Saturday, March 24, 2007

What I Love About This Religion:

"Does anyone have a squirt gun to be used for calling West?" is a completely understandable question.

The "Hello Kitty" mylar baloons all over the yard were considered completely appropriate decorations for one of the 8 high holy days of the year.

A Giglliana is a valid form of worhip.

Dancing the hokey pokey, G/Son in arms, is part of the worship service.

G/Son grabbing the big yellow cloth tulip wand and toddling around the circle (Deosil! The boy's a genius) seemed as good a way to cast the circle as any.


Well, what can I say? It was Eostara. We were welcoming the maiden.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Political Theatre

What Thers said.

Now, fly from Crawford to DC at midnight to sign a bill you could have signed in Crawford, you ugly-souled little shitwit.

Freeway Blogging

I think that you have enough time this weekend to freeway blog at least one sign. What else are you doing that is more important?


This is not a democracy. This is what it's like to live in a junta. Fuck this shit.

Heckuva Job, Neocons.

The Horse's Mouth has the video.

Congressman Obey gets it just right. The Democrats voted today to end that misbegotten, stupid, ill-advised war that has destroyed our influence over a third of the world.

~Hat tip to Hawthorne Wingnut at Eschaton

The Rest Shall Hear And Be Afraid

chidyke has a worthwhile reminder for the "party of moral values". You know. The ones who were going to "bring honor and dignity back to the oval office."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Abandoned Farm by Mary Rose O'Reilley

From Poetry Magazine:

In the northwest corner of Dakota, I saw a room
someone had left, a plush sofa returning its button-
eyed stare to the glance she gave it over her shoulder,
the dog, too, turning. In the next room, the mattress,
with mattress stories one after another tumbling
out of each spring, the window she opened first thing,
its vista of mile after mile, and the windmill hauling
its load.
I saw that, and nothing alive—

green oil-figured linoleum laid on counters,
nails of bad craft, the ripped blackening edge
that scared her more than the bed and the sound
of the windmill winning its will from the aquifer
night after night, the whack of her blade on the block.
There are houses with too many knives sometimes she said,

but when June ferned its way in she'd relent, take on its
restraint, heave again on the stained sheets her burden
of child, herself a torn girl again, combing her hair
through fingers bruised by corn shocks, sweet juice
in the cuts of her life.

She began to think of the border
and mustangs without brand. At night they'd bend
over the bed and nuzzle. One ride was enough.
She had sufficient magic to cling to a mane and fare
over the windowsill. I see where the curtain fell
and nobody mended the tear, I see where bare feet
marked like fossils her pass in the rain.

When he uncovers fiddleheads by the spring,
why does he always think of that first sight
of her thigh in the peach-colored dress, of his hand's
searching moss with its red-gold stamens, the spring
in that arid landscape like something from Canaan
under his tongue? Even in old age he'd ponder the moment,
lying under the moon forgiving himself, her, the world
that bred their conundrum, washed in that rain.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Planet Has A Fever

My president.

What Diane Sylvan Said

I also, and I admit this, like the word Witch. I agree with Laurie Cabot that it is a "delicious word." I am a Wiccan priestess, and I am a Witch. I feel that "Witch" describes one important aspect of what I do--the part of my practice that has me hanging herbal charms at my doors, adding consecrated oils to my cleaning products, and carving Runes in candles to bring new and beautiful things into my life. None of those things are intrinsic to Wicca as a religion, so I say I am a Witch to help describe what kind of Wiccan I am. That's my approach; as always, your mileage may vary.

I'll also say that I read Triumph of the Moon, just like everyone else, and, in response to the question: Did Uncle Gerald and Aunt Doreen invent something new or did they discover a tradition that goes back to my Neolithic grandmothers? I'll just say: Yes. That is what my cells tell me; they tell me "yes".


I would completely wear this. Honest. I would even have sewn it, back in the day. We've gotten so boring over the last 20 years or so.

Constitutional Crisis. Bring It, Bitches.

I think that, as he so often does, NTodd has called this one just right. We've been in a Constitutional crisis. I think we've been there ever since five justices on the Supreme Court, including those appointed by his father, ordered Florida to stop counting Americans' votes and to selected Bush to be "president." The Constitutional crisis has continued for years, with this illegitimate "president" issuing signing statements saying that he's above the law. With warrantless spying on American citizens coughtheKerrycampaigncough. With an Attorney General disputing the fact that Americans have an inalienable right to habeas corpus. With, as NTodd notes, a rubber-stamp Congress that provided NO oversight of the executive branch of our government. So, like fish who were unaware that they were swimming in water, we've been living in a Constitutional crisis for six years. The difference is, now we know it.

I think that when Bush instructs his staff to be in contempt of Congress, and possibly a district court, he is then in violation of his consitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed and has to be impeached. It's not that the founders didn't forsee this sort of problem and provide a remedy. They did. It's called impeachment.

This plays out and, at the end, either we have something that calls itself America, but isn't, or we have our country back. Either way, it's time. Let's all pray the Dems have the ovaries for this.

Gore Slaps Barton Around And Around

The planet has a fever," Gore said, sounding incredulous at Barton's skepticism. "If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says, 'You have to intervene here,' you don't say, 'Well, I read a science fiction novel that says this isn't important.' "

Why I Hate George Bush - Part the One Thousandth

If you can read it and not cry, you're made of sterner stuff than I.

Abdication Of Duty

Ronald Brownstein gets a whole lot right in today's LAT.

Discussing the appalling abdication of duty by the former Republican-controlled Congress, he notes that: Many of the decisions now causing Bush grief could have been made only by a politician who did not believe anyone was looking over his shoulder. It's inconceivable that the administration would have been so cavalier about planning the postwar occupation of Iraq — or so dismissive of the Army warnings that it had not deployed enough troops to ensure order — if it knew that Congress would closely examine its plans.

Likewise, it's difficult to imagine that an administration accustomed to serious scrutiny would have dismissed U.S. attorneys involved in sensitive decisions on whether to prosecute political corruption and fraud cases the way Bush's Justice Department did in December.

Also: Already, tough congressional questioning is forcing Bush to change the way he operates.

In the four months since Democrats won control, perhaps more administration officials linked to failure or ethical missteps — Rumsfeld, officials directly responsible for Walter Reed, the Army secretary, the Justice Department chief of staff — have resigned under fire than during the six years when the GOP majority averted its eyes. Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales, even after Bush's vote of confidence Tuesday, may be the next to fall to the new breeze.

Tuesday's stormy news conference suggests that Bush will push back against tough oversight. But his presidency might have turned out a lot better if he hadn't spent his first six years virtually immune from it.

You know, the founders instituted a system of three separate, but coequal, branches of government for a reason.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

When The Spring Thaw Comes

Something they
won't tell you —

That book of sins
you hide
beneath your pillow
not at all.

When the spring thaw comes
we all go mad
and shred it,
tossing love notes
left and right
scribbled on the scraps.

~Ivan M. Granger

Oil Industry Lobbyist Edits Scientific Reports By National Academy Of Sciences

From today's EEI newsletter:

House Panel Examines Efforts by White House to Slant Climate Change Info

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has released a sheaf of documents showing how a former oil industry lobbyist, Philip A. Cooney, worked within the White House to recraft scientific evidence associated with climate change, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times reported today. Wrote the New York Times: "Cooney said the editing was part of the normal White House review process and reflected findings in a climate report written for President Bush by the National Academy of Sciences in 2001. They were the first public statements on the issue by Cooney, the former chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality." Cooney came to the role after serving as climate team leader for the American Petroleum Institute and subsequent to his tenure went to work for Exxon Mobil.

At a congressional hearing, James E. Hansen, the top climate expert at NASA, testified that "editing like that of Mr. Cooney and efforts to limit scientists’ access to the news media and the public amounted to censorship and muddied the public debate over a pressing environmental issue." Hansen was quoted by the N.Y. Times as saying: "If public affairs offices are left under the control of political appointees, it seems to me that inherently they become offices of propaganda."

The L.A. Times called the "open confrontation" between Chairman Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., and the ranking Republican, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., "a rare display of direct debate in otherwise carefully choreographed hearings."
Los Angeles Times , New York Times , March 20.

It's All About Balance

Vernal Equinox, Bitches!

A good time to think about the role of balance in your life. You've got an equal amount of daylight or nighttime dark in which to do your thinking.

Happy Ostara!

More pictures here.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Internationale

Arise, the damned of the earth,
Arise, prisoners of hunger,
For reason thunders in its crater,
It is the eruption of the end!
Let us make a blank slate of the past,
Crowds, slaves, arise, arise!
The world is changing at the base,
We are nothing, let's be everything!
|: This is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind! :|

There are no supreme saviours,
Neither God, nor Caesar, nor tribune.
Workers, let's save ourselves!
Let's decree universal salvation
So that the thief offers us his throat,
To pull the mind out of the dungeon
Let us blow upon our furnace ourselves,
Strike the iron while it is hot!
|: It is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind! :|

The state represses and the law cheats,
The taxes bleed the unfortunate
No responsibility is imposed on the rich
The rights of the poor is a hollow phrase
Enough of languishing in custody,
Equality needs other laws!
No rights without duty, it says,
Similarly, no duties without rights.
|: It is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind! :|

Hideous, in their glory,
The kings of the mines and rail.
Never have they done anything else,
But steal from others' work.
In the safes of this group
What we created is melted together!
In decreeing that they give it back
The people want nothing but their due.
|: It is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind! :|
The kings intoxicate us with their fumes,
Peace among ourselves, war to the tyrants!
Let us declare strikes in the armies,
Guns in the air, break their ranks!
If they insist, those cannibals,
On making heroes of us,
They will soon know that our bullets,
Are for our own generals.
|: It is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind! :|

Labourers, peasants, we are
The great party of workers
The earth belongs only to humans
The idle are going to live elsewhere
How much they feast on our flesh
But if the ravens and vultures
Disappear one of these days
The sun will shine forever
|: It is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind! :|

"The worst is not, So long as we can say, 'This is the worst.' " . - (Act IV, Scene I).

Shankar Vedantam has an interesting discussion of Bush's tendency to behave like King Lear -- to surround himself with only those who will agree with him and tell him that he's brilliant. Here's a taste:

Social psychologists have long studied what happens to groups that exclude contrarian viewpoints, and in the 1970s Irving Janis first coined the term "groupthink" to describe the phenomenon. Two decades later, Philip Tetlock, a professor of organizational behavior and political science at the University of California at Berkeley, analyzed decisions around crucial moments in history, such as British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler, John F. Kennedy's Bay of Pigs invasion, Richard Nixon's efforts to cover up Watergate, and Lyndon Johnson's escalation of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Tetlock found that leaders who encouraged dissent were more likely to make the right calls compared with those who discouraged dissent. But he found that leaders who welcomed contrary points of view were not guaranteed success -- Jimmy Carter's botched attempt to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran being one example.

Overconfidence is a central problem for policymakers, Tetlock said. Political experts are more confident about their predictions than their track records (and results) warrant.

Tetlock said liberals might be more comfortable than conservatives with the idea of systematically encouraging dissent, but presidential scholar Fred I. Greenstein said his study of chief executives over the past half century showed that the man who best exemplified the encourage-conflicting-views approach was Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Greenstein, the co-author of "How Presidents Test Reality," credited Eisenhower's approach with keeping the United States out of Indochina in the mid-1950s, noting that Democratic presidents pursued the opposite style of decision making a decade later in Vietnam.

"It was the antithesis of cherry-picking points of view," he said of Eisenhower's technique, which included not only finding people who disagreed with the president but also helping them perfect their arguments. "They often had contrasting points of view in parallel columns. They would be for and against encouraging a coup in Guatemala, or engaging in a missile program. The idea was to institutionalize disagreement."

Greenstein said history would have to rank how Bush compares with other presidents in aversion to dissent, but said there is little doubt Bush has hurt himself by shutting out people who disagree with him --
as King Lear also did.

"Shakespeare is one of our great social scientists," Greenstein said.

There is another reason the Lear analogy may be particularly apposite. By the end of the play, with death and disaster all around, Shakespeare makes sure you understand that King Lear's tragedy was not just his own.

Doing agency and appellate law, I often see lawyers who "drink their own kool-aid" -- who let themselves get convinced by their own arguments to the point where they lose their effectiveness. One of the smartest lawyers I know is a guy who is always saying, "Well, what the other side will probably argue is . . . . " It's incredibly helpful to have someone like that in your group. You've got to not only think of what the other side will say in response to your argument, you've got to put yourself in their shoes and see why, from their point of view, their argument is correct. One of the least effective lawyers I know is a guy who is just determined that his arguments are right and that the agency or court will, of course, be swayed by them. He fails to anticipate the other side's arguments (thereby assuring that he'll fail to answer them) because he's sure that they'll fall prostrate at the brilliance of his arguments. Bush thought that the Iraqis would welcome us as liberators. Flowers. Candy. George Bush Boulevard.

This administration has no Cordelia, not even the press which has, at least in the past, played that role for other presidents even when their kitchen cabinets failed to do so. Perhaps the next real question is whether Bush has a Fool -- perhaps, in this case, that's the role the press will play. The Bush junta, where it's explicit that, "You're either for us or you're for the terrorists," has been extremely ineffective in everything except looting the U.S. Treasury. It's sad.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Stop It. Becuase When You Hurt Yourself, I Will Laugh

Look at the pastor who's raised a rucus suggesting that xian mothers wear a hormone patch to make sure that their child isn't born gay. Tell me that he doesn't make your gaydar go off.

For the love of Lakshmi, xians, get the fuck over it. People have been rubbing fancy bits ever since the dawn of time and will be doing so for the forseeable future. No one cares but you bozos and you don't even know why you care; you just know that you do.

And stop for a minute and contemplate the nature of the "loving god" that these whackjobs worship. He'd "make" a child gay and then consider gay love a sin. It's just unfuckingbelievable the knots into which these people will twist themselves over a complete nonissue. Who cares who sleeps with who?

Models For Jesus

Twisty, as always, goes where others fear to tread. Your first reaction is: "Gotta be a parody," but then, at the same moment that you feel an urgent need to cry, throw up, and scratch your eyeballs from your head, you realize: "Sadly, no."

Sunday Akhmatova Blogging

March Elegy

I have enough treasures from the past
to last me longer than I need or want.
you know as welI as I . . . malevolent memory
won't let go of half of them:
a modest church, with its gold cupola
slightly askew; a harsh chorus
of crows; the whistle of a train;
a birch tree haggard in a field
as if it had just been sprung from jail;
a secret midnight conclave
of monumental Bible-oaks;
and a tiny rowboat that comes drifting out
of somebody's dreams, slowly foundering.
Winter has already loitered here,
lightly powdering these fileds,
casting an impenetrable haze
that fills the world as far as the horizon.
i used to think that after we are gone
there's nothing, simply nothing at all.
Then who's that wandering by the porch
again and calling us by name?
Whose face is pressed against the frosted pane?
What hand out there is waving like a branch?
By way of reply, in that cobwebbed corner
a sunstruck tatter dances in the mirror.


Art found here