Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Everyone has their heroes. Here is one of mine.

He took a three-star general to task in 2002 for prohibiting American soldiers in Germany from drinking beer.

He likened Iraq to the Vietnam "Quagmire".

Rumor has it that he ran a brothel for his unit ans smoked pot with them.

He took stupid and heroic risks to protect his own men, once landing his helicopter in the midst of battle, bullets flying and personally dragged his woulnded men to the helicopter, and when there was no more room on board for them, he put them on anyway and flew out holding on to the outside of the helicopter.

He was awarded eight purple hearts.

He hated pomposity and considered his greatest enemy to be Washington Beaureaucrats not his foes on the battlefields. The Military brass hated him for exposing their hypocrisies. Chief of Naval operations, Admiral Mike Boorda committed the very serious military offense of wearing medals he did not earn, he charged, and when this was substantiated, the Admiral committed suicide.

On a fact finding trip to Iraq, he noticed that an Army major had lousy body armour...My hero gave the major the armour he himself was wearing.

He railed at the United States paying a soldier in Iraq three times less for combat pay than was paid in World War Two, calling this a scandal.

I doubt if any high military officials will attend his funeral in Arlington National Cemetary, It is expected to be huge.

Colonel David Hackworth, a true warrior and American hero, founded Soldiers for the Truth. Why don't you spend some time there? Compare the letters to the ones George Bush read yesterday at his Memorial Service.

Soldiers for the Truth



Friday, May 27, 2005

You know how sometimes you feel tired when all you are is weary?

The tiredness is just in your mind...and that is valid and often deserved but you are just weary in the head and what you really need is to go burn some calories... The fat ones, if possible.

Got home today and found a note...gone fishin...The wife and the number two son had hit the creek to harass smallmouth bass from a canoe, and my options were limited. It wasn't quite happy hour but I could start without her...or I could do some chores...or I could go to the creek, too.

Don't be silly...the creek it was. I grabbed a fast kayak, a prototype of a workout boat that is growing on me like summer moss on a creek rock. I like to go fast. The only thing better than fast, is quiet and fast. Those morons burning the fossil fuels at high volume don't get it. Loud mufflers just annoy. they are the fossil fuel version of a hipocrite. The noise doesn't mean squat about how fast you go...only that you are so wrapped up in yourself that you want every body else to: "Hey, yall...watch this!"

So I got the gear on, which in warm weather means a pair of running shorts and a life jacket which, nowadays, has been renamed a Personal Flotation device, or PFD, as the Coast Guard wants it to be called. Gear on, I picked up the kayak and walked down to the creek. Feeling macho at the beginning of a 400 yard portage is one thing, by the time I reached the water, I was hurting in a couple of places from the rough edges of the kayak on my body fat, but I could smell it. Water. Clean and cool. Wanting me to play.

I ignored the new trash left by the day's inconsiderate visitors and crawled in the boat, pushed away from shore an started paddling upstream at a good clip. Something about a fast boat, there is, that makes you want to go faster and faster still. Reaching the end of the pool after a third of a mile I jumped the first few shoals, running up through the fast water until I hit a ledge that was a bit too high to ascend. Giving up trying to punch upstream I let the boat turn against an eddy along the bank and headed downstream.

The dusk sky reflects on the water so that it is hard to see the rocks just under the surface. Me and the boat, we kissed a few on our way down stream , but on we went, fast. Working at the boater's equivalent of a light jog, I could push the boat downstream and still have time to watch the banks. Dropping through the first shoal. I felt the cold shock of the water as it splashed up on my side below the PFD. a not so welcome rush but not all that bad. The shock of things sometimes tells you you're alive.

A half mile from the house, the stream closed up into a small channel on my right where an old low water bridge used to cross from county to county. Roane County is the river left bank and Rhea County is the right. A deer was startled by my sudden approach and snorted and blew as it stumbled in the rocks along the bank and crashed away through the woods.

A Broad wing hawk barked as it carried something up and over the edge of the trees lining the right bank, and I was in the narrow channel leading down to the Sycamore tree growing out of the water. At high water the tree is an obstacle to be avoided. As I pass by it I think about the spotted bass the kids and I used to snorkel and look at in the summers past that lived in its roots. As I passed the tree I looked to my left for my old friend, the Commander.

He lives, if you can call it that, on the island alongside the sycamore tree. They must know each other and are about the same age. I am a few years older than either of them. My heart jumps and is gladdened as I see him, sitting beside the creek wearing his two colors of blue next to his shining silver smile. I did not bring my camera but I promise you folks that I will rectify this soon. The Commander faces upstream, and I am sure that has significance. His name, once written in chrome on both of his fenders, now marks only one... shadows of the missing letters apparent to the close observer. The Spring's wildflowers grow all around, some I know, some I don't, but all of them honor the Commander, island sentinel.

"Commander! Old friend...You're looking good."

As is his way, the Commander ignored me and kept watching the world. I'll hear from him when he's ready.

Cold water landed in my lap as I jumped the last ledge in the kayak, slicing too deeply into the waves to stay dry as I cut the corners of an S-turn, sprinting away from the Commander's island.

It is the end of May and the Mountain Laurel is blooming on the cliffs over the creek. Large leaf Cucmber trees join the fray with their huge white magnolia blossoms visible from the water. There are several small holes leading into the rock along the water's edge...cave like but I don't think they go very far in, just far enough to be a mystery.

Peace, brother...I'll be listening.

Now I'm really tired, but no longer weary.


commander rapid

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Parse the biscuits, please

Parsing your words is another way to lie. Here's a statement that actually means nothing whatsoever, but it leaves the impression that somehting definite has been stated:

"It's not credible," chief Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said of the allegation regarding a Koran in a toilet.

"It's not credible" means many things but it simply does not say that flushing a Koran never happened. Di Rita avoids stating whether the allegation is true or not. Over and over again, Guantanomo officials say "It's not credible" meaning that some folks don't believe it, even though way more than one detainee says it happened. More than one detainee turns out to be completely innocent, too, even though they have been tortured into confessions by our government.

So who is Di Rita saying isn't credible? How about the FBI:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -An FBI agent wrote in a 2002 document made public on Wednesday that a detainee held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had accused American jailers there of flushing the Koran down a toilet...

I guess this report isn't credible either:
In document written in April 2003, an FBI agent related a detainee's account of an incident involving a female U.S. interrogator...

"While the guards held him, she removed her blouse, embraced the detainee from behind and put her hand on his genitals. The interrogator was on her menstrual period and she wiped blood from her body on his face and head," the memo stated.

This next statement has the ring of credibiltiy:

Unfortunately, one thing we've learned over the last couple of years is that detainee statements about their treatment at Guantanamo and other detention centers sometimes have turned out to be more credible than U.S. government statements," said ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer....

Geroge Bush's favorite line during his debate with John Kerry? "He's just not credible."

Let's see...Weapons of Mass destruction? It's not about oil? Coalition of the willing? Nope...nothing credible there, either!

Here's something that's credible...1600 American troops are dead and no end in sight. America has a chicken shit President that won't appear in public and answer a question he doesn't already have the prepared answer to.

Here's something else that's not credible:

"We're winning."

Anybody believe that?

Just not Credible, is it?



For those of you who don't already know, I am a card carrying member of a law enforcement support group called the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that provides legal assistance in enforcing the Constitution of the United States, which is supposed to be the highest law in America.

Here is a prime reason why I strongly support the ACLU.:

Two people have a son together and disagree on many things, ultimately agreeing to ending their marriage but, they do agree on the best interests of their child, including what religious belief he will be brought up in. A County Judge inserts a clause in the divorce decree that says they can't do that.

A judge deciding what religion someone else's child will be raised in? Yep!

wingnut judge

"The U.S. Army has a new program that will allow soldiers to leave the service a couple years before their full four year contract is up. They can leave early. This is based on a plan developed by President Bush when he was in the National Guard." -- Jay Leno

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

De Mock racy in America

So by the way, with all this talk about Senate Filibusters I should tell you that Thomas Jefferson was out of the country when the part of the Constitution that created the Senate was written and didn't think the Senate was a good idea because the Senate is...


Well, it does kinda violate several of the "Equal representation under the law" aspects of the rest of the Constitution. If you live in Alaska you get two senators, just like here in Tennessee, and they get the same votes in the Senate. The problem is that in Alaska there are only a little over 600,000 people, while here in Tennessee, there are just under 6,000,000!

Do you have any problem with the fact that an Alaskan has nearly ten times the whacko right wing representation in the Senate than a Tennessean does?

Well, OK, bad example!

How about California, then...Californians really get screwed in the Senate. Alaskans have 55 times more representation in the Senate than Californians, but then any state that would elect Arnold its governor may just deserve that.

Of course the poor citizens that live in Washington D.C get the worst of all worlds...they have to put up with jerks like Bill Frist ignoring their parking regulations, blocking traffic with his SUV, parking it anywhere he wants while he buys $250.00 shoes and tearing up the traffic ticket while he goes off to destroy democracy in America, and they don't even get to fillibuster the creep with their own Senator!

Yep! You got it...Some citizens of the United States, and I'm not talking convicted felons here...Some Citizens of this once great Nation do not have a Senator.

Tell you what I'll do, Citizens of our Nation's Capitol...You can have one of mine! Take your pick...

Senator Frist:

Tool of the wacko fundamentalist right, adopter of kittens, disemboweler of kittens, and dollar for dollar the most corrupt man to ever hold office from the state of Tennessee, and by golly that's is hgh tribute in these parts! If you don't believe me, check out the fine levied on his family business before he got into office and the fine the family business actually paid after he got elected. I believe the net is somewhere in the $600,000,000.00 range. Even Cheney, a master at such things, is jealous.

Then you have,

Lamar Alexander:

Got his own highway and a plaid shirt, plays bad piano, hates clean energy, wants to eliminate the tax break on wind power, and ,now that I think about it, just wants to eliminate wind power. Lamar thinks it ruins the view of the mountains from his mountain top developments. Those nasty clean power generating propellors just don't look near as nice as his condo developments would on top of the flat spots created by his support of mountain top removal for coal mining. By the way, Lamar is pretty danged good at getting filthy rich while serving in office, too.

Lamar is actually our "good" Senator, so if you don't mind, would you consider taking Senator Frist first? You won't even have to spend much time with him since he gets all his instruction from Reverend James Dobson out in Colorado...Hmmmm?

Does that mean Coloradoans (Coloradoites?) get THREE Senators? OK, now I'm really pissed!




From Juanita's:

"Other than telling us how to live, think, marry, pray, vote, invest, educate our children and, now, die, I think the Republicans have done a fine job of getting government out of our personal lives."

From our Greater Truths department:

India-born PepsiCo president Indra Nooyi, one of Fortune's most powerful businesswomen, anointed America the "middle finger" of the world in a speech to Columbia Business School's graduating students.

Nooyi attributed fingers to the other continents, none of whose proponents have reacted in cyberspace: the thumb for Asia, strong and powerful and looking to turn into a bigger global player; Europe, the index finger, pointing the way; South America, the ring finger to symbolize love and sensuality; Africa, the little finger, small and insignificant but when it is injured, the entire hand hurts.

Nooyi described the US as the middle and biggest finger.


Gotta love those Baptists:

This sign posted in front of Danieltown Baptist Church:


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

At Bubba's place

God discussion going on at Buba's on the Senate compromise/cavein/ whatever. Check the comments.


People get ready

That's not a train that's coming!

A 15 year old young man in our area is a very good soccer player and has been invited to play on the United States National team in a recent trip to Europe. His team won and he made the comment that when they stood up to get their awards no one so much as clapped politely.


He said it was because the Europeans hated that Americans came over and won their tournament.

This young man is still a boy. Possibly idealistic, certainly a bit egotistical, but that can be forgiven in a star athlete of his youth. What he is not realizing is that he is not being disliked because he won a soccer tournament...The sad fact is:

The world just doesn't like America anymore!

They don't "Hate our Freedom." They just hate US!

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A string of car bombs and suicide attacks across Iraq killed at least 49 Iraqis and wounded more than 130 Monday, striking a Baghdad restaurant popular with police, a Shiite mosque and the home of a community leader near Mosul...

Q: [...]And if I may ask you, Mr. President, as you know, the casualties of Iraq is again high today -- 50 more people dying. Do you think that insurgence is getting harder now to defeat militarily? Thank you.

PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don't think so. I think they're being defeated. And that's why they continue to fight.


Warning, America: Nothing unites like a common enemy. Bullies, throughout history, have been taken down time after time by the united underdogs.

Get Ready.




Oh my Gosh!!! The FundXtians got Tanks!!! Commander Rapid was right!

So here's my question for all you Cristians out there, Isn't writing "New Testament" on a cannon barrel sorta like blasphemy?

The only Christian thing to do is shoot 'em?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Just so you'll know...

It bothers me to see TV news anchors say things that are not true.

A free Press is such a vital foundation of our Nation's democracy that it can not be compromised or this country will not survive. Fascist control of the press has never worked, except in the short term, and has led to disaster. I don't suppose anybody has pointed out to Cheney and Rumsfeld that fascism not only turned out to be bad for the Germans and the Italians, but neither Hitler nor Mussolini lived happily ever after. We are now experiencing a government by those bent on self destruction.

Just so you'll know, here is President Bush's take on the global warming and the environment:

"It won't matter, we'll all be dead."

Fascism is the form of government controlled by corporations. The news is just an extension of corporate marketing departments and this is a serious problem, not just for you and me, but believing their own marketing b s has been the ruin of many a corporation.

Anybody remember AT&T? Instead of cleaning up it's act and working on making its organization more efficient and driving innovation and new products, AT&T spent millions on marketing...to itself! It was a monopoly, eventually brought down by an outsider who saw the weakness within, MCI. MCI mounted an ad campaign about how evil AT&T was and how bad our phone service was as a result. There were also some huge campaign contributions and some lawsuits and when the smoke cleared, all those rah rah sessions in the company auditorium meant nothing. All that innovation worth nothing because it wasn't implemented in a timely fashion and others have now capitalized on the millions of miles of copper wire that is the backbone of the internet. Fiberoptics? AT&T created it, just like it did the transistor, then sat on its ass while the barbarians fashioned a cutting edge on these new tools and carved up what was once AT&T's paying customer base, who now pay roughly 5 times as much for basic telephone service.

Just so you'll know, MCI has now vaporized, too...a victim of believing its own marketing. Buying your own lawmakers will only go so far, because someone else will come along and buy some of their own. Self destructive tendencies are not just limited to Right Wing Conservative humans...Corporations make such short sighted decisions that their long term survival is highly questionable. It seems like the CEO's motto is something like George Bush's:

"It won't matter, we'll all be dead."

A Free Press is supposed to be the Referree in a Democracy, and let us know when our leaders are doing stupid stuff that might get us all killed, but guess what? The Free Press has gone corporate and is a near monopoly, just like AT&T. The news organs that don't support the Fascist party line are ruthlessly attacked and that is why we hear news anchors say things that just aren't true.

Just so you'll know, when a news person says something like , "Newsweek has retracted its false story on the Koran flushing incident" ...That is NOT true!

What Newsweek said is that it cannot verify independantly, what it was told. Newsweek has not said the incident did not happen, on the contrary. There have now been NINE separate confirmed incidents of desecration of the Koran by American troops.

And those deaths that Newsweek was supposed to have caused? Want to know who shot who? Your corporate news paper has probably not run a story pointing out that it was the local Afghanistan police force trained by Americans, that shot up a vigorous but peaceful demonstration, and killed 17 people...Not Newsweek.

Just so you know.

And here's some other things you should know:

...There have been confirmed reports from Guantanamo of beatings, shacklings, and lighted cigarettes being stuck in prisoners' ears. 36 prisoners have died during interrogations.

...The officers reponsible for overseeing abusive interrogations weren't punished, they were lauded for their work and transferred to other prisons. Hardened FBI agents wrote emails expressing their disgust at what they had seen.

...Innocent men have been tortured to death in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

...The White House counsel wrote memoranda justifying torture as an inherent right of the president.

Today, Senator Bill Frist will turn to a "Fair and Balanced" arbiter and ask for a ruling that will allow him to install corrupt judges into lifetime judical positions with a simple majority in the Senate. This is a dasturdly lowering of the bar...an attempt to eliminate one more protection you and I have to protect us from allowing ruthless people to gain power over America for the right wing fascists.

Frist is a tool, just so you'll know, of the Religious right, who have decided to let the Fascists have control over our government in return for letting James Dobson and his kind have control over you personal religion and your private life's choices. Corporations think this is a fine idea, of course. They will make lots of money before the future gets here, they think...Maybe...

So who is this Fair and balanced arbiter? Who is the man who will render this decision that will destroy the Senate's reputationas protector of America?

The President of the Senate and all around snarling nice guy, Dick Cheney!

Just so you'll know!

But there's danger here, Mr. Cheney...One of the haunting images from my childhood is the picture of what the Italian people themselves did to Benito Mussolini when they had their chance to thank him for turning their country into a fascist regime.

Today, the Italian Press is fiercely independant...Will America have to go through all that? Please! I hope not.



Sunday, May 22, 2005

Saturday Night

Hard rain the last two days! So much that the trees couldn't drink it all up and the creek got high and muddy. It's back to its lime silt green now but it's still too high to harrass fish without explosives.

"Percussive sampling" is the scientific term, maybe?

Anyway, I ignored the news and just played...all day. Ate barbeque and brownies at the soccer picnic and explored new territory in geriatric volleyball. This morning, my body has mentioned the overused underused muscles about every time I've moved. I like doing enough things during the day to get really tired at night. I believe I managed.

Rewarding myself for living through another day, I took a glass of wine out onto the deck overlooking Lake Steve, which is not really large enough to support a respectable sized carp but is doing afine job as an amphibian singles bar. I wish I had recorded the symphony in the mud puddle.

Listening for a minute, I decided to share this with my son, who having vanquished his dad in the volleyball tournament earlier in the day, was about to take a victory nap in the chair in front of the tv. I could tell he didn't want to move. Too bad...This was one of those times I couldn't let him be.

Ok, ok...We walked out the door and he listened for a second and said, "Yeah, they sure are loud," Then he turned and tried to escape, but no way was I letting him get away.

"Let's go over there," I said, pushing him toward the corner of the deck overlooking Lake Steve. In his best teenager actually moving in the proper direction but oozing with the "this sucks" body language walk... he went.

It is like being in the sweet spot at an ampitheater. Trills and chirps and other calls filled us, and he became awake, leaning on the rail to hear all that was being said by a vernal pool after the storm.

"There's four different ones" he said.

"At least."

The ovewhelming majority of the song was coming from one type of frog. Hundreds of them, at least. Loud. But through that chorus came other calls, distinct and piercing the cacophony. We talked and told each other when we heard a new call, nodding "yep" each time. We had four, for sure, and one more that could be a cricket or something, but we were unsure if crickets were mature enough this early in the spring to be hunting a special friend.

"There sure are a lot of frogs looking for love out there." I said.

"Sure are," he laughed, and I let him go.




President George W. Bush says No more spending on weapons development!

``I have made very clear to the Congress that the use of taxpayer money to promote science that destroys life in order to save life, I am against that,'' Bush told reporters in at the White House before meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. ``If the bill does that, I will veto it.''

Oh wait...he was talking about his culture of life and being against stem cell research...not against scientific research for weapons that promote science to kill people in order to save people...

Ok, I'm confused....

Digby has a similar take but somewhat more graphicly:


Sigh...Odd that in all the discussion you hear about the Nuclear option our Senator Frist is trying to ram through, is how little you hear about the fact that the Judge he is trying to give a lifetime appointment to...is quite corrupt!

... Texans for Public Justice, which compared her judicial rulings to the companies that funded her political campaigns (Texas Supreme Court judges are elected), and found:

More than $500,000 (37 percent) of the $1.4 million that Owen raised for her two Supreme Court campaigns came from lawyers and litigants who had cases in her courtroom.

Owen ranks No. 2 on the court in the share of campaign money that she took from these docket donors.

Owen’s 11 biggest litigant-donors (including Enron Corp., Farmers Insurance and Dow Chemical) appeared in her courtroom 26 times.

While these big docket donors prevailed an enviable 77 percent of the time before the court as a whole, Owen was even kinder—favoring them 85 percent of the time.

Or Texas Watch, which found after reviewing the record:

Justice Priscilla Owen is an activist judge ... with biases towards corporate and insurance interests.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Safety Device

Today, the Senior Senator from my state of Tennessee will continue his assault on the American Democratic process.

(OK, I'm on a full blown rant, today. This is serious stuff and if you don't care go somewhere else.)

Until now, there has been a time honored cheack and balance angainst something we call, "The Tyranny of the Majority". We see it in all sorts of things built in to our form of government, chief among these examples is the requirement that it require Two thirds of the states to approve a change in our highest law in this land, the Constitution of the United States.

At times, a type of mass hysteria takes over any group of people and really bad and sometimes self destructive ideas take hold. A majority once thought slavery was a good idea. A majority once thought the Sun orbitted the Earth, and a majority once thought it was a good idea to attack Iraq because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction capable of producing a mushroom cloud in forty five minutes.

To protect against the consequences of at least some of these obviously stupid ideas, our leaders have, over our country's history, devised a few safety devices. The safety device the Republicans want to remove right now, is the Filibuster. When someone is really really opposed to some law or in this case, some judge getting a lifetime appointment to a Federal Judgeship, this can be the last resort. Senators do not use the Filibuster lightly. There is a cost involved regarding payback at a later date. The worst that can happen with a filibuster...

is nothing!

That's right! The end result of a filibuster is not one danged thing! The Senate just has to wait, or decide to take a different approach or maybe just stop what they are doing. What is wrong with that? I'll tell you.

Senator Bill Frist is a whore.

Sorry, wait, change that...Senator Bill Frist is a Lying whore!

Rather than belabor why that Lying Whore, Bill Frist, is a Lying Whore, I'll let you go here:


Now on with the rant!

Frist is dancing to the tune of the very sick man who runs Focus on the Family, Dr. James Dobson, who believes a number of really strange things, like beating a child with a stick if the child cries too much when he is being beaten with a stick. Mr. Dobson believes Jesus wants you to beat your children. Mr. Dobson also believes that he should be able to force his religious beliefs on your children while they are away at school. Dr. Dobson also believes that he should be able to force his religious beliefs on...


You will say HIS prayers and salute HIS version of the Ten commandments and your tax money will support HIS church work in the guise of a faith based charity.

Senator Frist is supposed to represent Tennessee. Dr. Dobson does not live here, but he pulls the strings that make Bill dance. We Tennesseans are getting screwed out of our Senator!

And Dr. Dobson will control YOUR Senator Frist, who has become nothing more than the puppet of the extreme right by trying to destroy one of the checks and balances of our government, the filibuster.

Why? So that the extreme right wing can put judges into lifetime offices who will make decisions, not on the law, but on what Dr. Dobson tells them, "Jesus wants them to do!"

...Owen "has been at times so eager to issue conservative rulings in cases before her on the Texas Supreme Court that she has ignored statutory language and substituted her own views." Hence the label, "unconscionable judicial activist."

So the Democrats want to stop the appointment of a judge who ignores the law...This is what they are supposed to do!

And Tennessee Senator Bill Frist will has served his own his own conscience up to the alter of extremeism and will even destroy the safety device created long ago that has served America well to serve his master.

By bits and pieces, Senator Frist and the other minions of Dr. Dobson will destroy our country if they are not stopped.

So every one in America should call their Senator, Republican and Democrat on the phone and simply tell the person who answers, this:

"I think it would be a tragedy for America if the Senate destroys the safety devices that help keep our Senators from making huge mistakes, such as appointing questionable Judges to lifetime positions. I am opposed to ending the filibuster and will watch to see how Senator (Alexander) conducts himself."

And just so you know it's not just about Judge Owen's religious extremeism:

"Justice Owen has also shown a disturbing lack of sensitivity to judicial ethics. She has raised large amounts of campaign contributions from corporations and law firms, and then declined to recuse herself when those contributors have had cases before her. And as a judicial candidate, she publicly endorsed a pro-business political action committee that was raising money to influence the rulings of the Texas Supreme Court."




Hey! What about MIssissippi?

New Rule: The next reality show must be called "America's Stupidest State." We'll start at 50, and each week, if your state does something really stupid with, say, evolution or images of the Virgin Mary, you'll move on to the next round. Now, of course, the final five will always end up being Alabama, Utah, Kansas, Texas and Florida. Sorry, Tennessee. – Bill Maher

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The end of Selfishness

Oh what fun we all had figuring out which milkweed I found at Highland Reserve.

Now comes the part where I reveal that Highland Reserve is a development I am involved in. I know it may seem funny for those of you who know my eco warrior tendencies to think of me as a developer, even a small one, but it is true. I figure that the huge population increase we are facing over the next 50 years will overwhelm us with the modern equivalent of row houses if we don't adjust how we grow. And, since leaving the shape of our future world to Republican mercenaries is a recipe for global disaster, I believe we have to be involved in how we propose to install ourselves upon the earth. It will also be important to adjust how we make our livings and how we play.

Americans can be amazingly selfish and destructive in how they spend their leisure time. Seemingly litle things can have huge repercussions. ATV's, Jet Skis, sure but guess what? Trout fishing comes to mind as an example. There is only one native trout in the Eastern United States and that is the Brook trout, a small but beautiful native of our cold water streams. The brown trout was brought in from Europe and the Rainbow from the western U.S. and entire ecosystems were suddenly altered. Nothing changes an ecosystem like tossing in a new predator with a high reproductive rate and no enemies to speak of. Undoing the damage is very difficult.

Example after example of this kind of thing are everywhere, Rabbits in Australia, Small mouth bass in Japan...seemed like a good idea at the time, to the small group of selfish people who were just looking for a fun way to spend their spare time. Only they never gave a moment's thought to the unintended consequences of their actions, all just looking for some fun, either not knowing or not caring that they were setting in motion the destruction of entire ecosystems.

So we have to change. All it will take is a little forethought and consideration. We must call for an end to selfishness!

I'm going to let you take a peek into my crystal ball...it's not pretty, but I think you should know. The population of the United States is predicted to increase by 100,000,000 people in the next 50 years. This means two things...ok, three:

You had better teach your children Spanish!

We had better figure out how we are going to fit them all in without destroying what little we have left of our country.

We must create and preserve natural areas at all costs.


WE have to buy this land to save it. Hmmm....Somehow in this country, we have come around to land as a commodity...Somebody owns all of it, and they think that they should be able to do whatever they want because it is "My Land!"

Well, me too! But I'm the oddball type who understands that the entire world is a system requiring all of its parts to function in order for me to "Live long and Prosper!"

Cut all the trees down and plant fescue and we all suffocate...mainly because we kill the oceans with the poisoned runoff from our lawn chemicals, but you should get the picture by now. We need trees and the natural systems of forests in order for humans to exist on this earth. The way our society works, we have to pay to save it. And by that, I don't mean sending a small check to the Audubon Society, thought that's a good start. What I mean is that we have to find a way to pay for land that is set aside for natural receation, and then we have to promote natural recreation as a major part of our lifestyle.

As we get older, it becomes harder and harder to be active enough to stay fit and healthy, so we have to build it in to our daily activities. Going to the gym or track may work for a few, but most people are like me, about the second time I go around that track I start to go brain dead. Give me some scenery and something interesting to look at and some fresh air filtered by a forest, and I can go and go and go! I just don't seem to notice my bad knee when I know that a few hundred yards up the trail there is a wetland seep coming out from under a rock ledge that will have butterflies and tadpoles to look at.

It's way better than TV!

I saw a the first Fritillary butterfly of the year at exactly such a place. Some of these are very large and active and difficult to photograph. Some of these are very rare. Their world is shrinking. Yours is too...So!

As we build our houses we have to survey off and keep natural enough land to keep us alive, and this gives rise to developments like Highland Reserve, and No, Highland Reserve is not a wild eyed eco development. It will look pretty much like other developments when you walk past the houses on the ridge, except that you will have a view of the Smoky Mountains on clear days. And there will be large commons areas for various purposes and uses, and some easement protections on some land for no reason at all except to let it be.

We'll deal with the erosion from the old iron mines and poorly done logging and let Mom Nature fix things.

I have been shooting the wildflowers as I hike the property to lay out walking and horse trails. The Whorled Milkweed we see in the picture is next to one of the proposed walking trails. It should be there, or its grandchildren should be there, many years from now. Everyone who lives at Highland Reserve will help share the cost of preserving this habitat, and they will share in its rewards. Natural recreation in the form of horse riding, bicycling, walking and hiking will be available by simply stepping outside.

Will it work? We'll see. I'm very hopeful. This kind of thing has been very successful out west. My partners seem to have the kind of courage it takes to leave a little profit on the table in order to create something special. In the mean time,

...I'm having some "natural" fun.




Seamus nailed the flower. Sometime we may be able to get him to write a piece on Marie Mellenger, the Grand Dame of the North Georgia Mountains.


Milkweed is probably Asclepias quadrifolia. Marie Mellinger gives the common name "whorled milkweed" in her GA atlas.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Guest Shots

I'm so outraged today that I have decided to let others do my talking. So here today, let us welcome the WhitesCreek guest Bloggers, Jay Leno, Conan O'brien, and Mother Nature.

First a little bit of info on the Koran flushing incident. Newsweek was not the first to bring this to the world's attention:

The Newsweek report was not the first public airing of allegations about U.S. personnel at Guantanamo Bay desecrating a Quran. In August and October 2004, there were news reports based on a lawsuit and a written report by British citizens who had been released from the prison in Cuba. They claimed abuse by U.S. guards, including throwing their Qurans into the toilet.

In January, Kristine Huskey, a lawyer representing Kuwaitis detained at Guantanamo, said they claimed to have been abused and in one case a detainee watched a guard throw a Quran into a toilet.

Now The Jokes:

"The White House said today the Newsweek report has damaged the U.S. image overseas. And, believe me, when it comes to damaging the U.S. image overseas, the White House knows what it's talking about." --Jay Leno

"The Pentagon announced they are closing more than 150 military bases around the country. If the Bush administration wants to close military bases, how about we start with the ones with Iraq?" -- Jay Leno

You know when President Bush first thought about closing bases? When he was in the National Guard." --Jay Leno

"John Bolton is in danger of being rejected by the Senate because he's known for abusing subordinates and frequently losing his temper. Today, President Bush announced his second choice -- Coach Bobby Knight."
-- Conan O'Brien

"President Bush came out today for alternative fuels. He said he looks forward to the day when American invades a country for its soybeans." --Jay Leno

"This is absolutely true. During the scare Vice President Cheney was inside working while President Bush was outside riding his bicycle. So it was a typical day at the White House. Remember the last time this kind of thing happened, he was reading a children's book. This time he was riding a bicycle. How old his he -- 12? ... You laugh but as soon as they gave the all- clear he went into the kitchen to make himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich." --Jay Leno

And Now let us all welcome Mom Nature...Yayyyyy!

Anybody remember the dogwood branch that had the small gray lump on it? I said I would try to get a better shot and tell you what it is, so here is our Cope's Tree frog that lives in the dogwood. As far as I know it has lived in the suet feeder for the last two summers. From the calls we hear, I think every tree has its frog. Great camo, eh?

I was laying out a preliminary route for a walking trail along a small creek yesterday and came across this little beauty. I could use some help identifying it, but it looks to me like one of the milkweeds... Small, about a foot tall, with four opposing oval leaves. Let me know what you think.



Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Make me feel better

Well, back to our screwed up world.

We are seeing a repeat of the Bush National Guard scandal played out in the jihad directed at Newsweek, for reporting a statement by an American military officer who stated that Americans hd desecrated the Koran in the Guantanamo chain link and razor wire resort for Middle Easterners who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Do you remember that the Bush Administration has yet to present any evidence before any judicial body that any of the prisoners, they are "prisoners" by the way not "detainees", has committed any kind of international crime whatsoever? Held without trial...all of them.

Some of them turned out to be citizens of countries that are allies of the United States, like Great Brittain. The Bushistas had to release them in order to prevent an international incident. They told horror stories about what American soldiers did to them. Humiliation and torture of every conceivable type was committed by Americans.

Not all of us believe that this is the "Truth , Justice, and the American Way" of our upbringing.

Out of those few released "detainees" came the story of American desecration of the Koran. It did not originate with Newsweek.

There were riots in Afghanistan last week that Scott McClellan and hundreds of right wing goons have attributed and blamed on the Newsweek article. People were killed in the riots, but what did the American officials in the area blame the riots on?

Americans being in the area!

I say that this is much of the problem in Iraq. Every day we hear of more suicide bombers...Guess who they are? Iraqis? Well about 10% of them are...The overwhelming majority of the suicide bombers are.....


Just so you'll remember what Saudis look like, here is a picture of a Saudi Prince holding hands with an American President.

I do not have a peaceful easy feeling about all this!

I would feel better if I thought American troops were not dying to protect the Iraqi Jordanian oil pipeline, and instead were trying to get Osama Bin Laden. Remember him? The 9-11 guy? A Saudi like most of the other 19 hijackers?

I would feel better if our President did not have business connections to Salem Bin Laden, Osama's deceased brother.

I would feel better if someone in the Bush administration, anyone, would tell us the truth, just once...the straight simple truth...about what the hell we are doing in Iraq and how in the hell we are going to get out.

And actually, I would really feel better if we would just pack up and come home. The greatest obstacle to peace in Iraq and Afghanistan is the presence of American troops.

I would feel a lot better if my countrymen and women were not sitting ducks!

Bring them home!

We will all feel better!



Here's more if you care to read it:


Monday, May 16, 2005


After one of the busiest weekends I remember, I finally got to get on my mountain bike last evening to clear my head and remind myself just how fat and out of shape I have gotten. Actually, the legs didn't complain nearly as much as I was prepared for, but that chamois pad in my bike shorts is not nearly thick enough. This morning, we have a report from Steve's nether regions:

"Dang! My hiney is sore."

I just knew you folks would want me to share that with you.

Somewhere in my head is the list I keep of "Stupid" things. I have added a couple more that stood out from the events of the weekend. I am sure there will be defenders among you, for each of my picks, for they are varied enough for at least one of the three I'll mention to irritate at least a few of you.

Confectioner's sugar on strawberries...It's strawberry season here in East Tennessee. All those plants we put out in the yard have teamed up to produce nearly nine wonderful homegrown strawberries. I took one from under it's mamma and ate it as fresh as one can eat Nature's bounty. Tart, Sweet , and hot from lying in the sun...Damn, it was good! Why on earth would someone want to hide the taste of a strawberry under a layer of sugar?


Speaking the words, "In Jesus's name we pray" into a microphone...As anybody who attends a public event in East Tennessee can attest, the most misunderstood or (more diabolically) most ignored words of Jesus are contained in Mathew 6, where Christians are told not to do as the Hipocrites do and pray out loud and in public. To hear this at a High school graduation ceremony with 177 young people who were supposed to have been taught to read and think for themselves, and then have this example of someone who is simply unable to do just that and follow the directions of her own religion...


Golf...Ok, I'll explain. It may not be obvious to some of you exactly how stupid this game is...(OK, I was really bad at it and have rationalized my way out of it, so there) First of all, No Defense! What kind of supposed "sport" doesn't have a defense? Actually, now that I think about it, there's the whole Track and Field thing, too! Going around in circles with no one chasing you, may be even stupider than golf...Nah, at least in track and field you get fit. In golf you just get a hangover and lose money...And then there's the ball...What kind of game let's everybody have their own ball? See?


I have a couple of suggestions for improving the game of golf...No charge to the PGA if they want to adopt them. I say everybody who wants to play a round of golf should meet up at the golf course and choose up sides, pick out which hole they want to defend, throw ONE golf ball out into the crowd, and have at it!

Now that would be a real sport!




...here is an excerpt from the memo that should get George Bush impeached. Won't happen but it should:

From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. [...]

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action. [...]

The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

Outraged, yet? Why isn't this a big deal in the U.S.? Here's the whole thing:


Thursday, May 12, 2005


Some days I am either lazy or I just want to share some good stuff with you fine folks. You may make up your own mind as to which it is.

I love a good quote, and nothing beats Emerson:

The charming landscape which I saw this morning, is indubitably made up of some twenty or thirty farms. Miller owns this field, Locke that, and Manning the woodland beyond. But none of them owns the landscape.

The entire essay is a rejoinder that we cannot live without consequence. We are indebted to every other living thing on this planet. Our failure to pay the interest on that debt will destroy us. Emerson is here:


Sirota and Kos put me on to this incredible quote, that leads off todays set of incredible quotes:

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are [a] few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid." - President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 11/8/54

Here's a suggestion for an Earth Day bumpersticker from one of my favorite authors:

“Your Planet’s Immune System Is Trying to Get Rid of You.”

Kurt Vonnegut

And why don't Christians quote this ancient question?

“Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?”

The Prophet Ezekiel

Pat sent this link which has the editorial from which I stole the quote:


Speaking of Pat, here he is with the aquatic version of an Ivorybill, a Boulder Darter...reintroduced into Shoal Creek after 121 years or so. A great story in the Tenessean follows. Good work, Guys!


Another bumper sticker:

We are definitely not united...

And most of Yall are sitting!

And now this final quote, funny on the surface, but there's more:
Well, money can't buy happiness, but it buys the kind of misery you can learn to live with.'"
Linda Carruth Davis

Linda Davis was married for 32 years to Dr. W. David Hager, the one dissenting vote on the FDA's panel reviewing the over the counter sale of Plan B, a morning after contraceptive. Even tough the committee overwhelmingly approved Plan B, the FDA rejected its recommendation, due in part to a right wing christian tirade led by Dr. Hager.

Dr. Hager turns out to be one weird duck, enforcing his own absolutely abominable prejuces on the rest of us and his sick, sick sexual perversions upon his wife...now his ex-wife.

Odd, isn't it? We keep finding out that these right wing fascists are also sickly perverted! Well now we learn that Dr. Hager doesn't see the need for Plan B, because he likes to sodomize sleeping women against their will. No need for a Plan B after that, eh Dr. Hager?

The Nation has the sicko details and what it means to us...


I think I want to go take a shower now. Why is it that everytime I read about Christian Conservatives, I feel like I've gotten dirty?



Wednesday, May 11, 2005

the good guys?


We're winning!...

Aren't we?

American deaths broke the 1600 barrier on Sunday.

A disclaimer ought to be shown at the begining of any comment on the Iraq war:

"No actual Rich people were harmed in the making of this War!"

OK, how about this Interesting statistic:

Those people who make the top 2 tenths of 1 percent of income have made more money from the sale of stocks than all the rest of us combined.

Try these numbers for size:

Less than half of all Americans own any stock whatsoever.

That would be about 130,000,000.

Out of 130 million, 520 thousand have made more money than all the rest.

Since George Bush took office, nearly everybody has lost money in the stock market.

Nearly Everybody!!! Even the Super rich! But George gave them tax cuts roughly equal to the stock market losses.

We knew that George Bush was bad for the Middle Class and down...but if you aren't in the category of the "Super Rich" you're getting screwed!

I think it is time for a Progressive revolution.

And hey, Congratulations to anti war professional basketball player Steve Nash for being selected MVP. Let's hear it for short, skilled, hard working, thoughtful, principalled, point guards! A Miami sports writer had the gaul to say that Shaq lost the award because of racism. Danged old racism must have contributed to Shaq having his worst ever season statistically. Steve Nash shot better from the field (50%) than Shaq did from the foul line (47%) because of racism, there's no doubt about it.

Here's something else about Shaq...he is studying to be a cop. He has a permit to carry a weapon and has taken enough course work to be allowed to ride with the Baton Rouge Police, but Shaq had a little problem...seems he held a suspects head in the toilet and pounded on him a little. They quickly held an internal investigation to clear him but he doesn't ride with the police anymore.

Steve Nash doesn't think the Iraq war was a good idea. He get's attacked in the conservative press for that. I like to watch him play and I'll be pulling for Phoenix this year. I want the good guys to win.

Same as in Iraq...I want the good guys to win. Anybody have any idea who that would be?



Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Cope-ing with the weather

It's raining again...A nice soft spring rain. I have work to do today but this is exactly the type weather I like to walk in the woods. It seems like everything likes to move around in the rain. And the things that live in the woods don't seem to notice me as easily.

There's not much better entertainment in this world, than finding a comfy spot in the woods, deep woods not required...a corner lot will do, and sitting still as possible for twenty minutes or so. I sent a picture sometime back that looked like a bump on a limb. I have been hoping to get a better shot of the litle beast for you so you could see it. It is a gray tree frog, or to be more exact, a Copes Gray Treefrog. The only way I know to tell the difference is to hear them call. I'm headed outside for a few minutes to selfishly steal some pleasure from the world, but just so you can hear what I hear, I've enclosed a link that will show you the tree frogs and let you hear their calls for yourself.

Listen my children and you will hear.



The gray tree frog and Copes gray treefrog:


Monday, May 09, 2005

Thunder and Bullshit

I have a couple of things that may seem disconnected at first. They are not.

My State Senator, Tommy Kilby, voted against a bill that would have made it a fifty dollar fine for riding an ATV on private land without permission. "There's too much regulation, already," he said. I am open to Senator Kilby's suggestions as to how I should deal with this problem.

I thought it should have been $250 and confiscation of the stupid machine for the second offense.

Either that, or let's have a well regulated hunting season, with fees and permits and Boone and Crockett points...That should work!

I have complained about ATV's before...well actually, it's not the ATV's that are the problem.

Much like nuclear weapons are no problem whatsoever, it's just that some moron has a red button that will set them off...that's the problem! A red button that fires a nuclear missile...a red button that fires up an ATV...not much difference except for one of degree, I think.

Atv's tend to set me off. There is no need for this to happen, but it does. I worked hard, got lucky, made some money, bought some land. I paid all the fees and taxes and put up some signs that said, "No Motorized Vehicles". I have put these signs up over and over but they keep getting ripped down. I don't want people to stay out...I just want them to be quiet and quit tearing things up.

I have been told that atv's can be used responsibly, and I assume that this is possible...I've just never seen it.

Saturday morning, my son and I walked up the creek to check out a campsite for his friends and him to spend the night at. We had put up our signs just two weeks before. Within minutes, here they came. Four of them. We watched them come to a large puddle in the road. The first atv had a man on it. He rode too fast through the puddle getting wet as the water climbed the front of his machine and into his lap due to the speed at which he tried to travel. The next atv had a very large (read: wide) woman on it. She had no trouble with the puddle because she just turned up through the woods and made herself a new road, knocking down saplings as she went, spinning her wheels and creating a new set of ruts for the next woman on her atv to follow...which she did. The last atv was ridden by a man who went slowly into the puddle, easing along with no problem until he was almost out the other side...then he gunned his engine... spinning his tires and slinging mud and water ten or fifteen feet high and thirty feet behind him onto the road, a greasy looking black mess of leaves and muck.

Pleased with themselves they continued toward us. As they came up in front of us, the leader looked surprised when I didn't get out of his way, and signaled him to cut his engine, which he did after a moment or two. We had a civil discussion.

"All we want to do is ride down beside the creek and then we'll turn around and go back" he said. "We didn't see any signs." (BS alert)

"You're all welcome here, and I'll be glad for you to go down to the creek," I said, "but you'll have to walk."

They stared at me. "We are responsible riders," he told me. (BS alert)

"Well I can't tell which ones of you are, and which ones of you aren't, and You're all welcome on my land, but you have to leave you machines somewhere else... Simple as that."

They all turned around and left. Riding through the newly rutted woods or slinging mud out of the puddle, depending on whether or not the atv carried a Y chromosome.

"Responsible riders"

We walked on up to one of the spots where we had put the signs. Apparently asking politely doesn't work, so we pcked up a fallen pine log and placed it across the road, and nailed up another sign:

"Hiking Permitted

No Motorized Vehicles"

As we put the last tack in the sign, we heard the thunder and roar of more ATV's. Lot's of them. We sat on the bank above the road and watched. Now when I say "road" I mean a one lane old logging road, entirely on private land, carved out through the woods years ago, and going nowhere anybody anybody has any right to go without the landowners permission. The Landowner...

That would be me!

Here they came, at high speed wearing their colorful helmets, spinning their wheels and revving their engines, so that the noise they made could be heard for miles. Some of them ran up the bank beside the road and into the edge of the woods, spun around st the top and dropped off the bank back onto the road slinging dirt in all directions. I thought about the money I had spent last summer creating the turnouts for water to leave the road so that silt would not flow into the creek after a rain, as I watched them cut ruts right through the berms we had built. They didn't go past our pine log sign, which they could have easily. Small thanks for that.

Instead, they spun their machines up the road branching off to the left and as they came to a downed pine lying partly in the road, they took off through the woods, carving a new route for the "Responsible riders" to play on.

When I leave this morning, I plan to head out to the Farmer's Co-Op to look at gates.

Now for the things that appear unrelated:

There is a new book out that speaks to America's number one problem today:

...A professor emeritus of philosophy at Princeton, Harry G. Frankfurt, recently wrote an entrancing little book called, simply, "On Bull****" (without the asterisks). Its introductory sentence: "One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bull****." Hardly anyone would argue, but few have thought as clearly as he has about the subject. He does so in the abstract. He treats no personalities -- or political parties.

He argues that the liar and the BS-er both represent themselves falsely as telling the truth. The liar, though, must know the truth, and "is responding to truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it." On the other hand, the BS-er "may not deceive us, or even intend to deceive us, either about the facts or about what he takes the facts to be. What he does necessarily intend to do is to deceive us about his enterprise . . . the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him."...


Now this excerpt (Thanks, Prairie Weather):

Macdhubhain was riding his Suzuki motorcycle in Riverside County on a recent Sunday when he was stopped by sheriff's deputies while he was on private undeveloped land. He said it wouldn't quell his love of the sport. "I go off riding really hard and get it out," he said. "It's adrenaline."

He said he tried to avoid riding near peoples' homes, but sometimes strayed. On some occasions, those encounters led to yelling matches with property owners — even though Macdhubhain said he tried to treat unhappy residents with respect if they did the same with him.

Mr. Macdhubhain is a criminal tresspasser. He will treat you with respect, but only if you respect him?

Is your Bullshit detector going off?

Here is the entire piece:

offroad story

Peace and quiet,


Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Proclamation

Long time sufferers of this blog may remember my disassembly of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, written by Julia Ward Howe. It is a call to Christians to end slavery, but was misused to fire up the Northern Troops to "Kill for Jesus". I will not repeat that here but feel free to look up the words of that hymn, what a misnomer, and read of its glorification of gore without the churchly pomp of thundering music and chorus to hide it's call to murder.

In later years Ms. Howe appears to have wanted to undo the harm done by her lack of clarity in accidentally giving those who study war another weapon in their arsenal of propaganda. Looking around in 1870 at her world, it appears that she did not have much hope that men would see through the cloud of lies and cannon smoke and bible thumping, and preachers that somehow manage to make claims that Jesus wanted these people or those people brutally killed.

As it was in 1870, so it is today.

Somehow, our leaders have managed to convince enough people that Jesus wants us to devastate this or that sovereign nation. In the aftermath all of the reasons for this seem to have vaporized except for greed... so that we might have gasoline for even larger SUV's that can suck up even more of the very air we must have to stay alive, even for a moment on this earth. It is our air that is under attack from all directions as our nation refuses to take the proper steps to end the poisoning of our oceans and accelerates the destruction of our forests, this is where it comes from you should know, but does Jesus want all of this done? Julia Ward Howe must have decided that perhaps it was the wrong use of "In Jesus' Name" to jauntily march along singing her "Battle Hymn" looking for the next young man whose legs needed to be blown off for righteousness sake.

Julia did not like the idea of raising a child, instilling the values of her soul into that child, and then having her child taken from her and indoctrinated in the one obvious lie repeated by men of power throughout all history. She knew better!

You can not end hatred by manifesting more hatred!

Julia Ward Howe then wrote a proclamation, which would ultimately lead to the creation of this day that we celebrate as Mother's Day. In it, I see the great tenets of Liberalism and Progressivism so prevelant in the teachings of Jesus and other great religious traditions.

It is not a call for men to give women presents.

It is not a call for children to call home and "Love you Mom" over the phone from long distances.

There is no call to for men to honor women...though we do!

Instead, Mother's day was a call for women to rise up and kick their men in the ass for all the stupid things they do that cause harm in the world.

Regardless of what this day has become, I hereby ask for a return to its original call to the women of this nation and all who would love them!

In the words of Julia Ward Howe:

Arise, then, women of this day.

Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of fears. Say firmly, we will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.

Our husbands shall not come to us wreaking with carnage for caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken to us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes out with our own. It says, disarm.


The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.

Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first as women to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them solemnly take counsel with each other, as the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, and each bearing after her own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

Julia Ward Howe

Mother's Day Proclamation 1870

Peace, Moms,


Saturday, May 07, 2005

No Conversating

Kevin Francois is a seventeen year old boy whose father was killed when he was five years old. His mother has been sent to serve in Iraq. She gave Kevin a cell phone so she could call him when whe was able to. She is in a war zone and this is the first time kevin has been separated from her.

So we have a troubled boy with a dead father and a mother who could be killed at any time in the service of America.

The school has rules about when cell phones can be used. Apparently this would be for band members to call their, for debate club members to call their parents, for chorus members to call their parents, for football team members to call their parents after practice to come and get them.

Kevins mother can't come get him...she is in Iraq.

Here is what Assistant Principal Alfred Parham said:

"They're not supposed to use them for conversating back and forth during school because if they were allowed to do that, they could be text messaging each other for test questions."

Sgt. 1st Class Monique Bates called her son, Kevin, at 12:30 p.m. Lunch time. So the reason Mr. Parham gave for not allowing phone calls was essentially bogus. Sure, there was a rule. Kevin broke it by answering a call from his mother. There is virtually no one who would not have answered that call.

Kevin went outside the school building to talk to his mother. A teacher saw Francois on the phone and told him to get off...Would you have done that?

Neither did Kevin, although he did tell the teacher:

"This is my mom in Iraq. I'm not about to hang up on my mom."

The teacher then physically tried to take the phone from Kevin. He tried to keep talking to his Mom but when the teacher grabbed the phone it hung up on her. Dejected, Kevin went with the teacher to the office where he promptly gave up his phone.

At 12:37 Kevins mom tried to call her son back but had to leave a message...She did not know what had happened and thought he had hung up on her and was refusing to answer her...she left a message on his voice mail...scolding Kevin!

Assistant Principal Parham said that Kevin got out of control.

"Now being that his mother is in Iraq, we're not trying to cause her any undue hardship; he was suspended for 10 days."

Ask yourself what would have happened if the teacher had simply let Kevin finish talking to his mother? Sure there was a rule being violated...but what harm was there actually? Kevin's problems stem from his being upset not his rule breaking. He was upset by the teacher physically trying to stop his contact with his Mom. Somewhere in Kevin's mind was the thought that this could be the last time he ever talks with her. She could die. That is in my mind also and you are a hard hearted unfeeling human being if you don't think so, too!

I am on Kevin's side in all this. The school says he was defiant and refused to leave the Principal's office. REeused to leave as his phone was ringing...his mom was trying to reach him...they wouldn't give it back or let him talk to his Mom...They have rules!

Rules that are convenient for the Football team and the band...

America is supposed to have rules to, as a country. Kevin's Mom was sent away because the President of the United States lied. Here is what he told us:

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

The 9-11 commission lied to us also. Here is what they said:

"After a thorough review, the Commission found no indication that the Intelligence Community distorted the evidence regarding Iraq's weapons."

A secret memo documenting a meeting with Tony Blair and George Bush has come to light and it says very plainly that President Bush was going to war in Iraq and, (let me quote this for you):

"...the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

George Bush was lying to us and Kevins Mom was going to go to Iraq and maybe be killed like 1500 of her countrymen, for a lie. We have a rule against the President doing things like this. If we follow the rules, we have to Impeach George W. Bush.

But we aren't going to follow those rules.

But we only follow the rules when we can lord it all over a scared, upset, 17 year old kid who just wants to talk to his Mom.

Happy Mother's Day, Monique.

Happy Mother's Day Kevin.

America Loves you both.

And for all the Principals and Assistant Principals and the Teacher at Spencer High School in Columbus, Georgia who demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that the thought process is offiially dead in American Schools?

If there is a Hell, may it be reserved for folks like you!

And by the way, Mr. Assistant Principal of Spencer High School Alfred Parham...

"Conversating" isn't a word, you moron!



Kevin's Story

Friday, May 06, 2005


Many years ago my mom visited my house in South Carolina that I now call the cabin. She had last been there in winter, to see her first grandchild, and the trees had been bare, giving us a nice vista of the far ridge. This time it was late spring and the leaves had closed in around the big windows I built into the little house. The great room is essentially glass on three sides, but she still looked at me and said, "All those trees give me claustrophobia."...

This from a woman with curtains and shades on the only windows in her kitchen/den/diningroom/whatever. She's got claustrophobia because she looks out the walls of my glass house and literally can't see the forest for the trees, but she would be perfectly happy in a room with no window whatsoever?


This morning, in the greenest state in the land of the free, I can't see all of the ridge across the gorge because the leaves have popped. Long views of the eagles commuting to work are being replaced by momentary glimpses...but there's a trade off I'm willing to make. The trees have gone from being bare branches to being active communities. This morning we have indigo buntings and rose breasted grossbeaks moving through the canopy at eye level to the kitchen table.

If this is what claustrophobia is like...I can deal with it.




Hey, Harold! If you want to make your case to be Senator from Tennessee, you might oughta show up and vote on the really big bills that pop up, now and again...You know, like the BUDGET BILL that only passed by THREE votes???

“If we had all our members there, we would have been able to put a few more of their guys on the griddle,” said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)....

While his House colleagues were waiting for the crack of the gavel to signal final passage, Ford, who is mulling a Senate bid, was back in western Tennessee, outside of his district, at the annual Coon Supper, a big political fest hosted by the Tennessee Speaker of the House.

“I was not there because of a previous commitment to be in Tennessee,” Ford said in a statement. Zac Wright, Ford’s spokesman, said he did not know if the congressman had alerted the whip’s office that he would miss the vote.


From our "Well, Duh!!" Department:

"We've also got the baby boom generation coming along. Those people born in 1946 and after. President Bush was born in 1946. He's part of the problem."

These words of wisdom are from our resident evil himself, Dick Cheney.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Marching as to war

OK, so all I said was, Pretty much a majority of Americans, Democrats, Independants, and Republicans want us to just get out of Iraq. I never said anything about the oxymoronic belief by Republicans that the

President is doing a good job

but they nevertheless want him to end his stupid war that is getting

thousands of American troops killed and

tens of thousands of American troops injured, and

hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians killed, and

hundreds of billions of American dollars vaporized into the coffers of War profiteers, and

Trillions of dollars added to our national debt,

while he is doing this "Good Job"...OK, maybe I did..

Well then what I said was, "Maybe it's time for a Peace March?"...and lots of you, not just one or two, wrote to say, "Yeah! a Peace March...it'll be fun, just a short one maybe...Memorial day is just around the corner."

OK, When and where? Ball's in your court. What do we need? Permits? Location? Ideas?

All I want to know is, "...and it's one, two three, What are we fighting for?"



Intelligent Design?

Fanatical Apathy...What he said!


The Commander has awakened for a few minutes. If only we could teach the Commander to use spellcheck:


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

T Rex

There it was...moving through the edge of the forest, conifers towering overhead as vines used them to climb to the canopy and steal their sunlight...a dinosaur, walking semi upright on two scaled legs, claws gripping the earth with every step. Gripping the earth in readiness to accelerate faster than any other living thing on this planet, capable of passing the 50 mile per hour mark in one half second.

It leaned forward with its blue and red neck and head advancing in quick lunges as the body and tail moved to catch up in a jerky rythym. A large male, this dinosaur was drawn near to my house by the presence of a female. She stood in the cover of nearby brush, her large body hidden, revealing only her neck and head, the grey blue of shadow. Nearly invisible to the casual eye, I saw her only because she gave herself away by the tiny flickering movement of her head as she focussed on the possible danger that had interrupted the primitive nuptials that had been proceeding along nature's intended path.

A rivalry with a smaller male dispensed with, the alpha dinosaur changed his gate from its jerky cadence to a smooth slow glide as his mating display erupted in a volcanic fountain of bronze finery as the modified scales of this dinosaur refracted his glorious worthiness to father the next generation of little dinosaurs.

I had stumbled on this meeting by chance and tried to watch but I was detected and the dinosaurs elected to choose safety over sex, this time. They need not have feared me, I'm not a turkey hunter.

But they did and I watched as they took their ritual deeper into the forest, away from my voyueristic self.

The fossil record has been filled in to the near certainty of birds being the descendants or remnants, if you will, of dinosaurs. Tyrranosaurous Rex now appears to have had feathers at the earlier stages of its life, losing them as it obtained such a size that sheer body mass became sufficient to retain enough body heat to survive. Current thinking is that scales, modified into feathers, were an evolutionary advantage to the smaller beasts as nothing more than insulation, since the earlier fossil record shows them to be non interlocking. I have played with a large turkey wing feather, seperating its barbules and then marveling at how they reconnect with proper preening into the solid seeming blade required to support flight.

I suggest you check out the 5-05 issue of Natural History magazine for a more detailed and rigorous examination of dinosaur aviation. For anyone who harbors doubts about the bird and dinosaur connection, let me say that looking at the eye popping yellow goldfinches sitting in the dogwood treejust ten feet away from my eye, I understand the reluctance to accept that claim.

But as for me? I have held, still warm from the hunt, a wild turkey in my hands and seen its ancestry with my mind, as my eyes beheld its red and blue metallic primitiveness.

There's dinosaurs in the woods.



The lighthearted may go here, just for fun:


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I'm Free....

I think it might be time to start a protest march.

I went to a couple of them back in '68 and '69 but it was mostly just to meet girls. The girls went for the guy with the megaphone and the Viet Nam war kept going and another 50,000 Americans died on our way out of Viet Nam "With Honor".

...at least I tried.

The Washington Post has a new poll asking, "What are the top two things you would tell Geroge Bush?"

This is incredibly naive because President Bush wouldn't listen. If he can't even hear the questions folks are asking him in a Press conference, he will never hear any advice from out here in Reality World.

Did you watch it? The Press Conference, I mean? Somebody would ask a question and he would give an answer he had obviously rehearsed, but rarely was it the answer to that particular question. didn't matter. The TV showed his answer later that night but did not show the disconnect. The headline should have been,

"Moron inhabiting President's Body!"


"Adult Attention Deficit Disorder affecting that other Deficit!"

Instead, they spent time on Laura Bush claiming George committed a gay sex act with a horse and that her mother in law learned her early chilhood development tactics from Don Corleone.

So ask yourself what you would tell George Bush if you thought there was a snowball's chance in hell you could climb that chain link fence and survive the razor wire escaping the zone where they have all the "free speech" locked up with enough blood left to blurt out a question?

Can you hear the Family Feud guy shouting, "Survey Says!"?

...Here's a quick run down of the top two things by demographic group:


"Get out of Iraq!" and "You're doing a bad job!"


"Get out of Iraq!" and "Leave Social Security alone!"


"You're doing a good job!" and "Get out of Iraq!"

Well, I'll be Danged!!!

Folks, We have a concensus. We will leave for your own personal consideration the burning question of how in the world Republicans can come to the conclusion that George Bush is doing a good job if the Iraq war is so screwed up we should just "get out".

Anyway, since we have a concensus, all of us can pick a nice day and have a good old fashioned protest march. I can see it now:

Republicans, Independents, and Democrats marching together as one, around and around and around inside the chain link fence of the

"Free Speech Zone"...



Monday, May 02, 2005

laugh anyway

After the obligatory "Flight from Hell" I am back in God's country, which is pretty much anywhere away from Washington, D.C..

Why those people want to live there escapes me, except that they want to be with others of their own kind. I divide Washingtonians into two types...Those who wish to save the world, and those who want to stop them. The latter can be recognized by their expensive metal watches, shined shoes, machine made tans, and the artificially whitened teeth shining out of their fake smiles. The folks who want to save the world can be recognized by the worried looks on their faces.

I was there trying to save the world...naturally.

Board meetings are curious things and fun to observe if you don't care what happens. They are painful and tragic, if it matters to you. It is the unsaid word that gives clue to what's really going on. This is difficult to figure out, but I have come to believe you have to delve into personalities before you make any decisions. I can tell you that the big question you have to find the answer to is, "Why does that person want me to believe the crap he's spitting out around this table?"

The folks who lie to themselves don't seem to look you in the eye while the are talking, but you can tell who their co-conspirators are by the eye contact. The rest of the time they speak to the far wall or the table. There's another kind of untruthful person and that is the one that's "Lying for Jesus" as I like to call it. He looks you in the eye and expects you to believe what he's saying because since he likes himself so much, why wouldn't you? No one else knows anything and you should just go along with him and everything will be fine if he gets what he wants, so you should be happy, right?

Somehow it all works out, with some level of good accomplished and you get to go home...well...after spending 4 hours sitting on the floor of the Delta Concourse at Reagan National while they sort out the parking garage fire in Atlanta and look for terrorists. I had a great chat with a nice South African man with a Nelson Mandela - Desmond Tutu accent about the stupidity of American political processes and results. We had a fine time working over the American media. I admired his ability to smile and laugh at the world even as he spoke of tragic things. He is one of the folks trying to save the world, doing his best to be a happy warrior, as he serves in an NGO liaison position. He was traveling to a meeting and I was going home from one.

I had the better deal at this point in time, but he smiled and laughed all the same. You do what you can, accept the results, laugh and move to the next thing.



I've been neglecting the jokes I used to attatch, so here's part of a stand up routine from a high government official who claims to have watched the President of the United States masturbate a Stallion...I've said it before, but hte question remains,

"Why is the truth more easily spoken by the comedians than the News people?"

"I am married to the President of the United States and here is our typical evening. Nine o'clock, Mr. Excitement here is sound asleep, and I am watching Desperate Housewives. With Lynne Cheney. Ladies and gentleman, I am a desperate housewife. I mean if those women on that show think they're desperate, they ought to be with George. One night after George went to bed, Lynne Cheney, Condi Rice, Karen Hughes and I went to Chippendales....I won't tell you what happened, but Lynne's Secret Service code name is now Dollar Bill."

"People often wonder what my mother-in-law is really like. People think she's a sweet, grandmotherly Aunt Bee type. She's actually more like Don Corleone."

"I'm proud of George. He's learned a lot about ranching since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What's worse, it was a male horse."

"George's answer to any problem at the ranch is to cut it down with a chainsaw. Which I think is why he and Cheney and Rumsfeld get along so well."