Monday, April 17, 2006

nothing to see here

OK, that's it. TG wins - again. I can't see any point in keeping two blogs any longer. I originally chose blogger because I preferred it's layout and customization. I laughed at TG's plain, ugly blue LiveJournal. She convinced me to try it anyway. I did, but mostly posted goofy stuff there keeping the serious material for this place. Not long ago, LJ allowed for different templates and I found one I like. I started posting there more there and less here. Recently, I just started double posting them.

Well, now that seems like such a silly waste of time. I've developed a little community at LJ. So, from now on, all of my ramblings will be found at LiveJournal. You don't have to be a member to leave comments, although they will be posted anonymously. Go ahead, create an account and start commenting. Who knows, Mr. Skeptic, you might even come to like LJ and start blogging there yourself. TG knows...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Keep on Marching

I wasn't around to witness the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s - the speeches, the marches, the civil disobedience. But whenever I see hundreds of thousands of people marching in our cities petitioning our government for immigration reform, I can't help but smile. This must have been what the March on Washington was like in 1963. This must be what the march from Selma to Birmingham in 1965 was like. This is what we are. We're the government "of the people, by the people, and for the people." Whenever our government doesn't listen to her people, then we march. And yet, in these times, when we decide to stand up and exercise our right to protest, we are labeled as unpatriotic, or repelling. Well, Mr. Brit Hume, I just have a few choice words for you - F- You. Freedom on the march is not a "repellant spectacle." It is our right and our duty. Today, it is more important now than ever. Dr. King's words from Birmingham, Alabama in March of 1965 are just as relevant today:

"Let us therefore continue our triumphant march (Uh huh) to the realization of the American dream. (Yes, sir) Let us march on segregated housing (Yes, sir) until every ghetto or social and economic depression dissolves, and Negroes and whites live side by side in decent, safe, and sanitary housing. (Yes, sir) Let us march on segregated schools (Let us march, Tell it) until every vestige of segregated and inferior education becomes a thing of the past, and Negroes and whites study side-by-side in the socially-healing context of the classroom.

Let us march on poverty (Let us march) until no American parent has to skip a meal so that their children may eat. (Yes, sir) March on poverty (Let us march) until no starved man walks the streets of our cities and towns (Yes, sir) in search of jobs that do not exist. (Yes, sir) Let us march on poverty (Let us march) until wrinkled stomachs in Mississippi are filled, (That's right) and the idle industries of Appalachia are realized and revitalized, and broken lives in sweltering ghettos are mended and remolded.

Let us march on ballot boxes, (Let’s march) march on ballot boxes until race-baiters disappear from the political arena.

Let us march on ballot boxes until the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs (Yes, sir) will be transformed into the calculated good deeds of orderly citizens. (Speak, Doctor)

Let us march on ballot boxes (Let us march) until the Wallaces of our nation tremble away in silence.

Let us march on ballot boxes (Let us march) until we send to our city councils (Yes, sir), state legislatures, (Yes, sir) and the United States Congress, (Yes, sir) men who will not fear to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.

Let us march on ballot boxes (Let us march. March) until brotherhood becomes more than a meaningless word in an opening prayer, but the order of the day on every legislative agenda.

Let us march on ballot boxes (Yes) until all over Alabama God’s children will be able to walk the earth in decency and honor.

There is nothing wrong with marching in this sense. (Yes, sir) The Bible tells us that the mighty men of Joshua merely walked about the walled city of Jericho (Yes) and the barriers to freedom came tumbling down. (Yes, sir) I like that old Negro spiritual, (Yes, sir) "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho." In its simple, yet colorful, depiction (Yes, sir) of that great moment in biblical history, it tells us that:

Joshua fit the battle of Jericho, (Tell it)

Joshua fit the battle of Jericho, (Yes, sir)

And the walls come tumbling down. (Yes, sir. Tell it)

Up to the walls of Jericho they marched, spear in hand. (Yes, sir)

"Go blow them ramhorns," Joshua cried,

"‘Cause the battle am in my hand." (Yes, sir)

These words I have given you just as they were given us by the unknown, long-dead, dark-skinned originator. (Yes, sir) Some now long-gone black bard bequeathed to posterity these words in ungrammatical form, (Yes, sir) yet with emphatic pertinence for all of us today. (Uh huh)

The battle is in our hands. And we can answer with creative nonviolence the call to higher ground to which the new directions of our struggle summons us. (Yes, sir) The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. (No) There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. But we must keep going."

Yes, when we have a government headed by men who would deliberately lie to start a preemptive war that weakens our security, when we have leaders who would deliberately ignore the Constitution and spy on its own citizens without a warrant, when we have a President who would selectively leak national security information in political retaliation against critics, then it is time to march. It's time to keep marching until our voices are heard, our troops come home, and our government once again stands for the principles of our Founding Fathers.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Play Ball!!!

Opening Day 2006. Baseball is back.
It's been a very good opening day so far. Sox beat the Rangers and the Cards pound the Phillies. The Cubs won - which sucks. Now if the damn Yankees lose tonight, it'll almost be a perfect opening day.

In honor of opening day, a pic of the late, great Teddy Ballgame.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

So much for the Red states

Sad to see that there are still blind right-wing wacko majorities in Wyoming, Utah, and Alabama. King George is turning the country blue - blue from choking on his authoritarian attacks on the Bill of Rights. (click on the image to enlarge)
Free Image Hosting at

Friday, March 24, 2006

Science Friday updates

Since diabetes is relevant to more than one of my readers, I'm passing along this from today's edition of Science Friday.

Diabetes Update - SciFri Podcast - 2006032412: "We'll look at new research in the war on diabetes, and efforts to cure Type 1 diabetes by regrowing islet cells."

And everyone should keep up with the avian flu outbreak.

Avian Flu Transmission - SciFri Podcast - 2006032411: "New research looks at the behavior of the avian influenza virus in lungs and how that behavior might translate into the spread of the disease from one organism to another."

Monday, March 20, 2006

The first day of spring

Well, spring began just after noon today. About that time, the landscape maintenance crew at work had applied enough salt to the parking lot and roads to turn Lake of the Ozarks into the Dead Sea. They were busy putting the snowplows back on the front of their trucks. As of right now, the sleet is beating on the windows and the snow is starting to come down. By lunchtime tomorrow, there will be 3-4 inches of snow on the ground. There's a reasonable chance that tomorrow afternoon, we might be able to use the L.L Bean toboggan that I got 3 Christmases ago and still haven't gotten to use. Although I'm not holding my breath...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Visitor #2000

I don't really know how she does it, but tbw was visitor #2000 today. If you'll recall, she was also visitor #1000. For her prize, it looks like once again she'll have the opportunity to spend an evening with the Bloom children :o)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Avian flu

it's coming... keep yourself informed

a couple of good resources:


Flu Wiki

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

He's baaaaaack

Ganked from TPC. I hope Pat enjoys his special suite in hell.

These assholes just make it too easy...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Go Russ, Go!!!

Feingold introduces Senate resolution to censure Bush

Feingold/Edwards 2008

Saturday, March 11, 2006

My paper is officially published!

The issue of Proteins: Structure, Function, & Bioinformatics in honor of my first postdoc advisor George Rose, is now online. And here's the abstract of my paper. Unless you have an expensive paid subscription to the journal online, then you can't access the full paper. I haven't yet seen the journal, but one of the figures from my paper did end up in the collage on the back cover of the journal!

Other than my first patent, this is my first scientific publication since my book chapter in 1998. Holy cow, that's been too long. I may have another book chapter this year along with another paper or two. Here's to more publishing!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Barry Bonds

Shame on you, you cheating low-life scumbag. You should immediately receive a lifetime ban from the game of baseball. Your homerun totals should be restored to the number you had before the 1998 season. And, your homerun record should be erased from the record books. You don't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. And if it means the proper homerun record is restored to Roger Maris - then so be it. Unless McGwire answers the allegations, then he should be denied the homerun record as well.

cheatin' bastards.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006



This link is definitely NOT safe for work - or if small children are around.

That said, be sure to have flash enabled and your speakers turned on. You may also want to make sure your right wing hosebag boss is at lunch.

MAJOR PROPS to twb for pointing this one out. Stymie loves ya, babe!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Reflections on 40

Well, I'm not quite 40. That doesn't happen until 10:57pm this evening. I got the usual black-iced cookie bouquet, the over-the-hill signs, and all the AARP jokes. It was a good day. I've mentioned my former colleague who is fighting cancer. Over the holidays, we learned that another of our good friends was diagnosed with cancer. L. came to my "pizza dinner" last night. She's started her chemo treatments. When L. got out of the hospital after Christmas, she mentioned that her hair would probably fall out. I told her that if it did, I'd shave my head with her. Last night she told me that it was starting to thin and I'd better get ready. I told her to call me and we'd go together. It may happen in a couple of weeks after a few more treatments. Neither of these two friends is 40 yet. When you move away from all your friends, you can only hope to find new ones like L. and P. I don't understand why these things seem to happen, but I know that I'll do all I can to make sure that we get to string "Over The Hill" signs for their 40th birthdays.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


I'm sitting here listening to the first broadcast of the Cardinals' spring training game. It seems like so long since we heard the voice of Mike Shannon broadcasting Cardinal baseball. It's only spring training, but at least it's baseball!

I waited 45 minutes for a chance to get tickets to the new Busch Stadium this a.m. when the single game tickets went on sale. I was trying to get tickets to the first Sat. game of the season (against the Reds; baseball card day for the kids). Once I finally got in, I couldn't get 4 tickets together in the affordable sections. The only tickets I could find were $110 each - down by home plate. Ummm sorry, but that's out of the budget. Well, I got booted from the virtual waiting room, and then had to wait again for the chance to get tickets. I waited another hour before giving up and going to work. I'm back home now and have been waiting for another half-hour to this point. Now I see that the game I'm trying for only has single tickets or standing room only available. I think I'm going to have to give up and try StubHub to get the tickets from season ticket holders who don't want to go to those games.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Another Bluesman gone

I got an email today saying that one of my favorite bluesmen died. Willie Kent was the epitome of postwar Chicago blues. He played bass guitar and was a powerful vocalist. I was fortunate to see him at the Big Muddy Blues festival here a few years ago.
R.I.P. Wille Kent

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

emails from the other side

I was skimming my email archives a few days ago and ran across an email from my postdoc advisor at UTHSC in San Antonio. He passed away last year after a long battle with cancer. It was bizarre reading this email knowing that he was no longer here. Today, I found a paper published that referenced my first work from that lab. At the end, they thanked my previous advisor for his advice with the work. This must have been some of the last work that he was involved in. He and I butted heads a lot and weren't really all that close, but I think we did have a mutual respect for each other. After reading that paper today, I wished I could have picked up the phone and talked to him again...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom!

A happy birthday wish from all of us here to you. Wish we could be there to share another milestone with you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Baghdad Burning

When you think you have absolutely anything to bitch about, just have a look at this.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I did it!

I made it to the end of my iPod. A couple of weeks ago, I hit the "shuffle" function and started through my entire song library. Yesterday, for the first time, I made it to the end. Now, I didn't listen to every song along the way - sometimes you're just not in the mood for Ronnie James Dio. However, I did feel a sense of accomplishment whenever song #733 finished - Bruce Springsteen, "Better Days," and the iPod stopped and went back to the main menu.

Yeah, I'm a freak.

You know, this place would be more exciting if you people would be a little more interactive...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Spring Training

People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.
- Rogers Hornsby

Forget the groundhog. We all know spring really arrives on the day that pitchers and catchers report to spring training. That time has arrived and a young man's fancy turns not to love, but to whom will make the opening day roster of their favorite major league team. The one cliche that is true? Hope springs eternal. Yes, even Cubs fans think their team will make the World Series, even though they haven't since 1945. Soon, weekend afternoons will be spent in front of the radio listening to the first spring training games, not because they're so important, but because it's been 4+ months since the last time you heard the modern day equivalent of Tinker to Evers to Chance. But for now, the skies are still gray, the ground is still frozen, the grass is still sleeping, and the boys of summer are off in sunny Florida or Arizona fighting for the chance to step out on the diamond on opening day and live out the dreams of little boys all over the country.

So, for the next several weeks, we'll sit and watch. Will the rebuilt Red Sox staff be enough to win the pennant? Will a new star be born in Kevin Youkilis? Will Coco Crisp make Red Sox Nation forget about that rat bastard Johnny Damon? And of course, we have May 1 circled on the calendar, when the Evil Empire makes the first trip of the season to Fenway Park and we'll remember all over again just why we love baseball.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The War

The architect of the war in Iraq is out pretending to shoot birds but shooting old men instead. Is it any wonder the army gave this guy 5 deferments from Vietnam? He'd have shot more of our guys than the enemy. Meanwhile, old Dick gets on Faux News and tells rectangleheaded Brit Hume that it was one of "the worst days of his life." Well Mr. Vice-President, you can go to hell. I'm sure your day wasn't nearly as bad as the worst day of 2273 families of US soldiers who have died in your phony little war.

2000 funerals
2000 beats on a big bass drum
2000 funerals
2000 sounds like a nice round sum

but they're back on their own turf now
like they knew they would be some day
back on the old corral
where the deer and the antelope play
and i guess this time they're coming back to stay

2000 funerals
2000 rockets take to the sky
2000 funerals
there's another one gone in the blink of an eye

but he's back where he oughta be
where there's love and family
back on the old corral
back in the land of the free
just in time to push up the Christmas tree

2000 funerals
2000 tears somebody will cry
2000 funerals
there's another one gone in the blink of an eye
but they're back on their own turf now
where the sparkling rivers run
back on the old corral
where a mother waits for her son
to become two thousand and one (x2)

2000 funerals
-Graham Parker

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

For my valentine

i love you much(most beautiful darling)

more than anyone on the earth and i
like you better than everything in the sky

-sunlight and singing welcome your coming

although winter may be everywhere
with such a silence and such a darkness
noone can quite begin to guess

(except my life)the true time of year-

and if what calls itself a world should have
the luck to hear such singing(or glimpse such
sunlight as will leap higher than high
through gayer than gayest someone's heart at your each

nearness)everyone certainly would(my
most beautiful darling)believe in nothing but love

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin!

Today is Darwin's 197th birthday. Happy birthday, Chuck! In celebration, go read a bit of The Origin of Species online, or read the whole thing!

Friday, February 10, 2006

A new addition to Windows

From one of my LiveJournal friends

Yes, dammit, I want to flush every last one of the turds right down the toliet!!!

And, Russ Feingold is leading the charge to stop the renewal of the Patriot Act yet again. Here's why.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Election 2008

Back to your regularly scheduled politics...

I am so sick and tired of the incompetent jerks that are running the show now that 2008 can't get here fast enough for me. I know it's still 2+ years away, but I'm quickly deciding to whom I'll be giving my support.

Russ Feingold/John Edwards

Yesterday on the Senate Floor, Feingold took King George to task for breaking the law by spying on US citizens without a warrant.

"This goes way beyond party, and way beyond politics. What the President has done here is to break faith with the American people. In the State of the Union, he also said that “we must always be clear in our principles” to get support from friends and allies that we need to fight terrorism. So let’s be clear about a basic American principle: When someone breaks the law, when someone misleads the public in an attempt to justify his actions, he needs to be held accountable. The President of the United States has broken the law. The President of the United States is trying to mislead the American people. And he needs to be held accountable.
As the President said, we must always be clear in our principles. So let us be clear: We cherish the great and noble principle of freedom, we will fight to keep it, and we will hold this President – and anyone who violates those freedoms – accountable for their actions. In a nation built on freedom, the President is not a king, and no one is above the law."

Feingold/Edwards seems to be an ideal ticket. Midwestern Senator strong on foreign and domestic policy paired with a former Southern Senator who is strong on social issues seems like a hard combination to beat - once all the rednecks get past the idea of a single Jewish man leading the country.

So, starting today, I'm going to do all I can to make sure these patriots are sitting in the Oval Office in Jan. 2009.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Day the Music Died

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.

Buddy Holly is the most famous person to come from my hometown of Lubbock, TX. I've been a fan and admirer of Buddy's since I was in jr. high school. As a teen, I couldn't believe that there wasn't a street in our town named after our most famous son. I wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper trying to make the case for changing a street name. It finally happened, but not until I had moved away. There is a larger than life statue downtown near where Buddy was born and it is surrounded by the West Texas Walk of Fame that honors local entertainers who have made it big. Several years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with one of the guys who knew and played with Buddy, and became a pretty good songwriter in his own right, Sonny Curtis. I've also had the pleasure of meeting the original Crickets, Jerry Allison and Joe B. Mauldin after a concert in Lubbock. One weekend back when I was in grad school, my cousin and a friend made the drive over to Clovis, New Mexico to see Norman Petty Studios where Buddy recorded his first hit records. It was quite amazing standing in the studio where those great rock and roll songs were recorded and seeing the equipment that was used by Buddy. Mrs. Petty was our tour guide and while we were in the studio, she played for us an unreleased tape of Buddy doing Heartbeat. Now, unless you've been on the tour, you haven't heard this tape. It was a bit intimidating standing there in that studio and hearing Buddy's voice on the tape as they talk a little before they break into the song. What a thrill that was.

I love Buddy Holly because he made some great rock and roll records - and with a little practice, you can actually play them on the guitar. But there's more to it than that. As a kid, I knew that Buddy was known all over the world. If you mentioned Lubbock, Texas to a stranger from anywhere else in the world, they were most likely to reply, "Buddy Holly!" For me, Buddy was the epitome of the local boy makes good. And I just knew that if he could do something that people would remember, then I could, too. I don't play rock and roll, but perhaps someday I'll create a drug that will save people's lives.

Whenever I lived back home, I used to make the trip to the local cemetery and leave a guitar pick on the grave of our hometown hero every February 3rd. He was one of us - a West Texas boy - who changed the world. The music died on February 3, 1959, but the dreams of lots of Lubbock boys live on because of Buddy Holly.

Rave on...

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King passed away today. Well done, good and faithful servant.

Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, Our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand.
True to our GOD,
True to our native land.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


I had just come home from physics lab and switched on CNN to watch the Challenger launch. It was pretty clear seeing the two divergent contrails that something terrible had happened. It was an incredibly sad day.
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
-Ronald Reagan

God bless the crew of Challenger.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Random dandelions

I'm still basking in the euphoria of the Seahawks' first Super Bowl appearance. I have the Seahawks throw out on the bed - I was waving it around like crazy on Sunday night. This weekend, I'm breaking out the old Rick Mirer jersey and washing it so it will be ready for the Super Bowl next weekend.

Tomorrow (1/27) is my 9 year anniversary with my current employer. Now, I never thought I'd be here more than about 3 or 4 years. It just wasn't my nature to stick around a place longer than that. Who would have guessed? This week was a good week. My shadow actually darkened my bench this week as I managed to start doing experiments again for the first time in several months. All of my recent time has been spent on project planning. Perhaps picking up the pipettes again explains my particularly good mood this week. My project team working in Cambridge is kicking some serious ass. Those guys and gal are doing a great job. It's pretty cool watching all these new employees work so week so quickly. Someone must be noticing. I got pulled into another project this week. For some reason, after 9 years, someone must have noticed that I actually work here. None of this would have happened 3 years ago.

Well, this wouldn't be a post in my blog without a political comment. Funny how George W. Bush's post-election democratic Iraq was supposed to be a beacon bringing democracy to the middle east. Well, that's started off so well. The Islamist militant group Hamas won the Palestinian elections. I know W is stupid, but surely this isn't what he had in mind. Of course, what it really shows is that when people are given the choice between a group that has shown that they can provide a social structure and essential services (schools, hospitals, charities), or a group of corrupt fools, they'll reject the corrupt - even if the victors are militant terrorists.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Super Bowl Seahawks!!!

The Seattle Seahawks are finally going to the Super Bowl.

Seattle Times front page
Seattle Post-Intelligencer front page

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Type 2 Diabetes and Genetics

For those of you with Type II diabetes or who may be at risk, this Science Friday Podcast should be of interest. It's only about 12 minutes long, but the first 6 minutes are probably most relevant for the non-scientist. You might want to pay particular attention to the statements about diet and exercise.

Type 2 Diabetes and Genetics : "Scientists report finding a gene that seems to increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


In one of the comments below, my lovely neighbor D., who apparently thinks I'm primarily a shit-stirrer, ;o) asked if I would blog about sailing; sailing being one thing that makes me happy. So, ever the accomodating person, here it is.

I'm a pisces - born in the sign of water. And to quote the old Little River Band song, "it is there that I feel my best; the albatross and the whales they are my brothers."

As a young boy, I recall spending time at a friend's lakehouse. They had a boat and we used to go out on it. A few times, I was even convinced to ride the water sled behind the boat. Now, I should make it clear that I love to be ON the water, not IN it. At any rate, I did enjoy riding in their boat as a kid. Growing up in the dry, flat plains of Texas, that was about the best it would get. However, some time back in high school, I fell in love with Maine - I'll save that for another story. I've blogged about Maine a few times (scroll back in the archives). So, in 1996, we made our first trip to Maine. A part of that trip entailed going on a whale watch. This was my first excursion on the ocean. Now, it was late September, and it was very cold, but the experience was life-altering. Whenever we got out on the ocean, I felt at home. Seeing those marvelous, huge creatures was like seeing that old friend from the song. We've been back a couple of times since and we always went out on a boat.

Those trips were always in some motorized boat - a lobster boat, an island ferry, or a tourist excusion boat. This past fall, we finally went sailing. We went out on a two-masted wooden schooner from Boothbay Harbor. We sailed for two hours all the way out to the mouth of the harbor - the edge of the open ocean - and back. It was the most peaceful and relaxing thing I have ever done. The boat was so smooth. The seabreeze refreshing. The popping of the mainsail was like a heartbeat. It was a million times better than a motorized boat. McK got to raise the jib as we headed out of port. She had a blast. As we were coming back into port, McK asked that whenever we move to Maine and get our boat if she can be my first mate. I just smiled and told her that she was already my first mate.

So, that's part of the reason I love sailing.

Monday, January 16, 2006

James Madison

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."

"It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad."

"Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power."

"No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

"The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war."

"The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home."


I wrote this piece a couple of years ago on MLK day and put it in the journals I keep for my children. I had been reading the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. and listening to some of the recordings available on the internet. The words of the past resonated with the current events of the day and this was the result.

Many people rested today, thankful they got another “holiday.” A holiday paid for by the blood, the sweat, the tears, the undying spirit, and yes, the deaths of those Earthly bodies that fought before so that they, too, might share in the dream. A dream, that one day, our great nation would live up to its creed, that it would not default on that promissory note granted with the Emancipation Proclamation. Yes indeed, they died, but through their struggle, they showed that the bank of justice was not bankrupt. Those little black girls who were brutally murdered outside a house of God in Birmingham by the bombs of racist cowards are getting their justice some forty years later. Yes indeed, the dream is still alive. The children of former slaves and former slave owners can now sit down at the table of brotherhood. Little black boys and girls now hold hands with little white boys and white girls down in Mississippi.

The dream is not finished however.

Forty years later, the legacy of racism still casts its dark shadow upon many in our nation. Many of our cities both north and south are still “crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.”

The dream is not finished.

Forty years later, many still live “on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.” Forty years later, many still “languish in the corners of American society and find themselves an exile in their own land.” Forty years later, many of our children are robbed of fatherly love because that dream is not finished.

The dream is not finished.

Forty years later, many of our youths are ravaged by the evils of drugs, lured by the promise of prosperity only to find themselves shattered in an endless circle of hopelessness. Forty years later, many of our young men are still victims of profiling and police brutality. Forty years later, our prisons are filled with many of our young men who could not reach that dream, buried by the burdens of the past.

The dream is not finished.

Forty years later, it is time. Forty years later, it is time, that we as a people rise up and make real all the promises of the dream. It is not time to sit back and say that it is enough. It is time to march forward.

Forty years later, it is time. It is time to ensure that all of our children and their children, and their children are given the education that will allow them to fulfill the dream. Forty years later, it is time. It is time to give our children the love and nurturing of a father and a mother.

Forty years later, it is time. It is time to give our young men a beacon that will guide them away from the yoke of drugs and the bondage of prison. Forty years later, it is time. It is time to put an end to the death penalty which is disproportionately handed down to our young men.

Forty years later, it is not enough. It will not be enough until all of our people are allowed to partake in the dream.

The dream is not finished.

Friday, January 13, 2006

UPDATED: Speechless

Homeless man beaten to death by young men.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth...

Update Sunday evening 8:14pm: Florida teenagers surrender in beating/murder of homeless men. Evil little bastards.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Fourth Amendment

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Big Brother is watching me

Well, unless you've been living under a rock the past month, you've seen the stories about how our President King decided that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution didn't apply to him and he and his Administration Court could spy on US citizens without a warrant. The most recent reports say that email communications between the US and foreign countries have been monitored. Given that in the last couple of years, I've had email correspondence with other scientists in Europe, I guess that means King George is watching me. I suppose some might be glad the King is watching. Given how badly this one has fucked up everything he's touched, you'll pardon me for wanting to puke.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A 21st Century Thomas Paine

This is a must read. It is long, but it perfectly frames the current crossroads at which our nation finds itself.

"At what point will our party realize that it's not just the midterm elections at stake here? Politics is secondary to the fact that our country has changed, drastically, over the last several years. What is that change? It is the unraveling of the American flag thread by thread. It is erasing the Bill of Rights letter by letter. It is, ultimately, about waking up one day and not recognizing this great society as the "America" we know and love."

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The end of the academic search

This pretty much sums up the reason I decided to stop looking for an academic job. I'm too old to risk fighting for tenure under the current government funding situation. I can't chance not having a job in my mid 40s with a child rapidly approaching college entry. But this wasn't unexpected whenver we got a president who would rather fight wars than fight cancer.

Budget for Research - SciFri Podcast - 2006010624: "We run the numbers on the money for scientific research and development in the 2006 federal budget."

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Happy New Year

You people are so predictable. I drop some hint about a bombshell and the hits to this blog each day skyrocket. The exciting news doesn't come and readership starts to drop. I mention it again in passing and *boom* here come the hits again. I finally get the exciting news and you guys stop coming around. Y'all sure know how to make a guy feel needed. :op

Good riddance to 2005 and hello 2006.