Monday, November 29, 2004
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Friday, November 26, 2004
The story in the Post and what will appear on the teevee tonight seems to be a rehash of the painful facts of the case presented at trial. Once again, the killers are projecting their innocent drug-induced defense while arguing that their killing of Shepard had nothing to do with being "...against gays or any of that."
The ABC interview will, apparently, provide a forum for McKinney to argue that their "...gay-panic defense..." was all contrived by their attorneys at the time. Henderson, we are told, "...hopes to file a federal appeal, claiming he was never fully advised of his rights."
One wonders if the current climate in America -- the God, Guns and Guts America of George W., James Dobson, Bobby Jones and Denver's own Archbishop Charles Chaput -- will look kindly on the McKinney and Henderson boys after tonight's airing of their interview?
I still wonder how many times the boys said "...fuckin' faggot..." as they beat Matthew senseless and tied him to that old fence out on that lonely Wyoming prairie?
I still wonder about that...
Thursday, November 25, 2004
What a wonderful Thanksgiving day story...
So, here's the deal: Denver cops get a report of a gun that the owner or posseser of which has fired somewhere in the vicinity of Larry Griego's house in North Denver.
If the Denver cops acted typically -- and I have personal experience with this typical behavior -- they came out in force with the report of a weapon being fired. And, force for Denver cops is usually six to eight officers, or more, according to their perception of the seriousness of the alleged offense. And, the adrenalin gushes like lava from Krakatoa.
So, a cop apparently enters Griego's back yard which is where Bobo -- a nine-year-old Dalmatian -- lives, calls home and defends as his territory. Allegedly, the dog bites the cop on his wrist (and, the bite wasn't even on his wrist, but on his watch which, I bet, really pissed off the cop. And, AND the dog was on a chain!)
What does the cop do? Go get Bobo's owner or caretaker and ask that the animal be restrained while he takes a look around? No, that's not what happens. The cop fires what was probably a nine millimeter slug into the dog.
What does the dog do? Well, since the first shot didn't kill him, Bobo reacts as any animal would: He defends himself and, as a result, the cop puts four more slugs into the Dalmatian.
Now, I'm the kid of a cop and I've never been shy about reporting, explaining, understanding the dynamic of a cop's life; the complex, difficult, dangerous existence most cops (and their families) live. (See my June post, "Cops and Politicians.")
The story in the Denver Post this morning reported that Denver Police spokesman John White said, "The dog bit the officer on his wristwatch, likely saving the officer from serious injury ... The officer fired once, striking the dog ... but it returned and attacked a second time. That's when the dog was put down." (Five slugs total in what was probably a forty to fifty pound dog!)
Well, no shit Sherlock! A Chihuhua could cause serious injury if backed against the wall; if it's territory had been invaded and if it had already been wounded.
This cowboy mentality on the part of Denver police officers; this absurd state-of-mind fed by some notion that if it's police business anything is justified; anything goes; any damned violence or humiliation or -- for Christ's sake! -- the outright murder of a family pet is just okeydokey, no problem, just one of those unfortunate things that happens when the cowboys ride, has just got to be reined in.
Mayor Hickenlooper, Manager of Safety LaCabe and Police Chief Gerry Whitman were recently handed a mandate by the people of Denver via the ballot box to get a handle on police behavior; to restructure and certainly reexamine police policy in cases similar to this; most of which have involved the deaths of human beings.
The Mayor and his minions had best get moving on this one. 'Cause, Denver may be known as a fanatical sports town, but don't even try to get us started on how we feel about our animals; our dogs!
And, this is in no way meant to belittle the horrible, horrible killings of human beings by Denver Police officers which, to a one, have been deemed justified by currently applicable law, policy and procedure.
And, what a hell of a post to have to write on Thanksgiving...
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
This from Bloomberg reports, among other things, that: "...Bush's comments [on restoring America's economy] `don't amount to anything more than political posturing,' said Monica Fan, global head of currency strategy at RBC Capital Markets in London. The remarks are `ironic,' she said, considering that Bush signed an $800 billion increase in the U.S. federal debt limit to $8.18 trillion yesterday, she said.
``Bush's strong dollar policy is, in practical terms, to maintain a pool of fools to buy it all the way down,'' said Paul McCulley, a managing director at Pacific Investment Management Co.
This from Reuters is equally disturbing as it asks the question has America, indeed, become a Banana Republic.
I'm really going to try to concentrate on something positive for my next post. God, don't we get weary of the negativity ... albeit reflective of reality.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
We were going single file
Through his rice paddies
And the farmer
Started hitting the lead track
With a rake
He wouldn't stop
The TC went to talk to him
And the farmer
Tried to hit him too
So the tracks went sideways
Side by side
Through the guy's fields
Instead of single file
Hard On, Proud Mary
Bummer, Wallace, Rosemary's Baby
The Rutgers Road Runner
Go Get Em -- Done Got Em
Went side by side
Through the fields
If you have a farm in Vietnam
And a house in hell
Sell the farm
And go home
track: tracked vehicle
TC: Track Commander
And, this from Thomas Hardy:
"The Breaking of Nations"
Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk,
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.
Only thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch grass:
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.
Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by;
War's annals will fade into night
Ere their story die.
Dubya's war is so pitiful, costly -- oh, so terribly costly -- and for what? Have we subdued the great leader of the Axis if Evil, the Evildoer himself whose resources were so potent, so omnipotent, so pervasive that his retreat, his final flight from the invasion of the infidels ended up in a hole in the front yard of some otherwise trailer trash Iraqi homestead?
Oh, the enemy, he is ourselves.
Monday, November 22, 2004
This from the New York Times provides a detailed recounting of what appears to be the outright murder of an unarmed man in Fallujah. Ah, war is hell and Dubya seems to grow, to become more potent in the throws if this horrific mess in Iraq.
And, this from Mark Twain's, The War Prayer:
O Lord our God,
to tear thier soldiers
to bloody shreds
with our shells;
to cover their smiling fields
with the pale forms of their patriot dead;
to drown the thunder
of the guns
with the shrieks
of their wounded,
writhing in pain;
to lay waste
their humble homes
with a hurricane of fire;
to wring the hearts
of their unoffending widows
with unaviling grief;
to turn them out roofless
with their little children
to wander unfriended
of their desolated land
in rags and hunger
sports of the sun flames
and the icy winds
...for our sakes
who adore Thee, Lord,
blast their hopes,
blight their lives,
protract their bitter pilgrimage,
make heavy their steps,
water their way with tears,
stain the white snow
with the blood
of their wounded feet!
We ask it,
in the spirit of love,
of Him Who is the Source of Love,
and Who is the ever-faithful
refuge and friend
of all that are sore beset
and seek His aid
with humble and contrite hearts.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
It was twenty-six degrees this morning when Melissa and I made our run of the lake. Afterwards, after I had put her back in the Explorer and given her water, I grabbed the camera and walked half-way around the lake to get a few shots of the steam rising from the water.
It wasn't until I got home and downloaded the pictures that I saw the red sign in the upper right portion of the picture: LOVE and doves.
I don't know where this sign is erected and I'm not sure how long it's been there ... wherever. But, I'm really disturbed that it made its way into my picture of the lake on this frigid morning. I think it's crude and intrusive. I think it's something that one might expect to see on the strip in Las Vegas next to one of those little chapels where Elvis can be your best man and Dolly Parton, your bridesmaid, if you're of a mind to get married -- (uh, heterosexuals only, of course.)
Anyway, the shot of the walking/running track (above this post) is pretty good. The track was covered -- at seven this morning -- with a layer of hard, packed ice.
By the way, it warmed up; the sun is shining and most of the two or so inches of snow that fell yesterday and overnight has already melted.
Gotta' find out about that damned sign though...
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Also disturbing, the Times reports that:
"While President Bush is spending the weekend here for the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, President Hu Jintao of China is here in the midst of a two-week visit to Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Cuba. In the course of it, he has announced more than $30 billion in new investments and signed long-term contracts that will guarantee China supplies of the vital materials it needs for its factories.
"The United States, preoccupied with the worsening situation in Iraq, seems to have attached little importance to China's rising profile in the region. If anything, increased trade between Latin America and China has been welcomed as a means to reduce pressure on the United States to underwrite economic reforms, with geopolitical considerations pushed to the background.
'On the diplomatic side, the Chinese are quietly but persistently and effectively operating just under the U.S. radar screen,' said Richard Feinberg, who was the chief Latin America adviser at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. 'South America is obviously drifting, and diplomatic flirtations with China would tend to underscore the potential for divergences with Washington.'
"Chinese investment and purchases are seen as vital for economies short on capital and struggling to emerge from a long slump. In Argentina earlier this week, for example, Mr. Hu announced nearly $20 billion in new investment in railways, oil and gas exploration, construction and communications satellites, a huge boost for a country whose economic vitality has been sapped since a financial collapse in December 2001.'"
And, Dubya's focus remains his hellish war in Iraq. And, oh yes, lately, he's actually begun showing signs that the nuclear potential of Iran and that nut in North Korea might, just might, be something worth taking a closer look at; besides, yes, BESIDES, of course, gay marriage and a woman's right to choose.
Why don't I have confidence in Condi Rice to understand the immensity of the geopolitical shifts that have seemed to creep up on us -- The Fog comes on little cat feet... (Carl Sandburg, The Fog). From the shadows, from the fog of Dubya's unflaggingly single-minded crusade against the evildoers, a quiet, but nonetheless realignment of the rest of the world's peoples is shifting toward something that will, most likely, leave America behind wallowing about in it's newly-sticky morass of moral value initiatives that, quite frankly, the rest of the world couldn't care a whit about.
The complexities of the emerging geopolitical realignment is as interesting as it is frightening. The inability of Dubya to understand that is downright scary.
Friday, November 19, 2004
Dallas was hot and humid when I arrived there, three years ago, and then a day later, the city became cold and windy and there was rain which turned to sleet which coated my rental car with ice a half-inch thick.
Those Dallas days were filled with business and the nights were mine alone. And, I was alone, there in the city where John Kennedy was gunned down and where so many of the natives weren't all that upset to see the fair-haired liberal with his frenchified wife suffer the tragedy which befell them then on that November day in '63. And, I drove by the stone monolith in Dealy Plaza commemorating the death of a president and I studied it for a very long time wondering what the monolith was supposed to evoke from me. Sadness? Regret? A feel for the lines of the architecture? Pity for the conscience-suffering Dallasties who erected it? But, I felt nothing. I only remembered that I was very young when Kennedy died and that I cried watching the funeral on teevee when the coal-black, riderless horse pranced before the camera with its neck held high and it head nervously buffeting the air as if to say, "Let's get on with it." And, from those child's tears emerged a singular consciousness that life is seldom fair, that heroes pass with the blink of an eye and the sweet promises of one's Camelot end abruptly in the severe reality of places like Dallas, Texas.
Those Dallas days and nights of three years ago, when the hard, frigid wind rushed against my body and pelted my face with the sharp sting of frozen rain, are remembered as collage -- bits and pices of unfinished images; of conversations begun in mid-sentence and ending too soon for comprehension; of the search for the baths across railroad tracks going ... somewhere and under viaducts leading ... where?; of finding the baths -- two nights in a row -- and me, oh naive me, wanting to fuck with some fine-assed Texan who would whisper molasses-sweet words in my ear and finding instead some fine-assed salesman from St. Louis speaking the King's English as precisely as William F. Buckley; of the bar hopping and the rum and Cokes swizzled to the heavy beat of L.A. disco and finding the brothers looking like West Hollywood clones and acting like Studio One prima donnas; of the beautiful, brown-eyed illegal who sided up to me with a grin and ended up in my hotel room sharing a mutual fascination with the poetry of Jorje Borgas; of the business meetings accomplishing nothing and the quick glances from the male secretary in tight polyester who carried papers from his desk to the copier with the slightest, most discreet hint of a swish; of the endless meals in the finest restaurants; of the perpetual talk of the Big D this and the Big D that and Big Egos burning bright and hot and the shameless talk of niggers this and niggers that and the hopscotch maneuvers of this or that fat cat bathing in oil and flusing gold-handled toilets and eating caviar with tortilla chips; and, yes, finally, of the $20.00 cab ride to the biggest ariport past the biggest sports arena, past the biggest spread of development across that fine Texas prairie and boarding the biggest Texas International jumbo to head back to L.A.
It takes a while to get to the heart of a city; to get to the soul of a city where its vital essence is stored and meted out sparingly. In my several days in Dallas, I saw the surface only. In my several days in Dallas, I formed an impression which is unfair and superficial. I would like to go back and begin to really know the city ... if only I could transcend the deep, deep childish conviction that if Dallas had not been there in '63, the promise of John Kennedy might have been fulfilled; that if Dallas had not been there the sweet innocence of my youth might not have felt the premature passage of the wonderful possibility of dreams coming true.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
This is a view of Pike's Peak from the Garden of the Gods, not far from Colorado Springs, which, incidentally, is the home of James Dobson's, Focus on the Family.
Hopefully, David and I and our friends will climb Pike's Peak in the spring which will be our second "Fourteener" at 14,109 feet above sea level. (Don't tell Dobson, though. He may push for a Constitutional Amendment to bar homa-sex-yalls from these national treasures. I mean -- as every hiker/mountain climber knows -- you gotta pee somewhere and just the thought of some sodomite soiling God's glory... )
A story in the New York Times this morning is not so much frightening for its content -- Iran's nuclear capabilities -- but, rather, that Iran is Dubya's next challenge ... Iran being, as our great leader told us some time ago, a wee little part of the Axis of Evil.
I wonder if he'll just decide to kill them all, like he's apparently decided to do in Iraq?
Oh, and did you hear that the third little notch on this Axis of Evil, North Korea, is wanting to sell weapons (probably nukes) to whomever has the bucks which, incidentally, might end up, in part, being Afghanian drug lords who, in 2004, had a pretty good year.
Yessir, Dubya's democracy in Afghanistan is pretty much being taken over by drug lords who planted 321,236 acres with poppy in 2004, a 64% increase over last year, we're told by the New York Times. The income from the trafficking of opium accounted for sixty -- that's 60 -- percent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product; a third of the total economy.
And, what's Dubya going to do about it? Apparantly, we, us, the good ol' American taxpayer is going to give this insidiously corrupt country $780Million to combat the drug problem there.
Makes sense to me.
Finally, I'll let you take a look at this one yourself. This piece about Senator Arlen Specter reminded me of a line from i sing of Olaf (which I provided in total a few posts back) just popped into my head: "...Olaf (upon what were once knees) does almost ceaselessly repeat 'there is some shit I will not eat.'"
Well, Arlen is certainly on his knees and he's not only eating a whole lot of shit, he's spreading it around to appease the good Christians he sorely offended by suggesting that modifying a woman's right to choose may be difficult in Congress. He's even suggesting that the filibuster rule needs to be changed so those damned ol' Democrats can't hold-up the neo-con/Christian agenda.
Then there's House Republican leader Tom DeLay whose buddies (Republicans all) have modified their rules to allow an indicted Congressman (DeLay) to retain his leadership position. (No indictment yet, but you can never be too careful in protecting those moral values!)
Oh well... Thoughts and Nonsense. And, what a ride we're in for during Dubya's next four!
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Consider the scenario above. Question: Is the marriage of two indubitably Christian lesbians who go to work every day, mow the lawn on Saturday, pay their bills, volunteer with the Red Cross and raise a child who, eventually, becomes a doctor or a lawyer; is that lesbian union a greater threat to the American institution of marriage than the heterosexual union of the "terrorists?"
This from the New York Times is disturbing.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
It was 1975 and it was my first trip to California.
A friend and I flew in from Denver and stayed with friends in Alameda which, if memory serves, is immediately south of San Francisco.
One night we drove into the city, parked the car and took in the sights and sounds and smells of what I recall was not the Castro District, but what was a very gay area certainly along Polk and, I believe, near Market.
After hitting a few bars and after walking Polk (I regret that my memory of Polk remains seeing a derelict get mugged and a whole lot of dog shit on the sidewalk) we walked back to where we had parked the car. Just as reached the car, about seven, white, short-haired young men emerged from a bar in front of which we had parked the car. These guys had had a few and were ready for a little bashing.
Short story short: There was shoving; faggot this, queer that and -- after we managed to get into the car -- three of the young men pulled out their wee (and they were small) manhood and pissed on the windows of the car as our friend got it started and we pulled away from the curb.
And, that was it.
And, I've never really been back to San Francisco for any length of time. The closest I got was just passing through on the way to Pleasanton (God, what a Smallville, soccer mom haven that was). It's curious I've never gone back, as my Aunt has lived right in the middle of San Francisco for probably fifty or more years and wouldn't live anywhere else, except Napa where she's got a house she keeps inviting me to spend some time in.
I ought to take her up on it.
Is there a point to this?
Dunner's other post (November 13th) that I read this morning noted that there's a whole lot of blue cities out there, while suburbia and rural America remain pretty steadfastly in the red column. (He didn't mention Denver which was almost 70% blue.) Dunner quoted from an article by Mark Morford, writing in SF Gate. It's a good read.
Anyway, yes, the polemic becomes crystallized, clear, so terribly black and white the further one gets from America's great cities. The further one gets from America's great cities the complexities of dealing with the human condition become less immediate, become less pressing, become solvable through prayer (can I hear an AMEN!) and the aggressive adoration and support of the one chosen by the Good Lord to lead us through these hard times -- Dubya himself.
Yes, thirty years ago, as I dodged dog shit on Polk Street in a San Francisco that still wreaked of the promise of "...hookah-smoking caterpillar[s]..." and white boys with small dicks felt empowered to exert what they certainly believed to be their right, their duty to demean God's children -- (Was this before the love the sinner, hate the sin bullshit??); yes, thirty years ago even San Francisco was, at times and in some places, a little schizo; a little different than it is today.
Yes, even Topeka is a little different today than it was in 1954 when Brown v. Board of Education desegregated or attempted to desegregate schools not only in the south (Oh, you red states, you!) but in Kansas as well.
And, after having suggested that things do generally, gradually get better from the perspective of a pointy-headed liberal, now I'm wondering if the most important change of all -- what's in people's minds and hearts (even out there in the heartland, even out there in those red states) -- also mirrors the same general, gradual, uplifting, civilizing phenomena that our great American cities have worked hard at realizing through the few centuries we've been at it?
Nope. Now, I need a drink because this litany looms large: Dubya and Dick; Condi and Don; Dobson and (little Bobby) Jones; Musgrave and Allard; Iran and Iraq; Korea and Palestine; Scalia and the black robes; Afghanistan and... Oh, it goes on.
Nope. It's going to take a little bit longer -- considering the cast of characters -- in this great cosmic cycle we all find ourselves coping with for something to break loose; for, perhaps, some reasonable middle ground on which we all can stand or, at least, be provided a small foothold. Yes, it's back to Ferlinghetti:
...and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right...
Lawrence Ferlinghetti I Am Waiting
I do go on... Anyway, thanks Dunner for provoking these thoughts and, indeed, for fifty percent of the content of this post.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Who said: "Kill them all?" The actual quote (question) was who said, "Kill them all. God will know his own!" And, the answer is that the quote is attributed to Arnaud-Armaury, the Abbot of Citeaux, who was the spiritual advisor to the Albigensian Crusade, according to the above sited source.
The above source tells us that, "Pope Innocent III ordered the Albigensian Crusade, to purge southern France of the Cathari heretics. It began in the summer of 1209, with their first target - the town of Beziers. The Catholic faithful in Beziers refused to give up the Catharis among themselves. The crusaders invaded. When Arnaud-Amaury was asked whom to kill he replied, 'Kill them all. God will know his own.' They did. The crusaders slaughtered nearly everyone in town, over 20,000, either burned or clubbed to death. Thus they achieved their goal of killing the estimated 200 heretics who were hiding in the town among the Catholic faithful. The brutal crusade continued on for the next twenty years. Eventually the Catholics devised a new approach for dealing with the remaining Cathari heretics in France. It was called 'the Inquisition'".
Sound at all familiar? Sound, maybe, just a little like Dubya's and Don's strategy in the Middle East; in the most Holy places of the Middle East. If we kill them all, then we'll (Americans) be much, much safer as we take our kids to soccer practice; as we mow the lawn on Saturday; as we go to the market on Thursday; as we worship -- oh, those moral values! -- in our churches on Sunday.
Listening to talk radio this morning as Melissa and I were returning from our run, the news that Colin Powell had resigned was announced. Now, does that really surprise anyone?
A story in the Sunday edition of the Denver Post reported that "... the six-day assault [in Fallujah] has turned much of the city into ruins and left many of its remaining residents dying of thirst and starvation, a Red Crescent spokeswoman told Agence France Presse.
"Even after the last building is cleared in Fallujah and the ghostly city is finally reopened to civilians, peace cannot be guaranteed, said Lt. Col. Patrick Malay. He said he is sure insurgents will return to the city of 250,000 because there is no way to seal off the town."
The italics, above, are mine.
Now, the holy war against the infidel is moving on to Mosul, Ramadi, Tal Afar, Samarra, Lafiiya. And -- oh, do we really not understand this?? -- back to Fallujah, back to Baghdad, back to Ramadi, back to Mosul and then back... You get the point.
For every so-called insurgent that is killed in Iraq, there are five to take his or her place; there are generations yet to be born to take his or her place.
Dubya and Don, Condi and the rest of the crew just don't understand; just don't see it; just don't understand that the issue of religious fundamentalism -- a force greater than any politician's jingoism; a force greater than any homespun, charmingly syntactically challenged Commander in Chief -- yes, religious fundamentalism provides no wiggle room for compromise. God is God is God.
Which, of course, brings us to James Dobson.
It was Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of the conservative Christian organization, Focus on the Family with its headquarters in Colorado Springs, who articulated best the issue which has captured the imagination, and caused the political juices to flow of Colorado's own U.S. Congresswoman, Marilyn Musgrave and her ilk in a direct-mail appeal to 2.5 million people on January 20, 2004, the same day Dubya presented the State of the Union speech. "The homosexual activist movement," Dobson wrote, "is poised to administer a devastating and potentially fatal blow to the traditional family. And sadly, very few Christians in position of responsibility are willing to use their influence to save it." Dobson was, of course, referring to the issue of same-sex marriage.
One wonders that if the traditional family in America is so damned fragile and open to a devastating and potentially fatal blow because some same-sex partners want to share this traditional family model; one wonders why same-sex couples would even want to bother.
But, the potency of religious fundamentalism cannot be ignored; cannot be just glossed over as we each read whatever newspaper it is we drink our morning coffee over.
This, from the Sunday Denver Post is a pretty clear indication that what I had reported earlier is, in fact, what we have to look forward to:
"Stephen Pizzo tells us, via AlterNet, that: 'The GOP's relationship with the religious right is a rock hard practical/tactical alliance that in reality has little to do with sharing common values. (Pro-family? Pro-marriage? Would anyone like to do a study on how many GOP politicians are divorced or have gotten caught cheating on their spouses? I will bet the difference between the Values Party and the Dems would be indistinguishable.)
'Besides the dishonesty beneath the values business there are very real reasons to worry about this clearly successful tactic. When a nation's leaders pander to fundamentalists they eventually must either deliver on their demagoguery or or face their wrath. Politicians who may have thought they rode an elephant to power quickly discover they are really on the back of a hungry tiger -- a tiger they must now either have to feed or be eaten.'"
Now, sorry everyone who took the Thomas Jefferson quote voiced by Barbra Streisand as something immensely significant, I must report to you that Barbra's elipses (...) have, rightly so, qualified the quote to whatever interpretation you wish to give it.
Here's what Streisand quoted from Jefferson:
"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt......If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."
Here's what actually preceded the words Streisand quoted:
"Seeing, therefore, that an association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry, seeing that we must have somebody to quarrel with, I had rather keep our New England associates for that purpose than to see our bickerings transferred to others. They are circumscribed within such narrow limits, & their population so full, that their numbers will ever be the minority, and they are marked, like the Jews, with such a peculiarity of character as to constitute from that circumstance the natural division of our parties."
Here's what Streisand eliminated with the ellipsis:
"But who can say what would be the evils of a scission, and when & where they would end? Better keep together as we are, hawl off from Europe as soon as we can, & from all attachments to any portions of it. And if we feel their power just sufficiently to hoop us together, it will be the happiest situation in which we can exist."
Jefferson closed his letter to John Taylor with a P. S. "It is hardly necessary to caution you to let nothing of mine get before the public. A single sentence, got hold of by the Porcupines, will suffice to abuse & persecute me in their papers for months."
Whatever you take from the above, I can only suggest that who was considered a Republican in 1798, may, just may not be considered a Republican today. Anyway, I do believe in beholding to the accuracy of history; to the exactness of the words that were actually spoken.
Finally, it was only twenty-eight degrees as Melissa and I circumnavigated Berkeley Lake this morning at 6:45 a.m. The lake was clear, calm, gray. The sun was almost immense; almost blinding. (We have, alas, let go of Daylight Savings Time!) And, as we ran against the frigid, but bright -- so bright -- light of this early morning's adventure, I wondered if our troops, if our boys and girls, our women and men who are serving in Iraq as soldiers in service to the United State of America really understand the polemic; really understand the utlimate issue of this particular little conflict they find themselves involved in, worlds away from their wives and children and siblings and parents and lovers and partners and, oh, so far away from just the smell of their home; of the smell and feel of the homeplace here in America; here where their hearts remain in spite of where their physical selves happen to be.
If they do understand, how do they reconcile the melancholy that realization must represent?
If they don't understand, then, by God, I'll bet they get a Christmas card from James Dobson, articulating Jesus's argument for a woman's right NOT to choose; His argument for a Constitutional amendment denying fundamental Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to same-sex partners.
Ah, kill them all. That's the solution. In Palestine, too. Kill them all. God is, after all, on our side!
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Friday, November 12, 2004
The hoards of Canadian Geese have returned to Berkely Park/Lake for the winter. Their greenish-black poop covers, of course, most of the grass and certainly a good portion of the running surface around the lake. I mean, what's a goose to do as he/she crosses the road from the lake to the grass? Poop. And, they do. Prolifically.
[I'll put this in brackets because I'm ashamed to report that Melissa is fascinated with the poop. She eats it! Ugh!]
It was only thirty degrees this morning as Melissa and I ran around the lake. It's another relatively gray day in Denver, as we anticipate a bit of snow tomorrow.
And, as we ran around the lake I thought a bit about this blog ... about blogs in general and what purpose they serve; why we devote so much time to them.
For me, the answer is easy: It keeps me writing. It keeps me reading. It keeps me thinking. And, most of the other blogs I enjoy reading are obviously kept up for the same reasons.
Then, other blogs read like schoolgirl's diaries which, I suppose -- for those who think that sort of posting is important, interesting, fulfilling -- provides a good outlet for what otherwise would be dismissed as sophomorish diatribe. But, I find I just don't have the time anymore to read such stuff and nonsense. (Now -- after having written what I just did -- it occurs to me that I may, indeed, be a pointy-headed liberal elitist!)
Of course, I suspect some have happened upon this blog and concluded the same thing ... stuff and nonsense.
Well, along with the somewhat annoying return of the Canadian Geese to our wonderful park (actually, their poop is annoying, they aren't) I write, read and think on; enjoying each day's new revelations and reflections.
By the way: Stiff Little Finger has begun writing again and I urge you take a look.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
This from the New York Times is disgusting. There has always been war profiteering, but to have that litle twist in the story which suggest American diplomats were up to their elbows in this thing is -- as I said -- disgusting.
Funny how that name Halliburton keeps popping up. But, then, if our highly moral veep who is the former Chairman of Halliburton can and did slip-slide past the family values folks ire when he told a United States Senator to go "...fuck himself..." on the floor of the United States Senate, then, what the hell...
The application, the definition of moral values are pretty relative I guess; different standards for different folks.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
"Let's talk about those values for a fucking minute. You and your Southern values can bite my ass because the blue states got the values over you fucking Real Americans every day of the goddamn week. Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can you guess? It's fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay marriage universe. Yes, that's right, the state you love to tie around the neck of anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond has the lowest divorce rate in the fucking nation. Think that's just some aberration? How about this: 9 of the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad. And where are the highest divorce rates? Care to fucking guess? 10 of the top 10 are fucking red-ass we're-so-fucking-moral states. And while Nevada is the worst. And, in the Bible Belt two guys making out is going to fucking ruin marriage for you? Yeah? Seems like you're ruining it pretty well on your own, you little bastards. Oh, but that's ok because you go to church, right? I mean you do, right? Cause we fucking get to hear about it every goddamn year at election time. Yes, we're fascinated by how you get up every Sunday morning and sing, and then you're fucking towers of moral superiority. Yeah, that's a workable formula. Maybe us fucking Northerners don't talk about religion as much as you because we're not so busy sinning, hmmm? Ever think of that, you self-righteous assholes? No, you're too busy erecting giant stone tablets of the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the fucking Northeast Liberal Elite. And who has the highest murder rates? Well this gravy train is fucking over. Take your liberal-bashing, federal-tax-leaching, confederate-flag-waving, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bullshit and shove it up your ass.
And no, you can't have your fucking convention in New York next time. Fuck off. "
This is Berkeley Lake (where Melissa and I run every morning) looking west toward that wonderful snow storm that is headed our way.
It might be helpful to orient all non-Denver readers: Berkeley Park sits immediately south of I-70. As a matter of fact, the northern portion of the running surface around the lake is probably not more than twenty? thirty? yards from eastbound lanes of I-70.
Now, happy thoughts...
Ashcroft is gone. I'm not really sure I understand his conclusion that, "I take great personal satisfaction in the record which has been developed. The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved. The rule of law has been strengthened and upheld in the courts."
Are we safe from crime because of Ashcroft's tenure? Are we safe from terror because of Ashcroft's tenure? Uh, I don't think so. But, let's just put that happy face on and be thankful that he's gone. (Pray for a more reasonably constitutionally-schooled successor!)
This passed along to me from my niece-in-law: "...Cope with Bush's win. This line of dialogue is from Orson Welle's THE THIRD MAN. It's very apropos to the current period:
'In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.'
I think the next four years will be a boon for artists everywhere."
Perhaps. Perhaps not.
This from Evan Kerkacz, at Alternet: Conscience and Politics Can Play Nice Together
"The seven Democratic senators who voted against the Iraq war all won re-election – and they did it by an average margin of nearly 30%.
Anti-war Democrat senators who won:
Barbara Boxer – California – 58%-38%
Daniel Inouye – Hawaii – 76%-21%
Barbara Mikulski – Maryland – 65%-34%
Patty Murray – Washington – 55%-43%
Russ Feingold – Wisconsin – 56%-44%
Ron Wyden – Oregon – 63%-32%
Pat Leahy – Vermont – 71%-25%
Zoom in and the point becomes even clearer. In Oregon, where Kerry, who voted for the war, won by a mere 4 percent, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden won by over 30 percent "despite" his vote against it. Wisconsin, which was too close to call on election night, didn't take very long to declare Russ Feingold, who voted against the war (ignoring warnings from his staff), the winner. He won by 11 percent. Writer John Stauber concludes, 'The lesson is this: Russ Feingold proves that an anti-war, populist Democrat, a maverick campaigning to get big money out of politics, can win and win big.'
These statistics should strike fear out of the Democrats the next time issues of war and peace are on the table. Maybe, just maybe, if they can persuade the Democratic establishment to disabuse itself of the mistaken belief that reelection comes to those who adopt the safest position, rather than to those who make a strong case for the values they hold most dear, it has a shot at being relevant in the 21st century."
So, once again... Happy thoughts today.
Monday, November 08, 2004
Sunday, November 07, 2004
Anti-intellectualism, fear and religious fundamentalism -- now that I think about it; now that I've taken a few steps back -- are the stuff of Dubya's real and acknowledged victory on November 2nd. And, I have no problem in observing that Dubya's victory was real, was genuine, was conclusive.
But, to concede that it was the religious right who handed this victory to Dubya is a little misleading; a little too comfortable for my taste.
Take, for example, Colorado. While Colorado remained in the Red column for Dubya, Colorado elected a Hispanic Democrat, Ken Salazar, over a beer mogul, right-wing Republican Dubya clone, Pete Coors, to represent Colorado in the United States Senate. And, AND, Democrats captured both the Colorado State Senate and the Colorado State House of Representatives IN SPITE of Dubya's victory in the national race.
In Denver -- I kid you not -- Kerry/Edwards led Bush/Cheney by 69.51% to 29.41%; and the U.S. Senate race between Ken Salazar, the Democrat, and Pete Coors, the Republican, ended up as 72.50% for the Democrat and 25.91% for the Republican.
My prior post was about "spontaneous fictions." We all know the definitions of "spontaneous" and "fiction."
What is significant to me is that I would classify issues such as Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq as sublime "spontaneous fictions," as well as all the other bullshit Dubya utilized to justify the invasion of Iraq. I would classify as "spontaneous fictions" the fear -- Oh, the enormous Fear -- that "gay marriage" will destroy the institution of marriage in America -- as if marriage in America has not already been sorely compromised by a fifty-percent divorce rate amongst heterosexuals.
Yes, I'm taking a few steps back and looking closely at November 2nd.
It's interesting to note that our Governor, Bill Owens -- sweetheart of the Bush administration -- suffered significant defeats in Colorado on November 2nd: His candidate, Pete Coors, was soundly defeated by Ken Salazar for the United States Senate; In the 3rd congressional District in Colorado, Owens' support of Greg Walcher for the US House of Representatives fell flat; Owens' opposition to what is called "FasTracks" -- a significant expansion of our light-rail system throughout the Front Range -- was passed overwhelming by the electorate; and, Owens' support of a significant change to the civil service system in Colorado was defeated, also significantly.
So, I'm taking a few steps back and really looking at what occurred on November 2nd. And, I'm happy to say, I am heartened; I am energized; I am optimistic.
And, with that conclusion, let me repeat part of an earlier post that included a bit of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's, I am waiting....
...and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and strainghten up and fly right...
No, I reject Garrison Kiellor's suggestion that we -- in reflecting on Dubya's victory -- simply enjoy our morning coffee and the feel of the dog next to our legs and the ten mile hike to relieve the angst of another four years of Bush.
We can do better than that. And, we must start now. We must push, and push and push and never relent in pushing for what we believe in; for what we believe is America's promise.
Saturday, November 06, 2004
Scepticism and Animal Faith
Thursday, November 04, 2004
The Blue Heron has returned to the Berkeley Lake, where Sweet Melissa Marie and I run each morning. I had decided that I would take the camera with me this morning. Thankful that I did.
Lord, I've read so many interpretations, conclusions, summations, prognostications about the vote that I'm truly fatigued with it all. What does it mean? What revelations are self-evident?
We are told that one-fifth of all voters felt that -- in spite of the war, the economy, Dumbya's syntactical fumbling, unemployment, record deficits -- yes, we are told that one-fifth of all voters cared most about moral values. Cleverly, Karl Rove assured that the issue of gay marriage appeared on the ballot in eleven of the most crucial states in this year's election. The evangelical Christians; the conservative Catholics and, surprisingly 40% of the Hispanic voters turned out for George W. Bush.
Let's state the facts (from the New York Times in an article by Todd S. Purdum): "The president's chief strategist, Matthew Dowd, released a memorandum yesterday noting that Mr. Bush had become the first incumbent Republican president to win a presidential race with majorities in the House and Seante since Calvin Coolidge in 1924, and the first president of either party since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 to be re-elected while gaining seats in both houses."
Faith and values.
The Purdum article goes on to say that: "Yet for all of their hope that the Southwest could be their new ticket, Democrats were left with the fact that in the past 28 years, only Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton among their ranks have made it, and both had Sourthern and evangelical support. Mr. Kerry, a lifelong Roman Catholic, often struggled this year to speak of his faith in public."
"'Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter got elected because they were comfortable with their faith," said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a former Clinton aide. "What happened was that a part of the electorate came open to what Clinton and Carter had to say on everything else -- health care, the environment, whatever -- because they were very comfortable that Clinton and Carter did not disdain the way these people lived their lives, but respected them.'"
Faith and values. America has moved to right-of-center political reality.
Stephen Pizzo tells us, via AlterNet, that: "The GOP's relationship with the religious right is a rock hard practical/tactical alliance that in reality has little to do with sharing common values. (Pro-family? Pro-marriage? Would anyone like to do a study on how many GOP politicians are divorced or have gotten caught cheating on their spouses? I will bet the difference between the Values Party and the Dems would be indistinguishable.)
"Besides the dishonesty beneath the values business there are very real reasons to worry about this clearly successful tactic. When a nation's leaders pander to fundamentalists they eventually must either deliver on their demoagoguery or or face their wrath. Politicians who may have thought they rode an elephant to power quickly discover they are really on the back of a hungry tiger -- a tiger they must now either have to feed or be eaten."
"...Civil liberties are usually the first to go followed by science. ...Democrats should not become value-whores like the GOP. That would only accelerate the Talibanization of America. At least one party needs to continue to fight for free speech, free thought, enlightened education, science and -- most of all -- the one thing that makes all that possible -- a free, open and progressive secular democracy."
Liz Marlantes, from the Christian Science Monitor tells us that: "...many of Kerry's voters were primarily motivated by opposition to Bush, rather than by stong enthusiasm for their own candidate... What Bush did so effectively was make Kerry seem like an unacceptable alternative..."
Lakshmi Chaudhry of AlterNet tells us that: "On Tuesday, the largest turnout in recent history couldn't save us from defeat. Democracy won and so did George Bush. And all the Monday morning quarterbacking doesn't change the sad fact that the truth did not set us free. Nearly 52 percent of all Americans preferred to simply ignore reality to keep their faith in God and the man who is only too happy to play messiah.
"This is now their White House, their Senate, their House of Representatives, and very likely their Supreme Court.
"James Carville says that if liberals like me want to win, we need to learn how to talk to white guys in pickup trucks who think my gay friends are a sin against nature. But what could I possibly say to someone for whom a ban on abortion is the singel most important issue in their life? There's no point in tryin to 'speak my values,' if the folks I'm talking to think those values are simply wrong.
"John Edwards was right in a way. There are two Americas: one that values tolerance, justice and equality; the other that believes in Divine Will. ...Carville wants me to talk to these guys? Or is he really saying that I need to be more like them? ...Why not just put my silly liberal preoccupations with choice or sexual freedom aside so we can all come together as one nation -- one nation under God, Guns, and (hating) Gays."
So, where are we?
I know for certain that the Blue Heron has returned to my lake. I know for certain that -- God willing -- Melissa Marie and I will run the circumference of the lake tomorrow morning. I know for certain that life -- for the time being -- will continue lovingly, caringly for David and me and Melissa, here in our old house; here in our lovely, charming neighborhood that, I believe, went overwhelmingly for John Kerry.
For some reason that I am really unable to explain (although, I am sure, at the back of my mind I understand completely), I must end this post with e.e. cummings, i sing of Olaf:
i sing of Olaf glad and big
whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
a conscientious object - or
his well-beloved colonel (trig
westpointer most succincltly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand;
but-- through an host of overjoyed
noncoms (first knocking on the head
him) do through icy waters roll
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed
anent this muddy toiletbowl,
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments --
Olaf (being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds, without getting annoyed
"I will not kiss your fucking flag"
straightway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)
but--through all kinds of officers
(a yearning nation's blueeyed pride)
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion
voices and boots were much the worse,
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skillfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat--
Olaf (upon what were once kneees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
"there is some shit I will not eat"
our president, being of which
assertions duly notified
threw the yellowsonofabitch
into a dungeon, where he died
Christ (of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see; and Olaf, too
unless statistics lie he was
more brave than me: more blond than you.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
It snowed yesterday in Denver (about an inch). This morning it was only nineteen degrees when Melissa and I headed for the park for our run.
Dress in layers, is the key. Don't wear the bulky stuff. Layers. For every ten degrees below freezing, I put on another layer.
As we ran around the lake this morning, the ducks were all hunkered down amongst the reeds, the cattails ... no doubt keeping warm. The lake itself was as gray as I've ever seen it; as calm as ... well, as calm as any inland lake can be; no breeze, no wind. The egrets have left the lake. There were no geese this morning, either.
Interestingly, as we drove to the park this morning, a lovely, exquisitely lovely brown fox crossed the street in front of us ... as free as you please. We've known that foxes run free in our neighborhood, but, to that point, I'd never seen one so close; so out in the open in our little neighborhood.
Coming back from the park, there was a dead cat in the street which, obviously, had been gutted. Probably by a fox. Life's little, essential cycle.
Of course, I look for messages in what I see and hear and smell each morning as Melissa and I make our way to the park and circumnavigate the lake; me, huffing as I jog; Melissa just walking faster than she normally does ... barely working up a sweat. And, of course, the message I was looking for was some whisper, some insight into what this day holds for us all: Who will be our next President.
I saw nothing. The trees, the great and ancient trees in the park spoke not a word.
I guess, ultimately, what I would like to happen on this election day, 2004, is an acknowledgment, a universal acknowlegdment that we can do better; that we can be smarter; that we can be more human; that this war George W. has pursued is a disaster; is something that will haunt us as each new generation of Muslim is born and raised and shown the infidel -- us -- amongst them.
I guess, most of all, I would like to see peace in Iraq and amongst us all as a result of this election. But, then, am I really that naive.
God bless us all.