One down, six to go – The end of the first week of radiation

So far so good. Other than a raspy voice not much to report after the first weeks radiation treatment. No news is good news I guess.

The promised cooling effect of afternoon thunderstorms did not happen yesterday. So it was quite warm as I finished the yard in the late afternoon. Jobs gone for another week or so. Today’s weather forecast is a repeat of yesterday’s for all intents. Ah summer in a subtropical climate…makes you dream of winter.

At Blues From The Red Side Of Life I noted Novak’s column about Presidents Bush’s intention to start vetoing upcoming spending bills. Seems this strategy was being attributed to Bush’s Budget Director Rob Portman. Today the Washington Post is announcing that Portman is leaving. Seems Mr. Portman was too well respected by both sides of Capital Hill. His replacement, Jim Nussle,

an aggressive partisan in his tenure in Congress, is another indication of Bush’s intent to confront congressional Democrats over tax and spending issues in the final 18 months of his term.

So, it will be politics as usual for this administration as it goes down in flames. And the take away from this is…Be careful what Robert Novak says about you these days, your time could be coming to an end in the Washington power pyramid (scheme).

Looks like the clock has run out on this mornings muse…catch you down the road…

Millions of Missing Birds, Vanishing in Plain Sight – New York Times

Verlyn Klinkenborg has a new piece out. His observations on humanity and our relationship to the natural world do not put humanity in the best of lights…Rightfully so in my humble opinion.

Millions of Missing Birds, Vanishing in Plain Sight – New York Times
Last week, the Audubon Society released a new report describing the sharp and startling population decline of some of the most familiar and common birds in America: several kinds of sparrows, the Northern bobwhite, the Eastern meadowlark, the common grackle and the common tern. The average decline of the 20 species in the Audubon Society’s report is 68 percent.

Forty years ago, there were an estimated 31 million bobwhites. Now there are 5.5 million. Compared to the hundred-some condors presently in the wild, 5.5 million bobwhites sounds like a lot of birds. But what matters is the 25.5 million missing and the troubles that brought them down — and are all too likely to bring down the rest of them, too. So this is not extinction, but it is how things look before extinction happens.

I was raised in the suburbs. Luckily, most of my relatives live in rural or small town settings so I was able to get regular doses of country living. My summers were generally spent roaming from relative to relative for a week here and a week there. While no one in my circle was a birder, birds were always a part of the background of my life.

Like Verlyn, much of what I read these days talks of the death and destruction of species, plants and animals. From the forest species of my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains to the Mockingbirds in my backyard. all are in decline. I guess the question I have to ask is what can I do…we do to stop this? Can we stop the juggernaut that seems to be rolling toward all of our doom? Do we even know enough to start to change?

This paragraph says it better than I can is this…

Agriculture has intensified. So has development. Open space has been sharply reduced. We have simply pursued our livelihoods. We knew it was inimical to wolves and mountain lions. But we somehow trusted that all the innocent little birds were here to stay. What they actually need to survive, it turns out, is a landscape that is less intensely human.

Go read the piece, it’s worth the time…

Richard Cohen excuses the excesses of politicians with a sentence…

With the sentencing of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Fitzgerald has apparently finished his work, which was, not to put too fine a point on it, to make a mountain out of a molehill. At the urging of the liberal press (especially the New York Times), he was appointed to look into a run-of-the-mill leak and wound up prosecuting not the leaker — Richard Armitage of the State Department — but Libby, convicted in the end of lying. This is not an entirely trivial matter since government officials should not lie to grand juries, but neither should they be called to account for practicing the dark art of politics. As with sex or real estate, it is often best to keep the lights off.

Source: Richard Cohen – The Runaway Train That Hit Scooter Libby –

Why does it amaze people that sometimes the system works and the liars and the cheats from both sides of the political spectrum end up convicted and going to jail. And yes Mr. Cohen, government officials should “be called to account for practicing the dark art of politics”. Politics is not meant to be a “dark art”.

Day 5 – Bathing in the artificial sun…along about the orbit of Mercury.

There was a break in the afternoon gully washers yesterday. I took that opportunity to play a bit of catchup on the yard work. I managed to mow about 2/3 of the yard…if I’m lucky I may get the rest mowed this afternoon.

At 6am this morning we are already at 80 degrees with a 95% humidity. Unless something change, it is gonna be a scorcher. You really have to love the weather prognosticators, the MyCast forecast calls for little or no chance of rain today while the National Weather Service is calling for a 40% chance of heavy rain. AccuWeather is telling me that the RealFeel temperature out right now is about 92 degrees…What a way to start your day.

Reading my Washington Post email I see one of the top stories is ‘Signing Statements’ Study Finds Administration Has Ignored Law .

President Bush has asserted that he is not necessarily bound by the bills he signs into law, and yesterday a congressional study found multiple examples in which the administration has not complied with the requirements of the new statutes.

Bush has been criticized for his use of “signing statements,” in which he invokes presidential authority to challenge provisions of legislation passed by Congress. The president has challenged a federal ban on torture, a request for data on the administration of the USA Patriot Act and numerous other assertions of congressional power. As recently as December, Bush asserted the authority to open U.S. mail without judicial warrants in a signing statement attached to a postal reform bill.

Now exactly who hasn’t realized by now that this administration hasn’t ignored the laws it felt did not apply to it? Come on America, this has to be the most politically corrupt group since the Nixon White House…Oh, yea…It’s the same people, I forgot. They pretty much got away with it then so they figured they could get away with it again. You would have thought most American’s would know that old proverb, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” Well America, shame on you…

“At least it makes clear the signing statements aren’t solely for staking out a legal position, with the president just saying, ‘I don’t have to do these things, but I will,’ ” Bruce Fein said. “In fact they are not doing some of these things. You can’t just vaporize it as an academic question.”

The stories keep coming about the White House thinking it’s above the law, yet, no one seems to do anything about it. I think it’s time to put some options back on the table…

Another example…Trying to bypass the Official Documents Act…Bush Aides’ Misuse of E-Mail Detailed by House Committee

White House aides made extensive use of political e-mail accounts for official government business, despite rules requiring that they conduct such business through official communications channels, according to new evidence disclosed yesterday by congressional investigators.

At some point don’t these stories reach critical mass and demand an accounting? It’s no longer an issue of just incompetence. It is no longer an issue of ideology. It is now an issue of law. It is now an issue of criminality.

Pardon the political rant. I try to hold it in, but damn it, if I treated the law as disrespectfully as these folks do I’d be serving time. Who the hell do they think they are?

Time to run…more muses later…

the ramblings of my brain over that first cup… and other meanders