Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Poachers Strike Again!

Hi Katalusis friends,

Animals have intelligence and feelings; read the email below that just hit my inbox:

GmailVirginia Bergman

Poachers STRIKE again
1 message

BREAKING@saveanimalsfacingextinction.org Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 1:33 PM
Reply-To: info@saveanimalsfacingextinction.org
To: vbergman422@gmail.com

When we saw this headline Virginia, we knew we had to share this story with you.

Last month, three wild elephants were attacked by poachers with poisoned arrows. Rather than give up, they trekked across the African landscape to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Why? They knew these humans would help. Elephants have incredible spatial reasoning abilities -- meaning they can craft detailed mental maps to help them navigate their territory. Because these elephants were so intelligent, they were able to get to exactly the right place to get treatment and to survive these brutal attacks.

We are so thankful for the DSWT and the intelligent elephants who were able to seek out help and life. But this shouldn’t be happening in the first place Virginia. Poachers are at fault -- and it’s up to us to stop them.
$5 >> $35 >>
$50 >> $100 >>
$250 >> Other >>
These elephants were victim to the ruthless attacks of poachers, all motivated by greed for ivory. It needs to stop.
Thanks for your support,



BREAKING@saveanimalsfacingextinction.org Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 1:33 PM
Reply-To: info@saveanimalsfacingextinction.org
To: vbergman422@gmail.com

Monday, September 28, 2015

Tell the Tea Party Wing of the GOP to grow up

Tea Party Member
 According to the American people, it's time for Republicans to grow up. Instead of threatening to shut down the government if they don't get their way, we recommend that the Tea Party wing of the GOP take a conflict resolution course and learn how adults handle differences.

The American people are increasingly fed up. From Taylor Marsh:

THE QUINNIPIAC poll released today couldn’t be clearer and neither could the foreshadowing. The Republican right is making an error in judgment on shutting down the government, though Speaker Boehner will likely ruin Senator Ted Cruz‘s party. At our house that means my husband won’t lose work, which matters very much to us, though we’re hardly the only ones paying attention to this issue.

Nearly seven in 10 Americans — 69 percent — oppose shutting down the government over funding for Planned Parenthood, according to the results of a new national Quinnipiac University poll released Monday. But as far as cutting off funding to the group, 52 percent said they would oppose doing so, compared with 41 percent who supported such an action. Women opposed such an action by a wide margin — 60 percent to 34 percent — while men responding to the survey supported an end to federal funding 49 percent to 44 percent. [Politico]

Several of my friends and I signed the petition below from DCCC Action; here's your opportunity to sign on and tell the Republicans to grow up:

Thank you for your support!

DCCC Action

Paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee | 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
(202) 863-1500 | www.dccc.org | Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Saving the elephants!

I've long been in awe of elephants; there's just something about these regal, dignified animals. It's horrifying that elephants are facing extinction. Take a look at the email I just received from saveanimalsfacingextinction.org:

GmailVirginia Bergman

41 DAYS LEFT to save the elephants!
1 message

saveanimalsfacingextinction.org Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 10:42 AM

Reply-To: info@saveanimalsfacingextinction.org
To: vbergman422@gmail.com

Elephants are the one of the most iconic and intelligent animals in the world.

But in the wake of extensive killings, their days might be numbered.

We’re racing against the clock Virginia. We need urgent action to win this race against time. Passing our ballot initiative on November 3rd, 2015 will help us win that race.

Will you chip in $5 or more now to help us end the worldwide slaughter of elephants?
$5 >> $35 >>
$50 >> $100 >>
$250 >> Other >>
We only have 41 days left until our election.

That means time is running out to end to the purchase, sale, and distribution of products made from elephants and 9 other endangered animals in Washington state -- and set a model for the nation.

If we want to keep these majestic elephants from going extinct, it is VITAL that we take action immediately!

Click here to donate $5 or more to help prevent elephants from becoming an extinct species.
Thanks for your support,


This email was sent to vbergman422@gmail.com.

Thank you for supporting Save Animals Facing Extinction. We're proud to be funded by grassroots donors like you. Your support is critical to helping us save threatened and endangered animals.

Emails are a crucial way to stay in touch with our top supporters. If we are going to pass Initiative 1401 and help save animals threatened with extinction, we need your support from now through Election Day this November.

If you would like to receive fewer emails, you can click here. If you would like to unsubscribe from our emails, click here. If you would like to donate to help save ten endangered animals from potential extinction, click here.

From the entire Save Animals Facing Extinction team, thank you for your support!
empowered by Salsa

Monday, September 21, 2015

The gaffe-prone Biden and memories of Anita Hill

Anita Hill at Harvard Law School, 9/14, via Wikipedia
My first thought when I learned that Joe Biden could be running for president in 2016 was Joe's reputation for gaffes - his problem keeping his mouth shut that most likely led President Obama to publicly thank Jill Biden, Joe's wife,  "for putting up with Joe."

However, we've just been informed that Jill Biden is "on board" with Joe's potential 2016 run.

Naturally, all this talk about the likelihood of Biden challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party's nomination next year is bringing up an unpleasant memory or two in Biden's political history, e.g., the Anita Hill debacle. Politico's got the story:

If Joe Biden gets into the presidential race, allies and supporters of Hillary Clinton say there are just two words that will make a difference as he seeks support among women and African-Americans: Anita Hill. 

Nearly 24 years have passed since the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in which Hill, a respected law professor, was grilled under oath about alleged inappropriate sexual behavior by Thomas, her former boss. The graphic testimony gripped Washington and the country and spurred intense public conversations about sex, harassment and the nominee's charge of being subjected to a "high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.'' 

Biden's done a lot over the past 24 years, including authoring the landmark Violence Against Women Act and leading its four reauthorizations. But that hasn't erased the memories of how Biden presided over those hearings as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, blamed for doing little to stop the attacks on Hill and opting not to call three other witnesses who would have echoed Hill's charges of sexual harassment. Biden almost apologetically gave Thomas the benefit of the doubt, critics say, and that stance helped putThomas on the Supreme Court.

Ever since, for many women and blacks, Hill's name conjures an image of a black woman struggling under attack by a dozen powerful white men asking aggressive questions and questioning her character.
If Biden decides to run for president, his path to the Democratic nomination requires him to stand in the way of the woman who could be the first female president — and issues of sex and gender will be on the table whether either side likes it or not.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

100 elephants killed daily by poachers!

SaveAnimalsFacingExtinction.org states:  "Every day, 100 elephants are killed by poachers desperate to profit off their ivory...Much of the illegal elephant ivory ends up coming into the American market. We must take urgent action to stop the worldwide massacre of elephants -- before it’s too late."

However, in addition to the American poachers cited above, Tim Gettleman at the NY Times reported in 2012 that the ascending Chinese middle class is the primary culprit fueling the demand for ivory. 

Gettleman quoted a U.S. State Department official regarding the matter: 

“China is the epicenter of demand,” said Robert Hormats, a senior State Department official. “Without the demand from China, this would all but dry up.”

He said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who condemned conflict minerals from Congo a few years ago, was pushing the ivory issue with the Chinese “at the highest levels” and that she was “going to spend a considerable amount of time and effort to address this, in a very bold way.”

In the past, there were many practical uses for ivory; today, as pointed out by Rebecca J. Rosen at the Atlantic, plastic has superseded ivory in many cases, including piano keys. Unfortunately, Rosen explains, "ivory's usefulness, combined with its warm luster and its receptivity to engravings, meant that it gained stature as a luxury good from the get-go." 

In other words, Rosen suggests, ivory ranks up there with diamonds as a cultural symbol.

SaveAnimalsFacingExtinction.org reminds us:

At the end of July, President Obama, with support of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, announced new measures to stem the ivory trade, including a ban on the interstate sale of most ivory in the U.S. and new restriction on when ivory can be exported.

These measures help to send the message that the US will NOT tolerate the senseless slaughter of elephants and other animals.

We need to make sure important legislation like this has the support it needs to be put into full effect. We need to take action and make sure these regulations fully protect our precious elephants.

SIGN the petition listed above!

Thanks for your support, SaveAnimalsFacingExtinction.org

Saturday, September 12, 2015

From the Rs: Defund Planned Parenthood or we'll shut down the government!

Courtesy of Fastcompany.com.
As the 10th of 11 children, I'm well aware of the struggles of  parents of large families to even provide for the basic needs of their children. And even though my Protestant (fundamentalist) mother firmly believed that every child was numbered in the mind of God, I've a hunch she would have welcomed the advent of birth control pills; I know I welcomed them back in the 1960s after the births of two children, both delivered by C-Section, and the resulting bills my husband and I struggled to pay off.

Now it seems the Rs, as the late Molly Ivins referred to them, are so set on defunding  Planned Parenthood, they're willing to shut down the government if they don't get their way. This letter from the Democratic Governors Association just landed in my inbox:


If there is ONE THING anti-women extremists like Ted Cruz and the Koch brothers can’t stand, it’s women having the freedom to make their own decisions. They lose their minds.
That’s why Cruz rushed back to Washington from the campaign trail: He’s leading the charge to cut critical funding from Planned Parenthood – spinning his most heinous attacks NOW – and using the threat of a government shutdown to bully his opponents.
We need your immediate support to stop these extremists from destroying Planned Parenthood. Please give as much as you can to fight for women’s rights by funding Democratic Action, our grassroots movement to stop Cruz and the Kochs’ cronies from rolling back equality everywhere.
If you've saved payment info with ActBlue Express, your donation will go through immediately:

Paid for by Democratic Governors Association.

Contributions or gifts to the Democratic Governors Association are not tax deductible.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A letter from Hillary explaining the email matter

Hi Katalusis friends,

Just wanted to share this letter from Hillary Clinton in which she explains that pesky email issue. I don't expect this to shut up her critics, but at least the public stands a chance of being better informed about it despite the GOP's propaganda.:

virginia --

I wanted you to hear this directly from me:

Yes, I should have used two email addresses, one for personal matters and one for my work at the State Department. Not doing so was a mistake. I'm sorry about it, and I take full responsibility.

It's important for you to know a few key facts. My use of a personal email account was aboveboard and allowed under the State Department's rules. Everyone I communicated with in government was aware of it. And nothing I ever sent or received was marked classified at the time.

As this process proceeds, I want to be as transparent as possible. That's why I've provided all of my work emails to the government to be released to the public, and why I'll be testifying in public in front of the Benghazi Committee later next month.

I know this is a complex story. I could have -- and should have -- done a better job answering questions earlier. I'm grateful for your support, and I'm not taking anything for granted.

I understand that you may have more questions, and I am going to work to keep answering them. If you want to read more, including my emails themselves, please go here:


Thank you,




Monday, September 7, 2015

A Labor Day Salute to Diversity

Recently,  Corrine Bauer and Pat Melody, members of my Mindfulness Meditation Group,  held a vigil on behalf of Hispanic immigrants locked up in the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center. Thanks to Corrine and Pat for being mindful of the welfare of others.
I'm re-posting the text below from Labor Day 2007 as it continues to be relevant in the context of the status of immigrants in this country and around the globe. Too many Americans oppose immigration as they fear competition for jobs from immigrants seeking safe haven within US borders. The success of an initiative by my employer a few years ago should lay those fears to rest. Nevertheless, we continue to harass Hispanic immigrants in the US, while around the globe, Syrian refugees are too often turned away.

Picture this: I’m a young WAF assigned to clerical duties in an office on Scott Air Force Base, near East St. Louis, Ill. On this particular morning I overhear an Air Force major and a colonel, both Caucasian, discuss the qualifications of a civil service employee under consideration for promotion; the colonel apparently likes her resume. Then he asks, “Is she Caucasian?”

“Negative,” the major replies.

Here's the deal: I’m a Caucasian who grew up in lily-white, rural northwestern Ohio, and this was the first time I’d seen up close the ugliness of racial discrimination. Stunned, I sat there at my typewriter, trying to focus on my work.

(In the weeks that follow, I notice the employee in question is not promoted.)

On the upside, my stint in the military provided my first opportunity to make friends with members of other races and ethnic backgrounds.

I’ve not forgotten Hispanic Maria Venegas; African-Americans Katie Harmon, Annie Terry, and Adeline Lincoln; Parisian French Caucasian Monique Horlaville; and New Orleans French Caucasian Priscilla Bertrand.

Years passed before I encountered a comparable diversity in civilian life ― diversity fostered intentionally in the regional office of a large corporation located in a thriving upscale suburb.

Admittedly, the company’s motives were more practical than altruistic. At a department meeting, Tony, our African-American assistant manager, asked if any of us knew what was behind the diversity initiative. He rolled his eyes when I suggested that our company supported diversity because it was the right thing to do.

Tony then explained the business case for diversity: “If we want to sell our products to the Hmong community, African-Americans, Hispanics, Gays, women, or other minority group, we’d best include their members in our workforce.”

Altruistic or not, it’s amazing how quickly people can adapt to an inclusive environment when their livelihoods are at stake and before long, the 2000 plus employees in that huge office building formed a genuine community featuring many of the amenities and rituals of a small town.

Sad to say, our community ― by then a model of diversity ― became a casualty of corporate downsizing when, thanks to technology, our work was moved elsewhere. But for quite a few years each of us had good cause for celebrating Labor Day.

Perhaps the time will come when a majority of Americans will have matured sufficiently to create similar communities, whatever their context, purely because it’s the right thing to do. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Jimmy Carter's faith

For years, President Jimmy Carter has been the victim of trash talk from even his fellow Democrats. At the age of 90 and recently diagnosed with cancer, Carter is finally being recognized for the powerful and inspiring example he has been, not only for Americans, but for people around the globe. This article by Leonard Pitts on Carter's faith is well worth reading:

America is a nation of faith. So it is often said.

In faith, a baker refuses to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. In faith, a minister prays for the president to die. In faith, terrorists plant bombs at the finish line of a marathon. In faith, mosques are vandalized, shot at and burned. In faith, a televangelist asks his followers to buy him a $65 million private jet.

And no one is even surprised anymore.

In America, what we call faith is often loud, often exclusionary, sometimes violent and too frequently enamored of shiny, expensive things. In faith, ill-tempered people mob the shopping malls every year at Christmas to have fistfights and gunfights over hot toys and highend electronics.

You did not hear much about faith last week when Jimmy Carter held a news conference to reveal that he has four spots of cancer on his brain. The 39th president made only a few references to it in the nearly 40 minutes he spoke, and they were all in response to reporter’s questions. Yet, you would be hard-pressed to find a more compelling statement of belief in things not seen. Unsentimental, poised and lit from within by an amazing grace, Carter discussed the fight now looming ahead of him, the radiation treatments he will undergo, the need to finally cut back on his whirlwind schedule.
He smiled often. “I’m perfectly at ease with whatever comes,” he said, in such a way that you believed him without question. And it was impossible to feel sorry for him.