Scent of the Himalayas

My wife and I have always wanted to trek in the foothills of the Himalayas. It’s too late now for us to do due to diminished health, but this is what Rudyard Kipling had to say in Namgay Doola.

“The monkeys sang sorrowfully to each other as they hunted for dry roosts in the fern-wreathed trees, and the last puff of the day-wind brought from the unseen villages the scent of damp wood-smoke, hot cakes, dripping undergrowth, and rotting pine-cones. That is the true smell of the Himalayas, and if once it creeps into the blood of a man, that man will at the last, forgetting all else, return to the hills to die.”

Rand Paul and Cliven Bundy

Rand Paul was in Mesquite, Nevada, yesterday and while there he met with rancher Cliven Bundy. Mesquite is only thirty-five miles from my home and I would have attended if I had known. I am reading a book by Paul and a book about Bundy. I would have sought their autographs if I had had the opportunity. I have found that the media only show a snippet of what candidates have to say. To get a feel for what the candidate is about, one must attend in person.

GOP’s last chance

Reince Priebus, chairman of the RNC, recently said that the GOP must win the presidency in 2016 to remain a national party. And he’s right. At this moment in time, I believe that any Democrat can defeat any Republican candidate. Even if the GOP nominate John Kasich or Mitt Romney, as I believe they will, the GOP will lose. I am willing to give the GOP one last chance to renounce their far right positions and start showing actual concern for the American voter. Instead I expect the party and the candidates to continue on their road to self-destruction.

“A Chance To Find Our Best Selves”: Obama; ‘If We Can Find Grace, Anything Is Possible’

Originally posted on

In a soaring eulogy to the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, President Barack Obama spoke of grace’s power to heal, the nation’s enduring racial divide, and how last week’s killings in Emanuel AME Church offered a chance for a grieving country “to find our best selves.”

The president’s 38-minute oratory Friday reached deep into history, probing the lingering wounds of slavery and desegregation while celebrating Pinckney’s long-standing devotion to his ministry and the poor.

Bringing the crowd to its feet time and again, Obama called for continued efforts to furl the Confederate battle flag.

He decried the nation’s blindness “to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts on us.”

And, in one of the eulogy’s most surprising moments, he paused for eight seconds, looked down somberly, and sang “Amazing Grace.”

After the services, Obama, his wife, Michelle, Vice President Joe Biden, and his wife, Jill, had private meetings with the victims’ families.

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