Thursday, August 25, 2005

Brian Moore (24 August 1921 --11 January 1999)

Och! I missed 'is birthday!

It's the birthday of the novelist Brian Moore, born in Belfast (1921). You may read Robert Fulford's essay,"A writer who never fails..." on him from the Globe and Mail.

Happy belated Birthday, Mr. Moore. May you be a muse to those of us who wish to carry on the writer's mission. Cheers!

Petition For A United Ireland

Whereas, the objective of Irish Unity is based on the principle of self-determination, social and economic justice, and political and cultural equality; and

Whereas, the small island of Ireland, having two sovereign governments with different currencies, different policies and bureaucracies for justice, education, agriculture, commerce, culture, and health is essentially unworkable; and

Whereas, Britain has proven itself incapable of fairly governing any part of Ireland and surveys confirm the British people do not support union with the north; and

Whereas, the partition of Ireland by the British government only postponed the solution of a centuries old political quagmire that has been a disaster for both parts of Ireland and for the British people as well; and

Whereas, partition was forced upon the Irish people under threat of "terrible war" and the last time the people voted in an All-Ireland elections, 1918 and 1920, they voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence and sovereignty; and

Whereas, Ireland is a sovereign entity in international law, in the long and short view of history, and the geographic island and its people are without confusion recognized as Irish, regardless of tradition; and

Whereas, the liberation of Ireland can be achieved through democratic means through the Good Friday Agreement; and

Whereas, an Ireland of Equals, governed for the people by the people, is the best guarantor of justice and civil prosperity and the best solution to centuries of injustice and bloodshed;

We, the undersigned, call upon the Irish Government to issue a Green Paper on Irish Unity to prepare for a 32 County, Irish Republic.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Ossurary in Sedlec

O.K. I've been convinced that it's real, and it's cool too! I want to go there.

Educate Wal-Mart: Pledge to Buy Back-to-School Supplies Somewhere Else

"Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer, setting the standard for America’s workplaces—and it’s a standard of low wages, poor benefits and worker abuse that working families cannot accept .Together, we have to stop the Wal-Marting of America’s jobs.

"Let’s educate Wal-Mart about how a rich company should treat its workers by pledging to buy back-to-school supplies at other stores this year.

"Please sign this pledge and we’ll make sure Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott hears you."

[ Learn More from ]

Send this pledge to: Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott

* Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott

I pledge to educate Wal-Mart about how a rich company should treat its workers by buying back-to-school supplies somewhere other than Wal-Mart this year.

Signed by:
jean-pierre abu gareth

cafegroundzero started participating in this campaign on 08/23/2005


Erin McKean from shares this old definition with us:


a system of government in which all the people possess equal political power. The citation in the OED from 1652 shows that we have always been cynical about the practicality of this idea: "It remaineth doubtfull, whether people who live together, may lawfully retain an Isocracie among them." An isocrat is an advocate of isocracy; to isocratize is to practice isocracy. The equality of people before the law, or the equality of political rights among the citizens of a state, is isonomy.

Why Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star mother, wants to meet again with Mr. Bush

"June of 2004 is a lot different than August of 2005. For one thing, in June of 2004, I had buried my son nine weeks before the meeting. I was a woman in a deep state of shock, in a deep state of grief. And you know what? I am still in a deep state of grief. And thanks to George Bush, I will be in a deep state of grief for the rest of my life.

But I'm not in shock anymore. The Duelfer weapons of mass destruction report came out, the 9/11 commission report came out, the Downing Street memos came out, the Senate Intelligence Committee report came out. These have all come out since my son was killed. They show categorically that my son, his murder was premeditated, that there was no reason to invade Iraq.

And that's what I want the answers to today, in August of 2005."

[from interview with MSNBC Anchor Keith Olberman]

Monday, August 22, 2005

Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan

Dear Mrs. Cindy Sheehan:
First of all, may I express my deep sorrow and condolences for the loss of your son. I hope that we will be able to read more what he was like. May he rest in peace.

I was in Iraq, starting with the first day of the invasion, back in March of 2003. I was a Specialist in the Combat Engineers. I drove my lieutenant in our non-armoured Humvee, along with our Assault and Operations platoon, following our line platoons which were in company with the infantry which had rushed in the openings which we blasted for them in the berm.

I would like to communicate to you some of my mixed feelings and my thoughts on this war and what peace we must be able to win.

From the very beginning, I felt the war was a mistake to begin. I had a conviction that Mr. Bush did not know or did not admit to us the extent of what we were getting into. However, you know that we soldiers and the rest of the military are not supposed to be getting into politics, not questioning our Commander in Chief. Perhaps this is part of the intrinsic evil of any organization which depends on violence to solve problems.

Mr. Bush was wrong not to have met with you again outside the ranch in Crawford. That he has not done this, in my eyes, is another sign that he has advanced in a spiralling downward path of disaster. I regret that he has treated you and other family members who have lost service people in this war.

However, now that we are engaged in this terrible, horrible war, to announce a pullout would allow the enemy to plan around what we are doing. I hope you realize this.

I'm sorry that we had to meet this way, but it is an honour to meet you. I think you are a hero, and I thank you for what you are doing. God bless you and your son, and those people who are brave enough to stand up and speak out, in peace and with clarity, for the truth.

jean-pierre tarik abu gareth

Monday morning, Iraq war still with us

Good morning, folks. Coffee, anyone? Please, come in and join me. We're in the front space, what I call our living room, since I think you can be living in any one of many rooms. Anyhow, come on in.

Radio's on, lady's talking about the public reactions to Cindy Sheehan.

Chuck Hagel, a Republican Senator, thinks the war in Iraq is like Viet Nam, and thinks we should not be planning to be there so very long as four years. He also thinks we shouldn't increase our troop strength.

I'm going to teach today, and I've got to figure out how to catch up with my unfinished articles.

Excuse me please, while I go meet this Cindy Sheehan. Help yourselves to the coffee and whatever is in the fridge.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Be Good, Creole Girl!

The Be Good Tanyas rule!

For a sheet on the Creole Girl from Ponchartrain, you may read

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Dad and I discuss the war, again

We talk about the war in Iraq, the war against terrorism, and sometimes the war in Afghanistan. Usually we do this by telephone. I often think or imagine that the line changes as we begin to talk about this, that sound behind and around the voices is more expansive, thus we hear the echo effect, as if some switch had been automatically turned on, and the lines are being tapped. I never mention this to Dad. For what? We are not doing anything illegal. We're just conversing about these troubled times.

Dad thinks I'm trying to sit on the fence, play both sides, support both sides on the war. ( Both? There are only two sides? ) He says this, rather vehemently, perhaps because I have expressed my doubts about the wisdom of starting these escapades overseas, yet I also say, as adamantly as I can, that I support Bush in proceeding with this war we've started, that I support him as my Commander-in-Chief. Yet I support the right of the anti-war activists to protest the war. And yet I would like to say to those such as the grieving mothers and kinfolk, that one needs to remember that when we had taken the oath or affirmation to serve our country, Constitution, and President, that we and our families know our lives are on the line.

As Sergeant Major Norman says, "Lady, your son died fighting a war. He was a soldier." Hard to sound hard hearted. I mean, I commiserate, but I don't support her undermining our effort to defeat the enemy. And I think that's what much of this protest does. What to do? I think dialogue, what we're doing, is good. Protest is good. But we need to unite also, unite and defeat the terrorists, defeat the jihadists.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Gaza settlers going now!

It is hard to contain my excitement. And yet I do feel for the settlers, who are, after all, leaving what they consider their home. Alas, for this world, that we form attachments and ideas which make it difficult for us to get along, to get along with others, to get along in our journey.

I'm listening to an Israeli colonel, Col Wolfe, who sounds like very intellectual, being interviewed about what is happening, how the the soldiers may be feeling as they effect the removal.

I need to post some gas prices on L'be back.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

We've got an outpost on MSN

Yesterday was my last day at the warehouse. I'm in another stage of recovery today. I've got custody of the lad while the lady goes on business down the coast.

Oboe and other horns play a gentle melody on the radio from the bathroom. Elmo is acting out a story for the lad here in the frontspace ( I eschew the phrase "living room," as I consider most of our house quite suitable for living).

Here's our latest project, just beginning via another portal.

Monday, August 08, 2005

A message to one thinking of killing herself, himself

I am concerned for your life

from several of the things I’ve read, heard, or seen, I feel that you might benefit from sound counseling on life planning. I hope that you do not take this the wrong way, that I am criticizing you in a negative way, or meddling.

Well perhaps I am meddling,(wry smile here) but I would like to offer any help I could reasonably provide, starting in terms of answering any questions you might have on avoiding suicide.

I am a survivor of suicidal behaviour, if not actual attempts. I have tried to get myself killed in order to avoid the pain and sorrow I thought I was experiencing. I considered jumping off bridges, stabbing myself, jumping in front of trucks or trains… a good friend from Yokohama talked me out of it.

I then tried to get killed by walking through very dangerous neighbourhoods, such as Barcelona’s port and red light district—el Barrio Chino, Chicago’s Cabrini Green, New York’s Harlem, Flatbush, Kenner, New Orlean’s cemeteries, Vieux Carre’, Canal Street, various “projects,” rural areas where no one knew me, such as the Ozarks…

I joined the military, and joined the combat engineers. We went to Iraq. I went to Baghdad and back.

By the time I got through most of this, I had a better “feel” for what is life, and I think that for the most part, I am a survivor, if not entirely out of the woods. Today, I take Prozac, get counselling, and otherwise strive to improve myself, to “be there” for my wife and two children, my aging parents, my younger brother and sisters, one of whom is incapable of taking care of herself.

If there is any way I can help any of you who are thinking of committing suicide, well, helping you to seriously consider your choices, carefully, well, then please communicate with me via this site or my web logs.

Just remember, for now: once you actually commit suicide, there’s no coming back to try your life again.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Saturday, 6 August: I felt numb all this day

It was on this day in 1945 that the United States dropped an atomic
bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan

It was the first time that a nuclear weapon was used in combat, only
the second time that one had been exploded. It was an attack which led
to the end of World War II.

I have been thinking that the only way to win the war in Iraq is to use these weapons, on carefully selected sites, to destroy the jihadists by draining the sea to kill the fish.

Either this, or we must recognize the prisoners as lawful combatants, and start negotiations to find out what Zarqawi and Bin Ladin want, and what we're willing to allow them.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

So, it's nightfall already. The lights go on the flag...

And I've left off a conversation with my father, over the telephone, about his review of Newt Gingrich's book, Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America, AlterNet's Start Making Sense, and the essay by Bill McKibben in this month's Harper's, "The Christian Paradox: How a Faithful Nation gets Jesus wrong." Already, other bloggers are writing about this latter.

Only 40 percent of Americans can name more than four of the Ten Commandments, and a scant half can cite any of the four authors of the Gospels. Twelve percent believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. This failure to recall the specifics of our Christian heritage may be further evidence of our nation’s educational decline, but it probably doesn’t matter all that much in spiritual or political terms. Here is a statistic that does matter: Three quarters of Americans believe the Bible teaches that “God helps those who help themselves.” That is, three out of four Americans believe that this uber-American idea, a notion at the core of our current individualist politics and culture, which was in fact uttered by Ben Franklin, actually appears in Holy Scripture. The thing is, not only is Franklin’s wisdom not biblical; it’s counter-biblical. Few ideas could be further from the gospel message, with its radical summons to love of neighbor. On this essential matter, most Americans—most American Christians—are simply wrong, as if 75 percent of American scientists believed that Newton proved gravity causes apples to fly up.

I'm still in the middle of this essay, interrupted by the need for sleep, a ten hour shift in a warehouse hot and dusty in the 100 degree + August heat, and my coming home to share some time with wife and children, then put the latter to bed.

So it's story time now. Got to go. Aloha!

Today, a decision, another turning point

I gave my two weeks notice this morning, since the negotiations did not come even halfway toward meeting my needs. The ball is in the company's court now; as I said, I'm not burning any bridges, I'll be available should they get in a pinch down the road.

Instead of this job, I'll be putting in much more time with my free lancing, my teacher sub work, metal recycling, and the novel I'll be starting today.