Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

myspace Silliness

MySpace.com is fast becoming the personal web identity site of choice, but what I've always hated about it is how much people can customize their pages and make a complete mess. Not that I'm an expert or an artist, but who knew so many people had absolutely no concept of design or readability.

Then there are the silly, often animated images people will put in their posts to other people. Below are just a few that caught my attention. The theme, I suppose, is sexy, glittery, thanks for the add kind of nonsense. But there is plenty of bad animation at mynicespace.com.













Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ann Richards: We Hardly Knew Ya or We Knew You Far Too Well

From my ex:

When Ronald Reagan died, even many liberals came out of the woodwork to praise him. So, it's no surprise now that they're falling all over themselves to get a word in about how much they adored former Texas Governor Ann Richards, who died in Austin last week. But all the commentary makes it seem like they're lamenting the removal of their favorite character on "Desperate Housewives", instead of talking about what Ann Richards actually did or stood for.

So, she was "feisty" and it was just a riot when she dressed up in leather and got on that Harley. Governor Richards sure was a barrel of fun. Unless, of course, you were in prison, on death row, or a death penalty lawyer. Richards oversaw the largest prison expansion in the entire history of the United States up to that point. And during her four years in the Governor's Mansion, she presided over 50 executions. Her defenders point out that the governor only has the power to briefly postpone an execution pending further review by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Of course, they fail to mention that most members of the Board are appointed by the governor - including the chairman, who according to the Texas Administrative Code serves "at the pleasure of the governor" (RULE §141.1). Given the notorious unfairness of the Texas justice system, under her watch Richards could have easily instructed the Board to commute all death sentences they reviewed to life in prison. And absolutely no excuse can be made for her callously signing the death warrant of Johnny Frank Garrett, a man who Amnesty International cited as being "extremely mentally impaired, chronically psychotic and brain-damaged." The organization further states that a mental health expert described Garrett as "one of the most virulent histories of abuse and neglect...I have encountered in 28 years of practice." Shameful.

Yes, Richards did appoint some women, gays and lesbians, and people of color to positions in her campaign and administration. But with the 20,000 new prison beds she was so proud of bringing into existence, she caused misery for thousands more men and women--primarily Blacks and Hispanics--who were locked away under her stewardship. And no one can imagine the misery she caused for the families of the dozens executed under her watch.

All of this is what she should be remembered for. Progressives need to stop making excuses. We should all expect so much more.

-Quent Reese
Austin, Texas


Compare with Molly Ivins' column.

Also consider this story from an encounter Quent and I had with Ann Richards at an Austin cafe called Little City about 5 years ago (she was no longer governor at the time). We were enjoying our lattes on a crowded evening when Ann stepped in with a friend, ordered and sat down. As all of this was happening, Quent was fuming. He wanted to confront her, but I didn't and was concerned he would embarrasss us both. I was also still clinging to some miniscule hopes about the Democratic party. So he wrote her a note on a napkin about how she was a mass murderer and we couldn't stand to sit in the same cafe with her and we left it on her table on our way out. I think Quent said something like, "I just had to give this to you." She said "thank you" politely, and we left. For all we know she tossed it in the garbage fearing what might be written. Either way, we never saw her again at Little City Cafe.

This is all interesting because on a personal level she seemed to charm certain people; she neither transformed into a serpent nor injected us with poison when we approached her in the cafe. She still did a hell of a lot of damage to a lot of people's lives, and when you're in a position as powerful as governor, you can't make excuses later, and being personally charming could be taken as a sign of greater wickedness when combined with such brutal policies.

There are really certain things progressives shouldn't ignore in the politicians they choose to give their honorary "one of the good ones" awards. Certainly executing record numbers of people of color in a state with pitiful protections for defendants is one of them.

Is all this disrespectful at a time when the woman just passed away? I guess every human death is sad because the idea of death is kind of sad, though I can imagine circumstances when a human life extinguished could be a very happy occasion - the death of a dictator for example. But at some point we have to look beyond whatever pain we might cause the ex-governor's friends and family should they happen to read an account critical of her policies and counter all of the mythology being created in the media that always seems to come along at times like this. With that said, if any of Ann's family or friends happen to read this, perhaps they could reflect on the pain they feel and begin to understand the pain that the families and friends of so many killed on Texas Death row felt during the tenure of this "witty" and "charming" "true Texas icon."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Still Ill

So today I woke up with a 101 degree temperature and either been sweating or shaking all day. In that spirit, here are lyrics to another Smiths song ...
I decree today that life
Is simply taking and not giving
England is mine - it owes me a living
But ask me why, and I'll spit in your eye
Oh, ask me why, and I'll spit in your eye
But we cannot cling to the old dreams anymore
No, we cannot cling to those dreams

Does the body rule the mind
Or does the mind rule the body ?
I don´t know....

Under the iron bridge we kissed
And although I ended up with sore lips
It just wasn't like the old days anymore
No, it wasn't like those days
Am I still ill ?
Oh ...
Am I still ill ?
Oh ...

Does the body rule the mind
Or does the mind rule the body ?
I don´t know...

Ask me why, and I'll die
Oh, ask me why, and I'll die
And if you must, go to work - tomorrow
Well, if I were you I really wouldn't bother
For there are brighter sides to life
And I should know, because I've seen them
But not very often ...
Under the iron bridge we kissed
And although I ended up with sore lips
It just wasn't like the old days anymore
No, it wasn't like those days
Am I still ill ?
Oh ...
Oh, am I still ill ?
Oh ...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

confusion

It is a constant in my life when it comes to sexuality, but usually it's just background noise. Every once in awhile, however, it overwhelms me. And in that spirit here are the lyrics to The Smiths' "I Want the One I Can't Have."
On the day that your mentality
Decides to try to catch up with your biology
Come round ...
'Cause I want the one I can't have
And it's driving me mad
It's all over, all over, all over my face
On the day that your mentality
Catches up with your biology
I want the one I can't have
And it's driving me mad
It's all over, all over, all over my face
A double bed
And a stalwart lover for sure
These are the riches of the poor
A double bed
And a stalwart lover for sure
These are the riches of the poor
And I want the one I can't have
And it's driving me mad
It's all over, all over my face
A tough kid who sometimes swallows nails
Raised on Prisoner's Aid
He killed a policeman when he was
Thirteen
And somehow that really impressed
Me
And it's written all over my face
Oh, these are the riches of the poor
These are the riches of the poor
I want the one I can't have
And it's driving me mad
It's written all over my face
On the day that your mentality
Catches up with your biology
And if you ever need self-validation
Just meet me in the alley by the
Railway station
It's all over my face
Oh ...