Published on May 8 2006

CNN.com - Moussaoui moves to withdraw guilty plea - May 8, 2006
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (AP) -- Convicted September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui says he lied on the witness stand about being involved in the terrorist plot and wants to withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial. The judge turned him down. Moussaoui said he was "extremely surprised" that he was sentenced to life in prison instead of execution and now believes he can get a fair trial from an American jury.

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Published on May 8 2006

It's good to know the cosmos is still on my side going into finals!!
This week May 8 through May 14 Libra Life has returned to your career zone as you are busy taking stock of all that you have achieved and all that is to come. Right now you are putting out feelers to see whether there may be a favorable outlook on your latest plans. The cosmos is still rooting for you, so keep up the good work. There is a lot you can do this week to make progress, but you also need to tread carefully. Use the coming days as preparatory time with which to plan ahead and get everything in focus.

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Published on May 7 2006

"Hey! Is this thing working? How come this camera doesn't......" CLICK!!! ".....oh, I see.....I didn't know you had to wait after you pushed the button." legs.JPG

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Published on May 6 2006

Got home from a drive last evening, walked into the living room to find this show on the tooob. So I sat down in my living room for the first time in probably months, even though I'm not usually allowed out there and I rarely ever watch CMT. CMT.com: Shows: Van Morrison: One Night in Nashville van morrison His performance of "Until I Gain Control Again" was incredible, with the audience on their feet even before the song ended.
"...I've never gone so wrong for telling lies to you What you see is what I've been There is nothing that I can hide from you You see me better than I ever can Out on the road that lies before me now There are some turns, some turns where I will spin, spin I only hope, only hope that you will hold me now, hold me now Until I gain control again Till I gain control.."
and...as if that wasn't enough to make me smile the rest of the evening, the NEXT show was: CMT Crossroads: Bonnie Raitt/Lyle Lovett bonnielyle The last song was my favorite of Bonnie's, "Angel from Montgomery":
"..Make me an angel that flies from Montgom'ry Make me a poster of an old rodeo Just give me one thing that I can hold on to To believe in this living is just a hard way to go When I was a young girl well, I had me a cowboy He weren't much to look at, just free rambling man But that was a long time and no matter how I try The years just flow by like a broken down dam..."
Damn. and if *that* wasn't enough, look who's on tonight!! Shows: Bruce Springsteen: The Seeger Sessions brooooce Think I'd be pushing my luck if I tried to control the remote two nights in a row? :-))

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Published on May 5 2006

You Passed 8th Grade Math
Congratulations, you got 8/10 correct!
8 of 10??? I got that many right????

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Published on May 5 2006

poster Wow. I went to see this movie last night. I knew it was going to be a tough experience, but I found that after 5 years, this story still shakes me deep. This brought back every second of the confusion and horror of that Tuesday morning. Who would have thought that a Hollywood full of right-bashing, "Blame-it-on-us" liberal types could make a movie without a hero or a love story? Let alone have it be a movie like this one. It's not a flag-waver--there is only one shot of an American flag early on, during the terrorists trip to the airport. There is no "agenda" or any attempt to portray one side or the other as sympathetic. This was a movie with and without heroes, any heroism rising out of fear, panic, and terror. The people portrayed in this film were us. Gerard Van der Leun says it here in a way I only wish I could say:
"United 93," from the first frame to the last, simply and clearly lets you see what happened high in the air on that day. It is, as the phrase on the poster says, "The plane that did not reach its target." Instead, it reached something unintended and much higher. It became and will remain a legend; an integral part of the tapestry of the American myth from which we all draw what strength remains to us, and, in the future, will surely need to draw upon even more deeply. Like the best of our legends, it arises out of our ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
I didn't know a single face or recognize a single name among the actors. It's a somewhat documentary style telling, not filmed from any particular person's viewpoint. I wasn't even sure of the names of the characters. Although we've all heard the name "Todd Beamer", I would have been hard-pressed to tell you which character was his. I knew that Ben Sliney, national operations manager at the FAA, played himself in the movie, from reading about it beforehand. But there was not one recognizable "star" in this film, not one "beautiful people" type. At two hours, it's very close to real time the actual events of that day, which brings back the feelings of "What the f*** is happening?" that we all felt. There are no "timestamps" on the scenes to give a sense of how fast events were unfolding. There were none needed. We all remember the confusion and the incredulity of those few hours that morning, and how time stopped when we watched the second plane hit the south tower. During the scenes of the inner areas of the FAA headquarters, and the headquarters of the military exercises, the confusion over which planes were hijacked, which planes were still in the air, had it been Flight 11 that hit the WTC, or was it still in the air had me as confused as those traffic controllers must have felt--even though I already knew the flight numbers of the planes that became deadly weapons. The visual of the huge board with a light for every plane in the air was chilling. This movie is gut-wrenching at best, since we know the outcome. We know what happens. Still, I was surprised at the emotional reaction I had, the incredible anger I felt, the urge to hurt those terrorists, even the interior prayer that this time the passengers would get into that cockpit and get that plane down safely. Knowing that there was a potential flight crew in a passenger with some flight experience and a passenger who had worked control tower operations drew me in, made me hope that that maybe, just maybe...... I was shaken by the intensity of that anger, that hatred of those people. Shots of the passengers praying intertwined with shots of the terrorists praying, and all I could feel was hatred for those b******s. Those murdering b******s. I found myself gripping the armrest of my seat so hard that my hands hurt. What would I, could I, have done in that situation? Even though much of the resolution may be embellished--we don't know what happened in the final moments of that flight--there was such a catharsis when the passengers took their only chance. The last ten? five? minutes of the film is the most gripping and intense I've ever seen on screen. I'm not going to "spoiler" the ending, but it will shake any viewer to their deepest core. It's hard to keep your eyes open for it. I've read that audiences have been crying as they leave the theater, but I didn't see any of that last night in the mostly older audience. There was dead silence as we all left. Absolute silence. I wonder if they were all as numbed as I still feel today. It was painful to watch. It was not "too soon".

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Published on May 4 2006

"Celebrate Mothers Day with Crabs"
Thank god it came from Harbour House Crabs, an online ordering source. I need to get away for a few days, because Maryland Blues are not what I was thinking at first.

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Published on May 4 2006

CNN.com - Woman, 63, 'delighted' by pregnancy - May 4, 2006 In speaking about this case, where the mom-to-be is 62 years old, the good doctor had this to say:
He said Rashbrook, whom he last saw in November, was "perfect" for the treatment, because although she was 62 at the time, she had a biological age of about 45. "She came here with her husband, the couple love each other, she is very slim, blonde and in perfect condition, she fits all the criteria for maternity."
Um...slim? Blonde? This is sounding more like a Britney Spears lookalike audition than anything else. And as far as that "biological age" thing--I am 45, and I cannot even conceive (heh) of wanting to get PG again. I'm looking forward to GRANDCHILDREN--you know, the ones you fill full of sugary soda and candy and just generally spoil rotten--and then send home to their parents? candy UPDATE: No, I do not want to be a grandma anytime in the near future. Thank you.

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Published on May 4 2006

Moussaoui Offers Final Diatribe in Court - Yahoo! News
Brinkema firmly refused to be interrupted by the 37-year-old defendant as she disputed his claim that his life sentence meant America had lost and he had won. She went on: "You will spend the rest of your life in a supermax prison. It's absolutely clear who won." "Mr. Moussaoui, you came here to be a martyr in a great big bang of glory," she said, "but to paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot, instead you will die with a whimper." At that point, Moussaoui tried again to interrupt her, but she raised her voice and spoke over him. "You will never get a chance to speak again and that's an appropriate ending."
Where he will rot. Alone. Good on you, Judge Brinkema. Peggy Noonan has a different opinion of the verdict, and why Moussaoui will live. I wish I could get a few people I know to read it. OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan
This is what the jury announced yesterday. They did not doubt Moussaoui was guilty of conspiracy. They did not doubt his own testimony as to his guilt. They did not think he was incapable of telling right from wrong. They did not find him insane. They did believe, however, that he had had an unstable childhood, that his father was abusive and then abandoning, and that as a child, in his native France, he'd suffered the trauma of being exposed to racial slurs. As I listened to the court officer read the jury's conclusions yesterday I thought: This isn't a decision, it's a non sequitur. Of course he had a bad childhood; of course he was abused. You don't become a killer because you started out with love and sweetness. Of course he came from unhappiness. So, chances are, did the nice man sitting on the train the other day who rose to give you his seat. Life is hard and sometimes terrible, and that is a tragedy. It explains much, but it is not a free pass.

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Published on May 3 2006

Ya know, I'll take whatever little pats on the back I can get. This was the "final" posting in discussion in the Lit class I'm taking. There's lots of boring analysis of two works; one a short story, the other a poem. And this was the professor who scared the dickens out of me and made me want to work even harder, just so I wouldn't be too embarassed when our discussions were critiqued. You know the type. I'm doing a little--very little--happy dance. I still have the big paper due for this class. And I still don't want to be embarassed, lol.
Hi Laurie, From your in-depth comments and the eloquence of your interpretation of the two works, I think the "old dog" sure leaned how to analyze literature effectively. You really captured the human and emotional level of the works; it is a good picture of trivialized, impotent, and broken Native American men with few options to express the anger except through violence, alcohol, isolation, and self-destructive gestures. Your addition of the current statistics and the historical references does attest to the reasons for the situations. . I find these works incredibly sad in the portrayals of broken people and families. "Spitting" in tourist hamburgers is such a trivial and impotent gesture to gain some fragment of identity and power. As Smith concluded, "the trail of tears goes on". Good conclusion to your participation in the course. M < << Replied to message below >>> Subject: Last lesson! "Red Deer" and "Red Anger" Part One: The theme of these two pieces is anger submerged until explosion. There is such anger shown in these two works, anger at society and anger of a more personal level, culminating in a lashing out at the perceived sources of this anger. In Red Deer's case, the direct source anger seems to be a result of family problems. Although not completely explained, there is guilt over Osada's (Red Deer's father) role in the death of Litani, who was the younger brother of Red Deer's step-father. Was the family history that Joe Big Otter "stole" Osada's wife first? Did this happen before or after Litani's death? We are not sure from the story. The result of the convoluted family dynamic is that Joe Big Otter in some ways "steals" not only Red Deer's relationship with his mother, but also the relationship with a beloved younger stepbrother, Bear, in retaliation for Litani's loss at the hands of Red Deer's father. For Red Deer, anger at this loss is only exacerbated by the discrimination he faces when he leaves the reservation life to play minor league baseball. The anger and guilt that simmers in him finally boils over at the racism he encounters during a game in which he has finally "hit the big time", pitching an exhibition game against a major league team, a game at which his entire extended family and other men from the reservation are present. I don't think it is a coincidence that he becomes violent in a situation where he is facing his anger at both the society level and the family level at the same time. Red Deer has spent years burying his rage, using it as a tool to improve his pitching, or releasing it in alcohol use. Buried anger and hurt will not just "go away", however; it will eventually overpower all the controls a person uses on it, coming out in the inward violence of addictions or an outward violence in some form. This is also the case with Smith's narrator, although his anger manifests itself in contamination of the food of those he believes oppress him, instead of the more violent expression of Red Deer's hurled ball. One thing both violent actions had in common was that they were not directly aimed at the sources of the anger. Red Deer did not take out his anger at his family on them, nor did he attack the drunken fans who were taunting him; he aimed his imagined "rock" of a ball at a batter instead. Smith's narrator does not express his anger at the teachers in the Indian school or his alcoholic father; he takes it out on tourists stopping at the food stand where he works. Both works speak of anger "nursed like a seed", or in Red Deer's case: "He got to love it, and it was precious. He found it had all kinds of uses." The image of Red Deer hurling a ball at a batter brings to mind countless images of young men, powerless and hopeless, with no weapon other than the rocks they throw at the symbols of their oppression. Stereotypes present in both works are those of the reservation. These include poverty, young men working in low-paying jobs, broken families, violent death, and alcoholism. Red Deer's friend Freddie leaves the team to take a low-pay job in a grocery store, Red Deer himself works the off-season in a meatpacking plant butchering pigs, and Smith's narrator works at a tourist food stand. Most of us would consider these jobs to be somewhat of a dead end, but they are all that is available to these young men. According to this site: "According to the 2000 Census, the average unemployment rate for Indians and Native Americans was 12.4%, compared to 5.8% for the general population." There is also the stereotype of the family broken by violent death; Litani's shooting in the Red Deer story, and the suicide of the narrator's sister in "Red Anger". Both stories describe the image of failure in, and of, schools. Smith's narrator describes the dirty, neglected reservation school where "the stink of stale piss haunts the walls". Red Deer's school may not have been a reservation school, since he speaks of the "boys who didn't like losing to an Indian". After the incident of Osada and the shooting, Red Deer was encouraged to leave school to play baseball; arrangements made by the principal to end Red Deer's education. In many ways, school failed both of these young men. According to some studies I've read, the Native American school dropout rate rises as high as 76% in some areas. According to the same site as above, the percentage of American Indians and Alaskan Natives ages 16 to 19 that had not received a high school diploma was 16.1%, compared to 9.8% for the general population; and 24.4% of the general population age 25 and over had a bachelor's or higher degree, compared to only 11.5% for Native American and Alaskan Natives." This failure in school can only feed the cycle of low-paying jobs or unemployment, and the despair of a lack of choice. One thing I found very striking was the contrast between these works and the essay from last week written by Leonard Begay. In "Red Anger", the narrator lists the names of three tribes, the Tuscarora, Choctaw, and the Cherokee. All three tribes were uprooted from their original homelands, the Tuscarora from the Carolinas to New York; the Choctaw from Louisiana and the Cherokee from Georgia to the "Indian Territories" of Oklahoma. Begay's Navajo people were able to maintain their hold on their ancestral lands, while the three tribes mentioned above were forced from theirs by the westward movement of whites. This forced exodus haunts these tribes even today, as the narrator says "the trail of tears never ends". I wonder if there isn't a correlation between the forced removal of a people from their homeland and a subsequent loss of their culture as a result. Part Two: Truthfully, in looking at the influences I wrote about in the beginning of the course, I am not sure that much has changed. I will always, to a certain point, be defined by those influences of race, gender, and class. After 45 years, I am who I am because of, and in spite of, those definitions. This is not to say old dogs can't learn new tricks, though. If we didn't want to learn new perspectives, none of us would be in this class. I maintain a weblog as a hobby, and I have noticed that many more of the articles I clip for further reading involve issues of immigration and race in America. I hope the readings from this class have given me a better understanding of the background of some of these issues. Professor W*****, you said last week "… our FIRST OBLIGATION as readers is to listen to the writer's voice and to see what the writer is saying....to offer the experiences and ideas he or she wants to convey to us. AFTER THAT, we can relate it to our own experiences and add out knowledge to make an interpretation." I hope that, after this class, I'm better able to do just that.

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