9/11.

I would see him walking. Or quietly sitting. Or writing. Always alone. He never asked me for money. I would see him resting in Forest Service Park, in the sun. I would smile. He would nod. He was calm, and gentle, never seeming to want, or need. When I encountered him one day at a local cafe, I bought him a cup of coffee. No chatting, really. Just a smile, and a nod.

I was waiting in Ketchum’s Limelight one late afternoon to catch a bus back to Hailey.  It was cold so I was sitting by the fireplace. I looked up and saw him sitting across the street on a bench, in the sun. I thought, you know, the next time I see him I going to talk with him and ask him about his life…and life. I thought I would ask him if I could record his answers on my iPhone and share with the community. I had so many questions. I never saw him again.

He was found lying on the side of state Highway 75.

He died on September 11th.

I didn’t know his name.

Writer Tony Evans wrote this for the Idaho Mountain Express.

Ketchum Resident John Pool Dies

As an Army sergeant, he earned two military medals

Ketchum resident John Denton Pool passed away on Sept. 11 of sepsis after being life-flighted to Twin Falls. He was 73.

    Pool came to the valley in the mid-1980s and lived at times in garages and unused parts of buildings, or outside, friends said. Later on, he found housing. Since 2002, the Ketchum Korral and the Sun Valley Board of Realtors had been pitching in to cover his $400 rent at the Ketchum Korral cabins, after Pool’s former place of shelter was demolished.

    “We kind of adopted him into the place,” said Ketchum Korral General Manager Ryan Sullivan. “The Advocates have a place for women and children but the male population here doesn’t get the same amenities.”

   Pool was a man of mystery to some, gathering mental notes on hundreds of slips of paper at cafés in Ketchum and wearing the same clothes year in and year out. Some acquaintances have said he lived with a mental illness. He sometimes worked tending gardens.

    Pool was also honorably discharged from the Army in 1983 as a sergeant with a medal of commendation. He served in the 1st Battalion of the 34th Artillery detachment from 1982 to 1983.

    Ketchum Police Chief David Kassner said Pool was found lying on the side of state Highway 75 in Ketchum recently by officers, where he would often be seen carrying a cardboard sign that read “Need Work.”

    “He was a gentle soul,” Kassner said.

    The Higher Ground nonprofit veterans program is networking to get Pool a military funeral.

    “We know he served his country well and was recognized for his service on duty,” said Higher Ground Director of Operations Rich Cardillo.

https://www.mtexpress.com/obituaries/ketchum-resident-john-pool-dies/article_700cb6e2-bb8a-11e8-93bd-dba3a518a5c6.html

 

 

Essential reading.

Cover to cover The Atlantic’s October issue is essential reading from some of the most varied minds in our country today. They were  invited to explore the premise of democracy’s demise. Topics include autocracy, tribalism, James Madison’s ‘Madisonian mob factions’, tyranny, and America’s courts by writers Anne Applebaum, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Jeff Rosen, David Frum, Amy Chua, and others. The links are pinned below.

A note from The Atlantic:

Though these ills can be seen most plainly in the style and behavior of a growing number of political leaders worldwide, their sources run deeper than that. The aim of this package is to diagnose their serenity and root causes. 

Some of these causes are universal; some are unique to the United States. The essays are grouped to reflect this distinction, and then to consider solutions.

Sprinkled throughout are brief warnings about risks to democracy from The Atlantic’s archives–some prescient, some misplaced, and many all too relevant today.

These are some of the headlines, stories, and links.

Losing the Democratic Habit

Yoni Appelbaum

Americans once learned self-governance by practicing it constantly–in lodge halls, neighborhood associations, and labor unions. As participation in these institutions had dwindled, so had public faith in democracy. To restore it, we must return democratic practices to everyday life.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/10/losing-the-democratic-habit/568336/

The Threat of Tribalism

Amy Chua & Red Rubenfeld

The constitution once united a diverse country under a banner of ideas. But partisanship has turned Americans against one another–and against the principles enshrined in our founding document.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/10/losing-the-democratic-habit/568336/

Madison vs. The Mob

Jeffrey Rosen

The founders designed a government that would be insulted from the heat of popular sentiment, but they didn’t anticipate the unbridled passions of the digital age. Here’s how the constitutional order can survive.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/10/james-madison-mob-rule/568351/

America’s Courts Can’t Ignore the World

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

The U.S. Constitution is an American document. And American law should look exclusively to American precedents. Right? Not so, a supreme Court Justice says. That approach sounds good in theory, but the laws of other countries have a bearing on our own–and the highest court in the land needs to take heed.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/10/james-madison-mob-rule/568351/

Building an Autocracy

David Frum

Will American democracy survive DT? And will the midterms matter?

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/10/building-an-autocracy/568282/

Link to The Atlantic October issue:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/toc/2018/10/

 

By what we embrace.

‘Let us be silent so we may hear the whisper of God.’ -Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘There is a voice that doesn’t use words, listen.’ -Rumi

‘God came to my house and asked for charity. And I fell to my knees and cried, ‘Beloved, what may I give?’ Just love, She said. Just love. -St, Francis of Assisi

“We must measure our goodness, not by what we don’t do, what we deny ourselves, what we resist, or whom we exclude. Instead, we should measure ourselves by what we embrace, what we create, and whom we include.’

Chocolat

2000

 

Come sail away.

The winds of God’s grace are always blowing; it is for us to raise our sails.

-Ramakrishna

We must raise our sails to catch the winds of God’s grace. 

-Rev. Katherine Saux

God is like a person who clears her throat while hiding and so gives herself away.

-Meister Eckhart

Our job is to find God by raising the sail.

-Rev. Katherine Saux

A gathering of angels appeared above my head
They sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said
They said come sail away.

-Dennis De Young

Explosions in Boston. More than a gas leak?

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume the roof of a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP)

Sept. 18, 2018:

Pressure before Massachusetts gas explosions was 12 times higher than normal.

Democratic U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey sent the letter Monday seeking answers about the explosions from the heads of Columbia Gas.

(The company that serves the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, and NiSource, the parent company of Columbia Gas.)

“The pressure spike registered in a Columbia Gas control room in Ohio, the senators said in the letter, which requests a reply by Wednesday.

“We write to request that you provide us with information in order to help the American people understand why this terrible disaster occurred, whether the company was sufficiently prepared to respond to an incident of this magnitude, and how we can prevent any similar tragedy in the future,” the senators wrote.

Dozens of explosions and fires last Thursday killed one person and injured more than two dozen others. About 8,600 customers were affected, and many had to evacuate their homes for days and may have to go without gas service for weeks.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/pressure-massachusetts-gas-explosions-was-12-times-higher-normal-n910581

Sophisticated computer programs are used to evaluate the delivery capacity of the network and to ensure that all customers receive adequate supplies of gas at or above the minimum pressure level required by their gas appliances.

Distribution mains are interconnected in multiple grid patterns with strategically located shut-off valves. These valves minimize the need for customer disruption to service during maintenance operations and emergencies.

https://www.aga.org/natural-gas/delivery/how-does-the-natural-gas-delivery-system-work-/

Richard Clark on Hacking

Former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism

Sept. 14th: “They’re in our power grid.” 

[Begin at 1:45]

The current state of international cooperation on cyber threats, including opportunities and challenges for coordination between government and industry on cyber issues.

[Washington Post]

BOSTON

NiSource Inc. is one of the largest fully regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.5 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers across seven states through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. The company, based in Merrillville, Indiana, United States, has more than 8,000 employees.

In December 2011, the non-partisan organization Public Campaign criticized NiSource for spending $1.83 million on lobbying and not paying any taxes during 2008-2010, instead getting $227 million in tax rebates, despite making a profit of $1.4 billion, and increasing executive pay by 33% to $11.2 million in 2010 for its top 5 executives.[3] One rule NiSource, among other companies, benefitted from was a bonus depreciation rule that lowered the federal tax expense. NiSource stated, “This law, enacted by Congress, encouraged companies like NiSource to accelerate capital investments to spur economic recovery by permitting portions of these investments to be deducted at an accelerated rate. Only the timing of the deductions was changed, and not the amount that could be deducted. This means our income tax expense will likely be higher in the future.

[From Wikipedia]

What is happening in Yemen?

“As of March 26, 2018, at least 10,000 Yemenis had been killed by the fighting, with more than 40,000 casualties overall.

Getting accurate information on the death toll is difficult, but Save The Children estimated at least 50,000 children died in 2017, an average of 130 every day.

As reported by Al Jazeera, internally displaced Yemenis often must cope with a lack of food and inadequate shelter. Many Yemenis who have not fled are also suffering, especially those in need of healthcare.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of Arab states to defeat the Houthis in Yemen. The coalition includes Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Senegal. Several of these countries have sent troops to fight on the ground in Yemen, while others have only carried out air attacks.

The US government regularly launches air attacks on al-Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) targets in Yemen, and recently admitted to having deployed a small number of troops on the ground. The US, along with other western powers such as the UK and France, has also supplied the Saudi-led coalition with weapons and intelligence.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/key-facts-war-yemen-160607112342462.html

Arms deal

May 2017

“On Saturday, Trump is expected to announce an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth more than $100bn, in what could be the biggest such agreement in history.

Saudi Arabia and US to announce ‘historic’ arms deal

“Speaking on condition of anonymity, US officials familiar with the package told the Associated Press news agency that the deal would include Abrams tanks, combat ships, missile defence systems, radar and communications and cybersecurity technology.

Much of the package builds on commitments made before DT took office, although some elements are new, including weapons designed to help Saudi Arabia in an air campaign it has led in war-torn Yemen, officials said.

The DT administration separately informed Congress on Friday that it will sell some $500m in precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. These include laser-guided Paveway II bombs and JDAM kits for converting unguided bombs into “smart bombs”.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/trump-arrives-saudi-arabia-foreign-trip-170520063253596.html

“DT with, left to right, the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Melania Trump during a visit to a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, in Riyadh Photograph: Uncredited/AP”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/gallery/2018/jan/20/weirdest-pictures-donald-trump-year-one-in-pictures

March 26, 2018

Haaretz

“DT listed the amounts of weapons the U.S. has sold to the Saudis, ‘$880 million … $645 million … $6 billion … that’s for frigates’

DT gave a warm welcome to Saudi Arabia‘s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, on Tuesday and credited U.S. defense sales to the Saudis with boosting American jobs, even as Riyadh’s involvement in Yemen’s civil war faced criticism.

In the Oval Office, DT and the crown prince praised the strength of U.S.-Saudi ties, which had grown strained under the Obama administration in part over differing views toward Riyadh’s regional rival, Iran.”

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/trump-humiliated-saudi-crown-prince-while-boasting-about-arms-sales-1.5938561

CNN Exclusive Report

By Nima Elbagir, Salma Abdelaziz, and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Made in America

Shrapnel found in Yemen ties US bombs to string of civilian deaths over course of bloody civil war

“The incidents give a snapshot of US involvement in Yemen’s conflict through its support for the Saudi-led coalition that is battling a Houthi-led rebel insurgency. The United States says it does not make targeting decisions for the coalition. But it does support its operations through billions of dollars in arms sales, the refueling of Saudi combat aircraft and some sharing of intelligence.”

[…]

“Yemeni civilians are dying every day because of this war and you (America) are fueling this war, so stop fueling this war. It is a shame that financial interests are worth more than the blood of innocent people.”

https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2018/09/world/yemen-airstrikes-intl/

 

Gita.

“He who hath found the Peace Within, and who hath been so illumined that he findeth his joy and happiness within himself–and knoweth that within him is the Kingdom of Heaven–verily, he gainith the peace of the Real Self, because he hath blended himself with the Real Self. They, from whom the illusion of duality and separation hath been removed, see all Life as One, and emanating from One. The welfare of the All becomes the welfare of the One to them; and to such cometh the Peace of the One. This Peace which passeth all Understanding, cometh to those who know themselves for what they are, rather than for what they seem to the smoke-bonded eyes of the world. Being freed from the bondage of desire and sense-passion they master their thoughts by their Wisdom–and their senses by their thoughts.”

Bhagavad Gita

Divided we fall.

 

“It’s often he small acts of ordinary people that

define the American identity.”

Dear Friends,

We are excited to announce that the United Shades of America episode we worked on with W. Kamau Bell just won an Emmy! It is the first cable episode on Sikhs in America — the first time the nation has seen Sikhs tell our own stories, in our own voices, for an hour on television. And now it has received the highest honor in the industry!

Let this win be a little beacon of light.

Today, as we mark seventeen years since 9/11, we believe that the best way to honor the thousands who died on this day and in its aftermath is to hear the STORIES that help us reckon with the past. The most brutal policies and rhetoric that drive hate in America today were first forged in the wake of 9/11. Our stories help us understand how to stand in solidarity with Muslims, Sikhs, and immigrants — and how to birth a new future.

So on this anniversary, we invite you to hear a story you have never heard before.

Watch the Emmy-award winning “Sikhs in America” on DIRECTV hereThen scroll down for a list of films, books, and toolkits that help us understand 9/11 and hate in America today. Some we produced, others we curated, all center Sikh American stories the nation needs to hear. Starting with this episode of United Shades:

WATCH THE EMMY-AWARD WINNING ‘SIKHS IN AMERICA’

Our award-winning film Divided We Fall explores hate, bigotry, and belonging in America in the aftermath of 9/11. For the last decade, the film has been used on 300+ campuses to spark dialogue and reflection. It is now available online for free and comes with up-to-date teacher´s guides and dialogues questions to use in your classroom, house of worship, or even your living room.

https://www.amazon.com/Divided-We-Fall-Americans-Aftermath/dp/B001EMUIWI/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1536520265&sr=8-8&keywords=divided+we+fall

6 words at a time.

If you were asked to sum up your thoughts about race in six words, could you do it?

Eight years ago, Michele Norris, former host of NPR’s All Things Considered, asked people attending the book tour for her 2010 memoir, The Grace of Silence, to do just that.

The exercise was meant as a conversation starter, a way to engage people on the uncomfortable subject by having them write their thoughts on postcards and then share them with others—directly and online. But Norris’ Race Card Project has become much more.

Businesses, churches, and other institutions have used it to facilitate uneasy discussions around race.

The idea is even more relevant today. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say racism remains a problem in the United States, according to a recent NBC poll. In fact, almost half of those polled say they believe race relations are getting worse.

In addition to helping start difficult conversations, the postcards and their backstories also serve as a sort of time capsule, marking specific events: The first Black president, Black Lives Matter, the Muslim ban, understanding of White fragility, and the most openly racist president in recent history.

“I think it has great value over time,” said Norris, who now heads up a program called The Bridge at Aspen Institute, which focuses on race, identity, and inclusion. “I’ve done a lot of high-order research. What I would give to have an archive like this to better understand the lived experience of race and identity from the 1930s, or 1940s, 1960s, or even the 1970s, which wasn’t that long ago.”

“And this project, this crazy project that started on the third floor of my house, I think will provide a unique window for people who are trying to understand the moment that we’re living in right now,” she says.

 

Full piece:

https://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/a-way-to-talk-about-race-6-words-at-a-time-20180913?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=YTW_20180914&utm_content=YTW_20180914+CID_3a58e48b2a7b6e0ca7425d920c5743f5&utm_source=CM&utm_term=A%20Way%20to%20Talk%20About%20Race%206%20Words%20at%20a%20Time

Little things do matter.

“I sign petitions. I refuse plastic bags. I try to eat mostly vegetables. I turn off the light when I leave a room. I am one of those people whom other people roll their eyes at. So I was delighted when fun illustrator Sarah Lazarovic suggested a regular YES! feature called Small Works, which would prove—charts! science!—that our little individual actions really do help create big changes.

P.S. We want to know what your small actions are! Sarah will select a few to illustrate and show you how important your small works are.”

    Clean Web Design