Friday, February 27, 2009
States' Rights and the Politics of Pot
- The San Francisco Chronicle (02-26) 20:00 PST San Francisco -- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is sending strong signals that President Obama - who as a candidate said states should be allowed to make their own rules on medical marijuana - will end raids on pot dispensaries in California.
Right to Die
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The Seasons: Cherry Blossoms and Spring
Images of Yangmingshan flower festival in Taipei, Taiwan, published by the Guardian UK, reminded me that I took a few pictures when I saw blossoms appear on cherry trees in my neighbor's yard. That was early in February....on the 7th. We had a dry, almost rainless January. And February began with warm and sunny days. No wonder that the cherry trees got fooled and blossomed early.
"Now of my three score years and ten,
Twenty will not come again
And take from seventy springs a score
it only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow."
---A.E. Housman, A Shropsire Lad
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
President Obama's First Speech to Jt. Session of Congress
Inspiring and Promising
Not a State of the Union address but it had the feeling of being one.
First, the trivial.
Former President Bush and his cabinet members lied about torture. Now, President Obama is on record.
He said: "Living our values doesn't make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger. And that is why I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture."
There is no wiggle room.
Republicans Lost in their Small World
And their rebuttal to President Obama's speech was delivered by squeaky, wimpy Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, who sounded and looked like a mechanical doll. Most viewers forgot about what he said before he was finished. Bye bye Bobby.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The Fall of Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the King's horses and all the King's men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
Unfortunately, the executives -- at Wall Street and elsewhere -- responsible for the current woes facing America and the world will not suffer much. They have made obscene amounts of money and stashed it away. It is a different story for the people who lost their jobs directly or indirectly from the actions of the shysters.
The Royal Bank of Scotland is staggering under load of its toxic assets.
A step in the right direction though is that both American and British governments are moving against the long-standing practice by Swiss banks to provide shelter for ill gotten wealth of shady people -- from drug dealers to corrupt politicians -- of different national origins. See: The End of Swiss Banking as We Knew it (Business Week).
Monday, February 09, 2009
Yearnings of Richard B. Cheney
Hoping, dreaming, perhaps praying.....
For what? A terrorist attack on US soil so that he can gloat "I told you so".
From The Washington Post, Feb.7, 2009
Bush White House Cast Assails Obama
But the strongest criticism so far has come from Cheney, the former vice president, who said in an interview with Politico this week that under Obama, there is a "high probability" of a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack by terrorists. Cheney also criticized several key Obama policies, including new interrogation rules and the decision to eventually close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an al-Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry," Cheney said, adding that counterterrorism is "a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business."
On a related issue about former prime minister Tony Blair's craven and hypocritical position on torture, so dear to the heart of our former vice president, Andrew Rawnsley wrote in the Guardian UK:
- The true extent to which British officials colluded in torture is yet to be established. In terms of ethical complicity, I think we can already begin to return a verdict. As the God-fearing Tony Blair knows, there are sins of commission and there are sins of omission. "We have condoned with our silence torture committed by others," says Charles Guthrie, his favourite general.
- That was arguably the biggest moral failure of Tony Blair's premiership.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
A Novel from 1917 and Two Recent Ones
- Of course there is not much likeness between them. The island of Capri is real, and Nepenthe is two-thirds imaginery. And the remaing third of it is distilled out of several Mediterranean islands; it is a composite place.
I wonder if the book you mean is Graves's WATCH THE NORTH WIND RISE (1949. published in the UK as SEVEN DAYS IN NEW CRETE). To quote from Amazon, it tells of a poet who imagines the world a thousand years from now. Clocks, money and machinery have disappeared. Magicians are important and so are rituals, handicrafts and love. Everyone worships a Mother Goddess. And as in the Middle Ages, life is local and personal. Villages war against each other in dramatic fashion - but only on Tuesdays, and no one gets hurt. Graves's future world, as explored by a young poet from our time, has history, reality and stunning inner logic.
"WATCH THE NORTH WIND RISE is a book so rich in style and plot, so profoundly mythic and at the same time so lightly comic, that there is simply no way to communicate its full flavor." - Washington Post.
Thank you, Notarius
But no, "Watch the North Wind Rise" was not the the book I read. "To the North" was fiction but almost like a memoir of the author's stay in a certain part of France. After my research I'm not even sure if I have the title right. Did I dream it up?
Memory plays strange tricks, especially when one gets to my age.
I wish I could get in touch with Notarius and say that I found the book I was thinking of.