Sunday, December 23, 2007

I would heave a sigh of relief...

If I could breathe properly. The travelers are all sick. But leaving tonight, leaving poor DH at home on his own. Try to have a nice time, sweetie!

But it means I'm done. I have to be. Can't do any more except a trip to Target for stockings tomorrow in NJ. Gifts are bought, knit, baked, wrapped, mailed, given wherever possible. More Fetchings to be knit en route.

I'll be blogging while I'm gone, though, so expect some pictures of Der Tag!

Peace on earth, goodwill toward...well, everyone.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Can you see me doing the Happy Dance?

Arwen is finished. Sorry, mom, you can wait to see it until unwrapping! But this is how much yarn is left:

arwen yarn left


Teacher gifts are gifted and worn (and liked, I think), cookies are baked, including special ones. Breads are done. Shopping done, kids done with school.

Tomorrow: Sort cookies, wrap packages. Wrap breads. Mail packages. Laundry for trip, pack for trip, work about 3 1/2 hours (must start early so as not to be overwhelmed). Clean house. Wrap other stuff. Not so bad, really. Only one errand to run (unless I want to go to the bank before they close).

Unfortunately, DS has a fever tonight. We will go anyway, but I hope he feels better by Sunday. My children are singing with the adult choir at church this Sunday. I've not had both of them up there with me before and it rather touches my heart. I wish I could watch! They are SO sweet! And last week was DD's first time as an acolyte.

Hope your preparations and celebrations are festive and joyous!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pictures! Pictures!

Hey, I didn't say they were good pictures.

If I have time, though, I will try to post something from last night's adventure (from which I'm sure the children will be recovering all day today, sorry teachers): Disney Princesses on Ice!!

Huge thank you to Penny for the tickets (box seats!) and for coming with us!! Wish you were back in the choir, we miss you!

But the knitting pictures trump more uploading:

Fetching: mrs. doan's fetching

Dashing: mrs. domanski's dashing

Baby gifts for my Stepdad's German translater (due on Christmas Day): britta's baby gifts

I will spare you the photo of the back of Arwen blocking (blurry square). But the back and the left side are drying now, the right side will be drying later. I will sew up the side and sleeve seams of the dry parts today. The yarn did relax as expected, but it's blocking to size just fine. I hope it doesn't stretch out with wear but what can I do? Others have made this sweater with this yarn (see Ravelry) and have not complained.

I did cast on a pair of Fetching for myself since I need (I can't believe I'm saying this myself) more yarn to make another glove for DD. Glove #1: .75 oz, yarn remaining: .5 oz. And I promised! That's happening today sometime. But mine are on the needles so they will get done in the next few days, I'm sure.

Today: Volunteer at school, library time, school Christmas Program, bookstore, party invitations (unless DD really does want to make them herself, which is fine), aforesaid yarn store, block right of Arwen, make another extra dinner for DH, choir practice (with kids). Tomorrow is a big push day as the house is a wreck, I MUST get the cookies done so some can be mailed on Saturday, Arwen MUST be sewn up when I can concentrate on it. The list is getting shorter each day, I think, and I've stopped having bad dreams. It will be a relief to go to my mom's, finished with deadlines, where she can mess with the kids some and I can relax. Oh, and eat food I didn't make!! Thanks, mom!!

There's DS waking up, silly boy. Later!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Things I Would Like to Know

If there are "only" two days left to order from Amazon for delivery by Christmas, why are my books going to be late?

Why do I never buy enough butter but always buy way more flour and brown sugar than anyone could possibly use (or store)?

Why can't I seem to remember what day of the week it is?

Why do I have these dreams where I've forgotten a huge project for school (or scouts or VBS) and wake in a panic EVERY NIGHT until the deadlines are past?


Today: Buy more butter. Work. Knit last eleven rows on hood and block Arwen (O.M.G.). Groceries, one more Xmas gift, birthday party invitations. Teacher cards. Practice Blake songs for concert. Make extra dinner for DH. Disney Princesses on Ice. Ooh, but I'll be done with the sweater so I can knit gloves (second one for DD is up first, ho hum. Where are mine?). Not so bad, actually. If I can get the sweater laid out, I can relax a bit and the kids' Christmas program Day 1 is today so maybe my subconscious will give me a break.

Hope your day is wonderful and the memos don't burn!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Chris Dodd did a great job yesterday!! Cheers for standing up and saying what you believe!! Props also to Kennedy and Feingold among others!!

Dodd says he will filibuster in January, if necessary, and we will be there to support that as well, yay!

Sorry another picture free post, but you know how it is. Teacher knitting is done and washed. Baby gifts, done and washed. Arwen is three inches into the second half of the hood. If I wasn't so distracted and busy with everything else, I would have finished her by now, but as long as she's drying by Friday night (sh*t, it's Tuesday!) I'll be fine. If only I didn't have to try to work this week...oh, well.

Wednesday we've been given box seats for Disney Princesses on Ice, way cool! Should even be able to knit in the box, since it will probably have heat!

Planning to knit some more fingerless gloves while Arwen is drying. Is that wrong? Could work on evil raglan but I won't finish it before I go so why? Also I can steek on mom's sewing machine!

Today: Work, practice Faure songs and rehearse with accompanist, thumbprint cookies, homework, piano, make double dinner (to leave some home for DH), make sure kids have appropriate outfits for Christmas program tomorrow (I'm going on Thursday), loaf of cranberry bread to post office (might wait till the rest of the packages are ready, though). Enough? Oh, yeah! Oh, and knit Arwen!

Hope you're having a fine day and everything is going well! And you are not suffering from EXCESSIVE EXCLAMATION POINTS as I seem to be (resisting).


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Paging Senator Dodd!

Here's the comment I sent to be read on the Senate floor:

Our country is under assault, not from without, but from within. Our values, our civil rights, our very nature being dismantled piece by piece. We cannot continue down the path of lawlessness any further. To immunize gigantic corporations for illegal activity, activity that no one will even define, which cannot be evaluated, can only lead to further disregard of the law. Our current administration is criminally negligent, crimimally liable, criminally tyrannical. Our Constitution is under seige. As the representatives of the People of the United States of America, you must stand in opposition to these authoritarians. Our nation is not one of nobles and serfs, but of individuals with dreams and ambitions. Individuals who deserve to succeed as their intellects and energies allow. Individuals who elected you to public office. It is time, nay, it is past time for you to stand for US, for the PEOPLE. Not for the corporations, not for the lobbyists, not for campaign donors, but for US. For me. For my children. Do not capitulate to the bullies and leave us to be victimized further.

Thank you, Senator Dodd. I will be watching. The world will be watching.

We're behind you, Senator, you keep talking. And Hillary? Barry? Joe? We're watching you, too. STAND THE F*CK UP!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bet you can tell what time of year it is!

Busy time! I have lists of lists, I keep having dreams of projects forgotten that don't exist. I wake up in the middle of the night certain that I need 400 i-cord loops for some school project and they're due tomorrow morning. Crazy!

But I don't have time for photos or uploading to Flickr or anything, sorry. Dashing and Fetching are finished, last Fetching needs a bath. Made one extra so far (first one was too small and fits DD so she gets week). Arwen is at the second side of the hood. Baby hat is almost done (started this morning). Hope socks go as quickly!

I've made 5 loaves of Cranberry Bread, 84 Peanut Butter Oaties and at least 72 Molasses Cookies a la Heide (DH says they are the BEST EVER). Tomorrow kids and I will do our annual cookie cutter extravaganza. Then I only have three more kinds of cookies to go!

I will also be making the new lists for the week. Kids get out early 3 out of five days. They also have a pizza party, a Christmas concert and a craft day on Friday. DS has a Pack Meeting, we're supposed to go to a caroling party (rather ambivalent this year, though) and I have to rehearse for my recital in January before I leave. Can you see why I breathe a sigh of relief when I get on the plane?

Hope all of your holiday plans, whatever they may be or represent, are going smoothly and safely.


Friday, December 07, 2007


Below is the full text of a speech by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the Senate Floor today. If you don't want to read the whole thing (YOU SHOULD), our President (I can hardly stand to type that) has said that:

1. "I don't have to follow my own rules, and I don't have to tell you when I'm breaking them."
2. "I get to determine what my own powers are."
3. "The Department of Justice doesn't tell me what the law is, I tell the Department of Justice what the law is."

Sound like a dictatorship yet?!!!?!?!

This is no conspiracy theory, folks. This is the real deal.

If you want a great analysis, much better than I can do here, please go over to Emptywheel and read Marcy's. And the comments. Oh, Lord, how have we reached this point?

Full text of Whitehouse speech:

We will shortly consider making right the things that are wrong with the so-called Protect America Act, a second-rate piece of legislation passed in a stampede in August at the behest of the Bush Administration. It is worth for a moment considering why making this right is so important.

President Bush pressed this legislation not only to establish how our government can spy on foreign agents, but how his administration can spy on Americans. Make no mistake, the legislation we passed in August is significantly about spying on Americans - a business this administration should not be allowed to get into except under the closest supervision. We have a plain and tested device for keeping tabs on the government when it's keeping tabs on Americans. It is our Constitution.

Our Constitution has as its most elemental provision the separation of governmental powers into three separate branches. When the government feels it necessary to spy on its own citizens, each branch has a role.

The executive branch executes the laws, and conducts surveillance. The legislative branch sets the boundaries that protect Americans from improper government surveillance. The judicial branch oversees whether the government has followed the Constitution and the laws that protect U.S. citizens from violations of their privacy and their civil rights.

It sounds basic, but even an elementary understanding of this balance of powers eludes the Bush administration. So now we have to repair this flawed and shoddy "Protect America Act."

Why are we in Congress so concerned about this? Why is it so vital that we energetically assert the role of Congress and the Courts when the Bush Administration seeks to spy on Americans?

Because look what the Bush Administration does behind our backs when they think no one is looking.

For years under the Bush Administration, the Office of Legal Counsel within the Department of Justice has issued highly classified secret legal opinions related to surveillance. This is an administration that hates answering to an American court, that wants to grade its own papers, and OLC is the inside place the administration goes to get legal support for its spying program.

As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I was given access to those opinions, and spent hours poring over them. Sitting in that secure room, as a lawyer, as a former U.S. Attorney, legal counsel to Rhode Island's Governor, and State Attorney General, I was increasingly dismayed and amazed as I read on.

To give you an example of what I read, I have gotten three legal propositions from these OLC opinions declassified. Here they are, as accurately as my note taking could reproduce them from the classified documents. Listen for yourself. I will read all three, and then discuss each one.

An executive order cannot limit a President. There is no constitutional requirement for a President to issue a new executive order whenever he wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order. Rather than violate an executive order, the President has instead modified or waived it.
The President, exercising his constitutional authority under Article II, can determine whether an action is a lawful exercise of the President's authority under Article II.
The Department of Justice is bound by the President's legal determinations.
Let's start with number one. Bear in mind that the so-called Protect America Act that was stampeded through this great body in August provides no - zero - statutory protections for Americans traveling abroad from government wiretapping. None if you're a businesswoman traveling on business overseas, none if you're a father taking the kids to the Caribbean, none if you're visiting uncles or aunts in Italy or Ireland, none even if you're a soldier in the uniform of the United States posted overseas. The Bush Administration provided in that hastily-passed law no statutory restrictions on their ability to wiretap you at will, to tap your cell phone, your e-mail, whatever.

The only restriction is an executive order called 12333, which limits executive branch surveillance to Americans who the Attorney General determines to be agents of a foreign power. That's what the executive order says.

But what does this administration say about executive orders?

An executive order cannot limit a President. There is no constitutional requirement for a President to issue a new executive order whenever he wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order. Rather than violate an executive order, the President has instead modified or waived it.

"Whenever (the President) wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order," he may do so because "an executive order cannot limit a President." And he doesn't have to change the executive order, or give notice that he's violating it, because by "depart(ing) from the executive order," the President "has instead modified or waived it."

So unless Congress acts, here is what legally prevents this President from wiretapping Americans traveling abroad at will: nothing. Nothing.

That was among the most egregious flaws in the bill passed during the August stampede they orchestrated by the Bush Administration - and this OLC opinion shows why we need to correct it.

Here's number two.

The President, exercising his constitutional authority under Article II, can determine whether an action is a lawful exercise of the President's authority under Article II.

Yes, that's right. The President, according to the George W. Bush OLC, has Article II power to determine what the scope of his Article II powers are.

Never mind a little decision called Marbury v. Madison, written by Chief Justice John Marshall in 1803, establishing the proposition that it is "emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is." Does this administration agree that it is emphatically the province and the duty of the judicial department to say what the President's authority is under Article II? No, it is the President, according to this OLC, who decides the legal limits of his own Article II power.

The question "whether an action is a lawful exercise of the President's authority under Article II," is to be determined by the President's minions, "exercising his constitutional authority under Article II."

It really makes you wonder, who are these people? They have got to be smart people to get there. How can people who are so smart be so misguided?

And then, it gets worse. Remember point three.

The Department of Justice is bound by the President's legal determinations.

Let that sink in a minute.

The Department of Justice is bound by the President's legal determinations.

We are a nation of laws, not of men. This nation was founded in rejection of the royalist principles that "l'etat c'est moi" and "The King can do no wrong." Our Attorney General swears an oath to defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States; we are not some banana republic in which the officials all have to kowtow to the "supreme leader." Imagine a general counsel to a major U.S. corporation telling his board of directors, "in this company the counsel's office is bound by the CEO's legal determinations." The board ought to throw that lawyer out - it's malpractice, probably even unethical.

Wherever you are, if you are watching this, do me a favor. The next time you are in Washington, D.C., take a taxi some evening to the Department of Justice. Stand outside, and look up at that building shining against the starry night. Look at the sign outside- "The United States Department of Justice." Think of the heroes who have served there, and the battles fought. Think of the late nights, the brave decisions, the hard work of advancing and protecting our democracy that has been done in those halls. Think about how that all makes you feel.

Then think about this statement:

The Department of Justice is bound by the President's legal determinations.

If you don't feel a difference from what you were feeling a moment ago, well, congratulations - there is probably a job for you in the Bush administration. Consider the sad irony that this theory was crafted in that very building, by the George W. Bush Office of Legal Counsel.

In a nutshell, these three Bush administration legal propositions boil down to this:

"I don't have to follow my own rules, and I don't have to tell you when I'm breaking them."
"I get to determine what my own powers are."
"The Department of Justice doesn't tell me what the law is, I tell the Department of Justice what the law is."
When the Congress of the United States is willing to roll over for an unprincipled President, this is where you end up. We should not even be having this discussion. But here we are. I implore my colleagues: reject these feverish legal theories. I understand political loyalty, trust me, I do. But let us also be loyal to this great institution we serve in the legislative branch of our government. Let us also be loyal to the Constitution we took an oath to defend, from enemies foreign and domestic. And let us be loyal to the American people who live each day under our Constitution's principles and protections.

We simply cannot put the authority to wiretap Americans, whenever they step outside America's boundaries, under the exclusive control and supervision of the executive branch. We do not allow it when Americans are here at home; we should not allow it when they travel abroad. The principles of congressional legislation and oversight, and of judicial approval and review, are simple and longstanding. Americans deserve this protection wherever on God's green earth they may travel.
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