Thursday, July 31, 2008

Your Health Care, Your Hospital, and Monica Goodling

From the Washington Post:

"The Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing a draft regulation that would deny federal funding to any hospital, clinic, health plan or other entity that does not accommodate employees who want to opt out of participating in care that runs counter to their personal convictions, including providing birth-control pills, IUDs and the Plan B emergency contraceptive."
Got that? Monica Goodling could be coming to a hospital near you.

Monica Goodling, you recall, is the bimbette that Bush Attorney General Gonzales elevated to hire or decline senior-level Department of Justice attorneys based on their religio-political views. (It's unconstitutional and illegal, but not to worry. This is the Bush administration.)

Under a draft regulation now being reviewed, if the Monica on your health care team doesn't approve of a prescribed course of care, she won't have to provide it. Unless your hospital wants to lose its federal funding, of course.

You might guess that this is about abortion. Well, not just abortion. It's also about contraception. If you doubt that, read that money quote again:
"The Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing a draft regulation that would deny federal funding to any hospital, clinic, health plan or other entity that does not accommodate employees who want to opt out of participating in care that runs counter to their personal convictions, including providing birth-control pills, IUDs and the Plan B emergency contraceptive."
It gets worse:
"There is also deep concern that the rule could have far-reaching, but less obvious, implications. Because of its wide scope and because it would-- apparently for the first time--define abortion in a federal regulation as anything that affects a fertilized egg, the regulation could raise questions about a broad spectrum of scientific research and care, critics say.

"'The breadth of this is potentially immense,' said Robyn S. Shapiro, a bioethicist and lawyer at the Medical College of Wisconsin. 'Is this going to result in a kind of blessed censorship of a whole host of areas of medical care and research?'"
Let's take a moment and think about this Big Brother's Watching You approach to health care.

In other words, if I'm your surgeon and I don't want you to have an abortion to save your life, you might die. Could this really happen? Theoretically, yes. Think about it. If you (a) live in a medically underserved rural area without the choice of surgeons, and/or (b) if your insurance plan reimburses only this surgeon and not that one, what would your alternatives be? Rent a plane and fly to the nearest enlightened medical center, hoping you make it in time?

Or, say an orderly doesn't want to change the sheets of a woman who's just had an abortion. What then? No clean sheets? Or what if your nurse doesn't feel like assisting at the insertion of an IUD. Say you’re hemorrhaging from a brutal rape and your doctor wants to prescribe a contraceptive that the nurse disapproves of?

Setting aside the question of rights, it's easy to see that such situational complexities, and especially questions posed by remote facilities that lack a choice of doctors, surgeons, or other qualified practitioners, mean that the proposed reg promises serious medical consequences for America's families, starting with our women.

From where I sit, the policy of elevating somebody’s opinion to the level of medical training is insane. As bad, it establishes a frightening tyranny of perspective, a state religion, as it were, that is reminiscent of the Middle Ages. I mean, it's one thing for my conscience to dictate my healthcare. It's quite another for my conscience to dictate your healthcare. What's next? Diagnosis by auto da fe?

Not only that. This regulation would give virtual extortionist power to any individual who objects to a prescribed course of care--not on medical reasons, mind, but on the basis of mere personal opinion. Unlike treatment advocates, such individuals would be empowered to threaten the facility with loss of federal funding.

Hospitals, clinics, health plans, and "other entities," in Arizona and every other state, will be plunged into financial, management, HR, legal, and, oh, patient care hell if this regulation hits the street.

It should go without saying that neither science nor health care should be politicized. Yet HHS is staffed at the highest levels by unaccountable political appointees, starting with the Secretary of HHS and the Surgeon General, and proceeding down the ranks of the Senior Executive Service, and, though their hiring decisions, to the mid-level managerial ranks. The latter will long outlast the former.

In the case of the Bush administration, these appointees have subordinated patient care and established science (Terri Schiavo, global warming, evolution, FDA, OSHA, and EPA regulations) to their personal notions of reasonable medical practice. That they are unaccountable ideological extremists is not a matter of opinion. It has been repeatedly documented. It's fact.

Now, using the mechanism of regulations governing federal funding for medical care, these extreme Rightwing Bush ideologues propose to redefine human viability from the moment of fertilization. The downside potential for women, for science, for hospital administration, and for modern healthcare is really too draconian to enumerate.

Well, here’s a thought: It's more than a little conceivable that if enacted, one effect of the regulation would be to open the ranks of professional healthcare to phalanxes of busy little gestation police ready, willing, and empowered to muck with everything from your menstrual cycle to the size and timing of your family. Happy thought. That could indeed occur, particularly especially if the far Right does not gain control of the US Supreme Court. In that case, unable to “win” the fertilization wars in the high Court, they would not hesitate to do using any available means.

Would rape or incest or the mother's health be taken into account? Gee. I don't know. Ask Monica.

Meanwhile, think hard about your vote in November.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WaPo: Arpaio Sweeps "Blatantly Unconstitutional"

Yeah. Like we've all been saying for about a hundred years.

John Dickerson, in his New Times Valley Fever blog, pretty much nailed my feelings about this Washington Post editorial when he wrote,

"The Post editorial succinctly unpacked the pattern of Maricopa deputies’ racial profiling — and the price it costs documented citizens who get arrested and harassed in the process. The Post's editorial board was able to identify and nail this issue from 2,300 miles away. What a shame more local reporters and editors can’t see it as clearly from so close."
The editorial itself concludes thus:
"The sheriff loves describing himself as a tough guy and delights in humiliating prisoners by, among other things, making them wear pink underwear and swelter in open-air camps. He has gotten away with it -- even won reelection -- thanks to his colorful public persona and an electorate rattled by the demographic changes caused by immigration, legal and illegal. He denies allegations of racial profiling even as his deputies practice something that looks awfully like it. It's high time for federal authorities, or courts, to step in to halt what has become a travesty of justice in Arizona."
Our Phoenix mayor and our Arizona governor have called repeatedly for a halt to Arpaio's festival of abuses directed at our Latino residents, citizens and visitors alike. Unfortunately, nothing much has happened, I suspect because so far, the tide of public sentiment has rolled in the direction that white supremacist propagandists intend. This is not so surprising. After all, as we and others have often noted, the constellation of organizations assembled by John Tanton for this purpose has all but monopolized the attention of big mouths like Lou Dobbs. Mouths like his have a farther reach than mouths like ours.

But surely there's more to it? Of course. A certain cohort of US employers profits on the backs of undocumented workers, in the process cheating their competitors--employers who obey the law (and understand the concept of common morality)--and inserting yet another stick in the wheel of the so-called "free market." Here's the source of US immigration policy. It's pertty much that simple, if you ask me.

Those employers are here, just as they are elsewhere. They are among that sublimely influential stratum of citizens whose views find their way into the councils of local newspaper editors, state legislators, and the like. This is the lobbying class. When it is bolstered, as now, with the voices of many citizens poisoned with far-Right propaganda because it takes their attention away from complexities like NAFTA, CAFTA, and "free trade," it slows certain things down a lot.

This can and will change when the tide shifts and works in the favor of the rest of Arizonans, we who stand for justice, understanding that "law" isn't necessarily the same thing. When the critical mass of regular citizens wakes up to the hideous brutality being dished out to Latino residents and gets that it's just a matter of time until that same brutality is dished out in other directions, things will change.

When the critical mass of regular citizens understands that "worker abuse" is abuse of ALL workers, including those who live in your home, and that only pro-organized labor policies can hope to address widespread workplace injustices affecting ALL workers, then these things can and will change.

When the great mass of Arizonans understands the connection between global "free trade," the loss of Arizona jobs, the degradation of Arizonans' wages, AND the presence and abuse of undocumented workers, then things will change.

This is all of a piece. It means we ALL need a new deal. It won't happen for us, for immigrants, or for all Arizona workers until and unless Arizonans wake up and demand it. That day will come when we realize that our first allegiance is to each other, not to the lobbyist class.

GOP Trade Policy Slams AZ, US Jobs and Earnings

From the not exactly progressive Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM):

"The growth of U.S. trade with China since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001 has had a devastating effect on U.S. workers and the domestic economy. Between 2001 and 2007, 2.3 million jobs were lost or displaced, including 336,000 in 2007 alone. New demographic research shows that, even when re-employed in non-traded industries, the 2.3 million workers displaced by the increase in China trade deficits in this period have lost an average $8,146 per worker/year. In 2007, these losses totalled $19.4 billion.

"The impacts of the China trade deficit are not limited to its diret effects onthe jobs and wages of those displaced. . . . Annual earnings for all workers without a four-year college degree are roughy $1,400 lower today because of this competition, and this group constitutes a large majority of the entire U.S. workforce (roughly 100 million workers or about 70% of all workers...."

Arizona was among the top 20 job losers, ranking 19th at a net loss of 43,300 jobs due to the increase in China trade deficits between 2001 and 2007.

Ironically, the Americans who are hardest hit are the so-called "NASCAR dads and moms," the high-school-educated folks whose support for a Democrat named Barack Obama may be wobbly. Democrats, progressive bloggers, and those who write for, about, and to this demographic owe it to them to put these figures under their noses early and often.

The report is a scathing indictment of global "free trade" policies favored by Republicans, including presidential hopeful AZ Senator John McCain. Well-written and informative, the briefing paper, available online, should be read by everyone before entering the voting booth in November.

It certainly should be required reading for progressive bloggers. Though some of the blame for global "free trade" belongs to the Clintons, Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, are on the front lines of those demanding changes that we are told would help to level the playing field between American and other workers. In the meantime, McCain, who is a clone of the Bush administration on economic policy (we're a nation of "whiners," according to his chief economic policy wonk) as well as Iraq, promises more of the highly destructive gobal trade pacts.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesday Morning Miscellany

Fuel Prices and the Burbs-- Outlying Phoenix bedroom community, Maricopa, is urging its planners to make it a "metro center" equipped for self-sufficiency, rather than perpetuate the "bedroom community" model. The former would offer Maricopa residents the mix that citizens anywhere require for contemporary life: schools, stores, services, housing, and the rest.

It's a wise plan. I hope other outlier suburbs adopt a similar model. Otherwise, I fear that rising fuel prices will doom them to oblivion, just as they are already hitting hard at America's small towns. Vacation destinations as diverse as Pigeon Forge, TN and Taos, NM are just not having much fun this summer as tourists curtail their driving. Even Scottsdale, AZ--hardly remote--is feeling the pinch. And areas such as Taos, prized precisely for its relative remoteness and (therefore) relatively pristine wilderness environs, will find themselves in a world of hurt until drivers are equipped with fuel-wise vehicles.

You'd think Senators Kyle and McCain would get that, wouldn't you? But rather than support measures to wean the nation off exhorbitantly expensive and environmentally toxic petroleum products, they're taking the opposite tack. I guess their personal power and wealth are more important than all other considerations combined. I'm just wondering how much longer Arizonans are going to put up with that.

Wind Farms for Arizona, or Just More Layoffs? The Republic today suggests that a mighty wind farm will be online as early as next year for Arizona.

Um, not if Kyle and McCain don't support extending the renewable energy tax credit to businesses that, uh, develop renewable energy. In an email alert today, We Can Solve is asking everyone to call their US senators today support ASAP, to support this measure:

"As Congress looks ahead to its August recess, thousands of workers in America's wind and solar energy companies are looking ahead to something very different -- possible layoffs.

"It's stunning that layoffs could happen in such a high growth sector. But it's what we can expect if Congress fails to extend the tax incentives that are key to getting these new industries established.

"Please call your Senators right now at the numbers below.

• Make sure they know you are one of their constituents.
• Ask them to support the tax incentives for renewable energy in bill S. 3335.
• Tell them it is essential that these incentives pass before the recess.

Senator McCain: 202-224-2235
Senator Kyl: 202-224-4521

"America can lead the way in producing electricity from sources that do not contribute to global warming. Doing so would revitalize our economy, make us more secure and help solve the climate crisis. We need the Senate to act."

Solar Power--I wasn't aware until yesterday that there are at least two options for residential solar customers. The better-known option is to purchase a custom-made system. The good news, I guess, is that you own it (and any maintenance/replacement problems that accrue). The bad news is the enormous up-front cost, which, even with the rebates and incentives available, still totals multiple thousands of dollars.

The lesser-known option is the lease route. The good news is that a leased solar system can be installed for 0 dollars down, and the company owns the maintenance and replacement issues along with the hardware. The bad news is that the monthly cost of leasing eats heavily into the projected savings. Actual amounts vary with individual circumstances, of course. Still, we're planning to get estimates from merchants of both products. I wonder if we could lease for a couple of years to see what the actual cost benefits would be, and then buy? Hmmmm.

Growing Your Own--I hate to admit that I get it, but the southwestern edition of Sunset Magazine is one of the most useful and enjoyable mags that crosses our threshhold. The special March 2008 issue has a great concept for growing your own vegetables and flowers, as well as good ideas for "green" housing. And if you like good food--who doesn't?--the mag always kicks out a few fine recipes, too. I'm going to be doing the veggie garden thing. Which brings me to . . .

Phoenix's Cheap Recycled Composters--I don't remember if I've mentioned these here before, but in case not, no need to spend an arm and a leg on a designer composter. I'm going to give this version a shot for sure.

November Polls--OK I'm paranoid, but since I don't believe that enough Americans are stupid enough after 8 Bush years to vote in McSame, I don't believe the polls that show that McSame is closing on O. I wonder, instead, if these polls aren't part of a big-corporation plan to make a stolen election less obvious. I mean, if we hear a constant drumbeat of close poll results, then we'll be inclined to think a McSame "victory" would be plausible. On the other hand, if the drums beat the opposite rhythm, then any GOP "wins" would be instantly incredible, wouldn't they?

That being the case--and polls being easily amenable to manipulation--why wouldn't the big business friends of George do everything possible to set up the outcome in November? Doesn't seem paranoid to me. I've often said that there's too much money and power riding on this election. Having secured the power to spy on our every move--handy for marketing goods and politicians alike--and riding high on the global "free" trade wave, the corporate lords of the universe are not going to risk their booty on a pissed-off electorate. Let's just say that I'll believe a change of power when I see it. What's your take?

Country Ham--Food makes the world go round, and country ham is the hub of the wheel. Unfortunately, Arizona has not yet heard of this 300-year-old delicacy. But wait! There's hope!

I think I've have found the perfect ham for lovers of that smoky, salty southern country ham. This ham is a boutique product that has the great advantages of neither coming from the notorious worker abuser, Smithfield, nor of being toxified with nitrites and nitrates.

If you're interested, better reserve yours now. Bon Apetit will be doing a piece on Newsome's Hams in September. Because this is a boutique firm, the annual ham supply is always limited. Bon Apetit's coverage is sure to mean this year's crop will disappear in a hurry.

Newsom's is extraordinarily customer-oriented, just the nicest people around. For instance, if you like, they'll slice half the ham. That's the perfect arrangement for breakfast steaks and those delicious thinly-sliced ham biscuits. Newsom's offers free-range hams, prosciutto hams, and their famous aged, smoked country hams, along with all kinds of other gourmet delicacies. Get thee thither.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

AZ Anti-Immigrant Ballot Update

In a possible sign that Arizonans have begun to sober up a bit from the Right's virulent anti-immigrant binge, this from the AZ Republic:

"Two voter initiatives designed to toughen Arizona illegal-immigration laws will not appear on the fall ballot, the chairman of the campaigns told supporters this week.

"Don Goldwater, a former GOP gubernatorial candidate, wrote in an e-mail that initiative campaigns working to strengthen the state's employer-sanctions law and to require police officers to enforce immigration law each failed to collect the 153,365 petition signatures required to put the proposed measures before voters on Nov. 4.

"Both Goldwater and state Rep. Russell Peace, the Republican sponsor of last year's employer-sanctions legislation, launched the initiative drives in March 2007.

"But they lacked the financial backing needed to hire paid signature gatherers."
The failure of these two measures to make it to the November ballot signals a widening fissure between far-Right Republicans and their often more moderate pro-business colleagues. Goldwater's measure would have stripped licenses from businesses for the first incident of knowingly hiring undocumented workers. Now, a more moderate pro-business measure is expected to appear on the fall ballot.
"The Stop Illegal Hiring initiative, which would provide more protections for businesses while targeting the pay-in-cash labor market and identity theft, submitted signatures to the Secretary of State's Office on Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


If you subscribe to WC, you've probably received a truncated version of "Yes, She Is!," my most recent post. Sometimes I seem accidentally to hit the "publish" button before I've finished writing. This happens usually when I leave the composition page to research something on the Internet. Anyway, it's totally my bad and I apologize. I hope you've visit the site read "Yes, She Is!" in its complete form. I think it's one of my best so far.
Yrs thankfully,

Yes, She Is!

Something in me wants to climb up on the roof and yell, "Our new American Poet Laureate is a Dyke!"

It seems to have escaped hysteria.

That's the only reason I feel reluctance to go blathering it all over the place.

Oh, there have been circumspect references to "her life partner, Carol." But I haven't seen the L word anywhere. Am I glad or am I disappointed?

Shouldn't I be proud? Well of course I should be proud! I am proud of Kay Ryan the way I am proud of my old friend Dorothy Allison: For sheer blood-soaked triumph. For their head-down resolute by-god dedication to that clear interior best of self that all the world seems brought up just to doubt or to ignore. Out of that comes the only thing worth having, the way a jewel green blade of grass pokes through no matter what I put on top of it.

"Outsider." That word appears in all the stories about Kay Ryan, but nobody ever says what she's outside of.

I think I know.

Of all the things about her that I've read, this is my favorite:

"Q. Whose books are generally shelved next to yours in bookstores? How does it feel to be sitting between them? A. 'I like the assumption of this question, that I am sitting between other poets on a shelf. That I am my book – or if it’s a really good bookstore – books. Because this is pitifully true. Sometimes I go to look for myself in inferior bookstores – at airports, say – and I find I don’t exist. Sometimes my entire people does not exist. From the condition of not existing, I have no way of mustering the self importance necessary to bring myself into some future being by asking to speak with the book buyer. I am unpersoned. I can barely buy gum.'"

If there's ever been a better expression of what it feels like to be erased, I haven't found it.

Sad as it is that it applies to GLBT people, it's sadder still that it applies to anybody whom those with the power to bestow notice decide not to notice: immigrants, day laborers, women of a certain age, mentally ill people, poor people, people caught in cultures of genocide. . . . I sometimes wonder what would happen if all the We Unnoticed gathered in one spot and decided not to notice them, for a change. Would we have just rebalanced the world, or would we have just perpetuated the status quo? It's a conundrum.

Like Allison before her, and Minnie Bruce Pratt, and Audre Lorde, and Adrienne Rich, and so many others, Ryan kept her eyes on the real prize: the within-person. Here, then, ironically, is the way to personhood.

It is good that nothing much is being made of her lesbianism provided that it is acknowledged up front. This is essential, otherwise there is no way to distinguish between enforced invisibility and mere ordinary personhood.

That is most of why I scream it out loud: "Behold! See who is our Poet Laureate!" The rest of the reason why is because I want the Christianists, the generals, the Republicans, the little-town judges and their little-town sheriffs, the galvanized-righteous African American and White Baptists preachers, and all the rest to know that they live in a country whose Poet Laureate is Kay Ryan, the Dyke.

Selected poems. Better yet, go to

Watch Out for the Hot Stuff

In case you missed it: After having totally trashed the tomato farming industry, causing a loss estimated at more than $250 million in destroyed crops, Bush's semi-retarded, criminally slow FDA has finally found traces of salmonella on a jalapeno pepper. That's right, A pepper. Uno jalapeno.

It still hasn't found the source of the salmonella pepper, so the FDA is now trashing the entire jalapeno farming industry with a blanket warning. I guess we should pay attention to it, but geeze, ain't there a better way? Like giving FDA and an actual budget and staff? Having real standards for marketed produce? At the rate things are going, we should have an FDA roughly the size of the Pentagon. We could call the agents the Green Berets. Oh. Sorry.

Excerpt from the Tampa, FL press:

A wide-reaching inquiry into the country's largest-ever outbreak of salmonella poisoning has homed in on a single, Mexican-grown jalapeno pepper that was processed by a small Texas distributor.

After coming up empty-handed when they targeted tomatoes, federal health inspectors say that the lone pepper has tested positive for the strain of salmonella that has infected more than 1,250 people since April.

After the contamination was discovered, the Food and Drug Administration on Monday warned consumers against eating any fresh jalapenos while its investigation continues.

The wholesaler that processed the contaminated pepper, Agricola Zaragoza in McAllen, Texas, has recalled all its pepper shipments as a result of the FDA's findings. And restaurants, grocery stores and other food services have been notified of the FDA's stepped-up warning against the fresh peppers as well as fresh salsa or sauces that use jalapenos as ingredients.

Apparently cooked, pickled, and "processed" jalapenos are OK, whatever "processed" might mean. If you like jalapenos. I don't see the point, myself. I much prefer Hatch chiles, which have heat and flavor.

Monday, July 21, 2008

America's Sheriff? For Bush's Overspent AmeriKa, Maybe

Be sure to catch the East Valley Tribune's five-part series on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's conversion of the Sheriff's Office to a state branch of ICE. Key findings:

• "Deputies are failing to meet the county’s standard for response times on life-threatening emergencies. In 2006 and 2007, patrol cars arrived late two-thirds of the time on more than 6,000 of the most serious calls for service.

• "MCSO's arrest rate has plunged the past two years even as the number of criminal investigations has soared.

• "The sheriff’s “saturation” patrols and “crime suppression/anti-illegal immigration” sweeps in Hispanic neighborhoods are done without any evidence of criminal activity, violating federal regulations intended to prevent racial profiling.

• "Rampant overtime spending on immigration operations drove the agency into financial crisis and forced it to close facilities across the county. Although MCSO officials have said state and federal grants covered all the expense, illegal immigration arrests actually are costing county taxpayers millions of dollars.

• "Despite the money and manpower expended, the sheriff’s office has arrested only low-level participants in human smuggling rings: drop house guards, drivers and the immigrants they ferry.

• "Deputies regularly make traffic stops based only on their suspicion that illegal immigrants are inside vehicles. They figure out probable cause after deciding whom to pull over."
Sure looks like racist's wet dream and a tax-payer funded re-election scam to me.

America: "Peace Through Strength"?

In August 2007, Family Security Matters (get it?) published and then wisely removed an article by contributing editor Philip Atkinson entitled "Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy." Here Atkinson proposes that Bush become "President for Life." I'm not kidding:

Caesar pacified Gaul by mass slaughter; he then used his successful army to crush all political opposition at home and establish himself as permanent ruler of ancient Rome. This brilliant action not only ended the personal threat to Caesar, but ended the civil chaos that was threatening anarchy in ancient Rome – thus marking the start of the ancient Roman Empire that gave peace and prosperity to the known world.
If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies.
He could then follow Caesar’s example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.
President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become 'President-for-Life' Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

Atkinson also proposed that Bush would have been wiser simply to nuke Iraq out of existence:
When faced with the possible threat that the Iraqis might be amassing terrible weapons that could be used to slay millions of citizens of Western Civilization, President Bush took the only action prudence demanded and the electorate allowed: he conquered Iraq with an army.
This dangerous and expensive act did destroy the Iraqi regime, but left an American army without any clear purpose in a hostile country and subject to attack. If the Army merely returns to its home, then the threat it ended would simply return.
The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.
If you had any questions about how President for Life Bush would "end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court," that's probably a big clue.

We could probably dismiss Atkinson and his modest proposal utterly, except, according to SourceWatch, Family Security Matters is a project of the Center for Security Policy, which is a project of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and numerous other senior administration officials, senators, and arms manufacturers.

Dick Cheney, Vice President of the U.S. under George W. Bush, was an early member of Center's Board of Advisors (which is now called the National Security Advisory Council).
'[T]wenty-two CSP advisers -- including additional Reagan-era remnants like Elliott Abrams, Ken deGraffenreid, Paula Dobriansky, Sven Kraemer, Robert Joseph, Robert Andrews and J.D. Crouch -- have reoccupied key positions in the national security establishment, as have other true believers of more recent vintage.'
'...While CSP boasts an impressive advisory list of hawkish luminaries, its star is Frank Gaffney, its founder, president and CEO.'
'...Gaffney and CSP's prescriptions for national security have been fairly simple: Gut all arms control treaties, push ahead with weapons systems virtually everyone agrees should be killed, give no quarter to the Palestinians and, most important, go full steam ahead on just about every national missile defense program.'
'...Looking at the center's affiliates, it's not hard to see why: Not only are makers of the Osprey (Boeing) well represented on the CSP's board of advisers but so too is Lockheed Martin (by vice president for space and strategic missiles Charles Kupperman and director of defense systems Douglas Graham). Former TRW executive Amoretta Hoeber is also a CSP adviser, as is former Congressman and Raytheon lobbyist Robert Livingston. Ball Aerospace & Technologies -- a major manufacturer of NASA and Pentagon satellites -- is represented by former Navy Secretary John Lehman, while missile-defense computer systems maker Hewlett-Packard is represented by George Keyworth, who is on its board of directors. And the Congressional Missile Defense Caucus and Osprey (or "tilt rotor") caucus are represented by Representative Curt Weldon and Senator Jon Kyl.'[3]

It's a stretch to say that Atkinson represents the official foreign policy of the US under Bush. But the fact that Family Security Matters published the article suggests strongly that whatever virulent insanity afflicts Atkinson also afflicts its higher-ups or else the article would have been spiked and never have seen the light of day.

So much can be inferred, legitimately, from this constellation of policy and people relationships. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Nelson Mandela!

From Time: "Mandela is the closest thing the world has to a secular saint
, but he would be the first to admit that he is something far more pedestrian: a politician. He overthrew apartheid and created a nonracial democratic South Africa by knowing precisely when and how to transition between his roles as warrior, martyr, diplomat and statesman. Uncomfortable with abstract philosophical concepts, he would often say to me that an issue 'was not a question of principle; it was a question of tactics.'" World citizens of a certain age have been privileged to live in the time of Nelson Mandela. I salute him, and wish him the happiest of birthdays.

His (GOP) State of Mind?

From HuffPo about John McCain's hilarious sense of humor:

Last week, in response to a serious question about Iran, the Republican presumptive nominee joked about killing Iranians with weaponized cancer. This week, it's news about a joke involving gorillas and rape.

'Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, 'Where is that marvelous ape?'

Get it? Women like to be beaten and raped. Hoo-hoo! In days past, it's been jokes about wife-beating, bombing Iran, Chelsea Clinton's looks, and Alzheimer's Disease. Based on these precedents, I can only imagine Senator McCain's forthcoming zingers about still-births, burn victims and Thalidomide.
Studies abound that show a predictive link between cruelty to animals and cruelty to people. In fact, as children, pathological killers frequently abuse animals through torturing, dismembering, burning, and other means. For this reason, mental health professionals pay special attention when kids with this predilection show up on their couches.

So I wonder: Has anyone discovered a similar link between a predilection for certain kinds of "humor" and serious, potentially dangerous pathology?

I'm not talking about "gallows humor," which is beloved of many a first-line defender and infantry warrior as a means of staying sane when each day brings something truly ghastly up close and personal.

I'm talking about jokes that depend for their punch on identifying with an abuser, on obliterating a victim of abuse. Actually I'm talking about patterns that become evident over time in the material that some people select for amusement, and about an increasingly obvious tone deafness that prevents their sensing what is creepily inappropriate.

Some things just aren't hilarious. It's not funny when a candidate for the United States presidency boogies down to "bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran," particularly against the backdrop of an ongoing military obliteration next door. There's no saving divide between his comment and reality. If elected, McCain CAN do that, which makes the fact that he thinks it's funny really, really threatening, and really, really grotesque.

Some things just aren't hilarious. It's not funny when a white-haired old man publicly humiliates a teenager about anything. It's particulary un-funny when the joke depends on virulent sexism for any oxygen it hopes to have. In McCain's frame of reference, Chelsea ceases to be a living, sentient teenage girl. She is nothing but a second-shelf commodity. The "humor" turns on publicly debasing a child but you see, child abuse just isn't funny. That McCain and his Republican audience just don't get that fundamental reality is, rightly, disturbing to anyone who does.

Some things just aren't hilarious. Ambush, beating, and multiple brutal rapes don't strike me as ha-ha-ha material. The mental health and criminal justice communities have understood for decades that rape is a crime of violence, not of passion. It's a particularly violent abuse of power--of male strength and a carefully inculcated male sense of social entitlement. If it's funny, then other violent abuses of power must be equally amusing, and, as just noted, for John McCain, they are.

All this is of a piece with McCain's having publicly called his wife a "cunt." The oomph in that putdown, of course, is in its vulgar degradation of the female. Like all other forms of verbal abuse this was an act of violence. But this act acquires an added measure of brutality because it is committed in public. It's reprehensible anywhere, but in public, it becomes gladiatorial sport. Funny, right?

I'll leave it to others to ponder what it means for McCain to call the woman who is the source of his wealth and psycho-social privilege a "cunt."

Unleashing weaponized cancer on any nation is amusing? Wife beating is something to laugh about?

The crude, blunt, ugly sexism this Tailhook poster boy seems to feed on is (as it often is) symbolic of his entire world view. His choice of laughing matter makes that patently clear.

That is, through his choice of "jokes," the Republican candidate for Leader of the Free World displays time and again his opinion that it's amusing to abuse, degrade, humiliate, and hurt anyone he deems less powerful and less valuable than he is. It's entertaining, and it's his right to display his amusement whenever he sees fit and in any form he pleases.

"Let McCain be McCain"? It's a sobering consideration given his predecessor's legitimizing of torture and claim to imperial power and presidential infallibilty. And it's of a piece with his advisors' notions that Americans losing homes to foreclosure are "whiners," and that another attack on the USA would be "good" for his campaign.

There's just something more than a little twisted going on here. McCain's jokes, like W's, comprise a clear window on his character and his state of mind. Once again, it ain't a pretty view.

Caveat emptor. Please God, for the planet's sake, let the buyer beware..

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Voter Accountability

Voters should be accountable for their votes, don't you think? To that end, I have a modest proposal.

Everyone who voted for Bush in either election should be held accountable for the disasters that he and his minions have wrought on the USA and the rest of the planet.

Their assets should be seized and sold, and with their cash, the proceeds should be applied to reduce the national debt.

Or maybe there's a smarter application. I'm open minded. Maybe those assets should be directed at rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, or building a renewable, independent energy future, or educating the next generation at world-class schools.

I'm just sayin'.

Right now, there's no accountability so people feel free to vote for the US President with the same degree of attention and care they devote to grabbing the next Big Mac. Maybe if there were direct, personal consequences, they'd pay attention? Get the facts instead of the propaganda?

I don't know. This assumes that they have two brain cells to rub together.

That's debatable.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Arpaio Sued for Racial Profiling

From a media release issued today by ACLU and MALDEF:

PHOENIX – Today, five individuals and Somos America, a Latino community-based coalition, sued Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office (MCSO) and Maricopa County, charging that they or their members were unlawfully stopped and mistreated by law enforcement because they are Latino. The class action lawsuit - which builds upon a complaint filed last December - is before the U.S. District Court in Arizona.

The amended complaint was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Arizona, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and lead counsel Steptoe & Johnson LLP. The lawsuit charges that the policies and practices of Arpaio and the county are discriminatory and unlawfully violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Arizona Constitution.

"In this country we value fairness and equality. There's nothing fair or equal about armed deputies pulling people over and treating them differently because of the color of their skin," said ACLU of Arizona Legal Director Dan Pochoda. "Sheriff Arpaio does not have the right to profile people because they look Latino regardless of their immigration status. His job is to uphold the law, not violate people's rights."

Sheriff Arpaio has made no secret that he believes physical appearance alone is sufficient reason to stop and question individuals regarding their immigration status. Arpaio has also touted the fact that he has directed his deputies to target people they perceive as immigrants in so-called "crime suppression sweeps" in Latino neighborhoods and areas where Latinos work as day laborers.

MCSO's rampant racial profiling has created a culture of fear in Maricopa County. Latinos in the community have good reason to worry that a trip to the grocery store or to work will end with interrogation by armed officers on the roadside and possible incarceration at the county jail.

One plaintiff in the coalition's lawsuit, Manuel Nieto, Jr., a U.S. citizen, was unlawfully stopped and detained in front of his family's auto repair shop after police heard him listening to music in Spanish.

"It was very humiliating to be handcuffed in front of my family's business, in front of customers and neighbors," said Nieto. "It's not a crime to be Latino or listen to a Spanish-language radio station but you wouldn't know that by the way Sheriff Joe and his posse treat people."

David J. Bodney, an attorney with Steptoe & Johnson LLP, said, "At the sheriff's hand, an atmosphere of fear and hostility has swept across the valley. It takes courage and commitment for these individual plaintiffs to come forward in the name of equal justice under law to stop this discriminatory treatment for everyone who lives here."

Maricopa County residents and local officials alike have complained that the conduct of the sheriff and his office go well beyond the scope of the MCSO's legal authority and far too often results in the harassment of Latinos. Many complain that the sheriff's obsession with enforcing federal immigration law has come at the expense of his office pursuing serious criminal matters.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has denounced Sheriff Arpaio and last April, after the MCSO engaged in sweeps in the town of Guadalupe, Gordon formally requested that U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey launch a Justice Department investigation into Sheriff Arpaio's and the MCSO's "discriminatory harassment, improper stops, searches and arrests" of Latino persons in Maricopa County. Gordon has also publicly stated that the sweeps are interfering with the work of undercover city police officers and federal agents.

"Police should not be in the business of acting as immigration agents; everyone's safety is jeopardized when they do," said MALDEF staff attorney Kristina Campbell. "In Maricopa County, as in other parts of the country, when local police try to take on the job of being immigration officers, immigrants and their family members often get the message that they should fear coming forward if they are the victim or witness of a crime."

Increased attempts by local police to involve themselves in federal immigration law enforcement have been accompanied by a troubling rise in complaints of racial profiling across the nation.

"As charges of discrimination have mounted, Sheriff Arpaio has only dug in his heels, and the federal government has thus far done nothing to rein him in," said Robin Goldfaden, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project. "Unfortunately, court intervention is necessary for the Constitution to be upheld."

Lawyers on the case include Goldfaden and Mónica M. Ramírez of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project; Pochoda of the ACLU of Arizona; Campbell and Nancy Ramirez of MALDEF; and Bodney, Peter Kozinets, Karen Hartman-Tellez and Isaac Hernandez of Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

That New Yorker Cover

Got no problem with satire, but it has to work to work. This doesn't. The reason is simple. The object of the satire is absent entirely.

Satire requires a clear reference, a direct object, as it were. Because viewers aren't mind readers.

There's no reference in this work. The object of the satire is somewhere else, unaccessible and unimaginable no matter how we might try. We know what we'd like the object to be. We know what we hope the object is meant to be. We know who we'd like to satirize, but the thing is, all of that's completely in our own heads and completely outside of and beyond The New Yorker cover.

When the poop hit the fan--which would be about a nanosecond after the first intelligent being saw this thing--the mag trotted out its spokespersons to interpret for us. "But this is satire!" they said. "This is brilliant! Don't you see? It lampoons all those morons out there who think Barack and Michele are terrorists! AHA-HAHA-HA-HAAAA!," they said. You could almost hear the "Duh!"

But see, it doesn't. Duh.

In order for that concept to work, the world would have to see that moron. Alas, he's just not there.

Imagine the difference if the cartoonist had drawn in a racist yokel with a bubble that frames all the rest. Now that would be satire. A little heavy, maybe, a little hackneyed, but the object of our ridicule would be evident and the lampooning would make us laugh.

This isn't a protracted essay in which the satirist could place clues aplenty to direct and focus our attention. This is a cartoon. This medium floats through space collecting a thousand possible referents as it goes, leaving us to wonder which, if any, the artist intended.

You might say that's how art's supposed to work, and you'd be right, sort of. All art is a dialog between artist and recipient. Some is more obscure than others. But not all art is satire, and satire has its own rules. Chief among them is that the satirist must communicate effectively with his or her audience or there's just no satire.

There may be attempted satire, but there's no satire. Only confusion.

For this reason, this cover fails, and that's not acceptable for a magazine of the stature and resources of The New Yorker. In fact, it's inexcusable.

However, the offense doesn't stop there, of course. Because the satire fails utterly, the cover injects a toxic and partisan spin into an already supercharged contest poisoned by an already biased media. It doesn't matter whether this is inadvertent. The damage is done and is unretractable.

In this post 9-11 environment, this cover inevitably acquires all the venomous racism that ignorant Americans have poured out over Muslims these last seven years. This is doubly true because the Obamas, as African Americans who in fact are seen as the subject, don't merit these acid accusations any more than the millions of Muslims who aren't terrorists merit them. Yet here they are, portrayed not merely as terrorists but specifically as Islamic terrorists. So if this butt-headed graphical bloviation enrages Muslims and much as it enrages Obama supporters, The New Yorker has only itself to blame.

It's a shoddy and singularly un-funny piece of work. Whoever approved it should be fired, not for political commentary but for editorial incompetence.

Vacation: Good

Loved being in NC and SC this past week, about which more later. This one had a little bit of everything: families, memories, new experiences, ocean, great good food, lots of beautiful nature, and even pelicans. We spent a lot of time directly beneath the airway occupied by endless flotillas of pelicans. Mas tarde.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Global Workers, Global Justice

Along with visas linked to employment rather than employer (see Phred's comments) Another piece of the immigrant worker justice puzzle was sent my way today by the Rev. Trina Zelle, Lead Organizer of Interfaith Worker Justice of Arizona and its brand new Worker Rights Center, scheduled to open on Labor Day. It was the link to the website of Global Workers Justice Alliance.

Global Workers Justice Alliance rightly points out that corporations are global and workers are global--meaning "transnational"--and therefore, justice for those workers ought also to be global.

Right now, it isn't. When an immigrant worker leaves the US voluntarily (permanently or for a period exceeding the applicable statute of limitations, I'm guessing), or if he or she is deported, that worker also leaves behind all claims against an abusive or criminal employer. Practical considerations--distance, money, logistics--and legal ones prevent probably millions of workers worldwide from pressing claims against their former employers.

In their words:

Global Workers believes that the concept of portable justice, the right and ability of transnational migrants to access justice in the host country even after they have departed, is key to achieving justice for today’s global migrants. To realize this goal, Global Workers trains and supports the Global Workers Defender Network, comprised of human rights advocates in the migrant sending countries, to facilitate legal cases for migrant workers in partnership with advocates in the countries of employment. Through this network, returned migrants who have suffered exploitation in the host countries must no longer abandon their legal rights simply because they want to go home. Education and advocacy campaigns are also important components of the work. The project is launching in the USA, Mexico and Guatemala and will eventually expand into other transnational migratory streams.
It would be fair to look upon the status quo as yet another crooked revenue stream for corporations that utilize immigrants, particularly undocumented immigrants. All those fraudulently kept wages, all that unpaid overtime, all those otherwise reimbursable medical expenses for on-the-job injuries over the yearsmust total billions involuntarily given over to abusive employers by our broken immigration system. No wonder so many voices are raised against fixing it, eh?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

In It Together

Today's NYT includes a story about a growing rift between hard-line Republican anti-immigrant lawmakers (such as those in AZ's legislature) and Republican employers whose businesses are threatened by employer sanctions and worksite raids.

Raids can and do remove experienced senior low-wage employees and cripple business' ability to meet contracted production requirements. Sanctions aimed at established employers who are trying to comply should be aimed at scofflaw employers, instead, say industry lobbyists.

Well, here's a thought. Now is the time for Democrats, whose votes are essential to moderate Pearce-style employer sanctions, to demand safe workplaces, employer-provided safety equipment, healthcare, and a living wage for all employees in exchange for backing off employer sanctions and instituting a national guestworker program.

We should be doing these things anyway. And don't tell me "we" can't afford them. Let's just reallocate some of the profits now raked off by the top 1% of employees to fairly reimburse the lower 99%.

Stepping up to demand a just, safe, and fair workplace would bring Democrats in line with the legitimate needs of millions of blue-collar workers nationally. At the same time, it would force scofflaw employers to compete fairly with those who do try to observe the law. And not least, it would remove the incentive to hire immigrants illegally. If all workers are paid a living wage and all employers are required to provide safe workspaces, there's no profit in hiring undocumented workers and no way to undercut the jobs of native-born Americans.

I support a guestworker program, but only if it comes with certain conditions. One, it must mandate a living wage, healthcare, safe working conditions, paid leave, and some kind of retirement pay-in. Those aren't luxuries, as the word "benefit" so propagandistically implies. Those are necessities and furthermore, they have been earned by all workers, including the lowest paid. Two, it must tie into renegotiated NAFTAs and CAFTAs and the like, to level the global working field for everyone.

We can get smart and make these demands. Or, we can continue to be buffaloed by the whines of big business and the cons of Bush Republicans and watch our jobs float away to Bombay and what's left of the great American middle class become the majority working poor.

Friday, July 4, 2008

"Random Musings"

Craig at Random Musings has nailed the AZ legislature's latest travesty of justice, its dishonest and unlawful attack on gay men and lesbian women,* with a must-read.

[*"Lesbian women" is said to be redundant because only women can be lesbians. However, not all women are lesbians, and we who are are many things besides "lesbians." Therefore, "lesbian" isn't an appropriate noun, actually. As a noun, it is reductive and lends itself too easily to the kinds of stereotypes that Karl Rove and the piety contingent of the Republican party like to wield in the service of tyranny. It is better used as an adjective.]

Craig also today posts the entire Declaration of Independence, with trenchant comments. It is a wonderful thing to do this day, and another must-read. Salud.

Films and Morals

I saw the film "The Visitor" today. I hadn't heard of it before. Please see it if you can. I'm not sure how long it's been out, but here in Phoenix it's showing at the Camelview 5, one of our smaller art film theatres, and it won't be around much longer.

It's about two Syrians, a Senegalese, and an American--about an odd and inspiring entanglement of lives and a rude interruption brought courtesy of the fed. If anything that side of reality illustrates the meaning of "bare lives," it's this film.

Possibly the greatest moral challenge I face personally these days is to learn how not to hate this Republican administration and all who support or appease them.

A Vote for McCain is a Vote for Tyranny

If you want to know what Barack Obama thinks on the issues, go here, not to Sean Hannity and Karl Rove. Duh.

Speaking of Obama, count me among those who are furious about his FISA vote. I read his explanation today (available at HuffPo and the Barack site), and am not mollified. (Mollified? What a word!)

Here's why. If the Senate fails to strip the telecom immunity provision, so much for America's freedom from illegal domestic espionage. The signal will have been given that constitutional rights can be violated, even rescinded, at will. Obama's vote, hinged on a later Senate action, is too big a gamble with my rights.

Some say we're not holding McCain accountable in the same way. Nonsense. We're not voting for McCain. That's a pretty big statement in a two-person race. We KNOW he'd gut the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Not a question. But Obama promised that he would be unflaggingly opposed to giving retroactive immunity to the telecoms. We expected him to stand on that pledge, not to gamble on it.

The fundamental issue at stake in this FISA matter and in the recent Supreme Court on habeas corpus has changed in the last 7.5 years. Before George II, the issue was that these are among a handful of rights that define America. That remains the case. But now the issue at stake is how the next President will address George II's massive ursurpation of powers to the presidency. You see the dilemma. It is one thing to oppose these tyrannical powers outside the Oval Office. It is another to oppose them when you're their sole beneficiary.

This entire speculation might be an exercise in futility, I know. I remain uncertain that the Addingtons, Cheneys, Robertses, Bushes, Yoos, and Gateses and their military cronies will permit an orderly change of power should the Democrats outmanuver the entrapped black voting boxes and roadblocks to the polls. I'll believe it when I see it, because too much money is at stake. I don't expect the Halliburtons and Monsantos and GMs and Chevrons and Exxons and the rest to go quietly back into the relative poverty of pre-George II days. Which brings me to the probability that either Clinton or Obama will actually do anything about CAFTA and NAFTA: Nill. Anyway, I digress.

I can't see any president willingly unburden him- or herself of the powers that Cheney and Addington et al. have appropriated for the Executive--particularly not when we are supposedly living at the whim of Al Qaeda. Can you? Really?

The one--and I mean the sole, the sine qua non, the only--safeguard remaining is the US Supreme Court. We are now ONE VOTE away from losing everything except the by-god-sacred Second Amendment (that's sarcasm). I mean it. When interpretation is all, one vote is all that stands between us and totalitarianism.

This makes me sick, for obvious reasons. It makes me sicker because we got here for two reasons: As a people, we are more easily manipulated than sheep, and dumber.

Most who haven't yet demanded the rights that our ancestors died to bequeath us are selling us out because they are afraid of Al Qaeda. The rest are selling us out because they never understood those rights in the first place.

I may be furious at O, but there's no question who I'll vote for in November. A vote for Obama is a vote for the possibility that there's still time to restore the land of the free and the home of the brave.

A vote for McCain is a vote for tyranny.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

"Bare Life"

"Behind every death there was a dream, and then a tragedy. More than 9,000 illegal immigrants have died since 1993 in the attempt to seek a better life in Europe, according to the European organization United.

“They drown in Gibraltar are blown up in mine fields on the Turkish-Greek border, die in asylum custody, commit suicide and get killed when they are sent out of Europe. We don't think about it much. It is unwanted and dispensable life.

“The European Parliament* has backed a much criticised new return directive which, when implemented by 2010, will allow governments to keep illegal immigrants, and those who have overstayed their visa period, in detention for up to 12 months, ban re-entry into Europe for five years, and make it easier to deport vulnerable people.

“Maybe it seems like a simple and rational piece of legislation, but it is more than that. The Italian Philosopher Giorgio Agamben talks about "bare life"; life which has been reduced to biology whilst the person's political existence has been withdrawn by those who have the power to define who is included and who is excluded as worthy, sovereign human beings. Power through, for example, law can legitimately be exercised over them whilst their own voice is negated.

“The thousands of nameless, faceless and unwanted people who risk their lives trying to cross our borders, desperate to make a better life for themselves, constitute such 'bare life'. Their aspirations and legitimacy can be effectively negated by the power of a bureaucratic vote in Brussels. Meanwhile, goods, capital, and western citizens are flowing freely around the globe in the name of globalization. The irony, tragedy and hypocrisy is obvious for those who want to see it.

“. . . for every harsh immigration law passed, for every statement made about the need to keep 'them' out, for every immigrant imprisoned, we make 'the others' a little less human and a little more 'bare life'.” Iselin Asedotter Stronen, “The Bare Life of Immigrants,” The New Statesman
But it's even worse than that, isn't it?

We also make ourselves a little less human and a little more "bare life." In our own eyes. In others' eyes. And hideously, dangerously, ironically enough, in the eyes of the overlords, too.

Think of it This Way

Drudge reports that Rush Limbaugh has signed a $400 Million contract with Clear Channel and Premiere Radio through 2016. Stupid sells, I guess.

Someone said he lives alone in a 31,000 sq. ft. house.

Picture him having dinner.

I look across the room at CJ and our three marvelous dogs, and think of our fabulous 25 years together, and our beautiful home (1/13th the size), and all the love in our lives.

I wouldn't be him for anything.