Friday, March 16, 2007


(something less serious)

A few weeks ago the annual garden show hit town. Lots of nice indoor displays of gardens (forced blooms, perhaps, but pretty nonetheless). It gets one thinking of spring, even if it is a tad too early for actually working outside.

Then, this past weekend, was the annual "Bloomin' Days" sale at one of the local garden centers. They always seem to get a nice, unseasonably warm, weekend for this sale. It was tempting to buy too many annuals, but they'd surely get zapped by a late season frost. I still managed to spend nearly $200 in two visits, ending up with a couple indoor plants, some nice new shrubs, and a handful of perennials. I spent all day Sunday outside working on planting some of the items, although I still have a lot more work to do. It doesn't help that I get easily distracted, moving from one task to another while I'm outside during these early days of spring.

In the meantime, the crocus and iris bulbs I planted last year are popping up, and the daffodils that have been around since I bought this house are in full bloom. There are small buds forming on last year's hydrangeas that I'd given up for dead, and even the azalea twig that I coated with rooting hormone and stuck in the ground is proving to be hale and hearty.

Last night, for the first time this year, I was able to sleep with the back door from my bedroom open, and I woke up this morning to the sound of dozens of birds - including the neighbor's rooster, although even that wasn't annoying me this morning.

I aim to make the best of this spring season, before we settle in to the unbearably humid days of a typical central Virginia summer.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Big Mouth, Small Brain

Once every week or two, I get some ridiculous forwarded email from my parents. This week it was some chucklehead's diatribe about new dollar coin being issued this year. The email, complete with misspellings and unresearched "information" screams bloody murder because, allegedly, the phrase "In God We Trust" is missing. GASP! Now personally, I don't really need four words on a coin to affirm my belief system. Hell, I can barely read those tiny letters anyway. But maybe Mister Screaming Looney should have actually done some research, like oh say at this page which clearly shows that not only is the sacred phrase not missing, but is included in a new and interesting way, creating a new style of US coin.

Part of the email screed stated "I don't know who first came up with the idea of putting 'In God We Trust' on coins . . . " Hmmm, a little less time writing unfounded calls for boycotts in multicolor 24 point fonts and a simple lookup on Wikipedia would have let him know that it was Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, in response to a letter from a concerned citizen. Ah, but never let the facts get in the way. (More details here).

In the meantime, do you think Mr. Looney who originated the email might be taking the time to communicate with his congressional representatives about the dishonorable way the wounded troops have been treated at places like Walter Reed? No, I guess that's left to liberal pinko homos like me.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Liar Liar

I have been keeping an eye on the stories about the firings of seven U.S. attorneys last year. Aside from the involvement of the White House, and the possibility that politics played a part in the firings, there is something else that came to light yesterday which bothers me.

One of the attorneys fired was David Iglesias of New Mexico. He has stated that he received two calls from congresspeople pressuring him on certain cases he was working on. Last week, when Senator Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) was asked about this, he reportedly said "I have no idea what he's talking about."

Suddenly yesterday, Sen. Domenici said that he did, indeed, call Atty. Iglesias, although he denies having applied any pressure. How interesting that he had this urge to set the matter straight, a day before Atty. Iglesias was to testify before Congress, having previously made clear that he would name names if requested to do so under oath. The Senator also says "In retrospect, I regret making that call and I apologize."

Well that's real nice, Senator, but what about the GIANT LIE you told about the whole thing last week? That part where you said "I have no idea what he's talking about." Do you regret that? Would you like to apologize for that? You know, apologize for lying to the press, your constituents and the rest of the world. Or perhaps we are just to accept that lying is a normal day to day occurrence in your life as a Senator? If so, I hope the people in your state throw you out on your ear the next chance they get.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Support The Troops

A recent tactic of those who - for some unfathomable reason- actually support the Iraq War, has been to get military personnel to tell us that "if you don't support the war, you don't support the troops." Well, sorry, but I'll continue to be an evil liberal and stick with the original line. I most certainly do NOT support the war. It is abundantly clear that the justifications given for the initial invasion were complete lies and that nobody took the time to understand the political and cultural issues that would arise after once we reached "mission accomplished." Nevertheless, I do, in general, support the men and women who have been forced to take part in the war. I support them by wanting them to be home with their families and other loved ones. I support them by wanting those who serve to be able to do so without being subject to discrimination. And I support them by wanting those who have been injured in the course of this ridiculous war to be able to receive only the best of care when they arrive back in the US. On the other hand, I don't particularly support the Special Forces guy I met while living near Fort Benning who loudly proclaimed "all the hajii's loved us!" He was just a moron.

[N.B. some links below may require registration. Try BugMeNot for your user id / password needs]

Reprentative Martin Meehan (D-Mass.) has introduced H.R. 1246 to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." His bill has 109 co-sponsors, even some fairly high-profile Republican representatives, such as Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.). More details of the bill can be found by searching THOMAS.

We are lucky now to have a high profile Marine coming out and bringing attention to this fight. Read the story of Eric Alva here. Or read the stories of others who have been discharged from the military at the Servicemember's Legal Defense Network.

It is incredibly easy to contact your own congressperson using the forms at the Write Your Representative page. You don't even have to know who he or she is (although, of course you should); if you know your address, the page will direct your message to the right person.

Here is the text of the message I sent this morning to my congressman:

To The Honorable Eric Cantor

I have just read that Rep. Meehan of Massachusetts has presented H.R. 1246 to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. In researching the bill, I see that over one hundred of your peers have signed on as co-sponsors, including several in the Republican party.

Ideally, I would like to see you become a co-sponsor as well; at the very least I urge you to support the passage of this bill to end discrimination. At a time when the need for qualified military personnel is perhaps greater than it has ever been before, discharge of soldiers under this policy is simply indefensible. There is a fundamental dichotomy in asking gay and lesbian soldiers to fight for our rights and freedoms and then to deny them their own freedom to live without fear of discrimination.

If for any reason at all you do not plan to support this bill, I would like to know the reasons why.

In other military-related news, The Washington Post is reporting that Top Officials Knew about the deplorable conditions at some parts of Walter Reed hospital (as previously reported in the WaPo on 18 February). It was stunning to read that not only have officials apparently known of the problems, but even now they are seeking to continue the cover-up -- "This week, in a move that some soldiers viewed as reprisal for speaking to the media, the wounded troops were told that early-morning room inspections would be held and that further contact with reporters is prohibited."

Since I'm on a roll today in writing to people in Congress, I chose to address this issue with both of my Senators, Warner and Webb.

Here is that text:

Senator [Webb/Warner]:

I was quite shocked to read the Washington Post's recent stories about the deplorable conditions that some veterans have to endure at parts of Walter Reed hospital. It seemed, however, that appropriate steps were being taken to address the issues. This morning, though, I have been even more shocked to read the latest in the Post, indicating that top ranking officials have known about the problems for years and seem to have actively ignored them, possibly even worked to cover up detection of these issues.

From what I've read, I see that low-ranking personnel have been discharged, while the upper ranks do all they can to shirk responsibility. It is all to reminiscent of Abu Ghraib. A culture grows that allows these things to happen, but the people in command won't take any blame.

I urge you to push hard for investigations into what has been going on. The soldiers who have been injured in fighting for our country deserve no less.

Thank you.

UPDATE: After I wrote this post at work this morning, it was announced that the general in command at Walter Reed had been relieved of command. Still not enough in my eyes, as the guy they've put in place temporarily is one who seems to have been trying to whitewash the whole issue. Nonetheless it's a small step in the right direction.