Libby Scoots Free

Presidential crony, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, had been convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators who were investigating the politically-motivated outing of CIA agent, Valerie Plame. Today the federal appeals court ruled that he could no longer delay surrender, meaning prison time for Libby.  In a matter of hours President Bush commuted his sentence, claiming that the 30-month sentence was "too harsh."  There is no legal recourse to overturn a presidential commutation.  This is the fourth time that Bush has commuted a sentence.

Is 30-months really too harsh a sentence for perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators?

Out of the 152 people put to death in the state of Texas while Bush was governor there, did none of those sentences seem "too harsh"?

What other reason would President Bush have to step in and interrupt justice?  (It's always fun to play the conspiracy theorist, isn't it?)

It's a UU Tragedy

Perhaps I shouldn't talk about this.  After all, someone is deeply upset.  But a colleague just shared with me the contents of a letter informing her that a certain UU conference had been canceled due to a fire.  

No one was injured.  The building was insured and they were in the process of rebuilding the damage.  But they would not be able to rebuild in time for the conference.

That is indeed unfortunate and neither my colleague nor I would ever wish the stress on anyone.  However, we were both taken aback by the language in the letter, calling the fire and subsequent cancelation a "tragedy" and relating how "devastated" they were. The lamentation went on for several paragraphs.

So Much for Peace II

As a result of the current CSAI (congregational study action issue) being "Peacemaking," there is now a Peacemaking list serve where people who are interested in the issue can communicate with each other.  I am on the list.

Not long ago, someone shared a hymn with the rest of us that expressed her sentiments about peace.  This Is My Song is one of my favorite hymns too.  That it refers to God is incidental to  its main point, which is the recognition that everyone everywhere loves their own country as much as we do and has the same hopes and desires that we have. I find the hymn so moving that even tho we've sung it in church many times now I still cry every time.  I appreciated her sharing her hope for peace with us and the contemplative state that reading the words to the hymn put me in.

Missing John Paul II

While his views on homosexuality and gender left much to be desired, Pope John Paul II was the first Pope to visit Auschwitz, where he kneeled at the memorial. He prayed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. He visited the Israeli Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem. He visited the Mosque in Rome. He reached out to Eastern Orthodox and Protestants.

In contrast, Pope Benedict XVI, the cardinal formerly known as Ratzinger, just reinstated the Latin Mass.

Why should non-Catholics care? Because behind this is a decades long struggle within the Church over whether it will embrace the liberalizing changes of Vatican II or revert back to its earlier intolerance. By reinstating the Latin Mass, Pope Benedict has signaled that the conservatives have won (for now.)

Cindy Sheehan...again

Cindy Sheehan announced yesterday that she intends to run against the current Speaker of the House, democrat Nancy Pelosi, unless Pelosi introduces articles of impeachment against President Bush in the next two weeks.

She says, "Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership. We hired them to bring an end to the war. I'm not too far from San Francisco, so it wouldn't be too big of a move for me. I would give her a run for her money."

Since I originate from San Francisco and we Friscans are proud that our girl is now Speaker of the House, I'll admit to some bias here. But even putting that aside, color me unimpressed. Some of us remember that in late May, not more than a month and a half ago, Ms. Sheehan announced that she was leaving the war movement in order to go home and be a mother to her surviving children.

What happened to that?

And I still remember her saying:

Chinese Justice

The recent head of China's State Food and Drug Administration was executed today.  Zheng Xiaoyu, 63, was convicted of accepting bribes constituting $800,000 U.S. to approve tainted and dangerous products, and sentenced to death in May.

As an American, who is used to people sitting on death row for years if not decades, the news came as a shock. Even by Chinese standards the execution was swift,  designed to tell the world that China was taking the recent export scandals seriously.  Designed to save Chinese face preceding the Olympics and the Chinese economy in general.

David Ritcheson

David Ritcheson died on July 1st.  His death was ruled a suicide.  He was 18.

I didn't know anything about it until today, ten days later.  Nor did I know anything about the horrific racially-motivated beating he suffered in April of 2006.  

David was at a party with some "friends" in a Houston suburb.  For the "sin" of making a drunken pass at a white girl while Hispanic, two self-proclaimed skin-heads knocked him unconscious, ripped off his clothes, kicked him with steel-toed boots, choked him with a garden hose, burned him with cigarettes, carved a swastika into his flesh, and sodomized him with the broken pole of a patio umbrella. They kicked the pole into him so deeply that his internal organs ruptured, all the while shouting "White Power!" and racial slurs.  Lastly, they doused him with bleach.  


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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative