It is a time of freedom and fear, of Gaia and of borders, of many paths and the widening of a universal toll road, emptying country and swelling cities, of the public bought into privacy and the privacy of the public sold into invisible data banks and knowing algorithms. It is the time of the warrior's peace and the miser's charity, when the planting of a seed is an act of conscientious objection.

These are the times when maps fade and direction is lost. Forwards is backwards now, so we glance sideways at the strange lands through which we are all passing, knowing for certain only that our destination has disappeared. We are unready to meet these times, but we proceed nonetheless, adapting as we wander, reshaping the Earth with every tread.

Behind us we have left the old times, the standard times, the high times. Welcome to the irregular times.

Saturday, April 12, 2003
Mother Davis hastily makes a cross on her chest as she heretically considers,

I'm reading about U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige's statement that he'd put his kids in a Christian school because he's uneasy about exposing his children to a place where there are "so many different kids with different kinds of values" from those of the Christian community.

First, is the U.S. Education Secretary really telling parents to pull their kids out of public schools on account of the fact that public schools are not Christian enough?

Second, should we rename the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives? I'm thinking that it ought to be called the Office of Faith-Biased Initiatives instead.

Going to confession to purge myself of these dangerously heterodox thoughts,
Mother Davis

Posted by Katherine Davis at 3:05 AM. # (permalink)

Wednesday, April 09, 2003
In the spring, the Canada geese, when they back come down into the black muckland to rest after a day in the fields, theyíll come out of the sky in that beautiful V pattern people know them for.

Well, it looks like theyíve got everything together and theyíre all set for a beautiful touchdown and all, and then, maybe thirty or so feet above the water, the first couple of birds kind of flip over, turning on their sides all of a sudden.

Itís turbulence in the air that makes them do it, and they canít see it coming. The air looks the same to them, no matter how fast itís moving. So, even though they come in to the same pond every evening, they flip over every time. Itís different every night. They have no idea when itís going to come.

Itís the same way on down the formation. The first birds at the head turn over, then the next pair on down the line, and the next pair, and the next, all the way down, right to the end of the line. It doesnít do any good for them to see the bird in front of them get hit. They canít anticipate. They canít learn from the bird ahead. Each one falls just like the one before.

Iíve never seen a goose get hurt by it, that wind that hits them as theyíre coming in toward the ground. Each one, after they get tossed, turns itself right around again and sets down in the water just fine. I donít think they plan the recovery either, so much as they just do what comes naturally until they feel safe again.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 10:49 AM. # (permalink)

Monday, April 07, 2003

Your Tax Dollars At Work...
Shoving the Lord Down Soldiers' Throats

From a 4/7/2003 piece by Med Laughlin for Knight Ridder Newspapers

"CAMP BUSHMASTER, Iraq - In this dry desert world near Najaf, where the Army V Corps combat support system sprawls across miles of scabrous dust, there's an oasis of sorts: a 500-gallon pool of pristine, cool water. It belongs to Army chaplain Josh Llano of Houston, who sees the water shortage - which has kept thousands of filthy soldiers from bathing for weeks - as an opportunity.

"It's simple. They want water. I have it, as long as they agree to get baptized," he said. And agree they do. Every day, soldiers take the plunge for the Lord and come up clean for the first time in weeks. "They do appear physically and spiritually cleansed," Llano said.

First, though, the soldiers have to go to one of Llano's hour-and-a-half sermons in his dirt-floor tent. Then the baptism takes an hour of quoting from the Bible.

"Regardless of their motives," Llano said, "I get the chance to take them closer to the Lord. You have to be aggressive to help people find themselves in God."

Posted by Theodiclus Lock at 9:23 PM# (permalink)

"They didn't care. They just attacked the picket line. They declared it an illegal assembly and gave people two minutes to disperse. The police did not move to arrest anyone, they just started shooting.''

~ Steve Stallone, spokesman for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and witness to Oakland Police action against peace protesters at the Port of Oakland. Police fired bean bags, tear gas, BBs and wooden dowels at activists engaged in civil disobedience.

Source: Associated Press, 4/7/2003

Meanwhile, the Independent of London helps put this all in perspective:

Posted by Theodiclus Lock at 9:12 PM. # (permalink)

Sunday, April 06, 2003
j. clifford cookCountering The Operation Rocky Freedom Propaganda

Propaganda: This is a clean, precise, humane war, says the Bush Administration. Precision-guided bombs ensure that the American and British military (oops, excuse me, the "Coalition Forces") only hit targets that belong to evildoers from the Iraqi government.

Reality counters the propaganda: The BBC's John Simpson reports that, over the weekend, an American military plane dropped a bomb on a convoy in Northern Iraq that included Kurdish civilians and American soldiers, many of whom were killed or injured.

This is only the latest of many such incidents in which British and American military units have fired upon and killed each other as a part of their "precision" tactics. Other "precision" bombings have "accidentally" hit the wrong country, flying into Iran or Syria by mistake. Iraq, geographers say, is much wider than the side of a barn, so why can't our hi-tech military keep its bombs within its borders? If this is the kind of precision attack that the Bush Administration is so proud of, how many more attacks have gone "accidentally" off course, and what kind of attack would they call imprecise?

Remember, there have been tens of thousands of separate bombings by the Americans and British. If only five percent of these have missed their targets, then several thousand civilians have been hit, although their deaths will never be counted. Far more Iraqis have died in the unprovoked invasion (there's no evidence that Iraq had anything to do with September 11, 2001) of Iraq than the Americans who died on September 11, 2001. Will this carnage satisfy the vengeance of the American people? This figure doesn't include those civilians who have been "justifiably" slaugtered by American troops on the ground (these people committed grave offenses such as driving cars and vans on the road in their own neighborhoods).

It seems that this war is not as clean and precise as it looks on TV.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 10:05 AM. # (permalink)

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