A verbal potpourri

A brief hodgepodge of thoughts on this Labor Day weekend …

Food: Homeless folk in Raleigh will be a bit less hungry this weekend. After getting a major earful from concerned citizens at a meeting on Wednesday, the City Council agreed to allow charity workers to continue providing breakfast biscuits to homeless folk near Moore Square while studying other distribution sites. The city is planning a spifification of the square as new high-end apartments are scheduled to be constructed on the site formerly occupied by the Salvation Army.

Politics: The Wake County District Attoney’s office has offered a plea bargain to some of the more than 940 persons arrested during “Moral Monday” protests at the state legislature, where thousands of protesters gathered to draw attention to the lawmakers’ systematic overhaul of state government, making life harder for the poor, for immigrants, and for jobless folk, while also enacting the nation’s league-leading voter suppression bill. As of today, for example, early voter registration for students and young people getting their driver’s license comes to an end. The NAACP has spoken out against the plea deals, which would require those arrested to admit wrongdoing, perform 25 hours of community service, and pay $180 in court costs. Protestors should not be required to confess guilt for actions they believed to be right or to pay a “ransom” in court costs, the NAACP said in a statement.

Syria: Can you imagine the predicament President Obama is in — and by extension, the rest of America? Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his military are clearly guilty of atrocities against humanity, and military action had been threatened if the Syrian government crossed a “red line” by using chemical weapons, so some sort of action is expected, but the longer the delay, the more allies bail out and the more time the Syrian military has to move its artillery and munitions into civilian areas so it will be impossible to strike military targets without harming civilians. No matter what Obama does, he’ll be criticized, and not just by the rabid Obama-haters who find fault that he’s still breathing. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.

Figs: My personal war with a mockingbird who eats my figs continues. This year I’ve added wind chimes and aluminum foil streamers to the net that did little to stop the craven creature last year — and I still find nubs where ripening fruit once held the promise of figgy goodness. Any helpful ideas from fellow fig-lovers, short of shooting the mockingbird? It’s one of God’s creatures, too, and I can’t blame it for loving my figs.

Weird worms: Speaking of God’s creatures, I ran across one of the weirdest this morning while walking the dog. At first I thought it was a small snake, but closer inspection revealed a shovel-shaped head. A bit of online research revealed it to be a predatory garden worm that preys on other worms, wrapping itself around them and sucking them in through a mouth located midway along the body. It turns out to be a land planarian (Bipalium kewense) sometimes called a “hammerhead flatworm.” The mouth, by the way, also serves as the critter’s anus.

Now there’s something to think about …


  1. If the president is “in a predicament,” it’s of his own making, having told Assad to get of Dodge some years ago and let somebody else (he didn’t say who) run the country. Then he set “red lines” that meant nothing because he did nothing. And he should have done nothing in Syria’s civil/sectarian war, so he at least got that right. In 2011, he ordered the U.S. military to attack Libya for reasons of his own since Libya, with virtually no military and a population 2 million less than that of New York City, posed no threat to any nation. He did this without even consulting Congress—an impeachable offense. His little war (days, not weeks, he said) lasted seven months during which honorable U.S military personnel killed no one has ever said how many Libyan women and children. If the UN estimate is right that 100,000 have died in Syria, that’s 110 per day for 2.5 years, but all of a sudden the U.S. needs to do something? Is it better to kill with bombs and bullets or Sarin gas? This president is a disgrace but, actually, I don’t find fault with his breathing. In the meantime, as long as Muslims are killing Muslims, they’re not killing infidels (us and every other non-Muslim in the world).

  2. Sorry to predict, you'll lose to the Mocking Bird! I've seen them battle every animail from Crows, Squirrls, even hawks. Give it up and let them feast… Maybe the Lord will count your doing so an act of mercy and not kill your fig bush.

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