,Malaysia, Nicaragua,adultery

Friday, March 27, 2009


Pope Benedict and Condoms


The Skeleton in the Closet - Catholics and Birth Control

There is a saying that "there is no fool like an old fool". True? Not necessarily; there are plenty of wise old men and women around to disprove that. But reading about Pope Benedict and other officials of the Catholic Church one gets the impression that the the church is full of old fools. In fact, they are worse than fools because they refuse to face reality and repeat their selective interpretation of scriptures.

BBC News, March 27, 2009

Pope 'distorting condom science'

One of the world's most prestigious medical journals, the Lancet, has accused Pope Benedict XVI of distorting science in his remarks on condom use.

It said the Pope's recent comments that condoms exacerbated the problem of HIV/Aids were wildly inaccurate and could have devastating consequences.

The Pope had said the "cruel epidemic" should be tackled through abstinence and fidelity rather than condom use.

What about Catholics in America and abroad? Do they follow the pope's dictum? Talk to your Catholic friends under 50. Chances are you'll learn that most of them practice some form of birth control, including condoms, and don't even consider that as a sin. How does the Vatican explain the phenomenon in Italy. "The birth rate of Italy, at a rate of 1.23 children per woman is the second lowest in the Western world. Women rarely have more than one child. The government and the Catholic Church in this staunchly Catholic nation are perplexed and concerned by this phenomenon." Are the Italians practitioners of the rhythm method, aka Russian roulette ? That,too, is not encouraged by the church. It considers that sexual intercourse is meant only for procreation. Talk about heads buried in the sand! Unfortunately, there is no doubt that the church's position results in millions of unwanted pregnancies and STDs.

That brings up another question......do Catholic priests masturabate? A medically proven healthy practice, masturbation is also a sin according to the church. Think about the numerous publicized cases about Catholic priests who engaged in pedophilia and you'll have the answer.

The hypocrisy is not confined to the Catholic Church. Politicians play the same game. Republicans, with their moral values facade, are outwardly more prudish than Democrats. But even President Clinton, of all people, let his one time surgeon general, Dr. Jocelyn Elders, go because of her frank comments about masturbation. What did she say? ".............is something that is part of human sexuality and it is part of something that perhaps should be taught." And then Clinton went on to diddle Monica Lewinsky in the White House!

Source: www.benettontalk.com

Enjoy safe sex. Let the pope and prudes rant.

"One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other." ----Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Patriot Act

"Who Will Watch the Watchers"

There are numerous reports about abuse of the Patriot Act during the presidency of G.W. Bush. The act was passed by cowed members of Congress who dared not question the Bush administration's demand for prompt action and wide powers. Bush and his cohorts got what they wanted and lost no time in taking advantage of it to pursue their neo-conservative agenda.

Now the director of the FBI is asking for renewal of the act which is due to expire in December this year.

Washington Post, March 26, 2009
We have a new president, and the Congress is no longer subservient to the executive branch. Before acceding to Director Mueller, the various questionable features of the act must be scrutinized and all avenues for abuses stopped. The last eight years have proven that the executive branch cannot be trusted. Enough damage has been done by Bush and Cheney under the guise of national security.

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will watch the watchers?)"
-- Juvenal
Decimus Junius Juvenalis, Roman rhetorician and satirical poet (1st to 2nd cent. A.D.)


Monday, March 23, 2009


The Seasons: Flowers of Spring 2009

San Francisco Bay Area - Peninsula Cities

Wild flowers have began to appear but it would take a few more weeks for them to come out in force at some of the preserves. Russian Ridge, on Skyline, is one of them. Spring flowers in the gardens of homes in the Bay area are in bloom......and they are gorgeous.

Magnolia tree, Palo Alto, California
© Musafir

Flowering Cherry Tree, Parrott Dr, San Mateo
© Musafir

Flowering Cherry, Parrott Dr, San Mateo
© Musafir

Scotch Broom, Parrott Dr, San Mateo
© Musafir

Daffodils, Tournament Dr, San Mateo
© Musafir

Close up of Cherry Blossoms, Parrott Dr, San Mateo
© Musafir

Iceland Poppy, Tournament Dr, San Mateo
© Musafir

Tulips, Sunnyvale, California
© Musafir

And a glimpse of shimmering Crystal Spring through Hwy 280 overpass
© Musafir

"The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life."
--- Jean Giradoux


Thursday, March 19, 2009


Presidents Past

"W", the movie

Watching Oliver Stone's film, "W" , about our 43rd president, G.W. Bush, brought back all the bad things he did for eight long years. The movie was limited in scope as to what could be depicted in a few hours and, therefore, concentrated on the Iraq war....the war for which we paid a heavy price in lives lost and money. We are still paying. President Obama appears to be in no hurry to get us out of there. To be fair, Obama inherited many problems and his main thrust is to revitalize the economy. Rightly so.

With their free-market policy and muzzling of regulations, Bush and the Republicans played a major role in encouraging the debacle in the financial sector and the current state of the economy. We must remember though that it was during the Clinton administration that banking laws were re-written to make things easy for questionable practices by lenders.....a primary reason for the crash of the housing market. Venal politicians exist among Democrats. Currently, they are busy blustering about AIG. Makes you wonder where were they when laws were passed to allow corporate entities to run amok. Think of campaign contributions and you get the feeling that our system is corrupt.

But watching "W" reinforced the impression that we elected a hollow man as president.....twice. So we deserved what he and his team of war hawks gave us.

August 8, 1974

Those of us who thought that Nixon was a bad president didn't have a clue about what was coming. I remembered listening to Nixon's resignation speech during a UAL flight from Chicago to San Francisco. An old lady in the sit next to me said "this calls for a drink". We ordered wine and lifted our glasses. But compared to G.W. Bush, Nixon was a giant.

Years of Lightning, Day of Drums

It was more than 45 years ago. Still the memory of where I was when I learned about JFK's assassination remains vivid. That was long before the advent of the world wide web and instant news flashes. Calcutta (Kolkata), India, on the morning of November 23, 1963, when I went to the front door to pick up the newspaper that I saw banner headline about the thirty-fifth president of the United States. A few years later I watched Bruce Herschensohn's documentary "Years of Lightning, Day of Drums" with background commentary by Gregory Peck about the 1000 days of the Kennedy Administration.


Friday, March 13, 2009


The Seasons: Spring is Around the Corner

Time for Wild Flowers * End of the Chanterelle Season

Just seven days away from spring. We have gone through the clock change. The days have become longer; the dark mornings, too, will soon be behind us.

Spring too, very soon!
They are setting the scene for it--
plum tree and moon.
---Basho (1643-1694)

The late rains did not do much for the chanterelles but could produce a good display of wild flowers. During a recent walk on Grizzly Flat,north, trail (off Hwy 35) JHL and I saw some milkmaids in bloom. We forded the creek and hiked to the beginning of the Canyon Trail toward Montebello Preserve. Stopped for a picnic lunch and then returned to the pullout at Hwy 35. Just across from the pullout is the trail heading south to Long Ridge.

A view of Upper Stevens Creek at Grizzly Flat
© Musafir

California Tortoiseshell(Nymphalis californica) at Grizzly Flat© Musafir

Milkmaids at Grizzly Flat
© Musafir

Rock Cress at Foothills Park
© Musafir

AC and I drove up Hwy 9 once more to look for chanterelles. We found some....enough to reward us for the trip, and there was the pleasure of walking through the woods.

© Musafir

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Bush's "Conscience" Ruling Rescinded


Obama does the Right Thing * Earmarks * Bay Area Rainfall

A misnomer to begin with, Bush's last minute ruling (one of the so called "Midnight" rulings) was a gesture to please the hardcore social conservatives.

Reuters - March 6, 2009

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration moved formally on Friday to rescind a Bush administration rule to protect health workers who refuse to provide services and information on moral grounds, which had inflamed abortion-rights advocates.

The rule took effect hours before President Barack Obama took office in January, and opponents say the previous administration rushed it through in a last-minute push in a bid to deny patients not only abortion rights, but also contraception and other care.

In a statement on its website, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said it was "proposing to rescind" the rule "in its entirety."

While the Obama Administration continues to leave intact some major policies of the previous administration -- the war in Iraq, for one, on this particular issue, followed by reports that ban on Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research is to be lifted, Obama decided to risk the wrath of the conservatives. Good for him.

Earmarks Alive and Well

Earmarking (funding for pet projects) has become an entrenched tradition. Roundly condemned by many Democrats who are now doing their share of continuing the practice. Obama's budget director Peter Orszag said on CNN:
Don't bet on it.

The Rains Came

But not enough. The latest table shows that the Bay area precipitation is still below the norm, and so is Sierra snow pack level. While not full, reservoirs have benefited from the rains that began late February. Most of next week is expected to be sunny and dry.

The rains were too late for chanterelles. They decided to stay underground. Very meager pickings this season. Perhaps we'll be rewarded by a bumper crop in November.

"Sound of rain,
Memories of years past
Pleasure and pain."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Pornography and the Bible Belt


Praise the Lord and Turn on the X-Rated Video

Interesting numbers. In the March 3rd edition of NY Times, Charles M. Blow wrote about online adult entertainment and where the buyers came from.

A study by Benjamin Edelman, an assistant professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, titled “Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment?” and published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives found that subscriptions to online pornography sites are “more prevalent in states where surveys indicate conservative positions on religion, gender roles, and sexuality.”

The tables clearly illustrate that when it comes to pornography, members of the holier than thou moral values brigade have a hidden side to their persona.

Some of the findings quoted by Mr. Blow:
  • 1. In regions where more people report regularly attending religious services, overall subscription rates are not statistically significantly different from subscriptions elsewhere.
  • 2. Subscriptions are slightly more prevalent in states that have enacted conservative legislation on sexuality (regression results on file with the author). In the 27 states where “defense of marriage” amendments have been adopted (making same-sex marriage, and/or civil unions unconstitutional), subscriptions to this adult entertainment service are weakly more prevalent than in other states ( p 0.096). In such states, there were 0.2 more subscribers to this adult web site per thousand broadband households, 11 percent more than in other states.
  • 3. In states where more people agree that “Even today miracles are performed by the power of God” and “I never doubt the existence of God,” there are more subscriptions to this service.
  • 4. Subscriptions are also more prevalent in states where more people agree that “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage” and “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behavior.”
  • 5. Tancer (2008), finds that adult escort sites are more popular in “blue” states that voted for Gore in 2004, while visitors from the “red” states that voted for Bush in 2004 are more likely to visit wife-swapping sites, adult webcams, and sites about voyeurism.
Pitiful wanking hypocrites.


Monday, March 02, 2009


Obama and Aid to Faith-based Organizations

Violation of First Amendment ? * War Crimes and Israel

While not a Born Again Christian like his predecessor, President Obama had been quite open about his position on matters of faith.

To his credit, on January 20, 2009, during his inaugural , Barack Obama said:
He is a practising Christian. In today's America it would be unthinkable to expect a "non-believer" to be elected to public office. Jews are an exception but people of other faiths -- Hindus, Buddhists, or ( perish the thought) a Muslim contender would have small chance.

Obama is playing his cards to woo the faithful of different religious groups. Whether he would benefit from it in the long term is to be seen.

What is disturbing is his decision to continue with a Bush-era practice -- faith-based community initiatives.

Susan Jacoby in NY Times:
Ms. Jacoby concluded her article by stating:

Sacred cash cow is very apt. We can rest assured that there will be no lack of organizations lining up to milk it.

International Criminal Court

The news that the ICC is "considering" whether the Palestinian Authority meets the requirements to be eligible to bring war crimes charges against Israeli troops is a good sign. Whether or not Israelis stand on the dock, what they did in Gaza is being exposed.

Peter Beaumont, Guardian
The international criminal court is considering whether the Palestinian Authority is "enough like a state" for it to bring a case alleging that Israeli troops committed war crimes in the recent assault on Gaza.

The deliberations would potentially open the way to putting Israeli military commanders in the dock at The Hague over the campaign, which claimed more than 1,300 lives, and set an important precedent for the court over what cases it can hear.


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