Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Evening Grief

The talon clenches;
a grip of steel in my thigh
ever tightening!

Chess Moves

The US may join the EU negotiators that have attempted to talk the Mullahs off the bridge. The trouble is that the Mullahs only want to come down one way.

Case in point:

The US moves:
The United States is willing to join European nations in direct talks with Iran if the Iranian government first agrees to suspend its programs to enrich uranium and reprocess spent nuclear fuel, activities that Washington charges are part of plans to build nuclear weapons.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, announcing the U.S. policy shift at a State Department news conference today, warned that if the Iranian government does not choose the path of negotiations and continues to pursue atomic weapons, "it will incur only great costs."

But she stopped short of confirming that the United States has obtained agreement from Russia and China to impose United Nations sanctions if Iran does not comply. She said in response to questions after a prepared statement that negotiators are still "working on a package" that includes potential penalties for noncompliance, as well as benefits if Iran accepts the deal.

The Bush administration previously had eschewed direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program, preferring to let three European Union nations -- Britain, France and Germany, known as the EU3 -- conduct negotiations on behalf of the West. However, Germany lately has increasingly urged Washington to deal with Tehran directly. U.S. engagement with Iran is also believed to be supported by Russia and China, two nations that have resisted U.S. efforts to obtain U.N. sanctions against Iran for going ahead with its enrichment program.

"To underscore our commitment to a diplomatic solution and to enhance prospects for success, as soon as Iran fully and verifiably suspends its enrichment and reprocessing activities, the United States will come to the table with our European colleagues and meet with Iran's representatives," Rice said today. She said the proposal has been conveyed to Iran through the Swiss government.

"We urge Iran to make this choice for peace, to abandon its ambition for nuclear weapons," Rice said.

Refusal to do so, she said, "will lead to international isolation and progressively stronger political and economic sanctions."

She added: "We are agreed with our European partners on the essential elements of a package containing both benefits if Iran makes the right choice and costs if it does not. We hope that, in the coming days, the Iranian government will thoroughly consider this proposal."
Iran counters:
The United States said Wednesday it would join in face-to-face talks with Iran over its disputed nuclear program once Tehran puts its atomic activities on hold, a shift in tactics meant to offer the Iranians a last chance to avoid punishing sanctions.

Iran dismissed the offer as "a propaganda move."


The Iranian news agency said Iran accepts only proposals and conditions that are in the nation's interest. "Halting enrichment definitely doesn't meet such interests," IRNA said.
What incentive does Iran have to stop enriching Uranium? China and Russia are hugh markets for their oil. Any electricity generation that the Iranians develop means more oil and natural gas they can pump out to these hungry customers. Plus, they'll have a huge nuclear weapons market once they weaponize their enriched uranium.

What incentive do China and Russia have to cooperate with the US and the EU? China's demand for oil has already driven the price of crude to record levels; the energy-famished industry of the awakening dragon isn't letting up, soon. Russia already exports at least a quarter of Western Europe's natural gas. They're not going to pass up the opportunity to purchase more from the Mullahs.

The long and the short of it is this: if the US can't get China and Russia on board, then the world will fail to isolate Iran in any way that matters to the Mullahcracy.

The Iranians continue to test the will of their trading partners. Meanwhile, the clock ticks on.

Bureacratic Brilliance

I hope you're not counting on bureacrats to keep you safe. Never trust the decisions of people that see your community as a figure on a page.

Even a figure with the name "New York City."

the Washington Post offers Exibit A:
"The two cities attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, will receive far less antiterrorism money under plans unveiled today by the Department of Homeland Security, which has designated more money for many smaller cities throughout the country.

Washington and New York will receive 40 percent less in urban grant money compared to last year, with Washington dropping from $77 million to $46 million and New York falling from $207 million to $124 million, DHS officials said. The combined total means that the two areas bear almost the entire brunt of a $120 million cut in the overall budget for the program, the statistics show.

The announcement sparked another round of heated complaints from many lawmakers and local officials about the DHS grant process, which has weathered criticism from cities large and small for an allegedly haphazard and unfair distribution plan.

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said he was 'disappointed' by the decision.

'I think it's short-sighted for the federal government to cut funds this way. We remain a target area,' Williams said at his weekly press briefing in the John A. Wilson Building, about three blocks from the White House.

'My own guess is, with the demands, there had to be some reductions somewhere, but I don't think this was the place to make those reductions,' he said.

That view was echoed by New York officials. 'It's absolutely indefensible, it's disgraceful. As far as I'm concerned the Department of Homeland Security and the administration have declared war on New York,' Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee told the Associated Press. 'It's a knife in the back to New York and I'm going to do everything I can to make them very sorry they made this decision.'"
Representative King's hyperventilation aside, The DHS' new allocations defy common sense. Syracuse may face the threat of terrorist attack; it's not at the same risk as New York. The citizens of Fairlawn deserve some funding for anti-terrorism initiatives; they don't deserve such funding at Washington D.C.'s expense.

Can the lunatics that run the DHC please take their collective heads out of their red-taped myopia and confront reality? This kind of bungling will not convince a single American that they've learned anything from their mishandling of Katrina relief. It only reinforces the sad truth:

we can't trust bureacracies to keep us safe.

Selective Storytelling

What happened to the people's right to know?

The Senate's recent immigration bill proposed to address the crisis of illegal immigration. What it may have done is double the influx of legal immigration.

But who's covered that?

Robert Samuelson of the WP writes about "What You Don't Know About the Immigration Bill"

The Senate passed legislation last week that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) hailed as "the most far-reaching immigration reform in our history." You might think that the first question anyone would ask is how much it would actually increase or decrease legal immigration. But no. After the Senate approved the bill by 62 to 36, you could not find the answer in the news columns of The Post, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Yet the estimates do exist and are fairly startling. By rough projections, the Senate bill would double the legal immigration that would occur during the next two decades from about 20 million (under present law) to about 40 million.

One job of journalism is to inform the public about what our political leaders are doing. In this case, we failed. The Senate bill's sponsors didn't publicize its full impact on legal immigration, and we didn't fill the void. It's safe to say that few Americans know what the bill would do because no one has told them. Indeed, I suspect that many senators who voted for the legislation don't have a clue as to the potential overall increase in immigration.

Democracy doesn't work well without good information. Here is a classic case. It is interesting to contrast these immigration projections with a recent survey done by the Pew Research Center. The poll asked whether the present level of legal immigration should be changed. The response: 40 percent favored a decrease, 37 percent would hold it steady and 17 percent wanted an increase. There seems to be scant support for a doubling. If the large immigration projections had been in the news, would the Senate have done what it did? Possibly, though I doubt it.

But if it had, senators would have had to defend what they were doing as sound public policy. That's the real point. They would have had to debate whether such high levels of immigration are good or bad for the country rather than adopting a measure whose largest consequences are unintended or not understood. What arguments would they have used?
Why would the Media have failed their consumers on such a vital issue? It's so complicated, it's simple:
Rector's explanation is that the media's "liberal" bias creates a pro-immigration slant. I think it's more complicated. Stories generally mirror the prevailing political debate, which has concentrated on "amnesty" for existing illegal immigrants and the guest-worker program. Increases in other immigration categories were largely ignored. Reporters also cover legislative stories as sports contests -- who's winning, who's losing -- rather than delve into dreary matters of substance. We've had endless stories on how immigration might affect congressional elections and whether there will be a House-Senate "deal."

But note the irony: The White House's projected increases of legal immigration (20 million) are about twice the level of existing illegal immigrants (estimated between 10 million and 12 million). Yet, coverage overlooks the former. Here, I think, Rector has a point. Whether or not the bias is "liberal," groupthink is a powerful force in journalism. Immigration is considered noble. People who critically examine its value or worry about its social effects are subtly considered small-minded, stupid or bigoted. The result is selective journalism that reflects poorly on our craft and detracts from democratic dialogue.
MSM's latest "selective journalism" has not only left egg on the industry's face. Their latest collective failure allows an outrageous Senate to enact a law that defies the intentions of we the people. The media hasn't merely detracted from democratic dialogue. They've disrupted it on this vital issue.

We need information--not judgement--from those that would inform us on what's happening. How long must we wait until we get it?

Foretaste of the Coming Onslaught

Humidity's grip
Strangles May's waning comfort:
Summer's brutal fist!

Monday, May 22, 2006

"Ultreya!" redux

Slow recovery,
late night, early morning throbs:
Soreness graces me!

A Wing And A Prayer on "Angels In Disguise"

Never underestimate the opportunities God will make of us!

Ron Rolling of A Wing And A Prayer explains:
Another one of those stories that finds its way around the internet via e-mail. This was written by a physician from Hospice of Metro Denver, CO (with very minor editing).

Friends are God's way of taking care of us.

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Psalm 55:22

I just had one of the most amazing experiences of my life and wanted to share it with my family and dearest friends:

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Boulevard, and the car started to choke and splutter and die. I barely managed to coast, cursing, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn't even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the "quickie mart" building. It looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay.

When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard, with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.

At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with three kids in the back (one in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.

I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying, "I don't want my kids to see me crying," so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, "And you were praying?" That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, "He heard you and He sent me."

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely and, while it was fueling, walked to the next door McDonald's and bought two big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.
Anyone else been recruited in the moment? Tell your story in the comments!

And go read the whole thing!

A Penitent Blogger on "Murdering for God"

There are those that would lay the blood of millions at the feet of the religious. They claim that the worship of God has it's final fruit in the murder of the innocent.

Penitens begs to differ:
The hour is coming
when everyone who kills you
will think he is offering worship to God.

These words from today's Gospel (John 15:26-16:4a) are chilling in this post-September 11th world.

We remember too well the audio recording of hijackers shouting the praise of God as they purposefully flew a jetliner full of passengers into the ground.

Some have seized upon September 11th and other horrific instances of terrorism as a way to impugn all those who take religion seriously.

As baseless and tired a canard as this is, enemies of religion hysterically keep repeating it. One character in a newly released movie puts it this way: "As long as there has been one true God, there has been killing in his name."

This trite intellectual laziness overlooks the tens of millions killed by atheists in the twentieth century alone, not to mention the countless massacres perpetrated by polytheists and by irreligious tyrants throughout the history of the world.

People kill people and they will misuse anything they can to do it: even religion.

I have told you this
so that you may not fall away....

I have told you this
so that when their hour comes
you may remember that I told you.

Our Lord's words in today's Gospel are a reminder for us to be prepared for opposition.
The ones that murder in God's name murder God in the person of their victim. The ones that equate religious believers with murderers shred reality in favor of a sad illusion, in which only their precious ideal offers salvation.

Both violate Truth and Love. Neither exemplify the communion with the savior that truly liberates us.

Let's remind those that would advocate either atrocity of this simple truth. Let's see how many jaws we can leave wide open!

Late Spring Whirlwinds

Pollin dervishes
Dance upon the rain-soaked earth
Laughing life around!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Climatic Confusion

A chill in the night,
promises of summer halt:
hint of lost winter.

In Absentia: an Apology, redux

Miss me?

I know I missed you.

I know, I know: I should have told you. Sorry about that.

A few things hit too soon, too fast. Here's a brief synapses for you:

I recently underwent a vericoseal removal. That's the removal of vericose vains from the, um, scrotum. Yes, that's right. I willingly underwent the knife in order to have a few dysfunctional veins snipped in the privates.

Color me crazy!

Anyways, the procedure is an outpatient one; I was out of the hospital the same day. Took the weekend to recover. Yes, I'm still sore. Anyways, sitting at the keyboard after the surgery was murder, so I couldn't blog.

I'm back.

Still swamped.

So, the usual: Expect me when you see me!

Crawling Up from the Edge

Fought slings and arrows
of outrageous fortune and
gross stupidity!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Insidious Invitation to Ruin

Mirages abound,
plague my mind through my commute,
luring me to waste!

Meditation V

We all have a share in the Mission. We're all called bear witness to the Lord. What a joy it is that we can share in his redemption of the world!

The Word Among Us explains:
"Maybe you don’t feel like a hero or a person with a great mission either. But how do you know that God isn’t calling you to be one of the church’s great heroes and saints? One thing is certain: God has a specific plan and calling for you. He has commissioned you to serve him as an indispensable minister of the gospel—perhaps in your family, at work, in school, around town, in prison, in your parish, or in some combination of these settings. Believe it or not, God wants to use you to build his kingdom!

Of course, not everybody is a pastor or an apostle. But have you ever considered whether God is calling you to other ministries which are important, but less obvious? Take intercession: How would the church survive without people who give themselves to prayer? Perhaps you have a gift for forming young people so that they can come to know God in a personal way. If you have a heart for service, you can inspire others by the way you do even the smallest job in the church with joy."
And what is the nature of Christ's redemption? It's the liberation of all from our insidious enslavement to sin. It's our alleviation from the clinging fingers of darkness. It's our freedom from the worship of nothing.

One Bread, One Body has more:
Have you come out of the darkness of the tomb into the light of the resurrection this Easter season? Isn't that what Easter is all about? For example, John Mark moved from darkness into light. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas on the relief mission for starving Jerusalem (Acts 12:25). He also accompanied them on the first missionary journey (Acts 13:5). The first encounter on that first journey was traumatic. Elymas "the Magician" was struck blind and Sergius Paulus the governor was converted to Jesus (Acts 13:11-12). Possibly this was too much for Mark so he abandoned ship and quit his mission (Acts 13:13). He was in the darkness of fear and unfaithfulness.

Mark eventually returned to missionary work as Barnabas' partner. He later put together the earliest Gospel. In his Gospel, he highlights Jesus' healings of the blind (Mk 8:22; 10:46). The very circumstance that may have traumatized him is now lifted up to the glory of God. Mark is an Easter person out of the dark tomb of fear into the risen light.
What do we do, however, when we don't want to become free?

It happens. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we're happier in the mud. Sometimes we honestly are. The truth may set us free, but that doesn't mean it will do so gently. We may hold back because we can't handle the pain of liberation. It's our new birth, after all, and when was birth ever comfortable?

What do we do in those circumstances?

We pray for God's mercy. We pray that we discover how much we're kidding ourselves. We pray that he graces us with the conviction of sin we require to want to change.

Then, we fight. We struggle against our complacency. We resist our "business as usual" thinking. We attack our determination to remain enslaved.

Because, in the end, only the mission matters.

If we're not participating in it, we're missing out on the Raison D'etre of our lives.

Why would we want that?

Awakened Sentries

Almost overnight
Swarms of green surround the house
Off of every branch!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

On Seeing Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I:
scourge of Catholics, England's pride;
a complex portrait!

Liberation! Redux

One last look around,
portfolio handed in,
last class now finished!

Monday, May 08, 2006


Falling to the Earth,
a trembling arm collapses,
as exhaustion wins!

Fading Fast

Too much to do for the real world. Besides, my energy fades fast.

I'm checking out today.

See you tomorrow!

Back-pedalling on Bishops

Catholic News Agency has the story:
"Another Catholic bishop was ordained in China Sunday — the third in eight days— in a ceremony that was approved by the Vatican, unlike the controversial first two, which, the Vatican said could result in a series of excommunications.

The local cathedral was packed for the ordination of the new auxiliary bishop, Pei Junmin, 36, who was trained in Philadelphia. Several U.S. and other foreign guests also attended. During the ceremony, part of the decree from the Pope approving the consecration was read in Latin, reported the New York Times.

The ordination of a new auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Shenyang came three days after Pope Benedict XVI sharply rebuked China for consecrating two bishops in the past eight days without Vatican approval.

China responded over the weekend by describing the Pope's criticism as 'unfounded' and defending the ordinations as within the bounds of the government, reported the Times."
Looks like Beijing overplayed it's hand. Inspite of calling Pope Benedict XVI criticism "unfounded," they managed to ordain a priest whom the Holy See approves.

Perhaps the communists should honor the integrity of the Apostlic tradition long enough to warm relations. Pope Benedict XVI still wants to normalize relations with China. Beijing should help him do so.

Part-Time Pundit on "Toward a More Perfect CIA"

Get it here!

Here's the Pundit's bottom line:
By appointing Hayden to the CIA, it appears that the intent is to shift the viewpoint of the CIA to be more action-oriented. Hayden is in intelligence, so he obviously knows the value of information, however, as a soldier he also surely knows the value of action and that there comes a point to act on intelligence even if there is more information that could be gathered.

This change is a good thing, as it will help both Defense and State to moderate the poles that have been generated from the rivalry. This appointment is a good thing at a great time that will help both agencies to understand the values each provide and help them learn to work together in the future. The military will learn the value of diplomacy and information and the CIA will learn the value of action. Our national defense will be the clear winner.
Captain Ed weighed in yesterday over General Hayden's nomination. While he lauds General Hayden's clear expertese, he's disconcerted by the White House's seeming misstep over the nomination.

Hoekstra was not the only Republican to publicly question Hayden's selection as Goss' replacement. Saxby Chambliss, who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also worries that placing the civilian intelligence agency under the control of a military commander may send a disconcerting message to the organization. They were joined by Dianne Feinstein, who also underscored the intent of having the intelligence agency outside of the control of the military. Joe Biden, who does not have a seat on the SSCI but does join Arlen Specter on Judiciary, also expressed concern that the Pentagon would "gobble up" CIA with Hayden in charge.

One has to wonder why the administration did not consult with Hoekstra and Chambliss before sending out their test balloons on Hayden. The White House knew his confirmation would present difficulties even without having key Republicans in opposition to his appointment. With legislators like Hoekstra and Chambliss publicly objecting to Hayden's nomination, the White House faces yet another botched appointment process. How hard was it to pick up the phone and make a few calls, especially to the GOP members of the committee that would conduct the confirmation hearings?
I have next to no opinion on this matter. I'm not even close to an expert in intelligence. I also have no basis upon which to evaluate the pros and cons of military leadership of predominantly civilian intelligence agencies.

However, I find myself somewhat bemused, in a cynical and disgusted sort of way, that the howlers behind the Beltway have found yet another issue to politicize to death. While politics may be the bloodsport of kings within the capital--and across the newsrooms and think-tanks of the Reasonable, Intelligence and National Security are far too vital for such banality.

Is General Hayden the most qualified person to direct the CIA or isn't he? If he is, then how about we nominate him? Nah, better to give Al Qaeda and the franchise islamists an opportunity to take advantage of a distracted CIA and American public. Brilliant.

But as long as Reasonable Mouth-foamers of the BDS Left have yet another opportunity to blame Bush, what's the down side?

A May Evening Twilight

Daylight sighs and bows,
Shadows cross the front grasslands,
leading in the night!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

May Night Tease

Cool night sky, calling
to a dawn promising more
unbearable heat!

Gracefully Bowing Out Tonight

I'm tired. I'm copping out.

Here's an appetizer of poetry I've written previously. Buon Gusto!
One Long Fighting Irish Pass

For Robert

Brown eyes fixed on a Sylvania Superset.
Players in blue, white and gold storm an Indiana field,
appearing in our living room courtesy of NBC.

Rob's eyes don't flicker in amusement like mine.
His Irish fought high odds to get within a touchdown.
He stares without mercy,
soaks in each play,
winces at every takedown,
hopes for every Irish runner who
breaks the Eagle's line,
every Irish tight end who
break's the Eagle line.

He'd love to see Boston College sacked.
I'd love to see his face if Boston was.

Enter McLoughlin, Irish senior quarterback.
A career high this game in passing yards gained,
his team a touchdown away from the win.
He cries, the ball is snapped,
Red and white uniforms crash his blue and gold line.
Boston covers his vision, but he sees.
"Oh well, what the hell," says his casual body
as he throws the bomb.
Sixty yards away the ball falls
among a lone Irish trailed by two eagles.
He dives up,
and falls on his back, the ball in his hands.
Irish take first down twenty yards from the goal.

Three plays later, Notre Dame leads by one.
Rob's brown eyes were as bright as his smile.

Even when The Boston Eagles drove to field goal range,
Even when #14 kicked the ball, split the uprights,
Even when Boston won and the Fighting Irish lost,
Rob's eyes were as bright as his smile.

His Irish won.

The Morning After

A lukewarm cup of coffee
yesterday's newspaper on the kitchen table
spread like piles of raked autumn leaves
blown over Maple Street.

Just one empty chair
faces the window over the driveway.

Nothing to remind anyone
of last night's overcooked ribs.
nothing in the morning
like the steamed avocados,
or baked spread yams
or the screaming
the slap
the silence.

Just another Grandmother
by the sink a morning later.

Not touching a lukewarm cup of coffee.
Leaving yesterday's newspaper,
memories of wind blown autumn leaves,
on a quiet maple street.

Waiting For You

Let me welcome you
but first
I gotta move my tail
move my tail
or lose it lose it
Bing! goes the bell

I'm off like a shot
seen a faster bullet
than me
racing for rigitoni
move it,
another duce
Move it, move it!

Dang the bad coffee!
Fly! Another pot on.
Can't you hurry up?
Lady Jess waits for tea
on table ten.
Coffee pot fills
hurry, hurry!

Deadly waiter with a dine-out card
Hold still and transmit, you damn credit card!

Where was I, oh yeah, there
Let me welcome you,
but first...

An Escapee from the "Rain is Wet Media Discovery" files

The Washington Post on "Red Media, Blue Media:"
"Thirty years ago, you had to visit the public library to read something other than your local newspaper. Today, thanks to information technology, newspapers, radio and television networks the world over are no more that a keystroke away. Does this dramatic expansion of available news outlets mean that Americans -- and others worldwide -- will be exposed to a more diverse 'marketplace of ideas,' gain familiarity with new points of view and become more tolerant? Or will consumers stick with their preferred (politically compatible) news sources while screening out those sites offering unfamiliar or disagreeable information and perspectives?

As yet, there is little evidence to indicate that consumers apply a political litmus test in deciding which news sources to use. We designed this study to find out whether people do in fact prefer news reports from sources that they believe to be sympathetic or compatible with their views. We observed whether attention to the identical news story was increased or decreased when the story was attributed to Fox News, NPR, CNN or the BBC. The results demonstrate considerable polarization in exposure to news. Republicans have distinct preferences for particular news sources (they go to Fox and avoid NPR and CNN). Democrats avoid Fox but divide their attention between CNN and NPR. When the news focuses on controversial issues, partisans are especially likely to screen out sources they consider opposed to their political views. The study design was as follows: Using the MSNBC daily news feed (which includes news reports from a variety of sources), we randomly assigned news stories (for purposes of the study) to one of four sources -- Fox, NPR, CNN, or BBC. Participants were provided a brief headline accompanied by the logo of the news organization and asked to indicate which of the four reports displayed on the screen they would like to read. (They could also click a 'can't say' box.) They repeated this task across six different news categories -- American politics, the war in Iraq, 'race in America,' crime, travel, and sports. "
This is a surprise why?

Oh yeah, that's right. Our Reasonable MSM masters believe that they present objective news stories. They have honestly confused their promotion of the Absolute Individualist Agenda with reality.

Since FNC news generally parts company with such myopia, and many republicans happen to enjoy FNC, the MSM Powers-That-Be have decided that FNC is a ship of Fools.

If only that were the case. There's more than enough evidence that too many hard news stories wind up shaped by the Reasonable and Foolable kool-aiders of the political right. Nonetheless, and compared the utterly inane R&F leftist bias of pratically all the other players, FNC remains a breath of fresh air.

But they don't carry water for the Agenda promoters. Therefore, they must be marginalized.

Must keep bubble-talking. Must keep bubble-talking.

A Summer Prelude

The scorching silence
of an August afternoon
on this Fourth of May!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

May Evening Requiem

Windchimes sing tonight,
joining spring cicadas in
May's first ensemble!

Moussaoui Draws Life in Prison

Jurors Reject Death Penalty For Moussaoui sayz the Washington Post:
"Al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui will spend the rest of his life in a maximum security prison for his role in the Sept. 11 attacks after a federal jury rejected the government's four-year quest to secure his execution for the deadliest terrorist strike on U.S. soil.

After weeks of listening to harrowing testimony from 9/11 family members, hearing heartbreaking emergency calls and watching painful footage of victims jumping to their deaths, the anonymous jury of nine men and three women methodically deliberated for 41 hours over seven days before reaching its verdict yesterday.

Jurors carefully went over each question on a 42-page verdict form that gave only a few clues to their thoughts and reasoning. In the end, though, the form indicated that prosecutors could not surmount the main obstacle hanging over their case from the start: Moussaoui did not hijack anything Sept. 11, 2001, because he was sitting in jail.

The panel could not decide unanimously that Moussaoui caused the nearly 3,000 deaths, nor could it agree that he committed his crimes 'in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner.' Three jurors took it upon themselves to write that Moussaoui had 'limited knowledge of the 9/11 attack plans.'

'The jury seemed to be saying that he is a bit player, someone at the periphery,' said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp. 'It boils down to someone whose hands were not drenched in blood.'"
His death does nothing to secure the defense of the US. Let him wither behind bars: forgotten, alone, irrelevent.

Would solitary confinement be too cruel and unusual?

May he live each day aware that he'll never be the "martyr" he wanted to become. May he live every day face to face with the waste his life has become and will continue to be. May he finally understand the utter depravity that he perpetrated on the families of 9/11 victims and the people of the United States.

And when he's done it all, may he at last repent of the depraved evil and indifference that he's wrought.

A Happy Ending

"Andrea Clark is being treated - Internet users made a difference" sayz ProLifeBlogs
The futility care proceedings to end Andrea Clark’s medical treatment have been discontinued and her care has been transferred to Dr. Matthew Lenz, a physician with privileges at St. Luke's Hospital. The Houston Chronicle quotes Andrea's new doctor:
"The odds are against her," acknowledged Dr. Matthew Lenz, the doctor assuming Clark's primary care. "She's in critical condition and any new complication could be life threatening, but we're going to give her a fighting chance."
Today she is undergoing a procedure to drain her gall bladder which is at risk of rupturing.

The same article noted that St. Luke's is continuing an "an aggressive search" for a facility to provide for Andrea’s long-term medical treatment and highlighted efforts aimed at changing the Texas law the led to the controversy:
The case, the second in a week in which a Texas hospital backed off plans to take a patient off life support, shined a light on a controversial state law that gives hospitals such authority. Ongoing meetings aimed at reforming the law in the 2007 Legislature are being held in Austin.

"The discussion of these cases is going to produce changes in the law," said Greg Hooser, an Austin attorney and consultant leading the meetings. "In hopes of making the law better, we're looking at safeguards to prevent problems that have arisen."
An inside look at why the law needs radical changes was written yesterday by Andrea’s attorney, Jerri Ward.

Melanie, Andrea's sister, alerted internet readers about the case on the Democratic Underground. In a recent post on the forum she states that internet users and the "right to life people" made a big difference:
It's kind of funny, now, to think of it, but you know, when the doctor called us into an informal meeting, to discuss Andrea being taken off of life support, my sister, Lanore, my brother, Robert, and I were really pissed off. My sister and I told those doctors that if they called for an ethics committee meeting, we would stand in front of their hospital and picket. I don't think they took us seriously. I think they thought we were just pissed off and we wouldn't actually carry through with our threat.

When we DID stand with our signs in front of the hospital, we didn't number very many, but by then it was all over the internet. Some blogs picked it up from DU, and spread the word around. Once that happened, it was like it caught fire, or something. It just went from one blog to another, and to another, and another.

The doctors didn't underestimate our family. They underestimated the power of the internet.
Thanks be to God! Fools unleashed the power of the blog. Andrea Clark lives because they allowed the Spirit to work through them. Doctors and hospital bureacrats, who were prepared to write Ms. Clark off as an unworthy cost, faced the unintended consequences of their expedience!

More laughter, Fools! More laughter!

Nothing makes the worshippers of Thanatos rend their garments more!

The Last Goodnight

My Way News reports that "Television Host Louis Rukeyser Dies"

Here's the gist:
Louis Rukeyser, a best-selling author, columnist, lecturer and television host who delivered pun-filled, commonsense commentary on complicated business and economic news, died Tuesday. He was 73.

Rukeyser died at his home in Greenwich after a long battle with multiple myeloma, a rare bone marrow cancer, said his brother, Bud Rukeyser.

As host of "Wall $treet Week With Louis Rukeyser" on public TV from 1970 until 2002, Rukeyser took a wry approach to the ups and downs in the marketplace and urged guests to avoid jargon. He brought finance and economics to ordinary viewers and investors, and was rewarded with the largest audience in the history of financial journalism.

"He brings to the tube a blend of warmth, wit, irreverence, thrusting intellect and large doses of charm, plus the credibility of a Walter Cronkite," Money magazine wrote in a cover story.

"Our prime mission is to make previously baffling economic information understandable and interesting to people in general," he once said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Bud Rukeyser called his brother "a giant at what he did."

"He was a pioneer in economic reporting in television. Right up to the time he got ill, he was at the top of the heap," he said in a telephone interview.

Louis Rukeyser quit "Wall $treet Week" and moved to CNBC in March 2002 rather than go along with executives' plan to demote him and use younger hosts to update the format.

Maryland Public Television, which produced the show, said it was firing him after he used "Wall $treet Week" to complain about his producers. He contended the station could not fire him because he was never its employee.

Less than a month later, he debuted with "Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street" on financial network CNBC. The new show also aired on some PBS stations.

Neither his old show nor his new one lasted long after that.

Rukeyser's last appearance on his CNBC show was Oct. 31, 2003, after which he went on medical leave for surgery to relieve persistent pain in his back. In May 2004, he announced that doctors found a low-grade malignancy during a follow-up exam.

Later that year, Rukeyser asked CNBC to end production of his show, which had continued with guest hosts. The PBS successor to Rukeyser's show struggled, too, and Maryland Public Television pulled the plug in 2005.
The Blushing Bride and I watched his PBS show periodically, before he left the public network. We always appreciated his tongue-in-cheek style and his at-home composure. We will miss him.

May your journey home be swift, Mr. Rukeyser. Thank you for the service you gave us. Via con Deus!

May Morning Interlude

First songbirds' chorus
Fills the pregnant, moist morning:
Promises of Spring!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Excessive Exhaustion

Muscles crying out:
Fatigue grinds them into dust,
Pouring off my bones!

Return of the Weekly Darfur

I've been remiss. Forgive me.

It's been too long. I cry your pardon.

It's back now. It's true. It's here!

Coalition for Darfur on Darfur: "Deadline Extended"
As the Sudan Tribune reported earlier, the deadline has been extended - from Reuters
Peace talks on Sudan's Darfur region would continue on Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said, as a deadline for reaching an agreement slipped for a second time.

The government of Sudan has accepted an 85-page draft settlement designed to end fighting that has killed tens of thousands. However, three Darfur rebel factions refuse to sign, saying they are unhappy with the proposals on security, power-sharing and wealth-sharing.

"I will be here tomorrow (Wednesday), beyond that I don't know," Zoellick told reporters on Tuesday evening after a day of back-to-back meetings with the parties in the Nigerian capital Abuja, venue of the talks.

"One of the points I made in my discussions today was that people needed to sharpen their focus because this had to be solved very soon," Zoellick said.


In public, the rebels insist some of their demands, such as a vice president's post and a regional government, be met in full, although mediators say months of negotiations have shown compromises with Khartoum are necessary.

Zoellick said that some of the rebels, though not all, had seemed more open to compromise in private meetings.

The new deadline of 2300 GMT (7 p.m. EDT) on Tuesday had been widely expected to slip as AU Chairman Denis Sassou Nguesso, the president of Congo Republic, and AU commission head Alpha Oumar Konare were due to arrive in Abuja only on Wednesday.

Pope Benedict XVI on "The Cross"

via CERC:
"Today what people have in view is eliminating suffering from the world. For the individual, that means avoiding pain and suffering in whatever way. Yet we must also see that it is in this very way that the world becomes very hard and very cold. Pain is part of being human. Anyone who really wanted to get rid of suffering would have to get rid of love before anything else, because there can be no love without suffering, because it always demands an element of self-sacrifice, because, given temperamental differences and the drama of situations, it will always bring with it renunciation and pain.

When we know that the way of love — this exodus, this going out of oneself — is the true way by which man becomes human, then we also understand that suffering is the process through which we mature. Anyone who has inwardly accepted suffering becomes more mature and more understanding of others, becomes more human. Anyone who has consistently avoided suffering does not understand other people; he becomes hard and selfish.

Love itself is a passion, something we endure. In love I experience first a happiness, a general feeling of happiness. Yet, on the other hand, I am taken out of my comfortable tranquility and have to let myself be reshaped. If we say that suffering is the inner side of love, we then also understand by it is so important to learn how to suffer — and why, conversely, the avoidance of suffering renders someone unfit to cope with life. He would be left with an existential emptiness, which could then only be combined with bitterness, with rejection, and no longer with any inner acceptance or progress toward maturity."
A protestant minister and good friend once told me that he admired how Catholics address suffering. "We have difficulty with it," he said, "We try to get around it or somehow explain it away. You face it head on!"

That doesn't make it easy. If the experience of pain were easy, there would be nothing heroic about doing so. If suffering were simple, then anyone could do it.

Our culture can't understand suffering. Our medical institutions treat away any health condition that inflicts it. Our psychiatric institutions treat away any psychiatric condition that threatens to inflict it. Our entertainment, commercial and non-profit institutions do their part to alleviate suffering.

And there's nothing wrong with the alleviation of suffering. Especially others' suffering: that is what mercy does, after all.

However, there's definitely something wrong with the desire to avoid unavoidable suffering.

When we experience pain we can't escape from, we must come to accept it. We must live with it. What choice do we have? It's inevitable.

Yet how many sins have we committed in order to deny it? How many offenses have we unintentionally perpetrated in order to escape it? How many times have we hurt the ones closest to us in order to be rid of it?

Too many.

And the truth is we don't have to deny, escape or rid ourselves of unavoidable suffering. We can share it with our savior. We can experience our suffering through his passion. When we join our suffering with his through our prayer and honest experience of our lives as they are, we live our communion with him in a unique and gratuitous way. We may even mysteriously find that our suffering passes. Either that, or our perception of it has been transformed.

We do not live alone. We do not suffer alone. Christ has embraced all of our humanity except our sinfulness. Let us rejoice in his compassion and share our suffering in his! We won't regret it.

Cardinal Zen: Cut Talks with China

Catholic News Agency has the latest:
"China’s newly elevated Cardinal Joseph Zen has called for the Vatican to cut talks with his country’s government in light of the state’s decision to elevate Father Ma Yinglin to bishop on Sunday--something it did without the Holy See’s approval.

According to the Associated Press, Cardinal Zen said that the Chinese government also plans to appoint Father Liu Xinhong to bishop of the eastern Anhui province on Wednesday, despite the Vatican’s decision that Liu is not qualified for the post.

In 1951, newly communist China cut its ties with the Vatican, opting to form a state-sanctioned Catholic church without the approval or oversight of Rome. An underground Catholic Church--faithful to the Vatican--has also formed since then which is now said to contain some 10 million members.

The two major stumbling blocks to Holy See-China relations remain who has the authority to appoint bishops--the state or the Vatican--as well as China’s insistence that the Vatican halt its diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

On Tuesday, Cardinal Zen, who was appointed by the Vatican and an enthusiastic supporter of renewed relations, told the South China Morning Post that discussions 'cannot continue because people will think [the Vatican is] prepared to surrender. We cannot budge. When you brutally place such a fait accompli, how can you call this dialogue?' "
Cardinal Zen correctly observes that the Vatican will only enable China's continued intransigence if it does not cut talks. What incentive does Beijing have to cooperate with the Vatican if it doesn't?

China's diplomatic strategy vis a vis the Holy See has been a simple one: marginalize the Church's influence over the Chinese--especially the Catholics! The hardliners in Beijing have not forgotten Pope John Paul the Great's "schooling" of the USSR/Warsaw Pact. The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association provides a necessary buffer to the Roman Catholic Church's influence over the population. The State won't lightly give that up.

Unfortunately for the hardliners, China faces a growing conundrum. The Chinese economy continues to grow; they're seeking to attract larger and larger amounts of foreign capital. The Communist government in Beijing wants this to continue. At the same time, they've shown no interest in reforming the political facts on theg ground within the Middle Kingdom. The tension between people's economic liberty and political imprisonment may lead to a critical instability--the one factor that will cripple foreign investment in China. The establishment of normal diplomatic relations with the Vatican could help Beijing spin away their horrendus political tyranny. The price may be too high.

Cardinal Zen would not lightly abandon his long-held position in favor of improved relations between China and the Vatican. If he's calling for the Holy See to cease talks, then the wise men of the Secretariat of State should pay attention.


Race toward the bathroom,
Fine young Fool just has to see
Inside my bathroom!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Warm-weather Evening Symphony

Thruway's constant roar:
Endless caravan moves on,
Toward new destinies.

Unheeded Advice

Catholic News Agency has the story:
"Colorado’s three Catholic bishops have expressed concern over a massive nationwide walkout planned to demonstrate the impact that immigrants have on the U.S. economy. The bishops said that while well intentioned, the walkouts could do more harm than good in seeking true, comprehensive immigration reform.

The Bishops said in a Friday statement that they are urging members of the community not to take part in the May 1st ‘Day without Immigrants,’ pointing out that “Real immigration reform requires reasonable dialogue and positive actions that persuade our elected officials.”

The letter was signed by Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput, Colorado Springs’ Bishop Michael Sheridan, and Pueblo’s Bishop Arthur Tafoya.

They said that “Walk-outs, as well-intentioned as they may be, do not serve that end.” Instead, they “will hurt many business owners and employers who already support fair immigration reform. They endanger the very jobs that immigrants have come so far to fill and work so hard to maintain. They also frustrate those who are undecided.” "
Of course, the sponsers of today's festivities took the Colorado Episcopals advice. Just ask the AP:

Hundreds of thousands of mostly Hispanic immigrants skipped work and took to the streets Monday, flexing their economic muscle in a nationwide boycott that succeeded in slowing or shutting many farms, factories, markets and restaurants.

From Los Angeles to Chicago, Houston to New Orleans, the "Day Without Immigrants" attracted widespread participation despite divisions among activists over whether a boycott would send the right message to Washington lawmakers considering sweeping immigration reform.

"We are the backbone of what America is, legal or illegal, it doesn't matter," said Melanie Lugo, who was among thousands attending a rally in Denver with her husband and their third-grade daughter. "We butter each other's bread. They need us as much as we need them."

Police estimated 400,000 people marched through Chicago's business district and tens of thousands more rallied in New York and Los Angeles, where police stopped giving estimates at 60,000 as the crowd kept growing.

An estimated 75,000 rallied in Denver, more than 15,000 in Houston and 30,000 more across Florida. Smaller rallies in cities from Pennsylvania and Connecticut to Arizona and South Dakota attracted hundreds not thousands.
The deliberate obfuscation of mercy with justice by the sponsors of this rally don't serve any immigrant's interests. Want to polarize middle America on this issue? Flaunt illegal status and demand recognition and rights for it. Want to win the support of Joe-and-Jane SixPack? Initiate nation-wide townhall meetings and create dialog opportunities between immigrants and communities. Show everyone what immigrants bring to the table.

But it's easier to posture on national TV. Who said the sixties were dead?

Immigrants Plan Nationwide Day of Protest - Yahoo! News

"So it begins..."

"Immigrants Plan Nationwide Day of Protest" - Yahoo! News:
"Thousands of illegal immigrants and their allies across the country plan a show of force Monday to illustrate how much immigrants matter in the U.S. economy.

Some will skip work, others will protest at lunch breaks, school walkouts or at rallies after work. There are planned church services, candlelight vigils, picnics and human chains.

The doors of Hector Castillo's bakery are usually open 360 days a year, but anybody looking for his Mexican pastries or cookies will be out of luck Monday.

Castillo planned to close his doors in sympathy with an economic boycott by immigrants and their supporters. For Castillo, 45, it's a protest against legislation in the U.S. House that would make it a felony to be an illegal immigrant.

'About 80 percent of our customers are Latin people, most of them Mexican, and the proposed law will affect all of us,' he said.

Thanks to the success of previous rallies plus media attention, planning for Monday's events, collectively called Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes — A Day Without Immigrants — is widespread, though fragmented.

'It's highly unpredictable what's going to happen,' said Harley Shaiken, director of the Center for Latin American studies at the University of California. 'What unites everyone that's going to do something on May 1 is they are making visible their strong feelings.'

On the eve of the protest, about 3,000 people rallied for immigrant rights at a park in Lynwood, a heavily Hispanic Los Angeles suburb. Organizers of the demonstration called on residents and businesses to support the boycott.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged students to stay in school during the day and advised protesters against waving flags of their native countries.

'You should wave the American flag,' he said. 'It's the flag of the country that we all are proud of and want to be a part of. Don't disrespect the traditions of this country.'"
Secure the borders. Reform the entry and processing system, including the purge of ridiculous quota requirements. Develop a tiered process for those already here through the US lax enforcement to gain legal status and/or citizenship. As long as those legally here get the first opportunity for the same.

Is such a proposal so radical or unrealistic?

I don't have a lot of faith that these protests, should they be carried out, will effectively promote these reforms. Posturing before cameras rarely does.

What a wasted opportunity!

May Monday Morning

Sunlight in my face,
through the fingerprint-stained window,
facing yard and street.