Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Circular Reference

Zeynep Toufe of Under the Same Sun noticed something interesting about the new UN draft Security Council resolution. In short, Iraq cannot tell us to leave. Read this -- it's huge.

A Pleasant Ditty

Check out the new song by Eric Idle of Monty Python: FCCSong.mp3.
WARNING: Probably not family friendly. Of course, that depends on your family.

What's the Real Symbol?

Bush gave a speech last night outlining his transition plan in Iraq. It was just a rehashing of stuff he's already said and still doesn't offer any specifics on the relationship of the U.S. troops and the new Iraqi government, how long our troops will be there, etc.

Included in his rhetoric was the call for the destruction of the Abu Ghraib prison. For those of you living under a rock, this prison was known for the torture and killing of Iraqis during Saddam Hussein's rule. More recently, it was the setting of the pictures of torture and humiliation of Iraqis by American soldiers. Bush stated, "we will demolish the Abu Ghraib prison as a fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning."

It seems to me that by destroying all evidence of the torture that American's are inflicting, Bush thinks that the issue will just go away. It's amazing that after the recent photos of the torture and humiliation were exposed in the media, hundreds of prisoners were released from the prison. If they can get released because of the scandal, why were they there in the first place? If they were really a threat to security, they wouldn't have been released. The only official reason I could find was a statement by military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt saying that the release was part of a plan to reduce the inmate population and ensure that those left in custody are only those considered to be a security threat. So, it's just a coincidence that all of the detainees were released from this particular prison right after the exposee? All of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib weren't a security threat? Why were they tortured and humiliated if they didn't have any information to give up?

Although Bush calls Abu Ghraib a "fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning," I think a bigger symbol is his plan to appoint John Negroponte as the head of the new U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Negroponte was the U.S. ambassador to Honduras during the Iran/Contra debacle. According to The New York Times, he was responsible for "carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinistas government in Nicaragua." He also supervised the creation of the El Agaucate air base where, not only were the Contras trained by the U.S., it also served as a secret detention and torture center. Under Negraponte's charge, the infamous Battalion 316, a secret army intelligence unit trained and supported by the Central Intelligence Agency, used "shock and suffocation devices in interrogations. Prisoners often were kept naked and, when no longer useful, killed and buried in unmarked graves." Negroponte lied to the Senate and the American people about his involvement in the human rights violations, but declassified documents tell the real story.

So, we are having problems with Americans tortuing people in Iraq, so we are going to appoint an ambassador that has a history of promoting and lying about torture and killing? Also, isn't it interesting that a man who took a big part in the overthrow of the first democratically elected government in Nicaragua will now be used to help set up a democratic society in Iraq? What is Bush thinking?

This appointment is what symbolizes what is happening in Iraq, not the tearing down of a prison.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Embarrass Your Wife Day

I thought I'd designate today "Embarrass Your Wife Day." I'll start...

With all that is going on in her life right now, my wife is still managing to do great things. She has been going through chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer for over 4 months now, but not only has she continued with her art, she has been doing great things for our community of Estacada. She was mentioned in Wednesday's Oregonian newspaper (read it here) for her recent appointment to the Estacada Arts Commission. In addition, she has not only become a founding member of the Spiral Gallery Artist's Co-operative (which runs a gallery in Estacada), she is also the chair of their Marketing committee.

Sorry for the embarrassment, Lesley, I just wanted to say congratulations and let you know how proud I am of you. I love you!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Eat Happy!

happy food
This one is for my wife who likes to make happy faces with her food...looks like you've got some competition!

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

It's Not a Squirrel

Thought I'd update anyone who cares.... I called the wildlife care center and little number 466 didn't make it. :( I'm hoping my keeping it alive for 18 hours before bringing it to them didn't cause it much suffering. They said it was a newborn, so it didn't have too much chance away from mama anyway. So tiny and hairless!

And the reason its mama didn't come and find it like they said it would... it was a rabbit, not a squirrel. Hey, it's ears didn't seem too rabbit like, and it's legs weren't big and thumpery, so sue me... I'm curious where the nest is, and how far the stupid neighbor's cat carried it before the truck scared it away. We have about a million rabbits (brush bunnies is the technical term) hopping around our property, so it could have been holed up anywhere!

Interesting Brush Bunny tidbit: "The brush bunny is an herbivore, it eats mosty tender young shoots when it can get them and it lives on the greens because it carries bacteria that digest the cellulose in its hind gut. To get the benefits of the digestions done by the bacteria the bunny eats its own feces every night, digests the bacteria too, and then absorbs the nutrients as they pass through the second time, fullly digested."

More info and a photo of the Brush Bunny.

Monday, May 10, 2004

It's Not an Opposum

Yesterday Derek drove in and scared away the neighbor's cat (we have like 4 black and white cats that hang around, none of which are ours...). When he got out of the car he heard some squeaking and found this little baby with a few bite wounds. I came out and saw it and picked it up. Poor thing was so tiny and still had it's eyes closed! He got a box, we put tissue in it, and put it inside. It kind of crawled around a bit, bleeding some. I called the local Audubon Society in Portland because I knew they had a wildlife care center. They were closed, but had some instructions on their answering machine.

I learned that sometimes mama squirrels carry their babies around, and leave them somewhere while they finish. They suggest putting the baby in a box and leaving it where the mama can find it. So, we put it in a very nearby tree and left it for about 3 hours. Before sunset, we checked and it was still there, and very cold. We had found some other instructions at a helpful Squirrel Rescue site, and did some various things to warm him up. I also read he needed his bottom wiped every 4 hours or so to encourage "evacuation", so I did that and it worked! I diluted some hydrogen peroxide and cleaned his wounds (you can see the biggest gash under his chin in the photo). I checked on him in the middle of the night - still alive! - wiped his bum, tried to give him some liquids. This morning... still alive! Wiped his bum again!

We drove him the hour into town to the Audubon Society. They were shocked at how little he was, and didn't seem to optimistic, but I was pleased that he had made it that long (and hopefully wasn't suffering the entire time). They took my info and put him in a warmer. They said that someone on their staff was really good with tiny baby mammals. I learned that the majority of wildlife injuries are due to cats. I can call tomorrow to check on him. Keep your fingers crossed!

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