ourselves any kind of excuse for what either party is doing, the American People have been forced to grade on a curve. And the sad truth is that neither the Republicans or Democrats deserve to pass the class.

Feel free to use any part of this letter you wish to improve the Democratic Party.

Sincerely,

John Litzenberg
New Orleans, LA

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On Auspicious Times

I wonder at the most auspicious times
that by some random system are proclaimed
and why those correspondences we find
ourselves at odds with should take all the blame

The moon, for instance, in its wane and wax;
The seasons, as they go and come again;
The numerals assigned like colored tacks
to calendars devised by human brains,

As if in the whole world mankind’s belief
about the way the universe is made
means anything at all to a small leaf
or changes how it perceives light and shade.

I wonder how the world devoid of man
survived through countless eons and evolved
without the logic only we command,
and managed, with its riddles yet unsolved.

I ask the mockingbird to state its case
for choosing the best moment to proceed,
and swear I see a smile upon its face
that seems to say, “Why don’t you learn to read

a book that needs no glossy title page,
that promises no esoteric lore,
that will not guarantee you center stage,
but may instruct you nonetheless, in more

than what you think important, or germaine?
What book, you ask, contains such heady stuff?
The book of life, that you seem to distain;
but against which, your knowledge is mere fluff.”

I wonder at the most auspicious times
that by some special school are found and named.
It is no wonder that we act so blind.
That we think we have knowledge is to blame.

17 AUG 2004

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A Brief Note to the Postmaster General

Dear Postmaster General:

I live in what likes to call itself, at least in information generated by its tourist bureau, a major metropolitan area of the United States. New Orleans, Lousiana, to be precise. The local branch of my post office is located roughly seven blocks from my house. The delivery route for my neighborhood is approximately 8 city blocks square. Not much area, all things considered. And yet, the schedule for mail delivery to my residence on a daily basis varies from about 10:00 a.m. at best, to roughly 6:00 p.m. (today’s delivery) to sometimes, not at all. That’s right — sometimes there is NO daily delivery. While there is a regular delivery person (who is very nice and personable), often our mail carrier is a substitute. Often, these substitutes do not even wear any piece of clothing identifying them as a USPS employee.

By contrast, when I lived in rural Ohio, on the Hardin and Wyandot County borders, I was approximately 10 miles from the nearest post office, and roughly 15 miles from any town with a population greater than 7000 people. My carrier’s route was probably about 15 square miles. And yet, regardless of the weather (you know, neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor hail, etc.), you could set your watch by the arrival of the mail. It never varied more than 10 minutes either direction EVERY morning EVERY day.

This disparity in service seems strange to me.

Just thought you’d like to know. Not expecting anything whatsoever.

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In the pagan mailbox this morning…

In my mailbox today:

Hello my name is X and I have a little problem with my beliefs. I have been a pagan since I was 14, and I was raised in a metaphysical household.{ I am not a flake I promise. } I have had many occult experiences in my life. I am 22 now and I have been doubting that Any of what I have experienced is real. This is probably due in part to the overly rational environment that my college trains a person to be. (for the record I am a sociology major with trust issues.) Well throughout my college carrer I have been getting less and less proficent at my abilities to where now they are almost nill. I can’t feel anything anymore when it comes to psychic energies. I am having trouble believing anything anymore and It is killing my spirit. NOTHING seems to be working and it continues to make me frustrated dispirited and sad. When I try some energy work or something it doesn’t seem to be very effective. I just can’t rid myself of that part of me that says; :This is stupid, I cant believe I am still doing this. What if there is no form of divinity and no such thing as magic.” I am not trying to have yo
u solve all of my problems or anything I would just appriciate some kind words if you wish to give them. Thank you for your time and concern.

Here’s my response:

I don’t know if I’m really the right person to ask. It sounds like the first place you should go for advice might be your metaphysical household. Barring that, it sounds to me like you are experiencing life as a typical 22-year old, at least based on my own experience. When I was 22, what I discovered is that my capacity for doubt really expanded. That, in and of itself, is not a bad thing — but it certainly can be overwhelming when the questions outnumber the answers at a greater ratio than they did in the past. I wish I could tell you that the answers come quicker as you get older, but that would be a lie. The fact is that what becomes more important is that you really understand the questions. As for problems with workings, the only things that I can immediately suggest are to change, as much as possible, your environment. Start hanging out with people who intrigue you, who challenge your curiosity and are likewise searching for answers to the big questions. Take time out to simply “be” with nature. Don’t stress over controlling the energies of the universe, or focusing them to do your will. Seek to understand the balance, and to see the energy that by necessity inhabits everything. To paraphrase a Buddhist teaching — seek the sacred in the little things, the rituals you do every day without calling them rituals and isolating them from the “mundane”. There is no mundane. Every act is a deliberate thing, with consequences and learning wrapped up in it. The little rituals we do without thinking — like changing the mood of a room simply by smiling when you enter it, by saying hello, by being interested in other people — have much more effect that we typically acknowledge. Find music that speaks to your soul — not specifically “pagan” music.

Sociology is, in my opinion, a field that looks to find ways to help other people. But it often crosses the line of personal responsibility and does things for people that they really need to be doing themselves. And it often finds problems simply to give sociologists something to talk about and draw salaries for analyzing. Try to step back from the study in a dry, academic sense and think about what you can really do to help others. The first step in changing the world is to change your perception of it. That is magick in its most basic, fundamental form. Changing the world by changing yourself. That is the true meaning, for me, of “as above, so below.”

Finally, remember that in truth, nothing can kill your spirit. Because it is eternal. The problem that so many face is that they think so small. It is not just YOUR spirit. It is the spirit that indwells in every thing. The things you think are important, and the things you assume are not. The things you see and think you understand, and the things you don’t see and can’t even imagine. The world is bigger than you. And it doesn’t necessarily have a plan that is perceivable to you. All you can do is start where you are, today, looking at where your foot is on the ground. That is your path. And nobody else’s. That’s what makes it absolutely essential. Only you define it. And in the process of definition there are of course missteps, wanderings, periods of drought and flood. That’s balance. To understand that balance, and to strive to achieve it, is for me the essense of what being a pagan is. Not thinking metaphysically, or magickally, or religiously, or philosophically. Just thinking, and acting.

The real problem for you right now is not that things are not real. It is that they are absolutely real. And the illusions of ambitions of what could or should be accomplishable with energy workings, spellcraft, psychic energies are fading into a much larger, much more vibrant reality. The reality of being. Just being yourself. And figuring out who that is in the process.

Hope this helps.

Bright Blessings to you.

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Staggering Fact of the Day

It is estimated that when Allen Ginsberg died, besides the manuscripts (both his own and those he schlepped around for friends), miscellaneous papers and other drafts for publication, he had over 60,000 pieces of correspondence, representing every letter he had either sent or received for his whole life.

Besides the obvious pack-rat comment that could be laid to Ginsberg, that’s one hell of a lot of letters. I’m lucky if I can keep track of the bills due just this month, let alone have space for obviously boxes and boxes of pages.

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A letter to UPS :)

Dear Customer Service:

It seems to me that in this day and age of home offices and increases in online ordering that result in shipped goods, that the disparity between the delivery promise times for a business address and a residential address are incongruous with the reality of personal and business shipping.

When the cost of shipping is the same regardless of whether a package is shipped to a home or office, it seems unfair that the delivery time options differ. Unless the rates charged for delivery to a home are LESS than the rates for a business, the delivery times should be the same. There is no reason why a package for which equal shipping costs are paid should be delivered by noon in the case of a business and “by the end of the day” in the case of a residence.

In short, personal shippers are NOT getting what they pay for or request.

In my case, I use UPS for both business AND personal shipping from the same address. As a business customer, I expect and receive timely service. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for my experience as a home customer. This seems wrong to me; and it leads me to believe that I should have all packages, whether they are business-related or not, addressed to my business, to ensure that when I need a package delivered in the morning (or before noon or three) that it actually arrives in that timeframe – that I, whether a business or personal customer, have paid for.

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