Thursday, September 25, 2008

In the name of love.....

It's extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can't find $25 billion dollars to saved 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases.

- Bono, rock star and anti-poverty activist. (Source: The American Prospect blog)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Madison's Olbrich Gardens in the Mist...

Madison has a garden called Olbrich Gardens, on the east side, where most of the good stuff in town can be found. They have a tropical dome, which is great in dead of winter. I'd never really spent much time in the rest of Olbrich Gardens, which is this rather intricate, lush maze of flowers, brick walkways and shrubs and stuff, all leading to the Thai Pavilion, although the paths can lead you where ever you want, I suppose. It was a Saturday afternoon, with a pause in the steady rain. Drops fell now and then. Very humid and "close" as we (Nancy Poodledoc, Poodledoc,Jr, and my fiancee Julia)wound our way through what felt like a jungle.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A smart film about stupid people

Ok. I stole the title to this little post. But this movie was one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. It reminds me of Fargo, another Coen brothers movie, where someone's stupid plan goes very, very wrong through the work of.......fate? Anyhow, this movie is a good spy farce mixed in with a variety of hilarious and strange sexual twistings and turnings. Throw in some extremely dark humor, a health club, a plastic surgeon, George Clooney, some other more accomplished actors, and some very clever, very amusing scenes happen. It's enjoyable to watch them unfold. Almost as much fun as writing this vague "review". But, if you want something that's a notch up from Get Smart in terms of cleverness, but just as dumb. See this movie. Get popcorn. Laugh out loud. You won't be the only one in the theater laughing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Exciting Week for Cub Fans

Well, the giant sucking sound from Chicago seems to have stopped. The Cubs came out of their doldrums in style. Carlos Zambrano, rested his "heavy arm" last week and then pitched a no-hitter Monday night. The next day, Cub's pitcher Ted Lilly almost had a no-hitter of his own, allowing one hit. Then the Cubs lost to the hapless Brewers. I tuned in todays game and the Cubs were down 6 to 2 in the ninth so I figured they were about to lose. Tuning in later, the Cubs had scored 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie, then won the game in the 12th. So this Cub fan will sleep well tonight......

A Poem from Last Week's Meeting for Worship

As I sat down in worship last First Day, I felt tired. Had lots of weight on my shoulders. I realized, or God halped me to see, that I was, once again, struggling with control issues. So I started listing all the things I DON'T control. Endless list. Then I opened my Wendell Berry poetry book randomly, as I've been doing for the past month. After I read the poem below, I felt clear and light. I almost laughed out loud in Meeting for Worship. I caught myself, but as I thought about it later, it didn't seem like God would mind. In fact God would love it if I laughed.

So, the poem:

The Clear Days

The dogs of inecision
Cross and cross the field of vision.

A cloud, a buzzing fly
distract the lover's eye.

Until the heart has found
its native piece of ground.

The day withholds its light,
The eye must stray unlit.

The ground's the body's bride,
Who will not be denied.

Not until all is given
Comes the thought of heaven.

When the minds's an empty room
The clear days come.

Wendell Berry

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Giant Sucking Sound From Chicago

I woke up early this morning. There was a rushing wind. I staggered out into the yard to see what was happening. The brisk wind was going south. Towards Chicago. Towards....Wrigley field. I heard a giant sucking sound. It dawned on me, as the sun rose, that it was the Cubs. Sucking. In September. As of last night, the losers of 6 in a row. Starting to fade. As always. Their ace pitcher, Carlos Zambrano (pictured above) has what's known as a "heavy arm". Guess that means it's tired. I went back to bed.

I'm a Cub fan in limbo. Neither going up to baseball heaven (the World Series) with the Cubs, or going down into baseball hell (losing to the Yankees). Just the giant sucking sound. God is clearly not a Cubs fan. Some would call that sacreligious to say such a thing. Some would argue that God doesn't even LIKE baseball. But, I think not because many Cub fans pray. But there's no answer. No World Series. Just that sucking sound every fall. Perhaps the Cubs are a cross I'll just have bear for the rest of my life. Excuse me while I wallow in self-pity.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin and My Mom

My mom, Nancy Poodledoc, sent me this article today and wanted me to spread it around. She thinks the choice of Sarah Palin was "dreadful". Couldn't agree with you more, Mom! Perhaps you can wash her mouth out with soap when she fibs!? (that could use up a lot of soap!) Anyway, mom, I'm just kidding about the soap....

So this is what my mom sent:

Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.


Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:

She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1

Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2

She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4

She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5

She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6 How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7

This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.


1. "Sarah Palin," Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008

2. "McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate," NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008

3. "Sarah Palin, Buchananite," The Nation, August 29, 2008

4. "'Creation science' enters the race," Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006

5. "Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science," Huffington Post, August 29, 2008

6. "McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy," Sierra Club, August 29, 2008

"Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past," League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008

"Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor," The Times of London, May 23, 2008

7 "McCain met Palin once before yesterday," MSNBC, August 29, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Federal Government Involved In Raids On Protesters

Published on Monday, September 1, 2008 by
by Glenn Greenwald

As the police attacks on protesters in Minnesota continue -- see this video of the police swarming a bus transporting members of Earth Justice, seizing the bus and leaving the group members stranded on the side of the highway -- it appears increasingly clear that it is the Federal Government that is directing this intimidation campaign. Minnesota Public Radio reported yesterday that "the searches were led by the Ramsey County Sheriff's office. Deputies coordinated searches with the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

Today's Star Tribune added that the raids were specifically "aided by informants planted in protest groups." Back in May, Marcy Wheeler presciently noted that the Minneapolis Joint Terrorist Task Force -- an inter-agency group of federal, state and local law enforcement led by the FBI -- was actively recruiting Minneapolis residents to serve as plants, to infiltrate "vegan groups" and other left-wing activist groups and report back to the Task Force about what they were doing. There seems to be little doubt that it was this domestic spying by the Federal Government that led to the excessive and truly despicable home assaults by the police yesterday.

So here we have a massive assault led by Federal Government law enforcement agencies on left-wing dissidents and protesters who have committed no acts of violence or illegality whatsoever, preceded by months-long espionage efforts to track what they do. And as extraordinary as that conduct is, more extraordinary is the fact that they have received virtually no attention from the national media and little outcry from anyone. And it's not difficult to see why. As the recent "overhaul" of the 30-year-old FISA law illustrated -- preceded by the endless expansion of surveillance state powers, justified first by the War on Drugs and then the War on Terror -- we've essentially decided that we want our Government to spy on us without limits. There is literally no police power that the state can exercise that will cause much protest from the political and media class and, therefore, from the citizenry.

Beyond that, there is a widespread sense that the targets of these raids deserve what they get, even if nothing they've done is remotely illegal. We love to proclaim how much we cherish our "freedoms" in the abstract, but we despise those who actually exercise them. The Constitution, right in the very First Amendment, protects free speech and free assembly precisely because those liberties are central to a healthy republic -- but we've decided that anyone who would actually express truly dissident views or do anything other than sit meekly and quietly in their homes are dirty trouble-makers up to no good, and it's therefore probably for the best if our Government keeps them in check, spies on them, even gets a little rough with them. Read rest of article here.