The Dragnet That Caught a Senator

August 30, 2007

Larry Craig Comes Clean – Out of the Water Closet

Kerfuffles Nice?

August 29, 2007

Nice Matters Award

Who Knew? Not me, however some nice person seems to believe it be true. That someone is my blog heroine, the very lady-like Nan at American Daughter blog. It is she who has honored Neddy Kerfuffles with … TA DA … the Nice Matters Blog Award. Neddy is humbly honored, Lady Nan. Nan wrote about The Nice Matters Award:

“The Nice Matters Blog Award is for ladies who have not only great blogs, but also who have more to them, there is caring, friendship and inspiration too.This award will be awarded to those that are just nice people, good blog friends and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others that are there to lend support or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!Nan at American Daughter blog nominated, in alphabetical order:


Reaper to Reap al-Qaida

August 29, 2007

According to the Air Force Times, next month will see a new generation of pilotless airplane named “The Reaper.” An upgraded version of the Predator, the Reaper can fly three times as fast as a Predator and carry eight times more weaponry. The Reaper carries about the same payload as an F-16 but can stay airborn up to eight times longer, which must refuel about every two hours. The Reaper is a “good idea” for America from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

From China With Love

August 6, 2007

From China With DANGER
What can be done to protect American children from lead jewelry? The American government regulatory agencies are unable to prevent the unnecessary exposure of youngsters to the hazards of lead in their environment.

In 2005, 95 percent of all recalled toxic jewelry in the United States were products imported from China. Unlike the toxic pet food, tainted toothpaste, faulty tires and lead-painted toys from China that have been sucessfully recalled, getting the lead filled children’s jewelry and trinkets out the hands of children has not been resolved. And it isn’t only fly-by-night, mom and pop manufacturers who have been sending these hazardous trinkets into American nurseries; it is the big names like Mattel, Juicy Couture and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Purchasers are not safe from lead even when buying non metal toys. The 746,621 “bonus charms” in a Shirley Temple DVD were contaminated with lead. Last year a 4-year-old in Minneapolis, swallowed a “free” heart-shaped lead charm that had come with Reebok shoes. He died after suffering vomiting, seizures and respiratory arrest. The Minneapolis health official who investigated said: “It’s just outrageous. How can we be allowing products that are targeted and marketed to children that have such a potential to poison them?

Get the Lead Out!

Various enforcement standards specifying what percentage of lead is allowed in this imported product or that imported product have been announced, however the same governement agencies doing the “announcing” are unable to enforce the tauted standards. For whatever reason, considering an outright formal ban on lead in children’s jewelry, toys and clothing fasteners seems to be unacceptable to them.

Many letters have been sent to the product safety commission urging the immediacy of just such a ban. Only one letter has been found to oppose the ban and it is dated March 2007, from the government of China:

Jewelry with lead is not a danger, Guo LiSheng, a deputy director general at China’s General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, wrote in a March letter to the commission, as long as it is covered by a protective coating. The regulation, he argued, was unnecessary and would “increase the cost of producing and inspection of the manufacturers of children’s metal jewelry, and bring unnecessary obstacles to trade.

Heaven forbid, that we increase the cost of any children’s trinkets just to get the lead out. Since neither the government of the United States, nor the government of China are giving children’s safety much priority, American parents are on their own if they want to prevent the ingesting of toxic materials by their young charges. Stop buying these dangerous trinkets from abroad. Be more vigilent – buy fewer of the more expensive and safer toys for children. When it comes to kids, cheaper is not necessarily better.

New York Times: Bid to Root Out Lead Trinkets Falters in U.S.

All The Best-Dressed Kids

August 4, 2007

Now that it is time for the Back-To-School buying clothes ritual, parents are being warned about certain gang or drug symbols which are appearing on kids clothing. If your child is pleading for a shirt which displays stars and crowns with a certain number of points and hearts with wings, you need to read further. “There are lot of symbols that mean something to gang members and parents don’t know what it means,” said a sheriff’s detective in Florida to the “Tallahassee Democrat”. They appear on T-shirts, bandanas, belts and bookbags of arrested gang members.

It is not only symbols, but colors and certain numbers that are are used to display messages. A plain everyday T-shirt can display a gang-related message when certain letters are manipulated. For example, the letter “B” crossed out, means that the wearer doesn’t like Blood gang members.

Signs of Gang Membership, from

  • Stars and crowns with a certain number of points and hearts with wings.
  • A child is obsessed with one particular color of clothing or shows a desire for a particular logo over and over.
  • Wears excessive jewelry with distinctive designs and may wear it only on either the right or left side of the body.
  • Peculiar drawings or language on schoolbooks, folders, walls, doors, etc. Usually graffiti-like, hard to decipher and characterized by crossed out and upside-down letters and symbols (may later appear as tattoos or brands).

Now, if you are not a parent of 14, 15 and 16-year-olds, you may be wondering how in the world these kids can be displaying gang symbols on their clothing, when most of them, these days, seem to be going about in public wearing the minimalist style. That is to say that their clothing consists of very small amounts of cloth, as in “half-naked.” Young teenaged girls wear shirts that cover little, if anything, and their jeans are little more than belt loops. No wonder none of them wears underwear anymore, as their clothes will not cover it.

This leaves us non-parents a-wondering. If parents today do not notice that they daughters are going to school dressed as Hoochie Mamas, who with a brain thinks any of them is going to notice if their children start wearing gang paraphenalia. In fact, if some parents do notice, they may just breathe a sigh of relief that their child is showing a bit of personal modesty.

Cryin’ Bob Butler

August 1, 2007

With apologies to Johnny Ray’s “Cry” …

If your sweetheart leaves you for an older man,
It’s no secret you’ll feel better if you slam … her.
When waking from a bad dream,
Don’t you sometimes think it’s real?
But it’s only false emotions that you feel.

If your heartaches seem to hang around too long,
And your blues keep getting bluer with each song,
Remember hope can be found at the end of your hand.
So pour your vengeance into an e-mail and click “SEND.”

Pulitzer Prize winning author Robert Olen Butler, has found the Internet way of dealing with a broken heart. When his wife, Elizabeth Dewberry, left him to join the Ted Turner Collection, he poured his feelings into an e-mail and sent it only to his university’s department. They would need to know the details of the break-up of his marriage. The thoughtful academics and young students should be warned that marrying a woman young enough to be one’s daughter is no guarantee that she will NOT leave you for a grandfather surrogate. It’s not so evil, as before clicking “SEND”, he showed the e-mail to his weepy wife who weepingly agreed that the world needed to know all the personal details of her twelve year marriage to him, plus her sexual and medical history from childhood onward. It was not like he disclosed her social security number or anything bad like that.

HI ALL – FROM BOB (PS – Forward this e-mail to everyone you know. If you need more details, just write me.)

Rumors will soon be swirling around the department, so I want to tell the full and nuanced story to the five of you among the graduate students and ask that you clarify the issues for any of your fellow grad students who ask. This sort of thing can get wildly distorted pretty quickly. You can feel free to use any part or all of this email to do so. I really appreciate your help.

Put down your cup of coffee or you might spill it.

Elizabeth is leaving me for Ted Turner.

She and I will remain the best of friends. She also knows about, endorses, and even encourages that I tell this much detail of the story:
She has spoken openly in her work and in her public life of the fact that she was molested by her grandfather from an early age, a molestation that was known and tacitly condoned by her radically Evangelical Christian parents. She then went into a decade-long abusive marriage. I met her when she was in a terminally desperate state from this lifetime of abuse, and we married and we truly loved each other.

I was able to help her a great deal. She says I saved her life. But de facto therapy as the initial foundation of a marriage eventually sucks the life out of a relationship. And it is very common for a woman to be drawn to men who remind them of their childhood abusers. Ted is such a man, though fortunately, he is far from being abusive. From all that I can tell, he is kind to her, loyal, considerate, and devoted to his family, and perhaps, therefore, he can redeem some things for her.

Further, Elizabeth has never been able to step out of the shadow of the Pulitzer. As you know-and she knows-I have been an avid admirer and supporter of her work. Everyone has heard me proclaim my sincere high regard for her as an artist. I often did this publicly. But she has published two brilliant novels since she’s been with me and neither has gotten anywhere near the recognition that they richly deserve. That made it harder and harder for her to live with the ongoing praise and opportunity that flows to a Pulitzer winner. Not because of jealousy. She has always been very happy for me. But the multitude of small reflections of regard that came my way inevitably threw a spotlight on the absence of those expressions of regard for her. She felt as if she was failing as a writer.

Then, in March, she nearly died from an intestinal blockage in Argentina while on a trip with Ted. The trauma of that led her further to profoundly question her own identity. It became clear to her that the only way she can truly find herself is by making this change in her life.

She will not be Ted’s only girlfriend. Ted is permanently and avowedly non-monogamous. But though he has several girlfriends, it is a very small number, and he does not take them up lightly and he gives them his absolute support when he does. And Elizabeth’s leaving me is as much about the three weeks a month she is alone as it is about the week a month she is with Ted. She will find her own space and her own light in which to create the great works of art she is destined to create.

I will keep my house. I will keep my dogs and cats. I will keep virtually everything. She is being characteristically generous about that. But I will lose Elizabeth. And that is very sad. But the loss has been happening through many years of our shared struggle to make her whole. In that, I’ve done all I can do, as has she. I wish her the best. I ask you not to think ill of her in any way.

Elizabeth and I will now conduct ourselves as if this is public knowledge. So as I suggested at the outset, you need not keep this to yourself, if the occasion arises to speak of it to someone. This is best anyway, since I am not up to the task of telling this story over and over.

I have a high regard and affection for the students in our program. I hope this will help them sort out this rather intense story in an appropriate way.
Bob Butler

As you know, MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING, and it will compensate poor little Elizabeth for those twelve years she endured living in the shadow of “MY” Pulitzer. BB