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Frontline on Cheney

Just got to the Frontline episode from last Tuesday on my Tivo. As usual for Frontline, it was very well done. Basically a summary of Cheney’s efforts over the years to strengthen Presidential authority and reduce or eliminate the ability of congress and the courts to restrict that power. There wasn’t much here that I didn’t already know, but it put it all together in a very compelling package.

I listen to some of the things said by Cheney and the various people surrounding him, and I am just dumbfounded. It is so 100% contrary to what seem like basic values like the rule of law, constitutional government, checks and balances, human rights, etc… These are very scary people with very scary ideas about what good government looks like.

I fear though that much of the damage they have done will not be undone, even after a change of administration in 2009. Even if that administration is of a different party. While Rudy would probably even try to one up what Bush and Cheney have done, I don’t frankly see Hillary flat out rejecting the powers claimed by this administration. No, she will just use them in different ways, not necessarily better ways.

Sigh.

In any case, it is well worth watching. The whole thing is available to watch on the Frontline website for Cheney’s Law if for some reason you forgot to Tivo it.

Mother’s Tornado

My mom had quite a close call with a tornado last Thursday. I just got my mom’s permission to post the emails she sent on Friday describing it.

tornado hit
(Ruth Brandon, 2007 Oct 19 02:48:47 UTC)

I write from Owensboro, Ky (a five hour drive west of Cincinnati this morning) where Steve Hecky, UCC pastor in Newport, KY, and I are attending the Kentucky Council of Churches. It has been quite a day. Owensboro has been hit all afternoon and evening by huge thunderstorms with flooding and tornados and high winds. Third Baptist Church where we were meeting twice had us to evacuate to the basement and this evening within five minutes of us reaching the basement the church was apparently slightly hit – We all felt the change in air pressure in our ears, heard the “sound of a freight train” overhead, power went out and we sang hymns until we were allowed upstairs. Cell phones and computers lighted the way!

We had sat in the sanctuary too long as the tornado warning sirens wailed – the preacher (president of the National Council of Churches in the USA) had just begun – but finally he was interrupted and everybody made it okay. Apparently a wall in the balcony of the sanctuary where we were worshipping was caved in – when we emerged the smell and cloud of cement dust was noticeable – they herded us outside where firefighters were coming in and it was pouring rain. One car was upside down and at least one other shoved out of location and damaged and debris was in the parking lot. My car – 25 or so feet from the upside down one – and most of the cars – were okay. We saw bricks in the street as we left that seemed to come from Zion UCC next door – will have to check Friday morning when there is light. Steve thought it was from Zion’s tower or steeple. We drove through miles of dark streets to our rooms at the Hampton Inn which was barely into the zone further south where there is still power – Power is out less than a quarter mile north but here all is well.

This evening when we headed toward the church from a restaurant, we drove through major flooding – the police closed that zone as soon as we – the last car – came through. We were fortunate not to stall out – it was very deep for about six blocks – clearly the storm drains were way beyond capacity. Hours later the floods are subsiding as the drains clear.

How is the meeting? – very fine workshops and speakers – The Rev. Michael Kinnamon was the keynoter and leader of two workshops – but at this point it is unclear whether we will be able to continue tomorrow and finish. The dangerous storms are said to now be over but …

About 21 hours later, she emailed again with an update, and pictures:

2 great iPhotos
(Ruth Brandon, 2007 Oct 19 23:50:52 UTC)

Sam – with daylight today – I am aware that I was within five minutes of death yesterday! This is the damaged sanctuary where we were worshipping plus a photo from outside – I and half a dozen others were seated exactly under this heap of debris where the balcony and tower landed – we would not have survived. We left only five minutes before the tornado hit. I am thankful today to be alive!


inside 3rd Bapt sanctuary after tornado


tornado damage – 3rd Bapt Owensboro, KY

All I can say is wow. And I am very glad she is OK.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Friends in Blackwater

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Blackwater in Iraq
  • Checks and Balances

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Playing with Indention

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