Practically Tuesday Monday Notebook

Home truths: If someone is explaining to you that they’re not an asshole — like the animal control officer who stopped me just around the corner and told me that if were an asshole, he’d write me a ticket for walking The Dog off leash and more than six feet away from me (per city ordinance) — the someone is probably an asshole. And if someone apologizes for being an asshole, they’re probably not one. I said probably. Thus concludes this adult language interlude.

Dog moment: Speaking of The Dog, a year ago today we brought him home from his Central California wanderings; since he’s still not talking, we don’t know anything about that adventure except the way it ended. And now he has his own pet: a mildewed rawhide chew-thing that he buried in the backyard for some weeks or months and recently uncovered for his renewed canine enjoyment. He’s very protective of the rawhide chew, which we’ve named Filthy Bone. As in: “Scout, you can’t play with Filthy Bone in the house.”

Read and wonder: A long piece in The New York Times Magazine about the Iraqi diaspora — the flow of refugees all over the Middle East — and the unhappy consequences present and perhaps future of same. A much shorter piece in today’s San Francisco Chronicle on an Indiana teacher fired for suggesting in class that she’s not for the Iraq war. That story begins:

“When one of Deborah Mayer’s elementary school students asked her on the eve of the Iraq war whether she would ever take part in a peace march, the veteran teacher recalls answering, “I honk for peace.”

“Soon afterward, Mayer lost her job and her home in Indiana. She was out of work for nearly three years. And when she complained to federal courts that her free-speech rights had been violated, the courts replied, essentially, that as a public school teacher she didn’t have any. ”

She has appealed, but without much hope of a reversal, to the Supreme Court of the United States. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding her firing is available here as a PDF file.

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