Saturday, July 22, 2006

Deeper Into Hell

I'm Baaaaaccccckkkk! and War is Still Hell
This morning's Rome News Tribune has a guest editorial from the Minneapolis Star Tribune that is sobering. Basically the editorial decries the lowering of military standards necessitated by Bush's policies:
Errant, deceitful policies have placed enormous and unfair strains on our nation's treasured military. Expertly trained and impressively equipped to win wars quickly and decisively, American troops now find themselves in the role of occupiers, bogged down in a hostile land as a civil war rages around them. The vast majority continue to perform magnificently and honorably. We know of no one who doesn't "support our troops." We wish only that the president and his advisers would have considered the deeper meaning of fully and completely supporting our troops before setting in motion these tragic events.

Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sunday Seven (A Week Late)

Wrote it, forgot it. (See #1) So here it is a week late:

1. Life has been very complicated for the past week.

2. I really like and the Safari browser. It is integrated into the i-Life set of programs on Mac. It has all kinds of capabilities many of which I have hardly used yet. I'll eventually drop AOL, I guess, but I hate to lose contact with those that find genealogical queries I posted years ago and old, infrequently communicating friends, and my old AOL websites.

3. WHAT A WEEK!!!! I am totally exhausted. Brannon had agreed some time ago to teach Drama at a local Drama Camp. They were desperate for a Music Teacher. In a moment of weakness I said that if they absolutely could not find someone else, I, with Lillian's help, could do camp music. I was speaking from stark ignorance. I did not know (or, at least, did not fully appreciate): the camp includes, gulp, TEENAGERS!!! The camp includes, also, 6-to-8-year-olds!!!! The camp runs ten days from 9 till 4 and leaders have to be there 8:30 to 4:30 and till 6 one day and until about 9 the last day!! There is a full-scale production in the Auditorium on the last Friday evening. I have to go back to my real job the very next Tuesday! Parents of very hyperactive children LOVE to send them to day-camp in the summer. Did I mention that I am TOTALLY exhausted?

4. WHAT A WEEK!!!! I learned by late Wednesday morning that I can, after all, in spurts and with many stumbles, successfully deal with, gulp, TEENAGERS!!! I learned by late Wednesday morning that I can, after all, in spurts and with many stumbles, survive dealing with BILL-the-demon-8-year-old (name changed)!!! And I have learned that parents think even our unbelievably off-key, unrhythmical, poorly enunciated, sometimes monotone, a cappella performances yesterday in the cave - done by their children - were glorious seraphic seranades! Granted, with the acoustics of the cave and the motivation of an audience, emanations from the mouths of these little rascals almost resembled song at times.

5. I am so glad we have the internet during Andrew's illness. It is so helpful, with him all the way across the continent, to be able to keep up with his progress and be encouraged by the love and prayers of his many friends, relatives and their friends and relatives. When we see in the news and on many blogs of all stripes such incredibly blind hate and compassionless provincialism, it is heartening to see that we humans are also capable of love and empathy.

6. We enjoyed getting to EAT and worship and visit with our fellow Roman family members, including the newest ones, and David's and Gil's families.

7. As for my babies: I've gotten to work with both of them this week and therefore deal with them as something of colleagues for the first time.

• Lillian was a HUGE help to me in camp Mon - Weds and will help again next week. Since Thursday Lil has been off with our youth group (including Jonerbub) on the sort-of-annual Wakulla/Ginny Springs Retreat in Florida. She'll be back tomorrow. Lil attended an orientation day at Mercer a couple of weeks ago and has been communicating with her roommate via e-mail and IM. She has registered for her fall courses and has chosen to participate in Mercer's alternative Great Books curriculum. She won't decide on a major for a while. She proudly sports several Mercer articles of clothing and a Mercer sticker on her car window. She loves the campus and what she has seen so far of the professors, students, and program.

• Brannon and I have worked pretty closely together in the leadership meetings for camp and have lunch together each day at the Creekside restaurant. I think that's been educational for both of us and a little strange. After our first dinner meeting to prepare for camp, she remarked about how interesting it had been to see me dealing with others as a "friend not as a Dad". Brannon spent the week of the 4th in NYC. She interviewed with a temp agency and feels good about having gainful employment while she tries to break into the professional theatre world. She and her prospective roommate have second dibs on an apartment in Astoria (Queens). The people with first dibs are pretty uncertain, so she's hopeful that she and Cathy will get it. If not they at least have a realty person looking out for something else. And she has made her plane reservations for September, so my baby will be a New Yorker soon. Yikes!! Sheila, Lil and I are planning to spend Thanksgiving in New York visiting Bran and seeing some shows.

• Sheila and I will have an empty nest come September!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Advice for Bush

Cold Flute has some good Independence Day advice for W, including this:
On the perils of empire:
"The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necesssity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered."
—Edmund Burke, member of Parliament, 1775

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

We Hold These Truths...

Celebrating Independence Day
-- Pursuing Happiness

Terrell grills the burgers - coated in ranch dressing .
(Good idea, Beth - though I added a secret ingredient.)

Adam Climbs a tree.

Ten kids romp on the levee.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

And the bursting was in the air right over our heads and the ash fell into our laps!

Happy Independence Day-
Let Freedom Ring!

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasions from without and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;

For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;

For imposing taxes on us without our consent;

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;

For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses;

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies;

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrection among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in our attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity; and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

[Signed by] JOHN HANCOCK [President]

New Hampshire

Massachusetts Bay

Rhode Island


New York

New Jersey



CHARLES CARROLL of Carrollton.


North Carolina

South Carolina


Sunday, July 02, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

Saddening reminders at the movies

We've read most of it before, in bits and pieces over many years. We know the planet is warming. Those of us who look at evidence instead of listening to the bloviaters on Fox News or talk radio have known for years that humans are at least exacerbating the problem with our emissions and deforestation. The service that Al Gore has performed for us is to put together the facts, graphs, evidence, and pictures into a coherant whole. The movie makers have taken Gore's brillant work and made it into a fascinating - and terrifying - story.

It is saddening, even shocking, to actually see pictures of the changes in Antarctica, the Arctic Ocean, Greenland, Mount Kilmanjaro and many more locations on the earth. (Sheila and I saw the shrunken glaciers in Montana in 1979 and pics of the larger ones from earlier in the century)

It is saddening to see ice cores and graphs that illustrate irrefutably the absurdity of the Limbaughs of the world who dismiss the warming as part of a natural cycle.

It is saddening to have driven home, again, the stark tragedy of the 2000 election.

The movie should win awards for the creative storytellng, but more importantly it will bring attention to possibly the most critical issue of our time.

You owe it to yourself and our posterity to see this movie.