Thursday, September 28, 2006

News Beyond My Great Fear for my Liberty

I've been doing these musical/poetic pairings lately....Rather like pairing wine with a meal. I pick an album from my iPod and find someplace purdy to walk while I listen to it, then I come home and sit with a book of poems.

Successful so far have been Portishead Dummy followed by James Tate's Absences (they share an elsewhere) and Kings of Leon's Youth and Young Manhood followed by Charles Simic's Aunt Lettuce, I Want to Peek Up Your Skirt (they're equally randy). Absolutely harrowing was Gorecki's 3rd Symphony, which P just introduced me to, followed by Celan's Fathomsuns/Benighted.

I would love to hear recommendations if other people do this. Or theoretical recommendations.

defending the co-belligerents

By ANNE PLUMMER FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Senate, siding with President Bush shortly after he personally lobbied lawmakers at the Capitol, rejected a move Thursday by a leading Republican to allow terrorism suspects to challenge their imprisonment in court.

The vote paved the way for final passage of Bush's plan to establish "military commissions" to prosecute terrorism suspects in legislation that also spells out violations of the Geneva Conventions, a treaty that sets international standards for the treatment of war prisoners.

Republicans say the bill is necessary to ensure that terrorists can be brought to justice and that CIA personnel will not be charged with war crimes when interrogating these suspects.

Barring any last-minute hiccups, the bill could reach the president's desk as early as Friday.

Bush had gone to Capitol Hill earlier Thursday, urging senators to follow the House lead and approve the plan. "The American people need to know we're working together to win the war on terror," he told reporters as he left.

The Senate voted 48-51 against an amendment by Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record) that would have allowed terror suspects to file "habeas corpus" petitions in court. Specter contends the ability to such pleas is considered a fundamental legal right and is necessary to uncover abuse.

"This is a constitutional requirement and it is fundamental that Congress not legislate contradiction to a constitutional interpretation of the Supreme Court," said Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Three Republicans voted with Specter but others in the GOP caucus contended that providing terror suspects the right to unlimited appeals weighs down the federal court system.

"It impedes the war effort, and it is irresponsible," said Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Democrats sided with Specter.

"The habeas corpus language in this bill is as legally abusive of rights guaranteed in the Constitution as the actions at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and secret prisons that were physically abusive of detainees," said Sen. Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record), the top Democrat on the Armed Services panel.

The House on Wednesday passed a nearly identical measure on a 253-168, following bitter partisan debate in which Republicans and Democrats traded barbs on which political party would better protect Americans. After the Senate passes its bill, the House will vote again Friday to approve the Senate measure and send it to the president to sign, according to House and Senate leadership aides.

Three Democrats also were being given opportunities to offer amendments Thursday, but all were expected to be rejected along party lines. Democrats have said the legislation would give the president too much latitude when deciding whether aggressive interrogations cross the line and violate international standards of prisoner treatment.

The legislation would establish a military court system to prosecute terror suspects, a response to the Supreme Court ruling in June that Congress' blessing was necessary. Under the bill, a terrorist being held at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba can be tried by "military commission" so long as he is afforded certain rights, such as the ability to confront evidence given to the jury and access to defense counsel.

Those subject to the commission trials would be any person "who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents." Proponents say this definition would not apply to U.S. citizens but would allow the detention and prosecution of individuals financing terrorist networks.

While the bill would spell out legal rights for the terror suspects to ensure a fair trial, it would eliminate other rights common in military and civilian courts. For example, the commission would be allowed to consider hearsay as evidence so long as a judge determines it is reliable. Hearsay is frequently allowed in international military tribunals, but is barred from being considered in civilian courts.

The court would bar the military commission from considering evidence obtained by interrogation techniques since December 2005 that involve "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" as defined by the 5th, 8th and 14th amendments. Coerced statements taken before the 2005 ban was put into effect would not be subjected to the same standard — language Democrats charge creates a loophole for abuse.

The measure also provides extensive definitions of war crimes such as torture, rape and biological experiments, but gives the president broad authority to decide which other techniques U.S. interrogators may use legally. The provisions are intended to protect CIA interrogators from being prosecuted for war crimes.

For nearly two weeks the White House and rebellious Republican senators have fought publicly over whether Bush's plan would give a president too much authority. But they struck a compromise last Thursday.

"This bill is everything we don't believe in," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.


The House resolution is HR 6166. The Senate bill is S 3930.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Amnesty International Call

From the website:
"We are literally days away from action in Congress on a proposal to:
--Abandon the rule of law and give the President the freedom to
interpret the Geneva Conventions any way he sees fit.
--Provide immunity to those responsible for past human rights abuses.
--Exempt from prosecution those who authorize treatment traditionally
considered torture.
--Strip detainees of access to US courts."

Here's some background info in case you choose to call, which I hope you do.

(If you're in MN, the pop-up map will give you the MI reps. Use your zip code.)

Sunday, September 24, 2006


The bells of the church at the end of the block have been going mad for quite some time. I was just wondering if there was a wedding or if this is Sunday business as usual that I'm not attentive to, when I was answered by a hundred white balloons with shiny ribbon being released into the chilly, sunny blue sky. I'm glad I was looking out the window just then.

I love fall. Coffee tastes better, train whistles sound lonelier (there are tons here, and it takes a lot of whistling to weigh that much). And all I want to eat is roasted orange food.

The Imaginary Press reading was beautiful! Allison and Josh are such amazing poets, great readers and sweet humans. Though there wasn't quite the standing room only atmosphere for which I'd hoped, the good crowd that came was lucky, and damn well knew it. Photos soon.

The bells are still going!! Now the neighborhood dogs are answering. They sound fed up.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

No Way!

I hope my hero Bruce Campbell is beside himself with joy about THIS!

**I must add that my Sam Raimi fanship in no way decreases the validity of my stand on Woody Allen.

(p.s. Somebody techno literate? Why is my sidebar hiding waaaay down there?)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

four unrelated topics

1. I saw Little Miss Sunshine this weekend. Brian, wow. I don't recall both my "ball" and "guffaw" reflexes being tripped so uncontrollably and simultaneously as in the last scene of this film. If anybody hasn't seen it, I think you should.

2. On an unrelated note, I've been wondering from time to time lately, just to get a gauge, if my pal Paige is as tan or more tan than my father in the photo below.

3. No dress buying for me yet. I get all hung up with decisions and money spending so that whichever thing I purchase will be the wrong one in the end. This stems from having lived without dough for a stretch in the past. And while things are different now, I have retained these three non-spending coping techniques for deciding if I should release money in any form or not:
a. I make a big pot of something involving beans and lots of spices. Vegetarian chili or red beans and rice. It's on-hand, takes hours, is useful, and distracts me.
b. I walk to the branch library and select entertainment from the available choices. I'm not talking about the regular library, I'm talking about the one about a mile from me that has, aside from the fairly decent selection of novels and non-fiction that I have little time to read during the semester, approximately 53 videos and 17 books of poetry. There's no way there would ever be something I am really looking for there. Last time I went I found a film I had never heard of called The Theory of Flight starring Kenneth Branaugh and Helena Bonham Carter, a book of Norwegian myth poems, and a CD by Big Brother and the Holding Company (Janis Joplin's first group). Awesome!
c. This is the big one: when I really need a new something, I take a shopping bag and fill it up with crap from my house and drive it to the thrift shop to donate. I always can find that much stuff I don't need or want or look at, for I love things, especially useless things.

And that last activity is how I rediscovered half a dozen real vintage dresses I have had no recent reason to wear in the back of my closet.

Then again, if all three of those coping mechanisms don't stick, I feel quite free to do as I damn well please, which perhaps means a splurge on TWO dresses! What? Am I crazy?

4. BUT! Most importantly: the astounding poets Allison Titus and Joshua Poteat are only DAYS AWAY from being in Minneapolis!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Kate did this to me!

Kate reminded me that ladies buy dresses to go to weddings (which I am) (going to a wedding....uh, and a lady, or 63% so according to some weblog personality test...) and then proceeded to point out all these online shopping opportunities!....Maaaan!

How am I supposed to pick?

These are the top five that I've been drooling over at the expense of writing time, for it is fall and I am easily distracted by pretty things.

Help. Kate?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

What I did in the U.P. over Labor Day

That's Mom and Pop on the right and their maid of honor and best man on the left. My brother put together the wedding photo recreation montage. And, yes, I do credit my parents' rhymey first names as the inspiration for my love of verse.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

See where it says "poets + spoken word"?

I get to be one of them.
It's going to be a lovely day, I think.