Gonzales

I see that Bush has been critical of Attorney General Gonzales’ scandal around the intent to mass-fire attorneys across the board for political reasons. But I’m going to defend Gonzales a bit here and say: Wasn’t he just following orders from the White House? It seems unlikely that he’d just stick his own neck out for something like this, and already the whole thing has been tied back to turdblossom. Isn’t it time to root these problems out at their source once and for all? Sounds like Bush is just trying to blow smoke up our kilts again…

Dark Ages

In Oregon’s Jackson County, 15 library branches are set to close due to lack of funding. How is this possible in modern America, where a county cannot afford to keep any of their libraries open?

I am a huge proponent of libraries in general, and specifically the American public library systems that have kept our population informed and educated for centuries. The Public Library is an American institution, a place where any citizen can go to borrow books and find a quiet place to read and to study. I use public libraries all the time for study purposes, and every night I show up there I can see that the building is always packed with students, professionals, housewives, immigrants, teachers, and children all looking intently for information.

It is something I’ve always taken for granted really – the library is always there. When I lived in Boston, I spent countless hours at the main branch of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square doing homework and research for my music courses. At Chautauqua in New York, I’d sit in that library every Saturday morning reading everything from Lorca poems to Hindu philosophy. Often when I travel to Albuquerque, I go and park myself in the library there to take advantage of the quiet environment and free wi-fi to get some studying done. And I visit the local libraries in my home town at least once a month to do research and homework for my current education program.

So when I hear that a county is losing all of their public libraries, it boggles my mind. How is this even possible? But then, it boggles my mind that we don’t have a national health insurance program, so I suppose anything is possible at this point. Perhaps we should all just go back to living in caves and wearing grass skirts and bearskins. If I were living in Jackson County in Oregon, I would be raising hell right about now, and looking for replacements for the current leadership that has so miserably failed these people.

Republicanism

The Wikipedia entry on Republicanism in the United States states:

Republicanism is the political value system that dominates American political thought since the American Revolution. It stresses liberty and rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, rejects aristocracy and inherited political power, expects citizens to be independent and calls on them to perform civic duties, and is strongly opposed to corruption.

How is it that the Republican party has drifted so far away from this ideal? What has happened to our liberty, our individual rights, and why does the Republican party continue to attempt to roll back these basic tenets of American democracy time and time again (for example, the general Republican campaign against the ACLU, which is an organization created to protect our civil liberties)? Where is the rejection of aristocracy and inhereted political power?

I think that if any of these values were true today, then I should by all rights be a Republican. Let me know if they are ever able to find their way back.

Shaker

Earthquake SimulatorWe had a nice little earthquake tonight – 4.2 magnitude, centered in Lafayette.

I was reading Max a bedtime story when it hit. There was a nice loud pop, which sounded like something really big hit the front of the house. That was followed by some flickering lights and some objects swinging.

The cool thing about this was that we saw the Earthquake exhibit at the National Science and Technology Museum in Kaohsiung, and we took a ride in the earthquake simulator. It was set up like a small kitchen with a couch and a table, and we had the task of turning off the gas and stove, opening the door, and getting ourselves into secure locations within the room. It was simulated to be the magnitude and duration of the Chi Chi earthquake that devastated central Taiwan in 1999, and it was a pretty wild ride. So Max got quite a kick out of this event, and he was fully primed for his first real earthquake experience.

I think Yingwen is in her choir rehearsal right now. I am sure they must have felt it – they are all right near the epicenter.