June 13th, 2008

alan's beach photo

Good Morning!

The fog sits softly on the hill.  It has been away so long its re-entry is gentle.

Steve and I realize this morning that having our "baby" get married is stressful.

I am nurturing, like baby chicks, 21 tiny redwood and sequoia trees.  My nurturing instinct is in full bloom.

I am planning to bake hundreds and hundreds of cookies for the barbecue that is the day before the wedding.

It is my way to let go, to release, to honor this tradition of my son uniting with his bride.

I am thrilled that justice and freedom triumphed in the Supreme Court and that sanity and humanity begin to return to this country.

I am shocked that the Clinton's still claim there was sexism in their media coverage.  I saw no sign of that at all.  If anything I thought the media bent over backwards to go the other way so there would not be that appearance.

Bill and Hillary can certainly be given the "poor losers" award for the year.  I continue to read that is is sad to see Hillary destroying her legacy with her behavior in this last year.  It is not becoming, nor are Bill's rants.  It is not what we need right now.

Here is the NY Times on the Supreme Court decision, and how important our presidential vote is in determining the Supreme Court and the law of the land.


Justice 5, Brutality 4

Published: June 13, 2008

For years, with the help of compliant Republicans and frightened Democrats in Congress, President Bush has denied the protections of justice, democracy and plain human decency to the hundreds of men that he decided to label “unlawful enemy combatants” and throw into never-ending detention.

Twice the Supreme Court swatted back his imperial overreaching, and twice Congress helped Mr. Bush try to open a gaping loophole in the Constitution. On Thursday, the court turned back the most recent effort to subvert justice with a stirring defense of habeas corpus, the right of anyone being held by the government to challenge his confinement before a judge.

The court ruled that the detainees being held in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have that cherished right, and that the process for them to challenge their confinement is inadequate. It was a very good day for people who value freedom and abhor Mr. Bush’s attempts to turn Guantánamo Bay into a constitutional-rights-free zone.

The right of habeas corpus is so central to the American legal system that it has its own clause in the Constitution: it cannot be suspended except “when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Despite this, the Bush administration repeatedly tried to strip away habeas rights. First, it herded prisoners who were seized in Afghanistan, and in other foreign countries, into the United States Navy base at Guantánamo Bay and claimed that since the base is on foreign territory, the detainees’ habeas cases could not be heard in the federal courts. In 2004, the court rejected that argument, ruling that Guantánamo, which is under American control, is effectively part of the United States.

In 2006, the court handed the administration another defeat, ruling that it had relied improperly on the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 to hold the detainees on Guantánamo without giving them habeas rights. Since then, Congress passed another law, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that tried — and failed horribly — to fix the problems with the Detainee Treatment Act.

Now, by a 5-to-4 vote, the court has affirmed the detainees’ habeas rights. The majority, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, ruled that the Military Commissions Act violates the Suspension Clause, by eliminating habeas corpus although the requirements of the Constitution — invasion or rebellion — do not exist.

The court ruled that the military tribunals that are hearing the detainees’ cases — the administration’s weak alternative to habeas proceedings in a federal court — are not an adequate substitute. The hearings cut back on basic due process protections, like the right to counsel and the right to present evidence of innocence.

It was disturbing that four justices dissented from this eminently reasonable decision. The lead dissent, by Chief Justice John Roberts, dismisses habeas as “most fundamentally a procedural right.” Chief Justice Roberts thinks the detainees receive such “generous” protections at their hearings that the majority should not have worried about whether they had habeas rights.

There is an enormous gulf between the substance and tone of the majority opinion, with its rich appreciation of the liberties that the founders wrote into the Constitution, and the what-is-all-the-fuss-about dissent. It is sobering to think that habeas hangs by a single vote in the Supreme Court of the United States — a reminder that the composition of the court could depend on the outcome of this year’s presidential election. The ruling is a major victory for civil liberties — but a timely reminder of how fragile they are.



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Transition -

Jane wrote a beautiful poem this morning that reflects back to me my words to her these last two mornings, my words of separation from my son, that feels both frightful and also exhilarating as we each even more clearly make and define our own way.

I will probably add her poem to what I am already reading at the wedding.

I sit this morning so full with all the people I know and love, all the love and support I receive, all the blessing of my life.

It is a day for gratitude, and the celebration of love, peace, and ease.

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Thoughts -

As I respond to Joan's comments on my morning post, it occurs to me that we create a frenetic pace before a wedding to keep us from the tears, from feeling the full separation and unity, of course, that a wedding imparts, but it is so emotional even when everything is so right and on target.

As those of you who began with me know, the wedding of Jeff was complicated because Jan's parents could not accept that she was marrying a non-Chinese.  I realize that perhaps all that mobilized a distraction, and now it is just pure, raw emotion, exposed.

My "baby" is grown.  Ack!!

And he is marrying a wonderful woman and I love her, and still there is this knowing, this expanding that seeds an extra pulse in my heart.

I have entered my full, efficient mode.  I am trying to cohere my two sides, my dreamy visionary self, with my very practical do, do, do self.

Oh, my!!

I think the work of a wedding is to keep us from the tears that come when we recognize our child is grown up and we may possibly one day die.

Joan's suggestion of a massage, and the fear of that letting go, led me to the shivering lip and clattering, chattering teeth that are maybe what I needed to address.   Would I risk a Rosen session right now?  Perhaps, I should, and just her words allow me to let down a bit and feel all that simmers underneath, change, expansion, handing the mantle in some ways to those who will raise the children now.

Perhaps it is also now time to say that my good friend Marlene's daughter-in-law Katie is now in the hospital for a month for a blood-marrow transplant.  They have a blog to keep us informed, and reading of her beginning chemotherapy brings up my own experience and so I feel a little shaky there too.  She has to do this and the more we expand and the more people we embrace in our hearts, the more there is to go through with them, both beautiful and hard.

Prayers for Katie, Ian, Marlene, Ron, and their beautiful child and grandchild, Zack today and everyday for a year.

So, Joan just your mention of the word "massage" brings up all I am holding and have been holding back from feeling.

I will sit and allow myself the tears that are there, as I allow my firmly held jaw to release.

Perhaps that is what I wanted to do for Hillary, soften her jaw.

Great love and care to you all, and thanks to the insightful Joan!

ashes and snow - wings

from The Economist

An article in The Economist on "The war for the White House" ends with this paragraph. 

    "The other point is that, come the election, it is likely that no one will be paying attention to the war.  The Project for Excellence in Journalism compared network news coverage in early 2007 and 2008, and found that the share of airtime devoted to Iraq fell from 22% of the total to 4%.  If the economy continues to worsen, that share could fall even further.  Although that sounds like good news for Mr. McCain, the bad news is that his economic policies are viewed by many voters as being just as close to Mr. Bush's as his policy on Iraq."

It seems to me that since we are over there, we should be paying attention to what is going on and the news should cover it.  4% is a disgrace!

It does amaze.

blue jellyfish

from the 11 and 1/2 biggest ideas of the year -

July/August 2008 Atlantic Monthly

by Andrew Sullivan

We Tortured


When the Abu Ghraib story broke, it seemed a literally incredible spectacle. The president himself expressed shock and disbelief and argued that it was the antithesis of American values. For a while, most Americans accepted this narrative—of a few “bad apples” improvising sadism on the night shift, the kind of thing individuals sometimes do in the context of a chaotic war. But in the past year, we witnessed a tipping point in the recognition of the enormity of what had occurred. As White House memos defining torture out of existence came to light, it became empirically irrefutable that Abu Ghraib was an exception to presidential policy only insofar as it wasn’t implemented by properly authorized personnel. The president eventually conceded earlier this year that he had indeed convened a group of his closest advisers to devise and monitor “enhanced interrogation techniques” at Guantánamo Bay long before the Abu Ghraib scandal; the attorney general admitted that the president had even authorized waterboarding, a technique that easily qualifies as torture in international and domestic law. It took a few years, but finally the real narrative emerged. The myth of American torture became the fact of American torture.

But something else happened as well. The chief defenders of these methods among the presidential candidates—Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani—failed to gain traction in the primaries, and the one Republican who has consistently opposed these techniques (and who had had some of them used against him in Vietnam) won the nomination. The two leading Democratic candidates have vowed to end abusive interrogation upon coming to office. And the pseudo-legal arguments of former Bush officials such as John Yoo were both repudiated by the administration itself and subjected to withering critiques in the legal community.

We learned, in other words, that America had crossed the Geneva boundaries in the years after 9/11. We also learned that America has the resources to correct itself in the end.

laurel and hardy

Adapting to Change -

According to an article in the Pacific Sun, "The Roman Catholic Church at one time considered the fork an affront to God, who church leaders said, had already provided us with fingers for food consumption."

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The digital world -

Many digital cameras now have a smile detector and a blink detector.

You wouldn't want to take a picture where everyone wasn't smiling or looking with open eyes.

What happened to improv and the joy of "mistakes"?