The Talking Dog

January 31, 2015, Picture (or chart) worth 1,000 words?

Via Candace, we get this handy dandy chart, comparing the GTMO population as of (my college classmate) Barack Obama's inauguration day, or or less: GTMO_Detainee_Population_Chart.pdf

Interesting stuff: the census has been brought down by about half (including the death of one man who was "cleared for transfer" and two others in the category of "indefinite detention," meaning presumably, too dangerous to try but too Muslim to release), but many unfortunate trends persist nonetheless.

January 24, 2015, Winter blahs

A wintry mix here in Brooklyn... an inch or two of white stuff when I woke up, which was absorbing water as it turned to rain (I shoveled it away anyway)... but NYC street corners are catch as catch can, especially for a talking dog who pretty much only wears aging running shoes...

Plenty of time to ponder why the President will be cutting short a trip to India to travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (to pay condolences following the death of 90-year old King Abdullah) and otherwise visit new King Salman just a week or two after apologizing for not sending a high level delegation to a "unity march" in France following terrorist attacks there that left seventeen dead. Neither President Obama nor Vice-President Obama will attend ceremonies surrounding the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, either. [If you have a problem with the President or his "swagger," WaPo's Dana Milbank says "get used to it." Let's face it: if you're going to be George W. Bush's third and fourth terms in policy, why not in style too? Barack Obama has even completed the cycle with losing both houses of Congress!]

We at Stately Dog Manor were delighted to recently host Andy during his recent visit stateside for a speaking and event tour to coincide with the ignominious anniversary of the opening of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay; your talking dog even made it down to D.C. for the anniversary day protest rally in front of the White House, marching along notional Constitutional Avenue to stop in front of the so-called Justice Department [my former employer!], concluding at a point above D.C.'s subterranean holding cells near the local courts... a symbolic tie-in between the second class justice received by two many domestically, and the no justice of any kind received by the men held at Guantanamo, of whom 122 are left (and counting) following a spate of recent releases. We saw our friends Todd Pierce and Tom Wilner, among others. Meanwhile, Candace has a plethora of news on that front, including specific news of the releases, the sending-home-to-Qatar of legal resident Ali al-Marri (like American citizen Jose Padilla, held domestically in GTMO-like lawless conditions for years within the United States itself.)

Of course, another recent subject of protests, particularly here in the big city, were the near contemporaneous non-indictments of the police officers involved in the respective deaths of unarmed Black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Not that I thought a grand jury in Staten Island would necessarily issue an indictment... after all, indictments of police officers for actions in the course of duty are extremely rare in this country... I was wondering about the timing of the grand jury decision, so close to that of the grand jury decision coming out of Ferguson, MO... we now at least know that the prosecutor may have been thinking about running for the Congressional seat of now convicted felon Michael Grimm, as Richmond County D.A. Dan Donovan has announced he is running for that seat following Grimm's resignation.
Oh... the CIA's "head spook" is stepping down, also.

And in case we didn't already have the winter blahs... the 2016 Presidential campaign, alas, is now off and running, with a big shindig in Iowa hosted by Congressman Steve King, featuring such Über-Creeps as Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz... and Donald Trump! As my own view is that the country should be placed in some sort of regency administered by Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon and a couple of defense contractors and oil executives, and thereby eliminate even the pretense of "democracy" (which, of course, this nation is not... we're not the largest economy either, btw... ) nonetheless, I understand that there are huge volumes of money moved around with respect to the appearance of us having a democracy... and, obviously, I can recognize that even at an aesthetic level, I really can't bear say, Chris Christie or Ted Cruz or the Donald, none of whom rise in my esteem anywhere near to the level of, for example, professional-wrestling-villain-style-evil-genius Bill Belichick (who suggested "climactic factors" may have caused under-inflated footballs at last week's conference championship)... yada yada yada... It's going to be Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Clinton (barring something unexpected), so we can all go back to sleep. Jeb will represent the worthy fifth and sixth terms of his brother (or if you like, the seventh and eighth terms of Hillary's husband)... and Hillary will as well. Nothing to see here, folks... move along.

Well, we're over a full month into the calendar winter... the days are getting longer. Soon I'll ponder ordering some seeds to get started indoors... My advice to you'all is to go find someone to hug. The rest of this stuff is... [hopefully] less relevant than all that.
Come on now... move along...

January 1, 2015, Happy new year

It's 2015 now. That's the fifteenth different year in which I have posted something to this blog. A special thanks to those of you still reading... even occasionally... who aren't some kind of bot. I know I don't post as often as I once did... but... such is life on a blog that began when I was in my late 30's... now, in my early 50's... let's just say I don't feel compelled to post as much as I once did.

The year 2014 had its difficulties, and a number of people I care about lost loved ones. Hopefully for you and yours, 2014 also had its upsides.

I'm not going to post any resolutions, or predictions, for the coming year. I'll just post a suggestion, that you make some progress toward making "baby steps" towards whatever it is that might be (really and genuinely) important to you, be it good health, or loving relationships, or personal contentment or self-development... try to pick one or more of those... you might well consider your "self" to be broader than well, your self to include, oh, your community or environment or something like that... in which case, by all means, working towards making the world a more beautiful and loving place is a darned nice thing to do too.

In fact, devoting your life to that pursuit-- and such a life can only be lived moment to moment, in those "baby steps"-- will allow just about everything else to fall into place. Go ahead and plant your own garden (metaphorically if you like... and I suggest you try to do it literally as well, even if it means just a few seeds or sprouts in a flower pot). Why? Because it might make you happier.

Happy new year, everyone.