"So much time, so little to do..."
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The title for today's column comes from a line in "Willie Wonka  and the Chocolate Factory." Spoken by Willie himself (played by the ever-so-Wonkaed Gene Wilder), the double entendre incumbent to the scene is true to the movie's redundant "life is whatever we choose make of it" theme.

"So much time, so little to do..." It sounds so out of character with today's mainstream drumbeat played to the tune of commandments to increasingly quicken of our pace in new and different ways.

Yet still, it is "we" who "choose" to "go along" with it. We who give-way to what we affirm as the inevitability of it. We who hit the gas, rather than applying the brakes... or at the very least purposefully slow down. Anyway...

I got to thinking about this as I was working my way through a list of accumulated updates, some of which have been waiting to be posted to Gozarks for the better part of a month... which really does disturb me because I like to get "new" stuff posted pretty-much as soon as it comes in. But still, I also like to "feed my family" and, as Gozarks is a 100% volunteer effort, sometimes my paying clients must come first. Thus I do not feel too terribly bad about the times when updates wait to grace our pages, because it is evidence that the bills are getting paid in my household, and this is actually a very good thing. Anyway...

The first long-overdue item from my Inbox came to me from a woman I met at the Liberty & Justice Festival earlier this month. It is her personal vantage point on the injustice done to noncustodial parents. [READ MORE...]

The second item, also waiting for nearly a month, is the addition of an article about The Bill of Rights, prepared by Joanne Campbell and submitted to me by Allan Hampton, which includes Allan’s comments on the duty of citizenship. [READ MORE…]

Thirdly, I point you to a commentary on the disparity of compassion that permeates our bureaucratic system today. Attributed to Rush Limbaugh (and given the attribution is true), this may be the only thing the man has ever said that I agree with. [READ MORE...]

Next up is an illustrious letter, attributed to Roger Morris who served on the senior staff of the National Security Council under Presidents Johnson and Nixon until resigning over the invasion of Cambodia. Now an award-winning investigative journalist and
historian, he has penned a personal plea to U.S. Diplomats worldwide.
[READ MORE...]

Then we have this tirade of hyperlinks, addressing "recent developments in the war," which admirably illustrates some highly coherent thinking. Notice especially the link about pending legislative plans to RENISTATE THE DRAFT. [READ MORE...]

Next to last is this extensive articulation of about the history, purpose and current activities of something lovingly referred to as the "Rainbow Uprising Campaign".

And finally for this time around, definitely heading our "last but far from least" list, is a wonderful note I received from J. Cleo Huggins, thanking us for posting some info to our Family Reunion Calendar.

Before you read it, however, I want to note that I generally do not post this kind of note. Though "thank you" notes always warm my heart and help to gently remind me that these humble pages are appreciated by thousands of readers far and wide, I just am not a very braggadocios person. Thus I generally collect these notes to a special folder -- and sometimes re-read them whenever it seems like I'm having "one of those days."

However the following note is so typical of the "family-focused goodness" that radiates from so many hearts and souls, that in light all the stuff heading this column now, I thought that all of us were deserving to read something meaningful, uplifting, and personally real...

Thanks for getting the Huggins Family info on your website.  I would love to hear from any of the Huggins in that area.  Off the record, I hear they pretty well keep to themselves.  Can't really blame them considering the conditions we have to endure nowadays.  Silly boy me, I migrated to California over fifty years ago and can't break out, ha ha.  I do love to visit the 'home folks' in Perry County, AR as often as possible.
 
By the way.  I remember a Weiss family who migrated from California to Perryville, AR in the early fifties.  Cannot remember any names for sure but seems like the man's name was Don.  I also noticed recently there is a Weiss Lumber Store in Perryville.
 
Sorry to take up so much of your time but you know how old folks are.
 
Thanks again,
J. Cleo Huggins

PS: Yes, Cleo, I do know "how old folks are." I'm one of them. God bless you for being one, too.


Bad news...
I do not like to be the conveyor of bad news. For the most part, I truly believe that much of what pretends to be bad news is merely authoritatively stated hype about (sadly) routine news, the great preponderance of which is at times so massive as to camouflage things that are "really bad news" amidst a smokescreen of unpleasant yet predictable events.

The following article is, I sincerely believe, a powerful harbinger of bad news. I believe it attests to just how bad certain circumstances have culminated throughout our society and I believe that the story told here should raise our alarm: 

Kalamazoo Students Refused Entrance to Bush Cheney Campaign Stop
Originally published on Smart Ass, the College Democrats of America blog. Comment on this report on Blog for America.

In an effort to expose ourselves to the wider spectrum of politics in our country and educate ourselves for the election this coming fall, a group of students from Kalamazoo College obtained tickets and went to see President Bush speak Monday, May 3rd, at Wings Stadium. Our group includes coordinators of a bilingual mentoring program, members of the non-violence student organization, athletes, and work-study employees. On the 3rd of May, we canceled our work-study hours, moved up exams, and missed classes to hear the President speak.

Unfortunately, our group was denied entrance to the event after being identified by members of the Kalamazoo College Republicans (who were volunteering at the event) as "potential threats." Our classmates knew that we were not Bush supporters and that many of us have engaged in non-violent political protest. Because of their suspicion of our political histories and motivation for attending the event, they refused to allow us to enter, and the police forcefully removed us from the site....
[read more]

Ladies and gentlemen, I must ask first: Is this report true? And I must say that, as far as I can tell, the answer is yes. That is, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported the incident, albeit with a slightly different spin. And this, too, is chilling. As one blogger comments:

Your (Kalamazoo Gazette) coverage begins, "A group of Kalamazoo students learned a lesson in politics when they were escorted away...." Hardly. In the English we speak around here, the students learned a lesson in despotism and dictatorship.

Still, given only the accuracy that these events did factually happen, the question I next must pose is:

What actions constitutes the existence of a "police state" if NOT actions such as those depicted above?

Face value: The President of the United States of America addressed a large crowd gathered at Wings Stadium. They obtained tickets to the event through the Chamber of Commerce. They were denied entry to the event because it was being held "on private property." The police escorted them off the event grounds because, in essence, the event organizers didn't like them.

Anyway, my closing question for today: Does anybody besides me remember what the Cold War was all about...???

Human Empowerment...
It is sometimes awkward, often difficult and may even prove to be a bit dicey, writing a credible article about one’s self. Thus from such tasks I generally refrain. However, the subject of human empowerment and the ability of our co-created society to emancipate and engender same is of significant social consequence. Thus I hesitate to constrain myself from bringing news about stuff like this to your attention simply because the “local focus” of the subject matter is me...

Arkansan to serve as expert panelist at mentoring convention

Christine Louise Weiss of Shirley, AR, will serve as a featured panelist addressing the topic “Human Empowerment: The Role of Mentoring,” during an international Internet conference on the subject convening May 7, 2004.... [READ MORE]

In remembrance...
On Mayday, as a group of us dined on campfire toasted marshmallows, kept mind of children dodging raindrops to splash in the creek, and lamented the sorry state of world affairs between bites of homebaked chocolate chip cookies, the families of four of our finest young Arkansans received the news that their loved one would not be coming home from battle.

This contrast is bitter and tragic.

And though it is no compensation at all to those families or any others who have forfeited the treasure of companionship at the altar of liberty & justice, I respectfully ask you to join me in a moment of heartfelt humility, laid at the feet of every man, woman and child who has lost life, limb, and kinship to the annals of war.

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Respectfully, I leave all of us today with these thoughts:

"Only dead men can tell the truth in this world."
Mark Twain, The War Prayer

"These are MY soldiers: I Will Not Shut Up"
Sheila Samples


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As always, I'm wishing all of us a life worth living, filled with all those things we prefer, desire, wholeheartedly celebrate and richly deserve to enjoy.

Christine Weiss
editor@gozarks.com

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Photo: Exterior of the Van Buren County Child Care Center building.