Monday, June 27, 2005


There are some great columnists out there and I think I'll be copying some in more often. Bob Herbert is a favorite. Molly Ivins and Leonard Pitts are usually good sources of information too.

All I’m going to say on this subject is that the governor of Florida appears to have a lot of time on his hands. This kind of keep looking unitl you can pin something, anything on a person is not what we’re used to in the US. The former Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, places like that, the United States, no.

Bob Herbert ( is columnist for the New York Times


“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” asked Joseph Welch in his famous confrontation with the pathologically cruel Joe McCarthy. “Have you left no sense of decency?”

More than a half-century later, I would ask the same question of Florida’s governor, Jeb Bush.

In an abuse of power that has been widely denounced, Gov. Bush has tried to keep the Terri Schiavo circus alive by sending state prosecutors on a witch-hunt against her husband, Michael.

The state attorney who has been pushed by the governor into pursuing this case told me he has seen nothing to indicate that a crime was committed. Nevertheless, the inquiry continues.

Gov. bush asked Bernie McCabe the state attorney for Pinellas County, to “take a fresh look” at this already exhaustively investigated case to determine, among other things, whether Michael Schiavo has perhaps waited too long to call for help after discovering that his wife had collapsed early one morning 15 years ago.

McCabe did not seem particularly enthusiastic about this mission. “I wouldn’t call it an investigation,” he told me in a telephone conversation. The word “investigation,” he said, “is a term of art in my business.”

He then explained: “When I conduct an investigation, it would mean that I have a criminal predicate. In other words, that I have some indication that a crime has occurred. That’s my job. In this circumstance, that does not exist at this time. So what I’m attempting to do is respond to the governor’s request by conducting what I’m calling an “Inquiry” to see if I can resolve the issues he raised.”

He chuckled at his use of the word inquiry. “It may be a distinction without a difference.”

What ever term is used, the governor’s continued pursuit of Michael Schiavo in the absence of any evidence that he has done anything wrong is a clear example of government power being used as a club to punish someone for political reasons. The unwarranted harassment of an ordinary citizen by the most powerful, political figure in his state is an affront to the very idea of freedom that Gov. Bush and his brother in the White House are so fond of preaching.

Terri Schiavo died March 31 following the court-ordered removal of her feeding tube. An autopsy supported Michael Schiavo’s contention that his wife had been in a persistent vegetative state. She was unaware of anything and incapable of recovering. At her death at 41, Terri Schiavo’s withered brain was half the normal size for a woman her age.

Gov. Bush was one of the leaders of the pack of politicians who vehemently opposed Michael Schiavo’s efforts to have his wife’s feeding tube removed. Much of what was said was outrageous.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. A physician, said:” All you have to do is look at her on TV. Any doctor with any conscience can look at her and know that she does not have a terminal disease and know that she has some function.”

All agree that Terri Schiavo is now dead, but Gov. Bush insists on keeping the craziness going.

Michael Schiavo has said that his wife collapsed about 4:30 or 5 o’clock in the morning and that he quickly called 911. He has always stressed that he was making a rough estimate about the time. His call to 911 was recorded at 5:4 a.m.

Quick, try to remember with any precision the exact time of a traumatic incident that happened to you or a relative 10 or 15 years ago. Not only is it difficult to do, but the degree of precision deteriorates as the years pass.

Gov Bush’s continued pursuit of Michael Schiavo is not just pointless, it’s cruel.

I pressed McCabe, the state attorney. If there’s no evidence that a crime has been committed, I asked, then what is the purpose of the inquiry?

“My purpose,” he said, “is simply to respond to the governor. The governor’s asked me to do something, and I’m going to try to do it.”

Welcome to power politics, American style.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Saw this one on the way home from the produce stand.

"My boss is a Jewish carpenter."

On the other side of the car was

"A woman's place in the House....the Senate....and the Oval Office"



This is from our local paper in Eugene. I think it's good enough to copy and post verbatim. I can certainly relate to how he feels only from the other side. I'm a Democrat, but that membership is on pretty thin ice right now.


The Party’s Over for Betrayed Republican

By James Chaney

As of today, after 25 years, I am no longer a Republican

I take this step with deep regret, and a deep sense of betrayal.

I still believe in the vast power of markets to inspire ideas, motivate solutions and eliminate waste. I still believe in international vigilance and a strong defense, because this world will always be home to people who will avidly seek to take or destroy what we have guilt as a nation. I still believe in the protection of individuals and business from the influence and expense of an over-involved government. I still believe in the hand-in-hand concepts of separation of church and state and absolute freedom to worship, in the rights of the states to govern themselves without undo federal interference, and in the host of other things that defined me as a Republican.

My problem is this: I believe in principles and ideals which my party has systematically discarded in the last 10 years.

My Republican Party was the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, and George H. W. Bush. It was a party of honesty and accountability. It was a party of tolerance, and practicality and honor. It was a party that faced facts and dealt with reality, and that crafted common- sense solutions to problems based on the facts as they were, not as we wished them to be, or even worse, as we make them up. It was a party that told the truth, even when the truth came hard. And now, it is none of those things.

Fifty years from now, the Republican Party of this era will be judged by how we provided for the nation’s future on three core issues: how we led the world on the environment, how we minded the business of running our country in such a way that we didn’t go bankrupt, and whether we gracefully accepted our place on the world’s stage as its only superpower. Sadly we have built the foundation for dismal failure on all three counts. And we’ve done it in such a way that we shouldn’t be surprised if neither the American people nor the world trusts us again.

My party has repeatedly ignored, discarded and even invented science to suit its needs, most spectacularly as to global warming. We have an opportunity and the responsibility to lead the world on this issue, but instead we’ve chosen greed, shortsightedness and deliberate ignorance.

We have mortgaged the country’s fiscal future in a way that no Democratic congress or administration ever did, and to justify the tax cuts that have brought us here, we’ve simoly changed the rules. I matured as a Republican believing that uncontrolled deficit spending is harmful and irresponsible; I still do. But the party has yet to explain to me why it’s a good thing now, other than to say “…because we say so.”

Our greatest failure, though, has been in our role as superpower. This world needs justice, democracy and compassion and as the keystone of those things, it needs one thing above all else: truth.

Republican decisions made in 2002 and 2003 have killed almost 2,000 of the most capable patriots our country has to offer—volunteers, every one. Support for those decisions was gathered through what appeared at the time to be sping and marketing, but which now turns out to have deliberate planning and falsehood. The Blair government’s internal documentation only confirms what has been suspected for years: Americans are dying every day for Republican lies first crafted in 2002, expanded and embellished upon in 2003, and which continue to this day. The calculated deception is now burned into the legacy of the party, every bit as much as Reagan’s triumph in the cold War, or Nixon’s disgrace over Watergate.

I could go on and on – about how we have compromise dour international integrity by sanctioning torture, about how we are systematically dismantling the civil liberties that it took us two centuries to define and preserce and about how we have substituted bullying, brinksmanship and “staying on message” for real political discourse – but those three issues are enough.

We’re poisoning our planet through gluttony and ignorance.

We’re teetering on the brink of self-inflicted in solvency.

We’re selfishly and needlessly sacrificing the best of a generation.

And we’re lying about it.

While is has compiled this record of failure and  deception, the party which I’m leaving today has spent its time enery and political capital trying to save Terri Schiavo, battling the threat of single-sex unions, fighting medical marijuana and physician-assisted suicide, manufacturing political crises over presidential nominees, and selling privatized Social Security to an America that isn’t buying. We fiddle while Rome burns.

Enough is enough I quit.

(James Caney is a Eugene attorney who has been in private practice for more than 20 years, and who has been a registered Republica since 1980.)

I think it's an excellent piece of work.


I haven't been posting as much lately. Several reasons.

One, I was spending some time with the prequels to the prequels to Frank Herbert's Dune series. The books aren't bad, but they aren't magic with a capital M either. Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson have managed to tie into all the strands of the earlier works. In excruciating detail. I found out far more than I ever wanted to know about some characters and not nearly enough about others. The body count is beyond astronomical and most of them died very badly. Sometimes less is more and descriptions of executions, etc. fall into that category for me. My imagination is usually far scarier than anything anybody and write.

Two, getting over dental extractions and trying to work full time apparently takes more out of you than I expected. That and several trips to the doctor to have adjustments made. Things are getting better, but I've been feeling pretty drained.

My joints have been giving me semi-fits at about two week intervals. It's been hard enough work at a desk all day without trying to spend enough time on the computer at home long enough to get anything done more complicated than commenting on my favorite journals and sending some e-mails. I'm on the upswimg again, Yaaay.

So, here I am this morning feeling pretty darn good and trying to make up for lost time.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Apparently Karl Rove has taken a mini baseball bat to a hornet's nest...........again. In a partisan speech in New York on Wednesday Rove ridiculed Liberals for a wimpish response to terrorism in 2001. Responses by various Democratic spokesmen were predictable.

For the record, I have no use for Karl Rove. The man is a political disaster, a successful disaster but still bad news. What can you say about a man who was accused of bugging his own office while he was running Bush's first campaign for governer of Texas, finding the bugs and then accusing the opposition of doing it?

I just don't think all the uproar over his speech is going to do any good. If Howard Dean found the the cure for Aids, cancer and the common cold all rolled into one, Rove would probably find a way to make it sound like a bad thing.

Let's just accept that one, Karl Rove will never apologize for anything. Two, the president is not going to fire the man who charted his rise to political power. No way, no how, just accept it and move on. Although, I suppose that all the rhetoric creates a welcome breeze in the parts of the country that are suffering the current heat wave. All those sound bites have to be good for something.

So, my fellow outcasts, let's try a little experiment. Ignore him as much as possible. Just shake your head sadly, mummering quietly something to the effect of "what can you expect......" Sort of the way polite families treated the subject of the family remittance man. (The term hails from the British colonial era. Unambitious or embarrassing family members got shipped out the colonies to minor positions. Hopefully they couldn't do much damage out there and at least they weren't causing trouble at home.)

With luck, a non-responsive response with provoke more outrageous claims. Maybe, we'll get to the point where enough of the president's supporters will see just how small this man really is.


I have read a variation of this in a fan fic. I spotted a sticker a couple of years ago. It showed a dragon using a knights' lance for a toothpick and various pieces of armor scattered around. I think the caption ran something like this.

Don't argue with a dragon for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

Has anyone out there seen anything remotely like this? :-)

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Saw this bumper sticker on a camper on the way home tonight.

Frodo has failed.
Bush has the Ring!

It was good for a chuckle.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Shower-A fall of rain of short duration. The definition doesn't say how short or how hard.

Usually, when we get "showers" in my end of the Willamette Valley, they're fairly mild. You get wet but you aren't in any danger of drowning if you look up at the sky with your mouth open. I wish I could have gotten a shot of the rain when it was falling 'cause what we got yesterday was the danger of drowning kind of shower. I don't think the shower in the bathroom puts water out that fast. We actually had about three inches of water on the sidewalk and it was floating bark chips off the path.

I don't think the white climber is going to look like itself until the second set of buds come on because the weather has basically trashed the first set. Poor thing is looking pretty bedraggled. I don't think anything can upset the lavendar or the heather.

I get a kick out of the cats. We watch movies like Band of Brothers so it's not like they haven't heard boom booms before. First crack of thunder and you can see the wheels turning. "No music, no talking, crap this is the real deal. If you want me I'll be under the bed! (How to make a fast exit while still looking cool)"

We actually got hit twice. We'd taken a drive out to one of the local farm stands and got there just before the first band of storms went through. Drove the u-pick strawberry lovers right out of the field. This weather is not doing our local berries any favors. We got to watch quite a lighting show. Well, quite a show for this part of the country.

Lisa, where ever you're selling pastry this weekend I hope it's semi dry. :-)

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Two prequals down, one to go. Brian Herbert and Terry Anderson are good, but they aren't Frank Herbert. We're talking magic with a small m, not all caps with exclamation points. On to current events.

The medical examiner's report is out on Terry Schiavo. Gasp, gee it seems that doctor's who examined her had it pretty right all along. She was severely brain damaged, almost certainly blind and probably wouldn't have survived on feeding or drinking by mouth. There was no evidence of abuse or foul play.

It would be nice to see as much coverage and hype over the autopsy results as there was over her death. It would be comforting if some of the folks who implied that her husband was an abusive monster would apoligize as publically as they accused. It would be really nice if the rest of us would make a resolution to tune out carnival type coverage of such events in the future. I'd love to see the politicians announce that "you know, this really is a family matter and we don't have any business interfereing." I would hope that her parents would finally be able to let go and treasure the image of their loving, laughing daughter before this tragedy started. It would be a miracle if churchmen who have never been in this situation and never will would decide to stay out of the limelight and ere on the side of compasiion. Perhaps, just perhaps, the still small voice of the spirit speaks to the family before it speaks to the bishops.And perhaps the bishops have grown deaf to that soft voice.

I'm not holding my breath, I'm not going to bet the farm and I expect to find pigs in the tree tops before any of this happens.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


It's been nice this weekend. Still haven't had a totally rain free weekend since March, but it wasn't enough to do more than get the street damp and make the air smell wonderful.

Made some interesting discoveries this weekend. If you're going to clean up some bloomed out rhodies, allow enough time to finish the job. A half deadheaded rhododendron looks really weird.

If you have really short hair like I do, make sure to put sunscreen on your ears as well as your face. I know, there's a really good reason why God invented hats. but I wear glasses (can't even see a foot past the end of my nose, the whole world looks like an Impressionist painting) and hats drive me crazy. They keep bumping into my glasses.

Put all projects involving yarn in a closed container. Especially anything that has wool in it. Lucky's been hunting again. Her current "catch" is two balls of yarn, one batch of counted granny squares and several loose ones. I spent the morning outside and mom was at church and the mighty huntress was in full pout mode. The good old "I can entertain myself very well, thank you. Good luck finding your goodies. They're under the bed."

Fresh local strawberries have nothing in common with the the ones they bring in from out of state. (I already knew this, just got a chance to be reminded) I know, the imports are perfectly shaped, perfectly colored, yadda yadda yadda. But, they can give cardboard a run for its money. The locals come in all sorts of crazy shapes and sizes, but they taste wonderful. They don't last very long, so we get 'em while they're hot.

The first blueberries are coming on too. I'm willing to share with the birds. sort of. Back to strawberries. We've got plants here and there. Once upon a time they were in a rea, planned bed. The ones in the bed are gone but the runners migrated. They actually make a good groundcover and they replace themselves. Three or four years ago I watched a squirrel work his way through the early berries. He finally picked one nibbled it and tossed the rest. I got curious and went exploring, He'd very carefully nibbled most of the red part off a half ripe berry and tossed the rest. Cheeky little fur ball. :-)

Well, I'm suddenly losing the ability to spell and I'm about to yawn myself into oblivian. After several years of getting up about six-thirty to get ready for work, the bed insistts on giving me the boot at about the same time on the weekends, too. Go figure. I guess I'd better check out this entry while I can still spell.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005


I may go sort of MIA for a little while. I got some goodies in the mail yesterday. The three novels that set up the world of Frank Herbert's Dune. If I know me, I'll barely come up for air for the next week or so while I devour them for the first time. That's me, skiim for the good stuff because I can't stand not knowing and these guys have enough plot threads to make the Gordian Knot look simple. Then I go back and fit it all together. It wouldn't be so bad if it was Friday, I could stay up until after midnight just reading my little heart out. These three are actually the prequals to the three prequals that precede the six novels that are now called the Dune Chronicles. And the story line in those covers ten thousand years.

For anyone who has visited Frank Herbert's incredibly complex worlds this is the beginning. Herbert created a universe where humans function as computers, of political planning that spans millenia,  genetic manipulations that make your hair stand on end, a planet where open water is unknown and giant worms swim the sands like great whales.He also had some political insights that it wouldn't hurt our politicians to consider.  

I read Dune for the first time when I was a freshman at the Uof O. It's a hell of a ride and my tickets are bought..  :-)

Monday, June 6, 2005


I haven't been posting as much lately. It isn't that I'm not interested, just-I guess distracted would probably be the best description. Two months of dealing with dental appointments and getting used to the results with contribute to that I guess. Then there was a couple of weeks where my knees were giving me fits. It's hard to be creative when you can spend about ten minutes at a time at the computer before the joints announce "you will move, this is not open to discussion."

Had a great time at Lisa's last weekend. I still haven't met the two newbies she call's the Assassins-AKA Alvin and Theo. They'd had their perspective on life "altered" and were pouting upstairs. The drive north was great. I just realized no matter which way you go-getting to Scapoose involves very curvy roads. You can take off from I5 and brave the Terwilliger curves. Or take the Sunset Highway and cut over through Cornelius. Only real difference is that it's two lanes of curves and nobody tries to go 70 while they're on it.

There's a stretch of I5 they've been working on FOREVER I may at retirement age before they're done. The bypasses aren't so bad during the day, but driving it at night is weird. You just keep hoping everybody else sticks to the program.

We had about twice as much rain as normal for May and June isn't looking any better. The lavender and the ground covers are ok so far, but the roses, rhodies and peonies are trashed. I thought I had retired the turtlenecks and sweatshirts for the duration. I like the rain but once you start psyching yourself up for sunshine......Could be worse. We get very few tornadoes, really bad thunderstorms or hurricanes in this part of the world. Gray days are a small price to pay. :-)

I saw in the paper this morning that the Iraquis are making plans to start trying Saddam for events that happend in 1982. They are doing this over our objections. I can understand why the US would object. In '82 while we knew he was an SOB, he was our SOB-at least part of the time.

Everybody have a good week.