31 October 2009

a night for a sonic Sheltie

I would guess that, for his entire life, Halloween has been our dog Duncan's least favorite night.  I don't think it has anything to do with ghosts and goblins.  Rather, it's been the frequent ringing of the doorbell, as trick-or-treaters pay us a visit.  With each ring of the bell, a fusillade of barks has emanated from our Shetland Sheepdog.

I suspect tonight will be different.  Living as we do now, with only one neighboring house in sight, I'm not expecting anything like the deluge, relatively speaking, that we had last Halloween.  (There were at least 150 kids who came by.)

I'll miss it, but I suppose Duncan won't.

23 October 2009

“Every time I plant a seed / He said kill it before it grow”

Regardless of how one feels about ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), it is a bit sobering to see how the Congress is pressing its agenda against the group. De-funding the group has become a high priority. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) has had to remind his colleagues something they apparently forgot from their US Constitution classes back in school. Because separation of powers is integrated into our nation’s highest law, legislatures cannot pose as the judiciary. Bills of attainder are prohibited by our Constitution. For those rusty on constitutional law, a bill of attainder declares someone guilty without benefit of a trial. They are declared “tainted.”

If anti-ACORN legislation is to avoid being so narrowly focused on one group so that it is unconstitutional, the net must be cast much wider. As Glenn Greenwald reports, the effort supported by vast numbers of Democrats and Republicans alike “to de-fund ACORN is written so broadly that it literally compels the de-funding, not only of that group, but also the de-funding of, and denial of all government contracts to, any corporation that ‘has filed a fraudulent form with any Federal or State regulatory agency.’”

If that’s the standard, then ACORN is peanuts compared with the real heavy hitters, including some major Defense Department contractors. (Is comparing an acorn to peanuts a pun?) Anyway, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have a long history of defrauding the US government. Blackwater, the “private security firm” (a.k.a. mercenaries) is known to have committed murders in Iraq. DynCorp employees were involved in trafficking child prostitutes. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Why haven’t we heard the kind of outrage directed at ACORN applied to these other, vastly wealthier, vastly guiltier organizations? And, need I say, even still vastly more funded by the US government?

13 October 2009

gratitude for a backache?

I don’t feel very well today, but I thank God. I’ve been fighting off a sinus cold, but I thank God. I somehow managed to hurt my back, so that movement in most directions is a real pain, but I thank God. I thank God because I have a luxury that some people don’t have: “sick days.” Some people, even if their backs are killing him, still have to get out of bed (sometimes early in the morning) and labor at back-breaking work.

My aching back has reminded me of God’s blessing.