Thursday, September 30, 2004

Brown Barney and me (that's Barney on the left!) and my nephew, Jack, in Crawford, Colorado. Posted by Hello

Rainy Day - First Debate and Druidry

It's raining today in Denver. Melissa and I did, however, make it to the park and we did run the lake. We saw only two other people; both runners. No dogs, though. Melissa was sorely disappointed.

Rereading my last two posts, it struck me that I'm sounding a wee bit like a Druid; looking for answers and wisdom from the lake Melissa and I circumnavigate each morning. Maybe I am a Druid. Wouldn't that perk-up my most Catholic mother's soul!

Well, the first debate is tonight. I'm wondering if, for example, some of the issues
Molly Ivins raises will be thrown out there for a response from Dumbya? Probably not. Will Kerry get off his polite, presidential persona for just five minutes and maybe, kinda get a little fire in his soul and ask Dumbya the important questions? Probably not. And, not because he couldn't do it, but, rather, because the "rules" of the debate appear to be quite restrictive, structured.

We'll see. Hoping for the best.

Got an email from Marla, my dear friend who lives in CRAWFORD, Colorado -- yes, I kid you not, Colorado has a Crawford, too -- with her husband Charley; two donkeys named Brown Barney (my buddy) and Blue Barney; about ten dogs; three or four cats and a wonderful horse named Sooner. Some of you may be aware that the Colorado Crawford is somewhat known because Joe Cocker used to own a bar down there and it was -- still is -- a major biker thoroughfare through Southwestern Colorado. It's located not far from the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Boy, is this a lazy, raining day or what?

Maybe more later.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

This Morning's Run - Reflections

Sweet Melissa Posted by Hello

As always, Melissa and I ran the lake at Berkeley Park this morning. And, the reflection off the surface of the lake at sunrise was, once again, golden fire shrouded slightly today by wisps of vapor hanging low over parts of the lake -- the lake being warmer than the air. Or, indeed, perhaps the little clouds, the white puffs inches above the surface of the lake were simply what I had hoped for; simply an acknowledgment that the ultimate wisdom of nature abhors the ruinous path Dumbya has taken.

Melissa, by the way, had her eleventh birthday on September 9th.

When we returned from our run, my cousin from Portland -- who is one of the most prolific and vitriolic of Dumbya's critics -- had sent this piece about another George in our history; and this little missive from Dumbya's hometown newspaper. My cousin, Butch -- I kid you not, that's his nickname -- entitled the second piece, "Even the Village Doesn't Want It's Idiot Back."

Did you know that:
1) The average family has lost ground during Bush's presidency. Since 2000, median family income (adjusted for inflation) has dropped by 3.4%;
2) GW Bush has the worst performance on job creation of the postwar presidents with roughly a million net jobs lost since his inauguration. He will join Herbert Hoover as the only presidents to experience such a net decline in jobs;
3) Since 2000, the ranks of the poor have increased by 4.3 million persons. The number of individuals who are uninsured reached a record high of 45 million. Bush's 2003 budget deficit of $445 billion is the highest in history;
4) Bush's tax cuts are responsible for more than half of the 2004 deficit;
5) Columbia University historian, Alan Brinkely, writes: "Since 1932, we have not had a president who has been more closely allied with business and more sympathetic to large and powerful corporations;"
6) During the past three years, Bush's tax cuts have provided as much of his total reduction in income taxes to the top 1 percent of the population, whose average yearly earnings are $1.2million, as to the bottom 80 percent. The middle class now has a larger share of the tax burden and faces a materially heightened threat to its long-term economic burden.

And, AND, I am told that amongst women, amongst mothers in our wonderful republic, Dumbya had gained a majority of their respect and confidence, because Dumbya is protecting those women's children from the terrorists; from the certain threat of the Islamic fanatics lacing those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with ricin or arsenic or, indeed, WMDs. Oh, how sad. How terribly sad.

I included the following in a short story years ago, when Ryan White -- that young hero, that exemplary example of courage in the face of overwhelming hate -- faced-off good American mommies who marched, who chanted, who ignorantly believed the demon was Ryan, sweet Ryan and not the bogeyman who had infested sweet Ryan with his particular collection of rancid charms. These good, decent American mommies didn't want HIV-infected children attending the same schools that their precious wards attended:

"And, so ... the good American mothers whose corpulent girths are well-earned from good lives lived caring for their men and their broods (Do you see the children now? Right now? Sucking their thumbs and clinging to the bottom hems of red or white or blue down-filled parkas which their mommies wear over Middle American broad shoulders and big breasts?); the good mothers with curlers in their hair and carrying homemade placards ("Johnny, where's the green magic marker for Christ's sake!") which are thrust in front and above their pincurled heads housing brains which got them out of high school and into the sack; oh, the good mothers shout, "NO AIDS ... NO AIDS ...," as they follow one another in a little circle (their broods a-wagging behind them) upon the sidewalks of Anytown, U.S.A. Ah, yes, and I wonder -- a twinkle in my eye -- after counting the kids clutching the moms, which one of you ten precious pups will become the scourge your mommy now fears, 'cause if I'm not mistaken, buckaroos, your mommies ain't half as afraid of AIDS as they are of queers."

Oh, the more we change, the more we stay the same.

It Just Doesn't Get Much Better Than This

In case you haven't heard, Dumbya has annoucned his intent to appoint Dr. W. David Hager to head the Food and Drug Administration's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. The appointment does not require Congressional approval.

The FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee makes important decisions relating to drugs used in the practice of obstetrics, gynecology and related specialties, including hormone therapy, contraception, treatment for infertility, and medical alternatives to surgical procedures for sterilization and preganancy termination.

Now, the good part! Dr. Hager, Dumbya's appointee, is the author of As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now. This is a book that dovetails accounts of Christ healing women with case studies from Hager's practice.

Among Dr. Hager's beliefs and practices, he:

1) Refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women;
2) Suggests that women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome seek help from reading the bible and praying;
3) Asserts that the common birth control pill is an abortifacient.

Can you imagine, just for a moment, what another four years of Dumbya will mean for this country? For women? For gay men and lesbians? For the poor? For veterans? For active military? For all of us? For the world?

Sweet Melissa and I did run the lake this morning. That post will come later. Just had to get this one going before I get out and work on finishing up the painting of the old house.

Thanks to Brian for forwarding the details on Dr. Hager to me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Some Thoughts - Scary and Not

My and Melissa's run around Berkeley Lake this morning was wonderful; the reflection of the orange sunrise reflected upon the eastern edge of the lake as fire and gold; a wealth, an effusion of the warmth of living, of running, of being alive with my Sweet Melissa at my side.

Sweet Melissa did, by the way, have her eleventh birthday on September 9th.

Then, upon returning home, I fired up the computer and checked out the news, the blogs, the email.

Did you know:
1) As of yesterday there were 1048 American fatalities in Iraq, with 7,413+ wounded;
2) Republican Senator Chuck Hagel told a CBS interviewer that, "We're in trouble, we're in deep trouble in Iraq;"
3) Republic Senator Richard Lugar, Foreign Relations Chairman, was asked by ABC why only $1Billion appropriated last year for Iraqi reconstruction has been spent. His reply: "Well, this is the incompetence in the administration;"
4) Retired General William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, said, "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends. I've never seen it so bad between the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interest have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaeda. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic;"
5) Retried General Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command said, "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong;"
6) James Webb, former secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan and decorated Marine Veteran said, "Do we really want to occupy Iraq for the next 30 years? In Japan, American occupation forces quickly became 50,000 friends. In Iraq, they would quickly become 50,000 terrorist targets. Nations such as China can only view the prospect of American military consumed for the next generation by the turmoil of the Middle East as a glorious windfall."

There's more. There's so much more.

In, I believe, thirty-five days we'll pull the lever, or punch the card (producing the chad) or touch the electronic screen to determine who will be our next president and, AND to determine the course of our country for, at least, the next four years. And, I'm taking Michael Moore's advice and saying, Fuck the Anybody But Bush polemic. Bush must go. And, at this point, the only way Dumbya is going to go is if John Kerry is elected President of these United States.

Tomorrow morning, as Sweet Melissa and I circumnavigate the lake at Berkeley, I will watch the reflection of the heavens off the surface of the water where the wonderful birds of summer -- the egrets, the gulls, and the others, the unnamed others, the beautiful others who have called that beautiful space home for this fleeting summer; I will watch the surface of the lake and pray for some whisper, some little wisp of truth from the fathoms of the water; from the fathoms of the natural things that encircle, surround, infest Sweet Melissa and me for, at least, as long as it takes to run the circumference of the lake. I will pray that some sense of what Dumbya has done to us; some recognition that our country has stepped off-course and has slipped into a debilitating, testosterone-infested tragic morass from which we may never recover; yes, I will pray that Americans understand this tragedy. And, in that prayer, I will ask that the natural order of things; the ultimate balance of nature will, somehow bring an end to the destruction Dumbya has inflicted upon our land, our country, the world.

Oh, people, don't you see? Don't you understand?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Dubya's War

"What do you know about this business?" the King said to Alice.
"Nothing," said Alice.
"Nothing WHATEVER?" persisted the King.
"Nothing whatever," said Alice.
"...Let the jury consider their verdict," the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.
"No, no!" said the Queen. "Sentence first--verdict afterwards. ...Off with her head!" the Queen shouted at the top of her voice.
Nobody moved. Including Dubya!

Above from Lewis Carroll's, Alice in Wonderland

This from the Daily Mislead

Bush Rejected Plans to Go After Top Terrorist

In his effort to claim he is the strongest candidate on national security, President Bush has lately been speaking a lot about how he is doing everything possible to track down terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi1 - the man thought to be responsible for escalating attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq. But according to NBC News, it was Bush who in 2002 and 2003 rejected three plans to strike and neutralize Zarqawi because he believed a successful strike would undermine the public case for targeting Saddam Hussein.

As NBC News reported, "Long before the war, the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself - but never pulled the trigger." In June 2002, the Pentagon drafted plans to attack a camp Zarqawi was at with cruise missiles and airstrikes. The plan was killed by the White House. Four months later, as Zarqawi planned to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe, the Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, yet "the White House again killed it." In January 2003, the Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the White House killed it.

According to NBC, "Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi's operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam."

Zarqawi is thought to be at least indirectly responsible for hundreds of U.S. casualties. Just yesterday, Zarqawi's terrorist group beheaded an American civilian in Baghdad.

President's Remarks to the General Conference of the National Guard Association of the United States," The White House, 9/14/04.
Going after Iraq's most wanted man," The Christian Science Monitor, 9/21/04.
Avoiding attacking suspected terrorist mastermind," NBC News, 3/02/04.
Zarqawi Group Beheads U.S. Hostage Armstrong," Reuters, 9/20/04.

WMDs! We Found 'Em, Georgie!

Yeah, Georgie, but we found them in Iran. Oh well, no big deal. Fuck them imams and get the tanks rolling. Gotta save Iran for democracy and American-style freedom! Gotta give the First Amendment to the people of Iran; that is, the new version of the Bill of Rights that Ashcroft is conjuring up as he wrings his hands in excited anticipation of all the kewl stuff he's gonna stick in there to keep us all in line; to keep us all towing the neocon line for decades to come.

Come to think of it, Dubya, we've got a little problem in North Korea, too. So, let's be consistent, now. Gotta send our boys and girls north, too. Freedom and democracy! We know they want it. We know they'll welcome our preemptive efforts.

Oh, Lord...

Monday, September 20, 2004

Let Each Reporter Tell His Own Lies

Dad with Elvis, circa '69 or '70. Elvis holds the Honorary Lieutenants badge my father presented to him. Posted by Hello

I believe it was Norman Mailer who rhetorically asked: "Freedom of the press? Let each reporter tell his own lies! Now that's freedom of the press."

Denver's former police Chief Art Dill passed away recently and the Denver Post provided a nice story about the memorial service, written by the reporter, Claire Martin. However, part of Ms. Martin's reporting advised that, "...Dill became acting police chief in 1970. He was formally named chief two years later." This fact provided by Ms. Martin was in error.

I advised Ms. Martin of her error by emailing the following: "Per your stated policy that, 'The Denver Post will correct all errors occurring in its news columns,' please be advised that the September 15th Denver and the West section on page 3B re: Former Police Chief Dill Eulogized, note the following: '...Dill became acting police chief in 1970. He was formally named chief two years later.' This is factually in error. George L. Seaton was Chief of the Denver Police Department from January, 1968 through June, 1972. Mr. Dill was not '...acting police chief in 1970...' and this error should be corrected."

Ms. Martin responded to my email with the following: "Thank you for writing. Are you perhaps related to the George Seaton who was chief of the DPD? In fact, Art Dill was named as **acting** police chief in 1970, with chief Seaton continuing his post as the official DPD chief. I understood, from the police department staffers who confirmed this, that an acting police chief is more or less in training to be the chief of the department. I hope this clears up any misunderstanding."

My incredulous response to Ms. Martin: "You are absolutely incorrect and I would like to know who in the Department advised you of this erroneous information. You cannot have an 'Acting Chief' as well as a Chief of the Department. That's absurd. I was there. I am his son. I know the facts. Please advise who gave you this information. Additionally, Art Dill at one point during my father's incumbency as Chief, became a Division Chief of, I believe, the Administration Division. That is NOT an 'acting police chief' position. It would be absurd to carry a titular Chief for two and one-half years while another was in 'training.' Someone has their facts wrong and this ought to be corrected. Thank you."

After about twenty minutes, Ms. Martin emailed the following: "Mr. Seaton: Two of the DPD people I interviewed said that Dill had served 13 years,including 2 as acting chief. When I first looked at the clips (now on microfiche, and listed by headline on index cards), I associated a 1970 date with the story about McNichols naming Dill as acting chief; the following story, listed immediately below and dated in 1972, was the date that I should have linked to the acting chief story. The typed index cards aren't perfect, and neither are reporters, nor officers' memories. He was acting chief for 2 months, not 2 years, before becoming chief. I regret the error, particularly because I thought that I had taken the necessary effort to confirm the dates that the officers gave me. I will write a correction."

Ms. Martin, of course, never revealed who the "people" or "officers" were whose memories were faulty and who, she claims, contributed to her shaky reporting.

My final note to Ms. Martin: "I am sincerely grateful and do respect you for rechecking the facts and your willingness to correct the error. My intent in asking for this correction was not meant to, in any way, take anything away from the memory of Art Dill, who I fondly remember as a decent and honorable man. However, so too, I did not want the memory of my father's contribution to this city to be besmirched by some notion that he served only as a titular Chief while someone else actually ran the department. Thank you."

The correction which the Post printed contained the most minimal information, saying only that Mr. Dill served as "...Acting Chief for three months and not two years."

Now, forgive me if this post seems a little trite, like: Why on earth does it matter after all these years?

My father spent twenty-six years as a Denver cop. I spent twenty-three years as a public servant in Denver. That's almost fifty years combined. And, in those many, many years of serving the people of Denver -- my tenure as well as my father's -- please believe me when I tell you that the reporting of fact by Denver's robust media has, throughout history, been pretty much a crapshoot; something more akin to what a reporter imagines to be true, rather than what are actually the facts of any particular story. And, this little incident with Ms. Martin and the Post just seemed to provide one little example of the media's slipshod approach to reporting the facts.

For your information: Elvis Presley was fascinated with cops and the trappings of cops. While my father may have given him an honorary Lieutenants badge in probably '69 or '70, after my father retired, Elvis returned to Denver and the cops fawned all over the King -- who surely was high as a kite during the fawning -- resulting in Elvis giving select officers brand new Cadillacs and Lincolns. Elvis was very generous.

One short anecdote. The day Elvis met with my father, my father came home and, laughing like hell, related that Elvis spent the day kissing one woman after another -- mostly police department clerks and secretarys -- right on the lips. "And," my father laughed, "he had the damdest, ugliest looking canker sore on his lip that you'd ever want to see."

Herpes from Elvis? Maybe. Maybe not. But, I suspect there are some pretty old ladies out there who still talk about the day they kissed the King.

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers."
Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Melissa inspecting the new garage pad in the back yard. Posted by Hello

Painting our Old House - Part II

Our Painted Lady - Repainting of rear, west side and front is finished. Just the east side to go. Posted by Hello

Well, it's almost done and I think the contrast between the old paint job and the new is striking. David and I will move the thirty-two foot ladder into our next door neighbor Sue's yard in the next several days. And, although I haven't really stuck to one of the most important protocols of the painting art -- start at the top -- for most of the house, I believe I will do so with east side. The dormer is smaller on that side than on the west side and there is certainly not as much detail painting as the front encompassed. So, the east side should be finished, hopefully before we get too far into fall.

Since this is such an exciting post, I guess I'll report that we're having a garage built in the back yard, the pad for which was poured on Friday. Even though Melissa has refused to linger for longer than ten minutes in the back yard since Calvin died, she did inspect the contractor's work and it apparently met with her approval. Tomorrow, Monday, I am told by the contractor, that the garage will be totally constructed by late afternoon. Now, if I could only get my Lincoln back from the body shop in order to have something to put in it.

As I said, this is such an exciting post that I'm sure it's causing excited ripples across the blogosphere. But, for a Sunday evening, it's a respectable effort.

Oh, added a counter to the site today. Thought it would be fun to see if anybody is taking a look at this stuff.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Off-Leash Dog Park vs. Soccer Moms

Here in our Northwest Denver neighborhood, the city of Denver has provided an off-leash dog enclosure on a "trial" basis. The "trial" is to run for one year and, at the end of that one year period, the Department of Parks and Recreation will determine whether or not there is justification to maintain the enclosure.

I have been supporting the enclosure via editorials to the North Denver Tribune, one of our two neighborhood tabloids. In response to one of my missives, a soccer mom advised that, given the choice, she would surely opt to get rid of the off-leash dog enclosure if it meant another soccer field could be constructed where her daughter could participate in team sports which, everyone knows, provides the basis for responsible citizenship.

My response to the soccer mom's sentiments follows.

Now, wait a minute!

Creating a polemic which pits dogs against kids with regard to the Berkeley Park off-leash dog park is not only manipulative, but just plain ridiculous. It’s like suggesting that since puppies don’t grow up to be productive citizens, pay taxes and cut their grass once a week, they certainly don’t deserve a space in a public park to run free.

Soccer moms – without exception that I have experienced – never miss an opportunity to wax pontifically when it comes to their children’s right to become productive citizens by participating in team sports. (A sincere wish there were more soccer moms – and dads, too – out there who would take great pains to see that their children’s lives are fulfilling and meaningful; imbued with culture and exercise, good works and the cultivation of lofty dreams for their futures.)

I have no children. I have a dog named Melissa Marie who I love immensely.

I have no problem paying taxes that support other people’s children’s right to an education; or the privilege of having the city build yet another soccer field in a public park; or providing health care to children less fortunate than most of yours. There is no argument that in a free, democratic society our children are our future; our hope. I agree. I have no problem with this.

But, let me tell you that I have no problem in espousing that part of my tax dollar must go to supporting and maintaining an environment where dogs can run free and dog owners can congregate and interact to the benefit of the total community. Off-leash dog enclosures in public parks are much, much more than simply spaces where dogs can run free. They are marketplaces for human contact and interaction amongst neighbors who might otherwise never have spoken a word to one another. Off-leash dog enclosures are uplifting to the community; are supportive of a community spirit and a sublime benefit to the essential concern and interest in the well-being of our neighborhood.

I’ve been a swimmer all of my life. I don’t consider swimming to be a team sport. When your head dips below the water and your senses are muffled by the rush of water over your body, there is nothing team about swimming. Competitive swimming, for me, was a very personal battle against myself; against my last time; against my last effort.
I am not a great fan of sending six-year-olds out onto grass fields to teach them to hit their opponent with all their strength and to do it for the team.

I guess the most team oriented activity I ever participated in was – throughout my childhood and into college – music. I was a heck of a trombone player. Now, there’s a team activity – concert band and orchestra; one in which you don’t have to destroy or cripple your opponent. Soccer moms please take note.

Back to off-leash dog parks. Councilman Garcia tells us that, "I understand that the dog park is something new and different from traditional park uses in Denver and therefore is controversial to many." Where’s the controversy? There are off-leash dog parks in most every major city in America. Multi-use issues with regard to urban parks naturally, without exception take into consideration off-leash dog parks. Period. No controversy.

I suspect Councilman Garcia is wiping his brow and sighing with the comfort of knowing that the fate of the off-leash dog enclosure at Berkeley Park will be left to the bureaucrats rather than the politicians. How convenient.

There has got to be a plan for Berkeley Park that incorporates an off-leash dog enclosure with whatever else city planners or their consultants envision for the park. It’s axiomatic that dogs and parks just fit together; just complement one another. Kids, too.

Please, do not believe there is any merit in espousing a polemic that pits dogs against kids. The polemic should be about dogs and kids and the natural bond, the natural, lovely, God-sent relationship between dogs and kids.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Mount Bierstadt - Sliver moon, Venus. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - Prior to sunrise, the snow-covered Rockies. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - Eerie view at 5:30 a.m. of Colorado Rockies. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - John, prior to the ascent. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - Fred amongst the Willows prior to the ascent. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - David prior to the ascent. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - Brian in that deer in the headlights pose prior to the ascent. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - David prior to the ascent. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - Fred, John and George, prior to the ascent. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - Sliver of moon at 5:30 a.m. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - Sunrise on the Rockies. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - View from the summit. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - View from the summit. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - Brian at the summit. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - View from the summit. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - Fred and Brian at the summit. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - David and John at the summit. Posted by Hello

Monday, September 13, 2004

Mount Bierstadt - The rounded peak to the right of the sawtooth which leads to Mount Evans. Posted by Hello
Check out the pictures above and below.

Mount Bierstadt - David contemplating his gloves. Posted by Hello

Mount Bierstadt - Looking North to Mount Evans Posted by Hello