Tuesday, August 26, 2003


My world has been spinning for the last few days with a lot of negative energy. I'm still convinced it's the Mars thing. Everybody's fighting; I've been in three arguments myself. I haven't posted because I thought this blog had already become way too morose this week but then that's my life, so here's the smallest argument I'm in.

I have a major problem with one of the rules being enforced at the Eagles club. Under this regulation, anyone who ever was a member and let their dues lapse for any reason, will not be allowed in the club unless they pay their 20 bucks immediately. In the year and half I've been a member there, I've seen it enforced twice, both times involving friends of mine who had been out of town for a long time.

I'm certain this rule was enacted for a good reason once, however for a fraternal organization with a waning support base, it seems a bit counterproductive to recapturing lapsed members. It would be simple enough to put them back into the three time guest category.

I never speak at meetings. I've learned from long years of committee work that it only makes them longer, and I've sat virtually silent at a few of them here, but next month, I'm going to say just that. A practical solution in my mind, but I have a feeling it won't play so well with the trustees at the aerie. I may get pushed out of the nest for it, but what the hey, I'm an Eagle. I'm supposed to fly.


Rumsfeld, our Defense Secretary, keeps flying onto my radar screen as well lately. It appears he actually can tell the truth, the trouble is, our mainstream press does not seem to notice. This came in from Columbia Week, an excellent newsletter with the authentic news on what's happening in South America. You can subscribe to this free bulletin by writing to colombiaweek@mn.rr.com. They don't seem to have a link to the web version of the publication. They published Donald's remarks on U.S. policy in Colombia, when he was asked how the United States is responding to soaring opium production in Afghanistan. I offer you this excerpt they posted of a CSpan segment as transcribed by Sanho Tree at Drug Policy Project.

DONALD RUMSFELD: "You ask what we’re going to do. The answer is, I don’t really know. I think it’s an awfully tough problem. My impression is that, in a very real sense, it’s a demand problem. It’s a problem that there are a lot of people who want it, a lot of people with money who will pay for it, a lot of people who will steal from others to pay for it--and that you can squeeze it down in one country to zero and you don’t change at all the amount of the product that ends up in Europe or the United States, because it’s demand that [determines] how much is going to get in there. You push it down in one country and it goes up in another country. You push it down in four countries and the price goes up because there’s a shortage. And the higher the price and the greater the willingness of people to take risks,..

Didn't I just say this recently? How he can understand this point and still justify trying to solve it with military campaigns and incarcerations? Of course, if we were building clinics at home, instead of bombing peasants abroad, he would be out of a job, or at least out of the limelight.


A writer and photographer that deserves a little light of his own, is Vlad (Tamarov) the Russian at the GNN forums. Vlad's bio reads: I was drafted in Soviet Airborne Special Forces in 1984. I was send to Afghanistan 3,5 month later . 621 days in war I didn't want. 217 days of combat I couldn't forget. During my service secretly I was taking pictures.

He paints an eloquent picture of the unwilling complicity of a soldier in conflict:

On August 10, 1984, my plane landed in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. There were no skyscrapers here. The blue domes of the mosques and the faded mountains were the only things rising above the adobe duvals (the houses). The mosques came alive in the evening with multivoiced wailing: the mullahs were calling the faithful to evening prayer. It was such an unusual spectacle that, in the beginning, I used to leave the barracks to listen -- the same way that, in Russia, on spring nights, people go outside to listen to the nightingales sing. For me, a nineteen-year-old boy who had lived his whole life in Leningrad, everything about Kabul was exotic: enormous skies -- uncommonly starry -- occasionally punctured by the blazing lines of tracers. And spread out before you, the mysterious Asian capital where strange people were bustling about like ants on an anthill: bearded men, faces darkend by the sun, in solid-colored wide cotton trousers and long shirts. Their modern jackets, worn over those outfits, looked completely unnatural. And women, hidden under plain dull garments that covered them from head to toe: only their hands visible, holding bulging shopping bags, and their feet, in worn-out shoes or sneakers, sticking out from under the hems.

And somewhere between this odd city and the deep black southern sky, the wailing, beautifully incomprehensible songs of the mullahs. The sounds didn't contradict each other, but rather, in a polyphonic echo, melted away among the narrow streets. The only thing missing was Scheherazade with her tales of A Thousand and One Arabian Nights...A few days later I saw my first missile attack on Kabul. This country was at war.

For photographs and more, visit Vlad's web site, http://russianwriter.net


Ever the most creative voice of reason that finds its way into my inbox, Elmer Elevator offers up this scathing parody on the John Walters failed media campaign:

Top Ten reasons why rank-and-file (male) street police officers oppose the decriminalization of marijuana:

10. It's a gateway drug.
9. It sends the wrong message to our kids.
8. It's not your parents' Woodstock weed anymore.
7. It affects short-term memory.
6. Using pot aids terrorists.
5. If you're a black teen, you'll back up at a fried chicken restaurant and run over a little kid on a bike.
4. You'll lose your federal college financial aid.
3. It affects short-term memory.
2. Smoking pot will make you pregnant.


(drum roll)

21 Aug 2003
Rocky Mountain News (Denver)
Website: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/
by Berny Morson


Lafayette police are investigating an incident in which officer Gardner Mendenhall allegedly returned a marijuana pipe to a teenage girl after finding it in her purse.

Mendenhall is accused of sexually assaulting the 17-year-old girl the following night. He was bound over for trial on that charge Wednesday.

Police Chief Paul Schultz said Wednesday that officers are not supposed to return marijuana pipes to teenagers. He said the investigation is nearing completion. Mendenhall is on leave without pay from the department.

The pipe has come up several times in testimony on the assault charge.

[continues: 24 lines]


Quote of the day thanks to Jules who sends this new signature line making the rounds.

"I prefer a man who will burn the flag and then wrap himself in the Constitution to a man who will burn the Constitution and then wrap himself in the flag." -- Rep. Craig Washington


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