Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hmm -- Could this be a good case for punitive torture?

Spammer arrested in Seattle

SEATTLE, May 31 (UPI) -- A man reputed to be one of the United States' most prolific purveyors of junk e-mail was arrested in Seattle Thursday on spam-related charges.
A U.S. grand jury charged Robert Alan Soloway, 27, with 35 counts of mail and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering and fraud, The Seattle Times reported.

voting for war

I have said my "mea culpas" for giving my approval to the intial Iraq War plans of this war-mongering "decider" who occupies the White House. It's true, nobody sent me a request or called me on the phone to ask my opinion, but I did sit in front ot the TV and watch Tony Blair and Colin Powell make their case, and I did watch the debate in Congress, and then I said, "OK." Without Powell and Blair, I wouldn't have been persuaded.

I'm sorry I gave the Bushies my go-ahead. I've said this before on ARBORETUM. Even if he didn't ask and said he would do what he wanted anyway.

This brings me to the matter currently on my mind: Should Hillary and Kerry and Obama have voted for or against the new cash for the war? From my point of view, what difference does it make? If the Senate does not have the guts to compel an end to the war, then it has a duty to support the troops. Yep, they're our troops and I think they can't be "left hanging" in the desert.

On the other hand, if no one voted against the money, how could the war ever be stopped? Seems to me this makes the second horn of a classic dilemma. Neither choice seems to be either right or wrong.

What we shouldn't put up with is either those anti-war people who voted yes or voted no trying to make capital out of the vote. The only people with a legitimate beef are those like McCaine who support the war. They're entitled to condemn the no voters.

What's needed is an anti-war vote in Congress: straight up. Resolved, that American participation in this war should be ended by _____________(date).

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Recommended Reading

The Hippies Were Right!
Green homes? Organic food? Nature is good? Time to give the ol' tie-dyers some respect

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Wednesday, May 2, 2007

There is but one conclusion you can draw from the astonishing (albeit fitful, bittersweet) pro-environment sea change now happening in the culture and (reluctantly, nervously) in the halls of power in D.C., one thing we must all acknowledge in our wary, jaded, globally warmed universe: The hippies had it right all along. Oh yes they did.


blood money

Thomas Jefferson said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." And, he had never met the health industry which is assigned the task of keeping us alive these days. He was talking about something easier, like kings.

At breakfast this morning, some friends and I were discussing, among the many other problems of the world needing our attention, the mess our health care system is in. The intricacy of the problem is daunting. Everyone can discuss their own grievances and frustrations and high out-of-pocket costs associated with this lugubrious industry, but suggesting a solution that doesn't involve shooting insurance company executives and lobbyists is hard to think of.

Once, at a pharmacy, I almost got myself arrested for saying, "When the revolution comes, I'm grabbing my gun." The woman ahead of me in line had no insurance and couldn't afford the $140 she needed to pay for the doctor's prescription she walked in with. She offered them $90, but of course, in our country, health costs are non-negotiable. At the same time, I was struggling with my own prescription complications and had reached the red-button emotional level that is bad for my health.

My friend Dashman sent me an article by Susan Ager discussing her trip to an emergency room in Denmark. The visit was free, because health care in Denmark is paid out of tax money. Her experience there was wonderful.

Ager concludes:
"It's true Danes pay among the highest taxes in the world. But their system provides not only free health care but free long-term care, including 24/7 home care, and generous unemployment and education benefits.We'd never stand for taxes so high. But the appeal of such a system is powerful, and it might help explain Denmark's ranking in a huge UNESCO study this year as the happiest nation on Earth. No one ever need worry, as millions of Americans do, about being sick, broke and alone."


Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

In Memory of


who sacrificed both physical and
emotional health in Bougainville, 1943.

Where the Dears and the Dinosaurs roam!

The Creationist Museum

Some godly folks in Kentucky have spent $27 million to make a "creationist museum" to depict the biblical story of what's what. They say one room depicts frolicking dinosaurs and well dressed caveman children. No naked savages here.

I have not visited the museum yet, and cannot comment on its displays or even its architecture, but all my friends would tell you that it's just the sort of thing I would love to see. So, I will go there eventually if it stays open and I stay alive.

Some fussy science people are raising a stink about the institution. They are claiming that the museum is no such thing since it has invented the items and the concepts depicted. Everything about the place, it seems, is mythical -- according to the fuddy-duddy college professor types; and not much is historically true. For example, the museum suggests that the world is, oh, say, 6,000 years old. Anyone with two bits of brain to play with knows that's wrong.

I would not condemn this religious effort. It's true, I don't accept that biblical concept of either creation or history. For example, I do not believe that all the dinosaur fossils only prove that they were too big to fit on the Ark. I don't think all the stegosaurs drowned on the same day. But I do think that these people have a right to believe that and to build monuments to their beliefs.

However! They need to learn to keep these notions in their museums, not in our schools. This is something you need to sell tickets for; and if they're smart, when I show up they'll charge me double because I'll get lots more entertainment out of this museum than the true believers will.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Leaf

Posting on Birches, if any, will happen after the holiday. In the meantime, keep a close eye on the Bush government. While you're away celebrating America, it may do something else crazy, such as selling off the National Parks. (Ya, that's been suggested!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Stand of Birches

A Stand of Birches: Some things we believe in:

1. Preserving and Conserving the Environment and the Wildlife.
2. Our democracy
3. The Freedom of Religion -- yours and mine both.
4. Public education
5. Sharing Ideas (and laughs)
6. Pestering privileged people

The Birch Barks for the First Time

"Remember this always, son. Your Daddy never, ever voted for anyone named Bush. No matter what the other kids tell you. What they say .. it just ain't true. Now no more tears ... go on back and play."