29 June 2007

Bubbles is very ill...

Bubbles was Beverly Sills' childhood nickname and it has continued as an endearment to opera fans around the world.

Ms. Sills is probably second to Maria Callas for bringing the rebirth opera to the masses in the 20th century. She not only is a superb singer but works behind the scenes in fund raising, conducting, producing, etc., etc., etc.

The New York Times this morning has reported that she is gravely ill with cancer and has been fighting it for quite a long time.

Below is a great example of her explosive talent.

all the best, Ms. Sills. I have had the pleasure of hearing you in person and adoring every minute of it...

"on behalf of the minority I object"...

Activist judges [read SCOTUS here] have been joined by obstructionist legislators since the 110th Congress took office in January. Their objections always take the form of using procedural votes to stop legislation that is under consideration.

In the Senate, these procedural votes are to avoid cloture - stopping discussion on a bill to call for a full vote, i.e. filibuster. As long as a filibuster is going on no vote on a measure may be taken and a filibuster can continue indefinitely. The Republicans know that most bills only need a majority vote and would pass with the Democrats in control and a few of their fellow Reps joining them.

Cloture, on the other hand, requires 60 votes and would end a filibuster so that the voting could happen. In effect, since the minority knows that the Dems wouldn't have the required 60 votes to end a filibuster, it is a way of "killing" a bill procedurally without a decision being made.

In the last Congress, when the Republicans were in charge, they cried foul any time the Democrats began to discuss filibuster. They threatened to use what Trent Lott referred to as the nuclear option. In other words, doing away with filibuster. They backed the Dems into a corner every single time.

Now the shoe is on the other foot and the Republicans don't hesitate to use the treat of filibuster. Since January, they have objected at least 23 times. To get an idea of what legislation was involved, watch the video below.

our tax dollars at work...

our freedoms and lives at stake...


to help you enjoy the weekend with no guilt -


Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.


Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.


Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!


Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.


Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!


Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! ... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?


Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.


Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!


Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.


Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming

"WOO HOO, What a Ride

28 June 2007

cheney fodder - part four...

Leaving No Tracks, part 4 of the Washington Post series on Cheney's power, focuses on how he is able to influence policy and decisions for the administration and not have much traceable back to him. A great description comes from Paul Hoffman who owed his placement in the government to Cheney's influence.

"His genius," Hoffman said, is that "he builds networks and puts the right people in the right places, and then trusts them to make well-informed decisions that comport with his overall vision."
No one ever has to second guess what the v.p. wants when he contacts them, because they know beforehand what it is.

To add an air of legitimacy to the recommendations and decisions Mr. Cheney makes, he also puts into place experts in the field for which he focuses.

Aides praise Cheney's habit of reaching down to officials who are best informed on a subject he is tackling. But the effect of his calls often leads those mid-level officials scrambling to do what they presume to be his bidding.
There is no second-guessing. Everyone knows his/her role.

What happens to anyone who doesn't fit into the scheme of things? Christie Todd Whitman is a perfect example. As head of the EPA, she was responsible for overseeing a number of environmental policies that not only had been in place for a while but also those that Mr. Bush had made promises.

Mr. Cheney, on the other hand, was always known to be pro-industry before anything else. On the issue of easing pollution rules for aging power and oil refining plants he wanted action and he wanted it fast. Whitman cautioned that a quick decision could be a grand political problem. Cheney didn't care.

Even after meeting directly with Bush she knew that the decision had been made. She chose to resign instead of put her name to something in which she couldn't abide. At the time the reason given for her departure was that she wanted to spend more time with her family.

Recently, she let it be know that it wasn't the case.
By that time, Whitman had already announced her resignation, saying she wanted to spend more time with her family. But the real reason, she said, was the new rule.

"I just couldn't sign it," she said. "The president has a right to have an administrator who could defend it, and I just couldn't."

There is no room for discussion or dissent with the faux chief-of-staff role that Cheney put himself in place as.

Whitman was probably the first high-visibility resignation from the Bush administration. At the time there was thought that the excuse given was lame. As we've seen in the last couple of months, more and more members of the administration are resigning.

It's almost as if the rats are leaving the unsinkable Titanic administration. How many more will jump ship in the coming months? Especially, since it is starting to look like that there may be legal ramifications and prosecutions are not so out of the question.

just ask libby...


left? right? centrist? communist?

I've never been quite sure. I noticed that the Larouchies have been out in force in the southwest suburbs of Chicago this past week. I've seen them at many of the major intersections, wearing their hand-made placards, handing out their propaganda and willing to talk an arm off. I sure most people are glad that the lights turn green ofter. They can escape.

The one thing that all of their signs have in common is an immense hatred for the Bush administration. They don't mince their words at all. They really hate him.

One of the gentleman had a sign that made me laugh out loud and I just had to share with y'all.

Pull the Cheney and Flush!

Crapper Morph

would it count as recycling?

just asking...

and some history...

We take a crap because the original indoor flushable toilet was popularized by a man named, you got it, John Crapper. Honest! Click on the name for the link. I went to an exhibit of underground Seattle and they had a big display and explanation about the history of the crapper, its original name.

27 June 2007

the trick to getting an iPhone...

I stopped in my local Apple store the other day because I needed to replace my Cube's power block. I asked the guys if there was any trick to getting a new iPhone any easier. They snickered and said,

"Yeah, camping gear."

As much as I've been waiting for years, I can wait...

[biting my knuckles as i wrote this...]

26 June 2007

cheney fodder - part three...

Flipping channels I briefly landed on Chris Matthews' program today. It was long enough to hear Ann Coulter say something along the following: Bush is brilliant on the war on terror and Iraq but his domestic policies are a disaster.


In today's Washington Post installment of Jo Becker and Barton Gellman's report on Cheney's power, A Strong Push From Backstage they discuss Cheney's hands are in everything, not just foreign affairs.
Scores of interviews with advisers to the president and vice president, as well as with other senior officials throughout the government, offer a backstage view of how the Bush White House operates. The president is "the decider," as Bush puts it, but the vice president often serves up his menu of choices.

Cheney led a group that winnowed the president's list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Cheney resolved a crisis in the space program after the Columbia shuttle disaster. Cheney fashioned a controversial truce between the legislative and executive branches -- and averted resignations at the top of the Justice Department and the FBI -- over the right of law enforcement authorities to investigate political corruption in Congress.

And it was Cheney who served as the guardian of conservative orthodoxy on budget and tax matters. He shaped and pushed through Bush's tax cuts, blunting the influence of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, a longtime friend, and of Cabinet rivals he had played a principal role in selecting. He managed to overcome the president's "compassionate conservative" resistance to multiple breaks for the wealthy. He even orchestrated a decision to let a GOP senator switch parties -- giving control of the chamber to Democrats -- rather than meet the senator's demand for billions of dollars in new spending.

The article continues to explain all of the back door kitchen cabinet maneuvering that Cheney is really good at accomplishing.

One of the most telling lines in the article is that The president is "the decider," as Bush puts it, but the vice president often serves up his menu of choices. He manipulates just about everything that goes on in the White House and what gets to the president. And at all times, Cheney is the last person that talks to the president before any announcement of major policy is made, even minor policy.

This is frightening for a big reason. If Mr. Cheney is the one controlling everything, does that mean that Bush is really a dolt? Unaware? Oblivious? Nescient?

AND if this is true, then is Coulter's statement about Bush's domestic policies being a disaster cause for greater concern? Certainly, her belief that the tactics of the War on terror are delusional. Using delusional is being kind.

This may be one of the times when it is okay to say, f***...

25 June 2007

speaking of faith-based...

TEACHER: Now, Sam, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?

SAM: No ma'am, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.

Teacher Student

activists judges...

In rulings today, activist judges set new precedents* on their agenda.

...a group of taxpayers did not have standing to sue the US government for its funding of faith-based initiatives with federal money.

...schools could censor student expression outside of school grounds.

...a Wisconsin-based anti-abortion group should have been allowed to run so-called 'issue ads' in the two months leading up to the 2004 Election.

We can't question the federal government's faith-based initiative; students can be censored even if they are not on school property and are making a joke; pro-lifers can run inflammatory ads to sway elections.

how much more freedom can we stand?

these activists judges will be the death of our democracy if they don't stop.

oh, wait. these decisions were handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States today.

never mind...

*Source: Raw Story - " Supreme Court hands victory to Bush on faith-based initiatives"

John Dean and Rahm Emmanuel agree...

John Dean: John Dean says stop funding Dick Cheney AmericaBlog.com

Rahm Emannuel: Lawmaker challenges Cheney on executive order USA Today

Dean's words -
Let me tell you the fastest way to get him to comply. Cut off his salary. Cut off his salary for all of his staff. And the Congress has the power to do that.

Emmanuel's words -
"Today, we discovered that everything we learned in U.S. government class was wrong. Evidently, the Vice President does not consider himself a part of the executive branch, and therefore believes he can obstruct meaningful oversight and avoid being held accountable. If the Vice President truly believes he is not a part of the executive branch, he should return the salary the American taxpayers have been paying him since January 2001, and move out of the home for which they are footing the bill."

Cheney has opened up this can of worms himself by saying that his office is not part of the Executive Branch but in a unique position because he is the President of the Senate and is therefore part of the Legislative Branch also. Thus, he doesn't have to follow the same rules, executive orders, procedures or laws regarding the Executive Branch.

Well, now...

When is the federal budget up for consideration again?


Can Cheney then accept money from, say, Halliburton, if he's not being paid or funded by Congress?

just asking...

more, more fodder on Cheney - part 2...

In the middle of reading part two, Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power of the four-part Washington Post series on Vice-President Cheney's power in the Bush administration [Part One, 'A Different Understanding With the President'], I was struck as to how it reads like a Robert Ludlum novel. The intrigue, plotting, back-stabbing, and spying are a read comparable to Ludlum's books. If you haven't been reading it, you should, if just for the shear enjoyment of a spy story. Of course, the facts of the story may also just bring you to understand that this is really going on in our government, a republican form of democracy based on the paramount document espousing freedom.

Today's installment has two very interesting points. Well, it has a lot of them, but these are the two that struck me the most:
No longer was the vice president focused on procedural rights, such as access to lawyers and courts. The subject now was more elemental: How much suffering could U.S. personnel inflict on an enemy to make him talk? Cheney's lawyer feared that future prosecutors, with motives "difficult to predict," might bring criminal charges against interrogators or Bush administration officials.

"How much suffering could U.S. personnel inflict on an enemy to make him talk?"

Why would this even be a question for anyone? When I was in high school, the senior high school English/literature class I had dealt with thematic topics. The one that has stayed with me to this day is Man's inhumanity to man. The very idea that one person has less value than another is anathema to me. To inflict suffering for the purpose of forwarding a political agenda makes all of us less human not just less humane.

The second point:
...the president may authorize any interrogation method, even if it crosses the line into torture. U.S. and treaty laws forbidding any person to "commit torture," that passage stated, "do not apply" to the commander in chief, because Congress "may no more regulate the President's ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield."
I have to think about this one very hard. The Constitution puts the President of the United States above the law? Somehow I don't think that the framers of the Constitution had that accurately in mind. They had just ended a war against a tyrant and sought to limit the powers of the executive to avoid the establishment of a monarchical president.

I mean, come on. This should be a no-brainer for any one who has even a cursory understanding of U.S. Constitutional history. Hell, I remember my high school history and political science teachers making a big deal of it.

George Washington made a big deal of it. He was hesitant about becoming the first president. He disliked the adulation, though no president since has had an approval rating of 100%!

I have this disgust welling up in my gullet with what I'm reading in the Post's series. I also have a sadness that could easily push me. Most of all, I have anger that makes me want to open the window and -

that makes me feel better...

monday morning mayhem...

1. open season
A truck driver hauling a tractor-trailer load of computers stops for a beer. As he approaches the bar, he sees a big sign on the door saying: "Nerds Not Allowed - Enter at Your Own Risk!"

He goes in and sits down. The bartender comes over to him, sniffs, says, "You smell kind of nerdy. What do you do for a living?"

The trucker says, "I drive a truck, and the smell is just from the computers I am hauling."

The bartender says, "Okay, truck drivers are not nerds," and serves him a beer. As he is sipping his beer, a skinny guy walks in with tape around his glasses, a pocket protector with twelve kinds of pens and pencils, and a belt at least a foot too long.

The bartender, without saying a word, pulls out a shotgun and shoots the man.

The truck driver, totally shocked, says, "Why did you do that?"

The bartender says, "Not to worry. Nerds are over-populating the area and are in season now. You don't even need a license."

The trucker finishes his beer, gets back in his truck, and heads back on the freeway still shaking his head. Suddenly, he veers to avoid an accident and the load shifts. The back door breaks open and the computers spill out all over the freeway. He jumps out and sees a crowd already forming and grabbing up the computers.

They are all Microsoft programmers wearing the nerdiest clothes he has ever seen. He can't let them steal his whole load, so remembering what happened at the bar, he pulls out his gun and starts blasting away, felling several of them instantly.

A highway patrol office comes zooming up and jumps out or the squad car screaming at him to stop.

The trucker says, "What's wrong? I thought nerds were in season?"

"Well, sure," said the patrolman, "But you can't bait 'em!"

2. they walk among us...
* I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area, so I went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never showed up.

She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands.

"Now," she asked me, "has your plane arrived yet?"

Yes, they walk among us!

* While waiting for my order at a pizza parlor, I observed a man ordering a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into 4 pieces or 6.

He thought about it for some time before responding.

"Just cut it into 4 pieces; I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat 6 pieces."

Yep, they walk among us!

* At a McDonald's in Florida, I asked the clerk for a cup of coffee - half regular and half decaf.

She asked me which one I wanted on the bottom. She wasn't even blonde.

Yep, they do walk among us!

quick, look behind you. there may be one of them there....

A blind man wanders into an all girls biker bar by mistake. He finds his way to a bar stool and orders some coffee.

After sitting there for awhile, he yells to the waiter, "Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?"

The bar immediately falls absolutely silent. In a very deep, husky voice, the woman next to him says, "Before you tell that joke sir, I think it is only fair -- given that you are blind -- that you should know five things:

1. The bartender is a blonde girl with a baseball bat.
2. The bouncer is a blonde girl.
3. I'm a 6 foot tall, 175 lb. Blonde woman with a black belt in karate.
4. The woman sitting next to me is blonde and a professional weightlifter.
5. The lady to your right is blonde and a professional wrestler.

Now, think about it seriously, Mister. Do you still wanna tell that joke?"

The blind man thinks for a second, shakes his head, and mutters, "No... Not if I'm gonna have to explain it five times

...bet they left him alone?

4. when it's okay to say f***...

Bear of a golf game


WARNING: hold on to your lunch WITH this one:

Bread mouse

i tried to warn ya...

24 June 2007

how can this be a sin?

Ferrari F430 Spider in Yellow

will someone please explain?

BXVI this past week published a pastoral letter: "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road." It's a ten commandments of the road. Really. No one could make this sh** up.

The Vatican instructed its followers to take the high road Tuesday, issuing 10 commandments calling for those behind the wheel to drive with as much moral purpose as they live their lives.Vatican driving commandments pave highway to heaven

If you haven't seen them, here they are:
  1. You shall not kill.
  2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.
  3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.
  4. Be charitable and help your neighbour in need, especially victims of accidents.
  5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.
  6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.
  7. Support the families of accident victims.
  8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.
  9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.
  10. Feel responsible toward others.

Except for #5, all of the rest are just common sense rules of the road. What about #5?

The photo at the beginning of the post is a yellow F430 Ferrari Spider. It warms the cockles of my heart. I suppose someone would say that I may be coveting it. I'm not. I just think it is the greatest looking car in the world. As far as people owning it and using it for a status symbol or an expression of power and domination, anyone who owns one doesn't need any status symbol, just for the fact that they can afford it.

And as far as a sin, Amadeo Felisa, Ferrari's general manager reacted the best:
Felisa noted that Ferraris could be used in such a manner, but that most of the marque's customers make a purchase because they simply love to drive. He also told Reuters that while he was sure buying a Ferrari isn't a sin, that if it was, well, "you should commit at least one from time to time." Ferrari to Vatican: We're not a sin! - Autoblog.com

mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa...

one should be proud of their culpa...

more fodder on Cheney - part 1a...

Seems that the Washington Post is also reporting that Cheney intercepted White House emails putting a process in place that all emails coming from the WH would automatically cc to him and/or his staff.
At the White House, [White House national security lawyer John] Bellinger sent Rice a blunt — and, he thought, private — legal warning. The Cheney-Rumsfeld position would place the president indisputably in breach of international law and would undermine cooperation from allied governments. …

One lawyer in his office said that Bellinger was chagrined to learn, indirectly, that Cheney had read the confidential memo and “was concerned” about his advice. Thus Bellinger discovered an unannounced standing order: Documents prepared for the national security adviser, another White House official said, were “routed outside the formal process” to Cheney, too. The reverse did not apply.

Powell asked for a meeting with Bush. The same day, Jan. 25, 2002, Cheney’s office struck a preemptive blow. It appeared to come from Gonzales, a longtime Bush confidant whom the president nicknamed “Fredo.” Hours after Powell made his request, Gonzales signed his name to a memo that anticipated and undermined the State Department’s talking points. The true author has long been a subject of speculation, for reasons including its unorthodox format and a subtly mocking tone that is not a Gonzales hallmark.

So, we have the vice-president and his staff spying on his boss' staff; not following his boss' order on the treatment of classified documents; not allowing records of visitors and appointments to be monitored by his boss' government agencies; having the president sign orders that his senior staff knows nothing about; and what else...?

At this point, any boss would fire an employee for these types of actions.

Where is the pink slip?

Of course there is another boss that both the Czar and Rasputin have - the people. Isn't it time that the people made more of a ruckus so that their representatives started the process to put in motion the writing of a pink slip?

just asking...

the lion sleeps tonight...

Hank Medress is the voice on one of the most popular songs written, the title of this post. He died at the age of 68 this past week. Below is what probably has become the most well-liked version produced:

brings a smile to my face every time I watch it...

the lion is asleep...

well, someone thinks he is above the law...

or so it seems in this case...

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Cheney is not obligated to submit to oversight by an office that safeguards classified information, as other members and parts of the executive branch are. Cheney's office has contended that it does not have to comply because the vice president serves as president of the Senate, which means that his office is not an "entity within the executive branch."

"This is a little bit of a nonissue," Perino said at a briefing dominated by the issue. Cheney is not subject to the executive order, she said, "because the president gets to decide whether or not he should be treated separately, and he's decided that he should."
Washington Post, June 24, 2007

How convenient!

The Czar is right now in the process of updating the executive order on the issue of oversight of classified information and tips his hand by saying he never meant to include Rasputin, er, sorry, Mr. Cheney.

or, did Mr. Cheney back Mr. Bush into a corner on this one?

or do we have a rogue entity in the executive branch?

just asking...

22 June 2007

NO ONE is above the law cheney fodder - part 1...

well, except Vice President Cheney.

Agency Is Target in Cheney Fight on Secrecy Data
New York Times, June 22, 2007
For four years, Vice President Dick Cheney has resisted routine oversight of his office’s handling of classified information, and when the National Archives unit that monitors classification in the executive branch objected, the vice president’s office suggested abolishing the oversight unit, according to documents released yesterday by a Democratic congressman.

Mr. Cheney says he is not part of the Executive Branch so he doesn't need to follow the established guidelines. Guidelines not only put into place by previous administrations as Executive Orders [Mr Bush last updated it in 2003] but also backed up by Congressional law AND reinforced by the U.S. Constitution!

His argument?
Other officials familiar with Mr. Cheney’s view said that he and his legal adviser, David S. Addington, did not believe that the executive order applied to the vice president’s office because it had a legislative as well as an executive status in the Constitution.
huh? Even Congressional committees abide by oversight of classified documents.

The counter-argument?
In the tradition of Washington’s semantic dust-ups, this one might be described as a fight over what an “entity” is. The executive order, last updated in 2003 and currently under revision, states that it applies to any “entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information.”

J. William Leonard, director of the oversight office, has argued in a series of letters to Mr. Addington that the vice president’s office is indeed such an entity. He noted that previous vice presidents had complied with the request for data on documents classified and declassified, and that Mr. Cheney did so in 2001 and 2002.

If the vice-president is the first person to succeed should the president die or be replaced, then of what branch of the government is he part? He doesn't rule on laws. He doesn't make laws; he only breaks tied votes in the Senate. Are there more than three branches? Did I miss something in the scores of History and Political Science classes I took?

oh, wait. The branch Cheney must be part of is the politburo.

No, wait again. Czarist Russia didn't have a politburo. It must then be the Okhrona - the Czar's Secret Police.

now that makes sense. doesn't it?

just asking...


be careful what you say...

A man died and went to Heaven. As he stood in front of the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him. He asked, "What are all those clocks?"

St Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock move."

"Oh", said the man. "Whose clock is that?"

"That's Mother Teresa's", replied St Peter. "The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie."

"Incredible", said the man. "And whose clock is that one?"

St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abraham told only two lies in his entire life."

"Where's George Bush's clock?" asked the man.

St.Peter responded, "George Bush's clock is in Jesus' office. He's using it as a ceiling fan."

do you think signing statements are lies?

just asking...

21 June 2007

the company that delivers...


Uploaded by GayClic

that's some delivery...

wonder if UPS and FedEx offer the same service?

just asking...

special what's going on here...

Missing Soldier's Wife Faces Deportation

While the U.S. military searches for a soldier missing in Iraq, kidnapped by insurgents possibly allied with al Qaeda, his wife back home in Massachusetts may be deported by the U.S. government.

Army Spec. Alex Jimenez, who has been missing since his unit was attacked by insurgents in Iraq on May 12, had petitioned for a green card for his wife, Yaderlin Hiraldo, whom he married in 2004.
CBS News

Mrs. Jimenez came to this country to marry her husband at a military base. She is following the guidelines set out for immigration. If she is deported, she will not be able to reenter the U.S. for 10 years! If her husband is found alive, she won't be able to see him. If her husband is found murdered, she won't be able to visit his grave.

I simply can't believe this.

Is this government staffed by real people? People who have sensibility, compassion and caring? People who have an idea what it is to be human? People who see the injustice of rules and regulations that are against the presiding principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution?

The really sad thing about these people is that they are usually the ones who espouse with verbal violence their belief in Leviticus 19:18 & Matthew 22:37-40 - Love thy neighbor as thyself...

This is a story that Rufus Wainwright's new song - Going to a Town
- addresses.

I'm going to a town that has already been burned down
I'm going to a place that is already been disgraced
I'm gonna see some folks who have already been let down.
I'm so tired of America

20 June 2007

something wicked this way comes...

is one of my favorite books by Ray Bradbury. He has written many short stories and novels over the years and many have been made into movies and plays. His most prominent book is Fahrenheit 451.

The story is set in the not so distant future. [It was written in 1953.] The premise of the story is that the government has banned all books. The reference of the title is that paper begins to burn at 451 degrees. The book tells the story of one of the firemen responsible for hunting out and destroying books and the personal struggle he goes through. It's quite a prophetic tale.

One of my earliest posts on this website was entitled flickers of 1930's germany... on 10 May 2005. It dealt with Oklahoma lawmakers trying to ban books with gay themes or references. It made reference to the Nazi book burnings as the most infamous of bookburning's history.

Well, we haven't come very far since either Nazi Germany or Oklahoma in 2005. Here is a story that is not just ironic but sad. Your jaw will drop when you see the irony in this video of a local news broadcast. It is 100% legit.

I could go in a very sardonic* direction with this story, but I am really very, very sad over it. The man and his daughter are... are... idiots! I have a very specific definition of an idiot, one that a class of 4th grade students I taught came up with. I may have mentioned it before in a post.

ignorant is okay. It only means you don't know something but you can find it out.

stupid is knowing better but doing something anyway.

idiocy is being too stupid to know that you are ignorant.

It's very sad that these people do not realize just how ironic what they are doing is.

It is things like this that test my belief in hope. It is things like this that in the past made me think that maybe a nuclear war would have been a good thing. We would have been forced to start all over. The problem with this idea is in the upper left-hand corner of the website - Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

*sardonic - grimly mocking or cynical.

the next 579 days...

John Aravosis over at AmericaBlog.com says it best in his comment on Bush's veto of the stem cell research bill -

Bush vetoes stem cell bill

Bush and his advisers have chosen to define his remaining year and a half of his presidency as "saying no" to the Democrats, and to the American people. (And in fact, the Republicans on the Hill have done the same - they consistently filibuster everything.) They have no plan for the nation, they have no vision for the future. Rather than figure out a new course for the country, Bush and the GOP will simply say "no" until his time runs out. We've seen this with Iraq, and every other issue they've ever touched. They don't feel the need to compromise, they don't feel the need to talk or consult with anyone. They don't even feel the need to obey the law. They do what they want, even if the overwhelming majority of the American people have had enough (the Terri Schiavo fiasco wasn't an exception, it was the rule). The only good thing to come from this travesty is that Republicans in Congress will yet again be forced to defend Bush's veto, they will yet again be forced to choose whether they side with Bush or the American people. And the more of these votes we have, the more the American people will hold the Republicans responsible at the ballot box, yet again.

There really is nothing else to be said. We are going to be in a stagnant life for the next 579 days. There is no vision. There is no freedom. There is no true democracy. There is no leadership. The people are not only blaming the Czar but also the Democratic Congress. We have our own selves to thank for this.

What was it that Ollie always said to Stan? Oh yeah...

Another fine mess you've gotten us into....

Laurel and Hardy


I am not a big fan of the Human Rights Campaign because their focus for the last few years has appeared to be on only one thing: same sex marriage.

Personally, though I think it is an admirable cause, I do not believe that it should look like the sole cornerstone of the movement for equal rights. The christianists have used this issue as their focal point.

I think that working at a more inclusive concern is needed first. They possibly think that working on marriage would be the way to do this. I don't.

HRC recently has been putting their weight behind all inclusive justice - Take Action Against Hate Crimes.

This is exactly what I think the focal point should be. People need to know that no matter who or what someone is they have the right to live. If they are not alive, how can they enjoy any other parts of freedom? I also believe that the Matthew Shepard Law should include ALL people/groups - the military, the police, the elderly, the young, religious groups...

Add your voice to the campaign by clicking here: Fight Hate Crimes

19 June 2007

out of my mind...

I have yet to really weigh in on the presidential posturing going on for the 2008 election because, mainly, I think it's too early and I'm not really excited about anyone in particular who is running. I would be, if Al Gore were to throw his hat in the proverbial ring. But that's another story.

I watched the AFSCME Presidential Forum this morning on MSNBC. I came to a couple of realizations through it. Barack Obama is full of himself; Hillary Clinton migh not be as bad as I thought; John Edwards is a more practical Al Gore; and Bill Richardson has nothing to lose so he can say the truth.

I'm going to work backwards in explanation.

Bill Richardson had many very practical things to say. He stood for things in answering the questions not being afraid to play it as it lays. He would do most all of the things that the American people seem to want given the polls. I'm not sure how he would be as president, but do we ever really know until it's a reality? At this point, if he is nominated, I would have no problem voting for him.

John Edwards
has learned a lot since the 2000 election. He seems to know what to say and do and he isn't afraid to take a stand on things. He seems to be swift-boated by stories like the $400 haircut. This is the type of thing on which pundits like to focus. An interesting post over at TPMCafe points out that in a Fox poll the same number of people are aware of his $400 haircut as still believe that Saddam Hussein had WMD's. Priorities must be set. He was very precise on the stands when asked questions and he focused on solutions. On the whole, I feel comfortable that, if Edwards would be nominated, I would have not problem in voting for him at this point.

I have always had a problem with Hillary Clinton. I think that her husband, Bill, was the best thing for the country when he was elected and that he made a difference as president in matters that counted. I hesitate on Hillary mainly because of her reaction when her health insurance initiate was put down. Not the initiative itself. If you look at the combination of all of today's candidates, Republican and Democrat, you will realize that all of their health insurance plans either follow Hillary's, are complete copies, or contain many of the major points. The plan wasn't a problem; the politics were. At the AFSCME conference today, she sounded sure of herself, able to make decisions, and, maybe, just maybe, able to not take things serious when they are personal. Today, I would be comfortable in voting for her if she were nominated.

Barack Obama is, and has been in my opinion, something of a blowhard. I live in Illinois. I think he was effective as a state legislator. I voted for him for U.S. Senator. I am very disappointed in his performance. He made a lot of promises when he ran for senator. One of which was that he would not run for another office, namely president. It didn't take long for his mind to be changed. He also is right now having some problems that haven't really become national news involving corruption, a la Chicago-style. Besides that, he really doesn't say anything of substance when I hear him speak. One of the commentators on MSNBC after Obama spoke said that it was a very good stump speech. That's exactly what I was thinking as I listened to him at the podium. There really wasn't much substance to what he said. He received an enthusiastic response from the audience at AFSCME. He has the ability to rouse the populace with idealistic fervor. At this time, we need more than idealism and fervor. I would not feel comfortable in voting for Obama if he were nominated.

of course, given what the Republicans have to offer, there also might not be much of a choice...

this is just out of my mind...

18 June 2007

Oh what a circus! Oh what a show!

The fallout from the US Attorney scandal is starting to settle into the day to day operations of the courts and having an effect that anyone should have foreseen. From today's LA Times June 17, 2007:
U.S. attorneys fallout seeps into courts

Defense lawyers in a growing number of cases are raising questions about the motives of government lawyers who have brought charges against their clients. In court papers, they are citing the furor over the U.S. attorney dismissals as evidence that their cases may have been infected by politics.

In effect, what could happen is that any defense attorney can say that the prosecution of her/his client is politically motivated and the seed is planted. The justice behind any case could be in question.

thanks, Mr. Gonzales. You've bolstered the justice system in ways that are unique...

monday morning mayhem...

1. if you have the power...
A State Highway employee stopped at a farm to talk with an old Iowa farmer.

He told the farmer, "I need to inspect your farm for a possible new road."

The old farmer said, "OK, but you can't go in that field over there."

The Highways employee boasted, "I have the authority of the State Government to go where I want. See this card? I am allowed to go wherever I wish on your farm land."

The old farmer shrugged his shoulders and went on about his farm chores.

A short while later, he heard loud screams and saw the State Highways employee running for the fence and close behind was the farmer's prize bull. The bull was madder than a nest full of hornets and the bull was gaining on the employee at every step!!

The old farmer called out, "Show him your card!!"

2. does it pay to drink and drive sometimes?
An Irishman who had a little too much to drink is driving home from the city one night and, of course, his car is weaving violently all over the road.

A cop pulls him over.

"So," says the cop to the driver, where have ya been?"

"Why, I've been to the pub of course," slurs the drunk.

"Well," says the cop, "it looks like you've had quite a few to drink this evening."

"I did all right," the drunk says with a smile.

"Did you know," says the cop, standing straight and folding his arms across his chest, "that a few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?"

"Oh, thank heavens," sighs the drunk. "For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf."

3. the confessional...
A drunk staggers into a Catholic Church, enters a confessional booth, sits down, but says nothing.

The Priest coughs a few times to get his attention but the drunk continues to sit there.

Finally, the Priest pounds three times on the wall.

The drunk mumbles, "Ain't no use knockin', there's no paper on this side either!"

4. oh, oh, caught again...

Dog Magnet

17 June 2007

oh. my. god...

[well, he/she is actually not mine...]

Wingnuts are going to have a field day with this...

In the Classroom, a New Focus on Quieting the Mind
As summer looms, students at dozens of schools across the country are trying hard to be in the present moment. This is what is known as mindfulness training, in which stress-reducing techniques drawn from Buddhist meditation are wedged between reading and spelling tests.

Mindfulness, while common in hospitals, corporations, professional sports and even prisons, is relatively new in the education of squirming children. But a small but growing number of schools in places like Oakland and Lancaster, Pa., are slowly embracing the concept — as they did yoga five years ago — and institutions, like the psychology department at Stanford University and the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, are trying to measure the effects.
New York Times, June 17, 2007

And for two reasons.
  1. with progressives and activist judges keeping religion out of the schools, they'll see this as direct affront to their efforts to put it back in and
  2. it's not christian!
oh, my...

If you read the article from the NYT, you will notice that the focus of mindfulness is really only on the meditative techniques by having students focus on calming the thoughts in their minds that may get in the way of learning and study. There is no reference to any religious beliefs at all.

Meditation according to Wikipedia is a state of concentrated attention on some object of thought or awareness. It usually involves turning the attention inward to the mind itself. Before christianists get their skirts all in a bunch, not only are certain forms of prayer considered meditation, but there is reference to it in the Old Testament:
"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it, then you will be prosperous and successful." (Joshua 1:8)

Having worked with kids for almost 40 years, I understand the myriad of things that go round and round in their heads. When you come to school after watching your mother's boyfriend hit her in the head, when you have to deal with the shooting on the block over the weekend, when you live with 10 other people in a small apartment, when your father just lost a $150,000 job, when your stomach is growling because you didn't have breakfast, how can you expect to have a clear mind to learn that ∏ = 3.414 or that Manifest Destiny was the governement's policy in the early 19th century that believe that the U.S. was destined to expand from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans? AND what difference will knowing these things make in your life anyway?

I say, "What ever works." Anyone who limits their experience and thinking to only one way is poor not only in judgment but also in humanity...

The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity.
And the ways our differences combine
to create meaning and beauty.

Spock and Miranda, Is There in Truth No Beauty?

15 June 2007

June 15, 1215...

on Runnymede Meadow King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta if he wanted to continue to rule England. In effect, it was a contract that the rebellious nobles had him sign limiting his powers in exchange for his right to rule.

The most important limitation of his powers was habeas corpus. It is the cornerstone of freedom in the modern world and it has been in existence for almost 800 years. In the United States it was built into the Constitution and before that the Articles of Confederation. It was suspended by President Lincoln during the Civil War and went into Reconstruction; Congress granted President Clinton leeway with habeas corpus after the bombing in Oklahoma; and finally, in 2001 Congress gave Bush a free hand that he hasn't hesitated to use.

I remember finding the Magna Carta by mistake in the British Museum Library during the last century. I was there with a friend and we got lost ending up in back staircases and hallways. When we entered the room our mouths fell open with the number of documents and books we had read about. I remember standing and staring at the Magna Carta. I had earned my B.A. in History with a focus on Constitutional history that relied heavily on the movement towards democracy and especially with British history. The importance of this document was clear in my mind, and seeing the actual thing was an amazement I had never imagined. It is now in the British Library and I have since seen it again there. It still holds me mesmerized.

If you stop and think about it, the Magna Carta is the beginning of the death of the right of kings. When King John signed it, he was agreeing that his right to rule did not come directly from God. The people, ie the nobles at that time, gave him the authority to rule, along with understandings that he no longer had free rein in certain areas. One of the major things was habeas corpus. He no longer had the right to imprison anyone without showing just cause and without swift justice. It was a true revolutionary change.

What is really amazing is that 800 years later we are again fighting for it. Just this week the 4th District Federal Appeals Court said that the Bush administration could not act outside of the Constitution in holding prisoners without just cause.

Other parts of the world are still fighting for it. We have had this right since the beginning of the country and here we again find that it is still not sacrosanct in the U.S.

Happy Birthday, Habeas Corpus!

more proof...

All of a sudden there are leads to the agenda popping up on the internet.

First it was Andrew Sullivan referencing it in his post The Gay Bomb.

Now, I've found reference to two of the agenda items on Good As You in reference to the right's knowing more about sex between two members of the same sex than, than, than... two members of the same sex!

The quote below from the post is in reference to the Christian Civic League's Michael Heath who seems obsessed with it.
Because I don't know about you, but this writer cares to do nothing more than to run off and discuss the intimate details of his sex life with Michael Heath. In fact, isn't that on like page 23 of our "agenda" -- "POST-COITUS, ALL ADOPTERS OF THE HOMOSEXUAL LIFESTYLE MUST GO FIND THE NEAREST CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE AND SHARE THE LASCIVIOUS DETAILS"? I think it's page 23, though I might be confusing it with page 37: "SIPHON A FERAL GOAT'S BLOOD AND PROCEED TO SPIT IT ON THE NEAREST BIBLE."

Now, I can't attest to the efficacy of these two items, but I can tell you that they, well, are not something I would vote for if it came to a point of order.

I mean, the last thing I ever want to do is hear about someone else's sexual behaviour whether they are straight or lgbt. Besides being boring, it also is uncomfortable to sit and listen to such things. I turn the channel sometimes when it happens on TV.

As far as the second agenda item cited in the post, why would I waste my time spitting on a fictionalized historical book? Not only that, but have you ever had goat before? It's worse than lamb! yuck...

should i state the obvious? oh, hell...

this doesn't sound like it's the real agenda.

quess i'll have to keep looking...

[note: yes, i think lamb is disgusting. it comes from having a british grandmother who cooked lamb as if it were mutton. you know - until it's dead - and serving it with mint jelly to cover up the taste.}

this is the crux...

The Massachusetts' legislature sitting in Constitutional Convention yesterday did not vote to put the question of same-sex marriage on the ballot in 2008 as a referendum.

Massuchesetts is the first state to have legalized same-sex marriage. It has been a constant controversy in the state since the right continuously brings it up to get it repealed. There is much debate on both sides of the issue, but the main thing is the fervor of the right to stem the tide of its evolution.

Many of the legislators previously in favor of the amendment switched their votes over the course of time to oppose it. It speaks to the passage of time as the healer of all wounds by giving people the experiences necessary to live with change. Change is the most fearful thing for human beings.

One of the legislators in Massachusetts, Representative Gale Candaras, made a statement to her supporters explaining her switch after the vote. Though it speaks much to her own process of coming to terms with accepting the inevitable, it actually points to the shift in the population's thinking. Rather that objectifying those that they fear, people are beginning to look at others as humans with the possibility that we are all one, together, in deference to our differences.

Here is the money quote from Rep. Candaras' statement that emphasizes this monumental change:

“I know from listening to my constituents, since I first became Senator this year that this vote, the vote I take today, is the right vote for the people I serve. I have been most impressed by the number of individuals who have called me and asked me to change my vote because they have changed their minds. One grandmother told me she had changed her mind and wanted me to change my vote in case one of her grandchildren grew up to be gay or lesbian. She did not want any of her grandchildren to be denied the right to marry the person they love. This is exactly the legacy we will leave to generations beyond us, and the example we can set for the nation and, I daresay the world, which is certainly paying attention to what we do and say here today. The Boston Globe, June 15, 2007

there is no one asking for anything special, in spite of what the right-wingnuts say, only the guarantee of being treated just like everyone else...


animals stuttering...

A teacher is explaining biology to her 4th grade students. "Human beings are the only animals that stutter," she says.

A little girl raises her hand. "I had a kitty-cat who stuttered," she volunteered.

The teacher, knowing how precious some of these stories could become, asked the girl to describe the incident.

"Well," she began, "I was in the back yard with my kitty and the rottweiler that lives next door got a running start and before we knew it, he jumped over the fence into our yard!

"That must've been scary," said the teacher.

"It sure was," said the little girl.

"My kitty raised his back, went 'Fffff, Fffff, Fffff'...
And before he could say "F###," the rottweiler ate him!"

14 June 2007

the hero and the general...

In the last update on Adam Kokesh, I reported that the military panel recommended a general discharge and that it had to go to the general to whom Adam wrote one of the emails for final adjudication. Well, the general made his decision. The decision is the one that most people expected:

Anti-war Marine receives discharge below honorable
An Iraq war veteran was kicked out of the Marines with a general discharge after he wore his uniform during an anti-war demonstration, the military announced Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. John Bergman, commanding general of Marine Forces Reserve in New Orleans, agreed Monday to give Adam Kokesh a general discharge under honorable conditions, based on a military panel's recommendation.
Chicago Tribune, Jue 14, 2007

Now what do you suppose the decision would have been had a different general had to make the final decision? Right! The exact same one.

That's no going to be the end of it. Kokesh and his attorney intend to appeal, ultimately moving into the courts.

Mike Lebowitz, an attorney for Kokesh, said he planned to appeal to the Navy Discharge Review Board in Washington, which he described as a step toward getting the case into federal court.

Part of the problem, remember, is that Adam Kokesh had already been given an Honorable Discharge. This was an attempt to remove him from that status. They originally wanted to revoke it and replace it with a Less that Honorable discharge, in which case Adam would have lost all veteran's benefits.

And it's not stopping there:
Two other Iraq veterans were contacted by the Marines about their protest activities. "Now that the Marine Corps is going after honorably discharged members, who are in fact civilians, for free speech rights, we are fighting back," Lebowitz said Wednesday. "We are seeking a precedent in federal court."

So what's going on here?

You can be in the military to fight for the freedom and democratic principles of the country. However, when you exercise those rights by questioning the involvement of the country in a war that you no longer believe in, then you become a...

a what?

the saga continues...

and it keeps getting better and better or worser and worser depending on which side you butter your toast...

Gonzo Under Investigation by His Own Department
In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the two officials who are leading an internal Justice Department investigation of the dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys last year said their inquiry includes the Gonzales meeting, which was revealed during testimony last month from former Gonzales aide Monica M. Goodling.

"This is to confirm that the scope of our investigation does include this matter," wrote Glenn A. Fine, the inspector general, and H. Marshall Jarrett, counsel of the Office of Professional Responsibility.
Washington Post

Not only is the House and the Senate investigating the case of the US Attorneys so is the Department of Justice - and its boss to boot!

oh, my! what is the honorable thing to do? be the Attorney General of the United States under indictment OR retired so as not to embarrass your boss?

and by your boss, i am not referring to mr. gonzales but his boss - you know who...

13 June 2007


House Un-American Activities Committee...

This committee was in existence until 1975 and held hearings on anything and everything that possibly threaten the security of the U.S keeping lists of people/citizens who it considered a threat to national security. It began in 1938 to investigate the growing Soviet threat to the nation's security. The committee of nine representatives investigated suspected threats of subversion or propaganda that attacked "the form of government guaranteed by our Constitution." Its most notable accomplishment was the arrest and conviction of Alger Hiss for perjury. They believed he lied to the committee, though the controversy still rages.

The Senate had its counterpart.

The Committee on Government Operations was the Senate counterpart. It had the most notoriety. Does the name Joseph McCarthy ring a bell? He had quite a list, hunting down a perceived threat by Communists. [That's big C, not little c.]

Oh, the Senate committee actually is still in existence. It's now called the United States Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

It, as we are all aware, has its own list. Though it doesn't hunt down Communists any more, it now has terrorists.

There is a third group with a list also - the FBI. It probably is working with the Senate committee.

This is HUAC and the Senate committee and the FBI circa June 2007 -
FBI Terror Watch List 'Out of Control'
A terrorist watch list compiled by the FBI has apparently swelled to include more that half a million names.

Privacy and civil liberties advocates say the list is growing uncontrollably, threatening its usefulness in the war on terror.
ABCNews, The Blotter
509,000 people to be exact. As the Federal 4th District Court of Appeals pointed out in its ruling yesterday, there seems to be a lot to be desired about these lists and their legitimacy. They are legal, but that does not mean that they are legitimate. Constitutional safeguards have been under attack since 2001.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have no problem with preventing attacks on the country and its citizens. I question the extent, the fairness and the actual workability of so vast a program. Who is actually in control and who is controlling them? Appeals courts over the last couple of weeks are asking these questions and with their rulings are taking some control.

I have the utmost trust in the Rule of Law. It has served and protected the US since 1789. It's going to continue to work.

oh, wait...

do these guys count as activist judges?

12 June 2007


PROOF! I've been looking in all the wrong places.

from today's Andrew Sullivan's Daily dish:

The Gay Bomb
12 Jun 2007 10:33 am
A reader responds to the news report that amazingly was not in the Onion:
The next item on the GAY AGENDA is clear: we MUST obtain the plans for this bomb and blow it up in the largest city in every red state! Let's all meet at the usual top-secret, undisclosed location. Sorry, Mary Cheney, you're not invited.

There has been talk about this agenda but I've never been able to find a copy of it anywhere. Now, at least, someone is saying that there is one. I still don't know what's on it, but...

Wait a minute...

Where is the the usual top-secret, undisclosed location?

This doesn't do me any good. I don't know where to go...

curses, foiled again...

can someone please explain...

How can Sen. Joe Lieberman be saying/doing/backing the things he has been for the last couple years AND have been Al Gore's vice-presidential running mate in 2000?

i'm not sure i understand this one.

just asking...

another move BACK towards democracy - update...

UPDATE The New York Times, today - June 12, 2007, had a great ending to its editorial regarding the court's ruling:
This ruling is another strong argument for bringing Mr. Bush’s detention camps under the rule of law. Congress can do that by repealing the odious Military Commissions Act of 2006, which endorsed Mr. Bush’s twisted system of indefinite detentions, by closing Guantánamo Bay and by allowing the courts to sort out the prisoners — not according to the whims of one president with an obvious disdain for the balance of powers but by the rules of justice that have guided this nation for more than 200 years.

11 June 2007

another move BACK towards democracy...

Court Says Military Cannot Hold 'Enemy Combatant'
...a federal appeals court ordered the Pentagon to release a man being held as an enemy combatant.

“To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians," Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote, “even if the President calls them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution — and the country.”
“We refuse to recognize a claim to power,” Judge Motz added, “that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.”

The opinion was 2-1. Judges Diana Gribbon Motz & Roger L Gregory were the majority; Judge Henry E Hudson wrote the dissenting opinion. Not so surprisingly, Judges Motz and Gregory are Clinton appointees. The dissenting judge, Hudson, is a George W Bush appointee. Would you have expected anything else?

al-Marri was in the US legally and that is the crux of this ruling. It differentiates between constitutional and statutory habeas corpus. The former is guaranteed by the Constitution to U.S. citizens. The latter is determined by Congress in reference to non-citizens who are in the US legally.

The Fourth Court of Appeals ruling is based on the fact that al-Marri entered the US with his family legally.
That is what we are talking about here . . . .” 152 Cong. Rec. H7548 (daily ed. Sept. 27, 2006) (statement of Rep. Sensenbrenner); see also H.R. Rep. No. 109-664, pt. 2, at 5-6 (2006) (noting that “aliens receive constitutional protections when they have come within the territory of the United States and developed substantial connections with this country” and that the MCA “clarifies the intent of Congress that statutory habeas corpus relief is not available to alien unlawful enemy
combatants held outside of the United States.
United States Fourth District Court of Appeals, 06-7427

Hudson's dissent goes through a number of different arguments, including the the fact that the court had previously upheld the President's right to declare a person an enemy combatant given cause. However, the end of the dissent is very interesting:
Although al-Marri was not personally engaged in armed conflict with U.S. forces, he is the type of stealth warrior used by al Qaeda to perpetrate terrorist acts against the United States. Al-Marri’s detention is authorized under the AUMF “to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.” AUMF § 2(a). Furthermore, setting aside the amorphous distinction between an “enemy combatant” and an “enemy belligerent,” there is little doubt from the evidence that al-Marri was present in the United States to aid and further the hostile and subversive activities of the organization responsible for the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

What is interesting to me is that Hudson's language is written as if he believes that al-Marri is quilty or that he has already been tried and found guilty. Either way, the court was dealing with the question of his right of habeas corpus. He hasn't been tried in a civilian court or a military tribunal. This court is determining whether or not he can be held without habeas corpus or, as the Czar believes, can be detained without habeas corpus. George W thinks that he has the right to hold someone for as long as he wants and with not telling anyone the reasons.

This court is saying, "Whoa! You, sir, have overstepped your Constitutional limits and you still have to abide by them as per the Constitution."

This is a major step. The problem is that the Czar will absolutely, positively have it appealed and it will, like the other cases that have gone against him in the last several days, end up at the Supreme Court.

We know what Justice Ginsburg thinks about the tenor of the current SCOTUS make-up. [Over Ginsburg's Dissent, Court Limits Bias Suits]

when hope is gone, though...

Senator Trent Lott - “This is not the British Parliament...”

No-Confidence Vote on Gonzales Fails in the Senate
WASHINGTON, June 11 — Senate Democrats fell short this afternoon in their effort to hold a vote of no confidence in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales but still registered a strong, if symbolic, rebuke of the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

The Senate voted 53 to 38 to end debate and allow a vote on the no-confidence motion itself. Since 60 votes were required to shut off the debate, or invoke cloture, supporters of the motion were lacking seven votes. But Mr. Gonzales’s critics could console themselves with the knowledge that they mustered a majority....
New York Times, June 11, 2007

It was expected, of course, and that some Republicans voted for proceeding with the vote of no confidence is encouraging. However, it still doesn't answer a lot of questions, and there is one more big question that I have.

You can see the way the senators' voted here: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 110th Congress - 1st Session. At the bottom are the names of the senators not voting -
Not Voting - 7
Biden (D-DE)
Brownback (R-KS)
Coburn (R-OK)
Dodd (D-CT)
Johnson (D-SD)
McCain (R-AZ)
Obama (D-IL)

With Coburn and Johnson I might be able to accept a plausible explanation.

Aren't the others all running for presidential nominations? Would it not have been wise for them to have at least appeared and voted present?

just asking...

oh, and there was a second part to Trent Lott's statement about the Senate not being the British Parliament - “...and I hope it will never become the British Parliament.”

that wasn't a very nice thing to say, was it?

monday morning mayhem...

1. where bad ideas come from...

Where bad ideas come from

2. it's not nice to stare...
Don't you just love old people!!

I was at the mall the other day eating at the food court. I noticed an old man watching a teenager sitting next to him.

The teenager had spiked hair in all different colors; green, red, orange, and blue.

The old man kept staring at him. The teenager would look and find the old man staring every time.

When the teenager had enough, he sarcastically asked,
"What's the matter old man, never done anything wild in your life?"

The old man did not bat an eye in his response. He replied,
"Got drunk once and had sex with a peacock. I was just wondering if you were my son."

3. doctor I have a pain...

HMO doctor

4. animal husbandry...
A farmer down in South Georgia , had five female pigs. Times were hard, so he decided to take them to the county fair and sell them.

At the fair, he met another farmer who owned five male pigs. After talking a bit, they decided to mate the pigs and split everything fifty-fifty.

The farmers lived sixty miles apart. So they agreed to drive thirty miles each, and find a field in which to let the pigs mate.

The first morning, the farmer with the female pigs got up at 5 a.m., loaded the pigs into the family station wagon, which was the only vehicle he had, and drove the thirty miles.

While the pigs were mating, he asked the other farmer, "How will I know if they are pregnant?"

The other farmer replied, "If they're in the grass in the morning, they're pregnant, if they're in the mud, they're not."

The next morning the pigs were rolling in the mud. So he hosed them off, loaded them into the family station wagon again and proceeded to try again. This continued each morning for more than a week.

One morning the farmer was so tired, he couldn't get out of bed. He called to his wife, "Honey, please look outside and tell me whether the pigs are in the mud or in the grass."

"Neither," yelled his wife, "they're in the station wagon and one of them is honking the horn."

busy, busy busy...

fun weekend. didn't stop to post. couldn't. had things goin' on constantly.

i really love this not working thing.

friday - workout, massage, manicure, pedicure, dinner at the B Bistro with friends...

saturday - i can't remember saturday! hmmmmm?

sunday - brunch, Madama Butterfly at a very intimate venue, another French bistro dinner...

lots of conversation, lots of laughs, lots of friends, lots of food...

i think i need to do a double workout today...

it's a tough life, but someone's gotta do it!

08 June 2007


watch the audience faces. they're as stunned & amused as i was the first time i saw this.

henny youngman's look is what the *^#@>! bill maher has hair and is peeing his pants! margaret cho's look is classic huh? catch the underlying buzz in the room during the entire performance.

hope you all have the greatest weekend...

mine's chocked full. i love it!

06 June 2007

exactly what is it that is going to destroy traditional marriage?

How to stop illicit affairs? Have one-hour marriages, says Iranian cleric
The Shia Muslim tradition of temporary marriage, or sigheh, allows a man and a woman in Iran to marry for a set period of time, ranging from an hour to 99 years....

Mostafa Pourmohammadi, a cleric, said: "We have to find a solution to meet the sexual desire of the youth who have no possibility of marriage. Temporary marriage is God's rule. We must encourage that."

Is there a similar place in christian doctrine for 1-hour marriage? I know the Old Testament had David and Solomon with multiple wives and harems. Does that make it okay?

On the way home from the gym today I passed our local motel [cough, cough] with a sign that read:

Monday - Thursday

Think of it. The desk clerk can just perform the ceremony, fax the paper work to the county clerk, and say the words. With $4 more you might even be able to get a rose for the bride. Or a Trojan! It could happen...

Does Iran have DOMA? Oh, wait, they hang you for even thinking about two men or two women getting married. But it's okay to marry for one-hour?

05 June 2007


Boy, 15, lay down in front of train after gay taunts
A boy of 15 lay down in front of a train to commit suicide after being teased at school about his sexuality, an inquest was told yesterday.

Moments before he died, Jonathan Reynolds sent harrowing text messages to his family telling that them they were not to blame for what was about to happen. A passer-by saw him holding the mobile as he lay down on the tracks in front of a train travelling at 85mph (136km/h) through Pencoed railway station near Bridgend, South Wales.

In his last text message sent to his father, Mark, and his 14-year-old sister, Samantha, the teenager wrote: “Tell everyone that this is for anybody who eva said anything bad about me, see I do have feelings too. Blame the people who were horrible and injust 2 me. This is because of them, I am human just like them.

“I hope they rot in hell 4 what they made me do. They know who they are.”

He added: “None of you blame urself mum, dad, Sam and the rest of my family. This is not because of you.”
The TimesOnline.

15 years old!


The right-wing-nuts would undoubtedly say it was his choice. A fifteen year-old does not have the full story or capacity to make a choice like this. A fifteen year-old only knows what is going on in a super-hormonal cloud. She/he hasn't a long term thought about anything. They are coming to terms with what/who they are. They are facing one immediate crisis after another. To a fifteen year-old girl, what shade of lipstick to wear is a world crisis that is equal to anything that the United Nations debates. To a fifteen year-old boy, one scuff mark on his white gym shoes is a reason to start World War III.

As far as a fifteen year-old facing her/his sexuality, they know that there is something different about them, but they don't usually have anyone who can quide and support them through what being different is. They are all alone.

How do they know they're different? Everything they hear and see around them. Boys holding girls hands; school dances with boys and girls going together; the pastor talking about hell; a parent using a sexual slur. What a maze to go through just being a fifteen year-old. The maze for a teen questioning her/his sexuality has more turns, more dead ends, and much higher walls with what seems like no light shining through.

How does a 15-year old come to the decision that the only way through the maze is to get out? Totally, and not out of the closet - out of life! You can't get much more permanent than that.

I know how difficult it is to grow up. Not just because I did it myself, but I worked with kids for almost 40 years. Their thinking, their fears, their worries... were a part of my daily life. It was never far away.

I know how difficult it is to come to terms with sexuality also. I didn't come out formally until I was 31. While it seems that sexuality is paramount in the majority of American's minds, it's not to me. It's one of the last things I think about. The goodness in a person is much more important. You can be purple and asexual as far as I care.

Maybe, that's the reason I ask why. Just one life wasted, especially one that is so brief, is so far beyond my comprehension. This didn't have to happen. Jonathon didn't have to die. Matthew Shepard didn't have to die. Ryan Skipper didn't have to die.

to die because of who you are, whether you chose it or not, is not a very good reason; and to have people who want to see you crushed, put down, unequal, cursed, beaten, and dead for this is, is, is, [i'll say it!] unchristian...

what's going on here...

[yeah, i know i haven't done one in awhile, but this one is special]

In the second blow to the credibility of the Guantánamo legal process in a year, two different judges yesterday said the military tribunals did not have jurisdiction over detainees on the island.

and what does the White House have to say?
"We don't agree with the ruling on the military commissions," the White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, told reporters covering president Bush's visit to Prague.

"In no way does this decision affect the appropriateness of the military commission system."

of course, they're going to appeal it. The courts have no jurisdiction in the actions of the White House and its war on terror.

At the Democratic debate the other night, Wolf Blitzer asked if it was real or a bumper sticker topic. At this point, what difference does it make? It's like the story of the "boy who cried wolf." It's just that every couple of months the boy's handlers come out with something like the JFK plot in New York.

why do you think that is?

just asking...

here's to the heroes... update:

No Dishonorable Discharge For Anti-War Marine

A military panel has recommended a general discharge for an Iraq war veteran who wore his uniform during a war protest and later responded with an obscenity to a superior who told him he might have violated military rules.

but it's not an Honorable discharge. It's a general discharge. It's more like, "You're outta here." Adam won't have to lose his military benefits, but it's not over yet.

The recommendation of the military panel is not the final word.
Brig. Gen. Darrell L. Moore, one of two officers who received an e-mail from Kokesh that contained an obscenity, likely will decide whether to go along with the board's recommendation.

Kokesh himself is not happy with the outcome of the hearing because
"I do not think it was in the Marine Corps spirit to take the easy road or to not take a stand. In the words of Dante, the hottest layers of hell are reserved for those who in times of moral crisis maintain their neutrality, and I think that's what happened here today."

Quoting Dante?

courage, experience, looks, intelligence and knowledge of the classics, he's an even BIGGER hero to me now, especially with that quote.