Veteran’s Day

Today I put aside my troubles and remember the many dead of both World Wars — indeed, of all wars — for their sacrifice.

WITH rue my heart is laden
  For golden friends I had,
For many a rose-lipt maiden
  And many a lightfoot lad.
By brooks too broad for leaping
  The lightfoot boys are laid;
The rose-lipt girls are sleeping
  In fields where roses fade.
–A.E. Housman

Lest we forget.


Veteran’s Day

Today I put aside my troubles and remember the many dead of both World Wars — indeed, of all wars — for their sacrifice.
Lest we forget.
Suicide In The Trenches

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
— Siegfried Sassoon

Rob’s right; or, you say “deserter” like it’s a bad thing.

Rob is absolutely correct: anyone who lays down arms and refuses to kill on command is a hero. I don’t give a rat’s arse which “side” they’re on.
Rob’s also right in that you won’t hear much about this in the “mainstream” media, and whatever you do hear will be propaganda — which is why I’m pointing to his entry.
I know, I know — politics is bad for me, not least because if I blog this there are quite literally a thousand other stories I should blog. But I’m not going to fall into that trap; I just wanted to say “Rob’s right”, because this particular story resonated with me. We now return to our usual semi-silence.

Veteran’s Day

Today I put aside my troubles and remember the many dead of both World Wars — indeed, of all wars — for their sacrifice.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest we forget.
2005 entry.
2004 entry.

Shine On.

Remember when you were young,
You shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes,
Like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire
Of childhood and stardom,
Blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon,
You cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night,
And exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome
With random precision,
Rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
Come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!
Nobody knows where you are,
How near or how far.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Pile on many more layers
And I’ll be joining you there.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
And we’ll bask in the shadow
Of yesterday’s triumph,
And sail on the steel breeze.
Come on you boy child,
You winner and loser,
Come on you miner for truth and delusion, and shine!

A very small personal tribute to Dr Anita Roberts

portrait of Anita Roberts from has lost one of its best: Anita Roberts died of gastric cancer on May 26 (thanks to Abel for the news, sad though it is). From the WaPo obituary:

Dr. Roberts, a Pittsburgh native, graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio and received a doctoral degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin. She did postdoctoral work as a National Institutes of Health fellow at Wisconsin and Harvard Medical School before becoming staff chemist at Aerospace Research Applications Center in Bloomington, Ind. She then taught chemistry at Indiana University.
She joined the National Cancer Institute in 1976 and by 1990 rose to deputy chief of the Laboratory of Cell Regulation and Carcinogenesis, then its acting chief and, in 1995, to chief, a position she held until two years ago.

Dr Roberts also kept a personal journal of what she called her journey. Her last entry ends “Love to all of you, and no regrets”; we should all die so well.
In November of last year, having no idea that she was ill, I emailed Dr Roberts (cold; she had no idea who I was) to ask if she would send me some Smad3-knockout mouse embryo fibroblasts. For readers who are unfamiliar with gene knockouts, those are MEFs from a mouse strain in which the Smad3 gene has been deleted; this is a complex biological reagent which took many months to construct and formed a cornerstone of Dr Roberts’ work on TGF-beta signaling in cancer. Rather than ignore an ill-timed request from a complete nobody, Dr Roberts promptly forwarded my request on to a colleague who sent me the cells. I have been working with them for some months, and will now think of Dr Roberts every time I use them.
My thoughts are with her family and friends, whose loss is all the greater.

Bringing new meaning to the phrase “travesty of justice”.

lindaLoaiza03.jpgNo one who has heard her story can forget Linda Loaiza. The latest in a literally unbelievable series of denials of justice is this: the subhuman dirtbag who raped and tortured her for four months has been sentenced to six years’ jail for “severe assault and deprivation of liberty”. Remember, Loaiza had to mount a public hunger strike just to get this case heard. In the first trial, the morlock was acquitted; this is the result of an appeal. Fuuuuuuuuck.
Breathing new life also into the word “indomitable”, Loaiza plans to appeal further. You cannot dream such courage. The International Planned Parenthood Federation Western Hemisphere Region is running a campaign in support; go here to send her a message of solidarity. Words are not up to the task at hand, but one cannot remain silent so I sent this:

Dear Ms Loaiza,
I am astonished and outraged at the latest verdict in your fight for justice. I am pleased to hear that you will appeal, and I find myself unable fully to express my admiration for your unflinching courage.
You are shining a light into the lives of the oppressed, in all places and for all time.

Please also consider including the IPP/WHR in your philanthropic budget this year. In addition, Loaiza is setting up the Fundación Amigos de Linda Loaiza, which will focus on violence against women and judicial obstacles to redress of same. When I find out how to join, I’ll post details. (Picture of LL from Mujeres En Acción.)

live with this

jamadifamily.jpgHow do you live with this? You war-hawks, you keyboard commandos, you rightwing talkshow hosts, you wretched frightened little men with your senate amendments facilitating torture?
How do you live with this?
Because I haven’t reveled in it, as you have; I haven’t excused it, as you have; I haven’t pretended it isn’t happening or it isn’t my fault, like you have; I’ve done my feeble best to stop it; — and I don’t know how much longer I can live with it.
Christ ha’ mercy on us all. That’s the first thing that came into my mind when I saw that photo, even though I don’t believe.
Photograph of Manadel al-Jamadi’s wife and son holding a picture of US Specialist Sabrina Harman bending over his body, smiling and giving the thumbs-up, from here, via Julia. Al-Jamadi was tortured to death by US forces in Abu Ghraib (I noted the depraved treatment afforded his body here).
Now comes Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Antenora) with an amendment to the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act designed to strip rights afforded by habeas corpus from detainees of the Secretary of Defense (military detainees, a term whose compass Bushco seeks to broaden to “anyone the President pleases to imprison”). And the Senate passed it, 49-42/9.
Obsidian Wings has an ongoing series of posts covering this; I linked the ninth, scroll to read the others.
Then please call or write or visit your senators; ask them to vote for the Bingaman Amendment, S. AMDT 2517 to bill S. 1042. Bingaman’s amendment would delete the jurisdiction-stripping provision of Graham’s amendment.
If I have to explain to you why Graham’s amendment is vile or Bingaman’s is vital to the character, security and moral standing of the US, you’re probably a lost cause. If Bingaman’s amendment fails, the whole damn country may be a lost cause.
Update: Ron Wyden’s voicemail is full, but I’ll keep calling tomorrow — and you should, too.
Update update: I got through to a staffer who knew exactly what I wanted as soon as he heard “Bingaman”. I should’ve asked how many calls they’ve had, but I didn’t want to waste the guy’s time.
Also, you can read the Graham amendment here; I’ll add the Bingaman text when I find an online copy.
One more update: Lindsay has a roundup of informative links on the Graham and Bingaman amendments here.
Did you call? The vote’s today Tuesday morning.

Posted in woe

Veteran’s Day

Today I put aside my troubles and remember the many dead of both World Wars — indeed, of all wars — for their sacrifice.
Lest we forget.
Anthem for Doomed Youth
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
   Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
   Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, —
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
   Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
   The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
— Wilfred Owen
2004 entry.

Posted in woe

The last of his kind.

The Last Post has sounded for the last digger to see active service: Evan Allen, 106, died last week and was laid to rest in a state funeral today. From the Australian:

Born in Bega in New South Wales in July 1899, Mr Allan enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy as a boy sailor at the outbreak of World War I when he was only 14 years old.
As an able seaman, he was a member of the crew of HMAS Encounter from 1915 until 1918.
He sailed in the Pacific and also in the Indian Ocean escorting troop ship convoys.
Mr Allan served in the Royal Australian Navy for 34 years and also saw service in World War II.
During World War II, he served at sea in the Royal Navy armed merchant cruiser HMS Moreton Bay, as well as at Flinders Naval Depot, as Piermaster at HMAS Ladava at Milne Bay, New Guinea, in 1944, aboard HMAS Australia and as an instructor at HMAS Cerberus.
Mr Allan retired from the navy in 1947 with the rank of lieutenant.
He had lived as a boy on a family property in Upper Brogo, NSW, and after leaving the navy returned to the land, this time on a small farm near Frankston, Victoria.
In 1999, Mr Allan received the 80th Anniversary Armistice Remembrance Medal, awarded to all living Australian World War I veterans.
He was also awarded the King’s Silver Jubilee Medal in 1935, the King’s Coronation Medal in 1937 and the Australian Centenary Medal for the 2001 Centenary of Federation.
Mr Allan … is survived by his daughter Judith Blake and grandchildren Duncan and Philippa.

Thanks, mate.

Posted in woe