Saturday, March 30, 2019

JOSEPH THOMAS BUTLER, JR , 1938 - 2019

Obituary for Joseph Thomas Butler Jr.

Beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Joseph Thomas (Tom) Butler, Jr died peacefully on March 19, 2019. Tom fought a hard fight after treatment for cancer in 2017. He was born January 24, 1938, in White Castle, Louisiana, and lived in New Roads, Louisiana, in his childhood and youth.

Tom attended Louisiana State University where he received bachelor's and master's degrees. He then attended Southeastern Louisiana University and received another master's degree.

In 1969, Tom moved with his wife and three children to Thibodaux, Louisiana, to accept a position in the library at Nicholls State University, where he worked for 34 years. He was Associate Director when he retired from the Ellender Memorial Library.

Tom is survived by his wife of 58 years, June Barrosse Butler, originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, son Patrick and wife, Marlet, son Timothy and wife, Cindy, daughter Alison Butler Costanzo and fiancé, Frank DiVincenti, and six grandchildren, Joey Butler, Bryan Costanzo, Ashlynn Butler, Andrew Costanzo, William Costanzo, and Joshua Butler. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Thomas Butler, Sr and Laura Janis Butler.

Tom's funeral service celebrating his life will be on Saturday, April 6, at 2PM, with visitation beginning at 1PM, at St John's Episcopal Church, 718 Jackson St, Thibodaux LA 70301. A reception in the church hall will follow the service.

The loves of Tom's life in addition to his family were gardening, fishing, and a small wooden boat museum, The Center For Traditional Louisiana Boat Building, established in the 1970s by Tom and John Rochelle, first at Nicholls State University and later in its own building in Lockport, Louisiana, on 202 Main Street. Tom served as director of the Center until very recently.

In lieu of flowers, tax-deductable donations may be sent to Friends for Traditional LA Boat Building, 202 Main Street, Lockport LA 70374.

Monday, January 21, 2019

MARTIN LUTHER KING - 1929-1968 - IN MEMORIAM


So Long

so long
is in the song
and it's in the way you're gone
but it's like a foreign language
in my mind
and maybe I was blind
i could not see
and would not know
you're gone so long
so long.

(Langston Hughes)

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


My hope for 2019 and all the years that follow is for The Little Prince and his tender care for his small Asteroid 325 and his beloved rose to be a lesson for grown-ups and children on planet Earth. May we learn to tenderly care for all Earth's living inhabitants, and the land, water, and air that keep us alive.

Dougie MacLean's version of the auld song from Robert Burns' poem of the same title is my favorite. The lyrics are below.



AULD LANG SYNE

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 

And never brought tae mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And days of auld lang syne? 

Chorus: 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne. 

We twa hae run aboot the braes, 
And pou’d the gowans fine; 
We’ve wander’d mony a weary fit, 
Sin' days of auld lang syne.

Chorus

And we twa hae paidl’d i' the burn, 

Frae morning sun till dine; 
But seas between us braid hae roar’d 
Sin' days of auld lang syne. 

Chorus 

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere! 
And gie's a hand o’ thine! 
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught, 
For auld lang syne.

Chorus x 2 

(The following verse in Robert Burn's poem is not included in this version of the song.)

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp! 
And surely I’ll be mine! 
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.
 Edit: As one of my Facebook friends said, "...a cup o' kindness" may be the most important words in the song.

Friday, November 2, 2018

VOTE BLUE IN LOUISIANA!




Louisiana voters, Tuesday, November 6 is election day. If you want change and "A Better Deal", if you want to reelect our single Democratic congressman, oust Trump's enablers in Congress, insure healthcare coverage for preexisting conditions, and free and fair elections in Louisiana, please vote for the following Democrats on the ballot.

Renee Fontenot Free - Secretary of State.

Tammy Savoie - 1st Congressional District.

Congressman Cedric Richmond - 2nd Congressional District.

Mimi Methvin - 3rd Congressional District.

Ryan Trundle - 4th Congressional District.

Jessee Fleenor - 5th Congressional District.

Justin Dewitt - 6th Congressional District. (My candidate in the 6th District. I voted early.)

Read about endorsements by the Democratic party:

Please vote for the 2nd Constitutional Amendment on the ballot requiring unanimous jury verdicts for conviction for felonies. If one or two out of 12 jurors have reasonable doubts about whether the person on trial is guilty of one or more felony charges, then that should be reason enough for a verdict of "Not guilty".

If you are concerned about...

1. Healthcare, especially affordable insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions

2. Voting rights, gerrymandering, voter suppression

3. Immigrant children separated from their parents and locked in cages.

4. Campaign finance reform

...please VOTE BLUE!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

EL MALEH RACHAMIM - JEWISH PRAYER FOR THE DEAD


G-d, filled with mercy, dwelling in the heavens' heights, bring proper rest beneath the wings of your Shechinah, amid the ranks of the holy and the pure, illuminating like the brilliance of the skies the souls of our beloved and our blameless who went to their eternal place of rest. May You who are the source of mercy shelter them beneath Your wings eternally, and bind their souls among the living, that they may rest in peace. And let us say: Amen.

Cecil Rosenthal
David Rosenthal
Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz
Irving Younger
Melvin Wax
Rose Mallinger
Bernice Simon
Sylvan Simon
Joyce Feinburg
Richard Gottfried
Daniel Stein
Amen.

The killings and woundings by Robert Bowers in Tree of Life Synagogue left me speechless and without tears. It was only today when I saw the people in Pittsburgh marching in solidarity with their Jewish neighbors that I shed tears. Isn't the Jewish prayer for the dead, El Maleh Rachamim, one of the most beautiful prayers ever?

Monday, October 8, 2018

KAVANAUGH'S DEAD, STINKING ALBATROSS

I hope Trump's mocking of Dr Christine Ford hangs around Kavanaugh's neck like a dead, stinking albatross for his entire time on the court. I doubt there are many other nominees to the court who would not have withdrawn, if for no other reason than to spare their family the grief Kavanaugh's forced his to endure. He is in no way vindicated by his confirmation. He may have "won", but to take a seat on the highest court in the land under such circumstances seems a disgrace rather than a victory. Of course, the people of the country will suffer the consequences of the debacle. Justice Anthony Kennedy must be proud

Shocking and scary is how I'd describe Kavanaugh's behavior at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week. He demonstrated his obvious contempt for the hearing itself in his angry rant of an opening statement with references to revenge and conspiracies involving the Clintons. He gave direct answers to very few questions. Kavanaugh yelled at Sen Feinstein when she attempted to question him and never apologized.

The worst of Kavanaugh's contempt went to Sen Amy Klobuchar, who spoke of her father, who is now sober, and his struggle with alcholism. When she asked Kavanaugh if he ever had memory loss after drinking, he turned the question back on her and said, "I don't know. Have you?"

At times, Kavanaugh seemed so out of control, I wondered if he had been drinking. My father was an alcoholic who was on and off the wagon throughout his life. Sometimes he didn't drink for years, but he thought he could go it alone without AA, and, even when he wasn't drinking, he was mean and angry. Kavanaugh reminded me of my father, and to think of him sitting on the highest court of the land is devastating and frightening.

Not for one minute did I believe Susan Collins (R-ME) was "undecided". Her "undecided" act is old and tired and needs to be retired. She's Lucy with the football. Her 45 minute long speech was a load of bullshit. She believes Dr Christine Ford was assaulted but not by Brett Kavahaugh, who must be innocent until proven guilty. Collins wants to have it both ways as a case of mistaken identity by Christine Ford. Shame on her for abusing Ford again and for insulting the public's intelligence.

Was Jeff Flake's (R-AZ) apparent angst and call for a delay and an FBI investigation fake? Fake Flake? He got his delay and a mockery of an investigation that was brief, narrow, and severely limited. The FBI ignored a list of people who wanted to be interviewed and didn't even include interviews with the principals! Flake was satisfied that Dr Ford's testimony was not "corroborated" even without hearing from witnesses who told the FBI they could corroborate her story. He promptly decided he had enough cover to vote yes to Kavanaugh's confirmation.

The bar for a nominee to the Supreme Court should be set much higher than innocent until proven guilty. A justice on the Supreme Court should be above reproach and above partisanship. Kavanaugh has a history of reproaches and was blatantly partisan in his opening statement. Kavanaugh seems to have strayed from the truth multiple times during his testimony in 2006 at his confirmation hearings for the Washington DC Circuit Court and again last week. He will take his seat on the highest court in the land with indelible black marks on his reputation and suitability.

Watching Christine Ford's testimony alleging that a drunken 17 year old Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her with his intoxicated friend Mark Judge in the room was one of the most wrenching and compelling TV moments in my life. Ford was completely credible. I saw absolutely no sign of calculation or intention to make herself look good. I saw her tell the truth. I believe Christine Ford.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I BELIEVE DR CHRISTINE FORD

Why is it Dr Christine Ford and not Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, who asks for the FBI to investigate her allegations of sexual assault against the nominee? If Kavanaugh is telling the truth, why wouldn't he want to clear his name instead of taking his place on the court under a cloud? Of course, lying to the FBI is a crime.

I believe Christine Ford's story. Why would she make public a false story about an alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh when she was 15 years old, and he was 17? Ford certainly knew further abuse would follow, but perhaps even she did not envision death threats to herself and her family that  made it necessary for them to leave their home and go into hiding.

Dr Ford's description of the alleged sexual assault in her letter to Sen Feinstein:
Dear Senator Feinstein;

I am writing with information relevant in evaluating the current nominee to the Supreme Court.

As a constituent, I expect that you will maintain this as confidential until we have further opportunity to speak.

Brett Kavanaugh physically and sexually assaulted me during high school in the early 1980's. He conducted these acts with the assistance of REDACTED.


Both were one to two years older than me and students at a local private school.

The assault occurred in a suburban Maryland area home at a gathering that included me and four others.

Kavanaugh physically pushed me into a bedroom as I was headed for a bathroom up a short stair well from the living room. They locked the door and played loud music precluding any successful attempt to yell for help.

Kavanaugh was on top of me while laughing with REDACTED, who periodically jumped onto Kavanaugh. They both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state. With Kavanaugh's hand over my mouth I feared he may inadvertently kill me.

'From across the room a very drunken REDACTED said mixed words to Kavanaugh ranging from "go for it" to "stop."
At one point when REDACTED jumped onto the bed the weight on me was substantial. The pile toppled, and the two scrapped with each other. After a few attempts to get away, I was able to take this opportune moment to get up and run across to a hallway bathroom. I locked the bathroom door behind me. Both loudly stumbled down the stair well at which point other persons at the house were talking with them. I exited the bathroom, ran outside of the house and went home.

I have not knowingly seen Kavanaugh since the assault. I did see REDACTED once at the REDACTED where he was extremely uncomfortable seeing me.

I have received medical treatment regarding the assault. On July 6 I notified my local government representative to ask them how to proceed with sharing this information . It is upsetting to discuss sexual assault and its repercussions, yet I felt guilty and compelled as a citizen about the idea of not saying anything.

I am available to speak further should you wish to discuss. I am currently REDACTED and will be in REDACTED.

In confidence, REDACTED.
We now know that except for the final two lines in the letter that refer to Dr Ford, REDACTED is Kavanaugh's high school friend, Mark Judge, who has written extensively about his drunken years at Georgetown Prep in Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk and God and Man at Georgetown Prep.

The loathsome responses of GOP Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and other GOP senators on the committee are disgusting. Grassley, with great condescension said, "I don't doubt that she believes what she says, and in fact, I have a responsibility to give deference to that, at least until I hear it, and to make a determination afterwards if it is possible to make a determination."  There, there, dear. We'll pretend to listen, but your testimony is unreliable and won't change anything.

Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said Ford was "mixed up" and “there’s no question in my mind she was coached by special interest groups. Her story’s too contrived. It’s so slick it doesn’t compute.”

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “This has been a drive-by shooting when it comes to Kavanaugh....I’ll listen to the lady, but we’re going to bring this to a close.”

Dr Ford doesn't remember certain details like how she got home or the exact date of the party, but she remembers quite clearly the details of the alleged assault and that Kavanaugh's friend, Mark Judge, was in the room. Is that unusual? Not at all. She was traumatized, and it is common that peripheral details of an incident that causes trauma remain hazy.

Why in heaven's name would Dr Ford or anyone believe the GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee would give her anything resembling a fair hearing?

The latest in a still developing story from the New York Times:
Dr Ford “would be prepared to testify next week,” so long as senators offer “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety,” according to an email her lawyers sent to committee staff members.

In the email, obtained by The New York Times, the lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford said that testifying Monday — the timetable Republicans have set for a hearing — “is not possible and the Committee’s insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event.” The lawyer reiterated that it is Dr. Blasey’s “strong preference” that “a full investigation” occur before her testimony — wording that stopped short of demanding an F.B.I. probe and suggested she is open to testifying without one.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

MEANDERING RUMINATIONS ON SPEAKING OF THE DEAD AND MORE

I watched part of the McCain funeral service at the National Cathedral this morning. I could have done without Joe Lieberman and Henry Kissinger, but I didn't get to choose the speakers, nor should I. Obama was wonderful, but he always speaks beautifully. He made me shed a tear or two.

What does it say about the rotten state of the country when I feel the slight trace of a twinge of nostalgia for George W Bush?

Further ruminations about speaking of the dead led me to think that if public words must be spoken soon after the death that we look for moments of grace in the lives of the deceased. Find those moments, many or few though they may be, and speak of them. History will judge the rest.

Then I thought about Trump, and I couldn't come up with a single moment of grace in his public life. As I pondered further, I became angry, more so at Trump enablers than at Trump.  El Naranja Grande is such an impaired human being that I'm certain he is incapable of change. He must be restrained.

Thus the duty falls to people in government and citizens outside government who have a measure of power to exercise that power to restrain Trump and protect what's left of our democratic institutions. The people of the country and, indeed, the entire world deserve no less than protection from further damage inflicted by a president with such grave impairments.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm in no way letting Trump off the hook, but no thinking person looks to him as having a part in rooting out the rot in the country. I'm furious at the enablers, the American Vichyites, who failed and still fail so miserably to do their duty.

Thus endeth my ruminations.

RIP, JOHN MCCAIN

For all his flaws, and he had many, I believe John McCain cared about our country. The symbolism of his requests to former presidents Barack Obama, a Democrat, and George W Bush, a Republican, to speak at his funeral seems powerful to me. He campaigned for the presidency against both men and lost. I believe at the end of his life he wished for Americans to come together, not at all an ignoble wish.

May God give comfort, consolation, and peace to all who love John.

The Big Orange Divider-in-Chief was not welcome at the funeral.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

HAVE YA MISSED ME? HAVE YA?

Have ya missed me? Have ya? I probably won't be back to regular blogging any time soon, but the daily multiplying scandals in Trump Swamp, along with the crash and burn of yet another special session of the Louisiana Legislature in the effort to pass a fucking workable budget was just too much even for quickies on Facebook.

Shame on you, GOP members of the Louisiana House. What happened in the legislature Sunday was a mockery of governance. The GOP will not participate in governing. Their only plan is to stop John Bel Edwards (D) from being elected to a second term and not raise a penny in taxes to lift Louisiana out of shithole status, at or near the top in the bad stuff and at or near the bottom in the good stuff.



Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R) in the final minutes of the session: “Yes, I am trying to run out the clock.” Disgusting. On to another special session which will cost the taxpayers $60,000 per day of money we don't have and possibly result in another crash and burn.

In the midst of the Slough of Despond, two stories lifted my spirits a bit, just a bit.

The first from the Washington Post:
The Pentagon’s investigative watchdog has initiated a probe into Navy Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, the White House military physician who withdrew from consideration as President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs amid allegations of improper conduct.
Dr "Candyman", the flim flam doctor who gave us the report on Trump's "excellent" state of health and made me laugh out loud is being investigated. If Trump had not nominated this incompetent to head the Dept. of Veteran Affairs, he may have been continued to conduct his shady business as usual in the White House. No second star for you, Admiral Jackson. Everyone who works in the Trump Swamp runs the risk of her/his life turning into shit.


The next story is from MSN:
President Donald Trump can be deposed in a defamation case a New York Judge ruled Tuesday.
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” claimed Trump kissed her and groped her while she was a contestant on the show in 2007. After Trump repeatedly denied her claims, calling her a liar, Zervos filed a defamation claim in January 2017, just days before his inauguration. Zervos was one of more than a dozen women to accuse President Trump of sexual misconduct during his campaign.
Geaux, Summer Zervos!

Ah, schadenfreude. Good to see you.