will brady's ruminations
| 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Human Rights Activist
"Today, we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder....
"In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now...."
For the first time in several years
we put a live tree up | Cut it ourselves | We feel good about it, too |
Gave us a chance to move all the furniture around and play interior decorator ...correction, make that designers
| These first two images are evocative of the mood now that we've finished putting the place together |
We've already had some problems with Red, the shy and hesitant cat that Barbara talked us into adopting | It's his first tree, and the ornaments on the lower branches are every bit as appealing as a wren or cardinal outside | Got to do something about that | Moving them up higher is the short solution |
This is no joke | It is, perhaps, poetic justice that I found the following graphic while wandering about on the website of the erstwhile US Food and Drug Administration |
This section of the site is ostensibly about the "Patent Medicines" of a bygone era; an Era, incidentally, eventually brought down by the very same legislation that our current lawmakers are doing their darndest to dismantle | Seems that with all the bad press the FDA and Big Pharma are getting these days that these laws ought to be applied with even greater vigor today, rather than dispense with them | You can read about the early 20th cenutry elixers by clicking on the image |
Any thoughts on this from the gentle reader? | Come back later, I'll be adding some links to the stories of today |
ACTS OF SEDITION
Bug Man tries to Exterminate Foes
| Too bad Dubya and Gonzalez weren't still running Texas | Maybe they could have used the dealth penalty against these recalcitrants | Serious, this is scary |
By John Byrne | RAW STORY Editor
A somewhat overlooked section of a letter issued by the attorney for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) sought to place those who wrote and filed the ethics complaint against him in contempt of Congress, which could have resulted in jail time, RAW STORY has learned.
The 33-page October letter was penned by DeLay’s private attorney, Ed Bethune. It contains a litany of suggestions for punitive action to be taken against those who filed an ethics complaint against him, and has 118 footnotes on nine pages.
The complaint resulted in DeLay being admonished by the Ethics Committee on three separate occasions, which the House leader brushed aside. House Republicans have also moved to protect DeLay by passing a provision which will allow him to continue to serve as leader if he is indicted in a campaign finance scandal that took place on his watch in Texas.
DeLay’s attorney, instead, finds that those who filed the complaint – former Rep. Chris Bell (D-TX) and the Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – acted with “contempt for the law” (emphasis in original).
“Representative Bell and CREW have demonstrated contemptuous behavior toward the House and the Committee by improperly obstructing and interfering with the legislative process,” Bethune wrote to House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. David Dreier, “and by libeling a Member in the process.”
Read the FULL STORY
TOO MUCH TIME ON MY HANDS
"I'd rather go to work,"
I said | Instead I spent yesterday at the hospital undergoing "procedures"; a polite euphemism for a "double-dipping" interior inspection, having a colonoscopy and endoscopy in the same sitting | I could have done without the line staff joking about "...which end is the camera looking at first
," even though I laughed right along with them |
It was a fairly routine process but the doctor now advises against eat spicy foods "...three hours before bedtime
" and prescribes me Prevacor, which the insurance company refused to pay for | They want me to get an over-the-counter brand name item popular in the Big Pharma >patent-protected patent-medicine
arsenal of drugs, at approximately $1 per pill |
On the way home, I saw a sign offering some unusual holiday ideas | Had to take a snapshot |
| One of the town's largest land-holders has been logging the forest of late | It opens up the woods, provides the opporunity for shrubs and new saplings to sprout up in the space | Makes it easier to spot deer | Not that it doesn't make us cautious | A developer would see this and salivate...land easier to exploit | But no one is suggesting it's going to sell | Just maintain the land for mixed agricultural use ...and logging is a part of that |
Thoughtful comment found on other peoples' websites |
A Rambling Discourse On Marriage, Divorce, and The Need To Be Reunited
| "... I believe in marriage. I really don’t believe in divorce, not really. I believe that whomever you are murdered by, whoever murders you, and whomever you become a lover to, you bind to that person’s soul like no other three human acts can impose and when you make the commitment to marry someone in the eyes of man and God and you become not just their body-lover but their soul-lover for you and you for they for all and all and all eternity of time....
" | FROM H KENT CRAIG
Gambling is a good way to save money
| "...it is now apparent that the Bush administration's privatization proposal will amount to the same thing: borrow trillions, put the money in the stock market and hope.
Privatization would begin by diverting payroll taxes, which pay for current Social Security benefits, into personal investment accounts. The government, already deep in deficit, would have to borrow to make up the shortfall.
This would sharply increase the government's debt. Never mind, privatization advocates say: in the long run, they claim, people would make so much on personal accounts that the government could save money by cutting retirees' benefits. Financial markets won't believe this claim, as I'll explain in a minute, but let's temporarily grant the point....
| FROM STEVE GILLIARD'S NEWS BLOG
What is Elitism?
| "...elitism ...is a complicated matter, not least because of ...claims of anti-elitism emanate from academics who write a deliberately clotted opaque jargon and make a parade of not particularly relevant erudition...
"...it is perhaps understandable that some people like to shout 'elitism' at anyone who says Shakespeare is better than John Grisham. That's certainly easier than actually doing something about the more tangible forms of inequality.
" | FROM BUTTERFLIES AND WHEELS
Timeliness important to development?
| "... there seems to be a distinct difference in how various parts of the world consider the issue of "timing" (as opposed to the passage of time). I can't help but notice that those areas with a less strict adherence to this "timing" also seem to correspond to less developed parts of the world; Africa, in specific. Though it's another stereotype (which I am uncomfortable about, but have no data at hand), compare this to the notion of German and Swedish punctuality.
"Might there be some correlation between productivity and timing/timeliness, and thus perhaps development? What might be a good way to measure something like adherence to schedules?...
" | FROM TRUCK & BARTER
Hitler's Rhetoric and the Lure of "Moral Values"
| "...Hitler's Germany amalgamated state with church. Soldiers of the vermacht wore belt buckles inscribed with the following: "Gott mit uns" (God is with us). His troops were often sprinkled with holy water by the priests. It was a real Christian country whose citizens were indoctrinated by both state and church and blindly followed all authority figures, political and ecclesiastical.
Hitler, like some of the today's politicians and preachers, politicized "family values." He liked corporeal punishment in home and school. Jesus prayers became mandatory in all schools under his administration. While abortion was illegal in pre-Hitler Germany, he took it to new depths of enforcement, requiring all doctors to report to the government the circumstances of all miscarriages. He openly despised homosexuality and criminalized it...
" | FROM BUZZ FLASH
victorian parlor chair
| Maybe now that Bruce has begun antiquing, the things I would once drive past without notice, are becoming more visible to the peripheral eye | Such was the case the other day when I spied the chair pictured above ~ horsehair stuffing, hardwood construction, clean lines for a gaudy style, and sturdy and solid in construction | It may be a little work repairing it and making it attractive to a home designer buying for a customer, but, in fact, it is comfortable to sit in right now |
Cop can't cop a plea over lost job
| Citing that his 1st and 14th Amendment rights were violated, former San Diego police officer John Roe sued the city to get his job back after being fired | Two days ago, the Supremes told him he lost
What had Officer Roe done wrong? | Seems he was selling police uniforms, mens underwear and pornographic videos [with himself as the action figure
] on ebay | After one of his fellow officers spotted San Diego Police uniforms for sale on the popular online auction house ~ and took offense to what he saw for sale ~ Officer Roe's free market moonlighting enterprise was investigated and he got fired |
An AP wire story
said that this decision doesn't significantly impact first Amendment protections because, "...The policeman, identified in court papers only as "John Roe," contended his free speech rights were violated when his bosses learned of his outside activities, gave him a warning, then fired him. The Supreme Court ruled against him without even hearing arguments. The justices issued an unsigned opinion that found his speech "was detrimental to the mission and functions of the employer."
noted that "..The high court issued a unanimous, unsigned "per curiam" opinion finding his speech "was detrimental to the mission and functions of the employer." While governmental workers have free speech rights with regards to "public concerns," the justices found the videos did not qualify as such "under any view" -- dissing the 9th Circuit whose split
opinion in favor of Code3Stud was thereby overruled.
Not mentioned anywhere was whether or not the happless officer was offered a job with Chippendales
It's Tom Waits' birthday today
the singer, songwriter, poet, folk blues man, is 55 |
....."Remember me...?" Slumped on a park bench, at the bottom of the social heap, the drunken derelict turns his eyes to the heavens as the first flakes of snow begin to fall. "Remember me? I ordered the blonde, the Firebird, the Alligator shoes... Somebody's made a terrible mistake."
POWER vs EMPOWERMENT
I've been thinking these days about the differences between those who grasp for power as contrasted with those who provide leadership
| These two things do not necessarily correspond and, using the examples provided today in USA houses of government the Republicans have the clear opportunity, now that they have grasped power
to show us whether or not, as a group, they are capable of exercising leadership
| The capsule examples shown thus far do not make me feel encouraged |
Joel, at Pax Nortona
comes at the subject from a slightly different direction; namely, considering that which "distinguishes the power hungry from the empowering types
" | Well worth the read
| Tucked away in the woods, on what remains of an old farmstead, is remains of either a root cellar or smokehouse | I think it's the latter since there's a chimney pipe jutting up out of the ceiling | No matter | A quick safe haven from a sudden downpour | I know I'm not the only one who stops by because the chair came from somewhere, and it's not something I'd haul around while hiking | I do wish
that whomever else stops here would take with them the little liquor nip bottles with them when they leave, rather than leave their empties behind |
In 1982, when I'd gone to visit a friend in the mental hospital, it was difficult, but life-changing
| He'd only recently been admitted | I didn't know what to expect |
To make matters worse, I'd worked third shift, had been up most of the day running errands and chores, and was tired | I still had to go home to at least take a nap before starting the work cycle all over again |
Visiting hours were very unstructured | All visits took place in a large common room where people were aimlessly shuffling about, others reading, someone else was on the pay phone | A group of four men sat at a table rolling cigarettes from loose tobacco with a large rolling device that sat on the table | A visitor could, if he wished, stay all day | Just make sure you don't lose that visitor's badge, a flimsy piece of stick-on paper upon which you'd written your name | When you tired of visiting, you'd just get up and ask one of the staff to let you back downstairs |
It was not a good visit | I'd brought him what he'd asked for but he was off, upset, angry and not focused | I stayed until my friend got up and walked off, and just didn't return to where we were sitting | So I got up and asked to leave |
Ward staff let me out the door by the elevators | While the door to the elevator was wide open, staff neglected to tell me I'd need to be "keyed" to get down and out the building | I waited about 10 minutes before anyone came by | Finally, a gruff, gnarled sour-faced man came down the hall, got into the elevator car, turned the key in the slot, and we headed down | The car started on it's very slow trajectory down four floors to the lobby |
I must have sighed audibly, or made some other sound, for the man turned to me and said "Rough day, huh
?" | I acknowledged that it was | Then, without so much as a scintilla of further discussion he said [or thought] aloud, "Yeah, that's the problem with this place
Curious, I asked, "What's that?
This time he sighed. "They don't let us put them in restraints as much any more
" I responded, almost grunting | There were three more flights to descend | I didn't know this man from Adam, but it was clear he wanted me to know with what degree of seriousness he took his job | I didn't know it at the time, because I was wondering what he'd do if I paniced while alone in the slow moving car with him, but that chance encounter started me on the career path I continue to follow today |
Fighting for patients' rights |
PHOTOS FROM a collection of over 800 taken while on a series of "urban expeditions" with my photographer friend Chad Kleitsch
beauty in the rough
| There's nothing that says you can't bring fine craftsmanship to the woodshed | Farm families and country folk all too often take a drubbing from urban culture aesthetes | Perhaps the fact that some ways of living call for toil and sweat on the basics, that little time is left for finery | This is not to say that those of us outside high-rise ghettos fail to appreciate the inportance of detailing | Sometimes it shows up in the most unexpected places ...and that's a bonus for us |
North Americans are a continent of many nations
| So would be the arguement of the Garreau Group, a loose knit assortment of philosphers and thinkers, based at the virtual location run by Joel Garreau |
The premise is deceptively simple; "From the Caribbean to the Arctic, North America behaves as if it were nine distinct economies or civilizations without regard to conventional borders.
The book, and the concepts described are not new | Mr. Garreau wrote his tome in 1981 | As a result, the payscales and housing prices cited in the book seem absurdly low when contrasted by today's | But the premise of several distinct nations on the North American continent, that
is not new |
| We went for a site walk on Sunday | The fresh damp smell of autumn amid oak forest tantalized the senses | A lone tree stand and a blind the looked like a glacial erratic | Turkey scratchings denuded the ground cover, so as to get last year's acorns and grist for the gizzard | And the sun, crisp and bright, warming stone walls, and the environs of smaller critters gone unseen |
Need a good night's sleep?
| Back when I worked in the hospitality industry, the housekeeping staff reported that a man who had recently stayed at the hotel called, frantic, about a lost set of items |
Now, I mean no disparagement here, but he was from a large group of evangelical conventioneers [if I mentioned the religious denomination, you would be sure to recognize it
] yet at least alluding to the type of group he was from seems worthy of note |
What he'd lost was a set of wrist restraints | he wondered if they'd been found amongst the bedsheets | Seems that, so he told us, that his wife had difficulty sleeping in strange places so they brought them with them so she could, well, relax
properly | Housekeeping said they'd not seen any such devices |
With this vignette in mind, the sleeping accomodations offered from JT's Stockroom
, might have been a welcome acquisition for that forlorn couple | Custom made bedframes of tubular steel, and...
[so the advert says
] the manufacturer will personally come and install the new furniture FREE! but that... "...additional surcharges *may* apply for deliveries to customers living within major metropolitan areas or for customers with special delivery needs
" | One can only wonder | At $2700 [USD] it's the least one could expect |
TIP OF THE HAT TO: Twoshadows for bringing a wry smile to my inner crania |
PIX: Stewart Caines, NY Times © 2004Cell Phone Tree in Lake George?
| Telecommunications giant Nextel
wants to place a 104 foot [31.7 metres] cell phone "tree" on the Eastern shore of Lake George |
According to a 5 dec '04 New York Times article, Nextel personnel say the tower would be virtually invisible | They don't understand what the fuss is all about | But efforts have been made, unsuccessful except by court order, to place cell towers in the nearby town of Ft Ann, NY | Town residents remained opposed and quite vocal about it |
Some think, for safety reasons, the tower should be built | Others point to the fact that construtcing the tower, even as a fake tree, would be as "...noticable as putting a mustache on the Mona Lisa" | I don't know | I don't live there | And the Courts and the citizenry will have to play this out |
I do know, however
, that when I went camping in the Adirondacks last summer, in Lake George, as it happens, my reveries were unexpectedly disturbed when, at 2130 hours [9:30 p.m.] I got a call from someone in East Haddam who wanted to talk about a project coming before a public hearing and hoped I had the time to speak with him about it, right then | We talked, with clear reception, for over 20 minutes | I also know what these things can look like, and they don't
look like pine trees | For the Full Story
| The stark beauty of the late afternoon sun over the low slung structure where I work | Rebecca made note that in the interior courtyard the sunrise and sunsets are often spectacular displays, even if the residents cannot see the horizons, they can see those |
DeLay Backer Gets His
at our expense | Support for the leader may tank just like this plane as more stories like this
get revealed | Check out the link to Tom Delay at the end |
A plan to allow private firms to chase delinquent taxpayers has cleared the House and Senate, allowing companies that often gave largely to Republican candidates a gift – not only to they get to go after taxpayers – they get to keep as much as 25 percent commission for every dollar they track down |
When Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) teamed up in September to get the House to pass an amendment blocking the use of private companies to collect back taxes from delinquent taxpayers, it seemed the Bush administration plan might be doomed for at least a year |
But in the final hours of drafting a 3,300-page spending bill last month, House and Senate negotiators eliminated Capito’s and Van Hollen’s handiwork, clearing the way for the Internal Revenue Service to hire commercial debt collectors | These private agents could keep as much as 25 percent of the amounts they recovered |
While the Bush administration has strongly supported the initiative as a way to increase revenue collections amid growing deficits, critics contend it could lead to harassment of taxpayers and breaches of privacy | Labor groups representing federal workers also oppose the change | But it has the backing of the debt-collection industry, which has contributed heavily to GOP organizations and causes since Bush became president |
One company that lobbied for the change is California-based Diversified Collection Services Inc., one of eight companies indicted in September by a Texas grand jury, along with three Republican fundraisers for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), on charges of alleged money laundering and illegal corporate campaign contributions |
A DeLay spokesman said last week that neither DeLay nor anyone in his office has had any contact with Diversified Collection representatives for several years |
The company has contributed about $435,000 to Republican Party organizations since 1999, Federal Election Commission records show | THE WHOLE STORY
IMAGE + STORY from The Blue Lemur | Close observers will note they aren't from the same event | Click on the picture of the plane to see the details of that event |