Not One Damn Dime Day" is about supporting the troops. The politicians put the troops in harm's way. Now 1,200 brave young Americans and (some estimate) 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops a plan -- a way to come home.

There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing agenda to rant about. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" you take action by doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed. For 24 hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious leaders and our politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give America back to the people. Thought for Today

Even one child I could not save.
-- Mani Natrajan, father of three, in Cuddalore, India

Mass Grief

My stepdaughter is safe. Airlifted from Phuket, Thailand on an Army transport, and now, I think, heading home. (Thank you to all who sent wishes and prayers in her direction.)

I write occasionally about Mrs. Uptown and Little Uptown, but almost never about the two kids I lived with for a dozen years when I was married to their mother--my insanely wonderful stepchildren are very smart New Yorkers who have spent their young lives around media, and they understand better than most that the only time you want press is when you have something to sell. So I mentioned my stepdaughter yesterday simply as a way to get a handle on this disaster. If it has a face and a name, I think, maybe I can grasp it.

But I can't. I close my eyes and watch the movie inside. Then I slow it down and watch the photo gallery--the bodies in trees, the rows of corpses, the mass graves. And I am defeated, both by the numbers of the dead and the rapidity of their dying.

As someone struggling with the most basic concepts of Buddhism, I never really get past the first fact of life: The ground is not solid. Things change. Without any apparent reason.

[This is one of the reasons I so loathe George W. Bush and his inner circle-- their absolute certainty. And then they cover their smug sense of rightness with religion, which only makes them more ridiculous. Where in the New Testament is it written that Christ confers unerring confidence to those who believe?]

This morning, just to get myself out of the house, I took Little Uptown to the Metropolitan Museum. I showed her how to throw paint like Jackson Pollock and draw loops like Cy Twomley. We looked at the two little girls in Renoir's famous portrait. We tried to move a Calder mobile with our breath. She loved it all--and the people around us loved that this not-yet-three-year-old-kid so obviously was adoring the museum.

And what I thought--about every other second--was: Roaring waters could knock these walls down like toy blocks. Forget about me. I could lose her--like that.

Obviously, you cannot have a life if you are in such a constant state of astonishment and agitation that you can't put one foot in front of the other. We have to believe that the world works: computers hum, cars run, planes don't crash. But then you imagine, say, Yankee Stadium filled with children--and, in a flash, disappear it.

What's up with that? Where do you begin to understand it?

In the absence of understanding, there is still the opportunity to act. Here are ways you can help.

Where Does the Flood Rank on the Rapture Index?

They call it "the speedometer of end-time activity." Today it's up 2, to 155. And, yeah, it's no joke--it's The Rapture Index.

And Then There's Good News

Thanks to Military.com --and a sharp-eyed Beliefnet reader--for this lovely story:

14-year-old Brittany Bergquist is surprised that the U.S. military doesn't do what she and her little brother are doing: helping soldiers phone home free.

"I'm kind of happy that they didn't supply them," she said, "because we've always wanted to do something for the soldiers."

With $14 from their piggy banks, she and 12-year-old brother Robbie started Cell Phones for Soldiers.

In less than nine months, the organization has provided $250,000 worth of prepaid calling cards to American soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

They raise money by collecting old cellular phones and selling them to companies that refurbish them for resale.