Monday, December 31, 2007

Going out with a Bang

There isn't much to be optimistic about in 2008, politics-wise. Asking one to choose among the current batch of Candidates (particularly the front-runners) is akin to being asked what kind of grenade you want to lay down on - it's going to hurt like hell no matter what you say.

But the award this year for transparent politicking must go to Huckabee, who held a press conference to announce that he was taking the high road and not airing negative ads in Iowa, which is what Mitt Romney is doing to rebuild his lead in the state. That's all well and good, but then he takes it a step further. He apparently didn't think people would believe that a Baptist preacher could stoop to such levels when campaigning, because he then decided to show one of the negative ads the Huckabee campaign made to the throng of political reporters who were at the conference - to show what kind of stuff he wouldn't be doing.

What was he hoping to accomplish by airing this ad - in a room full of tape recorders and TV cameras recording? Am I just too much of a Cynic because I immediately jump to the conclusion that he was making an attempt to get his commercial on the air at newstime all across the state without buying ad time? Is it wrong that I think he's trying to have his cake and eat it, too? That he's trying to show how HE was being the good candidate while getting the negative ad out there at the same time?

I can't stand negative campaigning. But the duplicitous nature of this makes my stomach turn even more.

The End of the Year

How did you spend the last day of 2007?

We spent the day at the Zoo with Photog and Mrs. Photog and the rugrats. It was a nice way to close out 2007, which turned out to be a rather productive year. The Young'uns had a great time; running from exhibit to exhibit, nary a resting moment among them. The Photogs had a great time watching the rugrats running about - They like their parenting in small doses, and a few hours with our kids can fill people's needs for weeks. At any rate, we got to see the Lions, the Tigers, the Elephants, the Okapi, Meercats, Koalas, a 3-finned sea turtle, a Terrapin ("giraffe turtle"), and plenty of other critters. Afterwards, we went to Mission Burritos, a restaurant I'd never eaten at before. It was pretty good; a nice, filling burrito that I got to share with the Apple - who somehow is still awake after 4 hours Zooing and then driving around Houston for another.

The Princess is in bed - she was going to stay up, but she decided to break a lightbulb, so she gets to sleep in the New Year. Ironically, my punishment for the evening, for whatever I may have done, is that I DON'T get to sleep in the New Year, and rather, get to stay up late making sure the other two children don't electrocute themselves, each other, or the house.

It's been a busy year. I started out in New Orleans, helping those who couldn't help themselves. I graduated from Law School, got an internship at a local bank, got a new (used) car (and donated the Escort) went deep sea fishing, took and passed the Bar, drove halfway across the country and back, got a (temporary) job, saw the Princess get through Pre-K and start Kindergarten, saw The Boy get his 5th straight All A report card; got the Apple Potty Trained, and watched the spouse move jobs to a place where she appears to be less taken for granted.

It's not really a surprise that I would end the ratrace that was 2007 with a family trip to the zoo, I guess. It was a good year. I hope your 2007 was good, and may all of your 2008 be even better.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Top Ten Lists

I'm a bit of a proponent of Separation of Church and State, as some of you may have picked up. As such, I thought it excellent that Religion Clause Blogspot would post a top ten list of developments in Church-State and Exercise of Religion.

All very interesting.

If nobody knows it, is it History?

Almost certainly. And of course, I don't mean nobody; I mean very few people. I mean, show of hands - until this posting how many of you (a) - have heard of the Flushing Remonstrance on December 27, 1657 and (b) - know what it was? I didn't.

But it is undoubtedly a very important moment in the history of what is our Nation. The (really) abbreviated version reads as follows: the citizens of Flushing, New Amsterdam, when told to not allow Quakers into their community, wrote and signed a document effectively saying "screw that! They're people, too, even if they don't believe the way we do." And so the town let the Quakers in.

As I said, that is the very abbreviated version. A more thorough telling can be found here (on Americans United, where I first read about it). And they link to this NY Times Op-ed where they first read about it.

Osama Bin Laden speaks

He has released a tape that warns Sunnis in Iraq to not fight against Al-Qaeda. This might lend credence to the proffering that the Al Qaeda network is on the ropes in Iraq.

While I am pleased to hear that the Surge has helped to some extent (the Government still is not working together, so I can't say it's a success, but it is making positive steps), I think it's odd that the person who we declared as the chief terrorist when we started the War of Terror is now giving advice to those fighting in the war in Iraq that we started before we finished the first war. I think that this tape that was released shows remarkably clearly what will be the Bush legacy - our target using our detour to his advantage.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I miss San Angelo

Sometimes. While I don't want to live there again (it's really just a little too far removed from life) I do get to missing the quiet existence that is San Angelo.

I miss that the top stories in the news are not about murders, fires, or corruption, but more often, they are about restaurant closings (and Zentner's was a bit of an icon), or deflated Christmas Decorations attributed to vandals.

There's just something about quiet country-like living that appeals to me.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Busy Morning Part 2

It's been a busy week, and this is a busy morning. We've got the kids (mostly) ready for daycare, and then I have to take Grandma to the Airport before I find my way in to work. I also have an infected cyst on my neck (which I'm sure you all want to hear about) that makes eating and turning my head painful.

But if I make a doctor's appointment, then I have to miss work, and if I miss work, I don't get paid, and if I don't get paid... well, you get the idea.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve!

From This Link

By Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Cruising for a Bruising

President Bush might be, what with his audacity - imagine making a statement in favor of those who celebrate Kwanzaa. How dare he acknowledge that there are those in this country who celebrate something other than Christmas or Chanukah? I guess he can afford to, what with there being no fear of losing the Religious Right vote; but still, a Republican accepting a celebration of something other than God? I'm amazed.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Yes, Virginia

I posted this last year, and the year before. But, if anyone still isn't convinced:

From this link.

Dear Editor - I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so. Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity of devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your live its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be not childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to have men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to chatch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Clause, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men taht ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

So nice

So on Friday, we decided to go out to dinner. We ate at James Coney Island, which is a Houston institution. I like the chili cheese coneys; the wife tolerates the hamburgers, and the kids get to have fun not eating whatever they decide they want to watch get cold on their plates.

Then, after dinner, we had to stop at JoAnn fabric, so that Gramma could get some sewing stuff (I can't get any more descriptive than that, as all sewing stuff if "sewing stuff" to me), and the kids could run around on the sidewalk getting themselves nice and tired. But we weren't quite ready to go home yet after that. So we decided to go shopping for furniture. We had more or less intended on just browsing, as we have done at so many other stores, and The Dump was a place that had tons of sofas. We searched through the store, and managed to find a sofa-loveseat combo that the wife and I both didn't dislike. It's actually very comfortable, with firm fabric, and a nice neutral color, not to mention it was about 40% off. So, at about 8:45 on Friday evening, while so many people are getting ready to go out and par-tay; the wife and I were finalizing the teflon protection on the new living room furniture that was to be delivered today - between 9 and 3. Of course, we expected the delivery to come at 3, so imagine our surprise when the phone rant at 10, saying they'd be here in about 30-45 minutes.

The furniture is still comfortable, a bit larger than we remembered in the store, and we have all had a really sitty morning.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Random Trivia

Fish have no salivary glands.

Interesting Concept, but no

Dallas has an Institute for Creation Research. They are, as the name implies, an entity dedicated to Creationism. They believe in it, and teach it. As such, they reject the concept of evolution.

Now, because they are a Creationist outfit, they are, of course, interested in getting Creationism into the schools. The spin is that this time, they are not pushing to get this in primary school, but rather, they wish to push this concept as a Master's Degree Program - complete with requiring students to "profess a faith in the literal translation of biblical Creation." Of course, what this really is is an attempt to legitimize the concept of teaching Creationism in schools, as state support would make it "real." Apparently, this is because the Creationist's grasp on their own faith is so tenuous that they cannot believe in it without the support of the Government. Or at least, it's because they need to foist their beliefs on everyone in this Country, and getting the support of the government in one manner is the first step up the Theocracy staircase. Whatever their agenda is, it's wrong.

Now, I have no problem with Creationism. I tend to believe it myself. But, not everybody does. And it's not scientific. It's faith-based. And when you are dealing with faith and religion, I think that is a personal matter that needs to be kept as far from Government intrusion as possible, so that people can reach whatever conclusion they want. And to adopt a Master's Program on Creation Science, while a clever idea, as a Master's degree carries somewhat more weight than an undergraduate degree, is still wrong.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Did CIA break
Judge's order with the tapes?
Did Bush say do so?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fit and Trim

The kids were fit to be tied last night, but it's not their fault. We put the tree up. Which meant that they had to try to curtail their glee while everything was being put together and the lights were hung. Actually, the kids couldn't curb their enthusiasm, as they managed to decorate the bottom foot of the tree while we tried to string the lights. Finally, we got it up and decorated, and the kids managed to get a few good pictures taken of themselves.

All things considered, it was a pretty good evening, with virtually no swearing.

We're pretty excited about Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It may be Merry after all

After getting up at 3:05, driving in two cars to three different stores and waiting in line for five hours, we were number 13 in a line with a supply of 30 for the ONLY thing The Boy wanted this year. He's going to be happy; and that makes it worthwhile.

I felt bad for the 31st guy to show up.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I'm tired.

And I need to go to the store. And I need to see if I have to go to another store. And then I have to see if I can finish Christmas shopping.

Fortunately, Gramma made it in safe. She spent the day entertaining while I went to work and put in a couple hours of overtime. Then we went to look at furniture, because our sofa and chair have not just seen better days, but they look like poster children for mandatory furniture euthenasia.

Then we went to dinner, and had some decent Texas Barbecue. It wasn't the best I've ever had (Old Tyme Pit Bar-b-q holds that distinction), but it was all right. We ended the day by driving around passing houses with Christmas lights while the children ignored them and made louder and louder inane syllabic sounds to nobody until Dad lost his patience and made everyone go home and brush their teeth with the nasty toothpaste that isn't really as bad as the kids play at it being.

Now I need to go to the grocery store. We need cereal and sandwich fixins. And at some point I'm going to have to locate a place to sleep.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Congress Shall Make No Law

But there's nothing keeping them from nonbinding resolutions.
I have complained about nonbinding resolutions in the past, particularly in Missouri a year or two ago. This time, I'm not so much complaining about the resolution (though I am), but rather, like Lauren Smith at Americans United, I'm complaining about the actions of one Republican Congressman. You see, Representative Steve King (R-IA) sponsored a resolution recognizing "the importance of Christmas and the Christian Faith," describing Christmas as "a holiday of great significance to Americans."

While I tend to think that these resolutions are, well, stupid, I have a different reason to be annoyed at this one, as Ms. Smith points out on this article. I'm annoyed because while Rep. King saw fit to sponsor this resolution, he apparently determined it important to NOT VOTE on the nonbinding resolutions that recognized Ramadan as a "month of fasting and spiritual renewal," and on the resolution recognizing Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains, and described as of "great significance" to Indians and South Asian Americans.

Ms. Smith cites former justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and I will repost the quote here, because I think it is quite poignant, not just in this situation, but in a general approach to religion and government altogether: "Governmental endorsements of religion send a strong mesage that adherents are "favored members of the political community." Justice O'Connor also noted that nonbelievers of that religion are "outsiders, [or] not full members of the political community."

Someone might point out that Rep. King did not vote against the resolutions for Diwali and Ramadan, here just didn't vote. Well, that's great. But he did sponsor the resolution for Christianity. Put the actions together, and how does that not create the appearance of endorsement of religion? Another example, from a deposition I once read:
Q: Did you ever spend the night with that man in New York?
A: I refuse to answer that question.
Q: Did you ever spend the night with that man in Miami?
A: I refuse to answer that question.
Q: Did you ever spend the night with that man in Chicago?
A: No.

If you were a Muslim or a Hindu in Rep. King's district (and I recognize there might not be many in the greater Iowa area), would you feel that your interests were being considered by your Congressional Representative? Or would you feel oppressed under the tyranny of the majority? His actions in this situation were wrong in this situation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

From Bad to Worse

As if it's bad enough to have cats that can see in the dark. Now, Koreans are making cats that you can see in the dark. How is this scientific progress? If this is how the world was supposed to evolve, the Intelligent Designer would have made his own glow in the dark cats.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

He killed himself a bar when he was only 3!

But his kin didn't do quite as well. Nope. Not Tre Merritt. He killed himself a bar when he was five. I still think that's rather impressive.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I know I'm offended.

There's a bit of a story in Texas because of the TEA's forcing the resignation of the science curriculum director over sending an e-mail mentioning the discussion by a proponent of intelligent design.

Apparently the state's education commissioner was obliged to defend the actions of the TEA. You see, he was concerned because what Chris Comer (the former science curriculum director) wrote could be construed to mean that evolution was the position the TEA was taking as an agency. He was also concerned, because, as he says in the Dallas Morning News "We teach evolution. It's part of our curriculum. But you can be in favor of a science without bashing people's faith, too."

I can see the grounds for concern. After all, when a person writes "FYI," it just screams bible basher. FYI being the only three letters she wrote on the e-mail that ended in her resignation. This is ridiculous.

Oh there's no place like home for the holidays

And there's nothing better than a HoneyBaked Ham. Really. The best ham out there.

I'm ready to get in the Christmas Spirit. But I'm having trouble. I know part of it is the non-wintry weather that visits Houston each year.

But, on the bright side, I get to write a big fat check to the state now for the right to be sued for malpractice.

And the kids have only screamed marginally a lot today.

And I cancelled my internets, because we got faster internets.

I want cookies. Or ice cream.

The children's school pictures are scanned. Someday we'll get pictures of the Apple.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I have heard it said from dozens, perhaps scores of people - that because we have succeeded in getting some information from a couple of those who we have subjected to harsh interrogation (or torture, depending on who defines it), that justifies the continued practice.

I don't necessarily get that connection. First off - we are in a nation where you are supposed to be presumed innocent. And when we subject suspected ANYONES to harsh interrogation, let alone those who are not charged with anything, then that kills that presumption. But even more importantly, in my mind, is the idea that because it worked once, it is the method we should use.

I mean, really. We are fairly sure we know where Osama Bin Laden is. He's currently somewhere in the Middle East. Knowing this, it's entirely logical to assume that we can get rid of him by dropping nuclear weapons on the entirety of the Middle East. Even if he did survive the bombing, he would have thousands of square miles of radiation to try to get through to be able to do anything, and the Electromagnetic Pulse that the bombs would generate would probably wipe out most of any of the communications equipment he'd have available.

And, by bombing the middle east, we'd get rid of that pesky Iranian Nuclear weapons program that's threatening to start World War III by - oh, wait.

But the thing is - even though it would be effective, it's still wrong. And that is why we don't do it. And we should be better than this; better than even having to deny or defend it. We should not be doing it.

And we should have a president who's aware of what's going on, and of the oversight of what's going on.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sage Advice

The letter reads in part as follows:
As Americans of faith, we also see a dangerous assault on the true meaning of this sacred day. But our outrage has little to do with a few examples of people saying ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas.’ We believe the real assault on Christmas is how a season of peace, forgiveness and goodwill has been sidelined by a focus on excessive consumerism.

The powerful message Christ brings to the world is ‘good news for the poor.’ Instead, Christmas is being reduced to a corporate-sponsored holiday that idolizes commerce and materialism. Shopping and gift giving are meaningful traditions that can express the season’s values, but perspective is lost when relentless advertising and maxed-out credit cards define the holiday. It’s time to reclaim the virtue of shared sacrifice for the common good.

To focus on how department stores greet customers at a time when American soldiers are dying in Iraq and 37 million of our neighbors live in poverty is a distraction from the profound moral challenges we face in confronting the real threats to human dignity in our world.

It was addressed to members of the Religious Right like Dr. James Dobson, who held his "don't shop at these stores because they dare to accept that there are other religions, beliefs, and holidays besides Christmas" speech on his radio show, according to Americans United (where I got the excerpts from the above speech).

I'm pleased that there are those who have not lost focus on what the holidays are supposed to mean. While I am not without fault when it comes to the holidays and remembering the reason for the season, I do take time to remember. And the last thing I think of when thinking of Christmas is "which stores have offended me by not endorsing my view on which is the correct religion?" I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who gets that.

Friday, December 07, 2007

It's December 7

Read. Remember.

An ounce of prevention

The Princess put on Sleeping Beauty this evening to watch. It's been a while since I've watched it, but I did watch some of it. Particularly the part where the witch came and put the curse on the Princess. I'm sure you remember - that the Princess would prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die on her 16th birthday (then commuted to a deep sleep by one of the good fairies). The King then made the command decision to protect the daughter by having every spinning wheel in the country destroyed.

Of course, on her 16th birthday, the princess finds herself in front of a spinning wheel, and, of course, pricks her finger.

I see this and I think - well, wouldn't there have been a better way to go about this? Such as teaching the princess how to use a spinning wheel, and then maybe telling her to avoid them on her birthday? That way, she is aware of what could happen, and, if she finds herself so situated, at least she is prepared to handle it.

In other news, teen birth rates are up.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tie goes to the runner

The question is, who is the runner?

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday on the level of due process that should be afforded to the Guantanamo Bay detainees. Reportedly, this was one of the most memorable oral arguments in recent memory.

It looks like this is going to be another 5-4 decision, and by all accounts I've read, Kennedy looks to be the swing vote.

According to the article linked above, Justice Scalia seems to think that because there is not one case directly on point for granting habeas to foreigners being held by the U.S. on foreign soil, then the detainees should not be granted habeas. He could be right, but, as Seth Waxman, arguing for the detainees pointed out, that might not matter, as the Court ruled in Rasul v. Bush that Guantanamo Bay is essentially U.S. soil.

These detainees have been held for 6 years without the right to challenge their detention and without charges being brought.

Arguing for the state was Paul Clement, who noted that with the new review process, which can go as far as the U.S. Court of Appeals for DC, each detainee is entitled to a personal representative during a status review process. But Justice Souter pointed out that this representative is required to report anything negative about the individual back to the military - which does not encourage the individual to share, particularly on ambiguous items.

Waxman pointed to the insufficiency of this review process. He discussed a German named Kornaz who was freed from Guantanamo becaue 1. he had a lawyer (not guaranteed by the current appeals process), and 2. he was able to get information about the charges against him, which he was then able to prove was false.

I can't believe that the person had to dig to learn what charges were being levied against him while he was being held by our Government. How would he have raised even a reasonable doubt argument, let alone innocence, if he never even knew the charges against him? Is "necessity" such an obstacle that we have to let innocent men sit in a prison on an island thousands of miles from their home for an indefinite time - because we are at war with an idea? These men, even the innocent ones, are looking at an indefinite detention (basically a prison sentence without a release date) until we win the war on "terror," which cannot be won until there is no more terror, which is impossible to determine, because there is no way to adequately define terror or a terrorist. As I've heard said on more than one occasion, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." It's wrong, completely wrong, to hold individuals until the end of one person's (Bush), or nation's (the United States) interpretation of a word arrives.

But from a legal standpoint, which I think the detainees should win, I'm not sure Kennedy has been convinced.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A fair trial? Not on his life

Some of you might be familiar with one Salim Ahmed Hamdan. He was Osama bin Laden's driver. His was the case the Supreme Court ruled that the President cannot invoke the law of war without being bound by the law of war (The bitter with the sweet). He was charged with conspiracy to commit a crime that didn't exist.

He won the case and so he went back to Guantanamo Bay to await a new trial, or indeterminate detention. As it turned out he went in for a new trial. The defense lawyers, seeking to bring the best possible defense to cause reasonable doubt, wished to bring a couple high profile witnesses, high level Al Qaeda operatives who could testify that bin Laden's driver was not a hard core member of Al Qaeda and should not be subjected to the military tribunals that the prisoners of war are subjected to (and for those of you who cling to the false premise that these are not prisoners of war, I can't really help you other than to say that the President invoked the law of war, and then tried to find a loophole by announcing he declared war on an idea, which is wrong. These people are still bound by Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions, as are we).

Anyway, they were denied. Why were they denied? Security obstacles. What a great, vague term to use for denying someone their best possible defense. Now, the judge did say he would allow the defense the opportunity to call another witness - a Moroccan who was arrested with Hamdan. Because we all know that one witness is as good as another.

What have we become? Are we so desperate to vindicate our detention of these people without charge and indefinitely that we need to start denying them the best defenses available?

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Frost came yesterday
And the Boy's lost two jackets
And a sweatshirt too.

As always, I look forward to your responses.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Attend the Tale of Sweeney Todd

I plan on it. According to this review on Yahoo, though, it looks to be a little darker and less humorous than the stage version (which I REALLY would like to see). At any rate, it sounds like it's going to be a good show, though apparently there are doubts as to whether there will be much of an audience.

I'm going to be there as, I am guessing, will Heatherfeather (though I'm not sure).

Monday, December 03, 2007

Wow, I ache

It'd been about 2 1/2 months since I'd been to the gym. Boy, did I feel it.

I hurt more today than I did either of the previous two days, partly because I did lower body yesterday after cardio, which seems to pain me a little more. But, I needed it. What I need to do now is find a way to get in to the gym one or two times during the week as well.

On the good news side of things, I got a pay raise, effective next pay period. This is good, because it means more money. It's also good because that means it's more likely that they are looking to keep me around a little longer, which means I can go longer before looking for a new job.

Now I need to figure out what to get my wife for Christmas.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Watch out for a Government that tells you what to think

I was looking at Americans United today, reading the blog as I do a couple, three times a week. I found this article by Rob Boston rather interesting. It notes that an official in the Texas Education Administration (TEA), a director of science curriculum was fired. It's not so much that she was fired that is the issue. Rather it's the reason she was fired. She sent an e-mail. Not porn. Not profanity. Nothing critical of the President. Nothing critical of the education system in Texas.

No. What she did was far more heinous. She sent an FYI e-mail about a presentation by one of the co-authors of the book "Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design."

You see, this book is critical of the entire Intelligent Design movement. And we can't have science officials sending e-mails that might look like they don't endorse Intelligent Design here in the Great State. Or, as senior adviser on statewide initiatives for the TEA Lizzette Reynolds put it, "This is highly inappropriate. I believe this is an offense that calls for termination or, at the very least, reassignment of responsibilities."

Essentially, Ms. Reynolds had a big hand in Chris Comer's termination because someone offered an opportunity to view an opinion that did not match what she wanted.

I still stand by my assertion that I want religious education to come by my religion of choice, not from some government approved line feed. It troubles me that there are so many in this country that want the government to tell them what religious aspects they should believe. But it doesn't surprise me. And that's the shame of it all.

Meeting Santa

We are going to meet Santa today at the YMCA. He's going to be there between 12 and 3. Hopefully the line won't be too long, as the kids are excited to see the jolly old elf. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to get another good workout in. I need to find a way to get back in the habit of going somewhat regularly. Maybe I'll go in on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

In other news, we need a babysitter for Saturday night. Any takers?

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I've been rather busy today. First off, I got up early. This isn't so much an accomplishment as a force of habit. I don't know that I could sleep in if I wanted to.

So we got to work. The wife took They Boy out for breakfast while I went to the gym for the first time in 2 months. I feel bad for not getting in, but the only time I can really schedule a trip is on the weekends, and since I started my job, those have been booked pretty solid. I know I'm making an excuse, but I think it's a legitimate one. Anyway, I found out I weigh essentially the same (about a 1/2 - 1 pound difference) than I did before my sabbatical, which really made me feel good, and I got a decent, though not great, workout, because though I haven't gained weight, I have lost cardio fitness.

Then I got home, and we had to take the wife's minivan in to get checked out. There have been some problems recently, and we've needed to get it in, and today was that day. So we loaded the kids in the minivan and the wife followed me in my car to get hers to the car guy. When she got stuck one red light behind me, I decided to stop at the hardware store and get a new dryer hose so that we could perhaps have clothes dry in less than 3 hours. I approached this with some trepidation, due to my last encounter with the demon dryer, but it had to be done. So I got the hose and pulled into the car shop just as the wife was calling me to figure out where I was, as she already dropped her car off (I only lost about 4 minutes, so it wasn't a long detour). Then we went to the grocer to buy some pizza rolls and coke (because while I'm trying to get in better shape, I'm not trying THAT hard), and went home where there were tasks to be accomplished.

So the wife immediately took a shower. I used this time to get all the kids occupied on random games while I sorted out what I needed to do. First up was the cat litter. I'm not certain, but I'd bet if I actually killed, skinned and sold the cats as "teriyaki" at a 3rd Ward seafood restaurant ("You buy, we fry!"), then 3 weeks later, I'd still find myself changing the litter box. Now, to be fair, I wouldn't kill or skin the cats, and I wouldn't sell them to a seafood restaurant unless I got a pretty good offer for them, but you get the idea. After changing the cat litter, I had to sweep the area so that I could move the dryer out to accomplish The Feat. I managed to change the dryer hose with a minimum of swearing (actually with nary a curse), and, being the multitasker I am, I managed to take out the pizza rolls, serve them, and place the new batch in the oven at the same time. Then I went upstairs and glued one of the broken crossbeams on the Apple's bed. As soon as I got this taken care of, the second batch of pizza rolls were done, so I put them on the plate for the kids to attack, and discovered that the Wife was getting out of the shower (this suggests that I finished quickly, not that she showers slowly).

After we picked up the wife's minivan, which we will have to take back in next Saturday, because they needed to order the part and we need both cars, we got home and I got to refill her tires, which have been running low on air for a couple months. They didn't need much air, but they did need air. Fortunately, the Apple decided to come out and help. Unfortunately, he decided to come out and help with no pants or underwear on. Fortunately, after I sent him back in, he did a giggling jig and ran off. Unfortunately, he didn't go right back in the house, instead he stood next to the patio gate and played until I checked on him and sent his giggling naked butt inside.

Now we're just biding time until dinner. I'm ready for bed.