Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Or maybe it’s just the hot air cloud over Rush’s studio…

Too big to nail?

Too big to nail?

Well, our natural world seems to be having its fun with us as a huge ash cloud erupts from Mount Eyjafjallajokull (Eye-ya-falafel-cul?) and cuts off Europe from air travel for several days. This is not the first time such a huge cloud has occurred: there was the famous Mt. St. Helens eruption back in 1980. The centuries have been dotted with darknesses “enveloping the whole of Europe” as the description of one 5th century eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that, curiously enough, signaled the start of the Dark Ages (although the Dark Ages could have been presaged by an eruption of Mount Etna in 417, on whose dating, I, in an earlier incarnation as an historian, wrote a paper on in 1990 (Olympiodorus’ Eruption of Mount Etna: a possible dating of 417. EOS: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union 71:329-334)). Rush Limbaugh has been having fun with it, calling attention to Obama’s statement on the passing of the health care bill that the world hasn’t ended yet. I certainly hope the Almighty has better aim than to punish Europe for OUR supposed transgression, so I shall assume that Rush-boy is being ironic, should he be capable of such complexity of thought.

But with such a global disaster, it might be better to look for a more global transgression, and I think we have our candidate at Goldman Sachs. Their financial manipulations–along with other august companies–managed to pull off a global economic disaster, yet their CEO Lloyd Blankfein had the effrontery to make a positively BLASPHEMOUS statement that he was “doing God’s work” while bankrupting the entire world. Now if I know one thing about Our Lord God Jehovah, you can kill millions of people and He won’t bat an eyelash, but say one thing wrong about Him and all Armageddon is gonna bust loose. On top of all, Goldman Sachs has the sheer CHUTZPAH to announce 5 billion dollars in bonuses to be paid to its executives–you know, the ones who bet short on the world disaster they themselves engineered–and you say, enough is enough.

The teabaggers have it all wrong–the cause of our ills is not the government–tho it’s not helping by spending 20 times the amount that could eliminate world hunger on a military that has gotten itself bogged down in the middle of a desert for 8 years. It’s these bankers who think God’s work consists of lining their pockets with our money. They’re no better than the guy who is going to the track and convinces you to bet on a certain longshot that he says he has a tip that it can’t loose. Then, when he goes to the track, bets all YOUR money on the favorite and after the race, picks up one of the losing tickets off the floor to give you with the lame explanation that he’s never gonna listen to THAT TIPSTER again. It’s beyond time that they should be sued for fraud. It’s about time that they should be INDICTED for it!

In the meantime, Europe is enjoying a slower pace and beautiful sunsets. Maybe Mt. St. Palin in Alaska will explode in a few years and we’ll be the lucky ones :D


I went to a small con this weekend in Alexandria called T-MODE and had a great time. The advantage of a small con is its size–you can meet everyone and do everything. Naturally, you have a bigger selection of activities at a big con, but you always wind up missing some things you would have enjoyed. The organizers of T-MODE called it “fun-sized” and that it was. I got to hear a lovely singer Emi Meyer (also on MySpace–beautiful woman, beautiful voice, beautiful music) and hip hop artist Shing02 and DJ Icewater. I had a TAIKO DRUM LESSON from Doug Manring (Power Kix Drum Team and Real School of Rock) as well as meeting the new voice of Haruhi Suzumiya and a great singer herself Cristina Vee. Also there were our friends from the webcomic Geeks Next Door, who gave sessions ON webcomics, and Interrobang Studios, whose artist Sarah Martinez, gave a great session on surviving Artist’s Alley. I didn’t get to meet the vocal artist Mega Ran (aka Random) or voice actor Todd Haberkorn, or Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has invaded the US–I did have to run home and feed the kitten occasionally LOL. Oh and I nearly forgot, I got interviewed for Vidgle and I hope to have up a link next week to my podcast with them :) Congratulations to the organizers–I had a great time. My personal photos will be up on my Flicker account later this week.

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Help is On the WAY–in a few days…

A marine shouts to victims under a pile of rubble that they will get help as soon as the marines finish setting up a secure base camp.

We would have sent in food and water immediately, but there was no security structure in place.

Well, we’re finally doing something over in Haiti, but, sad to say, we got beat to the punch. Rescue teams from … Iceland … were despatched almost immediately after the earthquake struck. Sniffer dogs arrived from … China … within 48 hours. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the President of the Lumbering Giant of America said that we could get the first 2000 Marines to Haiti–a mere 700 miles from Florida and a hop, skip and jump from Puerto Rico–in a few days. A few days means a lot to a victim still buried under rubble. Or someone sitting on the roof of their submerged house as we found out from Katrina. But Haiti is not New Orleans. It’s simply the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Greg Palast has a remarkable precis of the screwy US response. I don’t want to copy what he’s said, but what it boils down to is that instead of treating the Haitian tragedy as an EMERGENCY, our response has been to treat it as a military operation. Secretary Gates said he would not send in food and water immediately because there was no security apparatus in place. OF COURSE NOT, an entire country has been devastated. The proper response in an EMERGENCY is to send in rescuers first, followed up by relief and security. But America is so hamstrung by both its muscle-bound state and its security paranoia that instead of doing the right thing first, we started out with the back end of the horse.
Our first operation appears to have been to secure the Port-au-Prince airport and try to take over rescue efforts in a way that had French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet complain that we seemed to be more concerned with occupying Haiti rather than helping it. Indeed, we secured the airport so well that we refused landing to an aircraft from “Doctors without Borders” carrying supplies and an inflatable surgical hospital, forcing them to land in the Dominican Republic and truck in the supplies over the mountains, delaying their arrival for 24 hours. Danny Schecter on Media Channel suggests that our overweaning focus on security may be driven more by a desire to keep US-deposed President Aristide out of Haiti than on anything to do with the safety of the country.
We’ve heard a lot about things being “too big to fail” in recent months–the banks are too big to be allowed to go under after they’ve screwed up the economy, the health insurance industry is too big to be allowed to be given competition from a single payer health plan. And even when the leading political party is in agreement on something in general, it can’t agree with itself about what it wants. Could it be that the US has become too big to act effectively? Man, if so, we better get some streamlining in pronto before we choke to death on our immensity.

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Let’s Go A-Viking

What? Didn't you know it was a global crisis?

What? Didn't you know it was a global crisis?

With our parochial vision, the people of the United States … AND its government … seem to think that the present economic “recession” — meaning meltdown — is somehow just a problem in the United States. Especially the people who brought it on. Well, guess what? We’ve managed to crash the entire world economy. Now that’s an accomplishment that George Bush can be proud of. Of course, he wanted to blame it on Clinton. And Sean Hannity wants to blame the lack of an immediate solution on Obama. But let’s face it–the world has been screwed. Iceland went bankrupt. The government that was supposed to take care of the problem has already fallen. Yet still we think that if we only throw enough money at the banks whose greed and rapacity are the main villains in this comedy, everything will be alright. Ah, well, none are so blind as those who will not see.

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