June 14th, 2006

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Morning -

Good Morning!!   I realize when I wake feeling well, I read the news.  Hmph on today's news.

Here is Bush.

"My message to the Iraqi people is this: seize the moment." 

I can just imagine how if I were sitting there with my life destroyed and in danger, my children at risk, possibly with no water or electricity, how it would feel to have the person who caused my problems telling me to seize the moment.  What moment?   The miserable one he has given me, and how like Bush that he would use the word "Seize," a military term of conquering and capture.

How about find peace in the moment?    May each of us find peace in the moments despite our photo opportunity president in his staged comeback to try and  raise his sinking approval rating.  I guess he follows his own advice.  He seizes the moment, and squeezes every bit of truth out of it he can so he can stand there like he has actually accomplished something, rather than killing and wounding a whole heck of a lot of innocent people. 

Have a great day and know that "An Inconvenient Truth" will out-speak Bush.  

Too  many of us know someone who is dead or wounded because of Bush's grand-standing to forget what his arrogance has done.   We'll seize the moment all right, and in that seized moment, throw him out in the grass, dry grass, Texas grass, the kind that needs bull-shit to keep it alive.   There, Bush will thrive. 

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Love -

There is a show in Paris called "How's Love Doing?" It is a forty year look at love in Parisian society.   The conclusion is how love has transformed.

The movie described below sounds like a gem, and offers a way to weed out whether or not someone is right for you.  

The article in the NY Times by Alan Riding concludes:

    "Not everything in this show is solemn.

    In fact, a such-is-life short movie, "Pacotille" ("Trinket") by Eric Jameux, drew the largest crowd one recent afternoon. In it Thierry gives a necklace with a little heart to Karine and points out the inscriptions: "More Than Yesterday" on one side, "Less Than Tomorrow" on the other. Karine doesn't understand. Thierry explains that each day he loves her more.

    "But you said less!" she retorts.

    Thierry tries again, but to no avail. "I want someone who loves me the same every day," Karine declares — and walks out on him."

May we each learn even more ways to accept love in all its evolving forms.  

Have a better day than yesterday, and, savor one less, yes, less than tomorrow.   : )

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Our new poet laureate -

Our new poet laureate is Donald Hall.   Dinitia Smith says in her article announcing his appointment in the NY Times:

"Mr. Hall, a poet in the distinctive American tradition of Robert Frost, has also been a harsh critic of the religious right's influence on government arts policy. And as a member of the advisory council of the National Endowment for the Arts during the administration of George H. W. Bush, he referred to those he thought were interfering with arts grants as "bullies and art bashers.""

Ah, a man of common sense and discernment has been chosen.  It works for me.  Good-bye to Ted Kooser who did a great job, and hello to Donald Hall, who will do the same.  
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Editorial in the NY Times today -

Too Soon to Cheer in Baghdad

Published: June 14, 2006

Three years after declaring from the deck of an aircraft carrier that America had accomplished its mission in Iraq, President Bush flew to Baghdad yesterday to make much of two modest pieces of encouraging news — the belated confirmation of the last three members of the Iraqi cabinet and the death of Iraq's top terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

By now, Americans surely know the difference between a presidential publicity stunt and a true turning point in this ever-lengthening war. If they had any question about which one this was, Karl Rove provided some guidance in New Hampshire, where he delivered the campaign talking points to the Republican faithful: the Democrats could never have summoned the will to kill Mr. Zarqawi. For an administration that is supposed to be rallying a nation at war, it was a revealingly nasty, partisan and divisive moment.

It was good to see Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki finally appoint an interior minister, Jawad Kadem al-Bolani. His job is to purge the Iraqi police forces and prison staffs of the Shiite militiamen who have used them as cover for death and torture squads. That would do far more to bring stability to Iraq than the killing of Mr. Zarqawi, who has been replaced as leader of a group that was just one element of the Iraqi insurgency.

But Mr. Bolani's appointment left us apprehensive. It turns out that he was chosen in a last-minute deal between Mr. Maliki and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shiite party that just happens to operate one of those militias. Perhaps Mr. Bolani will demonstrate the strength, independence and patriotism to do the job. Perhaps, if he doesn't, Mr. Maliki will replace him with someone who will. Washington is hopeful. But we've seen this scene before, and it has usually ended badly.

To increase the drama of Mr. Bush's visit to Iraq, Mr. Maliki announced a large military and police operation around Baghdad, involving tens of thousands of troops, to secure roads, stage raids, seize weapons and enforce a curfew. That may look good on paper, but so did the "Mission Accomplished" banner. There are already 75,000 American and Iraqi troops deployed around Baghdad, and very few of those Iraqis can actually carry out such a mission reliably and effectively.

Beyond that, we have been repeatedly told that the already overstretched American forces will be pulled back from the cities and maybe from Iraq itself later this year. How are Americans supposed to square Mr. Maliki's grandiose announcement with Mr. Bush's message that the United States is preparing to reduce its military role?

Meanwhile, millions of Iraqis go without electricity at least part of the day, thousands of families have had to flee their homes, and Iraqi women have seen their rights to an independent life and livelihood significantly diminished.

After too many photo-ops aimed at giving Mr. Bush and his fellow Republicans a short-term lift in the domestic opinion polls at election time, Americans hunger more than ever for a realistic game plan for Iraq and some real progress.

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A Taste of Donald Hall -

  Name of Horses
  All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding
and steerhide over the ash hames, to haul
sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer,
for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range.

In April you pulled cartloads of manure to spread on the fields,
dark manure of Holsteins, and knobs of your own clustered with oats.
All summer you mowed the grass in meadow and hayfield, the mowing machine
clacketing beside you, while the sun walked high in the morning;

and after noon's heat, you pulled a clawed rake through the same acres,
gathering stacks, and dragged the wagon from stack to stack,
and the built hayrack back, uphill to the chaffy barn,
three loads of hay a day from standing grass in the morning.

Sundays you trotted the two miles to church with the light load
a leather quartertop buggy, and grazed in the sound of hymns.
Generation on generation, your neck rubbed the windowsill
of the stall, smoothing the wood as the sea smooths glass.

When you were old and lame, when your shoulders hurt bending to graze,
one October the man, who fed you and kept you, and harnessed you every morning,
led you through corn stubble to sandy ground above Eagle Pond,
and dug a hole beside you where you stood shuddering in your skin,

and lay the shotgun's muzzle in the boneless hollow behind your ear,
and fired the slug into your brain, and felled you into your grave,
shoveling sand to cover you, setting goldenrod upright above you,
where by next summer a dent in the ground made your monument.

For a hundred and fifty years, in the Pasture of dead horses,
roots of pine trees pushed through the pale curves of your ribs,
yellow blossoms flourished above you in autumn, and in winter
frost heaved your bones in the ground - old toilers, soil makers:

O Roger, Mackerel, Riley, Ned, Nellie, Chester, Lady Ghost.

Donald Hall

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Noticing -

Not only is my hair long enough to comb, but it is now long enough to have a direction.  

Wow, you say, and I say, but, there is something interesting in this.  I notice that as I choose a direction, the eye, my eyes are drawn to the eye to which the hair points.  It is like a little diagram,  "Look here."   I think now the reason people have been noticing my eyes so much is that there is no direction finder.  It just is.  My two eyes have been equally balanced in approach, and I look straight ahead with both of them equally.  There is nothing to distract.  My vision is clear and whole.  

It is quite a bit of fun to comb one's hair in a direction, but I think I like it when it just floats downward and says, "Here are my two eyes."   Enter, and pull up a chair.
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"What you believe yourself to be, you are."

-- Claude M. Bristol

"It is better to believe than to disbelieve; in so doing you bring everything to the realm of possibility."

-- Albert Einstein

Believe today in all that you are!!   Celebrate!!   It's June 14th.   What an extraordinary day to thrive!!

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Poem of Sharon Olds -

This poem strikes me today and reminds me of an exhibit I saw where a woman re-created and honored her Japanese roots that were planted in American soil,  and, then, brutally uprooted for WWII.   And yet, everything is used.  

  Japanese-American Farmhouse, California, 1942
  Everything has been taken that anyone
thought worth taking. The stairs are tilted,
scattered with sycamore leaves curled
like ammonites in inland rock.
Wood shows through the paint on the frame
and the door is open--an empty room,
sunlight on the floor. All that is left
on the porch is the hollow cylinder
of an Albert's Quick Oats cardboard box
and a sewing machine. Its extraterrestrial
head is bowed, its scrolled neck
glistens. I was born, that day, near there,
in wartime, of ignorant people.

Sharon Olds

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crab -

I had cioppino on Monday with Terry.  We shared a huge bowl of soup, and splashed our way through crab legs and claws.   Our bibs, mine checkered yellow, and hers checkered orange, stayed clean, but our hands were happy to cleanse with fresh lemon and a hot towel.   Here is a poem about eating crab.   Enjoy!!

  When I eat crab, slide the rosy
rubbery claw across my tongue
I think of my mother. She'd drive down
to the edge of the Bay, tiny woman in a
huge car, she'd ask the crab-man to
crack it for her. She'd stand and wait as the
pliers broke those chalky homes, wild-
red and knobby, those cartilage wrists, the
thin orange roof of the back.
I'd come home, and find her at the table
crisply unhousing the parts, laying the
fierce shell on one side, the
soft body on the other. She gave us
lots, because we loved it so much,
so there was always enough, a mound of crab like a
cross between breast-milk and meat. The back
even had the shape of a perfect
ruined breast, upright flakes
white as the flesh of a chrysanthemum, but the
best part was the claw, she'd slide it
out so slowly the tip was unbroken,
scarlet bulb of the feeler—it was such a
kick to easily eat that weapon,
wreck its delicate hooked pulp between
palate and tongue. She loved to feed us
and all she gave us was fresh, she was willing to
grasp shell, membrane, stem, to go
close to dirt and salt to feed us,
the way she had gone near our father himself
to give us life. I look back and
see us dripping at the table, feeding, her
row of pink eaters, the platter of flawless
limp claws, I look back further and
see her in the kitchen, shelling flesh, her
small hands curled—she is like a
fish-hawk, wild, tearing the meat
deftly, living out her life of fear and desire.

Sharon Olds

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Peace -

I just cut my first rose of the year.  It is called Peace, and is creamy ivory-yellow with a tinge of rose-pink.  It is huge, and is now sitting in a vase, displaying its beautifully balanced, open face.    Peace!!
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Rumsfield doesn't seem to understand freedom of the press!

Gitmo: Muslim Rituals Finished for Three Who Hanged Themselves
    By Carol Rosenberg
    The Miami Hearld

    Tuesday 13 June 2006

    Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba - Five Muslim men working for the U.S. military held rituals at dawn Tuesday for a trio of Arab captives who committed suicide over the weekend at this offshore prison, the military said.

    A Navy chaplain named Lt. Abuhena Saiful Islam held the 6 a.m. janaza rituals for about two and a half hours somewhere on this base, said Army Lt. Col. Lora Tucker, a prison camps spokeswoman.

    The men washed and shrouded the bodies and offered an Islamic prayer, led by Saiful Islam, an imam, or Muslim prayer leader who came from Quantico, Va., to supervise the rites.

    None of the other participants was identified. Some U.S. service members, as well as contract translators, are among the Muslims serving in the prison camps.

    No detainee had died before Saturday, when the military said guards found the three men, two Saudis and a Yemeni, hanging in their cells at Camp Delta before dawn in an apparent group suicide.

    Commanders and the Navy Criminal Investigative Service are investigating whether procedures were followed, and were appropriate, or whether the four-year-old prison project needs to revamp its rules to prevent further death.

    At the same time, the Southern Command in Miami issued a clarification Tuesday that one of the three men was represented by an attorney and had a habeas corpus petition pending in U.S. District Court, challenging his detention.

    Ali Abdullah Ahmed, 29 or 30, of Yemen, had an attorney after all, a Southcom statement said late Tuesday. The Pentagon earlier had issued a statement describing him as a "mid- to high-level al Qaeda operative," but commanders said he had never sought nor received an attorney.

    The New York Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been coordinating U.S. lawyers volunteering to represent the captives here, argues that all three men had representation.

    CCR Staff attorney Gitanjali Gutierrez said both Ahmed and a Saudi named Mani Shaman Turki al-Habardi al-Utaybi, also 29 or 30, had petitions filed under their names.

    She said the CCR considers the third man who killed himself as included in a petition it filed on behalf of unnamed detainees more than a a year ago. He was alleged Taliban fighter named Yasser Talal al Zahrani, 21, of Saudi Arabia, who would have been a teenager when he was taken to Guantánamo.

    "Ahmed's counsel are now working with his family to repatriate the man's body for burial in Yemen," said Gutierrez.

    U.S. diplomats were speaking to officials in Yemen and the Saudi kingdom to determine if the three men would be repatriated for burial.

    Navy Rear. Adm. Harry Harris Jr. said the military had obtained a fatwa, or religious ruling, that let them waive the traditional requirement of burial within 24 hours to permit an autopsy and discussion of whether they would be sent home or buried at this remote Navy base in southeast Cuba.

    Also Tuesday, the military ordered all independent news media off the base by 10 a.m. Wednesday, and had arranged a flight to Miami to expedite their departure.

    A two-sentence email to reporters for The Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times, citing a directive from the Office of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, stated: ``Media currently on the island will depart on Wednesday, 14 June 2006 at 10:00 a.m. Please be prepared to depart the CBQ [quarters] at 8:00 a.m."

    The correspondents came down to the base on Saturday to cover the aftermath of the suicides, at the invitation of the admiral in charge of the prison. The Pentagon canceled the invitation Tuesday night, despite protests from the newspapers.