Mid-Life Ramblings; Sanity Optional

Friday, March 31, 2006

Happy Birthday to my favorite 8 year old!

Today is my nephew Tyler's 8th birthday. To celebrate a bunch of his friends and relatives met first at TCBY for ice cream cake and present opening. We then moved the celebration across the street to take in Ice Age 2 which was adorable.

This pic is a few months old. It was taken during one of his hospital stays in 2005.

Rock on, Little Man.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


After being gone from there for right at eight years now, I have answered the telephone here at work, "Good morning. Sheriff's Office" twice in the past 24 hours. What's up with that?

Me thinks I need a vacation.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Back to "normal"

Ok. The last couple of posts have been awfully political in nature. I'm warning y'all that you can expect more. I'm not going to turn this into a political blog but I will be discussing politics now and again.

You see, I pay close attention to politics. It interests the hell out of me and I'm a firm believer of knowing what my government is up to. My parents taught me from an early age that voting was my right and to not vote was to throw that right away. I can count on one hand the number of elections I've missed voting in over the past 26 years.

In 2004 I very actively worked on the Howard Dean campaign here in Louisiana. I believed in Gov. Dean's platform and still do. Watching what the media and the other Democratic candidates did to him in the primaries sickened. When it became obvious that he wouldn't get the nomination, I was devastated and lost so much of my political fight. I've continued to keep up with what was going on and comment on it but I quit being active. But all that is changing again.

With Louisiana being the 12th state to consider a ban on abortion, I'll be volunteering with Planned Parenthood here to help fight it. I'm also keeping my eye on Senator Russ Feingold (D - Wisconsin). He's the guy calling for censure of Bu$h. I'm hoping he'll make a run in 2008. I'll work my ass off for him if he does.

Anyway, my fire is back. I'm hoping it's not too early that I burn out before November of '08. But I promise I won't subject you guys to it every day. I'll keep telling you stuff like how cute Nate is since he got his Small Paws quilt in the mail yesterday. He keeps making a nest with it and curling up for naps on it. It's just too precious for words. I'll get E to get a pic for y'all.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Signing statement = abuse of power

On March 9th, Bu$h signed the renewal of the US Patriot Act, a law that took away more of our civil liberties than most folks realize. What didn't make the news was the signing statement that Bu$h attached to it.

From the White House press release:

President's Statement on H.R. 199, the "USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005"

Today, I have signed into law H.R. 3199, the "USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005," and then S. 2271, the "USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006." The bills will help us continue to fight terrorism effectively and to combat the use of the illegal drug methamphetamine that is ruining too many lives.

The executive branch shall construe the provisions of H.R. 3199 that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch, such as sections 106A and 119, in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive's constitutional duties.

The executive branch shall construe section 756(e)(2) of H.R. 3199, which calls for an executive branch official to submit to the Congress recommendations for legislative action, in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to recommend for the consideration of the Congress such measures as he judges necessary and expedient.



March 9, 2006.

I would like to call your attention to the 2nd paragraph. There is a very important section of the Patriot Act that says the Inspector General will audit the FBI to make sure that every action they take under this act is legal and that the audits will be reported to Congress on specific dates.

Here is the beginning of Section 106A:

(a) AUDIT.--The Inspector General of the Department of Justice
shall perform a comprehensive audit of the effectiveness and use,
including any improper or illegal use, of the investigative authority
provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation under title V of
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861
et seq.).

Section 119 states that the Inspector General will audit the Department of Justice to make sure that national security letters are being used legally.

The beginning of Section 119:

a) AUDIT.--The Inspector General of the Department of Justice
shall perform an audit of the effectiveness and use, including any
improper or illegal use, of national security letters issued by the
Department of Justice.

So, what paragraph two of Bu$h's signing statement says is that if he doesn't deem it fit to report to the Inspector General and Congress about how this act is being applied, he's not going to do it. This is one of the main checks and balances sections of the act.

Now on to Section 756 (e):

(1) REPORTS.--Successful applicants shall submit to the
Attorney General a report on the activities carried out under
the grant at the end of each fiscal year.
(2) EVALUATIONS.--Not later than 12 months at the end
of the 3 year funding cycle under this section, the Attorney
H. R. 3199--86

General shall submit a report to the appropriate committees
of jurisdiction that summarizes the results of the evaluations
conducted by recipients and recommendations for further legis-
lative action.

In his signing statement, paragraph three, Bu$h says:

in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to recommend for the consideration of the Congress such measures as he judges necessary and expedient.

So what he's doing with this signing statement is thumbing his nose at Congress by saying he'll decide when and if they will get reports from the Executive and Judicial branches as to whether this act is being applied legally.

Our consitution provides for three equal branches of government, each providing checks and balances for the others. What Bu$h continues to do is add weight to the powers of the Executive Branch, which moves us closer toward a dictatorship. My question is why is this country allowing him to do so? How long is it going to take before enough of us stand up and scream, "ENOUGH!"?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

An open letter to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

I emailed this letter to Sen. Clinton's office this morning.

Dear Sen. Clinton:

My request is simple. Please do not run for President in 2008.

Let me first state that I am a Democrat and probably more left of center than you are. I admire you for your work and for your stance on so many issues. But I think it will be a huge mistake if you run in 2008.

While I believe that having the first viable female presidential candidate would be a huge step in the right direction, I deeply believe that we as Democrats must first focus on regaining control of the White House and Congress. The Bu$h administration has done more harm to this nation than any administration in decades. The neo-cons are moving us in the direction of an American dictatorship and theocracy and, to be honest, it frightens me.

Sen. Clinton, the neo-con pundits have made your name as dirty a word as they have the term "liberal". Because of this, your candidacy would be too polarizing. This is a time when we need a candidate that is not afraid of this administration but, at the same time, is capable of gaining the trust of not only Democrats but Independents and some Republicans. I do not believe you can do that at this time.

I would like to appeal to your sense of what is right for the many rather that what is right for the few. My eye is on Sen. Russ Feingold. Although he has not indicated that he would run, he seems to be the type of candidate that we need to accomplish a Democratic victory.

I appreciate your consideration in this matter. Thank you.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Saying Goodbye

My brother is moving away. In just five short days he’ll be loading up Nero, my nephew-pug, and on his way to San Diego, California for a new job and a new life with the one he loves. I am so very happy for him. It’s wonderful to see him as happy as he is now. It has been years since I’ve seen him this happy. Still I can’t help but feeling sadness because he won’t be just an hour away anymore.

We are a close knit family. A total of 150 miles separate our parents, my sister, my brother, and me. It is the farthest we’ve ever lived from each other. I am especially close with Keith and Kristina. Ever since my parents brought those twins home I’ve been proud to be their big sister. We all live very different lives but we are all very much alike in so many ways.

We all expected Keith to move away right out of college. It was what he wanted to do. As a journalist he dreamed of working for a large paper. However, his career path kept him in Louisiana. He wound up at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and made a name for himself there, winning numerous awards and having a special assignment nominated for a Pulitzer. Life was good and he was happy. But then came Katrina.

Keith has seen his city destroyed and what remains is a caricature of the New Orleans that once was. He has seen his paper reduced to half the staff and half the size of its pre-Katrina state. He also saw his own five-year relationship fall apart.

He stuck it out as long as he could. In the process he met Rex and fell head over heels in love. Rex happened to live in San Diego. Keith happened to feel that New Orleans was no longer a city he could call home. He applied to the San Diego Union Tribune and they jumped at the chance to get him on board. He’ll be the healthcare and hospitals reporter there – a great position and something he loves to cover.

With Keith in New Orleans it has been so easy to jump in the car and drive down to meet him for dinner or theatre or whatever was going on. It will be so hard not to pick up the phone when something is going on there and make plans to attend with him. Yes, there’s email and cell phones, but it can’t take the place of seeing him in person as often as I’ve been able to over the last few years.

I hugged his neck for the last time yesterday. I don’t know when I’ll get that opportunity again. He’s planning to come out for a couple of LSU games this fall. E and I will visit him as soon as we can afford to.

Tyler and Elyssa are used to having their uncle close by as well. They are going to miss him terribly. When my sister told Tyler that Keith was moving, they were in the car on the way to the clinic for Ty’s weekly chemo. As she explained that they’d be able to visit him in San Diego where there is a Seaworld and a wonderful zoo, she looked back to see tears streaming down Ty’s cheeks as he asked, “And you think any of that matters?’
Even at almost 8 years old, he gets it.

Keith, as you embark on this new phase of your life, I wish you joy and success. You won’t be physically close but you will always remain close to my heart. I love you and I’m so very proud of you. Be safe in your travels and I’ll see you soon.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Day O'

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor recently gave a speech at Georgetown University discussing the attacking of our judiciary. In the speech she cautions that America is heading toward dictatorship if we don't stop the attacks.

Ms O'Connor, nominated by Ronald Reagan as the first woman supreme court justice, declared: "We must be ever-vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary."

She pointed to autocracies in the developing world and former Communist countries as lessons on where interference with the judiciary might lead. "It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."


Such threats, Ms O'Connor said, "pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedom", and she told the lawyers in her audience: "I want you to tune your ears to these attacks ... You have an obligation to speak up.

"Statutes and constitutions do not protect judicial independence - people do," the retired supreme court justice said.


In her speech, Ms O'Connor said that if the courts did not occasionally make politicians mad they would not be doing their jobs, and their effectiveness "is premised on the notion that we won't be subject to retaliation for our judicial acts".

O'Connor was appointed by Reagan and was considered one of the most moderate judges that could swing a vote in either direction. She was also the first female Supreme Court justice and a personal hero of mine. She stated what E and I have said since Scooter and his minions were allowed to take over this country in 2000.

We have to take this country back, folks. We're moving in a direction that I know none of us want to go.

Edited 3/31/06 to remove all George Clooney content posted at the Huffington Post as the material was found to be written by Huffington rather than Clooney.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

For today, a Blogthing IQ test

Your IQ Is 135

Your Logical Intelligence is Below Average

Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius

Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius

Your General Knowledge is Exceptional

What's up with that first one? I believe I answered them all correctly.

Thanks, Poppy Cede!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Catching up on stuff

Since I've been out of pocket, I thought I'd do one post summarizing what's been going on since I last posted.

1. E's sister Sue arrived from Utah on the 24th and spent the next nine days with us. We had such a great time when we weren't sick. She's been coming out to visit about every six months and this was her first Mardi Gras. I think she's hooked.

2. We actually saw more parades on the Westbank than we did in the city of New Orleans this year. We caught tons of stuff. On the Sunday night before Mardi Gras we froze our asses off waiting for Bacchus to get to our spot on the route. The wind was blowing and I had a quilt wrapped around me. But on Mardi Gras day we wound up sunburned as we watched Grela and Chocktaw on the Westbank.

3. Sue got sick on the Monday before Mardi Gras. It was some sort of virus from what we can guess. Could have been a severe allergic reaction to all the mold in the air in New Orleans. She was down for the count for two days, bless her heart. It sucks to be sick while you're on vacation.

4. I got sick the day after Mardi Gras. Definitely a virus. I'm still fighting the crap but I'm much better than I was originally - stuffy head, fever, horrible cough, and other gross things I won't get into here. I was miserable until Sunday. I managed to get to work on Friday but I was pretty out of it.

5. Friday we had tickets to see Beausoleil live here in BR. All I really wanted to do was crawl in bed but I'd bought the tickets in advance so I loaded up on Dayquil and Tylenol and headed off to enjoy some good Cajun music. We definitely weren't disappointed. Those guys rocked the house. I even got Michael Doucet's autograph.

6. I managed to finish the cap and E's Wavy scarf so I won my gold medal in the Knitting Olympics.

I know, I know, I'll get the pics up here soon. I promise.

I'm still not at 100% but I'm doing much better so I'll be around more. I'll try not to lag so long between posts.