Saturday, April 30, 2005

How about when you cram your brain up your rear?

Shakespeare's Sister made my day, with her post, "Felch You," about Charlotte/Mecklenburg, North Carolina County Commissioner Bill James' giant rhetorical fallacies and his obsession with exotic aspects of gay male sex. As Shakespeare's Sister points out, James' so-called statistics have no meaning whatsoever:

"In one study, two homosexual researchers found that 73% of adult male homosexuals had had sex with boys age 19 or younger."

Somebody please inform Mr. James that once you reach 18, you’re not “a boy” anymore. And while you’re at it, let him know that any study of adult male hetersexuals having sex with “girls” age 19 or younger would probably produce similar results.

Here is some of James' diatribe:

A lifestyle where one of their past times is buying gerbils and hamsters from the pet store and cramming them up their rears in an activity called feltching? A group of people who like to urinate on their partners and call them "golden showers"? Where one of the honored members of the Gay Alliance is an organization called the "Man-Boy Love Association" that promotes sex with underage boys?
That behavior is worthy of protection?

My response to you, Mr. James, is this, and my grammar and spelling are correct: A lifestyle in which one of the pasttimes is giving adolescent females great quantities of alcohol and then raping them? A group of people who have sex with their little daughters and step-daughters when the house is dark and quiet and the little girls are in bed? A group of people who break into women's houses and rape them, beat them, and sometimes kill them? A group of people who patronize restaurants because the wait staff are outfitted to provide male sexual pleasure? A group of people who think it is acceptable to sexually taunt and abuse their female peers in the workplace? A group of which one of the honored members is the U.S. military, whose members sexually abuse their female peers and then threaten them if they reveal what happened?

That behavior is worthy of protection?

God's mouth, Rush's ear, my ass

And, the religious left in this country hates and despises the God of Christianity and Catholicism and whatever else. They despise it because they fear it, because it's a threat, because that God has moral absolutes. That God has right and wrong, that God doesn't deal in nuance, that God doesn't deal in gray area, that God says, "This is right and that is wrong.

The words of, you guessed it, Rush Limbaugh. The Interfaith Alliance is upset over this statement, made on April 27, and has issued its own statement denouncing it.

Limbaugh's rhetoric is not new. Last June, he came out with this gem:

I mean, if there is a party that's soulless, it's the Democratic Party. If there are people by definition who are soulless, it is liberals-- by definition. You know, souls come from God. You know?

The popular talk show host and drug addict does set up an interesting theological discussion, however. I, for one, am willing to come forward and say that I do hate the God of the kind of "Christianity" and Catholicism (anyone notice that he made them separate religions?--that's called Catholic-bashing where I come from) that is being espoused in America today. And if there is another kind, then why aren't its followers loudly and vehemently protesting the Dobsons and DeLays?

In Florida, it takes a 13-year-old to talk sense

13-year-old for whom the state is trying to prohibit an abortion: "Why can't I make my own decision?

Judge: "I don't know."

13-year-old: "You don't know? Aren't you the judge?"

That was how it went at the Palm Beach hearing to determine a matter that is already perfectly clear in state law. Florida permits adolescents to have abortions without their guardian's permission. The state of Florida is the girl's guardian. What could be more cut and dried?

Ah, but this is Florida, where the law can be twisted and turned every time someone wants to promote a "culture of life" or a culture of making sure votes do not count.

The April garden--roses

China rose 'Louis Phillipe' Posted by Hello

The miniature rose 'Perriene' Posted by Hello

National Poetry Month--day 30

Some final thoughts on poetry...

Why read it? Because a poem can do two things for you. It can cause you to have a moment--and a lifetime--of joy over language. And it can say for you what you yourself have not found adequate words, or maybe any words, to express. Such is the nature of art, that we are enriched by both the medium and the message.

When people say they do not like poetry, they are denying the language, and they are denying their connection with the rest of the world. Sometimes people complain about the "bad" poetry they have read, but to shun art because some of it is sub-standard is like saying you will never eat again because you had a bad meal.

Your poem for today is a song lyric.

Friday, April 29, 2005

How about naming it the Tom DeLay Highway to Hell?

A 49-mile stretch of Highway 130 in Texas won't be named after Willie Nelson, after all. Steve Ogden and Jeff Wentworth, Republican senators, spoke against the proposal because they didn't want the stretch of road, which crosses their districts, named for someone who drinks, smokes, and supports Democrats.

How I wish I were making this up. The Farm Aid founder, who has been honored at Lincoln Center and whose music and songwriting have been embraced by practically every aspect of American society, is an icon, if ever there were one. But if you support Democrats, you don't get a namesake in Texas. At least Nelson doesn't have to go to prison for it, like Martha Stewart did.

The April garden--the amaryllis continue

H. 'Fairy Tale' Posted by Hello

H. 'Charisma' Posted by Hello

EPA tells whopping lie about benefits of mercury pollution reduction

In March, the so-called Environmental Protection Agency reported that the country could receive $50 million in benefits for reducing mercury pollution.

Here is the truth: The Southeast alone could received 40 times that--$2 billion--for making a reduction in mercury pollution.

Why the difference? The EPA lied. I know you're shocked.

An internal report shows that the Bush administration tried to minimize the benefits of mercury pollution reduction so that power plant owners would not have to buy the necessary equipment to lower mercury emissions. The EPA chose to keep this finding a secret. And in February, an EPA-commissioned study conducted by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis concluded that there could be $5 billion a year in public health benefits from a 62.5 percent cut in the mercury released by power plants. The EPA also conveniently omitted that finding.

The revelation of this latest pack of lies from the White House and the EPA comes on the heels of a study concluding that mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants are a probable cause of an increase of autism cases in Texas.

Leave no child behind, indeed. The Bush administration's spectacular disregard for the public welfare is matched only by its ongoing world-class corruption.

America has lost its mind.

National Poetry Month--day 29

More thoughts on formal poetry and free verse...

I came close to writing formal poetry vs. free verse, and then realized that would have made me part of the problem. I enjoy reading and writing both, but there remains a strong bias for free verse in this country. Most of the poems I have presented this month have been written in free verse because such poems are so plentiful.

Literary journals often stipulate in their guidelines, "Free verse only." Or "Rhyming poetry only if it is really good." The most irritating thing literary journal editors say in their guidelines is: "Free verse only--no rhymed poems." What is so irritating about that is that a number of forms do not include rhyme: the sestina, pantoum, ghazal, and all of the Asian forms. So then one has to write to the editor and say, "Did you mean no formal verse or no rhymed verse?" Or move on to a journal in which the editor understands poetry.

There appears to be a bit of a pendulum swing at this point, and more formal poetry is appearing in journals. That is a good thing, for formal poetry can help us to see more clearly the wonder of language.

Here is your poem for today.

Friday cat blogging

The editorial page sometimes upsets Velma. Here, she is ripping up a column by Cokie and Steven Roberts Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Let's hope a Muslim asks to be put on the list, too

The Virginia ACLU has filed a petition on behalf of Cynthia Simpson, who is Wiccan. The suit seeks to reverse a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals 3-judge panel's upholding of Chesterfield County's banning of Simpson from delivering the invocation at Board of Supervisors meetings. In 2002, when Simpson asked to be put on a list of persons who could deliver the invocation, she was told that anyone doing so much be Judeo-Christian. Earlier this month, the 3-judge panel ruled that Chesterfield County was within its rights restricting legislative prayer.

Quote of the day

"Trying to govern by polls is like a dog chasing your tail."

George W. Bush

Reefer madness alert: Horrifying new drug legislation proposed

The proposed Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005, anyone offering marijuana to someone under 18 receives a mandatory 10-year sentence. A second conviction calls for a mandatory life sentence.

This proposed legislation has stayed under the radar. It is so ridiculous I could laugh except that it could become a law.

Do something now.

Florida Supreme Court rules against Limbaugh

And it makes me nervous.

Yesterday, by a 4-3 vote, the Florida Supreme Court said that it would not consider an appeal from Rush Limbaugh over the prosecution's seizure of his medical records during the investigation of whether Limbaugh illegally purchased certain drugs.

I'm sure this has many liberals jumping up and down and cheering, but not this one. Limbaugh's appeal was filed by the Florida ACLU, who argued that the talk show host's privacy rights had been violated. It was deliciously satisfying to see ACLU-basher Limbaugh suddenly realize why the organization exists, and it is scary to hear of the state Supreme Court decision. This sets a precedent that I do not like at all.

The April garden

Early hybrid tea rose 'Mrs. Oakley Fisher' Posted by Hello

National poetry month--day 28

Here is your poem for today.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Just in case you never read Sibel Edmonds' letter...

Here it is. She leaves out some of the most shocking material, but she gets the point across.

Texas students to study Bible

In response to a petition signed by 6,000 Odessa, Texas residents, the school board has unanimously voted to add a Bible class to its high school curriculum.

81 years of hate

Birmingham Alabama church bomber J.B. Stoner is dead. Finally.

Microsoft defends its hiring of Ralph Reed

Confronted about the revelation that it has retained Ralph Reed as a $20,000-a-month trade consultant, Microsoft has responded that since Reed never consulted with them on policies other than trade, there is nothing wrong with having him on the payroll. This is a bad week for Microsoft, who sold out the gay community in Washington, and now has to deal with its annual payment of over a quarter of a million dollars to one of the great anti-gay, anti-woman scumbags of all time.

For a guy who is supposedly a great humanitarian, Bill Gates doesn't seem to have a lot of judgment about corporate morality. Or maybe he doesn't give a damn about gay rights and women's rights.

The April garden--more roses

The first 'New Dawn' bud of the year unfolds. 'New Dawn' is a climbing rose that puts on a spectacular springtime show Posted by Hello

The floribunda rose, 'Valentine' Posted by Hello

National Poetry Month--day 27

Your poem for today originally appeared on a Todd Rundgren album cover, handwritten on a Band-Aid.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Why is "progressive" not so progressive?

It confuses me that people who call themselves "progressive" cease to be so if you bring up certain subjects. Animal liberation is the main one, of course. The idea that we condemn to lives of hell-- followed by painful death--billions of animals through factory farming and animal testing makes me sick every day of my life. But the average "liberal" or "progressive" does not support animal liberation and indeed, often chooses to know very little about the horrors perpetrated on animals. S/he may even make fun of the animal liberation movement.

Feminism, though it certainly gets more support than animal rights, is another subject that many so-called progressives do not seem to grasp. The same men who say they are liberals continue to use sexist language, and may even indulge in a number of sexist behaviors, such as focusing on women's looks rather than their actions, using gender-related put-downs, or regarding female managers or political leaders in a lesser light than they do male managers and leaders. Women who call themselves liberal sometimes are not comfortable with feminism, and prefer to avoid the topic.

Then there is the matter of gay rights. We have only to look at Congress to see how uncomfortable the so-called progressives are with gay issues.

Perhaps it is just I, but it seems peculiar to me to exclude any sentient being, or any group, from the struggle to end evil and injustice. And it breaks my heart.

Media quiet as Sibel Edmonds case moves toward oblivion or explosion

There is no bigger court case in the world than that of whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, though you wouldn't know it to turn on the television and see Michael Jackson entering the courtroom a dozen times a day. Today, Edmonds and her attorneys were removed from the courthouse so that the Court of Appeals panel could talk privately with Bush administration attorneys. Mind you, these attorneys, whose job is to never let Edmonds' testimony see the light of day, are paid for with my tax money, and I am getting very anxious.

Since the news media pays no attention to this case whatsoever, the White House can shut the whole thing down and no one will even notice. If Edmonds is telling the truth, then "Watergate" will become a term for a matter of great triviality. According to Edmonds, hundreds of millions of laundered drug money is involved in her allegations about September 11. Congress is quiet as a mouse about the case for reasons that are perhaps implicit in Edmonds' allegations.

This is possibly the story of the decade, and not one newspaper showed up at the courthouse to cover the case today.

Television by idiots for idiots

Today, I just happened to catch MSNBC's program, "Connected Coast to Coast." Hosts Monica Crowley and Ron Reagan bemoaned the fact that Congress is tied up dealing with trivial matters like judicial appointments and not spending time on important things like the price of gasoline. Reagan made the statement that "most Americans don't care about these things (the list included the judicial nominations)."

I think Reagan is probably right, which is why this country is falling apart at the seams. But he and Crowley did nothing to suggest that Americans might pay more attention, nor did they do anything to educate the public about what is at stake. Quite the contrary. They spent the rest of the broadcast conducting interviews that confirmed that Congress is wasting its time with these "distractions."

Here is a direct (and of course, grammatically incorrect) quote from the show's producer, Tony Maciulis:
I have to be honest with you. Aside from what I do for a living and the inherent need to be well read on current events, I couldn't give a flying fig about either the Bolton nomination, the filibustering, or whether or not Tom Delay golfed in Scotland on a lobbyist's dime.

So much for due process, equal protection, right to privacy, free speech, voting rights, illegal searchs, and the right to seek legal recourse. Time to fill up the SUV.

Kendel strikes again

Having botched her opportunities to shoot Britney Spears, Maryland First Lady Kendel Ehrlich is now on a campaign to punish newspapers, and especially The Baltimore Sun. I am somewhat sympathetic to her cause, despite my heavy opposition to her husband's politics. The news media does very sloppy reporting much--maybe most--of the time.

On the other hand, it is really difficult to believe Governor Ehrlich's alleged innocence in the recent smear campaign against Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley.

What you need to read

The Heretik has everything you need to know today about the Senate shenanigans.

Fred at Stone Court nails the Pope as a liar drowning in a sea of false modesty in Lies the Holy Father Told Me.

And on the heels of the sickening news that Microsoft sold out the Washington gay community comes this bombshell from Shakespeare's Sister.

The April garden--more roses

Found rose 'Lavender Pink Parfait' Posted by Hello

Hybrid musk rose 'Penelope' Posted by Hello

National Poetry Month--day 26

Here is your poem for today.

Monday, April 25, 2005

We'll scare you to death, but we won't say "urinate"

CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," minus Anderson Cooper, featured Our Five Biggest Fears tonight. I watched it in a kind of "can't take your eyes off the roadside accident" stupor. I would really like to know what fears were presented in the survey. All I know is that the top five winners were:

  1. Child molestation
  2. Crystal meth
  3. Cocaine
  4. Violence
  5. Terrorism
The reporter who did the piece on crystal meth showed us a meth baby agonizing because of acid burns from his diaper. Even when the baby "goes to the bathroom," she said, he is in pain.

Dear CNN: Babies do not go to the bathroom. They cannot walk or stand. They can urinate, however. If we have to have a euphemism for "urinate," how long until we avoid talking about table legs, like the Victorians?

It will disappoint the White House to know that terrorism came in fifth in this survey. People in Washington are probably fooling with color codes as I write this.

Americans' fear of violence is justified, but the many of the same citizens who are afraid of being attacked by gang members are whacking their children, punching out soccer coaches, kicking anti-war protestors, and putting out death threats against judges.

I didn't know we were still so afraid of cocaine. The news media has been stirring the crystal meth pot for a while now, so that wasn't quite as much of a surprise. Of course, nowhere in the report was there mention of the joke that is known as the War on Drugs, or of the high percentage of drug-related violence that is caused by the illegality of drugs. Or of our failure to find suitable treatment modalities. That would be too much reality.

Child molestation probably rose to the top because the Catholic Church scandal kept it in the headlines for so long, and because it is an easy thing to pin on gay men, despite the fact that they do not commit most of the child sex abuse in this country.

Our Five Biggest Fears was plastered on a sign and flashed over and over during the course of the dreary program.

Scared yet? I am, but my list is a little different.

A few words about Priscilla Owen

Judge Priscilla Owen, one of Karl Rove's picks for the Texas Supreme Court, is known for her denial of access to court records. In Texas, she is also known for her attempt to severely narrow the state's parental consent abortion law. So zealous was Owen in this pursuit, in fact, that one jurist described her behavior as "an unconsionable act of judicial activism."

Who said that? Alberto Gonzales, that's who.

On the death of Marla Ruzicka

Marla Ruzicka's death isn't exactly shocking; she put herself in harm's way every day. But it is horrifying that such an extraordinary person should die so young and should die because she happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the midst of war, every place is the wrong place at the wrong time.

If young girls want someone to look up to, Ruzicka should be at the top of the list. Instead of turning away from reality and shutting out uncomfortable feelings, she felt compelled to act. She was one young woman (two strikes against her from the start), but she made dozens of highly influential people listen to her. If ever there were someone who proved that one person can make a difference, it was Marla Ruzicka.

Conservative columnist Debbie Schlussel remembers Ruzicka by calling her a "treasonatrix barbie" and implies that she got what she deserved. This got the people at Free Republic going, and they contributed such condolences as: "At least this one is dead and can't do more damage," "Good riddance to bad rubbage," "I'm glad she got greased," and "Marla Ruzicka's obituary is one that can be read with real pleasure."

So much confusion about who the enemy is. So little thinking.

More of the April garden

Yet another amaryllis--H. 'Clown' Posted by Hello

A butterfly dines on a 'Casa Rosa' lily Posted by Hello

National Poetry Month--day 25

Canada's first Poet Laureate has become controversial, not because of what he has written (that would be an American phenomenon), but because of what he has not written. The Canadian government paid George Bowering $12,000, plus a $10,000 travel allowance per year, and at the end of two years, he had written eighty-seven lines.

Bowering visited school children, worked with other poets and launched a "poem of the week" program that was published on a website for about seventeen months. He also travelled throughout Canada to attend poetry poetry readings and promote the written word.

Pauline Michel is Canada's new Poet Laureate.

Here is your poem for today.

Cherif Bassiouni loses his job after filing U.S. abuse report

No surprise here. Bassiouni, who was the U.N.'s top human rights investigator, made the mistake of investigating human rights abuses. He recently presented a report criticizing the US military for detaining suspects without trial and holding them in secret prisons. A few days later, the U.N. eliminated his job, following pressure from Washington to eliminate the United States from Bassiouni's investigative territory.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

As a taxpayer, I am furious

Why do I have to pay to support this church, which is clearly going way over the church/state separation line by broadcasting the "Justice Sunday" show from inside its doors? Once the show airs, Highview's tax-exempt status needs to be pulled, and the members need to pay for their own utilities, printing, salaries, and punch and cookies.

Is there anyone in Congress with the guts to call for a removal of tax-exempt status?

Pope Benedict XVI accused of obstructing justice

The Observer has obtained a confidential letter, written in May of 2001, in which then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI, issued an order ensuring that the sex abuse scandal cases be carried out secretly. The letter not only claims the church's "right" to hold secret investigations, but also to hold on to evidence for up to ten years after the alleged victims reach adulthood.

"Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret," the letter says. And anyone breaking the secrecy within the time between the investigation and ten years after the alleged victim's 18th birthday would be subject to excommunication.

The letter is referred to in documents pertaining to a lawsuit filed this year against a church in Texas.

The Vatican's response to the news about the letter? "This is not a public document, so we would not talk about it."

No liberation here

There has been another stoning in the Urgu district of the northeastern Badakhshan province of Afghanistan.

National Poetry Month--day 24

The Poetry Room of the Library of Congress is the home of the library's Poetry and Literature Center. Located in the Thomas Jefferson Building, the Poetry Room was dedicated in 1951, and was recently given a complete renovation.

Here is your poem for today.

The April Garden

Another amaryllis--H. 'Christmas Gift' Posted by Hello

China rose 'Martha Gonzales'  Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Hey, hey Bush & DeLay! How many women did you kill today?!

First there was this. Then this, followed by this.

Now, I learn from Echidne of the Snakes, via Alas a Blog, that the U.S. government is trying to block the World Health Organization from endorsing two abortion pills that would save the lives of about 68,000 women who die each year from unsafe abortion procedures.

Teaching values

The fruits of a Christian education

More of the April garden

Another amaryllis, H. 'Pink Floyd' Posted by Hello

'Casa Rosa' lilies at the end of the driveway Posted by Hello

National Poetry Month--day 23

Here is your poem for today.

Friday, April 22, 2005

You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught to hate and fear
You've got to be taught from year

Oscar Hammerstein II

The best piece I've seen on the new pope

Is right here.

Where's the taser when you really need it?

After you see this, bear in mind that as of just now, 2/3 of people voting in the Florida-based poll thought there were indeed circumstances in which a 5-year-old should be handcuffed.

Stuck in a small space with a Bush voter

On one of my flights back from South Carolina, my seatmate was a very angry, arrogant man who told me--among many other things--that during the presidential election, he was frightened because he and his wife were the only two people in their neighborhood who voted for Bush. He said he was afraid to put signs up in his yard. I told him I was pretty sure we were in the extreme minority (and maybe the only people) in our neighborhood who didn't vote for Bush, and we had a long-standing habit of putting election signs of any kind up in the trees where they couldn't be stolen. At that point, I attempted to have a conversation about how wrong it is for anyone to steal election signs, and that I believed citizenship had to come first if we were going to live together. He offered me weak agreement, barely acknowledging me, because now he saw me as The Enemy. I understood, for I saw him the same way.

"They (the neighbors) kept saying 'Bush is a liar, he's a liar'," my seatmate told me. I smiled and nodded, and wondered, as I have wondered many times, how a reasonably intelligent person could be blind to the really obvious fact that Bush is a world-class liar. If you need a quick review, here is the summary from The Poor Man:

He has lied about his time in the National Guard, and lied about his criminal history. He lied about his relationship with Ken Lay, he lied about who would benefit from his tax cuts, and he lied about stem cells. He lied about his visit to Bob Jones University, he lied about why he wouldn't meet with Log Cabin Republicans, and he lied about reading the EPA report on global warming. He lied about blaming the Clinton administration for the second intifada, he lies constantly about how he pays no attention to polls, he lied about how he loves New York, and he lied about moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. He lied about finding WMD in Iraq, he lied about making his decision to go to war, he lied about the CIA's dismissal of the yellowcake rumors, and he lied about the IAEA's assessment of Iraq's nuclear program. He lied about funding the fight against AIDS in Africa, he lied about when the recession started, and he lied about seeing the first plane hit the WTC. He lied about supporting the Patient Protection Act, and he lied about his deficit spending.

To that I will add that he lied about lowering carbon dioxide emisson standards and he lied about lowering lead standards.

Mr. HotShot in the next seat certainly didn't appear to be a right-wing Christian, but he did have very big concerns about national security and about bypassing the United Nations. I had Richard Clarke's book in my carry-on bag and wanted to gag and bind this man and read it aloud to him.

National Poetry Month--day 22

Whether you find her brilliant or ridiculous--and if you're like me, you can find her to be both within the space of one sentence--Camille Paglia gets your attention. She is currently getting some very positive attention for her new book, Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-three of the World's Best Poems. Clive James reviewed the book in the New York Times, and his review is definitely worth a read.

Here is your poem for today.

Friday cat blogging

Mushki, the charming, petite feline resident at my bed and breakfast in Summerville, South Carolina last week Posted by Hello

Bonus dog blogging from the Puppy Park at last week's Family Circle Cup

One of Martina Navratalova's dogs enjoying the park Posted by Hello

Lindsay Davenport's new Rottweiler puppy she adopted earlier this month from the Barking Lot at the Bausch & Lomb tournament on Amelia Island  Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Sexism: alive, well, and thriving

Thanks to Third Wave Agenda for this vomit-worthy tidbit from Ben Shapiro. He is really horrified that federal employers may have to provide equal pay and that women could sue their employers under the Equal Pay Act. And he finds amusing the idea that Senator Clinton has been a victim of sexism. It isn't all sickening, though; he does digress a bit to talk about the evils of cross-dressing.

Bush-Ratzinger connection more than just an intelligent guess

It should be pretty obvious to anyone who is paying attention that there is a very friendly link between the new pope and the White House. And it turns out that God's Rottweiler hasn't always been so fussy about the company he keeps. Newsday has revealed that Neil "those women came into my room, what was I supposed to do?" Bush and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI, served together on the board of The Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue, a Swiss organization founded in 1999. All of the board members but two--Bush and his business partner, Jamal Daniel--were well known religious figures.

Daniel's family is known for its holdings both here and in Switzerland. Bush, you will recall, was banned from banking because of his role in dismantling Silverado Banking, Savings, and Loan, at a taxpayer cost of $1.3 billion.

The April garden--lilies

Lilium longiflorum 'Casa Rosa' Posted by Hello

National Poetry Month--day 21

Here is your poem for today.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

God forbid anyone should hear what goes on

The ACLU has filed an emergency motion to open the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to the public during tomorrow's oral arguments in a hearing over the termination of whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. Several media outlets filed a separate motion.

These emergency motions were filed in response to an announcement this morning that only attorneys would be allowed into the hearing.

Craig Crawford criticizes DeLay and manages to attack liberals

Craig Crawford, a contributor to Congressional Quarterly, appeared on MSNBC tonight to talk about Tom DeLay's attacks on Justice Anthony Kennedy. In making the point that Kennedy was a conservative, Crawford said: "He's not exactly a sandal-wearing hippie surfing the Internet for porn."

That is how language is used to create images. The conclusion, of course, is that liberals like pornography. Probably a lot of liberals do like pornography, but so do a lot of conservatives, including many who rail against it. Crawford's statement went unchallenged; the damage was done. Liberals were portrayed as long-haired (like there's anything wrong with that) freaks who want to look at naked women. The subtext is: Liberals are out-of-touch people who do not share "traditional values."

This kind of thing goes on all the time, and the speakers get away with it. Language is the most powerful force in the world, and until it is effectively challenged, this nation will remain a sexist, racist culture of ignorant hypocrites.

Cardinal Rat in charge now: What a surprise

You remember Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI, aka Vatican Pimp for Bush. He's the guy who--during the presidential election--told Catholics that certain Catholic politicians should be denied Holy Communion. The letter Ratzinger wrote also stated that any Catholic who voted for such a candidate would be guilty of "formal cooperation in evil."

You may also recall that it was Ratzinger who called the revelation of massive sex abuse by American priests "a planned campaign" by the news media to "discredit the church."

Now that Ratzinger is infallible, he can have a real field day.

More of the April garden--amaryllis

The amaryllis are going into full bloom now, and dominate the garden with their large, flashy blooms.

H. 'Exposure' blooms on the deck Posted by Hello

H. 'Jaguar' in full bloom Posted by Hello

Tom DeLay has contempt for the Internets

DeLay will not stop his attacks on Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Yesterday, he called Kennedy's work from the bench "incredibly outrageous" because Kennedy is "writing decisions based on international law..." and "he does his own research on the Internet."

Through FTP, there are already an astounding number of documents available via the Internet, and there will be more in the near future. Entire libraries. One would think that a Supreme Court justice doing some of his own research would be considered admirable, or at least charming, by a lot of people, but DeLay can twist anything into a crime against "values."

One wonders why DeLay hasn't launched an attack on Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, another Reagan appointee who has often sided with the more liberal justices. Maybe he doesn't want to draw a target on the back of a woman. Maybe he just hasn't gotten to her yet.

National Poetry Month--day 20

Here is your poem for today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Family Circle Cup--some final thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the Family Circle Cup. The facility on Daniel Island is beautiful, and the staff was helpful, competent, and friendly. Guest amenities included free long distance phone calls and Internet access (thanks to Bell South), fast serve competitions, tennis clinics, a variety of food concessions and bars, and fast-moving bathroom lines. The bad weather was unfortunate, but it didn't hamper anyone's enjoyment of world-class tennis. Playing on clay is difficult, and playing on clay in high winds is very difficult, so the conditions actually added to the drama of the event.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was disappointed that L'Oreal was a major sponsor. L'Oreal not only lifted its moratorium on animal testing, but was also deceptive about its actions. I was disgusted to see that Family Circle was promoting Tyson products at the event. Tyson has one of the nation's worst animal abuse records.

I was also disappointed, but not surprised, that the tournament announcer repeatedly mispronounced the names of several players. The Family Circle Cup is the largest all women's tennis tournament in the world, and you would think that the least the announcer could do was learn to pronounce the players' names.

Samantha Stosur takes questions from fans Posted by Hello

Justine Henin-Hardenne waves to the crowd Posted by Hello

Swiss player Patty Schnyder signs autographs for fans Posted by Hello