Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I've been stupidly busy lately, and I want to warmly thank Portia for her excellent efforts at keeping the lights burning here at Heigh-ho.

Seriously. Thank you, Red.

But as it doesn't seem that the weight on my chest is going to be lifted anytime soon, I thought that I should take some of the "pressure" of of Portia by establishing the First Annual Heigh-ho Bad Ass Yard Sale of Life's Interruptions and Second Thoughts. Namely, all that junk that I attempted to write about, but never finished. Think of it as cleaning out the mental closet

There's no ownership to these figments of my imagination anymore, folks. I 've given them up.
So I leave each and every one of them to you to supply the final analysis, abuse, snark, or what-have-you. Or you can just ignore them. I have. But they are a wonderful example of a mind intterupted

In no particular order, therefore, comes the following:


“The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.”

-Winston Churchill

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."
- Woody Allen

As a student of history, Sir Winston's quote has long haunted me and Woody's delighted me. This opinion piece


The other day I read this opinion piece in the Boston Globe regarding the President’s recent signing of the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. The headline was your standard overstatement of the case: “Bush Shuns Patriot Act Requirement,” but the political subtleties of the matter set my Constitutional spidey-sense a-tingling. The crux of the matter is this: When the Executive declines to exercise its veto power following Congress’ presentment of a law, does the Executive’s addendum of a “signing statement” that calls into question the applicability of the law to the Executive Branch constitute an usurpation of Congressional authority?

Author Jennifer Van Bergen recently wrote that the addendum of signing statements is a form of “presidential rebellion against Congress and the courts.” Judging by the title of her recent book, The Twilight of Democracy: The Bush Plan For America, Ms. Van Bergen is hardly a dispassionate observer, and to her the Patriot Act is some form of monster under the bed. Nevertheless, there is a certain sensibility to her "presidential rebellion" allusion that cannot be denied. The willingness to excercise Executive authority as a check to Congressional power has been slowly growing since presidential power was severely cabined following Watergate. The question here is not whether or not he has the authority to append signing statements - I believe that he does - but whether the effect of those statements countermands the "will of the people" as expressed by the Legislative branch.

Writing in the Federalist #48, Madison cautioned the citizens of New York that

“ a mere demarcation on parchment of the constitutional limits of the several departments, is not a sufficient guard against those encroachments which lead to a tyrannical concentration of all the powers of government in the same hands.”

However, Madison warned readers that it was not the tyranny of the Executive that should concern them, but that of the legislature.

The legislative department derives a superiority in our governments from other circumstances. Its constitutional powers being at once more extensive, and less susceptible of precise limits, it can, with the greater facility, mask, under complicated and indirect measures, the encroachments which it makes on the co-ordinate departments. It is not unfrequently a question of real nicety in legislative bodies, whether the operation of a particular measure will, or will not, extend beyond the legislative sphere. On the other side, the executive power being restrained within a narrower compass, and being more simple in its nature, and the judiciary being described by landmarks still less uncertain, projects of usurpation by either of these departments would immediately betray and defeat themselves. Nor is this all: as the legislative department alone has access to the pockets of the people, and has in some constitutions full discretion, and in all a prevailing influence, over the pecuniary rewards of those who fill the other departments, a dependence is thus created in the latter, which gives still greater facility to encroachments of the former.

Clinton's Executive Orders as an example of expansion of Presidential powers

John W. Dean Signing Statements

Unitary Executive in the Modern Era

Another attack against a biased liberal media misquoting their sources?

Not My Blog Says Clooney

Oscar-winner George Clooney took a prominent US political commentator to task today for posting on her website a blog made to look like it was written by the superstar.

Clooney denied writing the blog on Arianna Huffington's, which includes commentaries from celebrities, politicians and experts.

The blog turned out to be a compilation of remarks Clooney made in media interviews. The actor, a liberal, said he had given Huffington permission to use the quotes, but complained that they were made to look like his own blog.

"Miss Huffington's blog is purposefully misleading and I have asked her to clarify the facts," Clooney said in a statement. "I stand by my statements but I did not write this blog."

"What she most certainly did not get my permission to do is to combine only my answers in a blog that misleads the reader into thinking that I wrote this piece," Clooney said. "These are not my writings - they are answers to questions, and there is a huge difference."

Huffington described the incident as a misunderstanding. She said she had asked Clooney to write a blog, but when he said he did not know how one worked, she put together a sample blog based on media interviews.

Huffington, a critic of President George W. Bush, said the sample blog was sent to Clooney's publicist, who gave her the go ahead.

"Any misunderstanding that occurred, occurred between Clooney and the publicist," she wrote on her website.

"We based our decision to post on the unambiguous approval we received in writing. There was no room for misunderstanding in that."

The Clooney blog was no longer on the website today.

Clooney, who has described himself in interviews as an unabashed liberal, won a best supporting Oscar this month for the politically-charged film Syriana.

He was also nominated for best director and screenplay in Good Night, and Good Luck, which tells the story of journalist Edward Murrow's battle against the 1950s Communist witch hunt in the United States.


Clooney doesn't know how a blog works, but he knows what's best

Does everybody understand the "Mercy Rule?" That's the rule that generous folks apply when it's still the second inning and the other team is down 29-0. It's a gesture of compassion- "Look, we, won. But we're not going to make you suffer." True Hercules types take exception to such "rules," because true champions must suffer to gain the Crown of Zeus. Whatever. By the time it rolls around to 54-0, I'll already be home swiggin' a cold beer and making plans for next year's draft.

Do you ever wonder whether the

Terrroists get a bad rap when it comes to the subtle, sensitive subjects of that liberal scope of arts we like to call "The Humanities." For example: how often does the New York Times Review of Books really delve into the magical prose of Iman Istar Mohhamed Actu's "Death to All Infidels and Murdered Goats on Their Doorsteps?" When has the Village Voice stopped to bathe itself in the dramatic iambic pentameter of El Farat Mustafa's "Bury the Jews in Piles of Dung?" Never is when.

Well that's all going to end now.


Here's a story to warm your pinot noir loving heart. It appears that some California vintners owners in Napa County's Pope Valley are fed up with univited, and appearantly uncultured, black bears wandering their vineyards and snacking on their very valuable grapes. This shocking development has led to unfortunate fatalities lamentable culling bloodsheding among the population of hirstute vegans. No, not them. The other ones. The bears. And not since Arnold murdered beloved children's author Tookie Williams has there been such an outcry from the stem twirlers.


The Tale of the Poor Conductor
( accompanyment: Honer Blues Harp in D-flat, foot tapping)

There was once a poor conductor
And he worked the Yazoo train
He had his'self an old lady
That was drivin' him insane

When he brought his paycheck home
She'd sometimes throw a fit
You gotta get mo' money
'Cause I needs to get some sh*t

And Joe the poor conductor
he did not know what to do
'cause he was just an honest man
still he loved his lady too

But tho' a poor conductor
Joe's key fit all the locks
so he started thinkin' evil thoughts
'bout that fat ol' money box

I needs me a new red dress
I needs a new black hat
and if you knows your business
you'll be comin' home with that

And Joe the poor conductor
he did not know what to do
cause he'd always been an honest man
still he loved his lady too

But tho' a poor conductor
Joe's key fit all the locks
so he started stealin' nickels
from the fat ol' money box

Then Joe got her a red dress
and a fine new pair of shoes
and then his lady kissed him
and then she blew a fuse

I just can't wear these fine clothes
around this shabby house
I needs me a new table
I needs me a new couch

And Joe the poor conductor
he did not know what to do
cause once he'd been an honest man
still he loved his lady too

But tho' a poor conductor
Joe's key fit all the locks
so he started stealin' quarters
from the fat ol' money box

And Joe bought her a sofa
and a mirror laced with gold
but his lady only smiled once
and then her glance grew cold

I needs to sees some people
I needs to get around
I needs a brand new Lincoln
to go on into town

And Joe the poor conductor
he did not know what to do
a criminal he had become
still he loved his lady too

But tho' a poor conductor
Joe's key fit all the locks
so he started stealin' dollars
from the fat ol' money box

Joe got a brand new Lincoln
colored cream and candy red
Then tried to kiss his lady
and she told him to drop dead

I lie no mo' to you she said
I hate the air your breathe
now that I've got my Lincoln
step aside, so I might leave

And Joe the poor conductor
he did not know what to do
his soul was now as black as coal
still he loved his lady too

But tho' a poor conductor
Joe's pocket held a gun
and he started shootin' blindly
until the evil work was done

The jury found Joe guilty
The judge looked satisfied
But tell me your whole story
maybe you won't have to die

And Joe the poor conductor
he did not know what to do
the mark of Cain was on his head
but he wanted to live, too

And tho' a poor conductor
Joe's voice was firm and free
I ain't go defenses
but you'll never will kill me

The date for Joe's departure
was set for Chirstmas Eve
The priest he offered last rites
but Joe refused to leave

And then the guards they took Joe
and led him in the chair
and the Warden then kissed his head
and said "What's fair is fair"

And Joe the poor conductor
he just looked back at him and grinned
You just can't kill me Warden,
even tho' I know'd I've sinned

They strapped him in

they pulled the switch

ain't nothing happened

ain't that a bitch?

They juiced the volts

an' tried again

the only fire

was big Joe's grin


At last the Warden had enough
And ord'd the switch be broken
A miracle has come tonight
God's mercy hath now spoken

Released Joe was from jail that day
and Christmas passed to past
and Joe appeared on Ophrah
but he knew it couldn't last

And Joe the poor conductor
he did not know what to do.
Although he was a "miracle"
he knew deep down the truth

It wasn't God
that saved his skin
or Jesus come to call
It wasn't Zeus or fate or love
that caught him in his fall

And for his soul he spoke aloud
though many did not harken
The light they'd found in his abyss
they simply would not part with

As years went by the story waned
Joe married and divorced
whatever pain the curse had brought
the miracle was worse

As Joe lay dying Christmas Eve
His body now to rest
he spoke of his redemption
and how he'd passed the test.

He asked for God's forgiveness
and then confessed his soul
And not a word was spoken
and not a breath unheld

I said it ov'r an ov'r again
a thousand times or more:
They could never 'lectrocute me
'cause I 'm a poor conductor.





Just after four in the afternoon the door to the trailer swung open and in walked Phill in a Hawaiian shirt, cut-offs, flip flops and a beer and screamed “What the hell is wrong with this country?” Phill marched over to the small refrigerator and glanced over its even smaller offerings, before yelling “Sonnofabitch! You ain’t got no beer either!”

I sensed that Phill was here for some bigger purpose than just to collect the ten bucks I borrowed from him to purchase funnel cakes for his plug-ugly cousin at the county fair (an investment that brought no joy home to me). I removed my feet from the coffee table and, in the process knocked a bowl of Cheezits to the floor. My mutt Diamond Dog was expert in her clean-up, relieving me from the necessity of any further movement. Discouraged by the lack of cold beer, Phill flopped next to me on the Castro convertible couch that served as both bed and entertainment center in the rapidly rusting trailer.

“I’m tellin’ ya,” Phill spoke as he grabbed the remote control and began his trademark ADD flip through the channels, “this country has gone to the dogs.” Diamond Dog did not seem to recognize the slight, but I knew it for what it was. I had to take the offensive,

Escape From RayNagin's Isle:
Bob Denver as President George W.Bush
Alan Hale as "Skipper" Karl Rove

Hi everybody! I'm your president, taking a few days off from carrying the weight of the free world and kickin' back a bit just so's I can tell you this story of how I found redemption through the judicious use of coconuts. It goes back a few weeks, but here's the whole story.......


I've been holding off writing about my reaction to the storm's aftermath for a couple of reasons. First, the sheer horror of the spectacle that unfolded before our eyes on the TV screen was numbing. Second, I wanted to give everyone involved the benefit of the doubt. Afterall, I wasn't personally at the helm of any of these efforts. I couldn't possibly know whether, in fact, everything humanly possible was being done to rescue these people. I was nothing more than a spectator, wringing my hands and crying to the heavens for a show of mercy and deliverence, and believing that everything was going to work out once the push was on.

That's all over, now. Now I'm furious. So here's how we scored:

Looters : F

Searching for the necessities of life.
You punks don't deserve to be rescued. Enjoy the sewage and rats while you wait for the electricity to come back on to power your brand new big screen TV. How many of you young people I watched emptying clothing and jewelry stores stopped to rescue those trapped and help them to safety? How many of you bottom feeders stayed in the city after it was ordered evacuated simply because they knew that the pickings were going to be easy? But because you nothing but criminals you aren't smart enough to figure out that all of your booty is lost to you. None of that crap you stole is getting on the bus, assholes. I hope you enjoy your stay behind the wire, because that's where you're headed.


And so there you go. That's the crap you never saw.

And I'll bet you're glad, too.


Cassandra said...

And I'll bet you're glad, too.

Wrong :) More like delighted. I get so sick to death of my own writing.

But the snark will have to wait. I'm half brain-dead from looking at mission planning and fire control data.

And Portia's doing a great job. I just haven't had much to say lately.

portia said...

But they are a wonderful example of a mind intterupted.
Where to begin....

Holy moly, spd! You've got one hell of big yard. That's enough material for a month's worth of posts. Now what are you going post for April?

P.S. You're very welcome. I presume the proverbial "check is in the mail" along with your promise "[not] to pull out.":) Hurry back.

Anonymous said...


-Don Brouhaha

spd rdr said...

And yet not a word about Tex Antoine.


Cassandra said...

And yet not a word about Tex Antoine

Quite possibly because before coming here, at least one of your readers had no earthly idea who Tex Antoine was.

Or because they were busy wondering about Phill and Diamond Dog.

spd rdr said...

One day we'll talk about Tex and Mr. Wethbee. As far as Phil and Diamond Dog go, don't ask.

Cassandra said...

[looking at her watch and thinking back to the last time she heard "someday..."]

You enjoy this, don't you?

spd rdr said...

Yes. I do.