Saturday, April 28, 2012

Postage & Mail

Yesterday I snagged the last plate of Arizona statehood centennial commemorative stamps at the Olympia main post office. Arizona doesn't have a particularly good reputation these days (actually it's always been a bit suspect) but I lived there for a quarter century, saw an amazing array of landscapes and made many good friends. For better or worse, Arizona is a part of me. And the stamp is a pretty cool image that does the state justice.

I did not know about the Arizona centennial stamp until I received this piece of mail a few days ago. It's from a long time friend in Virginia who recycles Sierra Club calendars into envelopes. Anything I get from him is always distinctive.

While in line at the PO yesterday, I leafed through a philatelic catalog on the counter and spotted both the Arizona New Mexico centennial stamps. New Mexico was a few weeks ahead of Arizona in joining the Union and has probably been less problematic. Since I was in Almost New Mexico when I lived in Window Rock I asked for a plate of each but the PO only had the Arizona stamp and the display plate was the last one at that.

The New Mexico stamp is very pretty and, I think, true.


In the Order of Things

Since I presented the New Mexico centennial stamp in a large format, I wanted to do the same for Arizona but could not get text and image to align and just posted without. Here's the Arizona stamp posted just ahead of the original to align the images.

Take that, Blogger!

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Occupy the Works

Occupy SEC isn't exactly monkey wrenching, but used effectively, simply participating in administrative rule-making on behalf of the public can be effective as sabotage. Occupy SEC is composed of financial industry Occupy sympathizers plus a few others from the original encampment. The group uses its expertise to comment on proposed rules and regulations implementing the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation. They are weighing in with the big corporations to bird-dog the details. I hope they succeed, that their efforts lead to regulations that serve the public rather than private profit interest. Edward Abbey would approve, I am sure.

The Occupy element of this effort comes from its genesis and public presence. Members began talking last fall in Zucotti Park. Now the group meets weekly at 60 Wall Street. Its covered atrium is a “privately owned public space,” according to signs posted in the marble-lined space. Occupy the SEC is one of the first blossoms of the Occupy Spring, where the public presence of last year's encampments will continue to to spread. Beyond location, though, Occupy the SEC carries the spirit or the Occupy movement by simply occupying space in the public forum of administrative rule-making. Unlike an encampment, Occupy the SEC cannot be evicted from the regulatory process.

This spring I look forward to many such blossoms.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Bottom Line

From Juan Cole:
The US now has a two-party system in which one party is systematically pledged to make the US an international outlaw, with all the immense costs that entails.

Guess which party about which he speaks.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Virgil Caine is the name and I served on the Danville train
 'Til Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again"

No doubt you heard these lyrics in recent days' stories about Levon Helm's death. That opening line is probably the source of most exposure that my hometown, Danville, Virginia, ever gets even if most pay it no particular mind.

I picked up on the significance immediately. My hometown prided itself on its fleeting role of the Last Capitol of the Confederacy after the Confederate government evacuated Richmond a week before Lee's surrender.  Danville is where the Danville train led.  Jefferson Davis could maintain some hope that Lee would somehow work another miracle.   Then it ended.

Levon Helm delivered those opening words directly and starkly. His voice commands your attention as he begins his story.

Because his story includes a bit of my own geography, I pay close attention.


Danville is also noted for the Wreck of the Old 97. The old roadbed for those tracks ran along a ravine just behind houses across the street where my family lived. As kids we used to follow the abandoned grade from the end of our street to a nearby ball field.  A historical marker on nearby Route 58 marks the site but the high embankment and textile mill I saw there as a kid did not look like the pictures I saw.  Years later, it dawned on me that the wide path we followed was the old grade leading to that ill-fated trestle.

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My Kind of Nun

Sister Julie Vieira, a member of the Michigan-based Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, responding to allegations of radical feminism and among American religious women,
[O]ur vow of obedience applies to God . . . it doesn’t reside in a bishop, a body of bishops or even the pope. For us, that sense of obedience has to do with listening deeply to the call of the spirit.
Sister Julie is a woman of conviction and worthy of respect. Unlike so many of the male hierarchy of her church.