Monday, January 20, 2014
At the Start of 71
Senator Richard Burr (R, NC) has been a senator for two or three terms. Time enough for him to "change" from being a conservative to being a sorta moderate Republican, due to the ever shifting goal posts and the advancing dementia of the Grand Old Party. Here's a piece about Burr and his political behavior which in a normal circumstance would raise issues about his very sanity:
In 2009, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) wrote a letter to President Obama recommending that he nominate Jennifer May-Parker, a federal prosecutor from his state, to a judicial vacancy on a federal trial court. You can read his letter to President Obama here. Last June, the president agreed with Burr’s recommendation, and nominated Ms. May-Parker to be a federal district judge.
And now Burr is blocking May-Parker’s nomination, invoking an arcane Senate tradition that allows senators to unilaterally veto judicial nominees from their own state....
How'd you like to be Ms. May-Parker, sitting on tenderhooks since 2009. I'm surprised she hasn't written her senatorial representative a year or two back and told him to fuck off, she's a Democratic Party member now. Perhaps this publicity will do the trick for her. And note--Mr. Burr refuses even to divulge his reasons, the height of authoritarian arrogance. Given the raging stupidity that is our state government at this time, probably this is all Mr. Burr sprinting as hard as he can to the right in the hopes of avoiding a primary challenge next time around. Maybe the guy from Klingon will go after him.
Today I crossed the dateline of my 71st year. Seems pretty much the same as yesterday so far. Sun comin' up and the sun it goin' down, shine through my window, and my friends they come around. We've had a sparkling weekend, perfect January weather, meaning not too cold to do a few things, bright and sunny, in the 50s. I've gotten a lot of things done of a January. Thirty plus years back I tore down my cabin and moved it to where it stands today, with me inside it. With a bunch of help of course. After a bunch more work I was living in the thing, and having moved a bunch of left over stuff up to a barn on the neighbor's place, I got a U-haul truck stuck on the wagon path just before I was to leave on a several week road trip with the band. That's how I met my oldest neighbor-friend out in these parts, Noble Hinshaw, who has a great garage about two miles down the road that includes, amongst his many pieces of equipment, a wrecker. He came out and pulled me out of the mud hole. There was some friendly chortling on his part. Since then he's kept my aging fleet on the road, year in, year out. He's the best of mechanics: his motto is, "you can fix that yourself." When it's true.
Last week Noble had a significant heart issue. He's been in the hospital and I hear he's getting better. He's pretty much the same age as I am, and he's been an inspiration. He's in our thoughts.
That's my kid playing fiddle on our porch, back in 1985. She's six or so. This is Libby and my 30th wedding anniversary, as well as my birthday. I always tell people I'll be sure to remember the date. This is of course not really true, but it's true still! Time do fly, however. I watched a documentary last week called The Navigators, about two sailing voyages, one from France, the other from England, which independently set out to circumnavigate the continent of Australia. At that time, 1800, it was thought that a narrow strait divided the continent into two large islands. At that time there were only a couple of tiny settlements of Europeans on the coast. The English one was called Port Jackson, and looked to be about the size of Ocracoke village. Both ships put in there at different times for repairs and a supply of citrus, as their crews were suffering greatly from scurvy. Give "Port Jackson" a google sometime. It's now a dot in the middle of Sydney, a city of millions. It's remarkable to me, as well, that a mere 150 years after those days when people sailed for months to "discover" a continent, World War II was in progress in those same waters, complete with submarines, war ships, air craft carriers, thousands of troops using automatic weapons to fight over these same "spice islands," and, as a final culmination of course, the detonation of two atomic bombs.
When the Dutch explorer Tasman first spotted New Zealand, Maori warriors in war canoes rammed his small boat and killed four of his sailors. He left without setting foot on that particular paradise. European "exceptionalism" nontheless ruled the day, forestalled but not repulsed. Ain't we special. They're playing tennis down under in 108 degrees tonight.
This is Silver Lake Harbor, at Ocracoke. I took the picture in 1997 from the bow of the schooner Windfall, now late lamented, where I was the first mate that summer. I expect Port Jackson looked rather like Ocracoke in 1800. We'd go out with some 30 civilians two or three times a day and run the channels for 45 minutes or so. Some times the porpoise would swim along side. Now and then we'd hit a sudden squall and heel over, and the kids would scream. Threading our way through the harbor on busy weekends such as the Fourth of July was the trickiest part of the voyage. The old ship steered like a 1948 two ton with a worn out front end. You had to plan ahead.
Relations with the Maori were difficult. Here's perhaps the culminating moment from those early days:
Who's the terrorists is my question? In the end, European diseases crushed the maori as they crushed native Americans.