Thursday, December 01, 2005

November 22, 2005 - 42 years ago today....

Dear Sis

I awoke this morning and instantly recalled that today is the anniversary (the 42nd) of President Kennedy's assassination in Dallas. Like anyone else who is old enough to recall that day I can, with vivid clarity, remember where I was (elementary school) and what I was doing (talking with a cute little pigtail wearing girl whom I had a crush on) when I heard the news. Still, it's strange that the date is always on my mind. Each year, as that date approaches, I become increasingly aware of it, until I wake up, on the 22nd, with it on my mind. The only other date that strikes me in that same manner is December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day. For some reason it is indelibly etched into my memory and consciousness (probably the result of too many years spent reading history books in too many cells).

Rob Lovitt, who is scheduled to be executed on November 30th, has a clemency petition pending before Gov. Warner. Warner leaves office in January, and he had higher political ambitions (he's made no secret of his desire to run for President). Anyway, Rob has a lot of people in his corner, including politicians and members of the legal community from both sides of the political aisle. It's occurred to me that Warner cannot get much grief from the Republican right if he grants clemency inasmuch as Kenneth Starr, a hero of the right, is Rob's attorney and is pushing for clemency. Having Starr in the picture gives Warner the political cover he needs (or thinks he needs) to grant clemency. I mean, if Starr is for clemency, how can anyone else complain too loudly? Still, Warner has not granted anyone clemency in the four years he's been governor, so I have no real reason to believe he'll start now. He's a political animal and any clemency decision he makes will be based upon raw political considerations. It's an ugly thing to see a man's life depend upon how the political winds are blowing. A man's life - and his death - should be weighed against something more basic, more rudimentary, more honest than mere politics, don't you think?

Tomorrow is a regular yard day; we only go out to yard 4 days a week now. (Yard is a misnomer, it's just a series of individual, one-man dog runs, like a kennel, each one about the size of our cells). I'll go out with my 6 or 8 slices of stale bread, along with the occasional pancake or chunk of cornbread, and feed the birds. There's a big crew of boisterous sparrows who wait on me (sometimes rather impatiently). But, off in the woods, there's a murder of crows who also wait on me. For the last month or two I've been tossing out hot dogs, and slices of that really nasty sliced meat (spoiled Bologna or rotten turkey ham) we get for lunch each day. There's one huge crow, presumably the head honcho male, and about 5 smaller ones (probably females or young males). The big guy is bold; when he lands by our cages he struts around (the sparrows hide, of course), and cocks his head to inspect us and the ground, littered with bread. When I first go out there, if I've got some meat, I'll call the crows from the woods. They recognize my CAW! CAW! CAW! and they fly over. When the male sees the hot dog he'll swoop in and snatch it up in his beak, then fly off, beating his wings as he struggles with the weight and size of that hot dog. He's got incredible vision - he can spot the hotdog in the grass from 300 yards away - and he swoops in like a ghost. Occasionally he'll land, inspect the hot dog, than caw at me, like he's thanking me for the meal. One thing I know, he recognizes my calls and knows it means "chow time!" Then he flys off and shares the meat with some of the other crows.

Today I watched Pres Bush pardon two Thanksgiving Day turkeys, as every president traditionally does each year. The irony was thick; while governor of Texas he executed more people than any governor in history, and clemency was the farthest thing from his mind. So, it's kill the humans! But save the turkeys! What's wrong with this picture? (Speaking of which, when was the last time you heard Bush use that oxymoronic phrase "compassionate conservativism" that he used to get elected? The "compassion" is gone with the wind).

Time to go, Sis. Give the doggies a hug for me, and keep your mind in positive gear!

Love and Peace, Bill