May 9th, 2006

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In the moment -

In the moment, all is well, and ....

Somehow the set-up for the new stage was not right so after much probing, marking, checking, re-checking, and consulting, it was determined that everything needed to be done again, and I would not have radiation today, and I will thus end on next Wednesday, May 17th, not Tuesday, the 16th. It is fine, and today was not so pleasant as I am very sore at this point, and so being poked and checked is not so much fun, and so, it is. It just is.

I talked to Francine my doctor about this prescription medicine program of Bush's. She feels about Bush as I do. Our blood pressure rises together. Anyway, her 87 year old dad who was a researcher and a doctor was struggling with understanding it, so handed it to her. She says it makes no sense, as the doctor has to decide a year ahead what someone might need and therefore what program. How is that possible on an 87 year old, she said. How is it possible on a 56 year old, I said. Last year, at this time, no one could have predicted all this with me. So, I hope you sign the Move On petition if you haven't. Francine is going to sign too.

Up there in radiation world today, I heard someone speak of being in a small town in Texas at a truck stop. What was the talk? How we have to get out of Iraq and how Bush has fouled it up, and our people are being killed and coming home without legs, and it has to stop. So, that is the good news of the day. I feel a bit dizzy with it all, but I now have some cream to help with my rash and all is well with me.

Oh, I went without a hat, and everyone loved it, so no more hats except when I am in the sun, or when I am cold. What a relief! Yay!
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Jane is back!!

Here is Jane's poem of yesterday. We feel it matches my rant. She captures the essence of the age.

I found a turtle shell in the garden.
It was bleached as white as Spanish farmhouses.
My bones too are all that I can leave.
Always is before I was here. Never is after I die.

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Here is Jane's Poem of Today!!

Jane's poem Today!!

Today my hero is George Clooney
He flew to Darfur and let his fame follow him.
No one wants hear about Darfur.
But there¹s money in his celebrated face.
Maybe some of us will see the beyond the movie star.
See someone in the background that could be us.

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Geese -

Elaine comments on the Geese Poem.

        "You know what?  At our cabin, there are wild geese that sometimes come and float on the lake.  Last time we were there, there were two big goose eggs on the dock.  But there was also a ton of goose poop.  Goose poop is big and smelly and profuse.  I think it is important in our romantic visions of wild geese to remember the shit they leave behind.  Shit happens."

I laugh.  Yes, shit happens.  It happens everyday, and each one of us contributes.  In Nepal, they put the yak dung on walls to dry, and use it for fire.  I think it is important to think of our shit as fertilizer for what is now to come.   Happy shitty day!!   We all have some of that.   : )
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My Poem for Today!

Play Grounds Around Me


At the Berkeley Marina is a playground made of scrap.

            It tumbles and turns to tangle and maze. 

Blackie’s Pasture, in Tiburon has an open, pristine playground,

            with a view of the city, and the bay.

         The flush toilet tucks close to the path.  

                        Dogs, if seen, are leashed.  


Kay Park, in Tam Valley, fences their playground.

            The benches are inside.

      The grass is outside, for the dogs.

   There is no place to sit and watch,

                        unless you bring a child.   

    I find it lonely, though parents deem it safe. 


Eastwood Park never seems to have a permanent playground,

            because no structure is safe enough,

                        so in and out they go,

                  and there is quite an uproar,

        when the dogs and cats think the sand is boxed,

                                    conveniently for them. 


Kentfield’s park has pirate ships with masts and look-outs.

            There are places to run, command, and hide,

            as parallel play, and individual play, coincide.

      I am thinking now Eastwood should have a solar park

                        to capture all the wind.


            The children could swing on windmills

            and pedal bikes

            attached to generators

            providing lights for nightly rendezvous and climbs.


            I gaze at playgrounds, anticipating grandchildren,

                        I can lift onto slides and push on swings,

                        but, now, I’m wondering.

                        why there aren’t any playgrounds

                                    my size.  Where is my place to climb and swing,

                                                to integrate all the parts of me,

                                                            and the spaces inbetween?  


            I wiggle now the bars from the inside out,

                        and space them just right,

                        and climb up,

                                    and the view

                                    is magic,

                        and just right for my age and height.  



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Always room for Rilke -

"I do only want to advise you to keep growing quietly and seriously throughout your whole development; you cannot disturb it more rudely than by looking outward and expecting from outside replies to questions that only your inmost feeling in your most hushed hour can perhaps answer."

-- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Molly Ivins -

The Best Little Whorehouse in Washington
By Molly Ivins

Monday 08 May 2006

Austin, Texas - Of course I am above sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. So serious a servant of the public interest am I, I can fogey with the best: On my better days, I make David Broder look like Page Six.

I don't care what anyone smoked 20 years ago, I approve of those who boogie till they puke, and I don't care who anyone in politics is screwing in private, as long as they're not screwing the public.

On other hand, if you expect me to pass up a scandal involving poker, hookers and the Watergate building with crooked defense contractors and the No. 3 guy at the CIA, named Dusty Foggo (Dusty Foggo?! Be still my heart), you expect too much. Any journalist who claims Hookergate is not a legitimate scandal is dead-has been for some time and needs to be unplugged. In addition to sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, Hookergate is rife with public-interest questions, misfeasance, malfeasance and non-feasance, and many splendid moral points for the children. Recommended for Sunday school use, grades seven and above.

But for starters, let us consider the unenviable record of Porter Goss at the CIA. From the beginning of his tenure, Goss has been criticized for politicizing the agency. He brought a bunch of political hacks with him for staff, one of whom turns out to be the poker player called "Nine Fingers." And in the end, he was probably fired for not having politicized the agency sufficiently.

What is the point of politicizing an intelligence agency? So the CIA officials would get a report from some agent in Iraq saying, "Looks bad." The first thing they'd ask was, "Is this agent a Republican or a Democrat?"

Maybe there really are conservatives who believe everything in Iraq is hunky-dory and there's a giant media conspiracy to hide the joyous tidings. But as you may recall, the ever-nimble minds at Donny Rumsfeld's shop have already tried paying public relations people to invent good news about Iraq and then plant it in newspapers there-it didn't work. In fact, it was so stupid it was humiliating. Fortunately, the Pentagon was once again able to investigate itself and determine it had done nothing illegal.

So now they're turning the CIA over to a general who not only ran the warrantless wiretap program but still can't figure out that it's unconstitutional. Why do I get the feeling this is W. and Karl again flipping the finger at some grown-up they don't like?

Gen. Michael Hayden had mixed reviews as director of the National Security Agency-he's evidently not a good manager, which makes him a perfect Bushie. But is he straightforward enough to have admitted that some warrantless spying has been done for political reasons? None of the usual Washington insiders seems to have a bead on this. Hayden would theoretically report to John Negroponte, Bush's supposed intelligence czar. Negroponte is widely considered worthless. His major achievement so far seems to be organizational charts and buying furniture.

You know me, no conspiracy theories here, but the Bush administration, which doesn't seem to be able to run much, set out to retool the CIA after 9/11 and the Iraq war. Problem is, everything that worked at the CIA-that it warned about 9/11 and said the Iraq war was a bad idea-was on the hit list. The Bushies wanted to eliminate the people who were right and promote those who were wrong. This is no way to shape up an intelligence agency, not to mention the White House spit fit over Joe Wilson's wife.

Next, we need to contemplate sincere, old-fashioned, non-ideological greed, theft and bribery. In the beginning, there was only Duke Cunningham, the high-living, fun-loving super-patriot congressman from San Diego. His yacht was called The Duke-Stir, and he had nice taste in 19th century French commodes. While we all are happy to see our elected representatives enjoying themselves in Washington, that's real people's money. Actually, the yacht and commode were paid for by defense contractor Brent Wilkes (keep an eye on that player). It was people's money that paid for the defense contracts Wilkes allegedly bribed public officials into landing for his clients.

The former inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, Clark Kent Ervin-that would be the DHS equivalent of a police department's internal affairs chief-tried to blow the whistle on shady contracts at DHS and instead was thrown overboard himself. Folks, we'll never get government straightened out again if we don't keep the IGs strong and independent.

If the Bush administration continues to fall apart at this clip, I think we'll be grateful for incompetence as an excuse.
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Evening -

"Learning is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily."

- Chinese Proverb

I look for the moon.  It is not yet up.  I balance the news of the day by planting flowers and pulling weeds.
It is so easy to see in dealing with the medical world how much is out of our control, and so it is.
I am okay with my life, with life, with all life,  tonight.

Mandu is here, purring.  We are a noble tribe.  

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Jon Carroll today -


Tuesday, May 9, 2006

No one asked me, but I figure Zacarias Moussaoui got the prison sentence he deserved, considering that he was (a) in jail at the time Sept. 11 happened, (b) had no demonstrable link with the implementation of the Sept. 11 plot, and (c) was crazy as a jaybird. The distasteful battle of the grieving family members pretty much balanced out, and the jury found that Moussaoui's terrible childhood and family history of mental illness were mitigating circumstances.

It probably would have been kinder to Moussaoui to kill him, but that idea was not advanced by the prosecution. So now he gets to sit in the same jail as Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols and Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph. They all had dreams of grandeur, but only Moussaoui was so totally unstable that he never got to live out those dreams.

Moussaoui should never really have been up for the death penalty. His brain is a snake pit of hatred and violence, but if that were illegal, there'd be a lot more people on death row. The government is increasingly trying to punish people for what can only be called thought crimes, but that doesn't make it right.

The government has in custody several people who were, by all accounts, deeply involved in the planning of Sept. 11. But the government could not put those people on trial, which is why there was all this strutting and puffing about Moussaoui. The reason that government can't try the real suspects? Because it tortured them. The government does not want evidence of torture mentioned in open court, so the bad guys sit in Guantanamo or some other secret hellhole while everyone pretends they don't exist.

I remember when we were one of the more highly regarded nations on the planet, precisely because we did not torture people. Sure, war was hell, and African Americans were mistreated all over the nation, but still, as a general policy, we did not torture the people we captured in battle. Now we torture. We pretend we don't; we murmur pieties; but we torture.

One of the reasons not to torture prisoners, one of the reasons for the Geneva Conventions in the first place, was to try to ensure that American soldiers would not themselves be tortured if they were captured. But the Bush administration has shown a stunning disregard for the safety of American soldiers right from the get-go, so this latest bit of lawlessness should come as no surprise. Indeed, John Bolton, now our ambassador to the United Nations, said in 1997 that treaties were simply political acts and "not legally binding."

I'm not sure where we get off complaining that Iran is ignoring the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty when the Bush administration claims the right to disdain any previous agreement it no longer cares for. It's really hard to sway neutral nations when we pick and choose among the international laws and then tell them that they are not free to pick and choose. Why not? Because we're us, and they're them. Also, we torture people. Did I mention that?

Brian Urquhart, in the current edition of the New York Review of Books, provides a useful overview of the administration's position on international laws and conventions -- the article is available online at It reminded me that, once upon a time, we were the leading internationalist nation in the world. We strongly supported the formation of the Permanent Court of International Justice in The Hague, the Covenant of the League of Nations, the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We were serious about promoting humane behavior around the world. We preferred peace to war. We did not automatically assume that all foreigners were out to get us.

Now what we care about is "defending America's interests." We do not seem to believe that a world without torture is in America's interest, or that a world with international accountability for armed aggression is in America's interest, or even that a world without war is in America's interest. I am not at all clear what this administration thinks America's interest is, at least in any long-term sense. Unlimited energy supplies? Borders closed to all immigrants? A church on every street corner?

Mao Zedong famously said: "Every Communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of the gun." Well, we're all communists now, and doesn't that just beat all?