On Iraq: Richardson’s Selfish Op-Ed

WaPo has a deceptive title on Bill Richardson’s Op Ed piece. They call it “Why We Should Leave Iraq Now.” It should be called “Watch Richardson Try TO Exploit ‘Differences’ on 2009 Iraq Policy and NOT Talk About Leaving Iraq Now.” Read the first three grafs of the piece:

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have suggested that there is little difference among us on Iraq. This is not true: I am the only leading Democratic candidate committed to getting all our troops out and doing so quickly.

In the most recent debate, I asked the other candidates how many troops they would leave in Iraq and for what purposes. I got no answers. The American people need answers. If we elect a president who thinks that troops should stay in Iraq for years, they will stay for years — a tragic mistake.

Clinton, Obama and Edwards reflect the inside-the-Beltway thinking that a complete withdrawal of all American forces somehow would be “irresponsible.” On the contrary, the facts suggest that a rapid, complete withdrawal — not a drawn-out, Vietnam-like process — would be the most responsible and effective course of action.

The fact that there is a Congressional debate in Congress NOW on Iraq does not enter Richardson’s thinking in the least. I do not know about you, but I truly detest what Richardson is doing here, selfishly trying to make political hay for himself at the expense of the real issue NOW – the Congressional debate on Iraq. Richardson is my least favorite candidate right now.

What is it like to be learning disabled?

(reposted from Daily Kos)
Being learning disabled sucks.  But it doesn’t completely suck.  It’s not like I’m a Republican or something.

Being LD defines me, but it doesn’t completely define me.  I’m LD.  I’m also a liberal, a Jew, an atheist.  A man, a husband, a father.  An American.  A New Yorker.  Most of all, like all of you, a human.  Humans are complex.

So, below the fold, I talk about what it’s like to be me, what it’s like to be LD, and, most specifically, what it’s like to be LD me.  I don’t talk much about my politics, my religion, my ideas, and so on.  But don’t get the idea that LD is the most important thing in my life – it isn’t.  It’s just the most important thing in this diary.

And don’t get the idea that every LD person feels the way I do about being LD.  They don’t.  Some feel the way I do; some are angrier.  Some are less angry.  And LDs differ a lot.  I’ve got nonverbal learning disability, and even we NLDers vary.  A lot.  We say

  When you’ve seen one person with NLD, you’ve seen one person with NLD

enough preamble!  Follow me below the fold

One guy tried to show parents of LD kids what it was like to be LD.  I like what he did.  It won’t work as well here, you’ll have to use your imaginations a bit, but here goes.

Enter an auditorium.  It’s large.  It’s impersonal.  It’s a bit dark.  There are lots of other people.  Suddenly, there’s a man at the podium.  White-haired, three piece suited.

He points at you and shouts

  YOU! 
  What’s the last book you read that started with an M?

he waits.  The others wait.  Expectantly.


“DON’T YOU READ?????”

  OK, THAT WAS TOO HARD.  JUST TELL ME YOUR PHONE NUMBER BACKWARD, STARTING WITH THE AREA CODE

Again, waiting.  You sense you should know this. 
The others in the room begin to snicker.  You hear whispers “he’s kinda stupid” “must be a retard”

—–

Now, imagine that, instead of being an adult, you’re a kid.
Imagine that, instead of this happening once, it happens every day.
Imagine that everyone treats you that way.  All the time.

Welcome to my world.

——

OK, it’s not all like that.  Not for all of us.  Not all the time for any of us. But that gives a sense of it.  You know you’re smart, but maybe not.  You know you’re supposed to know these things, but have no clue how.  Let’s get to something a little more realistic.

With my LD, one area where I have enormous problems is reading visual information – things like facial expression and body language.  What does one have to do to do this? Let’s look:
  In real time, one has to examine all the aspects of a person’s face and body position, compare them to some sort of database, and then process that information, all while all those things are changing, in different ways, for different people, all while there’s a shifting visual background, at the same time as listening to the person talk, and think about what you’re going to say, at the same time as remembering to shift your face in the right ways, and move your body in the right ways, and not move your face or body in the wrong ways…… 

How does anyone do that? It’s impossible.  Of course, you NT people (NT = neurotypical, the acronym for people who don’t need one) don’t do that anymore than I do.  Because it really is impossible to do that consciously.  You do it automatically.  Somehow.  I know I’m supposed to be able to do that, but I can’t.  Oh, I get the basics.  I know an angry face from a happy one (usually).  But I miss almost everything

Welcome to my world
——
Try watching a TV show with your eyes closed.  Make it a show (a sitcom or drama) that’s familiar to you.  What did you miss with your eyes closed?  Quite a bit, I bet.

Welcome to my world.
——

Now, not every LD person has what I’ve got.  There’s lots of kinds of LD.  Anything which an adult knows that a baby doesn’t know had to be learned somewhere along the way.  If you don’t get reading, then that’s dyslexia.  I got reading early and fast.  I find it hard to imagine puzzling over words.  I see them, they’re read.  I can’t see text and not read it. 

If you can’t do math/arithmetic, that’s dyscalculia.  I got math, although I had trouble with my times tables.  It’s hard for me to imagine not getting it.  My wife has some of this, though.  No matter how often I, or anyone else, explains percentages to her, she won’t get it; same with foreign currency.  If she were a kid today, she’d be called LD, but back then, it was diagnosed a lot less. 
—–
Back to me again (hey! I’m what I know best 🙂

LDs are tricky.  If you have NLD, you’re not supposed to be good at math, and you’re not supposed to have a sense of humor.  Thus spake Byron Rourke, one of the pioneers of NLD.  So sorry, Dr. Rourke!  Where should I go to give mine back? 
——
Then there are the folk who will tell me I can’t be LD because I’m smart.
Excuse me.
You can be LD and smart, just like you can be tall and fat.

I went to graduate school and got a PhD in psychometrics
One of the hardest things was finding the cafeteria, and then finding my way back.

I don’t recognize people.  Once, it took me 30 seconds to recognize my father.  really. 

I can solve quadratic equations, but I can’t figure out how to make the bed.

I tutor statistics, but I can’t roll up my sleeves.

I write poetry, but can’t tell if my eyes are rolling.

Welcome, again, to my world.

————–
There are some other things to know about LD.  One is that, for a lot of us, it takes a long time to realize just what we are missing.  It was only about a year ago that I found out that most people make the bed the same way, every day.  To me, it’s a new mystery each time.  A few years before that, I read in some anthropology book that, if you look directly into someone else’s eyes for more than 6 seconds in a row, you either want to kill them or make love to them.  Hmmm.  Try it some time.  If you do this to someone, they will get very nervous; and if you’re NT, you will too.

Another about my particular LD is that I get lost in time and space. I don’t know when things happened, and I don’t know where.  My wife remembers where she was when things happened.  To me, that’s a mystery.  And when I put something down, it falls into a black hole.  Once I came home holding  cup of juice.  I put it down to go to the bathroom.  A couple minutes later, I spent 10 minutes looking for it.
—————–

Yesterday, I got a special request from DaveV to add something on what to say to LD people. 

Well, it depends on the LD person, of course, and on the person’s LD. 
I’ll speak mostly about NLD, and let others in the comments talk about other LDs.

The first thing to remember is that LD people, are people.  We all like being treated with respect.  But DaveV knew that.  Many NLD people have problems with certain aspects of communication.  Dave mentioned he is often sarcastic.  Sarcasm is denoted by tone of voice, and a lot of NLD people have trouble with tone of voice.  So sarcasm may offend. OTOH, as a person who is, himself, sarcastic, I recognize it’s hard to stop being how one is.  So, if sarcasm seems to offend, why not explain? That is, when yo say something sarcastic, and the person seems offended, say “I was being sarcastic”; we all know what sarcasm is, we just have trouble recognizing it. 

As I noted above, we also have trouble with facial expression.  Try having a conversation with your eyes closed.  Tricky, huh?  Now, if you can imagine being like that all the time, you may be able to modify your talking so that we can better get what you are saying.

Other LD people may have trouble with metaphor, simile, and various expressions.  Many LDers take things too literally.  So, when this seems to fail, explain!  Why not?  Just say “It’s an expression”. 

If you want to go farther than this, and be friends with an LD person, then it’s possible to develop better methods for use with that person.  Let’s say you make friends with someone, and find out they are LD.  Well, if communication seems to suffer, develop some methods or signals.  Maybe the person can move his/her hand a certain way when he/she doesn’t get what you are saying.

Hope that helps, feel free  to ask more in the comments (and any LDers out there, feel free to add more advice).

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The Spirit of Goyathlay (“one who yawns”), or Geronimo

(we’re already getting some wonderful essays, and this is such a great example. – promoted by Turkana)


An elder told me that the Navaho took Geronimo’s bones and gave them a proper burial before the U.S. Army only thought that he remained buried at Fort Sill after they buried him there. I told her I had been to the grave site. She asked me, “Did it feel like he was in there?” “No,” I said. “They ‘buried’ him in the grave stone by stone, so he wouldn’t ever come back,” she said. I personally don’t believe he is at Fort Sill, and I don’t believe this either –

Whose Skull and Bones?

“The skull of the worthy Geronimo the Terrible, exhumed from its tomb at Fort Sill by your club & the K — t [Knight] Haffner, is now safe inside the T — [Tomb] together with his well worn femurs[,] bit & saddle horn.”

Geronimo died in 1909, that letter was in 1918, and Geronimo’s great-grandson wrote Bush about that letter.Curiously, that all makes me wonder – “Why didn’t they want him to come back from his (alleged) grave?”

Crossposted at Progressive Historians

The question, “Why didn’t they want him to come back from his (alleged) grave?” Must be seen symbolically and interwoven with some legends about him; but first, the question must be put into historical context.

The Alamo was on February 23, 1836; it was seven years after Geronimo’s birth in 1829.

Remember The Alamo
The Alamo was remembered, as well as the Goliad
massacre (perpetrated by order of General Santa Anna), forty-six days later, on April 21, 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto, where 783 men led by General Sam Houston
  defeated 1,500 Mexicans.

The battle lasted only eighteen minutes.

When all was over, 630 men of the Mexican army were dead; 730 were prisoners.
Nine Texans lost their lives.

History then cloned itself once again over its entire course with a gold rush, bringing white encroachment by settlers and miners.

Apache Indians Defended Homelands in Southwest
The gold rush of 1849 also brought prospectors to the West and further encroachment on Indian land.

Copper and silver being discovered is what brought more white encroachment to Arizona, which is where Geronimo and the Apache were, but referring back to the question, the discovery of copper and silver is not what I think the army wanted to “keep from coming back” when they “buried” Geronimo stone by stone.

Source

As prospectors rushed west to join the California Gold Rush of 1849, gold, silver and copper were also discovered in Arizona, which attracted most of the early settlers. Those frontiersmen (pioneers of sorts) faced many obstacles, including the war parties of the great American Indian chiefs, Geronimo and Cochise.

The first glimpse of what I think they wanted to “bury” begins with a lesser known fact, interwoven with some legend. That is, the fact that Geronimo was a prophet and a medicine man; he was not a chief.

Source
Geronimo was never an elected chief, but he was a medicine man who could see the future, and who, it was believed, had a spirit that could not be harmed by bullets.

The following restated facts are crucial to understanding what set Geronimo on the war path, for it was not merely the white encroachment that set him on it, though it may have been so eventually by sheer speculation.

These are not the real reasons that Geronimo personally began to violently defend his people and homeland in my opinion: the white encroachment after the Alamo, the gold rush of 1849 that was fueling white encroachment in California, while the discovery of copper and silver was fueling white encroachment in Arizona. The encroachment was not enough in and of itself, but genocide was.

Source

When Columbus landed in America in 1492, he mistook it for India and called the native inhabitants “Indians.” It was his avowed aim to “convert the heathen Indians to our Holy Faith” that warranted the enslaving and exporting of thousands of Native Americans. That such treatment resulted in complete genocide did not matter as much as that these natives had been given the opportunity of everlasting life through their exposure to Christianity. The same sort of thinking also gave Westerners license to rape women.

— The Dark Side of Christian History, by Helen Ellerbe

It was Roman Catholic Church from Spain, who had been guilty of genocide against the indigenous people for centuries prior that committed the atrocity against Geronimo’s family, and put revenge in his heart.

The Spanish were in search of Christian converts and slaves. The Spanish exterminated Geronimo’s family.

The Jesuit Missions that took place in New France in 1625 puts the Spanish’s seeking slaves and converts to Roman Catholicism in historical context.

A People & A Nation. 4th Edition. p.38

The Jesuits, whom the Native Americans called the Black Robes, initially tried to persuade the tribal peoples to live near French settlements and to adopt European lifestyles as well as the European’s religion. When that effort failed, the Jesuits concluded that they could introduce Roman Catholicism to their new charges without insisting that they alter most of their customary modes of existence. So the Black Robes learned Native American languages and traveled to remote regions in pursuit of their goal. By the early eighteenth century, they were living in present-day Illinois.

In the pursuit of their conversions, the Jesuits sought to undermine the authority of the villiage shamans (the traditional religious leaders) and to gain the confidence of leaders who could influence others. The Black Robes used a variety of weapons to attain the desired end. Trained in rhetoric, they won admirers by their eloquence. Seemingly immune to smallpox, they explained epidemics among the Native Americans as God’s punishment for sin, their arguments aided by the ineffectiveness of the shaman’s traditional remedies for illness against that deadly disease. Drawing on European science, the Jesuits predicted solar and lunar eclipses. Perhaps most important of all, they amazed the villagers by communicating with each other over long distances and periods of time by employing marks on paper. The Native Americans’ desire to learn how to harness the extraordinary power of literacy was one of the most critical factors in making them receptive to the Jesuits’ message.

To illustrate, here are just three examples of where the Spanish Roman Catholic Church had been guilty of genocide against the indigenous people about one century earlier than the above mentioned.

Things They Don’t Tell You

“The [Catholic] Spaniards in Mexico and Peru used to baptize Indian infants and then immediately dash their brains out; by this means they secured that these infants went to heaven.”

— Bertrand Russell

Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. American Indian Prophecies. p.54

According to Father Las Casas, the Spaniards “tore babies from their mother’s breast by their feet, and dashed their heads against the rocks -“

Finally, a report from some concerned Dominican friars contains the following: “Some Christians encountered an Indian woman, who was carrying in her arms a child at suck; and since the dog they had with them was hungry they tore the child from the mother’s arms and flung it still living to the dog, who proceeded to devour it before the mother’s eyes.”

In addition, it is crucial to remember that there were Indian Boarding Schools, whose aim was to culturally assimilate and destroy indigenous cultures.

Photo: Little girls praying beside their beds, Phoenix Indian School, Arizona. (NWDNS-75-EX-2B)

Hence, not only was Geronimo and the Apache fighting white encroachment and genocide, they also were fighting against being Christianized from both the white people and the Spanish Roman Catholic Church, which resulted in even more loss of their culture through assimilation and death. It was also in that context that Spanish exterminated Geronimo’s children, wife, and mother.

Source
– when all were counted, I found that my aged mother, my young wife, and my three small children were among the slain.

  Were the facts that Geronimo had adequate causes to defend his people, an adequate cause to feel vengeful, and that he was a medicine man large enough reasons for the army at Fort Sill to bury him such that he’d never “return?” Hardy, from the U.S. military’s point of view at that time, I think.

For me, the answer lies in one man: General George Crook, who had fought the Lakota in the Sioux Wars.

Source
“Crook never lied to us. His words gave the people hope.”

— Lakota Chief Red Cloud

Wars and Battles
Sioux Wars

A one-year conflict dubbed Red Cloud’s War (1866-1867), concluded with a treaty that guaranteed the Sioux permanent possession of the Black Hills of present-day South Dakota. The covenant, however, was not observed by the United States. Prospectors and miners itching for gold inundated the territory in the 1870s.

In the ensuing hostilities, Brigadier General George Crook commanded the Sioux to move onto a reservation. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse refused to comply and move their people. Infuriated by unjust assaults, Sitting Bull gave notice: “We are an island of Indians in a lake of whites… These soldiers want war. All right, we’ll give it to them!”

On June 17, 1876, a war party of Sioux and Cheyenne took Crook’s soldiers by surprise in southern Montana and routed them in the Battle of the Rosebud. General George A. Custer then led a force against the Indians. On June 25, he and his men ran into a Sioux war party on the Little Bighorn River. Not a single soldier in Custer’s immediate command of some 300 men survived “Custer’s Last Stand.”

Crook experienced a metamorphous during the Sioux Wars and the trial of Standing Bear; he started looking at the indigenous people from his heart and began divorcing himself from the rhetoric of “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

Dee Brown. Bury My heart At Wounded Knee.p. 402

To bring order out of chaos, the army called on General George Crook- quite a different man from the one who had left Arizona ten years earlier to go north to fight the Sioux and Cheyennes. He had learned from them and from the Poncas during the trial of Standing Bear that Indians were human beings, a viewpoint that most of his fellow officers had not yet accepted.

The Trial of Standing Bear

After the attorneys presented their arguments, Judge Dundy allowed Standing Bear to address the court. Standing Bear did not speak English, but he was able to make an eloquent plea to the court through his interpreter, Susette (“Bright Eyes”) LaFlesche.

Standing Bear rose, extended his hand toward the judge’s bench —

“That hand is not the color of yours, but if I pierce it, I shall feel pain. If you pierce your hand, you also feel pain. The blood that will flow from mine will be the same color as yours. I am a man. God made us both.”

The fact that a U.S. military general could change from seeing Indians as “savages” is what I believe the army never wanted to come back from Geronimo’s grave, for Crook’s transformation supplied him with the motivation to speak out against the propaganda of the press.

Source

“It is too often the case that . . . newspapers . . . disseminate all sorts of exaggerations and falsehoods about the Indians, which are copied in papers of high character and wide circulation, in other parts of the country, while the Indians’ side of the case is rarely ever heard. In this way the people at large get false ideas with reference to the matter. Then when the outbreak does come public attention is turned to the Indians, their crimes and atrocities are alone condemned, while the persons who injustice has driven them to this course escape scot-free and are the loudest in their denunciations.”

In addition, his transformation supplied him with the motivation to practice patience and diplomacy with Geronimo, Crook was called “Grey Wolf.” Tragically, Grey Wolf could not keep the promise he made to Geronimo regarding their returning to their reservation after their surrendering and agreeing to being imprisoned in Florida, so that they could return to their reservation.

Geronimo
1829-1909

The Apache warriors were deported to incarceration in Florida without their families -an agreement broken – then Alabama and finally to Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory.

The War Department, quite frankly – said no.


When they brought Geronimo to Fort Sill, here’s the general location the put him in.

Specifically, this was the window he had to look out of.

I’m sure that all the stories about how popular he was meant a great deal to him, as did him having some freedom at Fort Sill.

After he died of pneumonia,they buried him here:

To bring this to a close, “an elder told me that the Navaho took Geronimo’s bones and gave them proper burial before the U.S. Army only thought that he remained buried at Fort Sill after they buried him there,” as I stated in the beginning. A look around the cemetery reveals the possibility of that being true, due to the remoteness and seclusion of the area. Note that there was probally more tree cover nearly a century ago.

Dee Brown. Bury My heart At Wounded Knee.p. 413

A legend still persists that not long afterward (his death) his bones were secretly removed and taken somewhere to the Southwest-

Hence, the next time someone mentions
Medicine Bluff or yells “Geronimoooo!!!”


When we speculated in print on why our soldiers use the name (“Geronimo!”)
of a dead Apache chieftain (no, Geronimo was a medicine man, seer, and intellectual leader) for their slogan, several alumni of airborne regiments reported stories of its origin. A plausible one came from Arthur A. Manion. “At Fort Sill, Oklahoma,” he wrote, “a series of rather steep hills, called, I believe, Medicine Bluffs, was pointed out to all new arrivals. It was said that one day Geronimo, with the army in hot pursuit, made a leap on horseback down an almost vertical cliff a feat that the posse could not duplicate. The legend continues that in the midst of this jump to freedom he gave out the bloodcurdling cry of “Geronimo-o-o!”
Hence the practice adopted by our paratroopers. I hope this helps. It’s at least colorful, if not authentic.”
 

You can understand the truth of his statement –

Geronimo:
The soldiers never explained to the government when an Indian was wronged, but reported the misdeeds of the Indians.

And you will know why they didn’t want at least one truth to “come back from his (alleged) grave.”

Geronimo:

I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.

The spirit of Goyathlay (“one who yawns”), or Geronimo is quite simply this in my judgment: that people can and do change in extreme circumstances, and when they change for the better and/or for noble reasons from a position of true innocence in the midst of atrocities beyond their control – that is the spirit of Goyathlay.

PONY PARTY. . . stuff to do, part I

Good morning all… for this PONY PARTY… I thought that, in the event any of you do have a life in the REAL world, it might be fun to point towards some events going on on the EAST COAST.

For today’s noon PONY PARTY, I’ll hit a few midwest and left coast goings on…

So… what do you do on your Saturday mornings????

New York’s America Museum of Natural History
has a cool exhibit of space photos in its

BEYOND, A SPECTACULAR PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION
on view April 14, 2007-April 6, 2008

[http://www.amnh.org/…]

The Franklin Institute of Science
he’s back and while not as impressive
as the last time (26 years ago), still worth the look…
i particularly liked the ancient dog collar…

King Tut and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs
On exhibit now through September 30
The Franklin Institute of Science in Philly
http://www.gophila.c…
more on Tut… [http://www.nytimes.c…]

George Washington’s Distillery
This site is open after several years of research
and excavation

The site is located three miles from the Mount Vernon Estate
on Route 235Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy
Mount Vernon, VA 22121
[http://www.washingto…]

the Ford Hall Forum Presents
John W. Dean : “Broken Governement”

In Boston on September 13 at 6:30pm
Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington Street, Boston

[http://www.fordhallf…]

TOP 20 Events in the Southeast region
This list has everything from
fall barbeques to Christmas craft shows

[http://southeasttour…]

Anywhere in the universe, except the Andromeda galaxy.

This wrinkle in time, I cant give it no credit
I thought about my space and I really got me down
(got me down)

(excerpted lyrics from Headache – Frank Black)


Madeleine L’Engle would have loved the fact that she died at 88, I think. 88 is an abundant number, and the prime factors are 2x2x2x11.

L’Engle’s Newberry Award-winning A Wrinkle in Time was published in 1962, and this is the 44th year anniversary of her most acclaimed book. 44 is an octahedral number, the factors of which are 2x2x11.

There is a curious, connective symmetry between these numbers and her book. An octahedron shares many of the same qualities as a tesseract, L’Engle’s favored transport device in Time.

Octahedron

The tesseract is an octachoron, which, for her purposes, is a “four-dimensional analog of the (three-dimensional) cube” – or rather, a cube with a fourth dimension that allows or illustrates the movement of the cube through time.

Tesseract

I was counting the rings
And I fell me into sleep
I peeked to see if you were way back when

44, 88. A world populated with primes, abundance, polyhedrons, villains, and children moving through time by virtue of a cube with a fourth dimension.

L’Engle was rejected some 26 times prior to finally publishing A Wrinkle in Time in 1962. According to the Washington Post, she signed away all rights to the book to Farrar, Straus and Giroux,  with a special caveat in her contract stating that they “could have the [rights] to the book forever, anywhere in the universe, except the Andromeda galaxy.”

A Wrinkle in Time traverses several themes: morality, tolerance, perseverance, loneliness, triumph, abandonment. The female hero Meg Murry was quite the novelty for a fantasy young adult or children’s book written in the late fifties, early sixties. There were few female champions for young readers.

Well, I found you
Maybe you can help me
And I can help you

Many readers and critics see overtones of Christianity in L’ Engle’s books, and such themes are definitely extant in A Wrinkle in Time. But I think she was more concerned with the loss of the individual, and then subsequently the soul.

The plot of A Wrinkle in Time is acutely familiar in our world where the overseer is the Department of Homeland Security; L’Engle conjures a shadowy, dark and omniscient presence, a big telepathic brain, who controls a world in which safety is promised and freedom, personality and the individual are distilled away from the collective.

Mrs. Whatsit, one of the oracle-like characters in the tale, sets us straight on the responsibility that comes with freedom…

Calvin: You mean you’re comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?

Mrs. Whatsit: Yes. You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.

“Truth is eternal. Knowledge is changeable. It is disastrous to confuse them.”

Madeleine L’Engle
1918-2007

Rest in peace, Madeleine. I hope you’ve found your tesseract.

This wrinkle in time, I cant give it no credit
I thought about my space and I really got me down
(got me down)
Got me so down, I got me a headache
My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound




***********************************

The Morning News

This is a Chat Thread.

Other FP Chat Threads-
4 at 4

Recent Diary Chat Threads-
Pony Party!

From Google News U.S.

As a Report Draws Near, Democrats Ready a Stance
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN, The New York Times
Published: September 8, 2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 – With Gen. David H. Petraeus set to testify before Congress on Monday about the status of the Iraq war, leading Democrats in the House and the Senate maneuvered Friday to portray his report as being controlled by the White House, while insisting that they did not doubt the general’s integrity.

“I have every belief that this good man, General Petraeus, will give us what he feels is the right thing to do in this report, that is now not his report,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader. “It’s President Bush’s report. President Bush took final ownership of this when he landed in Anbar Province just a few days ago.”

On the House floor, Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said, “Instead of a new strategy for Iraq, the Bush administration is cherry-picking the data to support their political objectives, and preparing a report that will offer another defense of the president’s strategy.”

Congress upset at late-night decision on Mexican trucks
By SUZANNE GAMBOA Associated Press Writer via The Houston Chronicle
Sept. 7, 2007, 5:27PM

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration’s late-night decision allowing Mexican trucks to ply U.S. roads triggered angry criticism Friday from opponents of the trucking program.

John Hill, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, gave the go-ahead for the trucks late Thursday night, allowing Transportes Olympic of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, to drive its trucks beyond the roughly 25-mile limit from the border where they have been confined.

From Google News World

Seven U.S. Troops Are Killed in Iraq
By Megan Greenwell, Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 8, 2007; Page A10

BAGHDAD, Sept. 7 — Four U.S. Marines were killed in combat in Anbar province and three soldiers died in a roadside bomb attack in northern Iraq, the military announced Friday.

The Marines were attacked Thursday morning in Garma, near the city of Fallujah, by suspected members of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to Lt. Col. Jubair Rasheed, an intelligence officer for the Anbar Salvation Council. Rasheed, whose group is a coalition of armed tribal groups cooperating with U.S. forces in Anbar, said al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters have fought fiercely against U.S. troops in the Garma area.

The attack occurred not far from the site of a surprise visit by President Bush two days earlier, a military spokesman said in a written statement. During a seven-hour stop at al-Asad Air Base, 85 miles from Garma, Bush cited a dramatic drop in violence in the overwhelmingly Sunni province, saying he and members of his national security team “came here today to see with our own eyes the multiple changes that are taking place in Anbar province.”

From Yahoo News THE TOP STORY

Bush says new video a reminder of danger
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 31 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – President Bush said Osama bin Laden’s mention of the Iraq war in his video message is a reminder of al-Qaida’s long-term objectives in Iraq and of the “dangerous world in which we live.”

“Iraq is part of this war against extremists,” Bush said, responding to the terrorist leader’s message but never using his name. “If al-Qaida bothers to mention Iraq, it’s because they want to achieve their objectives in Iraq, which is to drive us out.”

From Yahoo News Most Popular, Most Recommended

After Dust Storms, Mars Rover Set to Enter Giant Crater
Tariq Malik, Staff Writer SPACE.com
Fri Sep 7, 6:30 PM ET

After surviving near fatal dust storms on Mars, NASA’s Opportunity rover is gearing up for its long-awaited trek inside an expansive crater on the red planet’s surface.

Opportunity could begin descending down into Mars’ giant Victoria Crater by Sept. 11 after spending two months hunkered down to wait out sunlight-blotting storms that nearly starved the solar-powered rover and its robotic twin, Spirit. The rover spent this week rolling ever closer to entry point into Victoria Crater.

“Opportunity might be ready for that first ‘toe dip’ into the crater as early as next week,” said John Callas, project manager for the Mars rover mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in a Friday statement.

From Yahoo News World

Burma on The Edge
By HANNAH BEECH, Time Magazine
Fri Sep 7, 9:20 PM ET

It was over in a matter of minutes, but the significance of the occasion vastly exceeded its brevity. On Aug. 28, 20 protesters gathered at a market in Burma’s commercial capital, Rangoon, to demonstrate against the ruling junta’s decision to raise prices of essential goods–in some cases 500%. Led by labor activist Su Su Nway, the group had just begun to chant slogans when thugs employed by the military regime swooped in and started dragging the demonstrators into waiting vehicles. The frail Su Su Nway, who emerged from prison only last year, after serving seven months for reporting cases of forced labor to the United Nations, somehow managed to escape. “The junta is trying to create a very intimidating environment,” she told TIME shortly before the demonstration. But the 34-year-old refuses to bow down. “People must stand up,” she says, “and choose between freedom and oppression.”

Musharraf in a Tight Spot
By ARYN BAKER/ISLAMABAD, Time Magazine
Fri Sep 7, 3:40 PM ET

Nothing tastes so sweet as a long-anticipated homecoming. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hasn’t set foot in his native land since 1999, when he chose exile in Saudi Arabia over a life prison term on charges of hijacking then-army chief General Pervez Musharraf’s plane. But thanks to a recent ruling by Pakistan’s suddenly feisty Supreme Court that Sharif should be allowed to return, the two-time former leader is expected to land in Islamabad on Sept. 10. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

President Musharraf, an increasingly beleaguered U.S. ally, is already facing mounting challenges from two very different quarters. Pro-Taliban militants are believed to be behind two suicide bombings in Rawalpindi on Sept. 4 that killed 27 people and are pummeling his security forces in the tribal areas. Meanwhile, the country’s judges have been rolling back his edicts following the outrage generated by his attempts to unseat the popular and independent Supreme Court Chief Justice.

Sharif’s return has emerged as a wild-card challenge to Musharraf’s increasingly unstable political equilibrium. A proposal for Musharraf to share power with Benazir Bhutto, another exiled former Prime Minister, had been intended to restore confidence in the general’s rule and ensure him another presidential term when he faces reelection by a parliamentary assembly next month. The proposed deal involved Musharraf allowing Bhutto to return home and run for Prime Minister early next year in exchange for the backing of her powerful Pakistani People’s Party (PPP) for his presidential ambitions. In exchange, Bhutto would be allowed to run again for Prime Minister when general elections take place early next year.

South African Rugby: No Rainbow
By VIVIENNE WALT/PARIS, Time Magazine
Fri Sep 7, 9:15 AM ET

Among the rugby players who flew into Paris this week for the World Cup, few feel as much pressure to win as do the Springboks. South Africa’s national rugby team was once among the most powerful symbols of the apartheid regime, and as such a prime target of the international sports boycott aimed at ending white rule. Then, in 1995, one year after Nelson Mandela’s election as president inaugurated the era of democratic majority rule, South Africa hosted (and won) the Rugby World Cup. As tens of thousands of fans – almost all of them white – erupted in the stands, Mandela donned a Springbok jersey and lumbered on to the field to hug the team’s captain. For many, the moment symbolized white acceptance of the new order, and even many who cared nothing for rugby were moved to tears. Apartheid, it seemed, was finally dead.

Bin Laden tape needles Bush and Democrats on Iraq
By Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers
Fri Sep 7, 7:06 PM ET

WASHINGTON- In his first videotaped message in nearly three years, terrorist leader Osama bin Laden accuses President Bush of leading the United States to failure in Iraq and needles congressional Democrats for not stopping the war.

Bin Laden asserts in the rambling, roughly half-hour video that the United States is repeating the mistake of the Soviet Union in its 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.

“The mistakes of (late Soviet leader Leonid) Brezhnev are being repeated by Bush, who…said in effect that the withdrawal will not be during his reign,” bin Laden said, according to a transcript made available Friday. Bush, he said, was “like the one who plows and sows the sea: He harvests nothing but failure.”

German police will seek powers to spy on Internet users
By Matthew Schofield, McClatchy Newspapers
Fri Sep 7, 4:47 PM ET

BERLIN – Top German security officials called Friday for new laws that will permit anti-terrorism investigators greater freedom to spy on Internet users, an investigative tool they’re now blocked from using under constitutionally protected privacy laws.

Germany’s state interior ministers and the federal minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble , stopped short of endorsing a controversial proposal by Bavaria to allow Internet spying on all Islamic converts in Germany .

But the ministers said German authorities were at a disadvantage in dealing with tech-savvy terrorists if they couldn’t use modern tactics such as planting “Trojan Horse” viruses to monitor the online activities of terrorism suspects.

4 decades later, seized U.S. ship is tourist draw in North Korea
By Tim Johnson, McClatchy Newspapers
Fri Sep 7, 10:18 AM ET

PYONGYANG, North Korea – North Korea’s greatest propaganda trophy, a captured U.S. Navy spy ship, floats along the banks of the Taedong River, beckoning visitors aboard to see how this country once humiliated the United States .

It’s the USS Pueblo, whose captain surrendered without firing a shot to North Korea in 1968.

Now a major tourist attraction, the vessel has become a floating symbol of anti-Americanism and the Cold War era. It draws some 1,000 people a day in organized tours designed to drum up patriotism.

US commander in Iraq backs gradual troop cut
AFP
Fri Sep 7, 3:10 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, will reportedly recommend a gradual reduction of US forces beginning next spring in his eagerly anticipated testimony to Congress next week.

“Based on the progress our forces are achieving, I expect to be able to recommend that some of our forces will be redeployed without replacement,” Petraeus told the Boston Globe in an email from Baghdad.

“That will, over time, reduce the total number of troops in Iraq. The process will take time, but we want to be sure to maintain the security gains that coalition and Iraqi forces have worked so hard to achieve,” he said.

U.N. nuclear head urges Western patience on Iran plan
By Mark Heinrich, Reuters
Fri Sep 7, 6:24 PM ET

VIENNA (Reuters) – The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog body on Friday rebuffed Western critics of a cooperation deal it has struck with Iran as “back-seat drivers” and urged them to give it time to work to help avoid war.

Under the August 21 deal, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency and Tehran agreed on a rough timetable for addressing lingering questions about Iran’s nuclear activities.

IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei said his agency would scrutinize Iran’s pledge to cooperate by the end of the year and demand documents and other proof of good faith. If Iran reneged, it would jeopardize any grounds for future trust, he said.

From Yahoo News U.S.

Judge strikes down Noriega extradition plea
By Tom Brown, Reuters
Fri Sep 7, 3:48 PM ET

MIAMI (Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge on Friday refused to block the extradition of deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to France after his long prison sentence in Florida ends on Sunday.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge William Hoeveler, which Noriega’s lawyers planned to appeal before a higher court, marked another legal setback for the 73-year-old Noriega who has been convicted in France of using illegal drug profits to buy three luxurious apartments.

In the order lifting the stay that he had imposed on Noriega’s extradition on Wednesday, Hoeveler rejected allegations that France would fail to treat the ex-military strongman as a prisoner of war and abide by the protections awarded POWs under the Geneva Conventions.

CIA chief defends rendition of terrorist suspects
AFP
Fri Sep 7, 3:39 PM ET

NEW YORK (AFP) – CIA director Michael Hayden on Friday defended the US government’s controversial rendition and detention of terrorist suspects, saying the program was highly targeted and smaller than many thought.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s rendition, detention and interrogation programs were carefully conducted and key to the “war on terror,” he said.

“They are hardly the centerpiece of our effort, nor are they nearly as big as some think, but the intelligence they’ve produced is absolutely irreplaceable,” Hayden told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

The General vs. the Ambassador.
By JOE KLEIN, Time Magazine
Fri Sep 7, 5:20 PM ET

A few months ago, after a sweltering day in the field surveying the progress his troops were making in turning Sunni tribes against al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) extremists, General David Petraeus squinted into the Baghdad sun and allowed himself a moment of astonishment. “It’s just amazing how quickly some of these tribes are flipping,” he said. Amazing, indeed. Petraeus has presided over a remarkable turn of events in Iraq. The most recalcitrant areas of the country–the heartland of the Sunni insurgency–have suddenly become the most placid. The safest place for President George W. Bush to land when he visited Iraq on Labor Day was al-Asad air base in Anbar province; a year ago, a military-intelligence report said the province had been “lost” to the jihadis. Now AQI seems to have been kicked out of Anbar, pushed back from Baghdad, forced to carry out its most lethal attacks on the northern periphery of the country. It was feared that the weeks before Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker made their September reports to Congress would be dominated by the insurgency’s State of Iraq report: spectacular bombings, perhaps even a Tet-style offensive. But–fingers crossed as I write this–Baghdad seems merely murderous these days, without the efflorescence of gore that would have undercut the Bush Administration’s story line.

Moment Of Truth in Iraq
By MICHAEL DUFFY, Time Magazine
Fri Sep 7, 1:10 AM ET

It is a measure of how vaporous the ground truths in Iraq have become that George W. Bush had to sneak into the country he conquered. Extra security was needed to proclaim that Iraq was more secure, the surge was working and the country was worth more American blood and treasure. Before the surprise trip on Sept. 3, a TIME correspondent was summoned to a Starbucks in downtown Washington, where he was informed of the Iraq mission – and then prohibited from telling anyone other than his spouse and his boss. At dusk on Sunday, Sept. 2, passengers boarded Air Force One inside its massive hangar at Andrews Air Force Base. Once darkness fell, the hangar doors opened, and the plane pushed out onto the runway for takeoff, its lights off and its window shades drawn. Laptops were returned in midflight, but their owners had to disable the wireless functions to prevent the President’s plane from being tracked across the globe. Twelve hours later, Air Force One touched down, and Bush stepped out onto the tarmac of another well-secured U.S. air base for an eight-hour visit to Anbar province.

From Yahoo News Politics

Romney ups stakes for volatile GOP field
By RON FOURNIER, Associated Press Writer
Fri Sep 7, 9:54 PM ET

BERLIN, N.H. – Mitt Romney said Friday that presidential rivals Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee need to raise a jaw-dropping $20 million in the next few months to join him in the top tier of the Republican GOP field, raising the stakes in a nomination fight altered by a tumultuous week.

Feeling the heat of his rivals, the former Massachusetts governor dismissed the notion that a late-entering Thompson and an up-and-coming Huckabee were poised to squeeze into the GOP top tier now occupied by Romney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

“I think you’re going to have to see what level of ground support that they have and what level of fundraising they have,” Romney said in an interview with The Associated Press. “If Huckabee raises $20 million this quarter, like we did in the (first) quarter, then he’ll become a front-tier candidate.”

Thompson warns of al-Qaida threats

By MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press Writer Fri Sep 7, 9:42 PM ET

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Republican Fred Thompson said Friday that terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden is “more symbolism than anything else” as the presidential hopeful warned of possible greater al-Qaida threats within the United States.

As a new video surfaced from bin Laden days before the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Thompson focused on the broader war on terrorism and the Iraq conflict. He argued that not only are the United States and Iraqi forces making progress in Iraq, but that public support for the war is increasing.

The new video of bin Laden is his first in three years. Thompson played down its release in talking to reporters on his second day of campaigning in Iowa.

Huckabee looks to reshuffle presidential race
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent, Reuters
Fri Sep 7, 3:01 PM ET

DOVER, New Hampshire (Reuters) – After spending months buried near the bottom of a crowded 2008 Republican White House pack, Mike Huckabee finally sees signs of life for his bare-bones campaign.

He was a surprise second-place finisher in last month’s straw poll in Iowa, an early test in the state that kicks off the 2008 race, and that has given the former Arkansas governor something he lacked — the air of a legitimate contender.

“The earth has shifted for us,” Huckabee said in an interview. “The media attention, the fundraising, the polls — the changes have been dramatic on every front. We’re being taken seriously now.”

Relentless Winter

Mo’ Meta Betta.

OTB and I have been fussing with the look and feel.  She was kind of concentrated on the logo.  I’ve been working on complimentary colors.

This scheme is much less electric than some I’ve played around with tonight.

I dids embolden the links and Regularize the Diary Title colors with the link colors.

Chased down those dang underlines too.

Finally got the comment nesting pixels to tighten up and we now support 15 deep.  Check out Danby’s Diary now.

I hope the burned links still stand out enough for you.  Spent a lot of time making the color for those just right- stand out but not so much.  Had some trouble toning down Pen of Fire blue for unburned links so we were pretty electric for a while.

Oh, and if you check out the Admin style sheet you’ll get a chance to see what a fucking anal retentive programmer I am.

/* Begining of Stylesheet */

/* Rant- */
/* I program in C and this gets a D- for structure. */
/* It is poorly documented and relies on tabs -ek */

/* Element 1 */
/* Properties of Visited Links */

A:visited
   {

   /* Color of Visited Link */
   /* This should be the same color as a visited diary! */

   color: #233678;

      /* original #0066CC royal blue */
      /* dark tan #D29857 */
      /* #233678;  Dark Blue -ek */

   /* Underlining- Pfui! */

   text-decoration: none;

      /* original none -ek */

   /* Bold Face- Yay! */

   font-weight: bold;

      /* added -ek 9/8/07 */

   } /* end of Properties of Visited Links */

In Fucking Code DOCUMENTATION!

You want someone else to be able to maintain it.

Banner Stuff by LithiumCola

Durbin Takes The Iraq Pledge: No Funding Without End Date For the Debacle

AP:

The No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. Senate said on Friday he could no longer vote for funding the war in Iraq unless restrictions were attached that would begin winding down American involvement there.
 

“This Congress can't give President (George W.) Bush another blank check for Iraq,” said Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin, who has always opposed the war but until now voted to fund it.

“I can't support an open-ended appropriation which allows this president to continue this failed policy,” he said in a speech at the left-leaning Center for National Policy.

Where's Obama?

Is OPOL in the HOUSE????

now we ARE talking… that is fabulous…

okay.. ready to launch

any body else????

How to Promote Defundamentalism

(Isn’t that title cute?  I just came up with that.  It doesn’t even show up on Google.)

While I am not a Defundamentalist, I’m happy to see those of you are help to influence the political debate so long as (per Turk’s stance) it avoids ripping apart the party.  I just don’t think that blaming the Democrats in toto or concentrating fire on Pelosi (who would likely be succeeded by someone worse, Hoyer or Emanuel) is helping.  You need a concrete and theoretically achievable plan if you want to truly “make them fear us,” as y’all like to say.  So here, direct from a comment on DKos, is what I think you should do:

Get pledges from 41 Senators saying that they will filibuster any defense funding bill that does not provide money solely for withdrawal.  Get them to pledge that they will maintain that filibuster forever if necessary, even if it looks like Gingrich in December 1995, even if the polls swing wildly against Democrats for not allowing a defense bill to pass.

If you have 41 such pledges, you will have a serious threat.  That’s not where I’m putting my efforts, because I don’t think there’s more than a negligible chance that we’ll get 41 of them.  But that’s exactly what they’d have to do to win a standoff with Bush, so that is the campaign you should be running.  If you can’t get 41 pledges, then I think you should think twice about what you’re doing and why, but I don’t expect you to agree.

218 such pledges from House Dems would work as well, but I don’t think you’ll get those either.  So, there’s your assignment if you want to work your asses off.  I predict that it will bring all of our party’s hidden sores right into the open, leading people who would like to smoothe over the differences to hate you, but that has to be part of your plan if you want defunding to work.

Good luck, and don’t say I never did anything for the cause.

Banner stuff

Here’s the old idea from Magnifico and myself:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I messed with this some.

Same thing with no landscape.  The words would need to be dropped back in by someone.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Full size.  I needed a new starfield and don’t have full-size horses, so someone would need to drop them in.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Same thing with laptop:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Now, raw material so you can play with this.  Man and tree with white background to drop onto stuff like starfields (this was the hardest part!  There seems to be no way to make save the white edges completely “color clean” — there is some very light grey scattered — you need to clean it when you drop the image):

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Starfield, easy enough to find another one if you don’t like this one:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And laptop, needs to be shrunk:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Oh, and here’s the original tree and buddha image:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I hope this is helpful!

Friday Night at 8

Oh the old intertubes aren’t working very well at casa del Nightprowlkitty, but hopefully I’ll get this posted in time.  If I don’t comment right away, you’ll know why.

Does anyone else share the feeling I have today, a feeling of something impending?  Because I don’t have anything to say about current events or culture or even personal anecdotes.  I feel a sense of apprehension.  And of course it’s about America.

I think even the boys at the big blogs are now aware that business is not as usual.  We’ve even got kos yelling at the Democrats over their incomprehensible behavior when it comes to opposing this misAdministration.

Something has changed.  August was the lull before the storm.  Folks all over the country are waiting for someone to pull the plug on these criminals.  Everyone agrees they are criminals, everyone knows they want to take us into a world of unending war, unending governmental incompetence, unending theft and corruption.  That’s simply how they operate.  They don’t know how to do anything else.

And now we are all awaiting a report by David Petraeus and everyone already knows the White House has rewritten it, everyone knows this misAdministration is doing its best to discredit the GAO’s report, shout down any dissent on what is going on in Iraq.  And here we sit, wondering what’s going to happen.

This isn’t like Viet Nam.  We’re older and wiser now.  We see this happening in real time, all of us.  It’s strange and surreal in so many ways.

It hasn’t been even a year since the 2006 elections.  We’ve seen truckloads of investigations, information pouring out of those investigations that reveal an out of control power mad group of criminals — and we all knew this, didn’t we?  For six years these folks have gotten away, literally, with murder.  And there hasn’t been one single thing done by this misAdministration and its former rubber-stamp Congress that has benefited America.  Not one thing.

And here we are, on the brink of deciding whether we should continue an illegal war, continue to pretend that Mister Bush and Mister Cheney are legitimate leaders.  Yes, it is surreal.

So I don’t have a lot to say tonight.  I’m happy to be here at Docudharma, I hope it will be something new and different, that we’ll all find a way to change the paradigm of how we speak to each other as Americans.  I hope we’ll talk about social justice, the deep primal human needs that percolate through our sophisticated and civilized minds and find their finest expression in laws, laws that apply to everyone equally.  I hope we’ll talk about how to regain that kind of justice, and how our laws can help us extend human dignity to those who are suffering so badly both in America and throughout the world.

Because, to me, politics isn’t very interesting in and of itself.  It interests me only insofar as it helps us all to express the highest of our aspirations, the deepest of our respect towards our fellow human beings and other sentient creatures on this planet.  I know that those lofty goals have always been achieved in this world by the dirty and grubby process of politics, I know that’s the way it has always been.  I hope we can regain our understanding of what we really do need as human beings, and that our politics will flow from that understanding.

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