Democracy is a political form of government where governing power is derived from the people, either by direct referendum (direct democracy) or by means of elected representatives of the people (representative democracy). The term comes from the Greek: δημοκρατία - (dēmokratía) "rule of the people", which was coined from δῆμος (dêmos) "people" and κράτος (krátos) "power", in the middle of the fifth-fourth century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens following a popular uprising in 508 BC. Even though there is no specific, universally accepted definition of 'democracy', equality and freedom have been identified as important characteristics of democracy since ancient times. These principles are reflected in all citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to power. For example, in a representative democracy, every vote has equal weight, no restrictions can apply to anyone wanting to become a representative, and the freedom of its citizens is secured by legitimized rights and liberties which are generally protected by a constitution.
Friday, July 30, 2010
The Hellenic Parliament (Greek: Βουλή των Ελλήνων; transliterated Vouli (also Boule) ton Ellinon) is the Parliament of Greece, located in the Parliament House (Old Royal Palace), overlooking Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece.
It is a unicameral legislature of 300 members, elected for a four-year term. During 1844-1863 and 1927-1935 the parliament was bicameral with an upper house, the Senate and a lower house, which retained the name Vouli. Several important Greek statesmen served as Speakers of the Hellenic Parliament. The List of Speakers of the Hellenic Parliament comprises all the Speakers from 1946 till today.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
words are our contextual graffiti
scratched on the hard surface of our lives
some soon weathered away skin like
others etched deep in a stony soul
the words of the songmaker
simple songs sang sadly
the words of the poet
painful poems performed piously
the words of the warrior
violent visions vindicated victoriously
the words of the politician
platitudes paraded pathetically
the words of the lover
treasures trembling tenderly
the words of a child
innocently individually indelibly
the words of a president
sincerely said somberly surely ?
the words of government
overtly opposing opposition
the words of the righteous
honourably honestly horribly
the words of the zealot
sadly selfishly seriously
the words of the religious
needlessly negative nothingness
the words of a victim
openly overcome obviously
the words of the freedom fighter
truthfully thoughtfully terrible
I'm especially fond of the mysterious limb that emerges from the darkness as the moon comes back into the light, and shows our satellite as the three-dimensional sphere it is. What an amazing universe we live in.
Derek K. Miller
Monday, July 19, 2010
If hearts can fly
then mine is
winging its way,
past the rings of Saturn
As the sun sets
over the mountains
and the butterflies
in fields of love.
Did you ever feel
as if you were a balloon
I am the balloon
and you're the air
you keep on filling me
with your happiness
and I keep growing
in your love,
I've touched the sky.
As the sun breaks
over the mountains,
and the butterflies
wing their way cross
fields of love.
A Boy's World
The world was made for little boys
With infinite wonders and myriad joys
As he explores the source of brooks
Or recorded lore in interesting books.
As he trails fierce bears imaginary
Or listens quietly for the wild canary,
There are trees to climb - birds to hear,
Animals to greet with love - not fear.
He tramps the woods, fields and streams
Dreaming those wondrous boyhood dreams,
Of conquering worlds - as yet unknown
In that far off day when he is grown,
To manhood stature with noble goal
Imbued with nature's gentle soul.
In the cool of evening or midday sun
Knowing that all of life is one -
Knowing with all its strife and noise
The world was made for little boys.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
The use of lavender has been recorded for more than 2,500 years. Egyptians, Phoenicians and the people of Arabia used lavender as a perfume -- and also for mummification, by wrapping the dead in lavender-dipped shrouds. In ancient Greece, lavender was called "nardus," "nard," or "spikenard" (named for the Syrian city of Naarda) and was used as a cure for everything from insomnia and aching backs to insanity. By Roman times, lavender had already become a prized commodity. Lavender flowers were sold to ancient Romans for 100 denarii per pound -- equivalent to a full month's wage for a farm laborer -- and were used to scent the water in Roman baths. In fact, the baths served as the root of the plant's current name. "Lavender" is derived from the Latin lavare, meaning, "to wash." Romans also used lavender as a perfume, insect repellent and flavoring. They even added dried lavender to their smoking mixtures.
Few plants are burdened with as much folklore and legend as lavender. Some of the stories are contradictory, or at least historically out of sync. One legend says the plant gained its perfume when the Virgin Mary dried the clothes of the baby Jesus on a bush, which from then on was aromatic. However, even before that, Cleopatra was said to use the scent to seduce Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Another favorite piece of folklore is that if lavender flowers are placed between bed sheets, spouses will never quarrel.
Upon a Lilac Sea
To toss incessantly
His Plush Alarm
Who fleeing from the Spring
The Spring avenging fling
To Dooms of Balm
We discovered it by accident,
a log of cedar hidden under moss
and fungi glowing in the crevices
blue as billy smoke, bright orange collars.
Its hulk lay in the forest, glistening darkly;
axe of sun had struck a wedge of light
around its base; the woodchoppers apparently
left it there a century ago to haul
into the sun's periphery --
between the living trees the yellow bright …