Homeland Insecurity

From Edward P McGinty in FL:

The agents from Homeland Security visited me today. The Villages Trump Supporters want me silenced. The called the Federal Government on me. I will not be silenced. All they have accomplished is to further anger me. This week CNN is coming to interview me.

Here’s my email complaint to both Homeland Security and The Villages:


This shameful bullshit needs to be called out LOUDLY and REPEATEDLY.

Trying to intimidate citizens is wrong, but most especially when it comes from the head of the GOVERNMENT.


Post-script 3/11/20 – Just read this on McGinty’s FB feed:

“Just about perhaps, 2 months ago a Trump woman posted a video. In that video I said to her something like “ go ahead and tell Trump about me. Tell him to come down here to The Villages, I would like to punch him in the nose. Actually those were the words that my favorite president Harry Truman said to a reporter at the Washington Post.”

Everyone feeling outraged about this heavy-handed Trumpian bullshit needs to write to crcl@dhs.gov – complaints at DHS and info@thevillages.com to tell them what excrement they are.

PS – HomSec, since I’m sure you’re reading this, I’d like to offer my personal challenge to MR Trump to meet me in an arena of his choosing for a bare-knuckles, no-holds-barred fight to the death or be forever branded a COWARD. His choice of weapons. Completely serious too. The man has openly threatened to ‘beat the hell out of’ his critics, I thought I’d return the favor, politely of course.


Trump’er•y, n. [Fr. tromperie, from tromper, to deceive, cheat.]

  1. deceit; fraud
  2. anything calculated to deceive by false show; anything externally splendid but intrinsically of little value; worthless finery.
  3. things worn out and of no value; useless matter; trifles; rubbish; nonsense.
  4. trifling; showy but worthless; trashy; paltry

This idolatrous trumpery and superstition.

Long, Strange Trip

My journey with the Goddess began in my late teens when I was introduced to cannabis by friends and it became a part of my life. During the intervening years I’ve watched cannabis in society and opinions about it evolve steadily.

I’ve seen the cannabis industry  grow from its infancy to adolescence. Going from camouflaged grows under power lines to converted apartment stealth-grows and dozens of grow-at-home systems.

Now, in the age of legalization, the scale shift is dizzying.

One industrial grow in Denver that I worked at as a contract employee was a converted factory – well over a half million square feet. Floor after floor of grow rooms filled with space-age lighting and watering systems. Hundreds and hundreds of plants in each room. The trimming rooms were filled with large tables with dozens of workers preparing raw cannabis for the next step, drying/curing/extraction/etc.

What really struck me was the pace of the work – everyone worked hard, no slacking. Breaks were carefully controlled, everyone out and back in the allotted time. Shifts started early and latecomers were turned away. Show up on time or you don’t work.

To all the people who’ve told me that they consider cannabis users ‘lazy’ I offer this reply:

You’re full of crap.

Important Fact About Mueller’s Investigation

From Blue Dot Daily:

Seth Abramson, a journalist, lawyer and prolific Twitter user, has a recent thread discussing what he says is the most important aspect of the Trump/Russia collusion investigation, that no one is discussing.

After you take time to read through the thread, you will not only see that Abramson is right, but you will also see why it’s taking Robert Mueller longer than most people would like to get through his investigation. He has to put hundreds of pieces of the puzzle together and only has one shot to get it right.

From Blue Dot Daily – an aggregation of the Twitter thread posted by Abramson

  1. Investigators are now trying to determine *exactly* when every member of the Trump campaign found out Russia was working to elect Trump.
  2. These dates are of legal importance because they establish a “mens rea” (mental state) for possible crimes committed by Trump and others.
  3. Once Trump, his family, and/or his campaign aides knew Russia was committing crimes to assist Trump, certain actions became *prohibited*.
  4. For instance, once Trump had this knowledge, he could not publicly deny it without running afoul of federal Aiding and Abetting statutes.
  5. For instance, once Don Jr. had this knowledge he couldn’t take any action in furtherance of a plan to benefit from Russia’s illegal acts.
  6. Knowledge of Russian illegalities – even broadly – is a necessary precursor to what we colloquially call “collusion” (not a legal term here).
  7. This is why *all* of Trump’s most audacious lies – and his family’s, and his aides’ – center on their *knowledge* of what Russia was doing.
  8. Paul Manafort’s excuse for not knowing Russia was working to elect Trump? (a) he didn’t check his email; (b) he was looking at his phone.
  9. Jared Kushner’s excuse for not knowing Russia was working to elect Trump? (a) he left a big meeting early; (b) he didn’t check his email.
  10. What do the Trump aides who changed the GOP platform last July say in response to charges they were executing a quid pro quo for Russia.
  11. They say (a) they were executing orders Trump gave March 31, 2016; (b) but don’t blame Trump, because he didn’t know what we were doing.
  12. What’s *Trump’s* excuse as to Russia working to elect him – after *admitting* he knew and then *getting briefed on it* on August 17, 2016.
  13. Why, he just didn’t *believe* what U.S. intel agencies said, of course! He just didn’t *believe* the mountains of evidence we all saw.
  14. Now ask yourself: does Bob Mueller believe any of these lies? Does the FBI? Does the DOJ? Do American voters? Would a duly-seated jury.
  15. FACT: Don was directly told by a trusted friend that Putin was working to elect his dad. He knew this as of the first week of June 2016.
  16. Now consider: despite the way the Russia issue blew up after June 2016, Don says he *never told his dad* Putin was working to elect him.
  17. Don, Jared, and Manafort say they *never* discussed the issue again – with *anyone* – and deliberately plotted to keep this info from Trump.
  18. Do *you* believe that? Do you think Mueller does? Or the FBI? The DOJ? Most American voters? Most American Congressmen? Future jurors.
  19. You think Don sat there watching Russia news every single day for *months*, yet never told daddy Putin was confirmed as “in his corner”.
  20. Do you believe that – once the Russia news broke shortly after June 2016 – Kushner and Manafort *never went back to look at their emails*.
  21. Do you think Kushner and Manafort were – start to finish – in the dark about who Veselnitskaya was, who she worked for, and what she wanted.
  22. Do you believe *none* of the Russia news between June 2016 and this summer caused Kushner *or* Manafort to reflect back on that meeting.
  23. Why did Trump witness-tamper with his son – exposing himself/Don to *prison* – with false statements on the meeting? Why? Knowledge matters.
  24. This explains fantastical tales of phone-checking/email-ignoring at the *exact* moments knowledge – legally speaking – could be established.
  25. This explains Trump’s increasingly grotesque and deranged denials of reality on Russian interference: if he says otherwise, *knowledge*.
  26. This is why the news that Don and Ivanka were about to be charged with felony fraud matters. It goes to their honesty – which is now key.
  27. Don/Ivanka *repeatedly lied to consumers* about how many Trump SoHo units had sold. So do you think they’d lie to save dad’s presidency.
  28. And this is why every single lie Trump tells is legally relevant on the question of his reputation/propensity for honesty versus deceit.
  29. Trump admitted Russia was helping – then was briefed on it – then reversed course and said otherwise when he saw the danger of an admission.
  30. But his reputation for deceit – it’s legendary – would prompt an investigator or juror to presume his initial briefing sealed his knowledge.
  31. The danger *now* is non-attorney journalists confusing evidence of Aiding and Abetting with “evidence of a cover-up.” They’re different.
  32. There’s evidence of a cover-up – Mueller could get Trump on Obstruction with a jury right now – but also Aiding and Abetting a Russian plot.
  33. The evidence of a cover-up overlaps in many particulars with the evidence Trump and his team knew Russia was interfering, then aided it.
  34. For instance, it *isn’t* legal for Trump to learn on August 17th, 2016 that Russia was committing crimes against the U.S., and *then*…
  35. …send his chief foreign policy aide – Sessions – to negotiate *unilateral sanctions-lifting* with Russia’s ambassador three weeks later.
  36. So let’s stop talking collusion – a vague and meaningless term in this legal scenario – and instead discuss “knowledge of illegal activity..
  37. Don, Jared, and Manafort were on *legal notice* that Russia was illegally stealing information from June 9, 2016 onward – at the *latest*
  38. So no, Don wasn’t entitled to take that meeting – given what he’d been told. And Manafort couldn’t push a GOP platform change weeks later.
  39. Indeed, arguably, the *entire campaign* was on notice Russia aimed to secretly negotiate with and aid Trump from March 24, 2016 onward.
  40. On that date, Papadopoulos told seven senior Trump staffers that Putin wanted to meet with Trump – and felt Trump could improve relations.
  41. On that basis, *any* subsequent revelation that Russia was committing crimes should’ve been read by the campaign as a pro-Trump proffer.
  42. Note that, in this analysis, I’m approaching this as a former criminal attorney and former criminal investigator – we *do* think this way.
  43. The media can’t – it feels – call Trump a liar when he lies to (dis)establish his legal knowledge. But as an attorney, I see it differently.
  44. But as we enter the intermediate stages of the Mueller probe, we *all* must be thinking in legal terms – as we’re in the legal sphere now.
  45. So if you want to talk Russia on social media, I’d suggest focusing on the date each actor had knowledge of Russia’s illegal acts.

If Abramson is right, it’s more bad news for Trump and company. Trump’s knowledge about the whole situation is going to implicate him deeply in the crimes committed here.

Yilmaz Askan – Handmade Dog Collars & Harnesses

Visit him at his new site: Anatolian Leatherworks!

Simply outstanding work from Kurdish artist Yilmaz Askan living in Istanbul. You can contact him via his Facebook page. His business is called “Anatolian Leatherworks” and there will be a website eventually. These are only a few images of his incredible work.

Yilmaz Askan, maker of magnificent leatherwork!
Yilmaz Askan, maker of magnificent leatherwork!


yilmaz_askan_01yilmaz_askan_02  yilmaz_askan_03 yilmaz_askan_04 yilmaz_askan_05 yilmaz_askan_06 yilmaz_askan_07 yilmaz_askan_08 yilmaz_askan_09 yilmaz_askan_10 yilmaz_askan_11 yilmaz_askan_12 yilmaz_askan_13

A Book Worthy to be Read

A Book Worthy to be Read

I wait quietly, but you do not see me
hidden among the volumes on the shelf.
I am touched by age, tattered with use,
but a book worthy to be read,
filled with tales of love and sorrow,
of days gone by and hopes still to be realized.
Yet you do not look beyond my cover.

My edges may be yellowed and frayed
but my words are strong and true.
So my pages will sing out my words for you
and tell of the marvelous things written within,
etched by time, engraved by experience,
and worthy to be told.

For too long I lingered on the shelf, dusty and muted,
lost between stories that were not my own.
But I have been touched by rays of sun
peeking through heavy curtains
dancing with motes that fall through time and space.

The dust that once buried me, dulled my vision,
now sparkles like so much glitter in the shards of light.
The same sun that once burned, yellowed, faded me
is now my beacon, calling me on through the darkness.
I will not be shut up, shut down or shut in.

Elizabeth Winkelmeyer
November 28, 2009

Printable calligraphy version (PDF)

Did you know?

The original Constitution of the United States that was ratified in 1789 had only one reference to religion: [Article 6] No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

The de facto motto of the United States, adopted as part of the Great Seal of the U.S. by an Act of Congress in 1782, was E. Pluribus Unum (Out of Many,One).
Congress changed it 174 years later (1956) to “In God We Trust.”

The original ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ was written in 1892 by Baptist Minister Francis Bellamy who DID NOT INCLUDE the words “Under God.” Those were added by Congress 62 years later (1954).

The U.S. didn’t issue Paper Currency until 1861, and ‘In God We Trust’ didn’t appear on it for 96 years (1957).

Just after the Red Scare in the 1950’s, CONGRESS CHANGED the Pledge of Allegiance and our Nation’s Motto over the FEAR of COMMUNISM.

In a time when fear is traded like a commodity, and the word SOCIALISM is being used to create the same fear as the old word COMMUNISM, let’s REMEMBER that our country was NOT founded on fear. NO, OUR NATION was founded out of HOPE for a better world where all people were EQUAL – that we were ONE from MANY.

Let’s not let fear change our nation’s great tradition and direction again.

Transcribed from this graphic seen on Facebook:


This is the webpage M. Douglas Wray does want you to see

I’ve lived in Longmont for well over ten years now and I’m still surprised sometimes at how virulently hateful people can be.

My wife Marilyn Bonita Wray moved to Colorado after we were married and really enjoyed living in Longmont. When she was diagnosed with cancer there was a huge outpouring of love and support from all our friends. Unfortunately there was also an outpouring of a less-palatable kind: politically-motivated hate.

Just a few days after she died an anonymous account appeared in the comments on the local newspaper website (the Times-Call) “NotSoBonita”. I was sickened that some twisted blackheart felt the need to insult my wife’s memory so soon after her death. I contacted the paper and got no help. Personally I think the owners aided and abetted it.

But the surprises didn’t stop there.

The wife of once-mayor Bryan Baum, Stephanie (Seale) Baum, despite being blacklisted on my email account and blocked on Facebook figured out that she could leave anonymous comments on my videos. She tried to (I believe) bribe me into not writing about LongmontReport.com – a hate/smear site which she point-blank admitted knowing the operator.

The site’s domain name has expired but all the content is still on the web here. I’ve contacted TypePad more than once trying to identify the operator but they’re not helpful. I did discover that the domain name that was attached to the site LongmontReport.com was registered by Scott Shires – a political operative associated with Western Tradition Partners, essentially a far-far-right anti-environmental money laundering source for the GOP.

Hm. No wonder Ms. Baum was so eager to ‘make a substantial contribution’ to a charity of my choice in Marilyn’s name.  A connection between her and Scott Shires could raise the subject of illegal coordination in a campaign – serious stuff. I demurred and declined her offer. She kept offering.

There was obvious desperation in the tone of her messages via the clandestine Facebook-video-comments – I think she was getting pressure from someone in the GOP. I was willing to stop writing about LongmontReport if she’d tell me who was behind it – and she simply refused to say.

There’s a coverup there that I believe will send someone to prison and I still intend to find out who it is.

More recently she’s taken to the web and currently has a smear site up and running using a picture stolen from my Facebook page:

Photo by M. Douglas Wray
Photo by M. Douglas Wray


I made this image* to poke fun at Ms. Baum for her abortive attempt to have me arrested for remarks my stepson** made on Facebook – no charges were filed.

I hope Ms. Baum gets help soon. I think she’s in a great deal of distress and the attack site underlines that very clearly in my opinion.

Update: the smear site is still up and Ms. Baum is trying to make the (faintingly weak) case that she’s being ‘stalked’. LOL. I’ve rarely seen a woman in more desperate need of an enema. Get help soon kid.

Update: more and more I’m convinced that LongmontResponds is Stephanie Baum. No proof yet but I’m collating data.

* taken the day of a fundraising event for children with cancer***.

** a two-tour Iraq war veteran who’s won the Purple Heart. His remark? “I know lots of people with guns.” Boulder County DA Stan Garnett declared it ‘not a credible threat’ – ie Ms. Baum is full of crap.

*** what a full circle we’ve come – her husband Bryan is now battling recurring cancer. Good luck Bryan. Oh, and Longmont’s Worst Hate Blogger, Chris Rodriguez has finally left town.

Not enough soap on earth

I’ve been archiving a complete copy of some of the worst hate-blogging in Longmont – Stephanie Baum’s site ‘By the People and For the People’ for one.

Apparently the ‘has-been mayor‘s wife is trying to clean up her image: I got this today:

Date: April 1, 2013

Indra’s Net, Inc.
5435 Airport Blvd.
Suite 100
Boulder, CO 80301

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is a Notice of Infringement as authorized in 512(c) of the U.S. Copyright Law under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). I wish to report an instance of Copyright Infringement. The infringing material appears on the Service for which you are the designated agent.

1. The copyrighted material, which I contend belongs to me and appears illegally on the Service, is the following:
My former blog titled, By The People and For the People written by Stephanie Baum, posted between December 2009 and December 2011 at http://www.takebacklongmont.com/

2. The unauthorized material appears at the website address:

3. My contact information is as follows:
Stephanie Baum
418 Flicker Avenue, Longmont, CO 80501

4. I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials as described above is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

5. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Stephanie K. Baum


This makes me laugh out loud.

I posted the archive of her nasty little political blog in 2009 – over four years ago – and she’s finally upset about it now? I wonder if it has anything to do with the multiple take-down orders I’ve had to do for things stolen from my personal site, my political blog, my FACEBOOK page…

So, rather than just let this wonderful example of how deep her hate for the Democratic party and anything Progressive goes be forgotten, I’ve made a list of some excerpts from her blog just for the record:

How Hard is it to Fill Out a Mail In Ballot?
By the People and FOR the People 12/12/07 10:33 AM Stephanie Baum
Sometimes I wonder, considering the election this past November where only 41% of registered voters took the time to fill out a ballot. FORTY ONE PERCENT! I truly don’t get it? It can’t even be the cost of a stamp that kept people from voting because the ballots could be dropped off. So why? Complacency. Or perhaps ignorance? Either way, it is because of people choosing to ignore their right (or as I feel, their duty) to vote that has landed our city where it is right now.

If you are like me, and love this city, and are horrified by the thought of a small, extreme group determining the economic future of our city, I implore you to VOTE in January for Gabe Santos, and send a message to the council that they caught us sleeping one time, but that it won’t ever happen again.
Oh no, she’s not ‘partisan’ at all. *cough* -MDW

We Have an Ice Rink…and a Freeze on Hiring
By the People and FOR the People 12/13/07 7:47 PM Stephanie Baum
Last I looked, there were job postings on the City of Longmont website for Seasonal Ice Rink Workers. The city council voted to keep the rink, but in light of budget constraints, enacted a hiring freeze. Wouldn’t that mean that the city infact can’t hire the workers to run the ice rink? Am I missing something here?
Take away the kids ice rink? I think that’s pretty damn heartless.

“One Nation…(pause…pause)…Indivisible, With Libery and Justice for All”
By the People and FOR the People 1/11/08 9:43 AM Stephanie Baum

When Richard Juday recites the Pledge of Allegiance, why does he omit the words “under God?” Well, Atheists don’t believe in God so I guess when they pledge allegiance to their flag, they omit those words to be true to their ideals – that’s my best guess anyway.
Hm. Not very tolerant of others beliefs. Not exactly the attitude one would expect from a ‘First LADY’.

The Final Stretch…
By the People and FOR the People 1/22/08 10:03 AM Stephanie Baum
…A bloc who, while yes, is all Democrat, they are more than that – they are extreme left-wing, zero-growth, pro-big government group that their more centrist fellow party members have also come to fear. This vote isn’t about Democrat versus Republican, it IS about Radical Left-Wing versus the rest of us. Hopefully our message will be heard loud and clear this time.
Anyone that opposes the GOP is ‘radical left-wing’ – this is about as hard-core partisan as you can get. Clearly, if you’re a Democrat in Longmont Ms. Baum considers you ‘radical left-wing’ and you don’t deserve representation on council. Again, not very ‘First Lady’-like.

The 4-Way Test
By the People and FOR the People 1/27/08 9:52 AM Stephanie Baum

As a former Rotarian, I try and live my life by the 4-Way Test. The 4-Way Test is a way to apply ethics and integrity to everything you think, say and do. It is a measure by which all Rotarians should strive to conduct their lives socially and in business.

Other ares of the 4-Way Test have been a struggle for me this campaign season. Being fair, building goodwill and being beneficial to all have tested me. I feel I’ve tried to be fair, but in an election, shedding light on the shortcomings of one candidate probably wouldn’t be considered being fair and certainly isn’t beneficial to them. But I guess I justify that by needing to help inform the citizens of our town so that they can make an educated decision of who to vote for. I think what I write is beneficial to the masses and I think it’s only fair to everyone to know the facts.
Which is exactly why this material is being archived, so the people of Longmont can see how Ms. Baum conducts herself during a campaign. Odd that she’d want this removed from the web. Maybe if she really understood transparency and honesty it would be easier for her.

A New Chapter Starts…
By the People and FOR the People 1/30/08 1:36 PM Stephanie Baum
I’ve learned that anonymity can bring out the best and worst in people. Sometimes people are afraid to speak up and give praise for fear of retribution from employers, friends or family (which is fine, I can totally understand that) and the only way they feel free to express their thanks and support is by remaining anonymous. Yet others are compelled to spew hatred and say things they would never dare say in person but feel free to do so when they can’t be identified (similar to a jihadist executioner wearing a hood?)
I find this laugh-out-loud funny. Especially since Ms. Baum is still guarding the identity of the person behind LongmontReport, one of the nastiest anonymous smear-blogs (which also supported Gabe Santos) Longmont has ever seen.

Here’s my last thought on this sad little tale: If it was so awful for Richard Juday to remove things from his blog before the election:

sb_longmont_city_council_mtg_1Changes to Juday’s Website…
By the People and FOR the People 1/10/08 10:46 AM Stephanie Baum
I see today that 2 days after I posted my blog regarding Richard Juday’s website, on which he posted his plans for IGAs to fight the “Big Box” retailers, he made changes to his site to remove his strategies for implementing the sales tax redistribution. My only guess is that he (or one of his followers) has been keeping tabs on my blog and after reading how ludicrous his ideas were, he changed his website and removed the specifics of his plans. I love it! Although I kind of wish he left it up there for everyone to see how “insightful” Juday is!

Then why, oh WHY Ms. Baum are you so eager to scrub your own remarks from the web?

Don’t you want people to see how ‘insightful‘ you were?

Or are you just trying to scrub off the image of a harpy in high heels?

You can try to clean up your badly-tarnished public image all you want – there’s not enough soap in the world to make people forget that face.

Memorial for Scott Alan Hofferber

Scott Alan Hofferber April 24, 1965 - April 10, 2003
Scott Alan Hofferber April 24, 1965 – April 10, 2003

Scott Alan Hofferber, 38, of Littleton, Colorado, suddenly and unexpectedly went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Thursday, April 10, 2003.

Scott was born April 24, 1965 in Grand Junction, Colorado and moved to Fort Collins with his family in 1968. Scott was a 1982 graduate from Rocky Mountain High School, Fort Collins, CO, and went on to continue his education at Aims Community College, Greeley, CO graduating in 1984 with an AA in Small Business Management. Scott was born with a very serious congenital heart defect; doctors said he would not survive past the age of four or five years of age. He had several close calls but proved the doctors wrong.

Scott truly was a miracle.

Scott married Tammi J. Lockman in March of 1986 and was blessed with four beautiful children, three sons and one daughter. He was a loving husband and father. He was very involved with every aspect of his children’s lives and enjoyed every minute he had with them. His wife and children were his life.

Scott was a member of Englewood First Assembly of God in Englewood, Colorado. He was very involved in the church and a leader of Royal Rangers Program.

Scott was Manager at Crown Trophy in Littleton, CO. Scott loved to camp and be outside as well as riding horses – his latest passion was watching NASCAR. Go #24!!

Scott is survived by his wife, Tammi, four children, Zachary 16, Jeffrey 15, Skyler 13 and Kylie-Jeanne 10; his parents George “Andy” and Maryann Hofferber and a brother, Steve of Fort Collins; a sister, Kimberly of Rio Ranch, NM; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Services will be held Wednesday, April 16, 2003, 11 a.m. at Timberline Church 2908 Timberline Rd., Fort Collins, Colorado with interment at Grandview Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Scott A. Hofferber Family Fund at the Colorado Business Bank of Littleton, Colorado. Donations may also be made at Allnutt Funeral Home in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I had the good fortune to meet Scott’s widow Tammi eight years after his death. Even at that huge distance of time I could feel what a good man he must have been. I wish I could have met him but I’m grateful that his legacy has come to me to preserve and protect. It’s an honor to be associated with the Hofferber family. Rest in peace Scott, you are fondly remembered and greatly missed. – MDW

Cheesehead hackers

1 failed login attempts (1 lockout(s)) from IP:

Last user attempted: admin

IP was blocked

IP Address Country (Short) Country (Full) Flag Region City ISP Map US UNITED STATES WISCONSIN MADISON 5NINES DATA LLC


If anyone in the Madison, WI area knows the owner of 5 Nines, would you mind reminding them that the Department of Homeland Security really frowns on hackers?

Makes me really question their ‘technical specialist’s claim that they “…strive to make technology your trusted partner” – someone trying to hack my personal site’s password really makes me not trust someone. A lot.

My pal Deb Johnson

The Gifting

I send you roses.  And warm fuzzies.  And Cinderella’s horseshoe I have on my mantle.

I send you sunshine, and blue skies, and white puffy clouds that come in funny animal shapes.

I send you rainbows, and dewdrops, and the soft scent of rain;

the smell of freshly mown grass in the farmer’s field;

meadows of wild flowers; sheep, content.

I send you healing thoughts; your mother’s hands to hold you in warm embrace;

fresh loaves of homemade bread; sunflowers; and a night sky filled with stars.

I send you wind through pine trees whispering; the song of your sisters singing.

I send you your child’s first word; a purring kitten on your lap; fireflies dancing the dark;

and a garden, filled to overflowing, waiting for canning.

I send you a basket, woven of marsh grasses, lined in velvet,

full of wonder and love.

I send you butterflies and the 4th of July; rubies, and Christmas;

a circle of friends to hold you; and a seat by a warm fire.

For you, I light a candle.

I send you peace.

© June 1995 by D.W. Johnson

On a Thought Of Leaving Home and Coming Here

The next time I come (here)

I will go (this way)

I am always coming or going–

Coming to stillness; going out of chaos.

Coming from work; going home.

Coming from home; going to a friend’s house.

Coming from the grocery; going to the book shop.

It is the pattern of my life–

I am coming in; I am going out.

Breathing in; breathing out.

What is left from the wake of the wave.

So if I say, “I don’t know if I am coming or going”, what does it matter?

I am in step with what I am…

A part of it.

©  August 26, 2005 by D.W. Johnson

Photo Rights

The following is from Petapixel and is the text of a reference on photographers rights.

  1. You can make a photograph of anything and anyone on any public property, except where a specific law prohibits it. i.e. streets, sidewalks, town squares, parks, government buildings open to the public, and public libraries.
  2. You may shoot on private property if it is open to the public, but you are obligated to stop if the owner requests it. i.e. malls, retail stores, restaurants, banks, and office building lobbies.
  3. Private property owners can prevent photography ON their property, but not photography OF their property from a public location.
  4. Anyone can be photographed without consent when they are in a public place unless there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. i.e. private homes, restrooms, dressing rooms, medical facilities, and phone booths.
  5. Despite common misconceptions, the following subjects are almost always permissible:
    • accidents, fire scenes, criminal activities
    • children, celebrities, law enforcement officers
    • bridges, infrastructure, transportation facilities
    • residential, commercial, and industrial buildings
  6. Security is rarely an acceptable reason for restricting photography. Photographing from a public place cannot infringe on trade secrets, nor is it terrorist activity.
  7. Private parties cannot detain you against your will unless a serious crime was committed in their presence. Those that do so may be subject to criminal and civil charges.
  8. It is a crime for someone to threaten injury, detention, confiscation, or arrest because you are making photographs.
  9. You are not obligated to provide your identity or reason for photographing unless questioned by a law enforcement officer and state law requires it.
  10. Private parties have no right to confiscate your equipment without a court order. Even law enforcement officers must obtain one unless making an arrest. No one can force you to delete photos you have made.

These are general guidelines regarding the right to make photos and should not be interpreted as legal advice. If you need legal help, please contact a lawyer.

To all concerned – I will continue to take photos of whomever I like in public. Your insinuations will not stop me from exercising my rights. Far from it.


By DJ Cline

I am the thing you thought you had destroyed.
My hammered chains and broken rings
Smoke up the chimney
Riding the wind and falling from the sky
The soul from a coal.
The ash from the flash
The grit that grinds
The dust in the very air you breathe
I am everywhere now and cannot go away.
I am part of you.
You could not exist without me.
I am the balance.
Without my comedy
There is only your tragedy.
Be careful what you burn.

Copyright 2010 DJ Cline All rights reserved.


The Real American Emergency

by Mary Pitt

While our president is involved in dealing with the many emergencies in which our nation is now foundering, he fails to see the most urgent one.

The dead numbered 137,000 per year through the years of 2000 to 2006, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science and, as the depression continues to worsen, the numers will climb even higher on an annual basis. The problem? Simply a lack of health insurance and the inabilty to obtain the needed care on an individual basis!

Granted, these people are the working poor and, thus, are “The Others”. We all know who “The Others” are. They are the people who are not in “our neighborhood”, the unseen people who keep our streets, our clothing, and our children clean, who cook and serve our food, who do the myriad of tasks that we are too busy to do or too comfortable to do for ourselves. They people our back rooms, out of sight, except on the streets where we hardly notice their presence.

They are not the elderly because the elderly have, at least, Medicare with which to maintain their simple lives. The people who are dying for want of care are not the young, healthy people but those who continue to work hard, working through the pains of incipient illnesses such as diabetes and cancer because they have neither the time nor the money to seek medical care.

Suggesting that they should carry private-pay insurance is futile because they simply do not have the funds to pay up to $15,000 per year that would be necessary for a family policy and the idea of fining them for not doing so would also result in further health problems with their undernourished and, possibly, homeless children. We proclaim our care for children by passing the S-CHIP legislation which will allow them medical care but their empty bellies receive nothing but good wishes if their parents work too hard and earn too little to provide them an adequate diet. The dental and eye care provided for them are rudimentary and all medical appointments of any kind necessitate a cash co-payment.

Even before the onset of the “recession”, bankruptcies due to medical expenses were a ballooning problem not necessarily caused by the lack of insurance but by the deductibles and co-payments that those policies require. An elderly person in the United States must live on about $1200 per month, less the deductions for premiums for Medicare Parts B and D which combined total well over $100 per month. From the remaining $1,000 dollars or so, these people are required to pay an additional deductible for their medications, for each doctor’s appointment, and for necessary hospitalizations.

In addition, they face the feared “donut hole” which causes them to end each year with the problem of whether to buy the medication upon which their very lives depend or to pay for their rent, utilities, and food. At this level of Social Secureity, there are few states which allow them assistance from Medicaid.

Every elderly person lives with the fear that they will have a “dizzy spell” or a minor fall which will prompt some kind-hearted person to transport them to an emergency room where a caring physician may decide to keep them overnight for “observation”. Upon release from the hospital the next day, they know they will be burdened with a bill, which they must pay, in excess of $2,000 after Medicare.. (This would be another two months’ Social Security allowance that must be taken from theiir necessary expenses.) Hard as they may try and regardless of their own desire to avoid it, bankruptcy and total devastation looms as an inevitability.

There are those who are obsessed with the possibility that single-payer medical insurance will cause an increase in taxes. However, if they were to add to their annual tax bill the amounts that they now pay for insurance premiums on a private basis, they would realize that the question should be given further consideration. The government already pays 60% of the health care bills in this country while there are many with no coverage at all. If the amounts that are paid to private insurance plans were added to this amount, there would be little or no tax increase to provide complete coverage to all the rest. In addition, the employers who have been paying for medical insurance might be amenable to increasing wages and improving the amounts in the paycheks.

Rather than the “competition” which has been touted as a way to cut the cost of medical insurance, the companies are in contstant negotiations as first one company and then another embarks on a plan of conquest They buy up or take over smaller companies. It would not be much of an exaggeration to compare the insurance situation with that of the nation’s major banks, and for the same reason. The point of the endeavor is to create a monoply wherein one or two major corporations control health care and can name their own price.

However, a single-payer plan could roll together the amounts presently spent in Federally-funded health care along with the subsidies reserved for those providing Medicare Part D, the amount paid for private insurance premiums, and 30% charged out by those companies for administrative salaries, advertising, and profits, there would be a net increase in available funds of some 350 billion dollars per year to apply toward services for the uninsured. Any actual increases in taxation beyond rolling in the money now spent on insurance premiums would not be a great burden but would literally save the lives of many Americans and create the healthy citizenry that will be required in the rebuilding of our nation. As regular examinations, preventive care, and early diagnoses are available, the cost would go down over the years, relieving the taxpayers of much of their burden.

If the President would verify these facts through the Washington number-crunchers and convince the Democrats in Congress, the answer would truly be a “no-brainer”. The question would arise as to the effect on the economy of the loss to the insurance companies. Then, as now, they could contract with the government to administer this Federal program in order to mitigate their losses. However, keeping the current system to protect the private insurance industry can only duplicate the results of the “too big to fail” bank bailouts. If they have become so greedy that they must continue to fatten their pockets with the life-blood of the people of America, perhaps their “failure” would benefit the future of America.

Much has been said and written about “the polls” which show a loss of support for the “health reform” effort in Congress. This is far from that which the people envisioned when they turned out in record numbers to assure the election of Barack Obama. It was begun timidly and fought blindly by the opposition who were not yet recovered from their Rovian trance of “every man for himself”. They recite by rote the right to “own your own insurance policy” when, in fact, they know that they are only renting them for so long as they pay the ever-increasing premiums and don’t have a serious illness.

We can only urge President Obama to “get real” and prepare to proclaim this National Emergency and to exercise his executive powers much as President Bush did to deal with the National Emergency in his time. This crisis is every bit as serious as that faced by the nation in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. It must be treated as seriously before many more people die as the result of it.

This writer is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own workung-class family. She spends her “Sunset Years” in writing and struggling with The System.

Criticism now ‘attack’

I find this terrifically funny in light of this.

I’d comment further but feel there’s no need to – the silence of Lunaticmont speaks profoundly.

The conservatives are terrified of being likened to… *gasp* {{shudder}} …Boulder.


But this comment on the Times-Call says it all I think:

Civil Liberties and Freedom of Speech! I know who I won’t be voting for this coming election.
Longmont, 7/24/2009 10:04 AM


From Lance Mannion hat tip to the Agonist:

A nation full of people trying to have their cake and eat it too

One lesson I learned growing up while watching Pop Mannion at work as our town supervisor is that a lot of people cannot make the connection between the taxes they hate to pay and the services they expect their town, state, and federal governments to provide.

As far as they were concerned, every penny they paid in taxes of any kind went either into the pockets of do-nothing politicians and bureaucrats or lazy bums living on welfare in New York City and other big and dangerous cities in the state and around the country.

You could hardly blame them for thinking the former.  The New York State Legislature was then (and is now) a comfortable hide-out for gangs of crooks and con artists who really did seem to think that taxpayers existed to be fleeced and the only reason we had a state government was to provide them and their families and friends with an easy living.

As for the latter, they just couldn’t be made to hear these questions let alone answer them: How did they think the streets got plowed and paved?  (The highway department crews did nothing but stand around leaning on their shovels all day, collecting time and a half for a quarter day’s work, you know.)  Why did the fire department bother to show up when they were called?  Who built and maintained the fighter jets at the nearby Air National Guard base and trained and paid the pilots protecting us from the damn Rooskies?  Did they think the teachers who taught their kids, the janitors that swept and mopped the classrooms, the bus drivers who got up at four in the morning in the worst sorts of weather to get the kids to school did it out of the goodness of their hearts?

Did they think all this came free?

Well, yeah, they did.

They didn’t know they thought this.  They’d even deny they thought this if you asked them that straight out.  But they did.  What they thought they thought was that they were paying too much for it and that other people weren’t paying enough or anything.

It is a bedrock belief of all anti-tax types that they themselves are the only people in the United States paying taxes.

What it came down to, though, is that they wanted their taxes cut to nothing without a single cut to the services they took for granted.

Most of them.  There were a few who’d have been happy to watch the town’s roads crumble, the schools shut their doors, and the fire department sell off its trucks rather than pay a nickel in taxes.  I almost admired these skinflints.  At least they understood how things worked.  They just didn’t care if things worked.

Another lesson I learned from Pop Mannion, though, was that politicians and government officials who try to explain the facts of life to disgruntled taxpayers are risking their jobs come the next election.

Americans do not want to hear that rather than being over-taxed they are laughably under-taxed relative to the amount and quality of government-provided services they expect as their due.

The loudest complainer about his taxes was very likely to be the first to call our house on a Saturday afternoon when Pop was supposed to be relaxing with us to scream about the giant pothole at the end of his driveway.

He did not want to hear that a crew wouldn’t be able to get to it until after the weekend because the town couldn’t afford to pay the overtime.

He certainly wouldn’t have wanted to hear Pop say that the town would be glad to call in some guys on their day off, fill up the gas tanks on the truck and the roller, and get right to work taking care of that pothole if Mr Angry Homeowner was willing to pick up the tab.

“That’s what I pay taxes for!” he’d have had every right to splutter.

By the way, this is where Libertarianism falls on its keister or I should say bottoms out—nobody’s going to pay out of his pocket every time a pothole on his street needs fixing.  (Dear Libertarian readers, I’m using potholes as a metaphor for all public services, so don’t try to use the minimal government argument on me.  Use it on the guy with the pothole at the end of his driveway.  Again, that’s a metaphor.)  Actually, I’ve never met a self-styled Libertarian who wasn’t a version of those disgruntled taxpayers.  They don’t really want the government to cut back on services.  They just want somebody else to pay for them.

image Now, I used the word keister up there because it’s a great Reaganesque word and it’s appropriate to bring up Ronald Reagan here because Reagan was the great proponent of the You Can Have Your Cake and Eat It philosophy of big government.  That’s Reagan’s legacy.  Lots of government spending at little or no cost.

Reagan liked to point out that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  What he meant, though, was that there’s no such thing as a free lunch for other people.

For the rest of us, lunch was on the house and we got a free dessert too.

I’d like to blame Reagan for infecting the country with this foolishness, but it’s been a strain in American politics—and I mean both definitions of strain—since the get-go.  Reagan rose to office partly on that plank in his personal platform.  His legacy was giving the attitude a smile and an affable shrug with which to express itself instead of the irritable and nasty and skulking look it had formerly worn.

He made Scroogishness feel like a virtue and being Scrooge a pleasant and even admirable way to be.

But California’s Proposition 13, the first and still the most far-reaching and destructive declaration that the people have a right to have their cake and eat it too, had already been enacted two years before Reagan became President.

It’s been said that the Conservative plan is to turn the whole country into California, to have the middle class constantly denying itself necessary services while the rich laugh and cheerfully buy those services for themselves with what, for them, amounts to pocket change.

Which is what happened in California last year.  The state legislature finally came to grips with the state’s financial problems but the voters stopped them from doing what needed to be done.

And now something similar is happening here in New York.

Last night a crowd showed up at a local school board meeting to protest possible cuts in extracurricular activities:

What is school without music, yearbook, honor society or JV sports?

Those are among the extracurricular activities parents and students pleaded with the leaders of the Pine Bush School District to keep at Monday’s budget forum at Circleville Middle School.

With state aid set to be slashed by more than $5 million, and contractual obligations due to rise by about $4 million, the district must somehow meet the needs of the community and deal with the stark reality of some of the region’s highest proposed cuts.

New York State’s practically broke.  The Governor can’t raise taxes because the State Legislature won’t.  (Except on poor people who don’t vote in the form of more sin taxes.)  That leaves it up to the local school districts to make up for the shortfalls themselves.  To his credit, the school superintendent brought up the possibility and put it in stark, realistic terms:

“When you have less to spend you have to spend less or raise taxes,” Superintendent Phil Steinberg told the crowd of some 250. “It’s about making choices.”

The apparent response from the crowd was predictable.

But while hardly anyone could stomach the 18 percent tax hike or layoffs of some 100 school workers needed to keep the status quo, it was the possible cuts to extracurricular activities that drew the most heat on the cold night.

Basically, it sounds like people were saying, “What do taxes have to do with it?  We’re talking about my kid’s fun and future success!”

“If we cut music programs, how am I supposed to continue my life?” asked high school student Jacob Barkman, to ringing applause.

“And what about (getting into) college? Are we supposed to leave the extracurricular part blank?” asked high school student Marielle Darwin, to even louder applause.

If too many activities are cut, it wouldn’t just hurt the kids, many parents said. The cuts would devalue the district that spans three counties and is a magnet for folks moving up from New York City.

“And that would hurt property values,” said Mary Ann Anthony, who has two kids in Pine Bush schools.

OK, I don’t mean to sound like Slate’s Jacob Wiesberg here and call the entire American public childish and ignorant. I know I’m being unfair.  I’m sure there were many responsible and realistic people in that room.

But I’m just as sure that even among the responsible and realistic there were those who would rather let the yearbook go unpublished than give up their cable and use the money to pay the extra in taxes that would save it.

People came to the meeting with suggestions on how to pay for things the district was running out of money to pay for:

Hold fund-raisers, some said. Get tough with the unions and bus company, said others.

Perhaps those who can afford it can pay to play sports, a few parents suggested.

Darwin drew some of the loudest applause when she echoed suggestions made by two Town of Crawford officials: Students should pay to park at the high school.

“If we charge $35, we can raise $4,000,” she said.

Yep.  Bake sales will solve everything.

Now, what do these suggestions have in common, besides being completely inadequate to solving the problem and their usefulness as proof that a lot of people just have no idea how much things cost?

They are all plans for making somebody else pay for my services.

They are all various ways of saying, We can have our cake and eat it too, and by the way slices of said cake will be on sale for a dollar at half time, come on out and support the team.


Before we progressives get too smug:

Last month, voters in Oregon did the responsible and realistic thing and agreed to raise taxes—on the rich.

Now, it’s true, the rich and the well-to-do do not pay their fair share in taxes and they are doing what they can to see that that they pay even less.  And a minimal increase in their marginal rates would go a long way towards digging the country out of its financial hole.  But the fact is that for the great majority of us the rich are other people and voting to raise their taxes while leaving ours alone is still voting to make other people pay for our services.

Meanwhile, the President is counting on the back-ended stimulus money to start kicking in this spring and help move us towards recovery, but the money from earlier is already running out and the same troubles it was used to forestall are going to return with a vengeance.

And while I’m hoping and praying the Democrats in Congress get it together to pass a useful jobs bill, I have to wonder how they plan to pay for it because there doesn’t even seem to be the will to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the rich, let alone raise taxes a dime on the middle class, and once again we’re talking about freezing spending without cutting any services.

To make matters worse, we have a vociferous and growing political party devoted to one single goal, Having Their Cake and Eating It Too. The tea partiers like to think of themselves as simply anti-tax.  But what they really are are anti-any government spending on other people and pro-making other people pay for their services.

A bad idea

Word from Winkler

A bad idea

By Jim Winkler, General Secretary, General Board of Church & Society

I confess that I have never thought of a corporation as a human being. It has never made any sense to me to consider the notion that God created General Motors or Wal-Mart or Goldman Sachs or Smith & Wesson in God’s image. Yet, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 last month that corporations are akin to individual people. The court ruled corporations should therefore have the right to spend as much money as they want to influence elections.

From past experience we know this is a bad idea. In the late 19th century, corporations virtually owned the U.S. Congress. It was no secret. They paid for and arranged the election of many members of Congress and, in return, they expected those representatives and senators to vote as they were directed.

From past experience we know this is a bad idea.

This permitted corporations to create monopolies and oligopolies. The sugar trust, the copper trust, the steel trust and other collusive arrangements existed. Regulations were evaded. Pollution and poisons killed countless numbers of people.

The power of money remains far too influential on Capitol Hill to this day. It is not difficult at all to trace corporate contributions to members of Congress to their voting records. Follow the money trail and you will see that our elected officials are all too beholden to the power of money.

The prophet Amos spoke against those merchants who “sell the righteous for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals.” Psalm 15 defines upright persons as those who “…stand by their oath even to their hurt … and do not take a bribe against the innocent.”

If politicians are to focus on the well-being of the people and the nation, they must be able to depend on public financing that would take government away from special interests and return it to the people.

Money, you see, equals free speech.

The Supreme Court has already ruled that individuals can spend as much as they want on their own political campaigns. Money, you see, equals free speech.

That reminds me of the old story from West Virginia when the billionaire John D. Rockefeller IV ran for the U.S. Senate against Gov. Arch Moore. A popular bumper sticker read, “Make him spend it all, Arch.”

The rich and powerful always concoct reasons why they should have prerogatives not available to others. Kings argue they have a divine right to do what they want. The wealthy would have us believe that through their beneficence riches will “trickle down” eventually to the poor.

The Supreme Court decision defies common sense.

The Supreme Court decision defies common sense. In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens pointed out that corporations are not people. Corporations should not be permitted to spend whatever money they want to influence elections. Neither should individuals or interest groups. We need elections to be played on an level field.

The United Methodist Church has long supported campaign finance reform. Our highest policy-making body, the General Conference has been calling for campaign finance reform since 1996. It approved a resolution in 2008 that specifically calls for strengthening campaign finance reform laws. The resolution, “Pathways to Economic Justice,” calls for laws “that prevent corporations and special interest groups from dominating elections and the legislative process.”

Our denomination’s efforts to fight the power of predatory gambling, alcohol and tobacco interests have long been thwarted by the fantastic sums of money those enterprises pour into the campaign coffers of politicians.

Fortunately, although they are treated as individuals, corporations don’t vote. We do. Politicians know that. We have to encourage them to do the right thing. Right now, that means contacting them in support of the “Fair Elections Now Act” (S. 752 and H.R. 1826). The Supreme Court has made an egregious error in its ruling. It is crucial to encourage your members of Congress to rectify that error through strengthening laws that will level the playing field for all of us.

Editor’s note: More than 200 faith leaders representing diverse religions sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., this week urging passage of the Fair Elections Now Act.” You can read about their effort in this issue of Faith in Action, at “Pass Fair Elections Now Act”. Date: 2/5/2010


The Word from Winkler – News and Views from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. – Word from Winkler

Withholding food

By Jim Winkler, General Secretary, General Board of Church & Society

My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”

—South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R) (The Greenville News, Jan. 25)

I prefer to think of impoverished people as sacred children of God. I read this stunningly uncharitable and unChristian statement several days after reading a posting on a United Methodist Web site that counseled people how and why not to give money to poor people who may approach on the street.

Surely, these are not among those he wants to stop feeding.

In Lt. Gov. Bauer’s own state, 58% of South Carolina school children participate in the free or reduced-price lunch program. Surely, these are not among those he wants to stop feeding.

One of The United Methodist Church’s focus areas is ministry with the poor. Many of our congregations support ministries for impoverished people. I doubt any of them withhold food in order to hold down the population, though.

When times get tough economically, some people always search for a reason to punish the poor. Years ago, the Reagan administration attempted unsuccessfully to classify packets of ketchup as vegetables in an effort to reduce school lunches for impoverished children.

The unfortunate news just arrived that President Obama intends in his “State of the Union” address to recommend no additional money be given to programs that help impoverished people. He’s also squeezing money to education, health and human services, housing and urban development, agriculture, environmental protection, national parks, nutrition and other non-defense spending.

At a time of great need, those in need will have to do without.

The military machine, as always, will be fed. Wars must go on. The merchants of death must receive their due. Regretfully, there will be scant opposition in Congress to the continually growing military budget. Anyone who questions money for war risks being portrayed as soft on terrorism, a charge that frightens many elected officials.

Lt. Gov. Bauer tried to clarify his faux pas by stating he just wants to end the “culture of dependency.” Me, too: I want to see an end to our dependency on military spending and violent solutions to solve problems.

Money spent on nutrition, education, and health and human needs is a wise use of our resources. Well-fed and well-cared for children and adults are more productive and valuable to society. Let’s care for all of God’s creatures.

Date: 1/27/2010

Daren Gray

Screamingly funny twist on Casey at the Bat.

From the comments at Wired.com’s live coverage of the Apple event

“Jobs at the Bat”

by Daren Gray

(as largely thefted from Ernest Lawrence Thayer)


The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the older tech that day:

The score stood ten to one against, with but one inning more to play.

And then when Kindle died at first, and Nook did the same,

A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.


A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest

Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;

They thought, if only Jobs could get but a whack at that –

We’d put up even money now, and possibly our cat.


But first some stuff about that phone, and more of AT&T

And the former was a lulu and the latter an atrocity;

So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,

For there seemed but little chance of Jobs getting out of that.


But soon the music swelled and to the wonderment of all,

To ringing chords of Coldplay came Jobs into the hall

And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,

There was Jobs upon the stage, and Ballmer flipped him the bird.


Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;

It rumbled through the building, it rattled down at Dell;

It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,

For Jobs, mighty Jobs, was advancing to the… WHAT THE F*** IS THAT?!


There was ease in Jobs’ manner as he stepped into his place;

There was pride in Jobs’ bearing and a smile on Jobs’ face.

And when, responding to the cheers, he lofted high the gizmo,

No fanboy in the crowd could hold their ever-building jizzmo.


Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with balm;

Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped it on his palm.

Then while the writhing members ground their hands into their hips,

Defiance gleamed in Jobs’ eye, a sneer curled Jobs’ lips.


And now his withered old man finger came whizzing cross the screen,

And Jobs stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur keen.

Close by the sturdy CEO the clock unheeded sped –

”That ain’t my style,” said Jobs. “Strike one,” a critic said.


From the aisles, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,

Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.

“Kill him! Kill the blasphemer!” shouted someone on the stand;

And its likely they’d a-killed him had not Jobs raised his hand.


With a smile of Christian charity great Jobs’ visage shone;

He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the show go on;

He signaled to the projector, and once more the hype did flew;

But Jobs still ignored it, and the critic said, “Strike two.”


“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;

But one scornful look from Jobs and the audience was awed.

They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,

And they knew that Jobs wouldn’t let that moment pass again.


The sneer is gone from Jobs’ lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;

He pounds with cruel violence the tablet on his pate.

And now the critic holds his tongue, and now he lets it go,

And now the air is shattered by the force of Jobs’ blow.


Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,

And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children tweet;

There is no joy in Redmond, but, MAN… this tablet’s sweet!


Posted by: daren_gray | 01/27/10 | 2:13 am


Russian hackers again…

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I see you tovarich…

Great Speech

This speech was incredibly moving to me when I first read it while posting it at the CU Alumni Association’s website. I was doing a year-end review of content and felt moved again to read it through… and was just as impressed as the first time. I encourage you to read the entire piece, it’s an amazing speech, I’m going to have to find the video of it – certainly it’s amazing.

I’ve met judge Arguello a couple of times now and she was very sweet, taking note that I had posted her speech, saying she’d had trouble finding it online – so I hope having it here makes it even easier to find.

Thank you for being ambitious Christine and giving your life to the people to make the law live and breathe. We are honored by your service.


Remarks by Christine M. Arguello (Edu’77)

Investiture for United States District Judge for the District of Colorado

December 5, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, cherished family and friends, esteemed colleagues and honored guests:

First let me thank the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association and all my dear friends at the CHBA for this beautiful robe – I can think of no better symbol of your friendship and respect than this gift, which I shall cherish.

Words cannot express the emotions I am feeling today as I consider the responsibility that has been entrusted to me by this appointment. Perhaps this is because in my heart, today is really yesterday – a day more than 40 years ago when, as a 13-year-old, I picked up a magazine in the library and found myself entranced by the world of the law, and with the prospect that I could become a lawyer – an advocate for those who could not advocate for themselves.

In the decades that have followed that day, I am privileged to have been such an advocate, as well as a teacher, and now, today, a guardian of the law. In each of these roles, I hope I have been steadfast in my responsibilities as a citizen, and it is with respect for my fellow citizens that I wish today to share, with them, and with you, a little bit of who I am, and what I will bring to the role of United States District Judge for the District of Colorado.

I think the people deserve to know who presides over their courts and what we bring to that enormous responsibility. I bring a number of big dreams realized. Even as a barber’s daughter in Buena Vista, Colorado, I dreamed big. Maybe it was the altitude, or maybe it was my attitude. Either way, I was fortunate not only to have such dreams, but to be encouraged to pursue them by my father, and my mother, my wonderful husband Ron, and by many other key mentors and friends who saw my potential and reached out to grab my hands and help pull me up that steep incline of life.

But first, back to my “Eureka” moment when the “lawyer” light bulb went on for me. As a child, I was an avid reader. I discovered that marvelous entity known as the public library during the summer after my 4th grade year. And believe me, I was a frequent visitor to that little library in Buena Vista – trekking the two miles from my home on the outskirts of Buena Vista to the library at least 3 times a week during the summer – because I was only allowed to check out 3 books at a time. You can ask my dear sister Elaine and she will tell you that, much to her chagrin, I was the type of kid who would rather spend time reading than doing anything else, and that included playing with her. Because in my family only the “girls” did the housework and cooking and I was the oldest girl so most of the responsibility of helping my mom fell on my shoulders, often, in order to read, I had to sneak off and climb my reading tree, where hidden by the foliage, I could spend hours immersed in the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder or Jo of Little Women. And even when I heard my mom calling for me to come in to peel the potatoes or iron the clothes, I just could not pull my nose out of that book, although I knew I was going to get a whipping when I finally did climb down from my reading tree.

One day, as I waited for my friend who was querying the librarian about a book she was looking for, I happened to pick up a news magazine – I don’t remember if it was Time or Newsweek but it was a news magazine of that sort – and, leafing through it, found an article on lawyers and law schools.

I have to say that lightning struck me. I was swept away – partially by images of Harvard University with its stately red brick buildings with the pillars and black iron gates and, of course, its ivy. And partially by the sheer power of what the text conveyed about what the law and its advocates could achieve for people and for our nation. From that moment on, I was on a new mission – I no longer wanted to be a teacher, I wanted to be a lawyer and I wanted to go to Harvard Law School.

Incidentally, knocking “teacher” off the top of my list of careers was no mean trick. Based on a previous “Eureka” moment that had transpired about three years earlier, I had committed to become a teacher and inspire kids, just like Mrs. Cole had inspired me. We had just moved to Buena Vista in October of my fourth grade year so that my dad could open up his barbershop, and it was the first time I attended public school instead of Catholic school. Unfortunately for me, my experience with the nuns was not positive. My memories are of strict, humorless nuns with rulers in their hands meting out discipline for such things as speaking Spanish on the playground or putting your shoes on the wrong foot. Needless to say, I hated school and was counting the days until I hit 8th grade (some how I had gotten it into my head that you could drop out in 8th grade) so I could drop out of school and get a job.

Fortunately for me, God had other plans in mind. My 4th grade teacher at Irving W. Avery Elementary School in Buena Vista was Mildred Cole. Mrs. Cole was one of those teachers that when she told the class she wanted the room so quiet she could hear a pin drop, the class immediately quieted down. Mrs. Cole liked me because of my Catholic school manners, bearing, and respect for authority. Every time she called on me I would stand up to address her – “yes, ma’am” or “no, ma’am”. This behavior caused my classmates to giggle, but I could tell it pleased Mrs. Cole, so I didn’t mind. Anyway, one day Mrs. Cole came up behind me as I toiled in my phonics workbook and I froze in terror, expecting the ruler at any minute to slash across the knuckles of my hands. Instead, she leaned down and, noticing I was working on making up the pages I had missed, patted me on the back and whispered kindly in my ear, “My, aren’t you ambitious?”

I didn’t know what “ambitious” meant, but I could tell by the encouraging tone of her voice that she was complimenting me and that “ambitious” had to be a positive word. During recess, I looked up the word in the classroom dictionary and discovered that ambitious meant – “having a strong desire for success or achievement.” I decided that being ambitious was a good thing and I decided then and there that I would be ambitious and instead of dropping out of school when I got to 8th grade, I would stay in school and grow up to be a teacher just like Mrs. Cole – my first teacher mentor.

So, it was not an easy decision to give up that dream and assume my new aspiration of becoming a lawyer and going to Harvard Law School. But from seventh grade through my junior year in high school, I did not waiver in my Harvard ambitions. I didn’t know anything about Harvard, other than that the magazine said it was the “best” law school in the country and that is what I wanted for myself – “the best.” In my simple thinking, I figured that to get into the “best” school I would have to be the “best” student. So, from that day forward, it wasn’t good enough for me to get merely A’s in my classes, I had to have the top grade in all my classes. And if I didn’t get it the first time, I would just work harder and make sure I set the curve the next time. It helped that I had smart and supportive friends like Jolene Flowers Ahrens, who together with her mother Eva Flowers, traveled from Buena Vista today to share in this celebration with me. I remember that at the beginning of our freshman year, Jolene told me that she wanted to be Valedictorian of the class. I asked her what that was, because I had never heard the term. She said it was the student in the class that had the highest grades and that student got to give the speech at graduation. I said, “That sounds good to me. I think I will be Valedictorian.” And, throughout high school Jolene and I were neck to neck in the competition to be class valedictorian. But there was never any jealousy or negative competition, we just helped inspire one another to be and do our best.

And though I did not waiver from my dream, neither did I share my dream publicly with anyone. Deep down I instinctively knew that others would not really understand or accept the idea of Phil the barber’s daughter going to Harvard Law School. This knowledge reached its zenith during my junior year in high school.

On a late spring day – the kind when most students are daydreaming about being anywhere but in school and a few are projecting their lives forward into the future – my high school English teacher, Mrs. Cecilia Poplin decided to go around the room and ask each of us what we were going to do with our lives after we graduated high school.

Each student volunteered his or her big plans. This one was going to be an engineer, that one a teacher, another one a hair dresser. My classmates became enthralled with each other’s possibilities, applauding and offering words of encouragement to each in turn. As I listened with one ear, a raging debate was going on in my head – should I tell them? Will they support me? Finally, my turn came. After hearing all the acclaim of my classmates for one another’s big plans, I let my guard down, figuring they would greet my grand ambitions with the same applause and encouragement they had given to one another.

So, when the question was directed at me, “What about you, Chris?” I forthrightly declared my intentions. “I am going to be a lawyer and I am going to go to Harvard Law School.” I waited for their response, expecting some words of encouragement or support. And I waited—Instead, I got stunned looks and— silence. Deafening silence, for what seemed to me like hours. Then my worst nightmare: a few nervous giggles and then someone broke the silence: “Ha Ha Ha – Chris Martinez thinks she can go to Harvard.”

Although the rest of that day is a blur in my memory, to this day I can still feel that turmoil of emotions and the sharp stab of pain that struck me to the bone. I remember hiding in the bathroom until well after school was out because there was no way I was going to let anyone to see me cry. As I walked down the now silent, empty hallways of my school on the way out to my rusted out 1960 Ford which I had bought for $50, the laughter of my classmates ringing in my ears, I began to doubt myself. “My friends are right. Who did I think I was? What made me think I was so special that I could get into a school like Harvard?” And so, with the echo of laughter ringing in my ears, the flame that was my dream began to sputter and fade. But again, that was not part of God’s Greater Plan for my life. Instead, Mrs. Poplin intercepted me just as I was ready to walk out of the school. In fact, years later I realized she had been waiting for me. She stopped me, looked me straight in the eye, and, unwavering, said “Chris, I know you can do it.” These 7 words from a person that I deeply respected were all I needed to re-ignite the flame of my ambition – one person who believed in me! I returned to school the next day more determined than ever to accomplish whatever dreams or goals I set for myself. And I haven’t waivered since.

I often think about Mrs. Poplin – about whether I would be speaking to you here today, if she had not found me that awful day more than 30 years ago. Later, in my law school years at Harvard, I wrote to Mrs. Poplin and I expressed to her how important her belief in me had been to me at a critical tipping point in my life. A number of years ago, Mrs. Poplin’s daughter contacted me to tell me that her mother had passed away. She told me that she had found my letters and she just wanted to let me know how much those letters had meant to her mother. She told me that she had found them tucked safely away in her mother’s bible and by their condition she could tell that her mother had read them many times.

This story is a tribute to all those teachers out there, like my husband Ron, my sister Elaine, my friends Carol Silva and Rick and Veronica Gallegos who, despite low pay, never have waivered from their dedication to preparing the next generation of kids and inspiring them to be all that they can be. It is because of people like Mrs. Poplin and my husband that I have such a commitment to mentoring others – many of whom are sitting in this courtroom today.

I tell that story when I speak to young people for all the obvious reasons – because they need to know what determination can achieve; because it’s good for them to learn the value of not ridiculing the dreams of their classmates; but also, because I want them to understand that all it takes is for one person to believe in you and to express that belief to help you keep your dreams on track.

As for my friends, I eventually forgave them because I came to understand that their laughter was not of spite, but rather, was of incredulity and an inability to comprehend such grand dreams. No one from Buena Vista, as far as they knew, had ever attended Harvard Law School. I later came to find out that I was a bit ahead of my time – the year I decided that I was going to go to Harvard was 1968 – the year I confided my dream to my classmates was 1972. Harvard did not admit its first Chicana until 1974.

My path to this courtroom was blazed by so many other mentors – great professors at CU-Boulder, Harvard Law and later KU Law School where I taught law; attorneys in the community and at the firms where I worked; and judges in whose courts I have won and lost cases. I won’t go into all of those acknowledgements because that only leads to trouble when you inadvertently leave someone out. Also, I promised to keep my remarks to 15 minutes.

But there are some very special people that I want to acknowledge because they stand out. My dad, Felipe Ramon Martinez and my mom, Emilia Manuela Martinez, both of whom taught their children the importance of a strong work ethic, the value of an education, the responsibility to share the blessings God has bestowed upon us with those less fortunate, and so many other lessons that have made me the person I am today.

Unfortunately daddy died three years ago and my mom was too ill to make the trip from Pueblo so they are not able to be here in body, but I know how proud they both are and I know that both continue to hold me up in prayer – that the Lord will guide me in my new role as a guardian of the law. But daddy, I think it is time for you to stop bragging to all your friends in heaven about your Jita who, even though she didn’t become the first doctor in the family, is now a big shot Federal judge!

Last, but certainly not least, I want to recognize my family – my loving and much loved husband Ron and my wonderful children Ronnie, Tiffany, Jennifer, and Kenny. I was truly blessed when God set Ron in my path my first week at CU more than 35 years ago. Ron and I were just kids when we married and we have essentially grown up together. Ron, thank you for always being there for me, for inspiring me when I needed encouragement, for believing in me when I lost faith in myself, for guiding me when I was lost and floundering. Most of all thank you for the sacrifices you have made in your life and your career so that I could achieve my dreams and my ambitions. Without you Ron, I know I would not be where I am today. You are and always have been the love of my life and my anchor. Ronnie, Tiffany, Jennifer, and Kenny – I hope you know how much I love you all and how proud I am of each of you. A mom couldn’t ask for better kids. I hope you know that all I do, I do for you.

I am very much aware that I am here today not simply because of the force of my own ambitions, but in equal measure, because of the faith, hope, and charity of many, many people, who saw in my ambitions something bigger than my fortunes alone. Who saw something good and lasting for their community, for their country, and for its most vital public institutions. I intend in all matters to be true to them, even as I am true to the law. My own history demands it, but more importantly, the times demand it.

And these are, we must admit, difficult times. Our economy languishes. We are engaged in two military struggles in the Middle East with uncertain ends. We have a new president with a new spirit of optimism and bold confidence, and a new Congress with fresh new faces from all walks of American life. And yet a pressing question remains: can our hearts and minds invest these leaders with confidence and faith? Are we patient enough to let our government function in this, our digital age, where things are expected to move at a lightning pace and arrive at a destination that always pleases us, rewards us and benefits us? Can our government succeed when people measure its effectiveness by a yardstick of satisfaction forged from the material world, and not from the world of values, ethics, and service that is supposed to infuse our civic life?

These questions are no less pressing and momentous for our legal system – the third branch of our government – than they are for the executive and legislative branches. Our justice system, too, suffers from low public esteem and a lack of public confidence. It is plagued by false expectations – that it, and the law itself, should somehow function to always give people what they want, rather to mete out what truth and justice demand.

Alongside these false concepts of the law and our lack of confidence in our justice system, I find even more troubling the degradation of the rule of law itself. While our foreign policy seeks to advance this central tenet of free societies as a public value in other nations, the United States of America seems headed in the opposite direction.

Again we see an apathy, a shrugging-off, a broad disinterest by U.S. society in the need to continue the commitment to the three-part process that has advanced and secured our freedoms up to the present: i) reasoned, civil discourse regarding policy choices on economic and social issues; ii) accurate translation of the results from such discourse into laws and regulations and dedication of adequate resources to enforce them; and iii) adherence to those rules by government officials at all levels – most importantly at the highest level.

If we forsake the rule of law for convenience or expediency; if we sacrifice it out of ruthlessness; if we abandon it out of laziness, history will never forgive us. All who have struggled against tyranny, arbitrary rule, despotism, and even simple injustice, will hold us accountable for all time for this unforgiveable sin. It cannot be allowed to happen. The rule of the law is one of the crowning American legacies – as George Washington reminded us, “The administration of justice is the firmest pillar of government.”

As guardians of the law, we have a special responsibility at this difficult moment in our nation’s history to restore the rule of law as a living, breathing, working value in American society even as we work to enshrine it in other societies. Likewise, we must embrace the co-equal challenge of restoring confidence in the judicial branch of our government as a key step toward restoring overall confidence in our entire government.

And so the challenge today for us – for me, for all the judges invested today; all the attorneys admitted to the bar today; all the DAs reporting for their first day of work today in Denver and around the nation; all the law students studying for finals at law schools here in Colorado and around the country – with Washington’s admonition – “the administration of justice is the firmest pillar of government” – in mind, is to commit to begin this process anew. As if this were the first birth of our republic, as if all pressing issues were at stake, as if our survival depended upon our efforts – because plainly, it does.

And with this commitment, let us draw not just upon our training, our scholarship, and our dedication as guardians of the law. Let us draw upon our life experience, our deepest humanity and the understanding of human nature we have cultivated in our lives outside the practice of law.

What we need most now, at this moment, is not more expertise. We have expertise to burn. We are not lacking in legal brilliance, erudition, or talent by any measure. No, if we are to summon the public back into a confident compact with our legal system – with attorneys, with judges and juries, with litigants – it must come from a demonstration that the law is relevant and central to people’s lives, not separate and sequestered from their lives.

And so with this in mind, I return to the story I told at the beginning of my remarks: my life story. As a guardian of the law, I am pledging today to stay in close touch with all that I have been, with all whom I have met, with all that I have seen. I will trust in my training, certainly, and in my professional experience, but alone, they will not be adequate to make me an effective judge, or to do the extra work of helping to restore some measure of public confidence in our courts, in our judicial system, and in the law itself.

To do that requires an extra commitment. So as I pledge that commitment today, I ask all of you to do the same. I ask you to infuse your work in the law with the passion that your lives have forged, with the humanity that has informed your work, and with the decency that has grounded your conduct. Nothing is more important than that we do this, and do it now. Our times demand it. The future of the law, and of American civilization, demands it.

And for those of you not involved in the law directly, I ask you to rededicate yourselves to renewing the spirit of civic discourse and to doing the hard work of advancing our republic in your lives and your work. This is important work – as John Adams reminded us: “there are only two creatures of value on the face of the earth: those who are committed, and those who require the commitment of others.” We must become both kinds of people to ensure the blessings of our republic and the promise of our government.

I stand ready and eager to undertake the tremendous challenges ahead and am confident that, with the support and mentoring that the other members of this court have already provided to me, I will be successful. For myself, I hope it is said that my time on the bench was dedicated to these propositions – that I helped to make our courts better, make the administration of justice better, and make the law live, and live vibrantly, in our little corner of America. I would be satisfied with that legacy – the kind of legacy at the center of the great poem “Success” – long my favorite work, which reads: “To know that even one life has breathed easier because I have lived – this is to have succeeded.”

I strive to attain this kind of success. And I wish it for each of you as well. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this supreme honor, for being here with me today, and for hearing me out. Let us commit to helping others achieve what this small town girl, with the help of many of you in this audience, has achieved – a very big dream; indeed, the “American Dream.”

Day of Reckoning

Democratic Senator: GOP on Desperate Mission of Propaganda, Obstruction and Fear

By Sheldon Whitehouse, AlterNet. Posted December 21, 2009.

In his Senate floor speech on the health-care bill, the Rhode Island senator accused the GOP of fomenting the kind of paranoia that led to Kristallnacht and lynchings.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This floor speech was delivered by the junior senator from Rhode Island yesterday, as the Senate remained in session to debate the health-care bill before a procedural vote that will bring the bill to the Senate floor later this week. References to “Madam President” or “Mr. President” refer to the senator who is presiding over the body at the time of the senator’s comments. When Whitehouse began speaking, Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., was presiding; when he finished up, it was one of the male senators wielding the gavel. Transcription and links added by AlterNet.

Madam President, as we are here in the Senate today, Washington rests under a blanket of snow, reminding us here of the Christmas spirit across the nation — the spirit that is bringing families happily together for the holidays. Unfortunately, a different spirit has descended on this Senate. The spirit that has descended on the Senate is one described by Chief Justice John Marshall back in the Burr trial: “those malignant and vindictive passions which rage in the bosoms of contending parties struggling for power.”

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Hofstadter captured some examples in his famous essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.”

The “malignant and vindictive passions” often arise, he points out, when an aggrieved minority believes that “America has been largely taken away from them and their kind. Though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion.” Does that sound familiar, Madam President, in this health-care debate? Forty years ago he wrote that.

Hofstader continued, those aggrieved fear what he described as “the now-familiar sustained conspiracy” — familiar then, 40 years ago; persistent now — “whose supposed purpose,” Hofstadter described, “is to undermine free capitalism, to bring the economy under the direction of the federal government, and to pave the way for socialism.” Again, familiar words here today.

More than 50 years ago, he wrote of the dangers of an aggrieved right-wing minority with the power to create what he called “a political climate in which the rational pursuit of our well-being and safety would become impossible.”

A political environment “in which the rational pursuit of our well-being and safety would become impossible.”

The malignant and vindictive passions that have descended on the Senate are busily creating just such a political climate. Far from appealing to the better angels of our nature, too many colleagues are embarked on a desperate, no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, falsehood, obstruction and fear.

Read the rest at Alternet.

National Debt Chart

Click to view larger image.

Bottom line – the GOP runs up the debt every time they’re in charge.

The ‘tax and spend’ label = vicious lie to cover their own asses.

Vote them out and KEEP THEM OUT.

Dr. Peter Watts beaten by US border guards

From Boing Boing

by Cory Doctorow

Dr Peter Watts, Canadian science fiction writer, beaten and arrested at US border

My friend, the wonderful sf writer Peter Watts was beaten without provocation and arrested by US border guards on Tuesday. I heard about it early Wednesday morning in London and called Cindy Cohn, the legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She worked her contacts to get in touch with civil rights lawyers in Michigan, and we mobilized with Caitlin Sweet (Peter’s partner) and David Nickle (Peter’s friend) and Peter was arraigned and bailed out later that day.

But now Peter faces a felony rap for “assaulting a federal officer” (Peter and the witness in the car say he didn’t do a thing, and I believe them). Defending this charge will cost a fortune, and an inadequate defense could cost Peter his home, his livelihood and his liberty.

Peter’s friends are raising money for his legal defense. I just sent him CAD$1,000, because this is absolutely my biggest nightmare: imprisoned in a foreign country for a trumped-up offense against untouchable border cops. I would want my friends to help me out if it ever happened to me.

Sf writer David Nickle writes,

Hugo-award-nominated science fiction author Dr. Peter Watts is in serious legal trouble after he was beaten, pepper-sprayed and imprisoned by American border guards at a Canada U.S. border crossing December 8. This is a call to friends, fans and colleagues to help.

Peter, a Canadian citizen, was on his way back to Canada after helping a friend move house to Nebraska over the weekend. He was stopped at the border crossing at Port Huron, Michigan by U.S. border police for a search of his rental vehicle. When Peter got out of the car and questioned the nature of the search, the gang of border guards subjected him to a beating, restrained him and pepper sprayed him. At the end of it, local police laid a felony charge of assault against a federal officer against Peter. On Wednesday, he posted bond and walked across the border to Canada in shirtsleeves (he was released by Port Huron officials with his car and possessions locked in impound, into a winter storm that evening). He’s home safe. For now. But he has to go back to Michigan to face the charge brought against him.

The charge is spurious. But it’s also very serious. It could mean two years in prison in the United States, and a ban on travel in that country for the rest of Peter’s life. Peter is mounting a vigorous defense, but it’s going to be expensive – he’s effectively going up against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and he needs the best legal help that he can get.

He’s got that help, courtesy of one of the top criminal lawyers in the State of Michigan. We, Peter’s friends and colleagues here in Canada, want to make sure he gets the help he needs financially to come out of this nightmare whole.

The need for that help is real. While Peter is a critically successful science fiction writer, he is by no means a best-selling author. Without help, the weight of his legal fees could literally put him on the street by spring.

We can’t let that happen. So there’s going to be fundraising.

We’re going to think of something suitable in the New Year – but immediately, anyone who wants to help can do so easily. Peter’s website, rifters.com, has a link to a PayPal account, whimsically named the Niblet Memorial Kibble Fund. He set it up years ago for fans of the Hugo-nominated novel Blindsight and his Rifters books, to cover veterinary bills for the cats he habitually rescues from the mean streets of Toronto. Peter has made it clear that he doesn’t want to use the veterinary money to cover his lawsuit. But until we can figure out a more graceful conduit for the legal fund, that’s the best place to send donations for now. Just let Peter know that the donation’s for his legal defense, and that’s where it will go.

Here’s the link to the backlist page on Peter’s website, rifters.com, or you can just send a PayPal donation to donate@rifters.com.

The link to the Niblet Memorial Kibble Fund is in the middle of the page. The page also links to Creative Commons editions of all his published work, which he’s made available free. Peter would approve, we think, if you downloaded one or two or all of them. Whether you make a donation to the legal fund or not.

Rough God Goes Riding

by Van Morrisson

Oh the mud splattered victims
Have to pay out all along the ancient highway
Torn between half truth and victimisation
Fighting back with counter attacks

It’s when that rough god goes riding
When the rough god goes gliding
And then rough god goes riding
Riding on in

I was flabbergasted by the headlines
People in glasshouses throwing stones
Gaping wounds that will never heal
Now they’re moaning like a dog in a manger

It’s when that rough god goes riding
And then the rough god goes gliding
There’ll be nobody hiding
When that rough god comes riding on in

And it’s a matter of survival
When you’re born with your back against the wall
Won’t somebody hand me a bible
Won’t you give me that number to call

When that rough god goed riding
And then that rough god goes gliding
They’ll be nobody hiding
When that rough god goes riding on in
Riding on in

When that rough god goes riding
When that rough god goes gliding
There’ll be nobody hiding
When that rough god goes riding on in
Riding on in

There’ll be no more heroes
They’ll be reduced to zero
When that rough god goes riding
Riding on in
Riding on in
Riding on in

You may live in Canada…

Stolen wholeheartedly directly from Malcha’s Sound Visions:

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from
September through May,
You may live in Canada .

If someone in a Home Depot store
Offers you assistance and they don’t work there,
You may live in Canada .

If you’ve worn shorts and a parka at the same time,
You may live in Canada .

If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation
With someone who dialed a wrong number,
You may live in Canada .

If ‘Vacation’ means going anywhere
South of Detroit for the weekend,
You may live in Canada .

If you measure distance in hours,
You may live in Canada .

If you know several people
Who have hit a deer more than once,
You may live in Canada .

If you have switched from ‘heat’ to ‘A/C’
In the same day and back again,
You may live in Canada .

If you can drive 90 km/hr through 2 feet of snow
During a raging blizzard without flinching,
You may live in Canada .

If you install security lights on your house and garage,
But leave both unlocked,
You may live in Canada .

If you carry jumper cables in your car
And your wife knows how to use them,
You may live in Canada .

If you design your kid’s Halloween costume
To fit over a snowsuit,
You may live in Canada .

If the speed limit on the highway is 80 km –
You’re going 95 and everybody is passing you,
You may live in Canada .

If driving is better in the winter
Because the potholes are filled with snow,
You may live in Canada .

If you know all 4 seasons:
Almost winter, winter, still winter,
and road construction,
You may live in Canada .

(this is my favourite, because how true)

If you have more miles
On your snow blower than your car,
You may live in Canada .

If you find -2 degrees ‘a little chilly’,
You may live in Canada .

If you actually understand these jokes,
you definitely are Canadian and proud to be.

Ground Crew

My dear friend DJ Cline was at the airport to greet me.

Laughter ensued.

My heart soars to be in this man’s presence.

A quick trip to Target for toiletries became a comedy of social observations.

His joie de vie is infectious and Gods how I needed infecting.