Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Da Nooz

Mrs. Creek was sitting beside me at the morning table and happened to flip open The Nation and read about the torture of Jose Padilla, not in Abhu Graib or Guantanamo, but in...Charleston, South Carolina. She was outraged and read me passages stating things like, "sensory deprivation was chosen as a method because it causes personality disintegration." His lawyers have complained that he cannot help with his defense because "He isn't there anymore." They destroyed his mind by torturing him.

Jose Padilla may or may not be a terrorist. He did hang around with some folks who have unsavory reputations, but then so have most of us. One of my childhood friends was the biggest juvenile delinquent in Laurens County, Georgia. He died recently after a career in law enforcement. I don't claim that Padilla is an innocent person, only that we have no idea whether he is or not. He has been held as an enemy combatant, for years without a lawyer or even contact with the outside world. He has been tortured into extreme mental illness. He is not charged with committing any illegal act. The government was foreced to bring charges against him by the Supreme Court. It brought three charges against him and has essentially dropped all but one. If found guilty, which may be unlikely at this point, his punishment will be viewed as an escape from Hell. He has probably endured the most horrible and most dastardly treatment ever, of a prisoner held in a United States prison. He is an American citizen.

The real lesson for us in the Padilla case is that it could happen to you and me. It could happen to our children. It could happen to anyone in America who challenges our government. and the reason it could happen is that the bush Administration has ignored its obligation to obey the law. The horrible treatment of Jose Padilla is bad but the destruction of the "Rule of Law" in America is far worse.

Mrs. Creek said she was upset that no one seems to know about all this. "Why isn't this on the news?" she said.

I said that it is the same reason that Republicans being funded by the same people that are funding Al Queda isn't in the news.

It is the same reason that no one knows that Bush is funding Al Queda in Iraq.

It is because it is more important to find out who fathered Anna Nicole Smith's baby, than to be informed about evidence of Vice Presidential treason popping up in the Scooter Libby trial.

Corporate media can serve America vitamins or crack. The choice seems to have been made.



Monday, February 26, 2007

Funny stuff

The Bush Doctrine


Barack Obama has admitted smoking pot and doing cocaine. He’s admitted it! You’re gonna need a squeeky clean record to get elected. George W. Bush would never have been elected if he had ever done cocaine . . .Greg Fergusen


Wonkette delivers the funniest line of the morning:

The Christian RightTM is having a hard time finding a Presidential
candidate that hates all the right things. [NYT]

Our Pet Goat

Your President has been funding Al Queda:

“We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11.”

"...these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah.”

Well, I'll be danged! A Morgan County, Tennessee County Commissioner wants to save his own county from dvelopers:

Support Governor Bredesen's plan to protect Tennessee's Natural Heritage

Pat alerted me to this message of hope...Where do I sign up?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Fixed in Stone

By now, most of us understand that the Ten Commanments are not actually fixed in stone. They changed a couple of times even in the Old Testament, and are different among the larger protestant denominations even today. What is fixed in stone is the stupidity of the folks who want to beat others over the head with them. Try this next little gem from South Carolina:

COLUMBIA, S.C. (May 16, 1997 12:25 p.m. EDT) -- A state Board of Education
member, talking Tuesday about displaying the Ten Commandments in public schools,
had a ready suggestion for groups who might object to it.

"Screw the Buddhists and kill the Muslims," Dr. Henry Jordan said
during the board's finance and legislative committee meeting. "And put that in
the minutes," he added.

Dr. Jordon is a surgeon who presumably, at some point in his mean spirited life, might have read the Hippocratic Oath even if he never actually read the ten commandments. You know that pretty much every single version of the big ten has "Thy Shalt Not Kill" as one of the big no-no's.

Conservatives pay about as much attention to that one as they do the one that suggests, "Thy shalt not bear false witness."

Dr. Jordon's buddies tried to cover for him by removing the outrageous statements from the published minutes but the Newspaper got a copy of the tape:

The remarks made Tuesday were expunged from the written minutes, but were
recorded on tape. The (Columbia) State obtained the tape under the Freedom of
Information Act.

Donald Rumsfeld reacted to the digital pictures showing the outrages committed by Americans at Abhu Graib by banning digital cameras. I suppose the appropriate thing to do in this case would be to repeal the Freedom of Information Act. It does seem to cause a lot of trouble...Particularly for good christians like Dr. Jordon.



"Taking Land out of Production"

Seems like every time somebody tries to do something good for the State of Tennessee, somebody else tries to stop them.

In this case Governor Phil Bredesen has stepped up to the plate and made the visionary and prudent decision to commit money to our future. No sooner is the decision made to protect some of the most beautiful and sensitive land in our state than here comes to political wing of the Developer's Union to oppose it.

Actually, this is opposed mostly by the short sighted developers who aren't satisfied with the tens of thousands, no, hundreds of thousands, of acres they already have access to. They apparently are just opposed to the rest of us having parks, preserves, and recreational land because...well, actually just "because"!

There are actually far sighted developers that see this as a very good thing for the state as a whole and also for the local communities adjacent to these proposed protected areas. Some of the rural communities that are booming in Tennessee are the gateway towns: Cleveland near the Ocoee river, Oneida near the Big South Fork, and Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Maryville and Townsend near the Smokies.

But If the State of Tennessee protects the land, they say, where are we going to build more of those gated communities that are springing up all over our Counties? You know, the ones that don't have many local people moving into them.

NASHVILLE - Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said Thursday that Gov. Phil Bredesen may be
going too far in proposing an $82 million state bond issue to preserve 124,000
acres of forestlands on the Cumberland Plateau.

Ramsey said at a news conference that he is troubled both by "taking that much land out of production"

"Taking land out of production"

What Lt. Governor Ramsey is really saying is "Keeping my developer buddies from getting our hands on the most sensitive, beautiful, and yes, productive, land in our whole danged state!"
What he means by "out of production" is "A developer can't rape it".

Left in the hands of certain developers, the future of Tenessee is bleak. Frankly, folks, if we don't protect this land we will all lose. Tennessee's land heritage will go the way of all those beautiful farms and forests outside of Atlanta.

Governor Bredesen actually proposes, as part of his goal, to fix one of the biggest transgressions in Tennessee history, known as the Martha Sundquist State Forest. All the state got in that deal was the dirt under Martha's forest...The forest itself still belonged to the timber interests. Now, with the help of the Nature Conservancy and Lyme Timber Company (proving that a timber company actually can have long range vision) who are coming up with $62 million dollars in addition to the state money, Phil Bredesen proposes to buy the trees, too, so that we will get to keep the "product" of our own land.

Developing land is a one way street. There are good developers who live in the communities they work in and have a long range vision that serves everyone's future. Their projects have greenspaces, trails, common areas, and meaningful conservation easements. They should be encouraged and supported. The other guys should be hammered.

The Governor is trying to do the right thing for Tennessee's future generations. But it appears that there is an orchistrated public relations campaign aready trying to stop the good work he is doing for our State. You can tell that when Politicians like Ramsey and Wilder "Have a Problem" with Bredesen calling this a "One time deal"...Well it is, folks.

Unless we act together now, we will lose our chance to save Tennessee's most precious land for our children and grandchildren. Let's not be fooled by misleading rants from people who only see the short term money they can make at the expense of our children's heritage.

The Republican Governor of Florida has proposed $800 million, for the same kind of effort in his state, ten times the amount of money we are asking for.

Tennessee is at least a tenth as good as Florida, isn't it?


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Winning is not an option"

...And yet, as the situation continues to deteriorate both for Iraqis
inside and outside of Iraq, and for Americans inside Iraq, Americans in America
are still debating on the state of the war and occupation- are they winning or
losing? Is it better or worse.

Let me clear it up for any moron with lingering doubts: It’s worse.
It’s over. You lost. You lost the day your tanks rolled into Baghdad to the
cheers of your imported, American-trained monkeys. You lost every single family
whose home your soldiers violated. You lost every sane, red-blooded Iraqi when
the Abu Ghraib pictures came out and verified your atrocities behind prison
walls as well as the ones we see in our streets. You lost when you brought
murderers, looters, gangsters and militia heads to power and hailed them as
Iraq’s first democratic government. You lost when a gruesome execution was
dubbed your biggest accomplishment. You lost the respect and reputation you once
had. You lost more than 3000 troops. That is what you lost America. I hope the
oil, at least, made it worthwhile.

Do Republicans want to start WW III?

The Bush Presidency is going down in flames. The problem is that Bush seems to be willing to take the United States of America down with him. Nothing could be more disasterous than for us to allow George w. Bush to start a war with Iran, but that seems to be his intentions.

Bush could do this with no input from Congress if he so chooses, and it seems as if this is exactly what he plans to do. This is from the BBC. i should point out that the BBC has been 100% correct on everything they've published regarding the misadventures of the Bush Andministration.

Iran is a serious military force. If George Bush can't win in Iraq, what the hell does he think is going to happen in Iran? If Bush bombs Iran without a UN mandate, which he will never get, the entire world will be on Iran's side. There is only one conclusion I can come to...

The entire Bush Administration is Institutionally Nuts!

But Bush says he has no plans to attack Iran. Let me refresh your memories on the trustworthiness of our "Worst President Ever":

On 16 October 2002, President Bush told the American people that "I have
not ordered the use of force. I hope that the use of force will not become

We know now that this statement was itself a lie, that the president,
by late August 2002, had, in fact, signed off on the 'execute' orders
authorising the US military to begin active military operations inside

Bush has now ordered three Carrier groups to the Middle East. I seriously think that he believes the only thing that can save him from eventual full blown disgrace is World War III. I also believe he is trying to start it.

We have to stop him.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Here we go again...

The General depicts two quotes from John McCain.

Is there a better illustration of McCain as a political whore?

I have continually taken the position that the United States Supreme Court decision known as Roe v. Wade is an example of the highest order of judicial wisdom. Would that all the court's work be of that Solomonic caliber.

People who rant about abortion killing babies forget, or intentionally overlook, one important detail of the abortion debate. We do not agree upon the moment when a human life begins.

This is a really really big deal!

The answer tends to come from religious views rather than any scientific analysis. And yes, I do place a Scientific determination above religious dogma. Most sane people do.

To recap what I have said previously, there are two main viewpoints on the moment of humanity, conception and birth, but there are also many more perfectly valid concepts of that moment upon which a human sperm, egg, zygote, blastocyst, fetus, baby, becomes a human. varying all the way from Primitive tribes who refused to recognize arrival until adulthood, and what I think of as the "catholic" position, which holds the egg and sperm to be holy life, regardless of the millions of both that are wasted in the normal human reproductive lifespan.

Societies in which infant mortallity is high cannot invest the emotion into the loss of an infant that they would invest in the death of a young adult. Similarly, in modern societies, the loss of an early pregnancy is treated with far less emotion than the loss of a fetus at near full term. This was the sound basis for the Roe v Wade decision.

We simply do not know the instant in time when a fetus has progressed far enough through the biologocal processess to become a human. We do know that it is sometime after the instant of conception and before the instant of birth, Although, in fact, neither conception nor birth has a definable instant.

The Supreme Court owned up to this great division in American thought, though I personally believe that one side of this debate does not think very deeply, nor does it consider the other side's right to its contradictory position. Understanding that, ultimately, the Court has the duty to protect the life of a citizen, but must also protect the citizen from the unwarranted intrusion of other citizen's religious views.

Therefore the Supreme Court issued the decree that they would divide pregnancy into three trimesters and that during the first trimester, the government had no business intruding upon what must be a personal decision because the fetus is not viable outside of its mother's womb. With each passing day during the second trimester, the fetus approaches viabilty so there are some restrictions on abortion involving the decision of a doctor, and in the last three months, since the fetus becomes viable outside its mother at some point during this period, there will be stringent restrictions involving the health of the mother, who, as a citizen with acknowleged fulll rights dictated by the Constitution, would be awarded precedence in the decision as to whose life and health takes precedence in the case of a decision being required in a medical either or situation.

John McCain knows he cannot win the presidency without the votes of the religious right. He is looking for a way to build a coalition of the corporatists, the war hawks, homophobes, the racially predjudiced, and those who would force their own personal religious beliefs on others.

I hope he fails miserably.



Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cheers for a Clown

And also find out why this young man is performing a courageous act of defiance.
A tale of Two Als:

I am usually mortified those clowns in the Senate, but this time I'm for this one. He'll be running against Norm Coleman, the guy who replaced Paul Wellstone in a disgustingly evil election campaign. At least this one should be funny.

Now...I have been thinking about this for some time. Want to hear my choice for the Democratic president/VP nominations? I'm not predicting it will happen by any stretch, and frankly, odds would seem to be against it. Giving each side of the Democratic Party a place on the ticket would be incredibly powerful but these two people are not soulmates. They are, however, very astute politicians. One of them has bigger balls than the other, but maybe earned wisdom can be the great compensator.

This one for President

And this one for Vice President

Let the gasps begin!



Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's freezing and fire up the grill!

Ok, it's Valentine's Day. I love all of you. But that was true yesterday, too, so V Day isn't really all that big a deal except for the commerce involved and the life disrupting chaos that will errupt if we forget it.

After a couple of decades of marriage, my wife and I make these things easy on each other. I asked her what she wanted a couple of days ago and suggested I cook us a good dinner and open a nice bottle of wine. When I asked for any special requests for a romantic meal, she said, "Grilled asparagus."

So there you go. I'm off to the grocery store for some shopping. Grilled asparagus it is. Anybody know what wine goes well with grilled asparagus?

Peace...And Love!


It has been a year since Vice President Cheney shot a guy while bird hunting without a license. he didn't get a ticket for it. Maybe that was because the birds were being released from a cage so he could shoot them. Anyway, Cheney's blood lust is either celebrated or reviled depending on which channel you watch. The one demographic in unanimous agreement are the comedians. While they pretty much all think Dick Cheney is a very scary person, they also view him as what the comedian would describe as "red meat"...A veritable feast for a comedy writer. The jokes were funny and debilitating.

For some reason, a comic can get away with saying the most outrageous things that rip the heart out of an issue without being shot. For instance, if anyone in America had stood 12 feet away from George W. Bush and said what Stephen Colbert did at the Whitehouse Press Corp dinner, well, who knows where they be now? A comic? Well all of those guys are still alive and doing well.

Here is a sample and a link to the best jokes from one year ago:

"Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt ... making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, of course, (was) shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington?

Mistaken for a bird." ...Jon Daily,1641,CCCT_811_5346202,00.html

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Swamp Gas

More swamp pictures for you (just to make you guys totally jealous).

You may be wondering why these guys are looking at a map. The river only goes one way, after all. Turns out we weren't exactly lost, we were just in the wrong state.

And I don't mean an "altered" state...We just weren't in Florida like we thought. We were still in Georgia. The bad news was that we were two or three hours further from the takeout than we thought on Friday morning. The good news was that we were going to miss Atlanta traffic on the way home.

This grand old tupelo tree stood watch over the pool next to our campsite. There were thousands of them, including the one we call the "kid tree", which is actually thre trees grown together and is big enough that it is an island we stopped to let the kids climb around and play in on a previous trip. That time we only paddled three miles of the river but it was so beautiful that we vowed to come back sometime, and so we did.
People have the wrong idea of swamps. As you can see, this one at least is pretty open. At other points in the Okefenokee, the trees close in around you but it never seems oppressive to me, just alive. If you ever want to see just how alive the world really is, tie up a canoe in one of these places and sit quietly for 20 minutes. If you are still enough you'll be right in the middle of a very happening place.

There were tracks were all around us on the sandy beaches. Several times we saw the large kitty prints of bobcats, four toes and round. I took this shot because it had five toes. Looking in my references I figure that this one is an otter. In deep sand, there is a hint of the claws but not much.
I'm ready to go back.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Swamp Lion

The Ballad of Old Swamper Steve is playing in the background, and just in case you guys were wondering why I haven't been pestering you with outrage and rant, here ya go:

First paddling day was inside the Okefenokee Refuge. We had to get a permit to go over/under the Sill, which is a long levee built to fix the damage to the swamp done by repeated efforts to drain it. We were the first people this season to paddle through the "narrows" from Stephen Foster State Park to the headwaters of the Suwanee River. Two weeks earlier we could have walked most of our first day without getting our feet wet. The dry season is fire season in the southern swamps but that ended with one storm just before we got there. The lower Suwanee had been at near record low water but not anymore.

Charlie and I paddled together with me in the stern mostly. Once we got through the long winding narrows, an old ditch barely wider than the boats, we hit a stretch of open tall grass freshwater marsh where this old Cypress is home to an osprey or eagle nest in the very top.

This Live Oak graced our second night on the white sand beaches below Fargo, Georgia, just before we paddled into Florida.

Morning and the fish were tearing up this pool surronded by grandaddy Tupelo trees. We had nothing to fish with but have made a note for next time.

Ok, This was the last thing I remember that night. Gordon and his magic hand crank blender and the new margarita recipe involving Gran Marnier, Cuervo Gold, lemonade, lemon and lime juice, and beer.
I swear! Beer!
What I don't have pictures of are the herd of otters that barked at us a we passed, or the gators that slid into the water as soon as they saw us, or the wild hogs, or the great horned owl, but most of all...I don't have a picture of the Puma that ran across the road in front of us while we were running shuttle. Big, grey, long tail curled up at the end...But no picture.
You'll have to do with Gordon mixing Margaritas.