September 2006 Archives

Requiem for a free country


Memo from Earth:

The experiment in self-governance that became the United States of America lasted for approximately two hundred and thirty years. It continued to exist in name only for a considerably longer period of time, but the country founded on the ideals of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the other signatories of the Declaration of Independence, ceased to exist in 2006. In that year, the United States Congress passed, and president George W. Bush signed, a bill that abolished Habeas Corpus, which had been common law since before the signing of the Magna Carta. This act effectively shredded the United States Constitution and the principles on which it had been founded. The same bill, passed by a Republican-controlled congress intent on providing legal cover for numerous impeachable offenses committed by the Republican Bush administration, also legalized the practice established by the Bush administration of torturing prisoners in secret foreign prisons, thus reducing the moral standing of the United States to that of the worst human rights violators on the planet. In performing this act of state-icide, the Republican congressmen chose survival of their political party over survival of the principles on which the United States had been founded. The opposition party, the Democrats, remained silent throughout this episode, having been cowed by the political rhetoric of the Republicans, which equated a desire to protect the basic rights that formed the foundation of the political philosophy on which the country was founded with a desire to "protect the terrorists". And thus the Grand Experiment in self-governance that began with the American Revolution ended in failure.

Tomato Soup


Is there any sense that can bring on nostalgia as quickly as the sense of smell? While driving in my car today I inexplicably, ever so briefly, caught a whiff of tomato soup. It took me back to Davis, California, where I lived during five years of grad school and for a couple more years after Mike was born. Davis is in Yolo County, which is the center of California tomato country, where some 90% of the tomatoes produced in the U.S. are grown. Consequently, there was a Hunt-Wesson cannery in Davis, which may still be there for all I know.

Right around this time of year the tomatoes were harvested and brought to the cannery in gondola trucks, which spilled them out onto the overpass at Mace Boulevard, each truck spilling a few until a slippery mass of crushed tomato formed and cars with old tires slipped and slid and occasionally failed to make it up the hill.

The cooking of vast quantities of tomatoes produced a wonderful smell that filled the air in Davis for days. Oddly, I don't think soup was canned there, nevertheless the smell was that of tomato soup . Every year I was overcome by a craving for tomato soup. I made late-night soup runs; I stocked up on soup and saltines; I heated the soup in a small sauce pan and sat down to soup and crackers with the kind of anticipation usually reserved for Thanksgiving dinners.

Note to self:


The season premiere of "Lost" is on next Wednesday. Channel 707.

Up and running...


Finally got the blog working again, whew. I'm still tweaking some of the templates, but basic functionality is restored. I've changed my database to MySQL and upgraded my blogging software in addition to changing my webhost and my domain registrar. And it "only" took me two months. To my great relief I was able to import my backup file and restore all my old entries, complete with comments. It was too much to hope that would work. So, my hat's off to the people at MoveableType for maintaining backward compatibility. I got some very good help from Lisa on the MoveableType support forum.

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