Friday, January 28, 2005

The More Things Change... Academe!

This from the Denver Post yesterday, which read, in part.

Two Colorado congressmen demanded Thursday that a University of Colorado professor apologize for comparing victims of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack to Nazis.

But professor Ward Churchill, chairman of the ethnic studies department at CU- Boulder, said he wouldn't back off his statement that the victims were "little Eichmanns."


His comparison of the victims to Adolph Eichmann, who managed the Nazi plan to exterminate Jews, has split New York's Hamilton College, where Churchill is scheduled to speak on a panel next week.

Okay, so this nut, Ward Churchill, who actually chairs the ethnic studies department at MY alma mater wrote an outrageous, intellectually absurd essay which has come to light, particularly amongst students and faculty at Hamilton College in New York where this (I'll say it again) nut has been invited to sit on a panel to discuss his views as represented in his essay. That's not what he was originally invited to the little Hamilton College (1,800 students) campus to do. But, now, the exposure of his stupidity via his essay, has dictated the subject of the panel discussion.

American -- surely Dubya's democratic ideal for American -- colleges and universities is -- I think I can safely say -- that they be bastions of freedom; marketplaces of ideas; repositories of intellect and honest free discourse amongst reasonable free people. (Didn't Dubya use the words free and freedom like a gazillion times in his inaugural speech!) But, whoops, I forgot about Bob Jones University where even interracial dating is frowned upon, much less honest and open discourse about, oh, say civil unions for gays and lesbians or even gay marriage.

I digress.

So, this nut, Ward Churchill, and his nutty intellectually sterile, disgusting proposition that victims of 9/11 were not victims at all but -- relying upon some bizarre, convoluted, non-sequiturs -- "...little Eichmanns..." and deserving of what they got, set Peter Boyles (Denver's KHOW -- Clear Channel -- early morning talk show host) off on a dizzyingly offended tizzy for at least two days.

Now, as I've said before, radio talk show hosts are the most prolific whores on the face of the earth. They will hump any bullshit, half-assed, idiotic issue to its grave if given half a chance. And, of course, Peter Boyles -- God Bless him! -- has become the all-time, undisputed world champion mongerer of this particular on-air verbal hump-de-dump-de-dump-de-hump-de-hump during his three (four?) hour on-air daily stint.

Okay, so that's what radio talk show hosts are supposed to do. I agree. But, aren't there a few other things going on in the world that might, just might have given Boyles pause? (You all know what those other things are, so I'll move along here.)

This morning's Rocky Mountain News provided this follow-up of the issue which read, in part:

Churchill, chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department at CU and also prominent in the American Indian Movement of Colorado, wrote those words in 2001. His language hasn't cooled.

In a 2004 interview, he made the remark, "One of the things I've suggested is that it may be that more 9/11s are necessary" for Americans to realize the long-term ramifications of some of the country's policies and practices.


A little history.

When I was attending the University of Colorado -- a hundred years ago -- I was (God, how I hate to admit this!) somewhat, um, conservative during an era when everyone, I mean everyone under twenty-one was in the streets espousing a very militant radicalism related to getting the fuck out of that nasty little police action called Viet Nam (how many actually remember or actually knew that Viet Name was not officially a war?) and getting the black prince of the Republican Party, Richard Milhouse Nixon out of the White House. I guess I'll mention also that during the period I was in college my father was Chief of the Denver Police Department. I was, then, indeed, my father's son.

Being somewhat open-minded, I signed up for a general sociology course taught by the then Director of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ... a tall, imposing, articulate black man named Jim Reynolds.

Well, it didn't take long for Jim and I to tangle.

The Black Panthers, at the time, were at their height of visibility, daily espousing the killing of policemen and the burning of American cities in order to -- once again through some convoluted non-sequiturs and deadly radical philosophical motivation-- make life better for the black man; for all minorities, in fact. The white man and the white man's system was the demon, the devil and the only possible solution was the eradication of this evil from the earth. Incidentally, many, many colleges and universities around the country welcomed Black Panthers onto their campuses, their lyceums, their auditoriums to urge the offing of the pigs and the destruction of American society as it was constituted at the time.

Suffice it to say, any time I would object to the favorable light within which the Panthers were depicted during sociology class, ol' Jim Reynolds' consistent retort would be, "The Panthers feed hungry children." And, yes, the Panthers at that time in Denver, had a program (probably funded by a federal program called Model Cities) that provided breakfast to inner-city children.

"But," I would argue,"while they're feeding hungry children they're distributing comic books which show black men killing cops depicted as pigs."

"The Panthers feed hungry children," would again be the retort. How was I going to argue with that?

Funny, now that I think about it, that my life has kind of been lived in reverse of the course most people's lives take: liberal when you're young, gradually more conservative the older you get. Not me. I'm just the opposite. Go figure!

Anyway, Ward Churchill is still a nut and the world of Academe apparently, obviously hasn't changed a whole lot since I sat there in that front row of desks in that sociology class (a big room with probably two-hundred students) where my puny arguments pitted me against the image of precious black children eating free breakfasts. God, I still have the scars from those deadly stares from 98% of those -- mostly white, certainly radically liberal students -- who sat behind me wondering what planet I had stepped from.

No, Peter (Boyles) I don't think Ward Churchill should be fired. He needs his bully pulpit to continue to make a fool of himself. Indeed, some good, relevant words come to mind:

"I thought I had seen everything -- I hoped I had -- in the student world of unreason. But the all-time champion effrontery was as yet uncommitted. It was left to a seventeen-year-old Negro boy called Rickey Ivie whose Black Student Union has touched off disorders in a Los Angeles high school in a demonstration against 'racist training.' An example of that training is the inclusion in the curriculum of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He is described by Master Ivie as 'that old, dead punk.' 'In the world of music,' he explains, 'the schools keep imposing middle-class values in teaching us about Bach.'

"The remarkable thing about young Ivie isn't, one supposes, that he doesn't like Bach -- probably he has never let himself listen to Bach. It is that as author of such a remark as he made about Bach, he hasn't become the laughingstock of his fellow students. Eccentricity is one thing (the late publisher of the New York Times specified that no Mozart should be played at his funeral). To call the greatest genius who ever lived an, 'old, dead punk,' the least of whose cantatas will do more to elevate the human spirit than all the black student unions born and unborn, is not so much contemptible as pitiable: conducive of that kind of separation one feels from animals, rather than from other human beings."

William F. Buckley, Jr., "Middle Class Values," written in March, 1969.

The more things change...




Foggy Day in Denver

Foggy Day in Denver

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hickenlooper's Tap Dance - A New Jail

Fair warning: This is a post about an esoteric concern with regard to Denver's need for a new jail and our Mayor's tap dance with regard to bond funded projects in the city, including a Master Plan for my beloved Berkely Park. So, beware, you may be bored by the whole thing if you're not a Denverite.

Denver has needed a new jail for, oh, probably fifteen to twenty years. The current county jail is overcrowded and archaic. It sits on the eastern most boundary of what used to be Stapleton International Airport, an area that has been developed into a remarkably pleasant residential enclave, as well as surrounding commercial developments that have vitalized the area.

The Denver Sheriff's Department, who runs the country Jail, has consistently through the years insisted that the current jail site will not accommodate their needs and, additionally, that the cost of transporting prisoners from the jail -- which is six or seven miles from the core city where arraignments and trials are held -- to the City and County Building is an enormous expense that must be eliminated or, at least, alleviated.

Well, one or two years ago the City and County of Denver bought the site (and building) where the Rocky Mountain News had stood for generations. This site is barely two blocks from the City and County Building where, as I noted, arraignments and trials are held.

Denver's citizens rejected a ballot measure that would have provided the funds to build a new "justice center" on the Rocky Mountain News site in, I believe, 2003. So, city fathers and mothers have been scratching their heads in trying to figure out how to couch the issue in a future bond election to get the damned thing built.

Thursday's, Denver Post provided this piece on the fiscal tap dance Mayor Hickenlooper has come up with to fund the jail. Curiously, the Denver Post reporter or editor chose to entitle this little piece, "Mayor: Jail won't take funds from other projects."

What bothers me most about the Hick's tap dance on this one is his comment that: "We are going to do this with no new tax increase. I think we can do this comfortable within the existing tax structure. ...It does tie our hands for five or six years -- then you can see where capacity will open up."

So, what the hell is he talking about. Well, Hick's plan, if passed by the electorate, will, as the Post story says, "...technically ... exceed the $70 million threshold in 2006 and 2007..." of the bond indebtedness that Denver can, legally, carry. Ol' Hick believes that this is not a problem. In fact, he's suggesting that this excess liability can be picked up with the city's reserve fund which is utilized to, for one thing, provide bond markets with a guarantee that Denver will not default on its obligations and, therefore, keep Denver's bond rating as high as possible.

Now, to what I really want to talk about.

As you may have read at one point in this blog, or, indeed, viewed pictures included in this blog, I am an avid, no, rabid advocate of Berkeley Park where Melissa and I run each morning, every morning of year, rain,shine or snow. And, in being such an advocate, my interests are best served by espousing the implementation of the Berkeley Park Master Plan which, if eventually fully realized, will cost in excess of twenty-million dollars and take about twenty to thirty years to complete.

Why so much money? Why so long to complete the improvements included in the Master Plan. Easy answer: 1) moneywise, today's dollars are going to be inadequate five, ten, twenty or thirty years from today. So, if the improvements suggested by the Master Plan may, today, be about ten to fifteen million, in twenty or thirty years you can bet the cost of those improvements will increase by, at least, one-hundred percent. 2) The reason it will take so long to complete the improvements included in the Berkeley Master Plan is that there is an incredibly aggressive competition amongst city councilmen/women and city agencies with regard to what bond legislation is placed upon any particular ballot for the citizen's to approve or reject. Additionally, there are monies allocated within the General Fund of Denver called CIP, or Capital Improvement Project funds, for which there is probably an even greater competition amongst city agencies.

So, as nice as the Berkeley Park Master Plan may be; as attractive as the improvements in that plan may be, they will not be realized unless bond money and CIP funds are allocated for them.

Now, with Hick's pronouncement that, "...our hands [will be tied] for five or six years..." if the jail bond issue is passed, the writing is plainly on the wall. Northwest Denver's hopes, dreams for improvements to Berkeley Park will be put off for, at least, five or six years, therefore extending the final realization of the Berkeley Park Master Plan to probably thirty or forty years.

God, I won't live to see it.

Finally, no, the title of the piece in the Denver Post should not have read: "Mayor: Jail won't take funds from other projects." The title of the piece should have read: "Hick's proposal will delay all bond funded projects throughout the city by, at least, ten years."

That's the facts, folks. Sorry if I've bored regular readers of this blog. But, I love Berkeley Park as a unique ecosystem and serene, precious resource in my Northwest Denver neighborhood that I pray can benefit from the Master Plan that so-well defines what needs to be done to assure the continuity of the precious resource we call Berkeley Park.

Chuckles for a Thursday

Virgin Airways Ad

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Denver Cop - Fuck the First Amendment

This, verbatim, from this morning's Rocky Mountain News

Sticker stuck in cop's craw

He's subject of probe after coming unglued over bumper theme
By Brian D. Crecente, Rocky Mountain NewsJanuary 25, 2005

A Denver police sergeant is under investigation for allegedly threatening to arrest a woman Monday for displaying on her truck a derogatory bumper sticker about President Bush.
"He told her that this was a warning and that the next time he saw her truck, she was going to be arrested if she didn't remove the sticker," said Alinna Figueroa, 25, assistant manager of The UPS Store where the confrontation took place. "I couldn't believe it."

Denver police have initiated an investigation into the alleged incident, said Police Chief Gerry Whitman. He declined to comment further.

About 11 a.m., Shasta Bates, 26, was standing in the shopping center store in the 800 block of South Monaco Parkway when a man walked in and started arguing with her about a bumper sticker on the back of her truck that had "F--- Bush" in white letters on a black background.
"He was saying it was very sick and wrong and you shouldn't be doing that," Bates said. "He was very offended by it. I said, 'You didn't have to take it so personally.' "

The two argued for a few minutes, and then the man walked out of the store and stood behind Bates' truck. A few minutes later, the man flagged down police Sgt. Michael Karasek, who was patrolling the area.

Rocky Mountain News reporter Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, who happened to be at the store at the time, walked up to the two and asked what was going on.

The man pointed the bumper sticker out to McCrimmon, and then Karasek told her that it was illegal because it was profane, McCrimmon said.

Reached late Monday, City Attorney Cole Finnegan said he didn't believe there were any city ordinances against displaying a profane bumper sticker.

Karasek then walked into the store and confronted Bates.

"He said, 'You need to take off those stickers because it's profanity and it's against the law to have profanity on your truck,' " Bates said. "Then he said, 'If you ever show up here again, I'm going to make you take those stickers off and arrest you. Never come back into that area.' "

McCrimmon, who had followed the officer into the store, said Karasek wrote down the woman's license-plate number and then told her: "You take those bumper stickers off or I will come and find you and I will arrest you."

Bates said she hasn't had many complaints about her sticker, which has shared the space on the back of her truck with many other stickers since August.

She said she put the sticker on her truck because she disagrees with Bush's stance on homosexuality and "other issues."

"I get some older men who pull up at the side of me and start yelling and cussing," she said, "but it's not a crime unless they take some action."

Colorado ACLU Legal Director Mark Silverstein said that the alleged threat of arrest clearly violates First Amendment protection.

"The Supreme Court considered a case about 30-some years ago where a person was prosecuted for wearing a jacket that said, 'F--- the draft,' on the back. The Supreme Court said states could not prohibit people from wearing such a jacket," he said. "They said, 'One man's profanity is another man's lyric.' "

Ted Halaby, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, said that while he finds the bumper sticker's message distasteful, he also realizes that it's probably protected under the First Amendment.

"There are all sorts of derogatory bumper stickers that seem to be covered under the First Amendment," he said, "whether or not you find them personally distasteful."
or 303-892-2811

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Bits and Pieces

" the inaugural speech reflected a worldview dramatically at odds with that in many parts of Europe and the Middle East, where it has only confirmed the image of Bush as an American unilateralist pursuing his own agenda with messianic fervor." -- Washington Post

An oh my! from the Washington Post: (the Strategic Support Branch! Um, haven't we already experienced an "SS" unit under the direction of a despot in world history?)

The Pentagon, expanding into the CIA's historic bailiwick, has created a new espionage arm and is reinterpreting U.S. law to give Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld broad authority over clandestine operations abroad, according to interviews with participants and documents obtained by The Washington Post.

The previously undisclosed organization, called the Strategic Support Branch, arose from Rumsfeld's written order to end his "near total dependence on CIA" for what is known as human intelligence. Designed to operate without detection and under the defense secretary's direct control, the Strategic Support Branch deploys small teams of case officers, linguists, interrogators and technical specialists alongside newly empowered special operations forces.


Quotation of the day from the New York Times:
"Let me tell you something important. As long as my country is under occupation, I feel that my vote means nothing."WALID MUHAMMAD, the imam of a major Sunni mosque in Iraq.

"Ghost Units" in the Alabama Boy Scout Organization? What is this world coming to?????

Finally, sadly, from Yahoo News, long-time host of the Tonight Show, Johnny Carson, has passed away at 79, from the effects of emphysema.





50 Degrees in Denver - All the Geese a'Feeding

50 Degrees in Denver - All the Geese a'Feeding

Friday, January 21, 2005

Great Rhetoric -- Empty or Not -- God Surely is on Our Side

Like I said, Dubya really wants to be the President of Everybody, as evidenced by his lofty inaugural rhetoric.

The Washington Post seemed to encapsulate pretty much my knee-jerk reaction to Dubya's lofty phrases:

Steven Schier, a Carleton College political scientist who has edited academic volumes on the Clinton and Bush presidencies, said Bush's speech will take concrete meaning only when it is paired with the State of the Union address next month. "I don't think the speech was written in a way to be taken literally," he said. "If it was, you'd have to have more policy detail, but it's written at such a high level of abstraction it's hard to take issue with it. It's an attempt to link up with the great speeches and great concepts of the American past."

Yes, Steven Schier's comments hit a nerve because I wish I had a dime for every time I've heard learned men and women describe the Bible as something that was written to be allegorical; something not to be taken literally; something written in the abstract.

Then, of course, AlterNet's observations (John Nichols from The Nation) also hit home. Specifically:

President Bush has not lost his flair for irony.

Just as the president hit the point in his second inaugural address where he declared to the dissidents of the world that "when you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you," authorities were removing peaceful protesters from the regal one's line of sight.

Well, there are hundreds of thousands of words out there from pundits more adept than I examining the content and the unarticulated detail of those twenty-two inaugural minutes. So, I'll end this post here.


Can't wait for the State of the Union!


Monday, January 17, 2005

MLK, Jr. - Ferocious Inspiration

This from AlterNet this morning provides a great overview of the the teachings -- and they were teachings as well as calls to action -- by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Also, this from AlterNet, reminds us that what the media seems to key on every January 15th, is King's, "I Have a Dream," speech before the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. King was not essentially a dreamer. He was an activist; a "...cheerleader for justice..." during those dark and dangerous years of the early sixties in America. Indeed, the article from AlterNet provides:

Dr. King may be an icon within the media today, but there is still something upsetting about the way his birthday is observed. Four words – "I have a dream" – are often parrotted out of context every January 15th.
King, however, was not a dreamer – at least not the teary-eyed, mystic projected in the media. True, he was a visionary, but he specialized in applied ethics. He even called himself "a drum major for justice," and his mission, as he described it, was, "to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed." In fact, the oft-quoted "I have a dream" speech was not about far-off visions. In his speech in Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963, Dr. King confronted the poverty, injustice, and "nightmare conditions" of American cities. In its totality, the "I have a dream" speech was about the right of oppressed and poor Americans to cash their promissary note in our time. It was a call to action.


Also, on MLK day, I think it is important to revisit one of the documents in our history, our American history that is significant, pertinent to King's 1963 address before the Lincoln Memorial; the "Emacipation Proclamation."


Sunday, January 16, 2005

The President of Everybody - Uh-Oh!

I believe it was the comedian Rich Little who used to do a great impression of Richard Nixon -- his face all scrunched up, his shoulders hunched and his arms spread wide with his index and middle finger spread in Vs -- and then he'd say, "I AM the President." It would break people up ... except maybe the most ungracious of Republicans who, of course, have no sense of humor anyway.

An article in this morning's Washington Post reports that Dubya was "...puzzled..." by the revelation that exit polls confirmed only eleven percent of blacks voted for him. Dubya then said, "It's important for people to know I'm the president of everybody."

Ahem... Well, okay, I've taken the remark out of context and provided the entire article to you, above. But, anyway, Dubya does make me laugh sometimes.

Interestingly, the article also reported that:

On the domestic front, Bush said he would not lobby the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage.

While seeking reelection, Bush voiced strong support for such a ban, and many political analysts credit this position for inspiring record turnout among evangelical Christians, who are fighting same-sex marriage at every juncture. Groups such as the Family Research Council have made the marriage amendment their top priority for the next four years.


The president said there is no reason to press for the amendment because so many senators are convinced that the Defense of Marriage Act -- which says states that outlaw same-sex unions do not have to recognize such marriages conducted outside their borders -- is sufficient. "Senators have made it clear that so long as DOMA is deemed constitutional, nothing will happen. I'd take their admonition seriously. . . . Until that changes, nothing will happen in the Senate."


Bush's position is likely to infuriate some of his socially conservative supporters, but congressional officials say it will be impossible to secure the 67 votes needed to pass the amendment in the Senate.


Yesterday morning, the day after the interview, White House spokesman Scott McClellan called to say the president wished to clarify his position, saying Bush was "willing to spend political capital" but believes it will be virtually impossible to overcome Senate resistance until the courts render a verdict on DOMA.


I can just see Dubya sitting down with Scott McClellan and Karl Rove after the Washing Post reports left and working out a "clarification" to what he said about the gay marriage amendment. At least McClellan didn't say Bush "misspoke."

The most amazingly absurd thing, however, that came out of Dubya's mouth was:

President Bush said the public's decision to reelect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and that there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath.

"We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. "The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me."


Oh, my... This after recent polls show 56% of Americans believe Dubya's war in Iraq was a mistake; a very costly mistake in lives and money and respect around the world.

Which, incidentally, begs the questions how many lives have been lost? Well, we know about our own American servicemen and women, almost 1400. But, what about the lives of innocent Iraqis? Estimates run as high as 100,000.

Lordy, with the South Asia earth quake and tsunami and Dubya's war(s), seems a whole lot of brown and black bodies bein' lost to God's plan.

And, you know, now that I think about it; now that I remember Dubya's confession that he believed God wanted him to be president, I really think that his belief that he is "...the president of everybody..." goes a lot further than just Americans. Messianic? Hmmm...

As a matter of fact, the Washington Post piece noted that:

The president's inaugural speech Thursday will focus on his vision for spreading democracy around the world, one of his top foreign policy goals for the new term.

Uh-oh... See, I worry about this because I think Dubya sees democracy through the narrow perspective of a Christian fundamentalist.

That should probably worry you, too.


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Alberto Gonzales - A Particular Irony

This piece from Alternet provided, for me, a particular irony with the nomination of the first Latino, Alberto Gonzales, to be the chief law enforcement officer of the land. It reads, in part:

"In this sense, Alberto Gonzales represents a milestone in the browning of Justice, which refers to how Latinos are interfacing with and becoming part of the justice system. Young Latinos are the fastest growing and largest population in California prisons – (36 percent, according to a recent report by the Justice Policy Institute). And they are the fastest growing and largest population being employed in criminal justice jobs, jobs that pay as much as three times a teacher's salary, jobs as police officers, probation officers, and prisons guards that will be administered by Gonzales if he is confirmed.

"As current trends continue in California and across the country, increasing numbers of Latinos in police uniforms will send increasing numbers of Latinos to prisons to be guarded by increasing numbers of Latino prison guards."

Oh My! A Gay Bomb!

My friend Brian sent me this link --http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4174519.stm -- from the BBC. It reads, in part:

The plan for a so-called "love bomb" envisaged an aphrodisiac chemical that would provoke widespread homosexual behaviour among troops, causing what the military called a "distasteful but completely non-lethal" blow to morale.

Oh my....
This was way back in 1994, but, does it give you a little insight into the military mind? I mean can you -- as a rational, educated human being -- even imagine such a thing, much less contemplate spending over seven million dollars developing it.

But, now that I think about it, it might of been fun though if they could of made it work. I mean ... Can you imagine the possibilities? What if we bombed the Red states...

Or, even if they could have put the active incredients in an aerosol. Remember that straight guy on the bus the other day...

No, no. Never mind.



Friday, January 14, 2005

Dubya's Folly - deomocracy in Iraq - Please, You're Kidding, Right?

The Washington Post reports this morning that:

Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training
ground for the next generation of "professionalized" terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank.

Iraq provides terrorists with "a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills," said David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats. "There is
even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries."

Low's comments came during a rare briefing by the council on its new
report on long-term global trends. It took a year to produce and includes the analysis of 1,000 U.S. and foreign experts. Within the 119-page report is an evaluation of Iraq's new role as a breeding ground for Islamic terrorists.

President Bush has frequently described the Iraq war as an
integral part of U.S. efforts to combat terrorism. But the council's report suggests the conflict has also helped terrorists by creating a haven for them in the chaos of war.

"At the moment," NIC Chairman Robert L. Hutchings said, Iraq "is
a magnet for international terrorist activity."

Before the U.S. invasion, the CIA said Saddam Hussein had only
circumstantial ties with several al Qaeda members. Osama bin Laden rejected the idea of forming an alliance with Hussein and viewed him as an enemy of the jihadist movement because the Iraqi leader rejected radical Islamic ideals and ran a secular government.

Bush described the war in Iraq as a means to promote democracy in the Middle East. "A free Iraq can be a source of hope for all the Middle East," he said one month before the invasion. "Instead of threatening its neighbors and harboring terrorists, Iraq can be an example of progress and prosperity in a region that needs both."

But as instability in Iraq grew after the toppling of Hussein, and
resentment toward the United States intensified in the Muslim world,
hundreds of foreign terrorists flooded into Iraq across its unguarded borders.

They found tons of unprotected weapons caches that, military officials say, they are now using against U.S. troops. Foreign terrorists are believed to make up a large portion of today's suicide bombers, and U.S. intelligence officials say these foreigners are forming tactical, ever-changing alliances with former Baathist fighters and other insurgents..."



Thursday, January 13, 2005

Dubya's Coronation - A Particular Debauchery

The Washington Post reports that:

President Bush wants to lower barriers to building nuclear power plants, and the lobby that promotes nuclear energy could not be happier. To show its thanks, the group has given $100,000 to help pay for his inauguration.
"He's a big supporter," said John E. Kane, chief lobbyist for the Nuclear Energy Institute. "Our donation is just a small way of supporting him."

The nuclear energy industry's contribution is part of a record-breaking outpouring of corporate cash for next week's inaugural festivities. At least 88 companies and trade associations, along with 39 top executives -- all with huge stakes in administration policies -- have already donated $18 million toward a $40 million goal for the country's 55th inaugural celebration.

Wall Street investment firms seeking to profit from private Social Security accounts; oil, gas and mining companies pushing the White House to revive a stalled energy-subsidy bill; and hotels and casinos seeking an influx of immigrant labor are among the 44 interests that have each given $250,000 and the 66 that have donated $100,000 to $225,000. And the money keeps pouring in.

Practically all the major donors have benefited from Bush administration policies, especially from corporate and individual tax cuts, deregulation and the new prescription drug benefit that is part of Medicare. Most also stand to boost profits further because of Bush's second-term proposals, which include limiting medical malpractice suits, creating private investment accounts as part of Social Security and making a tax-code revision that is expected to reduce taxes on investments.

Many donors are corporations and executives that are regulated by the federal government, dependent on government tax and spending policies, or both. At least 16 donors are from the finance industry, 14 are from the energy sector, six are real estate developers, and at least five are from both the health and telecommunications industries. The Washington Post Co. has pledged $100,000.

In the era of campaign finance reform, such largesse is all but forbidden. Federal law limits individual donations to $2,000 per election, and corporations cannot give from their own treasuries directly to candidates or parties. But for the inauguration, the law does not apply, and the administration has decided that private interests may contribute as much as $250,000 each. That is a 150 percent increase over the $100,000 maximum accepted during Bush's first inauguration four years ago.

An inaugural committee spokeswoman said the higher ceiling is needed to meet its fundraising goal. The committee plans to raise $35 million to $40 million to help defray the costs of the four-day celebration, including fireworks, the swearing-in, a parade and nine balls. In 2001, the committee raised $40 million.

Oh, well... What the hell. The rich get richer (as Dubya said, "The haves and the have mores...") and the poor continue to get poorer.

Hope Laura's dress fits.

Hope the pretzels are locked away.

Hope not too many American men and women in unform lose their lives while the festivities in Washington ensue.


Denver's Last Three Mayors -- I Think Hick Comes in Second

This from this morning's Denver Post provides Susan Barnes-Gelt's characterizations of Denver's most recent mayors; two ex-mayors, Wellington Webb and Federico Pena, and the present mayor, John Hickenlooper. Susan doesn't, however, really tell us which of the mayors: "... looked boldly forward, another gazed fondly into a rearview mirror and the third marched firmly in place." Susan kind of made a little game out of the whole thing.

I'll betcha, though, that Susan's evaluation of the big three places Webb as that "...rearview mirror...," guy; Hickenlooper as "...march[ing] firmly in place," and the guy who actually brought her into his administration back in the '80s, Federico Pena, as, "...look[ing] boldly forward."

I really can't disagree with her. I mean, does the Hick really think we're impressed with his high school valedictorian rhetoric which proposes: "If in any way I see further than others, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants." Or, indeed, ol' Hick notes, that, "I'm not sure how much government can do to produce a strong economy ... We have to build the infrastructure that enhances our quality of life and makes this a more attractive place," while, at the same he declared, "Government ought to get out of the way." Hmmm.... Okay. Can't have it both ways, Johnnie. And, come to think of it, you've been pretty inept at getting government "...out of the way..." with regard to the Building Department permitting and review process.

But, I digress.

And, here's one from Hick that's evokes either a "no shit," response or an "ah, I don't really get it," kind of response that maybe could have been clarified by a little more commentary from hizzoner: "In the future, we're going to enjoy greater leverage on the investment we've made - DIA, Stapleton, Lowry."

Gotta' be a no shitter!

Anway, thanks Susan. Can't wait for your next piece which you've already entitled: "Mayor, where are you taking us?"

Maybe he's going to let us stand up there with him on the shoulders of giants so we all can see a little further into his vision, 'cause he sure hasn't articulated much of a vision so far.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

If You Don't Like the Weather in Denver ... Wait a Minute (11a.m. this morning)

If You Don't Like the Weather in Denver ... Wait a Minute (11a.m. this mornng)

7 a.m. This Morning - Total Snow

7 a.m. This Morning - Total Snow

Once Again Please - We Invaded Iraq Because...

This from the Washington Post reads, in part:

The hunt for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq has come to an end nearly two years after President Bush ordered U.S. troops to disarm Saddam Hussein. The top CIA weapons hunter is home, and analysts are back at Langley.

In interviews, officials who served with the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) said the violence in Iraq, coupled with a lack of new information, led them to fold up the effort shortly before Christmas.


Okay, so, dare I ask why we invaded Iraq? Dare I ask why we've all but destroyed Fullujah? Dare I ask why Dubya and Don still preach fear; still instill in that 51% of us, that even our next door neighbor may be constructing WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION in their basement if their skin color happens to be a little darker than our own?

Jesus, what a fucking mess!

Dubya's Coronation - Let 'Em Eat Cake

Dubya's coronation will cost something like $40Million, which -- considering the state of the world at the moment -- just begs for that old silly declaration: "Let them eat cake!" which has been attributed to Marie Antoinette but, curiously, may have been Rousseau .

In any event, the Denver Post provided this, which reads, in part:

For a nation at war, over-the-top black tie affairs, ice sculptures and nine inaugural balls seem a bit much - especially for a second-term president

With nine inaugural balls, a star-spangled parade, fireworks, concerts and, get this, white chocolate cowboy boots at the Ritz-Carlton, President Bush's second inauguration will be a gala affair.
We wonder if it's all really necessary, or even appropriate, for a nation at war.
The planned glitz and glamour of the three-day affair already has an air of being overdone, if not outdated, when contrasted with the American servicemembers who are in harm's way on the streets of Iraq and in the hills of Afghanistan.

And with the Indian Ocean still churning up bodies from last month's devastating tsunami, ice sculptures and black tie dinner dances seem slightly off chord.

The website of the Presidential Inaugural Committee says inaugurations "set the tone for a new administration and reflect a president's personality." What do the organizers want us to see about President Bush in next week's $40 million celebration?

This also from the Denver Post:

The tsunami may also deepen religious and ethnic divisions, perhaps dangerously. In Sri Lanka in recent years, dozens of churches have been attacked by Buddhists. It is the Christians, some Buddhists say, who are to blame for the tsunami.

Din Syamsuddin, a cleric and deputy chief of Muhammadiyah, one of Indonesia's largest Muslim organizations, said the people of the Aceh region near the epicenter had calmly accepted the tragedy as a sign of God's disapproval and a divine examination to test their faith.

Natural disasters are an indication that man has strayed from the path of God, he said: "We believe it is an examination, and we face it with passion and submission."

Ain't religion great! Don't you just want to thank God for the destruction, the death, the ending of the lives of the innocent? Don't you just want to embrace this all-knowing -- the Lord works in mysterious ways -- God who kills innocent children, infants?

Yup, by golly, by gosh, God is Great! God is Good!

Because a physical tragedy is only a test, Acehnese Muslims believe, the real punishment may come later, he said.

Sweet Melissa - Snow Dog Extraordinaire

Sweet Melissa - Snow Dog Extraordinaire

Monday, January 10, 2005

A Tale of Two Kitties

Okay, ignoring one of Dunner's New Rules about posting poetry on the blog, I think, considering how heavy several of my last posts have been, I'll give you something a bit more lighte, "A Tale of Two Kitties."

A TALE OF TWO KITTIES

Melissa,
inimitable lesbian
of the first order,
Calls to her Calico from a second story window:
“Sappho, Dear Sappho,” she cries.
“Sappho, my lovely,” she sighs.

Sappho
(known to have slept
with every Tom on the block)
Crawls slowly from the alley
on wobbly cat paws.
She awkwardly scales the four foot fence
and feebly meows, I believe,
regarding the nocturnal past tense.

Meanwhile,
in the building next door,
Lithe, blond-haired Billy
cuddles Oscar the Persian
who only dreams of
sweet amorous excursions
beyond the front door.
Becoming increasingly bored
with the nightly perversions
of Billy and friends,
Oscar plans his escape
with visions of sweet copious gyrations;
oh, carnal relations
with she-felines galore.

Sappho,
having indulged sweet Melissa
the entire day long,
Creeps toward the window
toward the succulent song
of the sinewey sleeze
of Alley Cat Toms.

Oscar,
sidestepping Billy and
the same old sight of
the lithe, blond-haired bottom
being entered (a la Sodom),
Noses the screendoor and
bounds down the steps
sniffing the air for
primordial scents.

Sappho and Oscar
to the alley they go…
Oh, Sappho,
Oh, Oscar,
meow
meow

Closer they come
in sensuous heat,
Faster they move
their little cat feet.
Oh, what joy
when finally they meet.
Sappho and Oscar
Oh, how lovely, how sweet.

Weeks pass by
then
Melissa,
distraught after cuddling dear Sappho,
Buzzes my door:
“She’s pregnant!” the cry,
holding Sappho aloft
pointing directly to signs
dear kitty’s been got.
“I just never thought it would happen this way,”
Melissa blurts out, wiping a tear away.

Then,
lithe, blond-haired Billy
knocks on my door.
With Oscar in hand.
He paces the floor
and decries the fact
Oscar’s privates are sore
from sticking it to…
“Some Calico whore!”

Oh,
two and two still make four.
Melissa and Billy
realize the score.
Their darlings have coupled
in a hetero way.
Oh, what a curse
when your kitties aren’t gay.

So,
Melissa builds a box
for the imminent births.
Billy knits sweaters
for little kitty girths.

Sappho feels sick,
immobile she is.
Oscar feels pain
when he tries to whiz.
You see,
he got fixed;
a neuter he is…
No more carousing.
No more jizz.

Finally,
the day arrives
with Melissa, Billy and me beside
Watching dear Sappho
deliver her pride.
Oscar,
upon the bookshelf,
attentively sighs.

Weeks pass away and
the kitties grow fat.
Melissa silkscreens:
FREE – NICE CATS!
She then adds a line
to assure a good home:
ONLY LESBIANS AND GAY MEN
NEED BOTHER TO PHONE!

Soon all are taken
and Melissa decides
Sappho must have
her little tubes tied.
To the Vet they proceed
where Sappho is fixed.
Further pregnancy, my dears,
is everlastingly nixed.

So,
Sappho and Oscar
grow lazy and fat.
Indifferent they are
even to rats.
Oh, what a fate
besmirches their days;
What a terrible price to pay
For a simple roll in the hay.

A lesson there is
in this tale of woe,
All of you kitties
should certainly know:
If those who feed you
are preponderantly gay,
Discretion’s a must
when together you lay.

So,
practice the rhythm
the Pope say is great;
Just pull it right out
DON’T PROCREATE!
‘Cause neuter might be
your miserable fate
if you’ve jutted the jizz
or your period’s late!

Ah, Dubya -- What have you done to small d democracy!

This from the Washington Post which reads, in part:

Protesters will be allowed to demonstrate in seven areas, but signs cannot be attached to anything that could be used as a weapon. No large backpacks, camera bags, thermos bottles, coolers, picnic baskets, strollers or umbrellas will be allowed on the parade route or the Capitol grounds.

Some people will be watched closely even before getting near a police checkpoint. Metro Transit Police officers have been trained to identify suspicious riders by looking for certain characteristics and patterns, such as people who avoid eye contact or loiter in the stations.

Ah, Dubya, what have you done to my democracy?


Politically Schizoid - Ken Salazar

Last week I posted a comment on Colorado Pols with regard to Colorado's newly elected Democratic?? US Senator Ken Salazar appearing before the confirmation hearing for Alberto Gonzales to become Attorney General:

Yeah, and maybe good Ol' Ken (Colorado's newly elected Democratic?? US Senator) will be following in the footsteps of another Colorado ex-senator (Ol' Ben Nighthorse Cambell who was elected as a Democrat and then, in 1995, found it convenient to switch parties to become a Republican) . I can't believe that Ken focused his support of Gonzales - ignoring the facts of Alberto's musings on torture and his suggestion that the President has the Constitutional authority to ignore a law passed by Congress - by singing the song of the bootstrap success of a fellow Latino. Sure, God Bless Gonzales for succeeding in an unkind world. But, Jesus, Ken, the guy's scary and if you'll cross the ailse for Gonzales, what else will you forsake the party for?

prior link to Mike Littwin's column in the Rocky Mountain News, "An inauspicous beginning for Salazar."

I really don't understand Ken Salazar's first official action (stumble?) in the United States Senate and, reviewing his comments about the whole thing, really believe he's sucking up to a powerful Republican majority in Congress and just wants to be the golden boy of the new Congress. Yeah, the traditional ideological passions of the Democratic party can be set-aside for a little pat on the back from the Republican majority, Karl Rove and Ol' Dubya.

Signs of selling-out, Ken. And, a lot of the good people who put you where you are won't forget it.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Colorado's New Senator - Ken Salazar -- Democrat???

This from the Washington Post explains a bit about the confirmation hearings for Dubya's Attorney General designate, Alberto Gonzales. It reads, in part:

But under often tough questioning from Democrats and some Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales said he could not recall key details of his involvement in the production of an August 2002 memo that narrowly defined the tactics that constitute torture. He also declined repeated invitations to repudiate a past administration assertion that the president has the authority to ignore anti-torture statutes on national security grounds.

An article entitled, "An inauspicious beginning for Salazar," in which Mike Littwin of the Rocky Mountain News provides comment on Colorado's new Democratic Senator, Ken Salazar's, unabashed, televised, before-the-confirmation-committee, support of Alberto Gonzales becasue, well, because he's Latino and has struggled mightily to get where he's at. And, that he has. And, God Bless Gonzales for overcoming all of the things he had to overcome to become the Attorney General designate. But, as Littwin notes -- after providing a litany of scary, scary descriptions of Gonzales and his perception of Geneva Convention protections of prisoners and the President's ability to ignore Congressional legislation -- Littwin notes:

Or to testimony from Adm. John Hutson, a former Navy judge advocate general, that "the prisoners' abuses that we've seen . . . found their genesis in the decision to get cute with the Geneva Conventions."

But if he was too cute for the admiral, he wasn't too cute for Salazar, who told me Friday - after returning to Colorado in his first homecoming as a U.S. senator - he had no qualms about introducing Gonzales, although he hadn't yet committed to voting for him.

Neocon pundits are suggesting that Ol' Ken's crossing over the isle to support Gonzales was smart. I'm thinking it was, at least, naive and, at most, irresponsibly glib.

Littwin also wonders about the politics of the whole thing. Who better (in Karl Rove's eyes) to sit in a chair before the confirmation committee in support of the Gonzales nomination than a newly-elected Latino Senator who happens, JUST HAPPENS, to be (perhaps titularly) a Democrat.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Dubya, Arnold and Now That's Cold

"I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it...I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet...I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't – you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one." -President Bush, after being asked in a news conference to name the biggest mistake he had made.

Let me just suggest to ol' Dubya that maybe, just maybe Iraq was a FUCKING MISTAKE!

This from the Washington Post this morning, explains the virtual devastation of the Army Reserves by the poor planning and stupidity with which Dubya and Don went to "war" with the SPC (small penis complex) hubris-encased jingoism, "Bring 'em on!"

AlterNet provided an excellent piece on the immense debacle Iraq has become, which reads, in part:

"The war is wrong, and most Americans know it. Unlike terrorism or the culture wars, Iraq is the one issue where progressives have successfully put the Bush administration on the defensive. The progressive voices have been powerful and compelling, standing steadfastly for compassion in the face of violence, whether speaking out on behalf of under-equipped soldiers or malnourished Iraqi children. Iraq may not have been enough reason for the American public to punish the Republicans in 2004, but all of Karl Rove's machinations are not going to make this political time bomb go away. A Washington Post poll conducted in December marked the first time when a decisive majority – 56 percent – of Americans have come to the conclusion that war is simply "not worth fighting." More importantly, a full 70 percent now believe that any gains to U.S. security from Saddam Hussein's departure have come at an "unacceptable" cost in military casualties. The survey also identifies a dangerous trend for the administration: support for the occupation is steadily shrinking to die-hard Republicans, while self-identified independents are becoming as skeptical as Democrats about the current Iraq policy."

And, what about Dubya's dream of democracy for Iraq? Well, this from AlterNet pretty much explains that democracy in Iraq just ain't on the horizon, ya'll. It reads, in part:

"The Americans have set this up in such a way that a lot is at stake after this election,'' says Juan Cole, a professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan. "If the Sunnis are grossly underrepresented in this constitutional constituent assembly, it will be set up for a guerrilla war that lasts for decades."

And, from the New York Times comes the ultimate fantasy: "Because Mr. Bush insists that Iraqis are now fully in control of their own country, White House officials say, the president has to move cautiously so as to not appear to be interfering in Iraq's internal politics."

This from California's Governor: "All of a sudden, we see riots, we see protests, we see people clashing. The next thing we know, there is injured or there is dead people. We don't want to get to that extent." -California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the dangers posed by gay marriage.

Oh, my.

Finally, it was reported that parts of Minnestoa experienced -43 degrees this morning. Now that is more than snot-freezing cold; that is colder than my stare at my dipshit neighbor whose tree fell on my beloved Lincoln, causing $7,500 damage. After five months the car is still in the shop because, now, after the body work was finished, the battery won't hold a charge.

I know, small stuff compared to the state of this old world. But, nevertheless, frustrating.

Peace.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Wellington Webb -- Imperial Chairmanship?

Wellington Webb, Denver's three-term ex-mayor and current candidate for Chairman of the Democractic National Committee used to like to tell the story about his first campaign for mayor in 1991. He started out the campaign sitting on poll numbers of about 8%. So, he put on his tennis shoes and started walking Denver's neiborhoods, knocking on doors and telling all kinds of folks why he should be elected the mayor.

When Webb reached Southwest Denver -- conservative, white, blue-collar neighborhood -- he knocked on a door and an elderly man opened the door. Webb started to give the old guy his spiel, when he heard an elderly woman's voice in the background ask, "Who's at the door?"

The elderly man turned and hollered back into the house, "It's that colored fella' I'm gonna vote for for mayor."

Webb would end his story then by saying that -- with the comment of the old white guy in Southwest Denver -- he knew he would prevail; that he would be Denver's next mayor.

Curiously, from that humble, tennis shoe trek across the city, once Webb became mayor, he insisted the citizens of Denver provide him with a new Lincoln Town Car every year; refer to his wife as the "First Lady;" and pay for ever-increasingly expensive inaugurations (there were three), which many used to refer to as "coronations." It was reported that the last inauguration exceeded sixty-thousand dollars.

For all the steel and stone, brick and mortar projects Webb was able to initiate (including a $140Million municipal building named -- what else? -- the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building), I personally believe his greatest achievement was the improvement of the South Platte Valley, adding miles and miles of riverside trails and enabling the development of the previously largely neglected river valley.

Interestingly, Westword saw some of that Webb imperialism in that Platte River development.

But, of all the projects that desperately needed attention during his incumbency -- the redevelopment of a dilapidated shopping center in a largely black area of Denver -- he was never able to make a dent.

Some people's memory of the Webb incumbency is of an imperial-like, good ol' boy network that was far removed from that 1991 trek across the city in those old tennis shoes.

What kind of a Chairman of the Democratic National Committee would Webb make? Who knows. But, there is that hunch it might be just a little imperial which, in my opinion really won't play in Paonia.

The Democratic Party needs tennis shoes in precincts ... certainly not Town Cars at the Four Seasons.

Howard Dean's New Democracy

This from Alternet provides a good read on Howard Dean's vision for the Democractic Party. It reads, in part:

Well, what brings people together is not ideology. There are progressive as well as moderates, McCain Republicans, Greens, and even some evangelicals. They are united because they all feel the need for change. The evangelicals are attracted because they see the hypocrisy of the pro-life people who are pro-life only until the child is born. They don't accept some of the teachings. They are against gay-bashing. We have a powerful moral attraction, because we care about the lesser among us ... our movement empowers those people who have been left out, the young people who have been left out. We are all fighting the fact that religious bigotry is back in favor, encouraged by the president. Our organizations encourage a lot of different kinds of people. We show respect for differences.

A Real Snot Freezer

It was six degrees this morning as Melissa and I rounded the lake; the kind of weather -- if you've got a little windchill goin' and a little nasal drip -- that solidifies that particular body fluid the moment it exits the nose.

Not really that much snow -- maybe two or three inches.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Snow in Denver - Melissa's Delight

Snow in Denver - Melissa's Delight

Happy Birthday Aidan!

Happy Birthday Aidan!

Happy Birthday Aidan!

Today (or tomorrow??) is my Great Nephew, Aidan George's, first birthday.

It's snowing and cold (22 degrees) in Denver today which, as I recall, is pretty much exactly the kind of day Aidan came into this world.

The little miracle that I held in my arms a year ago, has developed into an adventurous, constantly on-the-move, smart, handsome and happy little boy.

Happy Birthday Aidan!

DOGS

There is fascination with reports that the animals of South Asia knew what was coming; somehow knew that nature had erupted in an enormous fathom which was racing its deadly fury toward their habitat, their homes. They instinctively sought safe haven.

I have always believed that animals exist on a more intensely intimate plane with regard to their relationship with the earth than do human beings. And, I suppose the South Asia experience validates that belief.

Being a city dweller my entire life, the animals I've loved for as far back as I can remember were, necessarily, dogs. So many... Champ; Tuffy; Lady; Dulcinea; Peaseblossom; Pepi; Heidi; Jessica; Mayor Bill; Nikolai; Calvin; Melissa. And, with the exception of my time with Uncle Sam in Louisiana, Texas and Virginia and the year I lived in a dorm in Boulder, I've never been without a dog.

I am haunted by the anonymous quote that reflects on the dog as follows: "He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."

I have, as I've gotten older, worked hard at attempting to be worthy of my dogs' devotion. Dogs have, after all, been my best friends, my confidants, my companions throughout my life, from the earliest memories of my childhood to the present day. Dogs helped me through the emotional pain of growing up under the heavy-handed, mean-spirited, foul-mouthed suzerainty of a father whose cop mentality infested the homeplace with a kind of intense melancholy; a sadness that could only be overcome by my relathionship with my dogs.

David and I will occasionally walk into PetSmart and see a caged, eight or nine year old dog, staring into the void of their own melancholy because their friend, their life, their love, their leader abandoned them to others; strangers in a strange world. And for whatever reason people let go of their older dogs -- and there are probably some very good reasons and some very bad reasons -- I will never be able to reconcile that abandonment because, as I said, I am haunted by those words:

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."

I suppose this post may be a little inappropriately blithe in consideration of the horrible human suffering in South Asia; Iraq; sub-Saharan Africa and, oh, so many, many other places in the world where the need for a bowl of rice or a cup of milk are commodities which hugely transcend the need for one to be worthy of his dog's devotion.

But, there you have it. Truths need to be told on occasion.










Monday, January 03, 2005

What Ever Happened to Peace On Earth - Willie Nelson

What Ever Happened To Peace On Earth?
There's so many things going on in the world
Babies dying
Mothers crying
How much oil is one human life worth?
And what ever happened to peace on earth?
We believe everything that they tell us
They're gonna' kill us
So we gotta' kill them first
But I remember a commandment
“Thou shall not kill”
How much is that soldier's life worth?
And whatever happened to peace on earth?
(Bridge)
And the bewildered herd is still believing
Everything we've been told from our birth
Hell they won't lie to me
Not on my own damn TV
But how much is a liar's word worth?
And whatever happened to peace on earth?
So I guess it's just
Do unto others before they do it to you
Let's just kill em' all and let God sort em' out
Is this what God wants us to do?
(Repeat Bridge)
And the bewildered herd is still believing
Everything we've been told from our birth
Hell they won't lie to me
Not on my own damn TV
But how much is a liar's word worth?
And whatever happened to peace on earth?
Now you probably won't hear this on your radio
Probably not on your local TV
But if there's a time, and if you're ever so inclined
You can always hear it from me
How much is one picker's word worth?
And whatever happened to peace on earth?
But don't confuse caring for weakness
You can't put that label on me
The truth is my weapon of mass protection
And I believe truth sets you free
(Bridge)
And the bewildered herd is still believing
Everything we've been told from our birth
Hell they won't lie to me
Not on my own damn TV
But how much is a liar's word worth?
And whatever happened to peace on earth?

This Morning's Run - A Frozen Fog on the Willow Scrub

This Morning's Run - A Frozen Fog on the Willow Scrub

This Morning's Run - Fog on the Trail

This Morning's Run - Fog on the Trail

Sunday, January 02, 2005

This Morning's Run

This Morning's Run

This Morning's Run

It was twenty-two degrees, this morning, as Melissa and I rounded the lake, which has frozen over completely. A park crew has trimmed back the Willow scrub and trees which surround the lake. The gulls and the Canada geese still come and go. Some days not a bird in sight. Other days, twenty, thirty, fifty of them -- gulls and geese alike -- sit or stand in close-knit clutches atop the ice; a gathering of sorts -- perhaps social, perhaps chance.

I cannot believe I'm actually becoming intersted in the myriad of bird species that call the lake home through the seasons. And -- for what it's worth -- the gulls appear to be Glaucous-Winged Gulls; the geese are, of course, Canadian, eh!

What actually captured my interest initially, was a flock of very black, medium-sized birds with red (almost orange) feathers on the sides of their chest that would, this past spring and summer, rummage about the tops of the tall reeds on the west end of the lake during sunrise and chatter and squawk to one another to beat the band; like spinsters in the kitchen preparing a Thanksgiving meal. Well, I've discovered these black birds are, most likely, Red-Winged Crows. It surprised me that these were actually crows, as they are significantly smaller than their completely black cousins. When they return from wherever they've gone, I'll get some pictures and post them. (Betcha' can't wait!)

Our morning run is only about a mile and a quarter. I haven't attempted to extend that much. Melissa is, afterall, eleven and is having some hip problems (aren't we all once we pass fifty!). We do still walk at noon and again for two miles when David gets home from work.

So, this turned out to be a rather lazy post. It's just what I needed, though, after the furious verbiage of several earlier posts which, perhaps, on reflection, may mirror an ego taking itself too seriously.

Taking a step back once in a while is a good thing.

Peace.




Saturday, January 01, 2005

Enter The Fundamentalists

This from the New York Times reports that, "COLORADO SPRINGS - James C. Dobson, the nation's most influential evangelical leader, is threatening to put six potentially vulnerable Democratic senators 'in the 'bull's-eye' ' if they block conservative appointments to the Supreme Court.

"In a letter his aides say is being sent to more than one million of his supporters, Dr. Dobson, the child psychologist and founder of the evangelical organization Focus on the Family, promises 'a battle of enormous proportions from sea to shining sea" if President Bush fails to appoint "strict constructionist' jurists or if Democrats filibuster to block conservative nominees."

As I said in my prior post, "Anita Bryant -- Good Christian Hate," the more things change the more they stay the same. The following piece seems a bit prophetic, given that I wrote it in 1980 (and was published in Denver's gay rag, Out Front in May, 1980):

Enter the Fundamentalists

Lest we become too confortable with ourselves, our gay selves, and begin to suppose the liberalization of America's attitudes toward homosxuality is proceeding nicely toward the fulfillment of the final goal, acceptance, beware brothers and sisters, all is not well. Enter the Fundamentalists.

Webster's New Collegiate defines fundamentalism as "...a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching." In other words, if the Bible happened to spell out that good Christians will bathe twice a day, the fundamentalists would, without fail, follow the Biblical precepts for personal hygiene to the letter, fearing any deviation from the holy imperative would surely bring the wrath of God upon their souls. No, it wouldn't matter to the fundamentalists that, at the time the Bible was written, it may have made good sense to bathe twice a day in order to preclude infestation by lice or susceptibility to disease. But today, there is no real practical necessity to bathe twice a day unless one lives in the same conditons as the early Christians. And, it wouldn't bother me one iota if the fundamentalists extended their literal translation of the Bible to no one except themselves, but such is not the case. If the Bible says one should bathe twice a day, then, by God, it is the sacred duty of the fundamentalists to pursue, chastise and save those who do not follow God's law to the letter. Errant bathers are the enemy and they had better watch out because the fundemantalists are on the march to eradicate all that is not in balance with God's law.

Fundamentalist preachers are demagogues. They feed on the fears and prejudices of the middle-American, good old time religious flocks of right-winged, red-necked, pinko-faggot-hating men, women and children who see themselves as the bulwark of American decency; the front ranks of Christ's soldiers on earth. And, demagogues need a practical demon upon which they can blame the moral dissolution of society. They need someone or something to point to as they thump their Bibles and shout their simplistic messages. And who do you suppose the fundamentalists have focused on as the root of all that is wrong in America? Yes, you guessed it, they're pointing their fingers at us, the homosexuals of America who, the fundamentalists believe, are taking this country to hell in a handbasket.

It is estimated there are 80 million fundamentalist Christians in the United States. Yes, and if you happen to turn your television set on this Sudnay morning you will probably be met by the scowl of one or another of the electronic superstar fundamentalist preachers who, each Sunday morning, spew their venom in no uncertain terms to an audience estimated to be over 47 million souls. And, the wordly benefits of this televised ministry are quite substantial. At least one of these fundamentalist proselytizers rakes in about $1 million a week from his televised ministry.

Fiscal malleability isn't the half of it, brothers and sisters. The fundamentalists -- 80 million strong -- are organizing themselves to carry on a holy war in American political arenas whereby they will pressure, cajole and threaten politicians into supporting their righteous battle which involves (besides public displays of homophobia) anti-abortion, anti-ERA and anti-ban on prayer in public schools. The fundamentalists are lobbying Congress, writing letters, giving money, making speeches and praying their little brains out in an effort to shape America into what they think it should be. And, brothers and sisters, the fundamentalist's plans for the future of America do not include gay rights ordinances, toleration of gay pride parades or governmental funding for gay community centers, much less the acceptance of gays holding hands in public places.

Now, if anybody out there is supposing America cannot ignore its gay populace which represents about 10% of the population, you'd better take another look at the situation. The fundamentalists represent about 40% of the population of America and they know it and they're going to make themselves heard come hell or high water, the former of which they see as the depository for you and me.

The fundamentalists are sincere -- albeit profoundly ignorant of gay lifestyles -- and they should not be dismissed as just another group of doomsayers preaching the end of the world. No, they have become sincerely involoved in the cacophony of American politics to the extent they can be credited for the defeat of Senators Dick Clark of Iowa and Thomas J. McIntyre of New Hampshire who, two years ago, supported pro-abortion legislation. Any prudent politician is sure to recognize the power of the fundamentalists and carefully avoid issues whcih might incense "good" Christians. That Jerry Brown and Ted Kennedy have placed themselves on our side is indicative only of the fact that Brown and Kennedy have yet to realize what might "play" in California and Massachusetts isn't necessarily assured of acceptability by the rest of the country, especially by that part of the country where the fundamentalists are most active.

Beware, brothers and sisters, of the following names and organizational titles, for they represent the foundation of funamentalist doctrine: Reverends Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson, Rex Humbard, James Robison, Jim Bakker, Billy James Hargis, Ray Batema, Brother Lester Roloff, the Moral Majority, Religious Round Table of Rosslyn, Virginia, Christian Voice, and the 700 Club.

Our responsibility as gay people is at least to be aware of our oppressors and ready and willing to meet them head on whenever and wherever we are threatened. We must assert ourselves politically (how many of you have registered to vote?) brothers and sisters, or we may find ourselves wearing pink triangles again in some detestable quagmire remisniscent of the bold designs of another demagogue called by Christ to cleanse the moral fabric of Germany.

Lordy.... That was written over twenty-four years ago and it very well could have been written today, as it remains relevant today. The fundamentalists have finally placed God's guy in the White House and, boy oh boy, they're feeling their holy oats!


The Irish is Up - And, Finally, a New Year Gift

When my more-than-a-wee-bit-of-Irish mother had had about enough of my sass or smart mouth, she would give fair warning that her next reaction would probably invoke violence upside my head by saying, "You're gettin' my Irish up!"

Yesterday, my Irish was up, witness the series of comments accompanying this post, and this later post. Yes, indeed, if two of those clean-cut, suit and tie, Seventh Day proselytizers had knocked on my door yesterday it would not have been pretty.

With the new year here and since I've managed to get more than six months of this blogging business under my belt (I really don't want to call this a (Bill Maher) New Rule) let me just itemize a few things:

1) George In Denver loves comments on his posts. He doesn't get many, but those that he does get are appreciated. But, if one comments on his posts, there's nothing in the blogger's rule book that says he can't get his Irish up and respond to the comment passionately, obscenely (his career cop more-than-a-wee-bit-of-Irish father taught him lots of colorful phrases), agressively and, hopefully, articulately;

2) George In Denver is not fond of those who comment on his posts annonymously. George in Denver finds anonymous comments, for lack of a better word, cowardly. George In Denver believes that if one is interested enough to comment on a post, then one should be brave enough to expose their cyber selves, certainly providing their blog's name, if they've got one, or an email address, or even just a moniker that might give George In Denver some sense of who they are -- like, for example, Messianically Inclined in Tulsa; or Drunk in Davenport; or Just Plain Stupid in Idaho;

3) The thing that really, really disturbs George In Denver about a couple comments he's received is that they are essentially pedantic, teachy, from someone who apparently perceives themself to be the cyber hall monitor. Please! George In Denver doesn't quite go so far as the Rude Pudit in noting: " Mostly, the Rude Pundit doesn't give a shit what you have to say, but if you have to say something, you can send it here." But, George In Denver doesn't do pedantic. It just pisses him off. It just gets his Irish up because George In Denver is a big boy who has been around the block a few times; got his degree; served honorably in the US Army; had a twenty-three year career in public service, the last six of which were spent as a Division Head and Mayoral appointee. No, George In Denver just doesn't need to be lectured to.

Finally, to begin the new year, I want to provide a gift of sorts to everyone. It's Jorge Luis Borges, Another Poem of Gifts (translated by Alan Dugan). Now, another point, 4) George In Denver prefers poetry to bible verse. So, if you've got some poem that explains why the South Asia devastation is, in God's eyes, a good thing, I'd love to read it.

For those not into poetry, please read Borges just once, if not now, then maybe later. Just once...

I want to give thanks to the divine
Labyrinth of causes and effects
For the diversity of beings
That form this singular universe,
For Reason, that will never give up its dream
Of a map of the labyrinth,
For Helen's face and the perseverence of Ulysses,
For love, which lets us see others
As God sees them,
For the solid diamond and the flowing water,
For Algebra, a palace of exact crystals,
For the mystic coins of Angelus Silesius,
For Schopenhauer,
Who perhaps deciphered the universe,
For the blazing of fire,
That no man can look at without an ancient wonder,
For mahogany, cedar, and sandalwood,
For bread and salt,
For the mystery of the rose
That spends all its color and can not see it,
For certain eves and days of 1955,
For the hard riders who, on the plains,
Drive on the catttle and the dawn,
For mornings in Motevideo,
For the art of friendship,
For Socrates' last day,
For the words spoken one twilight
For that dream of Islam that embraced
A thousand nights and a night,
For that other dream of Hell,
Of the tower of cleansing fire
And of the celestial spheres,
For Swedenborg,
Who talked with the angles in London streets
For the secret and immemorial rivers
That converge in me,
For the language that, centuries ago, I spoke in
Northumberland,
For the sword and harp of the Saxons,
For the sea, which is a shining desert
And a secret code for things we do not know
And an epitaph for the Norsemen,
For the word music of England,
For the word music of Germany,
For gold, that shines in verses,
For epic winter,
For the title of a book I have not read: Gesta Dei
per Francos,
For Verlaine, innocent as the birds,
For crystal prisms and bronze weights,
For the tiger's stripes,
For the high towers of San Francisco and Manhattan
Island,
For mornings in Texas,
For that Sevillian who composed the Moral Epistle
And whose name, as he would have wished, we do not
know,
For Seneca and Lucan, both of Cordova,
Who, before there was Spanish, had written
All Spanish literature,
For gallant, noble, geometric chess,
For Zeno's tortoise and Royce's map,
For the medicinal smell of eucalyptus trees,
For speech, which can be taken for wisdom,
For forgetfulness, which annuls or modifies the past,
For habits,
Which repeat us and confirm us in our image like a
mirror,
For morning, that gives us the illusion of a new
beginning,
For night, its darkness and its astronomy,
For the bravery and happiness of others,
For my country, sensed in jasmine flowers
For Whitman and Francis of Assisi, who already wrote
this poem,
For the fact that the poem is inexhaustible
And becomes one with the sum of all created things
And will never reach its last verse
And varies according to its writers
For Frances Haslam, who begged her children's pardon
For dying so slowly,
For the minutes that precede sleep,
For sleep and death,
Those two hidden treasures,
For the intimate gifts I do not mention,
For music, that mysterious form of time.