Tuesday, May 31, 2005

In Support of a Resolution of Inquiry

from arse poetica:

Shakespeare's Sister has pulled together the Big Brass Alliance in response to After Downing Street's campaign to urge Congress to investigate whether B*sh has committed impeachable offenses relating to the war on Iraq. The Big Brass Alliance, a consortium of over 100 bloggers compiled by Shakes Sis in a few days, is an effort to spread the word on this important story, a story which has yet to be given its proper airing in mainstream media channels. More details below:

After Downing Street is a Coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups, which launched on May 26, 2005, a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war. The campaign focuses on evidence that recently emerged in a British memo containing minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.

The name is a reference to the Downing Street Memo, a British memo recently made public in the London Times, which contained the minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.

After Downing Street reports: In response to the release of the memo, John Bonifaz, a Boston attorney specializing in constitutional litigation, sent a memo to Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, urging him to introduce a Resolution of Inquiry directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House to impeach President Bush. Bonifaz's memo, made available today at www.AfterDowningStreet.org, begins: ‘The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for going to war against Iraq. If true, such conduct constitutes a High Crime under Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution.’"

Congressman Conyers is now seeking 100,000 signatures to sign a letter on the Downing Street Inquiry. Information available at Raw Story and dKos.

Sign the letter here. Write your congressperson here.

One thing to remember: this is a call for an investigation into the possibility of impeachable offenses, not some unhinged yelling about how much B*sh sucks (though that argument could be made easily). Sign the letter, write your congressperson, join the Big Brass Alliance, and all the while remember that Watergate, just now back in the news in some incredibly interesting cosmic timing, started out as a third-rate burglary. Let's follow the money here, too, see what we find.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

From Kolchak: “Fear and Loathing In the Blogosphere"

Hunter S. Thompson may be dead, but Dr. Hunter S. Thompson lives on.

No, the latter Thompson isn’t a family member--at least, not in any traditional sense. Author Thompson liked to call himself Dr. Thompson when he played an active role in his books, which happened regularly.

Dr. Thompson, though, is more than a title. He’s a fully realized character, a skillful blend of truth and creative embellishment, and an equally skillful blend of crusader and stoner. In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas the good doctor begins journey to “find the American Dream” equipped with the following:
“We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine and whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers...also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budwiser, a pint of ether and two dozen amyls...

Dr. Thompson doesn’t experiment with drugs; he knows exactly what he’s

It’s hard to separate truth from embellishment when it comes to the doctor, and, frankly, I’m not going to try here. One thing that can be said about Thompson’s alter ego, though, is that he’s become an icon of sorts, appearing in modified--but still identifiable--form in other people’s stories.

The best known surrogate is probably Zonker’s Uncle Duke, in the comic strip Doonesbury. Duke was introduced in July, 1974, and still plays a role in the strip, currently serving as the mayor of the Iraqi town of Al Amok. His name probably comes from “Raoul Duke,” an alias that Thompson used occasionally.

Duke’s adventures tend to keep him separate from the rest of Doonesbury’s cast. Usually, he’s accompanied by his aide, Honey Huan--whom he acquired while serving as ambassador to China--and his illegitimate son, Earl. (All together now: Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke and Earl, Duke, Duke...)

In 2000, however, Zonker and Boopsie joined Duke as he campaigned for the
presidency. (As Honey pointed out: “Every other cartoon character is running.”) He started with the slogan “I want to be the ferret in the pants of government,” but he quickly got distracted looking for newer and better ways to attract corporate contributors.

There may have been bad blood between Thompson and Doonesbury Creator Garry Trudeau. According to an interview published posthumously, Thompson says that he hated Duke and tried to take legal action against Trudeau. Still, Trudeau did acknowledge his artistic debt to Thompson in a series of strips that ran March 7-12.

In these strips, Duke senses a “nasty karmic shift,” which leads to a vision of he and Honey, drawn in the style of Ralph Steadman, the regular illustrator of Thompson’s books. Duke reads Thompson’s obituary on line and his head explodes. Repeatedly. Honey comments: “I’ve stumbled into some sort of tribute, haven’t I?” And, eventually, Duke admits: “Doc was my inspiration. In a way, I owe hieverything.”

As of late May, the FAQ page on the Doonesbury website contains links to selected Duke strips.

The spirit of Dr. Thompson is also visible in Spider Jerusalem, the main
character in Transmetropolitan, a
comic book created by Writer Warren Ellis and Artist Darick Robertson.

Jerusalem is a famous writer and journalist in a future era (The exact date is
never given.) Before the story opens, he flees the chaos of The City, hoping to discover a more peaceful life. What he discovers is that he can’t write away from an urban environment. In Transmetropolitan, Jerusalem resumes his love/hate relationship with The City, and with journalism.

Jerusalem has prodigious appetite for mind-altering substances and a prodigious appetite for abusing his assistants, Channon and Yelena. However, he is also a dedicated journalist and willing to accept the facts of the situation, no matter how outrageous.

In one issue, he writes, “I will tell you things that will make you laugh and I will tell you things that make you uncomfortable and I will tell you things that will make you really fucking angry and I will tell you things that no one else is telling you. What I won’t do is bullshit you. I’m here for the same thing you are. The truth.”

In a later issue, when one of his assistants accuses him of being paranoid, Spider replies simply, “Paranoids are just people with all the facts.”

As for The City itself, at first it doesn’t seem much different than the city in
Blade Runner, but it rapidly becomes something more complicated and more unique, a collection of enclaves filled with everyone from cannibals and talking dogs to worshipers of Woden and people who are voluntarily transforming themselves into extraterrestrials. Ultimately, it seemed to be influenced more by Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld or Jack Vance’s Big Planet than Blade Runner.

A few years ago, Patrick Stewart--you know, Professor X, Captain Picard--was
telling audiences at science fiction conventions that he wanted to play Spider Jerusalem in a live-action version of Transmetropolitan, but the book was never formally optioned. It’s too bad really. I would’ve loved to see Stewart tear into one of Jerusalem’s rants.

As a regular comic, Transmetropolitan lasted approximately 60 issues,from 1997 to 2002. However, paperback collections of the series are available at most comic specialty shops and major bookstore chains.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness - Modern History from the Sports Desk
Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness - Modern History from the Sports Desk

Transmetropolitan Vol. 0: Tales of Human Waste
Transmetropolitan Vol. 0: Tales of Human Waste

Action Figure!: The Life and Times of Doonesbury's Uncle Duke
Action Figure!: The Life and Times of Doonesbury's Uncle Duke

Poem of the Day
The Tyger by William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart,
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Complete Poetry & Prose Of William Blake
The Complete Poetry & Prose Of William Blake

Friday, May 27, 2005

from deconsumption: Oh my Gosch!

Three weeks ago I listed a number of developing stories that I thought threatened the current administration, including the truly 'outside' Gannon/Guckert/Gosch story which threatened to bring down the American political system as we know it. As I wrote then:
'...evidently the Mainstream Media's take is: 'how did Gannon/Guckert ever get a press pass?', while the story being uncovered in the Independent Media wonders: 'is Gannon/Guckert really Johnny Gosch, a former child-victim of an elite Satanic pedophiliac brainwashing-abuction ring operating at high levels of government and who is now serving as a homosexual blackmail/spy within the White House?'

Obviously the real story lies somewhere in the middle...but you have to wonder...just how far into the middle would it need to go before a massive 'diversion' becomes necessary? (more)
from The Heretik: When Rick Santorum Looks in the Mirror

Sieg Heel, Senator Man-on-Dog!

Another superb image from the Master Himself, The Heretik.
Peak Oil and the Winter of Our Discontent

I'm trained as a geographer, long concerned with questions of sustainablity and human interaction with the physical environment. I have been an independent scholar studying resource consumption since the early 70's. These are the parts of the Peak Oil argument that we (geologists, geographers, resource economists) are pretty sure are correct:

1. Hubbert was generally correct with his projections of the US peak oil.

2. The US economy suffered substantial dislocation after the peak, but was able to offload its supply needs to outside sources and restore its petroleum supply and eventually, its economy.

3. No new oil field of any substantial size has been discovered since the early 1990's.

4. China, India, Korea, Taiwan, and the rest of the Asian Young Lion economies are just entering their demand growth phase on oil usage.

5. Using Hubbert's methodology, it is almost certain that world peak oil will happen in the next few years, by 2010 at the latest. It's hard to be precise because:
a) some countries like Russia and Saudia Arabia play fast and loose with their figures on spare production capability and reserves
b) oil companies consider information about reserves to be proprietory and do not disclose them fully and some LIE about their reserves to prop up stock price (Shell as a recent example)

6. The last peak oil brought substantial economic dislocation at a time when we were able to replace the supply. That option will not exist this time.

7. The issue becomes one of whether there is any possibility of a soft landing from
the resulting crisis or whether a crash and burn is inevitable.

8. Given the quality of economic and political leadership the world is exhibiting at the present time, I fear for the worst.

9. I've chosen to be proactive about this. I live in a small town. I have no car. I am out of the credit/debt economy. I am in the process of buying a small energy efficient house with small woodlot and ground for a decent size garden.

I do all of this not because I am sure that the doom is upon us, but because I cannot with any certainty say it is not.
The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century
The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century

The Party's Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies
The Party's Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies

Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak
Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak

Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability
Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability

New Autonomous House: Design and Planning for Sustainability
New Autonomous House: Design and Planning for Sustainability

Five Acres and Independence
Five Acres and Independence

Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It
Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It

Poem Of the Day

Caedmon's Hymn
by Caedmon

(c 737)
Nu scylun hergan hefaenricaes uard
metudaes maecti end his modgidanc
uerc uuldurfadur sue he uundra gihuaes
eci dryctin or astelidae
he aerist scop aelda barnum
heben til hrofe haleg scepen.
tha middungeard moncynnaes uard
eci dryctin aefter tiadae
firum foldu frea allmectig

primo cantauit Caedmon istud carmen.

(c 746)
Nu scilun herga hefenricaes uard
metudaes mehti and his modgithanc
uerc uuldurfadur sue he uundra gihuaes
eci dryctin or astelidae.
he aerist scop aeldu barnum
hefen to hrofaehalig sceppend
tha middingard moncynn&ealig;s uard
eci dryctin aefter tiadae
firum foldu frea allmehtig


Now let me praise the keeper of Heaven's kingdom,
The might of the Creator, and his thought,
The work of the Father of glory, how each of wonders
The Eternal Lord established in the beginning.
He first created for the sons of men
Heaven as a roof, the holy Creator,
Then Middle-earth the keeper of mankind,
The Eternal Lord, afterwards made,
The earth for men, the Almighty Lord.

In the beginning Caedmon sang this poem.

Poems and Prose from the old English

Friday Cat Blogging

HRH Xanthippe
Feline Ruler of the Universe,

closely observes her domain

photo by handdrummer

Friday, May 20, 2005

from DED Space via arse poetica: Porn star and porn-maker Republican advisors get down with Rove

Porn star Mary Carey and her boss, Kick Ass Pictures president Mark Kulkis, are attending a dinner with George W. Bush on June 14. Presumably, they will all wave their flags. The National Republican Congressional Committee invited Kulkis.

Carey, who ran for governor against real-life porn creator Arnold Schwarzenegger, will join Kulkis in a meeting with Karl Rove, at which they will give 'their recommendations on important national issues.'

Kulkis serves as an honorary chairman of the NRCC's Business Advisory Council. Because you can't have too many family values.

You know, you just can't make this stuff up. The Neos keep exceeding even my lowest expectations of their behaviour.
The Top 5 Music Meme.

Oh dear, I seem to have been selected for my first blog meme.

ae, the muse at one of my favorite blogs arse poetica, has tagged me for the Top 5 Music Meme.

First, a disclaimer or two. I haven't listened to commercial radio for 15 years or more. Most adult contemporary music is marked unknown on my musical map. Instead, I gravitate to the weird corners and the cracks of the musical world. Stuff I find on the web. Cutouts in cd shops. Strange looking lp's in used record shops. The pop music I do know tends to be from the dim dark past, the 60's and before. So keep that in mind with my selections.

A. Top Five Lyrics that Move Your Heart

This category was hard for me. At first I kept coming up with things like Little Richard shouting "wop boppa lou bop a wham ding dong" but eventually thought better of it. Even though that lyric does move me (in a strange sort of way), I'll play it straight.

So here goes:
Neil Young, 'One of These Days'
One of these days/I'm going to sit down and write a long letter/To all the good friends/I've known/And I'm going to try/To thank them for the good times together/Though so apart/We've grown
Maybe it's the growing old thing, but it seems to me that what the world makes of us in our passing will mostly be how we touched those we lived with on the journey. Thanking those of such importance only seems right somehow.

Kathy Mattea, 'Standing Knee Deep in a River'
They roll by just like water/And I guess we never learn/We go through life parched and empty/Standing knee deep in a river/And dying of thirst
Substitute any of life's real rewards for 'they' . Friends, love, nature's beauty, joy. We all feel the emptiness and yet the way to fill it is all around us if we would just notice and DRINK.

Fred Astaire, 'The Way You Look Tonight'
Someday/When I'm awfully low/When the world is cold /I will feel aglow/Just thinking of you/And the way you look tonight
Strikes me that this is what love is all about, being with someone who the very thought of makes your life better no matter where you are. Sublime.

Johnny Cash, 'Hurt'
I hurt myself today/Just to see if I could feel
Yeah, I know it's a cover of a Nine Inch Nails tune. But by all that's holy, it's magnificent. The video is the one and only time something on MTV made me cry. Cry like a baby wailing for my lost momma. Oh Johnny, we hardly knew ya!

Tom Waits, 'Step Right Up':
Tired of being the life of the party?/Change your shorts/change your life/change your life/Change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy/get rid of your wife/And it walks your dog, and it doubles on sax/Doubles on sax, you can jump back Jack/see you later alligator/See you later alligator/And it steals your car/It gets rid of your gambling debts, it quits smoking/It's a friend, and it's a companion/And it's the only product you will ever need
Well, you didn't think I'd play it totally straight, did you? This song is the Xmas retail theme song in my bookshop. During 'da season' we play this right before store opening as a ritual to get ourselves through another day of retail hell. Delightful.

B. Top 5 Instrumentals
This catagory was also hard, simply because a lot of what I listen to regularly is instrumental music. So many cds, so little time.
Yo-Yo Ma, Soul of the Tango
God, this is so good. The man has soul. Astor Piazzola would be proud.
drums and tuba, Flatheads and Spoonies
Trio with electric guitar, drums and tuba. A great variation on the drum n' bass form
Nightnoise, 'Retrospective'
Celtic smooth jazz at its best played by 4 superstars of Irish music
Glen Velez, 'Doctrine of the Signatures'
Velez is a master of the frame drum. The title cut is the best accompaniment for meditation I have ever found.
Ennio Morricone, 'The Mission'
A glorious soundtrack. In a just world this would be played in the concert halls that play our greatest music

C. Top 5 Live Musical Experiences
Babtunde Olatunji, Omega Institute, NY, 2001:
I actually got to play as part of his band in the camp concert. An amazing spiritual experience, easily the best two hours of my life. Not just on another planet after this one, folks, in another universe.

Boubacar Traore, Grassroots Music Festival, Finger Lakes July 2002:
Traore plays a version of blues roots music from Mali. I sat not three feet from him in a small tent stage area and was simply astounded by the fingerings he used. He is the most amazing guitarist I have ever, ever seen or heard. He sent me over the moon. It took me hours to come down.

Kodo, Wilmington, DE, 1988:
The best group of drummers from Japan. Seats six rows back. Heads just above stage level. Man oh man, it doesn't get any better than this.

John Adams & the American Symphony Orchestra, State College, PA, 1998:
The best modern American 'classical' composer. A marvelous orchestra. An evening of John Adams superlative compositions. Tasty. Tasty. Tasty.

Ain't Misbehavin', Off Broadway, 1986:
Fats Waller music. Great cast. Front row seats. My very straight in-laws beside me. And I get sucked up onto the stage to play the victim in the Youse A Viper number. What a hoot!

D. Top Five Artists You Think More People Should Listen To:

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
The master of Pakistan's devotional Qawwali music, he is the most incredible singer you will ever hear.
The Langley Schools Music Project
A wonderful 'found music' classic. A group of rural Canadian school kids, some dimestore instruments, and their visionary teacher tackle the Beach Boys, David Bowie and the Eagles (among others). Their version of 'Desperado' is so good that the Eagles should NEVER perform it again out of respect for the nine year old girl who sings it. Absolutely brilliant.
The Sim Redmond Band
A haunting lead singer. Great guitar hooks. Thoughtful lyrics. Unusual percussion stylings. And totally unknown outside of the Finger Lakes. There ain't no justice.Hear them here.
The Deighton Family
A British dad with a taste for music hall songs and instruments. An Indonesian mom with an understanding of the differing tonalities of western and eastern music. And some precocious kids let loose on instruments and vocals of all stripes. Joyous, fun music. samples here.
The Tiger Lilies
A drummer who plays a kids drum set, a bass player with a porkpie hat and attitude, and a lead singer in theatrical whiteface who sings in counter-tenor and plays the accordian. Plug in a taste for the morbid and strange and what's not to love?

E. Top Five Albums You Must Hear From Start to Finish:
This is another category that gave me pause. I'm pretty old school. I always listen to the whole album. I'm still not used to the MP3 pick a song and go way of musical programming. So with that in mind, I'll just recommend some albums that I never seem to get tired of instead.
Talking Timbuctu: Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder
To the Moonr: capercaillie
Come Away with Me: Norah Jones
Specialist in All Styles: Orchestra Baobab
My Life: Iris DeMent

F. Top Five Musical s/Heroes:
Babatunde Olatunji: My musical bodhisatva, a true saint.
Van Morrison: The amazing spiritual odyssey recorded in his music so mirrors my own journey that it is positively eerie at times
Evelyn Glennie: Though profoundly deaf, she has become the foremost classical percussionist in the world
Patsy Cline: So completely damn HONEST in her performance that it is painful
Don Williams: He's 'just a country boy', but he sings for all us who straddle that awkward line between the mountain and the 'outside'. My choice of music when I want to have a good wallow in self pity.

Update: I forgot. I'm supposed to tag someone else. Ok, you're it, Dave at Via Negativa, Tom from Tomorrow's Ancient History Today and especially you Ned at By Neddie Jingo, in retaliation for this little ditty.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

from Freiheit und Wissen: Oh Give Me A Home, Where the Caribou Roam...

What was the number 1 most under-reported news story from the past 30 days? I’ll give you a hint: Alaska, oil spill, British Petroleum.

Actually, it would be unfair to call it under-reported because in order to count as such, someone would actually have to have reported on it.

Amidst the runaway brides and various other distractions the corporate media have cooked up to keep us happy and apathetic consumers of “entertainment” news, I have not seen a single news organization so much as mention that there has been an oil spill in Alaska.

Correction: Not 1, not 2, but 3 oil spills in BP’s Prudhoe Bay operation during March and April of this year – all of which went unreported to authorities. And of course the media has remained completely silent despite the fact that the spills were exposed to Congress on April 15 by an oil industry watchdog.

The story has all the earmarks of a grand drama – corporate whistle blowers, corporate malfeasance and a subsequent cover up, a federal investigation, and all the while, Congress happily debating whether or not to drill in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve.

Prudhoe Bay is in fact North America’s largest oil field and it sits only 60 miles away from ANWR. BP runs the operation on behalf of Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobile, and other oil companies – an operation known for its hazardous conditions.

But Congress just doesn’t care how shoddy the operation gets – it will not deter them or President Bush from pressing forward with their plans to let the energy industry rape Alaska’s glorious refuge. After all, we wouldn’t want to scare away all the energy money from the next election now would we?

The situation is absolutely criminal. It would be one thing to have an industrial accident. It is an entirely different matter to knowingly keep safety conditions minimal, resulting in accident after accident, and all the while hiding the evidence from the government.

Nor is this the first time that the ridiculous safety measures have been brought to light. In one of two articles I could find on the issue (both written by the same person), Jason Leopold writes:

BP has racked up some hefty fines over the years due to a number of mishaps at its Prudhoe Bay operations. In 2001, the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission found high failure rates on some Prudhoe wellhead safety valves. The company was put on federal criminal probation after one of its contractors dumped thousands of gallons of toxic material underground at BP's Endicott oil field in the 1990s. BP pleaded guilty to the charges in 2000 and paid a $6.5 million fine, and agreed to set up a nationwide environmental management program that has cost more than $20 million.

The latest charges against BP stem from claims made recently by BP whistleblowers who exposed their company’s severe safety and maintenance problems that have caused at least a half-dozen oil spills at Prudhoe Bay—North America’s biggest oil field—and other areas on Alaska’s North Slope, which the whistleblowers say could boil over and spread to ANWR if the area is opened up to further oil and gas exploration.

And another BP cover up was brought to the government's attention last year:

Hamel [the industry watchdog] filed a formal complaint in January with the EPA, claiming he had pictures showing a gusher spewing a brown substance in July 2003 and December 2004. An investigation by Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation determined that as much as 294 gallons of drilling mud, a substance that contains traces of crude oil, was spilled on two separate occasions when gas was sucked into wells, causing sprays of drilling muds and oil that shot up as high as 85 feet into the air.

Because both spills exceeded 55 gallons, BP and Nabors were obligated under a 2003 compliance agreement that BP signed with Alaska to immediately report the spills. But they didn't, said Leslie Pearson, the agency's spill prevention and emergency response manager.

But Congress has conveniently forgotten all of this – a particularly relevant history since the exact same technology in use at Prudhoe Bay would be replicated in any ANWR drilling.

The corporate media have failed the public in any last remaining sense of civil obligation that they might feel by completely ignoring this story. President Bush and Congress have failed the public as well - not to mention the 41 Democrats in the House who voted for the Energy Bill which would open ANWR for drilling.

How much longer will we look the other way as our elected officials hand out our public resources with no concern for the consequences?

Caribou Rising: Defending the Porcupine Herd, Gwich-'in Culture, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Caribou Rising: Defending the Porcupine Herd, Gwich-'in Culture, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Cumulative Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alaska's North Slope
Cumulative Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alaska's North Slope

The Natural History of an Arctic Oil Field: Development and the Biota
The Natural History of an Arctic Oil Field: Development and the Biota

Walking My Dog, Jane: From Valdez to Prudhoe Bay along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline
Walking My Dog, Jane: From Valdez to Prudhoe Bay along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline

fromBlanton's and Ashton's - Reality-based and lovin' it: UK MP George Galloway

The following is a photograph of UK MP George Galloway in his meeting with Saddam Hussein.

Oh, wait a minute. That's not George Galloway. I can't quite...let me get my glasses...looks like...naw, couldn't be, but it looks just like...Donald Rumsfeld with Saddam Hussein!

Oh my stars and garters. But isn't the Senate investigating UK MP George Galloway because he met with Saddam Hussein? And that's Donald Rumsfeld meeting with Saddam Hussein. And Hussein is a bad man who tried to kill President Horse Fluffer's daddy and gassed his own people, right? Right? And George Galloway met with Hussein to try to get him to let Hans Blix and the UN inspectors back into Iraq, but Donald Rumsfeld met with Hussein to sell him weapons to kill Iranians. So why is the Senate investigating George Galloway and not Donald Rumsfeld.

Politics is so confusing.

From George Galloway's testimony before the Senate:

'Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier and I want to point out areas where there are - let's be charitable and say errors. Then I want to put this in the context where I believe it ought to be. On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false.

'I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein.

'As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defence made of his.

'I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and Americans governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi embassy when British and American officials were going in and doing commerce. '

No, on second thought, there's nothing confusing about that at all.

Read the transcripts of Galloway's testimony. It's spectacular.

No, I have to quote this section. I didn't see this quoted on US web sites yesterday and it is so exquisite that I have to quote it. This Galloway guy gets better and better the more you read the transcripts.

'Now, one of the most serious of the mistakes you have made in this set of documents is, to be frank, such a schoolboy howler as to make a fool of the efforts that you have made. You assert on page 19, not once but twice, that the documents that you are referring to cover a different period in time from the documents covered by The Daily Telegraph which were a subject of a libel action won by me in the High Court in England late last year.

'You state that The Daily Telegraph article cited documents from 1992 and 1993 whilst you are dealing with documents dating from 2001. Senator, The Daily Telegraph's documents date identically to the documents that you were dealing with in your report here. None of The Daily Telegraph's documents dealt with a period of 1992, 1993. I had never set foot in Iraq until late in 1993 - never in my life. There could possibly be no documents relating to Oil-for-Food matters in 1992, 1993, for the Oil-for-Food scheme did not exist at that time.

'And yet you've allocated a full section of this document to claiming that your documents are from a different era to the Daily Telegraph documents when the opposite is true. Your documents and the Daily Telegraph documents deal with exactly the same period.

'But perhaps you were confusing the Daily Telegraph action with the Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor did indeed publish on its front pages a set of allegations against me very similar to the ones that your committee have made. They did indeed rely on documents which started in 1992, 1993. These documents were unmasked by the Christian Science Monitor themselves as forgeries.

'Now, the neo-con websites and newspapers in which you're such a hero, senator, were all absolutely cock-a-hoop at the publication of the Christian Science Monitor documents, they were all absolutely convinced of their authenticity. They were all absolutely convinced that these documents showed me receiving $10 million from the Saddam regime. And they were all lies.

'In the same week as the Daily Telegraph published their documents against me, the Christian Science Monitor published theirs which turned out to be forgeries and the British newspaper, Mail on Sunday, purchased a third set of documents which also upon forensic examination turned out to be forgeries. So there's nothing fanciful about this. Nothing at all fanciful about it.'

I just gave up smoking, but after reading the transcript, I feel like I need a cigarette.

UPDATE: After being shown up for a complete ass, Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman (R) said Galloway's credibility was "very suspect". That is one of the funniest things he could have said. Could anybody have been a bigger idiot in all of this than Coleman? I now dub Senator Norman Coleman, MN-R, "The Black Knight" because of his resemblance to the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I don't know the full story on Galloway, but by ghod he sure talks a good talk. Hurray for him for standing up to that jerk Coleman who couldn't find his own ass with both hands and a road map. Idiot would be high praise of his intellectual ability.
from Whiskey Bar: Scenes We'd Like to See

Defendants in the dock at the Ango-American War Crimes Trial of 2010, held at The Hague under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

Of the 20 defendants shown here -- the so-called 'Republican Guard' -- only one (Alan Greenspan, second row, second from right) was found not guilty, on the grounds that the destruction of the American economy and the global financial crash of 2008, while regrettable, did not constitute war crimes as defined by the Geneva Convention.

Another defendant (Ari Fleischer, front row, extreme right) received only a light sentence, as the court determined that lying to the American people was too common a crime to merit more severe punishment.

In a more controversial decision, former Secretary of State Colin Powell was spared any prison time at all, after the judges ruled that being seated between former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers for the entire eight-month trial constituted 'punishment enough.'

Former Vice President Richard Cheney (second row, extreme left), who feigned narcolepsy throughout most of the trial, was committed to the newly established United Nations Hospital for the Criminally Insane, as was former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (next to Cheney), who insisted on being addressed as 'Mrs. Bush' during the the trial.

The remaining defendants were sentenced to life terms at the Guantanamo War Crimes Penitentiary -- the same facility used to imprison the remaining leaders of the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, whose own war crimes trial began shortly after this picture was taken.

Oh Please! Oh Please! OH PLEEEEZ!
Poem of the Day

Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this 'homeland of the free.')

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a 'homeland of the free.'

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

from CorpWatch via arse poetica: Houston, We Still Have A Problem

On May 18, Halliburton will hold its annual shareholders meeting in downtown Houston. Inside, CEO David Lesar will be congratulating himself on the astonishing $7.1 billion revenue the company has made off its recent work in Iraq. This number is double what the company made in the war-torn country the previous year; it boosts Halliburton's overall revenue some 25 percent, bringing it to over $20 billion for 2004.

Outside the meeting, the protesters are likely to outnumber the official participants. And, if it's anything like last year, hundreds of corporate accountability activists will spend the day chanting and marching outside the posh Four Seasons Hotel, demanding that Halliburton be investigated and held accountable for ripping off both US taxpayers and Iraqis alike.

This year, there is even more reason for concern.

* Halliburton is currently being investigated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Additionally, the US Department of Justice is investigating Halliburton's work in Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, and the Balkans. (more)

The Halliburton Agenda: The Politics of Oil and Money
The Halliburton Agenda: The Politics of Oil and Money

The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group
The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

from MSNBC.com: 'Smoking gun' on humans and global warming claimed

NASA-led scientists say ocean data ties manmade emissions to warmer Earth
Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prepare to launch a 'profiling float' in the tropical Pacific. The float is one of hundreds used around the world to monitor climate change and which were instrumental for a new report on warming and human greenhouse gas emissions.

Using ocean data collected by diving floats, U.S. climate scientists released a study Thursday that they said provides the 'smoking gun' that ties manmade greenhouse gas emissions to global warming.

The researchers, some of them working for NASA and the Energy Department, went a step further, implicitly criticizing President Bush for not taking stronger action to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.

They said the findings confirm that computer models of climate change are on target and that global temperatures will rise 1 degree Fahrenheit this century, even if greenhouse gases are capped tomorrow.

If emissions instead continue to grow, as expected, things could spin “out of our control,” especially as ocean levels rise from melting Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the NASA-led scientists said. 'The climate system could reach a point where large sea level change is practically impossible to avoid.' (more)

Of course, these were only scientists employed by the US government. We can't trust them or the other 98% of all atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, geographers, oceanographers, and climatologists who agree with the conclusions of this report. We still have to wait for the conclusions of the 'faith based' researchers who seem to have been too busy building the Ark out behind the White House to bother reading the report.

Global Warming: The Complete Briefing
Global Warming: The Complete Briefing

Poem of the Day

Saddest Poem by Pablo Neruda
I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: 'The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance.'

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don't have her. To feel that I've lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn't keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That's all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else's. She will be someone else's. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.

The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems
The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems