The sun set, creating a distinct crown formed of dark blue light shafts over a ridge whose name I don’t know, which joined other lavender and pink mountains ringing an expanse of green beneath a pale blue sky. It was a scene so lovely that Koko and I stopped to watch, and soon a car pulled over, and the driver got out and said, “You’re Joan, aren’t you?” I recognized him as Rob Zelkowsky, the filmmaker — that’s how small Kauai can be — and we agreed, and his companion, too, that we’d never seen anything quite like that crown before.
Later, returning to the scene of the sublime, a fat, golden Jupiter hung low in the southwest and Hina, building toward blue moon fullness on New Year’s Eve, was directly overhead, clear and white.
By morning, thick mist covered the pastures and a dark blue Giant was highlighted against a backdrop of hot orange. This time it was my neighbor Andy, and the bicycling son of my landlords, who paused with me to admire the landscape.
I asked Andy what he thought about the attempted airplane bombing and he said that with family visiting, he’d fallen behind on the news, which I assured him was fine, seeing as how even the Prez is on vacation. But he had seen a short blurb about it on TV, and when he expressed interest, his tenant, who was over for dinner, asked how it affected him.
Well, aside from Joe Lieberman, who Andy calls the senator from Israel, calling for a pre-emptive strike against Yemen — yes, that worked so well in Afghanistan after 9-11, now didn’t it — it also means tougher TS rules that will serve to make flying even more hellish, at least internationally, as airlines attempt to crack down on crotch bombs:
1. Perform thorough pat-down of all passengers at boarding gate prior to boarding, concentrating on upper legs and torso.
2. Physically inspect 100 percent of all passenger accessible property at the boarding gate prior to boarding, with focus on syringes being transported along with powders and/or liquids.
As for in-flight:
2. Passenger access to carry-on baggage is prohibited beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination. 5. Passengers may not have any blankets, pillows, or personal belongings on the lap beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
Meanwhile, the guy had bought a one-way ticket with cash, was traveling without luggage and his father had warned U.S. officials about his son’s increasing radicalism. Something’s not quite right here — aside from the fact that he chose a flight to Detroit. I mean, what was he thinking? Americans don’t give a damn about Motown anymore.
In other news, the Associated Press is reporting that more states are looking at liberalizing their marijuana laws, in part because they're finally starting to realize there's money in it:
"Our state is facing a huge financial deficit and deficits are projected for a few more years," Washington state Rep. Mary Lou] Dickerson said, referring to the projected $2.6 billion hole lawmakers will need to fill next year. "We need to look at revenue and see what might be possible."
Still, some hard-liners remain adamantly opposed to any truce in the war on drugs:
"There's no upside to it in any manner other than for those people who want to smoke pot," said Travis Kuykendall, head of the West Texas High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area office in El Paso, Texas. "There's nothing for society in it, there's nothing good for the country in it, there's nothing for the good of the economy in it."
Yet Portugal, which has decriminalized drugs, has proven folks like Kuykendall wrong. As Glenn Greenwald reported in Salon.com:
Evaluating the policy strictly from an empirical perspective, decriminalization has been an unquestionable success, leading to improvements in virtually every relevant category and enabling Portugal to manage drug-related problems (and drug usage rates) far better than most Western nations that continue to treat adult drug consumption as a criminal offense.
Perhaps, as a NORML rep noted, we are finally reaching the “tipping point” in public opinion that will lead to some meaningful changes in how we deal with this extremely widespread issue.