1930 - 2005

Gene Scott AND Hunter Thompson both gone in the same week -- two of the Grand Grotesques of our age... they leave a hole in our consciences.

During Sunday sermons, Scott admonished his congregation not to seek God's blessing from a priest, the Pope or a place of worship. "And you're sure not going to get it from a motel with Jimmy Swaggart," he cracks.

"I'm not selling forty-pound Bibles, or water from Jordan, or 4,000 plastic crosses made by the Japanese and sold to Arabs. I don't send out 'healing cloths' or tear up my shirt. I say: what's what I've done worth? Whatever the meal I've fed you is worth, pay up. I'm not trying to save anybody. I think if you reject Christianity, you should do it intelligently."

I watched him off and on for around 30 years ... Pyramid inches, Atlantis, UFO's, scribblings on the clear plastic board in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic.. all of it. Maps and diagrams of the Hittites going this way and the Moobie-woobies going that way ... biblical geography.

And when he said, so many years ago: "There are a lot of preachers out there that think the first thing you get when you bring Jesus into your heart is a blow-dryer."

Well, there it was.

Enough has been said this week about Hunter Thompson, the most ludicrous of which has been to compare him to the story-fabricating chickenshit-wannabees --
Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair. To think that is to miss the whole point, something journalists who don't know they're writing total bullshit do with regularity.

Hunter Thompson never pretended to or aspired to be anyone but who he was. To compare him with craven story-schemers without the balls to stand up for their own form of bizarre truth is to compare Thomas Jefferson with George W Bush.

Neither one -- Thompson or Gene Scott -- backed off an inch from what he believed was true nor what believed was the Right Thing To Do.

If today's crop of columnists thinks any of us thought to confuse Thompson's TRUTHS with FACTS, they're even dumber than they appear.

To say, today, for example, that George Bush is a reptile in disguise is TRUE whether or not it's a FACT. Get the difference?

We'll miss both of them.

And for those who didn't know the Reverend Dr. Scott (Ph.D from Stanford -- same as Condoleeza Rice, but Dr.Scott was a hell of lot more intelligent, even if he never actually wore high black spike heel boots), tapes of his shows still run on late night local TV stations.


Ahhh -- Brad DeLong refers us to Jacqueline Mackie Paisely Passey who quotes her friend Julie who posted what she and Brad DeLong and I (I aggrandize myself by placing my self in their company) all consider in the running for Best Line Ever:

"Republican publicists have done a good job of getting that "big tent party" meme to stick. Whenever I see it, to avoid gagging, I always think of a big circus tent full of animals that, in nature, would eat each other. And clowns. Scary, scary clowns."

To which Ms Paissey adds:

"Maybe that's the real reason why I remain a Libertarian Party hack instead of joining the libertarian wing of the Republican Party. I can sense that in the wild, the conservative Christians would eat me."

While I agree with Ms Paisely on that point -- that Republicans ALWAYS turn cannibal as soon as they are in a position of power, devour their young and attack each other, I must also disagree with Ms Paisely -- she's no hack.

No one in elected position listens to or cares about what anyone without a wheelbarrow full of soft money thinks. The honest position is to embody and vivify the idealistic impossible, holding up a standard that reminds some of them to think -- those with any conscience left at all:

"What would a libertarian do?"


BBC NEWS -- Woman's family 'to sue Jackson'

He's right -- no way to find a jury of HIS peers -- no one so selfish, weird, self-absorbed and hiseously insensitive to anything but his perceived self-serving ideas of what others need.

"The family of a woman who died after being moved out of a trauma room to accommodate Michael Jackson say they will sue the hospital and the pop star.

Manuela Gomez Ruiz, 74, was moved out of the room at the California hospital after Mr Jackson arrived suffering from 'flu-like symptoms'.

Mrs Ruiz, who was being treated for a massive heart attack, died later that day, the family told ABC News.

The hospital said it was confident of the level of care it gave patients.

The Marian Medical Centre in Santa Maria expressed its deepest sympathy to Mrs Ruiz's family, adding that patient privacy laws prevented it from commenting on individual patients' care, the news channel reported.

A spokesman for Mr Jackson said the pop star sent his condolences to the family, but added that it was 'outrageous' that Mr Jackson's name should be involved, as the situation was beyond his authority and control.

Mr Jackson was taken to hospital as the jury was being selected for his trial on charges of child abuse. Proceedings were delayed for a week as he recovered.

Mrs Ruiz's daughter-in-law, Anna Ruiz, told the news channel that she saw Mr Jackson come into the hospital.

'He walked in,' she said. 'When I saw him, he was walking unassisted.'

She says Mrs Ruiz was taken off a ventilator and her breathing was manually assisted with a handpump during the move.

The grandmother had two more heart attacks that day before she died.

The family says the chaos caused by Mr Jackson's arrival distracted staff, and that only two visitors were allowed into Mrs Ruiz's new room at a time, limiting the amount of time the family could spend with her.

Anna Ruiz said the hospital's policy 'needs to be changed' if a person with flu took precedence over a person with a heart attack."

So he can't deal with going to court, tells his minions "Oh, I feel faint -- maybe I have the flu," they take him to the hospital and he pushes some lady with a heart attack out in the hall, where she dies.

"Why should they blame me? That's just ignorant."

I say they pull off his false nose, throw him into the general population and get Wes Craven to film it.

NC-17 for violence.

And the hospital personnel who fawned over this surgical freak of unnatural weirdness, they get to go along, too.

It's not the patients -- other than Mrs. Ruiz -- who are sick.


Anyone for a nice Merlot?

First of all, I love Paul Giamatti, think he is a brilliant actor, for all the powers-that-be in Hollywood seem to think he's doing a John wayne, i.e., playing himself up there on the big screen.

I don't understand all this "breakthrough" nonsense about Sideways since I thought he'd already established himself as major actor in American Splendor. At least most of the world's movie watchers thought so along with me and millions of others.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sideways, and still do, despite the fact that some women I know, and whose opinion I respect, have found it to be just another "men behaving badly" movie, a genre of which they are seriously tired. I get their point, and I agree, but that doesn't lessen my admiration for the movie -- although to be honest, as a man who has been -- and is still, on occasion -- wont to behave badly, perhaps I'm not completely objective. I also thought that Sandra Oh, for the first time I can recall in such a movie, enthusaistically demonstrated the woman's point of view about such behavior.

But this bizarre business about how Merlot is no longer drinkable is just a little bit of moronic.

This is based on screen lines said by a character that postures as a loathesome wine snob but is in fact an alcoholic, a drunken poseur low enough and far enough gone to steal from his mother's cash stash during a visit.

I am someone who has been enamored of Merlot all the way back in the days when restaurants apologized for not offering it. I know Cab and Pinot Noir are the pick hits of wine snobs everywhere, if only (so I have come to believe) because it is so much easier to get an undrinkable bottle of the stuff than it is to get a bad Merlot.

Other people with other agendas and very little acumen or sense of humor have attacked the film because Giamatti's character is "really an alcoholic." They may be the only people around who haven't yet realized that IS what the character is supposed to be.

Giamatti himself, in promo interviews, described his character as a man who "starts each day as a wine connoisseur and ends each day as a drunk." But then social reformers of other people's habits seem to always miss the point and believe they're the only ones who discerned the secret flaw.

That's why they run for office -- because they never get the joke.

On the other hand, whether or nor Virginia Madsen's character would have low enough self-esteem to want to hook up with this amusing, spineless, and amiable drunk who has all of one day clean under his belt is another matter, one we are spared having to witness regardless of how it will go.

As for me, I will continue drink my Merlot, but now with a bit more enjoyment than usual, knowing the true assholes are afraid to order it.



How crazy IS he, Johnny?

Sometimes, you've just to accept the fact that this fencepost turtle in Presidential clothing is just completely looney-tunes -- and deal with it

Even his friends recognize he's an asshole, but that's almost a requirement for a presidential candidate.

But this is a clue that something seriously pathological is going on -- he's not just president -- he's the Emperor of America and Guardian of the Morals of the World ---

In other words, he's as crazy as Emperor Norton, just not nearly as perceptive or amusing. - CAMILLA BANNED FROM WHITE HOUSE:

Feb 20 2005

Dubya bars Camilla from White House ..because she is a divorcee

By Paul Gilfeather Political Editor

GEORGE Bush has banned Camilla Parker Bowles from the White House - because she is a divorcee.

The unprecedented snub has effectively sabotaged Charles's plan to take his bride on a Royal tour of America later this year.

The trip would have been the pair's first official tour as a married couple.

But the US President - a notoriously right-wing Christian and reformed alcoholic - told aides it was 'inappropriate' for him to be playing host to the newly-weds, who are both divorcees.

The decision was made even though the late President Ronald Reagan was divorced.

A Government insider said: 'It was relayed to us from Washington that Mrs Parker Bowles would not be welcome at the White House.

'The Americans are aware that the visit will be subject to a lot of media attent ion and did not want the President drawn into what they view to be a public relations exercise.

'It's now uncertain if the visit will even go ahead.'

Insiders point out that hosting a lavish Royal dinner for Charles and Camilla would be bad PR for President Bush because while Princess Diana is still much loved by many Americans, her ex-husband is seen and dull and aloof - and bothhe and Camilla are widely blamed for the break-up of his marriage.

The trip, which has been planned for three years, was being portrayed as a 'trade mission' and Charles and Camilla were expected to dine with Mr Bush and his wife Laura at the White House.

Mr Bush's shock decision is the latest in a sting of crises to hit the couple. Charles was forced to abandon plans for a Windsor Castle wedding on April 8 after he discovered the Royal Family would have to let other couples get married there too.

The blunder saw the couple hastily switch the venue to the register office at Windsor Guildhall, sending the Queen into a rage. She summoned Charles to Buckingham Palace and torpedoed his plans for a swanky reception at Windsor Castle.

Charles's trip to the US would have been his first State visit to America since Princess Diana's death seven years ago.

The prince wants to win acceptance for Camilla and believed the US public might have taken her to their hearts if the visit was planned properly. The source said: 'The potential fall-out from this decision could be massive.'

It's important we finally get the message -- if you're hoping for some RATIONALITY there -- there IS NO THERE there.

None of his pals, who are lining their pockets with the plunder from the old people and the sick people and the foreign people they kill for oil are willing to tell him.

None of the Democrats who fear the wrath of his psychotic lying friends (Swift Boat Veterans to Smear AARP, etc) are willing to put their careers on the line for something as unimportant as saving the USA from a Madman and his hench-crazies.

None of the comfy former-radicals of the 60's and 70's are willing to risk their nice jobs and their academic careers talking about radical politics and their cosy little homes to point out that the establishment of a fascist government HAS ALREADY TAKEN PLACE -- or did you all think living in fear of being stomped on for saying the wrong thing is the good old American Way?

Is there any doubt that he's completely insane -- when he acts as if he's the Moral Arbiter of the World?

What is that -- An Avenging Angel? Jesus, the Texas Ranger?

IS there anyone left other than a few bloggers that are willing to stand up now? Anyone that might have something to lose, anyone that thinks that silly thing called the Constitution that was written to protect us from King George is worth saving? Because if not, then John Ashcroft's appointment as Chief Justice won't produce anything more than a 'tsk-tsk.'

Remember Hunter Thompson.



If Art is magic, then what's Christo?

Christo and his Fabulous fabrics wrapping all sorts of things, oh how clever -- so is he a couturier or a clerk at Macy's?

Because making art takes a little more risk and a lot more imagination than the crap-wrap events Christo has been using to milk the public these past decades.

Milk? Or Bilk?

The Gates. Bill Gates?

Art for the brain dead.

Nature with a ribbon and a bow.

New Yorkers -- so goddamn sharp and hip and on to it all ...

"Oh look, Doris -- he put up steel and cloth and hey -- this is somethin' else -- 116,389 miles of thread, and it's FREE."

Sorry Vinny -- Art is what you get when you go Dancing with the Gods, and when the dance is over, Art is what's left. Christo is what you get from Dancing with Corporate Sponsors to the tune of a mission statement and a precise plan so claustrophobically finsihed there's no way for any light or air to get in.

"And Doris, look -- you can WALK through it. "

Yeah, you could walk through David Tudor's Rainforest, too, but when you did, it wasn't all about HIM -- you found out things about yourself and your world and how magic works between the two.

Of COURSE The Gates are only going to be up for 16 days -- any longer and even the Manhattan Rubes might catch on before the Christos get out of town.

Whattya got that's better, you ask?

Check this out, if you want to see some people who dance with the wind and the snow and make the sort of magic art used to be.

Take some time -- go through ALL the pages -- take a look at what happens when Art doesn't start with "First I need to get a GRANT." The clue -- they don't call it ART -- they refer to it as FUN.

There are still some real ones out there in the world, pointing to REAL things, trying to show us something we DON'T know.

And for that, we are seriously grateful enough to dance.



Pneumonic plague -- 61 dead in Congo -- hundreds sick

Pneumonic plague is airborne -- no fleas or rats needed.

Cape Town, South Africa -- International health officials warned on Friday that 61 miners in eastern Congo have died and hundreds have become ill from what appears to be the largest outbreak in several decades of a highly virulent airborne version of plague.

Health officials said thousands more workers have fled the open-pit diamond mine that is the epicenter of the outbreak, possibly spreading the disease deep into a rural province with few health facilities.

"It can pop up in many places now," said Marian van der Snoek, a medical official with the Swiss aid group Medair, who spoke by telephone from her office in Bunia, in Congo's northeastern corner. "We don't know where these people have fled..."

What especially alarmed health officials about the outbreak at the diamond mine was their inability to rapidly contain it. .. It took nearly two months for plague to be identified as the likely cause of the series of deadly lung infections among the miners. By then, most of those exposed to the disease had left the area...

Talk about Blood Diamonds, this one can kill the world.

With Pneumonic Plague, the Congo is only 18 hours away from Washington DC, New York, London, San Francisco, Beijing, or Tokyo.

Epidemiologists know that the sputum hits the fan when bubonic plague mutates into Pneumonic -- it's much much more deadly and much much more easily spread -- one sneeze on an airplane or in a city bus and one vector becomes several dozen, all going in different directions.

So I speak to the principals of the Bush Coup d-Fou in language they can understand:

To use a tough guy expression, one of the kind they so dearly love:

"TERROR? You don't know the meaning of terror."

But let Pneumonic Plague hit an American city and they will.

Obviously, their focus on paying off their buddies by stealing our social security money and natural resources is just too damn important to notice that the whole world is shifting like sand under the toes as the waves roll in and out at the shore -- very very quickly.

The only issue involving religion may soon be knees hitting the floor and anyone who has one repeating over and over, "Oh please, oh please, oh please."

What does it take for these little boys who strut and fret in the seats of power to grow up, stand up and behave like men?

"Man talks. Nature Acts." Voltaire



He's done so much to improve the image of California around the country, forcing people to recognize we're serious folk around here, good old salt-of-the-earth regular guy Americans.But hey -- whattya think Koko the Gorilla might make of THOSE nipples?


I forgot to ask -- Does John Ashcroft have a position on gorillas viewing nipples? How about gorillas HAVING nipples? A muu-muu perhaps?


Gorilla nipples ... Gorillas Gone Wild?


So Koko is a fan of "Girls Gone Wild"?

SAN MATEO COUNTY / Gorilla Foundation rocked by breast display lawsuit / Former mployees say they were told to expose chests

Two former employees of the Gorilla Foundation, home to Koko the "talking" ape, have filed a lawsuit contending that they were ordered to bond with the 33-year-old female simian by displaying their breasts.

Nancy Alperin and Kendra Keller, both of San Francisco, are taking on the Woodside nonprofit and its president, Francine "Penny" Patterson...

The suit follows complaints filed by Alperin and Keller in January with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, in which they gave identical reasons for why they were fired: "I refused to expose my breast to perform acts of bestiality with one of the gorillas."

The lawsuit goes into more detail.

One example: "On at least two incidents in mid-to-late June 2004, Patterson intensely pressured Keller to expose herself to Koko while they were working outside where other employees could potentially view Keller's naked body. ... On one such occasion, Patterson said, 'Koko, you see my nipples all the time. You are probably bored with my nipples. You need to see new nipples. I will turn my back so Kendra can show you her nipples.' "

--Everyone who has been involved with primates in the Bay Area and beyond knows that no one has ever been able to work for long with Penny Patterson, but no one ever suggested this as a possible reason.





Guess what -- mainstream psychiatrists have come up with a new excuse for why some people don't respond to their therapies and drugs

I was sent this article yesterday and asked what I thought about it:

For the Worst of Us, the Diagnosis May Be 'Evil'
Predatory killers often do far more than commit murder. Some have lured their victims into homemade chambers for prolonged torture. Others have exotic tastes - for vivisection, sexual humiliation, burning. Many perform their grisly rituals as much for pleasure as for any other reason.

"Among themselves, a few forensic scientists have taken to thinking of these people as not merely disturbed but evil. Evil in that their deliberate, habitual savagery defies any psychological explanation or attempt at treatment."

So all that tells us is that the shrinks are unable to admit that there are some people for whom THEIR science and methodology are inadequate and that some of them have come up with an excuse..
"We are talking about people who commit breathtaking acts, who do so repeatedly, who know what they're doing, and are doing it in peacetime" under no threat to themselves, said Dr. Michael Stone, the Columbia psychiatrist, who has examined several hundred killers at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center in New Hampton, N.Y., and others at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, where he consults and teaches. "We know from experience who these people are, and how they behave," and it is time, he said, to give their behavior "the proper appellation."

They describe EVIL as the stuff some people do that scares us.
That there are people who kill and torture and mutilate without having a reason.

But, with very few exceptions, that describes the current administration.

Ok, they have a reason, albeit a bullshit one that changes weekly (wait'll you hear the one they come up with after this phony election proves the've Charlie Brown and the Football'd the iraqi people). So if you don't have a clear-cut reason like the one shared -- at least in public -- by our President/ SecDef/ VP/ NSA-SecState/ et al), you're EVIL.

But wait -- it also involves that THOSE PEOPLE ENJOY DOING DASTARDLY THINGS THEMSELVES -- instead of sending their employees out to do it for them so they can sit back and look at the pictures in safety..

So they seem to be saying that not having an excuse and having a good time makes you EVIL?

Well then, perhaps they should take a good long hard look at the psychopathology of the "Rapture/ End Time/ Destroy the Environment so Jesus Can Come Back and Burn all the Jews/ so-called Christians" as explained in Bill Moyers' article There Is No Tomorrow posted here yesterday:

As the Jews who have not been converted are burned, the messiah will return for the rapture. True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to Heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts and frogs during the several years of tribulation that follow.

and think of the joy in the faces of those Good Christians who look forward to that time.

If the shrinks have got the guts to do that, confront religion -- or at least some forms of it -- as a social pathology -- then perhaps I'll believe they're not just making excuses for their own inadequacy.

Of course, coming right out and saying that what Bush calls that "The Base" is Loony Tunes ("The Base" -- literally, the English translation of the Arabic Al Qaeda), coming right out and saying that just might make some grant money disappear.

And, of course, they're also kissing the ass of the currently in-power ruling class, a bunch of people who don't think psychologists and psychiatrists are worth anything (as in NIH $$), so my guess is that they're embracing that silly talk out of fear OR because the Coup D'Fou is paying them under the table.

In other words, we're on our own -- the Goldwater-Reagan-Bush Agenda is now complete and successful -- no one, not even hard core Liberals, can any longer trust The Government or believe ANYTHING ANYONE in this administration says, nor ANYTHING ANYONE says that seems in accord with this administration says, at least as regards matters of Good and Evil.

We've got to figure they're either terrified by threats, or being paid off, or actually agree with them because they're the psychotic Adlerian thugs who call themselves Christians.

My rule of thumb for making these presumptions?

Anyone who has a bumper sticker that says

"Jesus is coming back and boy is he pissed"
because it's pretty obvious that person just didn't get it at all -- and is also a sadist.

Same thing applies to someone who proudly claims he "prayed a hurricane away" -- Jerry Falwell -- if it actually worked that way, then the jiveass sonofabitch PRAYED THE HURRICANE INTO SOMEONE ELSE'S TOWN.

You ever know any speed freaks? Paranoid, vicious, hair-trigger rages ...

Marx was wrong --

Religion is the amphetamine of the masses.


For some reason, the State of the Union Address made me think of this.


He's NOT stupid -- he's just INSANE



Condoleezza Settles into State Department, Lays First Clutch of Eggs

After a rocky and controversial start as the new Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice made the State Department her own today when she laid her first clutch of eggs in an assistant’s filing cabinet. As many as 200 or more nymphs are expected to emerge from the egg sac over a period of several weeks. The fact that Rice had evidently been secreting pheromones to signal her readiness to mate may account for the small number of Senators who protested her recent appointment as Secretary of State. “That explains why the male Senators were so complacent,” said Senator Barbara Boxer, “But we’re still wondering about Diane Feinstein and Hillary Clinton.”

It goes on and gets even better at Baba Yaga


There Is No Tomorrow --- by Bill Moyers

I have said it before in this blog -- the press does NOT want to confront this administration, because none of them want to have to deal with realizing just how fucking nuts they are. But who am I? Just some old fart waving his fist in the virtual air. How about someone who has proven himself to be careful, serious, astute, and courageous? (Of course he's been marginalized as a "liberal," therefore an enemy of God. But that's by people who think they OWN this God they speak of, people who -- as you read on and see, have an unwholesome delight in the punishment of others they want to see take place.) Thanks Bill, between this and the Jos Campbell interviews .. and many many other things, you've given a huge amount to all of us.

"... millions of Christian fundamentalists may believe that environmental destruction is not only t0 be disregarded but actually welcomed - even hastened ..."

There Is No Tomorrow
By Bill Moyers

The Star Tribune

Sunday 30 January 2005

One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.

Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a worldview despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.

Remember James Watt, President Ronald Reagan's first secretary of the interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever-engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, "after the last trees felled, Christ will come back."

Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn't know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious. So were his compatriots out across the country. They are the people who believe the Bible is literally true - one-third of the American electorate, if a recent Gallup poll is accurate. In this past election several million good and decentcitizens went to the polls believing in the rapture index.

That's right - the rapture index. Google it and you will find that the best-selling books in America today are the 12 volumes of the "Left Behind" series written by the Christian fundamentalist and religious-right warrior Timothy LaHaye. These true believers subscribe to a fantastical theology concocted in the 19th century by a couple of immigrant preachers who took disparate passages from the Bible and wove them into a narrative that has captivated the imagination of millions of Americans.

Its outline is rather simple, if bizarre (the British writer George Monbiot recently did a brilliant dissection of it and I am indebted to him for adding to my own understanding): Once Israel has occupied the rest of ts "biblical lands," legions of the antichrist will attack it, triggering a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon.

As the Jews who have not been converted are burned, the messiah will return for the rapture. True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to Heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts and frogs during the several years oftribulation that follow.

I'm not making this up. Like Monbiot, I've read the literature. I've reported on these people, following some of them from Texas to theWest Bank. They are sincere, serious and polite as they tell you they feel called to help bring the rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That's why they have declared solidarity with Israel and the Jewish settlements and backed up their support with money and's why the invasion of Iraq for them was a warm-up act, predicted in the Book of Revelations where four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of man." A war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed -an essential conflagration on the road to redemption. The last time I Googled it, the rapture index stood at 144 - just one point below the critical threshold when the whole thing will blow, the son of God will return, the righteous will enter Heaven and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire.

So what does this mean for public policy and the environment? Go to Grist to read a remarkable work of reporting by the journalist Glenn Scherer - "The Road to Environmental Apocalypse." Read it and you will see how millions of Christian fundamentalists may believe that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed - even hastened - as a sign of the coming apocalypse.

As Grist makes clear, we're not talking about a handful of fringe lawmakers who hold or are beholden to these beliefs. Nearly half the U.S. Congress before the recent election - 231 legislators in total and more since the election - are backed by the religious right.

Forty-five senators and 186 members of the 108th Congress earned 80 to 100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups. They include Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Assistant Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Conference Chair Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Policy Chair Jon Kyl of Arizona, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Whip Roy Blunt. The only Democrat to score 100 percent with the Christian coalition was Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, who recently quoted from the biblical book of Amos on the Senate floor: "The days will come, sayeth the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land." He seemed to be relishing the thought.

And why not? There's a constituency for it. A 2002 Time-CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the book of Revelations are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks. Drive across the country with your radio tuned to the more than 1,600 Christian radio stations, or in the motel turn on some of the 250 Christian TV stations, and you can hear some of this end-time gospel. And you will come to understand why people under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected, as Grist puts it, "to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth, when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?"

Because these people believe that until Christ does return, the Lord will provide. One of their texts is a high school history book, "America's Providential History." You'll find there these words: "The secular or socialist has a limited-resource mentality and views the world as a pie ... that needs to be cut up so everyone can get a piece." However, "[t]he Christian knows that the potential in God is unlimited and that there is no shortage of resources in God's earth ... while many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that God has made the earth sufficiently large with plenty of resources to accommodate all of the people."

No wonder Karl Rove goes around the White House whistling that militanthymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers." He turned out millions of the foot soldiers on Nov. 2, including many who have made the apocalypse a powerful driving force in modern American politics.

It is hard for the journalist to report a story like this with any credibility. So let me put it on a personal level. I myself don't know how to be in this world without expecting a confident future and gettingup every morning to do what I can to bring it about. So I have always been an optimist.

Now, however, I think of my friend on Wall Street whom I once asked: "What do you think of the market?"I'm optimistic," he answered.

"Then why do you look so worried?" And he answered: "Because I am not sure my optimism is justified."

I'm not, either. Once upon a time I agreed with Eric Chivian and the Center for Health and the Global Environment that people will protect the natural environment when they realize its importance to their health and to the health and lives of their children. Now I am not so sure. It's not that I don't want to believe that - it's just that I read the news and connect the dots.

I read that the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared the election a mandate for President Bush on the environment. This for an administration:
That wants to rewrite the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act protecting rare plant and animal species and their habitats, as well as the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires the government to judge beforehand whether actions might damage natural resources.. That wants to relax pollution limits for ozone; eliminate vehicle tailpipe inspections, and ease pollution standards for cars,sport-utility vehicles and diesel-powered big trucks and heavy equipment.. That wants a new international audit law to allow corporations to keep certain information about environmental problems secret from the public.. That wants to drop all its new-source review suits against polluting, coal-fired power plants and weaken consent decrees reached earlier with coal companies.. That wants to open the Arctic [National] Wildlife Refuge to drilling and increase drilling in Padre Island National Seashore, the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and the last great coastal wild land in America.

I read the news just this week and learned how the Environmental Protection Agency had planned to spend $9 million - $2 million of it from the administration's friends at the American Chemistry Council - to pay poor families to continue to use pesticides in their homes. These pesticides have been linked to neurological damage in children, but instead of ordering an end to their use, the government and the industry were going to offer the families $970 each, as well as a camcorder and children's clothing, to serve as guinea pigs for the study. I read all this in the news. I read the news just last night and learned that the administration's friends at the International Policy Network, which is supported by Exxon Mobil and others of like mind, have issued a new report that climate change is "a myth, sea levels are not rising" [and] scientists who believe catastrophe is possible are "an embarrassment."

I not only read the news but the fine print of the recent appropriations bill passed by Congress, with the obscure (and obscene) riders attached to it: a clause removing all endangered species protections from pesticides; language prohibiting judicial review for a forest in Oregon; a waiver of environmental review for grazing permits on public lands; a rider pressed by developers to weaken protection for crucial habitats in California.

I read all this and look up at the pictures on my desk, next to the computer - pictures of my grandchildren. I see the future looking back at me from those photographs and I say, "Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do." And then I am stopped short by the thought: "That's not right. We do know what we are doing. We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world."

And I ask myself: Why? Is it because we don't care? Because we are greedy? Because we have lost our capacity for outrage, our ability to sustain indignation at injustice?

What has happened to our moral imagination?

On the heath Lear asks Gloucester: "How do you see the world?" And Gloucester, who is blind, answers: "I see it feelingly.'"

I see it feelingly.

The news is not good these days.I can tell you, though, that as a journalist I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free - not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk. What we need is what the ancient Israelites called hochma - the science of the heart ... the capacity to see, to feel and then to act as if the future depended on you.

Believe me, it does.


Bill Moyers was host until recently of the weekly public affairs series "NOW with Bill Moyers" on PBS. This article is adapted from AlterNet, where it first appeared. The text is taken from Moyers' remarks upon receiving the Global Environmental Citizen Award from the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.



Stories From the Inside -- Bob Herbert on Crimes against Humans in Guantanamo

"The horror stories from the scandalous interrogation camp that the United States is operating at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are coming to light with increased frequency. At some point the whole shameful tale of this exercise in extreme human degradation will be told. For the time being we have to piece together what we can from a variety of accounts that have escaped the government's obsessively reinforced barriers of secrecy.

We know that people were kept in cells that in some cases were the equivalent of animal cages, and that some detainees, disoriented and despairing, have been shackled like slaves and left to soil themselves with their own urine and feces. Detainees are frequently kicked, punched, beaten and sexually humiliated. Extremely long periods of psychologically damaging isolation are routine."

Or as Jack Nicholson said in his role of a dead-ended Marine officer stuck in a nothing command at an insignificant post:

"You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!"

Well, since it's about Americans acting like War Criminals, no, we really don't exactly WANT it, but we can handle it.

At the time I saw "A Few Good Men," I thought, "No, it's that officer who can't handle the truth -- that his career is over, that The Corps found him not too swift, and put him in a place where he couldn't fuck up too badly because the threat of attack there is nonexistent."

Someday an enterprising journalist ought to ask a real combat Marine or two what they think about the guys who wear the Globe and Fouled Anchor but are full-time Brig Guards.


Bush Budget Raises Drug Prices for Many Veterans

February 7, 2005

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 - President Bush's budget would more than double the co-payment charged to many veterans for prescription drugs and would require some to pay a new fee of $250 a year for the privilege of using government health care, administration officials said Sunday."

Or in a read-between-the-lines interpretation of Bush-speak:

"Thanks for your great patriotism and willingness to let a doofus like me put you in harm's way ... SUCKERS!"


U.S. Officials Say a Theocratic Iraq Is Unlikely

U.S. Officials Say a Theocratic Iraq Is Unlikely

Speaking on television news programs on Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said that Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, opposed direct cleric involvement in daily governing, and that most Iraqis rejected an Iranian-style theocracy...

In one of four appearances on television news programs on Sunday, Mr. Rumsfeld echoed Mr. Cheney's cautionary words.

"The Shia in Iraq are Iraqis," Mr. Rumsfeld said on the NBC News program "Meet the Press." "They're not Iranians. And the idea that they're going to end up with a government like Iran, with a handful of mullahs controlling much of the country, I think, is unlikely."

Is that the same Mr. Rumsfeld? This is the same man who personally went to Iraq to assure the newly Nixon-Admin-Appointed Saddam Hussein of our unswerving support, shook his hand for the photo-ops and assured us all that we had that particular hired thug under control, saying:

"He may be a sonofabitch, but he's OUR sonofabitch."

No sir, I am getting a better idea of just who OUR sonofabitch is, and like Saddam, is OURS in name only, out to play God and do whatever he wants for his own aggrandizement.

And how about this bit of public posturing, following immediately after the previous quote:

But he warned that it would be "a terrible mistake" if the new assembly adopted a constitution that denied "half of their population, women, the opportunity to participate fully."

This from an administration that is willing to USE women as their Public Face Attack Bitches but refuses them to have the right to own their own bodies?

Don't WE have a handful of mullahs dictating policy in OUR country?



Another great one gone -- Ernst Mayr. Thanks for spending a century with us, sir.

Ernst Mayr, 100; Biologist Explained Species Shifts in Darwin's Theory of Evolution

By Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer

Ernst Mayr, the Harvard biologist who took the sweeping evolutionary claims of Charles Darwin and showed how the complex process actually works, died Thursday at a retirement community in Bedford, Mass., after a short illness. He was 100.

Mayr created the first working definition of what a species is and showed how genetics and population movements combined to create new species, an intellectual process known as evolutionary synthesis, which biologist Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard termed 'one of the half-dozen major scientific achievements of our century.'"


Rock n Roll may or may not never die, but Frank Zappa will live forever in taxonomic glory.

Frank Zappa will live forever in the realm of the Linnaean Binomial, the system of naming species of things. Not just one species ... there are already six Zappa-creatures.

1. The Gene: actually, a family of five genes running from ZapA to ZapE. And I think he'd be delighted to be so closely linked, posthumously (even post-humorously) to the mechanics of mutation.

2. The Fish: Zappa confluentus. Found in 1978 on the exposed mud flats of the Fly River about 35 miles or so upriver from Toro Pass, Papua New Guinea, hundreds of fish, flopping around on their side -- gobies, but an undiscovered species.

3. The Jellyfish: Phialella zappai. It was identified and named by Ferdinando ("Nando") Boero, jellyfish expert and Zappa fan from Genova (Genoa), Italy. Nando secured a grant in 1982 to study at the Bodega Marine Biology Lab of what is now UC Davis. He had and ulterior motive and a plan. The motive? To meet Frank Zappa. The plan?

"My strategy was a simple one:
I would find some new species for sure and
I would have to give them a name.
I would dedicate one of them to FZ.
I would tell him about it.
He would invite me for a visit."

He found one, wrote to FZ, told him he'd like to name a species of jellyfish after him, and received a reply from Gail Zappa who said:
"Frank said 'There is nothing I'd like better than having a jellyfish named after me. ' "

They met, became friends, and the rest is taxonomic history.

4. The Spider: Pachygnatha zappa. For all the right reasons but also, check out the second illustration on the link page, and note the dark grey mark on the ventral side of the abdomen of the female of the species. Hi, Frank.

5. The Planet: (3834) Zappafrank = 1980 JE -- Well, it's not a HUGE planet, out there in our asteroid belt, only about 6 - 13 km across, but hey, that's a nice piece of property, larger even than Paul McCartney's farm.

6. The Mollusc: (Amauratoma zappa) Well, this bivalve seems to have temporarily buried itself in the mud, disappeared from sight as these fellows are wont to do. But when it re-emerges, you can be sure it will flap its shells for Frank.



The Rude Pundit hits it dead center, thank you:
...the media who gets up in arms about how "rude" the Democrats were for shouting "No" when Bush stood up last night and said, "Fuck your Social Security. I piss on your retirement": From the Buffalo News on Bill Clinton's 1995 State of the Union speech: "At one point, Republicans even booed. About 20 of them left before Clinton finished talking." What did the Republicans boo for? Because Clinton dared to say that there were some things that government must do.


Our Fearful Leader

People keep saying,:

"How can anyone not see what a phony he is?
How he's just saying lines?
And that weird convulsive chittering shudder he gives that's supposed to be a laugh?
Always ends with him forcing a smile and sort of looking around,
to maybe see if his Master approves?
How can anyone believe anything he says?"

To which I can only say -- "You ever watch sitcoms? Soaps? Actors with all the craft we see in high school plays? Well, the people who watch them think that's real ..."

And remember, kids -- remember high school, the kid who was supposed to be "average?"
Well consider: half of the people are LESS INTELLIGENT than he was.

Still got a question?

Try Brave New World --
"We're Deltas and we're the best. Alphas are elitist snobs."

Mencken hit it on the nose when he described our form of government as a "boobocracy." And since them, the biggest change, is that the boobs still run things, but at least -- until Ashcroft and his heterosexual panic and Colin Powell's kid (who must be a disappointment to his dad, who at least accomplished SOMETHING before he turned into a company whore) -- we at least get to SEE some boobies.

(No country since at least the Golden Age of Greece has ever worshipped bodily perfection more: 6-packs and buns of steel, buff and tan and all that ... and yet the former Attorney General of the United States was so terrified of physical nature, he ordered a classical statue to have its breasts covered. My father once said to me, speaking of the Third Reich German High Command, that "there was something sexually sick about all of them." Perhaps it's only coincidental the number of connections these current guys have to the old Black-and-Red Swastika Gang, but ditto. In the words of Saint Lenny of Bruce -- "If you have a problem with naked bodies, take it up with the manufacturer -- that's the way they come.")



Higamous, Hogamous, my fine hen

Got caught with a joint

And sent to the pen

Laying eggs

Among the dregs,

She'll be out

But we don't know when.

For Sharon, the finest hen, who inspired it



The Shiites hit the fan

I would hope that the election in Iraq is actual rather than virtual, real rather than a political sideshow put on only to improve the comfort level of the Bush presidency just before the State of the Uniuon Address. (If the Iraq War Big Lie Program is in the crapper, then the next Big Lie Program -- the gutting of Social Security, won't fly.)

We all saw the Sunday-best dressed Iraqis celebrating, but as Josef Stalin was reputed to say after the American envoy bragged about how we had universal elections, "Who gets to vote isn't as important as who counts the votes."

But it's ironic.

As the ballots are counted from Sunday's nationwide balloting, Iraq's Shiites are poised to claim a hefty share of power. In Najaf, the Shiite-affiliated parties are confident they will oust the mayor, who was appointed to the job after arriving from Michigan with U.S. officials. Nationally, the whispered numbers collected from poll watchers hint at an impressive victory for the Shiite-backed lists.

It was Rumsfeld, Cheney, and all the rest of the players who take turns putting their hands up the ass of the sock puppet known as George W Bush, who installed Saddam Hussein in power over the Iraqi people in the first place because they so feared the possibility of Shiite dominance in the Middle East.

Kind of the way the US refused Ho Chi Minh's end-of-WWII request to have the USA come in and make Vietnam a client state -- because he knew neither Russia nor China would overrun them if US Steel and Standard Oil, etc., were in Hanoi. "Too liberal," they said, "Can't trust him." And after millions died... well, you know.

And after millions have died (not just this year, but since the Iran-Iraq War that we helped sponsor), hey, it sort of looks like the Shiites are the ONLY rational people in Iraq.

Ironic for everyone but the dead and their friends and families and all the people who would STILL like the electricity turned back on.


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