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This is a photo by Annie Liebowitz, of a Pasadena ball player. No date. She doesn’t throw like any girl does she?

To everyone who has expressed concern and interest in our plight in Iowa. The river has yet to crest in Cedar Rapids, but no more rain is predicted at least until probably Sunday, and then it looks like clear skies for nearly a week at least. I’ve not heard regarding Troy yet. Those in the flood plain will undoubtedly be hit, but they have had nearly a week’s warning to get ready. Of course that is small consolation but most things can be saved at least.

We suffered probably an additional 4-5 inches of rain yesterday with storm after storm going through. The pump was running probably a good 30 minutes out of every hour to keep up. It’s much improved today, we can run it perhaps 5-10 minutes per hour at best to keep it down. It’s hard to say about the garden of course. If needs be, we will plow it under and replant and hope that there is still enough time for most crops. I suspect there will be.

Emotionally it certainly takes it toll. The unrelenting storm after storm was tough. Today, its the unrelenting coverage by every channel, repeating the same stuff again and again, running the same footage. There is a certain type of person who gets a thrill from this kind of thing, broadcasters and volunteers are no exception, they just love to be center stage and feel that they are important. Very little new is added, very little new needs to be disseminated. Those in peril are most aware. Mostly I want to think about just about anything else but this flood. Thanks so much for all your concern! I am still shocked that local news doesn’t even mention the tornado and loss of life by 4 young boys in western Iowa. It’s rather crass in my opinion.

So lets finish up the weeks with some political news and see what else is going on in the world.

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Many have no doubt heard that the SCOTUS has scored a big one against the Bushites. Much to their chagrin no doubt, SCOTUS concluded that Gitmo detainees have the right of habeas corpusin the federal courts of the US. I laughed mightily as the usual pundits of FOXNEWSLESS, floundered in horror at the effrontery of the Court to reject the work of two other branches of government as if this was unheard of. Guess they have forgotten their own rhetoric regarding abortion and a slew of other issues. What the non-lawyers fail to realize is that personal self interest creeps into these decisions whether understood or not. Justices do actually look at issues in terms of “could this be applied to me under certain circumstances?” If the answer is yes, they are likely to strike it down. Endless detention without recourse can of course be applied to anyone in a distant scenario that can easily be concocted by the mind. So, the Court is a bit more likely to not give government that kind of extreme power.

If you can believe this one, Veterans Affairs lawyers try to tell the Federal Appeals Court that helping foster voter registration among veterans in their facilities is “partisan.” I mean sure its partisan, it’s partisan to try to prevent it, since prevention of registration plays into Republican hands. What a joke. I’ve had the dubious honor of attempting to making an argument before judge and jury while trying to keep a straight face. Believe me, it ain’t easy.

Once again, as we have reported,Bush is using the rhetoric of war vis a vis Iran.As Jon Stewart pointed out last night and as Bill Moyers pointed out last week, he’s even using the same exact wording in his threats to Iran that he used to Iraq and Hussein. The media, now given a chance to redeem themselves and push the hard questions, is doing the same as usual, holding its breath and nodding in agreement.

Two websites you might way to keep bookmarked to use as a resource tool. One is Obama generated to fight the usual GOP swiftboating tactics and is called Fight the Smears. Another is run by the DNC and is to debunk McBushite misleads and is calledMcCainpedia. Whenever you hear something that sounds questionable, run by and test it through these sites. Do you realize that still fully 10% of folks claim that Obama is Muslim? The links can be found at the third entry in Blue Girl, Red State‘s nightowl wrapup.

To say that Obama’s speech to AIPAC was not well received by the Arab worldgoes without saying. Many were thoroughly distressed and saddened by his severe pro-Israeli stand, especially as it relates to Jerusalem, the one city Arabs are not likely to compromise on. I have, myself, commented on a blog which decried the Senator’s position. Of course McShame takes the same if not stronger position, but Arabs and others  in the Middle East expect that. Obama was and is their hope of better relations and fairer hearing for their side of things. I understand intellectually why the Senator may have allowed it to appear that he is more pro-Israeli than he really is. That is not to say that he is not in support of Israel, but simply means he has spoken in a politically expedient way, more forcefully than he might actually think. I’m only defending it to a point of course, I wish all politicians felt they could speak honestly, however, that is simply not the political climate we live in at the moment. Read Ezra Klein‘s report.

Here’s a cute little story about the evangelical vote. Seems that McBush isn’t going to get it all, barely most at this point and it may get worse. Here’s what happens when you don’t tow the line in the rightwing wingy world. Obama is certainly not taking the evangelical vote or the Catholic vote as a given loss for him. He is talking to them and is serious. I’m glad to see that many are listening. Thanks to If I Ran the Zoo for the story.

Inside Iraq, offers us one of those perfect little windows into their world. The simple task of making one’s way to work in the morning, and how that is done in Baghdad. It makes you think, it makes you sad, it makes you angry, and in the end, hopefully it makes you determined to elect a better quality person who won’t do this kind of thing because his EGO demands it.

This is a bit out of the ordinary, but it caught my eye. Yes, Virginia, there was a time that it was illegal for two people of different races to marry, and yes, Virginia, one of those places where it was illegal was Virginia. Inside-Out the Beltway has the story about the aptly named case of Loving v. Virginia, decided in 1967. Just a little post to get you thinking, readers.

Poor Mad Kane  has broken her wrist and so her limericksare a bit more few and far betweener than usual. We still adore her, wish her well and link you to her latest belabored creation.

It’s that Alzheimer’s moment again for McCain. He is not for, is for privatization of social security? It seems to dependson whether he thinks it helps or hurts his campaign. Gosh but there are now dozens of these changes of heart? for McMac, as he struggles to weave his way through the demographics in some wild fashion that will give him votes. More on this from Think Progress which you can find here.

Well this one has me scratching my head. Well, that’s not unusual, since NRO does that to a normal person anyway. Okay, the story is about science, and how conservatives are “unfairly” labeled as anti-science. No s**t Sherlock? Okay. So he says, most scientists are liberals, and todays work is so internally complex that it’s hard to do experiments to test some things out. Okay. So his answer for conservatives? They should learn more about science so they can do a better job of refuting it! Hurrah! learn more science. Oh, but be careful wingnutties, learn too much and you might, just might start believing it! And of course we can’t have that.

Timothy Eganbreathes a breath of fresh air into the crazy world that has become religiopolitics. He argues that it’s high time that the two go their separate ways again, especially during the election. So far, religious has an embarassing track record in infusing itself into the political arena. Hagee, Parsley, Falwell, and Wright all have contributed negatively. It seems that among some evangelicals, things are changing. Rick Warren and Joel Olsteen are opting out this season. Read this excellent post.

Electronic Intifada gives us a good look at life in the Gaza strip from a Palestinian point of view. It is as always hard for us in the US to understand what it must be like to live like this. We obsess for a few days about our own troubles with flooding. What would it be like to live day in and day out under the conditions described by Nora Barrows-Friedman? Read her report and find out.

Tony Rezko was convicted last week. I don’t know a great deal about the story of his downfall or his now proven illegal behavior. What I do commend him for is for standing for something in the end. He refused to play ball with Federal prosecutors in their unrelenting attempt to get him to implicate either Barack Obama or the state’s governor in any wrongdoing. He flat out says, neither did a darn thing wrong as far as he knows. Of course we are well aware that the Bushbabies have used Justice to their own political devices, this is nothing new. Politico gives up the story.

That deal for permanent bases in Iraq seems stalled. So reports al-Maliki. It seems that what the US, wants, make that Bush wants , is simply untenable from an Iraqi point of view and unfairly impinges upon their sovereignty. Not just impinge by the way, but “hugely” impinges according to the Prime Minister.

Scott Greenwald  has a most interesting and important post that is tangential to the one on the Habeas Corpus decision of SCOTUS. He looks at the British and their exercise in attempting to fashion a detention law. It seems that Conservatives there are highly against such a practice. It’s a fascinating look at what might be deemed true conservativism over what Mr. Greenwald calls here, mere authoritarianism. I think it’s worthwhile reading an intelligent explanation of why such tactics are simply beneath civilized countries that claim to be democratic in nature.

Again, this is a bit off the usual topics, but Sheldon Yellen has a really excellent post on marriage and gays. He pushes a lot of buttons, asks a lot of interesting and provocative questions. Just what is being defended here? The question I unceasingly ask. What is it being defended against? How does allowing gays to have the same rights and me, hurt me? But more than that, he just talks about marriage, and slips in a little gem that our soon to be gone boy George has had mostly a negative impact on the institution.

Former campaign treasurer for the GOP, Christopher Ward, has got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He took the GOP for a record $800,000 devoted to paying his mortgage and other home improvements. And yes, the GOP still wishes you to believe that they are more than capable of protecting your tax money. Uhuh, yeah, sure. Thanks to the Washington Independent for this one.

Okay, I plain could not resist the temptation to introduce a bit of levity in the election coverage today. And, well, you know I wouldn’t do so at Obama’s expense, so that leaves old tired Mac. I really couldn’t resist because well, this was just darn funny. Hope you enjoy it. “McCain Announces Run for Presidency.”

Another thoughtful piece from Washington Independent focuses on the use of the word elitism  and how it’s being bandied around by McCain and others against Obama. Citing to some interesting remarks from noted historian David McCullough, Sridharr Pappu makes a convincing argument that the story of Obama is the story of the American dream, the stuff our founding fathers and others fought so hard to give us. Nice, nice post.

In case you missed it in all the hoopla about the Habea Corpus decision, Scalia weighed in for the dissenters with a scathing and war/fear-mongering display wherein he actually said that Americans will die for this decision. Vox Nova calls both the so-called Catholics Roberts and Scalia, to task for their uncharitable, unChristian and most unCatholic dissents.

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“We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” John W. Gardner

“Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.” Euripides

“Ethics are so annoying. I avoid them on principle.” Darby Conley

“I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.” Oscar Wilde

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” Henry David Thoreau

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And the country of Abu Dhabi announced they’re buying the Chrysler Building in New York. They’re buying the Chrysler Building. Hey, why not? The Saudis already own the White House, why not buy the Chrysler Building too? Jay Leno

You can’t eat tomatoes because they’re tainted with deadly salmonella. Yeah, now listen to this. First, of course, we went through tainted lettuce. Now, tainted tomatoes. Who would have thought that the healthiest part of a B.L.T. would be the bacon? Honestly, what is happening? David Letterman

Scientists at KeioUniversity in Japan claim that pigeons are able to discriminate video images of themselves, and can do this better than 3-year-old toddlers. Big deal. Wake me up when they find a pigeon who can be potty-trained better than a 3-year-old. – Paul Seaburn, Spring, Texas

The evolution of medical treatment:

2000 B.C. – Here, eat this root.

1000 A.D. – That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.

1850 A.D. – That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.

1940 A.D. – That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.

1985 A.D. – That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.

2000 A.D. – That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.

Well, John McCain just announced he wants to do a series of town hall meetings where he’ll meet with the public. That’s a good idea, yeah. It’s all part of McCain’s “Speak Up, I Can’t Hear You” tour.

NASA has announced plans to send a probe to orbit the sun, where it will have to withstand temperatures of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Yeah. When he heard about it, President Bush said, “Why don’t they just go at night?” Conan O’Brien

President Bush is in Europe right now, on a tour of Germany, Italy, France, England, and several other countries that hate him.

While he’s gone, don’t worry, America is safe and sound in the more competent hands of Barney, the White House terrier.

I guess it’s like a farewell tour for the President before he returns home to kick off his six-month good riddance tour here.  Jimmy Kimmel