...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



Headline: Bush warns US of 'oil addiction'
Story: US president warns that the US has become addicted to imported oil

BBC changed the headline later to a less obvious "Bush vows to face dangers head on".
Telling the public they're addicted to a substance isn't as helpful as telling them they're addicted to what that substance does - how it makes them feel.
But then drug dealers aren't traditionally the ones who point out people's addictions.
The idea of Americans being addicted to "imported oil" is I guess distinct from them just being addicted to it any way they can get it - one of the things about addiction that leads to problematic behavior.
You have to figure most of the folks standing at the self-serve don't have any idea where the gas they're pumping comes from, foreign or domestic. And probably don't much care.
But they know they have to have it to live their lives.
The alternative is suffering.
The AA scenario is you wait for them to "bottom out". Until the suffering of continued addiction is worse than the suffering of withdrawal.
But that has a stable society as the assumed place where the bottoming out is occurring. You're not going to wait for your partner to "bottom out" if you're running an ambulance in a disaster zone somewhere. Priorities take over.
And waiting for an entire society to hit bottom seems pretty risky.
So having the President spend his SOTU money-quote on mealy-mouthed doubletalk is disheartening.
At least some of us would like to hear some fiery lashing out, some accusation, grief, rage, that kind of thing. From someone.
Instead we get the bogeyman fear-stick of Iran developing nuclear power, alongside the schizoid suggestion that the alternative to American addiction to oil is - nuclear power.
And the craven linkage of nuclear with the phrase "clean energy" is pure Hollywood/Madison Avenue nothing-up-my-sleeve shuck and jive.
It's one of those "A is for apple" mind-control things they do to him, you can see it.
Placing the food dish, waiting for the drool, ringing the bell. Clean energy - nucular power - clean energy - nucular power.
In that he's like we are, helpless, used, pawed at by madmen who get more desperate by the hour.
But he's the President so it's probably a little worse for him than us.
He has to worry about doing things that will affect the whole world, forever. We only have to worry about - well yeah.

"All the years of calling the Indian a savage has never made him one.'"
-Luther Standing Bear


Janis Karpinski in the news:

Last week, Col. Janis Karpinski told a panel of judges at the Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in New York that several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women's latrine after dark.
The latrine for female soldiers at Camp Victory wasn't located near their barracks, so they had to go outside if they needed to use the bathroom. "There were no lights near any of their facilities, so women were doubly easy targets in the dark of the night," Karpinski told retired US Army Col. David Hackworth in a September 2004 interview. It was there that male soldiers assaulted and raped women soldiers. So the women took matters into their own hands. They didn't drink in the late afternoon so they wouldn't have to urinate at night. They didn't get raped. But some died of dehydration in the desert heat, Karpinski said.

-Marjorie Cohn/truthout 30.Jan.06
In a June 10, 2004, memorandum obtained by ABC News, a Pentagon intelligence officer complains about the detention of a 28-year-old mother — still nursing her 6-month-old baby. She was held for two days even though the officer had concluded she had "no actionable intelligence leading to the arrest of her husband."
In an exchange of e-mails obtained by The Associated Press, an Army colonel suggests challenging a wanted man whose spouse was being held "to come get his wife."
Former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the former military police commander at the Abu Ghraib Prison where American troops were accused of torturing prisoners, said detaining wives of suspected terrorists has been a part of the war in Iraq. She was demoted to colonel after the Abu Ghraib scandal became public.
"The incidents I would be familiar with occurred in 2003, and there were at least a dozen — perhaps 15 or 20," she said. "I wouldn't say it was a common practice, but it was a practice for the higher value detainees"
Karpinski said she knew of only one incident where the tactic worked and analysts warn the tactic has potential pitfalls.
"If this doesn't end up actually being something that give you a key terrorist, the risk is you're going to alienate a lot of Iraqis," said ABC News analyst Tony Cordesman.
The military says this sort of thing happens rarely and only when necessary. But the question of female detainees has been highlighted by the kidnapping of American reporter Jill Carroll. Her captors have threatened to kill her unless all Iraqi women being held are freed.

-ABC News 29.Jan.06
Well yeah - Alienating Iraqis, a lot of.
That's in the file thing next to exhibiting signs of extraordinary cowardice in pursuit of base and inhuman goals.
Cordesman's argument is centered on the pragmatic - it won't work in the long run.
But of course cowardice will, and treachery - lots of formerly looked-down-upon qualities and behaviors that are now seemingly candidates for virtue have proven themselves over time to be paths to success, of a kind.
One noticed the erstwhile liberal arguments against torture recently - that it doesn't provide useful information. The spooky obverse didn't make the cut.
That if it worked we wouldn't be able to argue against it at all.
Nothing about crossing the absolute line of depravity, nothing about the assumption of inhuman methodologies actually leading to the loss of humanity. Nothing about humanity being something that could be lost.
But that's more of that Strauss and Co. thing - "We're defining what's 'human' now".
So there's one theater of conflict. At the very least I think we should demand they use some other name.
Karpinski gives every indication of being someone the American military should be proud to have promoted.

Iraq bird flu

"a very nice woman"

Justice in the news:
...peace activist Teresa Grady was sentenced Friday for four months in prisons for spilling her own human blood at a military recruiting station in upstate New York to protest the Iraq war. Grady and her three co-defendants, known as the St. Patricks Four, received prison sentences totaling 20 months. They were all sentenced during the same week that a military jury in Colorado decided not to jail an Army interrogator even though he was found guilty of negligent homicide in the torturing and killing of an Iraqi detainee.

Democracy Now! 30.Jan.06


What Happened In Cuba Stayed In Cuba

Men, manly men who see themselves that way, will feel less manly walking on the shoulder of the road than driving.
Especially on a road or street where there's almost no other pedestrian traffic. Being alone at the side of the road without the protection of a vehicle around you is weak, vulnerable, unmasculine.
Where's the bicycle in that? Boyish, childish, trivial.
Other note:
There's a hinky move to paint the Latin and South American populist movements as homophobic. Same general cloying artificial sentiment that keeps insinuating and mewling about the oppression of women in Islam. Has as its driving purpose the attack not the defense.
More research necessary - Ginsberg did get the bum's rush out of Cuba for insisting the treatment of gays there and then, the mid 60's, was inappropriate and uncool.
What we want to do is get into the minds of the pronouncing authorities. Cuba also took exception to Ginsberg's criticism of their anti-marijuana-ism.
What's in their minds? How about what it was the Cuban revolution was a response to.
The official American version is consumer items, they were opposed to our freedom to buy things and have things and get ahead on our own initiative.
The truth is darker and less condemning of the revolution.
Cuba under Bautista was a cesspool of vice, managed and maintained by American criminal executives.
Cuba under Bautista was an encyclopedia of horror stories of the kind now associated with places like sex-tourist destinations and lawless border towns, where disposable lives can be rented or bought, the underworld of indulgence and depravity - politically-sanctioned slavery, exploitation call it what you want, these things go hand in hand.
Corruption looks different depending where you are when you see it - from the veranda of the seaside mansion it looks like the necessary rough unpleasantness of doing business in the real world, but from the knife-edge squalor of the cheapest rooms in town it's hell pure and simple. And the constituents can be identified and their origins traced - in the case of Cuba and the southern nations, the voiceless suffering go right back to the indigenous. The sugar economies of the Caribbean and Central America were slave-driven from their beginnings and the more cunning version of starvation wages was just a refinement, a more secure and adaptable version.
So the deal is again as usual, you have to commit to a position - whether it's okay that it's like that. Or not.
Big party in Havana! Wild! And then go home, and make sure your women never get within a hundred miles of the place.
Fidel and Che said not, and everything they did came from that commitment.
They linked what they saw with who they saw doing it. Accurate in the broadest sense, the particulars, over time, carried their inaccuracies out to injustice and high-contrast inequality. This gets amplified into bigotry, though it begins as valor and protection of the truly innocent.
That's what needs to be recognized and confirmed - the polarities are false and cynically exaggerated, and the appeal that tries to create an image of brutal intolerance is made to people who have more in common with Fidel and Che than with those who are trying set them up.

In South Korea, two US manufacturers of Agent Orange have been ordered to pay compensation to thousands of South Korean veterans who fought with the US in the Vietnam War.
Dow Chemical and Monsanto, which supplied the US during the war, were ordered to pay up to $61 million in damages. The case marked the first ruling in favor of Agent Orange Victims in South Korea.
Last year, a US federal judge dismissed a similar class action lawsuit against the two companies brought by a group of Vietnamese citizens.
The U.S. military sprayed over 3,000 Vietnamese villages with Agent Orange during the war, affecting between two and five million people.

-Democracy Now! 27.Jan.06



"...a kind word for the United States, for the riches of our marketplace, for the vast economic and creative opportunities made available for energetic and creative people..."
Zelnick quoted by Horowitz/LATimes 22.Jan.06

This is how I warm up.
Google quotes this morning:

It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for supposing it is true.
- Bertrand Russell
Rests on "ground". That there is no "ground" for supposing has to be established and it will rest in turn on its own ground - saying "no ground whatsoever" assumes that's knowable, provable, already there.
There's no ground whatsoever for earlier belief in the proposition that matter is composed of whirling particles in a relatively empty containing medium - most layman have trouble believing it now, even with the asseverations of the majority of scientists that it's true.
The "whatsoever" is a tell, a give-away, the attitude comes from an adolescent rejection of the paternal credo. With maturity these stances can calcify and block the open-minded wondering so conducive to understanding.
A good friend can tell you what is the matter with you in a minute. He may not seem such a good friend after telling.
- Arthur Brisbane

Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.
- Albert Einstein
Everything stands forever. He's talking about access. We have access to mathematical equations, because they inhabit a space immune from change - we lose our access to the past by our movement with time through the present.
But it's still there, and what comes out of the present is the future. "Forever" means the continuous open-ended moment, the blurry other edge of time, up ahead where it runs into eternity.
The illusion of being severed from the past is created by our inability to recover it, to return to it in tangible ways, and - big step - I believe that illusion is fostered and maintained by the same agencies that perpetuate the idea that we're cut-off entirely from anything higher than the combustion of matter and its consequent light, and that against the grandeur of the stars we're insignificant and worthless.
The present day is tomorrow's past. It's here forever - we move on from it, it doesn't go away.
The actions of everyone stand forever, and since politics has to do with the rules and services that affect us all, politics stands forever, along with doing laundry and drinking tea and writing criticisms.



I had a dream night before last where a guy who seemed like he was probably a cop was shooting at me. He was stocky and sort of swarthy and wearing a dark-red plaid shirt.
First he shot me in the left side then he shot me in the right side of my face. It was scary but not very realistic because I just kept standing there after he shot me, with part of my face blown away and blood gushing out all over. Then I realized I already knew what it felt like to be shot like that, that I'd known it for a long time, and I started letting him know that I knew that already, how it felt to take bullets, not so much speaking because my face was half shot away, but vibing it up.
Later in the same dream or dream-sequence there was a coat-hanger sort of bent into what I've used more than a couple times in my life as an antenna for a tv or car radio, it was on the floor here in the living room where the computer is. It was silver, like it had been chromed. It didn't have any narrative presence in the dream, it was just there on the floor.
Last night when I rode my bike to the store there was a white coat-hanger sitting in the middle of the bike lane, and it made me remember that part of the dream, and then the part where the cop was shooting at me.
January 22 is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Part of the scam of our time is the creation of an ahistorical present.
In America people just kind of start from when they're born, only it's more like when they first begin to understand the television and then go to school. Then they get bits and pieces of official stories of how it was. But they get it from outside the family context. And it doesn't have much of the personal in it, almost none of the family. Connections to the famous are passed down, a relative like Ben Franklin or Caruso or Benny Goodman gets talked about, but for the majority of us what it was like for your great-great-grandparents is something you can only put together from photographs and the bits and pieces you get from outside the family, from school and television and in some cases, books.
A few of us got some fragments of personal history from our parents - the labor riots in Chicago, the McCarthy hearings, the Burma Road in WWII, the Oklahoma Land Rush, the 97th Engineers and the AlCan highway - though that's fading now as we go more than three generations deep into prosthetic child-rearing. The difference in importance between family histories and the approved versions that make it into the textbooks and televised documentaries is almost vertical, with family on the bottom.
So, because of that ahistorical disconnection, there's a sense in a lot of basically decent people's minds and hearts that abortion came into its own with the Supreme Court's ruling on Roe v. Wade. That before that abortion was not significant or common. That's helped a lot by the official public record reflecting the rigid taboo against speaking about anything to do with sex. However common abortion was, until the 1970's in America at least, no one talked about it publicly at all.
It was the same with homosexuality; and even more prohibited was the topic of child sexual molestation.
It would help if those who so adamantly disapprove of feminists and homosexuals could realize that it's because of the arduous struggle to make these issues public, the risks taken and oppressive resistance endured, that the even more taboo and even less represented subject of child molestation became something the public could admit the existence of, and begin to confront.
The official history doesn't acknowledge that abortion existed, though many women had them and by the 1960's everyone knew someone growing up who had had one - but that knowing only extended to the immediate moment, the present; and the channels through which knowledge should have come, the midwives and aunts and grandmothers-to-granddaughters lines of transmission, have been severed or stepped-down to such a minimal degree they can't hold enough of how things were to matter.
Whereas, if we had that unbroken chain of first-hand narrative stretching back through the centuries, there'd be the testimony that abortion, or intentional miscarriage - the induced termination of pregnancy - has been something women have sought and done, have been doing all along, not always for base selfish reasons, and not always from honest and serious motive either. But for tens of millennia, not three decades.
Few of the violently anti-abortion folks seem upset to any great degree by the treatment of the elderly now, which has worsened steadily in America for a century. Not stayed the same, gotten worse in direct relation to the rise of selfishness as moral compass.
This is what's vulnerable about the abortion rights campaigners - that there's a tendency to use it as an almost cosmetic procedure.
I think abortion is a very serious thing, but I also think genetic modification of animals is a grotesque and inhuman thing.
I don't have any doubt at all that human life is present in the womb from day one, but then I don't have much doubt that for all intents and purposes the sperm and ovum in their own ways are alive before they meet.
I don't think life begins at conception so much as it begins to change radically. It's already there. And it's the reverence for life that's missing, or so lopsided and exaggerated, in this polarizing conflict.
Reverence for life would obviously accumulate in the old. But in this severed reality, where the single thing most valued - money - is completely abstract and without real substance, reverence is archaic and disused.
The elderly know nothing about the things the young value, and they have nothing, and they aren't going to get anything but older and more in the way.
For almost the entire time we've been on this earth as human - banded together and working toward common goals - there's been the presence of experienced living examples of things that worked, the most basic proof there is that what they were doing was at least minimally successful.
You get old because the way you lived works.
Now the prestige of age is confined to hidden estates and the virtually invisible rooms of power. It's not that the aged don't get respect and deference, it's that they don't all get it; outside the circles of the elect the old are useless. Inside, where fortunes can be clung to as long as lawyers and medical science can be bought, there's a lot of respect for the still-potent elderly. Potent in the sense of still able to sting and bite and deploy the weapons and tools of wealth. Those guys get all kinds of respect - they're the apotheosis of consumer desire.
It would be encouraging to see some rage against that inequality from the defenders of the innocent.
And here's an idea - in a culture where masculinity has been reconfigured toward a kind of mercantile attainment the aged are feminized, and the female is less-valued, inferior.
Too much of the question of abortion has been polarized, so that two large and powerful organized groups of people - both motivated by conscience and moral principle - are spending most of their energies in combat with each other.
Imagine what they could get done if they weren't.

"...there is a binding treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, which almost all nations, including the US, have signed. It obliges nations to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that avoids a dangerous human interference with the climate system. Many conferences of course now debate where climate change starts to be "dangerous", e.g., the conference "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change" that Tony Blair called in Exeter last year.
We're now moving outside the natural science topics we discuss on our site, but allow me to add that economists and energy experts have worked out detailed scenarios how these emission reductions can be achieved with minimal impact on the economy..."
-Stefan Rahmstorf of Real Climate
interview at Daily Kos
Real Climate's consistently holding the line against the deceit and duplicity of whoever or whatever it is that has hold of the American public's news outlets. But there isn't anything in their self-designated job description that provides, or is intended to provide, anything more than a solution for the immediate problem, a kind of slow reduction of the actual chemicals and processes that seem to be causing what's been called global warming.
I respect them for the work they do, and the courage it takes.
But it's another example of cognitive dissonance, or it creates one in me anyway, to suggest that the world can ramp down emissions without something like a violent revolution.
Because of the presence under it of large oil reserves the Middle East is teetering on the brink of nuclear war, the US military is over-extended and its soldiers are dying there; the single largest killer of children in America is car crashes; oil and automobiles are the two biggest industries in the US - we're talking about a public willing to accept these things, to accept them in return for the comfort and illusionary safety of big gaudy vehicles running on what's still, even at $4* a gallon, relatively cheap fuel.
That gullible complacent public, "led" by servile politicians who obey the powers that created and were created by this nightmare, is what hinders any move toward a more sensible energy policy - not lack of information, however reasonable and clear.
The intellectual machismo that rejects Lovelock's urgency won't penetrate that complacency until something tangible, something unavoidably real, paves the way. And the possibility of that tangible real evidence being a warning sign vanishing in the rearview mirror is what Lovelock's talking about.
It's the same status-quo preservation that wants to insist the Democrats should replace the Republicans as soon as possible in Congress and the White House. It's true nostalgia, that world is gone.
Adjusting the emissions levels of an economy, really an economic way of being, the way of being in the world that has produced this dilemma, is like - what? Methadone? Synthetic crack? These aren't solutions to a problem, they're treatments for its symptoms. Good effective treatments maybe, but treating symptoms isn't the real work.
The scorn of the public for a convicted drug-lord who's made a fortune selling illegal drugs, who then asks to be allowed to keep his money and cars and real estate if he completes his sentence, would be immediate and passionate.
Right back at ya, there.
You drove us to the edge of a cliff, and now you're driving us over the cliff, and the suggestion from the more moderate crowd is that we should allow you to keep driving, but somehow get you to switch to hydrogen or electricity.
Some of us think you should have your keys taken away.

*$4 a gallon is very cheap for gasoline considering what it does. Try moving a ton of steel 20 miles without using petrochemical combustion. Even factoring in the road costs and manufacturing costs and purchasing costs it's cheap. Until you start factoring in the costs of consequence.


piffle v. big lily-white
What Barnett's books end up revealing is the combination of moral blindness and international political hubris that characterizes the whole quest for American world empire, a quest initiated by the neo-cons. Like the (other?) neo-cons, Barnett sees the world and its cultures in Jacobin terms, as a combination of Rousseau's natural goodness of man and Newtonian clockwork mechanism. Just twist a few dials here, throw a couple of levers there and presto!, Switzerlands spring up from Ouagadougou to the Hindu Kush.

It's piffle, pure and all too simple. Unfortunately, it is dangerous piffle, both in the evil that would result if it worked and the catastrophes that will come when it doesn't. Real Fourth Generation theory counsels caution, prudence and a clear grasp on the limits of American power in a world where the state itself is in decline.

Regrettably, in the uneducated and nostrum-hungry powerhouse that is Washington, Barnett's piffle is just the sort of patent medicine that sells.

-William Lind review of Thomas Barnett's The Pentagon’s New Map and Blueprint for Action

Barnett responds with something less than calm reasoned argument:
pathetic cribbing...almost Frey-nian hubris...Where I come from, they call this lying. I will call it intellectually dishonest and leave it at that...Lind is so fucking lazy...his profound arrogance...analytically fraudulent... goofily off-base...just like our deer-in-the-headlights Mr. Frey...Try to make that one go away, Mr. Frey—I mean, Lind!... so comical...Quite the boner...equally queer but far more laughable...His cute little "(other?) neo-cons" reference is about the only honest sentiment he expresses in the "review"...expecting Mr. Lind to rise above the level of your average blowhard was just too much...That boner only would have required...the old Hill staffer...his dutiful ignorance...your average 58-year-old...Lind is the Director (director, mind you!)...How's that for living in the real world?...Lind-the-non-operator...Don't get the impression I'm mad, because I'm's actually fun when someone that pompous pulls their pants down, bends over, and dares you to put your size 13 up their...

off the hook
Of course, there are searching questions to ask about the authenticity and timing of the al-Qaida leader's latest tape before the rest of the world can make a balanced judgment about Bin Laden's message. But there is no disputing that this was another audacious media and political coup of a high order.
At the heart of Bin Laden's message is the threat to unleash further terror attacks on American citizens in their homeland. Far from provoking a movement to appease the terrorists, this will surely do the reverse. It will play directly into the hands of those who insist that security must overwhelm all other considerations. It should not. Specifically, after yesterday's leak from the Foreign Office, it should not undermine the continuing anxiety about possible British involvement in the transport of terror suspects to third countries where they risk torture.

Guardian UK/Common Dreams 20.Jan.06

I wanted to say something about the Lovelock article, but kept stalling out around the commitment necessary, to one view or another of what it means, and to one opinion or another of how close to accurate prediction it might be.
So instead I want to lay out an incident that's typical of a lot of my internal metaphysical ramblings these days. They coincide in ways that aren't all that clear, even to me.
The click-through image on the flag picture above has a blurred figure in the center-left space. It's a bird. At first you'd think it was a bug much closer to the lens, but I was there, I know what happened.
What happened was I was riding my bike up toward the pyramid, coming up a short steep hill through some pine trees, and when I got to the top maybe 10 yards from the base of the pyramid itself, there was a bird up on the apex. And I got a little tingle of urgency, the kind of "get that" anticipation of having got the image and being all proud of getting it. "Captured that." But kind of knowing that by the time I got the camera out and on and ready the bird would probably have flown away.
Which is what happened.
What I want to capture here is the moment of disappointment and the going on, the after part of that. It's all about small stuff, trivial in many ways, but that one thing is pretty widely applicable I think. Because it was a kind of encouragement from around me, not great or dominant or even solid enough to be something recognizable at the time. But what happened was there was that sense of "go ahead anyway" and so I did, though while I took the picture I couldn't see the bird anywhere and figured I'd get just another backlit profile, of which I have maybe 30 already.
Then when I opened the day's photos up, at first what I saw was a bug, like I said. But it isn't. A better camera would show more in some ways, but of course any different camera wouldn't have been in my hands at precisely that moment.
I'm not looking for universal truth here, what I want to remember and tell is the surrounding energy of the moment, the original intensity of desire for what would have been sort of cute - a bird on the apex of the pyramid, backlit by the setting sun - turned into a surprising instant of a winged creature hovering there. Because I went with that encouragement.
The unexpected, unintended, but opened-toward. The acceptance of not getting what I thought I wanted became a beginning for something else that I'm grateful to have now.
In some profound and central ways this news of climate change and social danger and the truncation of human profusion and dominance is no different than news of our own individual mortality, and it's important to remember that we were raised to ignore our own transient physical natures, raised with the illusion of physical immortality, though it was never spoken or promised. So that reminders of it are incredibly shocking.
The steady diminishing of respect for the aged and the worship of the young that's become so common in America it's part of the national character now makes that illusion hard to see for what it is.
The relationship of morality to the expectation of human continuance is too large to start exploring here just yet, but it's a big part of what's so threatening about this subject. And of course it all hinges on the presence or absence of a greater context than the one our instruments reveal.
The idea of fire and apocalyptic chaos is exciting, and for some confirming, for others disheartening; what I want to get back to soon is contemplating the individual's connection and isolation in that, in this now and whatever comes later.

"In the tape, bin Laden spoke in a soft voice, as he has in previous recordings, but his tone was flatter than in the past and had an echo, as if recorded indoors."
Lara Jakes Jordan/AP-Yahoo
Anyone who can read that and not think about aliens from other planets bent on the enslavement of the human race is not someone I'd look forward to sitting next to at the family reunion barbecue/picnic.
Just above it Jakes Jordan explains that the CIA analysts in charge of establishing bin Laden's identity did so by comparing his voice to earlier tapes. A little murkier, but still within the guidelines for recognizing alien attempts at human logic.
That Cheney comes across looking, in the story, like John Wayne pretending to be Gary Cooper walking slow and calm on his way to the final showdown on Main Street makes me want to compose a theme appropriate for him - something like "Do not forsake me, Oh my darling" or "Knockin On Heaven's Door".
Songs which if you think about it have a lot in common. The difference mostly resting in the moral ambiguities in the Pat Garrett/Billy The Kid match-up - whereas Cooper is the hero all the way, flawed but redeemed, and redeeming what he puts above himself.
The songs reflect that, it's why they're so memorable.
Cheney's theme would have to incorporate the horrifying emptiness he moves toward, taking so much innocence with him - the way he seems to move willingly and with no apparent reluctance. And the complicity that gave him the badge in the first place.


guillemots are starving

...caused by plankton moving hundreds of miles to the north to escape from an unprecedented warming on the sea's waters.
Sand eels - millions of which normally provide the staple diet of many seabirds and large fish - have disappeared, because they, in turn, depend on the plankton.
The new study warns of an even more alarming collapse throughout the world's oceans if climate change continues. It is the result of a mammoth research effort, which has taken and analysed 72,000 samples of seawater from 10,000 different places in the oceans since 1989.
Led by scientists working for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle, it has also involved teams of researchers from Australia, Canada, Spain, Japan, South Korea and Germany.
It has discovered, for the first time, that the seas and oceans have soaked up almost half of all human emissions of carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
By doing so they have greatly slowed climate change, and almost certainly prevented it from already causing catastrophe.
"The oceans are performing this tremendous service to humankind by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," says Dr Christopher Sabine, one of the leaders of the research. But, he adds, this is coming at a great cost because the act of salvage "is changing the chemistry of the oceans".
Geoffrey Lean/Independent UK 01.Aug.04
link Claire Foss
"Curiously, aerosol pollution of the northern hemisphere reduces global warming by reflecting sunlight back to space. This "global dimming" is transient and could disappear in a few days like the smoke that it is, leaving us fully exposed to the heat of the global greenhouse. We are in a fool's climate, accidentally kept cool by smoke..."
James Lovelock/Independent UK 16.Jan.06


No Christian hooray:

Stephen Bennett of Straight Talk Radio said: "When Hollywood is pumping out anti-family movies with sexually explicit, twisted and perverse themes that glorify homosexuality, transsexuality and every other kind of sexual immorality - then awarding itself for doing so - Middle America better take note.

"Hollywood (has) exposed its own corrupt agenda. (It) is no doubt out on a mission to homosexualise America."
- The Australian 19.Jan.06
The basic idea is these groups and individuals are attempting to use the children of Middle America, the innocent children of America, for their own twisted and perverse gratification.
It's not allowed to question the intensity of focus on the invisible "agenda" of sex and sexual deviancy to the exclusion of other at least equally endangering "agendae".
Imagine an Iraqi man whose 10 year-old son's had his legs blown off by American military with quotations from the New Testament on their equipment. Think he's all down with Jesus?
Turning your innocent children over to the hidden agenda that produced that disgusting phenomenon seems to be hunky-dory and right in line with the will of the Almighty.
Sex is bad, killing infidels is good. Makes a kind of sense, but it's not comforting sense.
Presenting sexual minorities as at least potentially mentally healthy is threatening to something, though it's not the innocent of this moment - it's the innocent in the erstwhile guardians themselves, that child back there in the past who learned how awful sex was, so terrible that no one was allowed to talk about it, or show it on TV or in the movies. So terrible that the sight of a woman's breast, the breast of a mother nursing her own baby in a public place, was and is nauseating and obscene.
There's a sexual pathology at work there that's desperate to maintain its invisibility, and it's in conflict with something that's been treated as a sexual pathology that's insisting that it's not and is trying to attain visibility.
Annie Proulx's had an agenda all along, that was obvious from Accordion Crimes. But it's not necessarily a dangerous one.
You'd think the idea of priorities would be so commonplace it wouldn't need any more emphasis, but there it is again. People getting whipped into a frenzy by something that may or may not be a threat to their children, while ignoring completely things that are provably and immediately and dangerously threatening.
Why is that, we ask?
Someone's else's agenda, who doesn't have your best interest at heart.


more numinous recension

One of the consequences of Martin Luther King's presence at the center fore of the history of the black civil rights movement in the US is it's given the narrative a much more peaceful and benign ambience than it had. It's as though there was slavery, in the long ago and only really in the South, and then there was Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, and then Condoleeza Rice and Clarence Thomas.
There were public spectacles, in the mid-West in the 1930's, at the lynchings of black men, where whole families dressed up and came down to see the show; people were gunned down in the struggle to get southern blacks registered to vote.
Many people were beaten, and blasted with fire hoses, and set upon by police dogs, and arrested - not to end slavery in the long ago, but to get at the right they already had, to vote, to participate in the civic responsibilities of citizenship.
Of course it was about a lot more than voting, that was the hard tangible thing that it all could hang on.
Real history's filled with more than images and events, it's a great big river of everything happening, breakfasts and lunches and births and deaths and little victories and defeats, and a kind of ambience that's part of the time, how it was.
One of the problems in getting the stories handed down is that history now has to be passed through the market-sensitive filters of the television before it even gets to the classroom. King makes a very marketable image that way, an immortal line in a majestic speech, a handsome face and clean public record. There's a bunch of smirking FBI wannabes with some inside dope on his alleged promiscuity, but all in all the world looks at him with respect and a kind of fondness. A nice man.
There aren't any pictures of him being beaten to the ground.
Personally, whenever I think about him for any length of time I remember Judge Joe Brown, on TV, my mom watching his show every day, the way he'd get exasperated but stay patient and insightful.
Joe Brown was the presiding judge at the final review of James Earl Ray's appeal of his conviction, for the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968, in Memphis Tennessee.
Brown was removed from the case. I saw him interviewed about it a year or two ago on Tavis Smiley. He had that same almost contemplative air, but you could see something else there too. I don't know what to call it exactly, but it makes me sad and angry at the same time.
I guess that's what I'm tryng to say here. Martin Luther King gets a certain amount of remembrance, a national holiday - though like a lot of other days of remembering it's been Reaganized into a 3-day weekend, and separated from the actual day of anniversary - his face on stamps and in text books, but the lies and smokescreens around his assassination are still mostly under the rug and out of sight.
The Alleged Murder Weapon in the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
King Family Statement On The Justice Department "Limited Investigation" Of The MLK Assassination
DoJ King Report


" is the weakness rather than the strength of the corporations that causes the worst problems. What's hurting us most isn't the programmatic semi-fascism of Fox but the premeditated cowardice of CNN. The sheer size of the media giants makes them enormous targets. With so much to lose from the hostility of the government, the big papers, magazines, and T.V. networks cannot afford to act honorably. It wouldn't be fair to the stockholders. Monopolies are bound to be risk adverse since the bigger they get, the less the prospect for further growth and greater the abyss below."
inanis et vacua 10.01.06


sniper school - free tuition

Strongarm dictator Fulgencio Batista ruled Cuba until the revolution, or as the highly-paid Jeff Jacoby would have it - until Fidel Castro "seized power". Seizing power from ruthless corrupt dictators was the American job description, last I heard. Batista was in every respect but the moustache the Saddam Hussein of Cuba, and possibly less moral generally.
Meyer Lansky ran Batista's vice franchises until Castro drove all the crooks out of Cuba, or as many as he got around to, or the ones that bothered him. Whatever. The point is for years I haven't been able to understand how a handful of semi-literate, but wealthy, Cubans could exercize so much power in American politics.
Meyer Lansky was not Italian but he was probably at or near the top of the organized criminal underworld for most of his maturity. This never got to the big screen or the public eye the way all those godfathers and goodfellas did.
Lansky. Now Abramoff.
Abramoff is a prince among men. Gambling. Vice. Murder. Whatever it takes.
link Busy Busy Busy


Sport utility vehicles are no better than regular cars when it comes to protecting children, a U.S. study reports.

Dr. Dennis Durbin, a pediatric emergency physician...Partners for Child Passenger Safety study, published in the journal Pediatrics...says the chances of receiving a serious injury in an accident are:
  • Three per cent for an appropriately restrained child in an SUV.
  • Less than two per cent for an appropriately restrained child in a car.
The study goes against the popular wisdom that SUVs are safer than smaller vehicles.
"We assumed, as I think most consumers do, that because of the larger size and heavier weight of the SUVs, that they would naturally be safer," Durbin says.
The added weight and size do make a difference, but that's offset because SUVs roll over 2.5 times more commonly than cars, and the chance of a child being hurt in a rollover accident is three times greater, Durbin said.
3% versus less than 2% doesn't equal "no better than".
The article finishes up with
"Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. children between 2 and 14..."
Depending on where you go for the numbers it's either that or people under 30, or 25.
Between 2 and 14, though, that's great. In a country that foams at the mouth when a coed disappears on vacation in Aruba, the greatest killer of children is a gas-wasting 2-ton projectile that everybody's willing to go into debt to get, and finance an illegitimate war to fuel.
Random death for children too, nothing about it Darwinian, so it has to be the hand of God. Who else would we give the awesome responsibility of selecting which of our children should die?
The article presents facts and conclusions, the facts say SUV's are more dangerous to children than cars, the conclusions say they're equally dangerous.
I say the whole thing's bollocks and bad cess.
The SUV-lust was manufactured and distributed by the same dark force that created the current excitement in Iraq. Same guys same idea same result.
Though the study was done in the US, the information is presented by CBC, a Canadian news outlet, so you should probably wait until someone American you can trust, like FOX or CNN, confirms it.

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