Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mid-week Thoughts

It's Wednesday, back from my every four month dental cleaning. Except this time I go back in two weeks for a cap/crown, depending on how much of the tooth needs to be removed. They found a small vertical cavity underneath a 17 year old ceramic filling. And for just $1,200.00 I get a new tooth.

A bit much to some? Well I've been going to this dentist now for 20 years. He saved my teeth and gums then and has saved a number of other teeth from requiring root canal or worse. I have good teeth and roots, thanks Mom, all 24 which are still in my mouth. I had 4 front teeth pulled when I was 12 to make room for new teeth and 4 wisdom teeth cut (gum), split, and pulled when I was 20. I never went back to dentist for another 15+ years and had to pay the price.

But I expect to keep all 24 teeth I still having, barring an accident or someone deciding I need facial cosmetic with some large blunt object. I have very long and deep rooted teeth. X-rays show the tips of the upper teeth in the sinus cavities. And the lower teeth hit the jaw bone.

Ok enought of the mouthy stuff. The news please, or the news fit to write about.

This one is interesting. Rear Admiral Mark Buzby, former head at Guantanano (Gitmo) wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal stating we should be proud of the prison conditions at Gitmo, now at least. I agree, it's a model prison with state of the art health care and prisoner services along with state of the art security. He should be rewarded for this and his honesty.

But he forgets one fundamental fact. Most, meaning 80+%, of the prisoners there shouldn't be there in the first place. We don't need Gitmo for what it is and what has happened there. The prisoners there have no rights, have never been charged with any crimes, rarely have access to legal representation, and in the end, have no expectation of ever leaving unless the goverment of their home country asks the President.

Adm. Buzby doesn't address this issue at all, but only they're well cared for. The point is, all those prisoners should either be freed or turned over to the Justice Department for trial on terrorism charges. And as history has shown, very few of them are terrorists and fewer have been convicted. And while we've been developing military tribunals, they've proven to be illegal at best and unconstitutional at worst.

After five years the prisoners have reached breaking point, some have committed suicide, some turned violent and some just become immune to their plight. Can anyone blame them? Most are incidental soldiers, normally sent home after a short stay, some are innocent bystanders in the wrong place and at the wrong time, and some weren't even in the battlefield or even the country when captured.

And I watch a news story recently people are vacationing at Gitmo now? Maybe it's time to free the prisoners and offer vacation getways to American wanting to have that terrorist prisoner experience. Except flights to Cuba are banned, except military and CIA flights of course.

More on terrorism?

How about this article? Interesting perspective on public or street photography and photographers. We're not the enemy or terrorists, just, as said to me once by a Washington State Patrol office, "stupid professional photographer(s)."

How many times do we have to say, photography is not illegal in public places? And photography is not terrorism? If a tourist or family member is ok to be a photographer anywhere they think it's legal, why not us?

Ok, politics?

How many times does the press report off-hand comments by politicians and then they or the person excuses it as a mistake? It's not a mistake.It's called unconscious thoughts spoken aloud. And our VP Cheney did just that equating West Virginians to family history of inbreeding. Yes, folks he really meant it.

Legal immigration and visitors. Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff announced that anyone travelling to the US from a country that doesn't require a visa to enter the US will have to register 3 days in advance. That's 27 countries and millions of people. If HSA and the FBI can't get the No-Fly Watch List right, do we really think they'll get this right?

Our government at work, the Laurel and Hardy does travel and immigration security episode.

Ok, I haven't mentioned the Texas LDS child protection case. I've been watching and reading. But I will now. The Texas State Surpreme Court seems to have lost their common sense. What don't they see it's not about the few where the evidence of child sexual abuse is obvious, but as many have said, it's the prevasive pattern of family practices within the whole community.

The LDS families simply flooded and overloaded the system with denial, nonparticipation and other means to thwart the truth of their practice of non-family values and child sexual abuse. The Texas Supreme Court sent the message to any religious zealot who wants to start a similar church free from the laws you and I have to follow, come to Texas and we'll protect you and your immoral lifestyle.

Texas is the home where multiple wives is legal if you're a church or religion. So where are the family values people now? You know, those ones who espouse monogymous marriages and family values?

Keeping on Texas. Did you know Chairman of the Texas Board of Education is a creationist? Not just a creationist, but a strict, fundamental Christian who wants to see religion taught in schools and evolution dismissed from science programs? Yup, he's now pushing teaching "strengths and weaknesses" in evolution, which is a way of pushing evolution into a pseudo-science by showing it doesn't completely and neatly describe the planet's and man's development as the Bible does.

The problem, as the New York Times article pointed out is that all of the arugments used by his organization to downplay evolution are decades old and all have been refuted with newer discoveries in biology and geology. But they persist in repeating the same old bullshit.

Well, I'm glad I don't live in Texas, and Texas ain't paradise. Maybe to some, like relgious zealots of any and all flavors, but not me.

Parting jesture? I found a photo I printed and keep on my door. It's one by John Orr of a wall in Bosnia. And they say a photograph is worth a lot of words.

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