Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Not even on the map

Most of us that hang out here are able to imagine a different world. So let's ask ourselves:

Is it time to wean ourselves from our oil addiction and move on to something new?

The answer is yes, even though sacrifice may be required. Yes, even though the ultimate outcome is uncertain.

Yes, because if we don't start now, we'll regret it later.

Whatever; it has to be done, so sign me up, I'm ready to get started.

But to the theocons, such a prospect causes a response straight from the reptilian brain, all claws and fangs and fear. It's simply the difference between progressives, who anticipate the future (and whatever change the future brings) and .....well.....the not-at-all-progressives, who fear the future just as they fear the Other.

What we see in the Middle East today has little to do with freedom or liberty, or democracy, or the security of Israel. It's about oil, about saving our "non-negotiable" lifesyle, and to believe differently is hopelessly naive. We're witnessing the opening battles for the last of the Ancient Sunshine, the last of the dinosaur juice. Earth's oil reserves took millions of years to form; we've used half of it, the easy half, in a 150 year party of convenience, comfort, and easy motoring. What awaits us when the reality sinks into the public consciousness that The Party Is Over? Chaos? The Big Crash?

There's a saying that the Chinese word for "crisis" is made up of the signs for "danger" and "opportunity". Not really, as it turns out, but that doesn't make the concept any less compelling.

Due to the loss of Russian oil imports in the early '90s, Cuba went through its own Peak Oil, but in part due to the resilient and cooperative nature of Cuban society, they seized the opportunity, largely avoided the danger, and strengthened their society.

Pessimism is a type of pornography. I'm ready to swear it off and start imagining that new world.

Start thinking about it yourself. Imagine a Big Change, a turnaround. How could it happen? What would it take? What would the catalyst be? Because, you know, it's happened before: a seemingly invincible power becomes corrupted, weak, decadent, and in the blink of an eye, is gone. What follows such a fall? Opportunity. Danger.

I almost forgot....... to get the ideas flowing, let me highly recommend V For Vendetta.

Weekly roundup: AC is Jumping the Shark.

- This week, I'm taking some cold comfort in this: it's obvious that, for the Coulters and Kristols and Hannitys, the 15 Minutes Of Fame clock is at 14:45 and ticking. Ann Coulter believes that Bill Clinton is gay? C'mon Ann, you'll have to do better than that, or it's time to strap on your skis and make the jump.

- The London attacks were phony, pure political theater, and even the righwingers, in their gut, know that they're being played. Dubya got zero bounce from it; nada, zilch. Four years ago, he'd have shot up 10 points overnight. Now, it's just the boy who cried wolf.

- Also: the bloodbath has begun:

I'm looking to elect a real war leader to the White House - somebody with a warrior's temperament and a leader's skills. George Bush has neither. He is a dangerous failure, and America will be well rid of him.

Digby? Billmon? Oh no, not at all. The Daily Pundit, linked from Instapundit. Go. Read. You'll feel better. The long knives are being sharpened.

I want you to get mad!

If you're like me, you like the occasional rant. That being the case, it doesn't get much better than driftglass. Here, he's speculating that what we're witnessing in the Middle East is not glaring incompetence. For the men that pull the strings, chaos is the goal. Well....maybe. I think there's plenty of incompetence to be found; it's just that the neocons aren't even competent at fucking things up.

One of the points of the excellent but slightly incomprehensible Syriana was that stability and peace were the last things the neocons wanted in the Middle East. To paraphrase the Matt Damon character speaking to the reform-minded sheik's son: "The goal is: someday the oil is all gone and you're still herding camels."

Iraq is a disaster; it's completely lost, and may cease to exist. We were instrumental in convincing the Israelis that going after Hezbollah would be.....ahem.....a cakewalk. We twisted British arms into acting on the latest half-assed terror plot. It seems impossible to fuck up that badly, so maybe drifty is correct: chaos is the desired result. He's also spot on: while a part of it is certainly Fear of Brown People, in the end, it's oil. It's all oil.

driftglass is worth the occasional visit. Here's another classic.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hi, my name is monty, and I'm a Youtube addict.

I'll jump on the Youtube bandwagon with some Joni:

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Once again, P. Buchanan

More good stuff from Cruel Crazy Patrick, here, here, and here .

Or anytime of the day at The American Cause and The American Conservative .

Don't hate me....

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The same but with a difference

There are more political/opinion blogs out there than one can possibly read, although I try to do my part. Most, even over here on the left side of things, are partisan. Then there's Billmon, aka The Whiskey Bar. Billmon, while certainly leaning left, is no partisan: he seems to find the Democrats as lame and hopeless as the neocons are dangerous. He's been on fire during the Israel/Hizbillah conflict, providing the level of analysis and insight that you used to have to pay for. Commenting for Billmon's posts takes place at a different site, Moon of Alabama and is typically thought-provoking and flame free. If you're trying to get your head around what's happening, you can't do any better.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday print blogging

Old Car, Monte Sano
(click image for high res version)

As many of you know, Friday is the day when many bloggers loosen their tie. Tbogg does music and bassett hounds. Atrios does cats; John at AMERICAblog does orchids.

Since traditional analog photography and darkroom work is a hobby of mine, we'll do prints.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ridin' the wave of the future, chapter 1...

.....In which you get to look at sexy car pictures, and read Mark Morford; not a bad deal.

Meet the Tesla, new, high-priced, high performance completely electric car. While Mark loves it, he's still pissed:

Did I mention the Roadster costs about 80K? Who cares? The price is irrelevant. The fact that this car even exists in such a pure and obvious and performance-oriented form, does. Simply put, it is the most flagrant proof yet that we have been brutally, savagely misled.

See, they lie. And they've been lying for years, decades. They lie about how difficult it is to replace the internal combustion engine. They lie about how unfeasible it is to eliminate auto emissions without sacrificing real performance (the 130-mph Roadster's lithium-ion battery system is estimated to be twice as efficient as a Prius and three times as efficient as a hydrogen fuel cell. Not to mention Tesla's fabulous solar option).

But they lie, most of all, about how much we still require foreign oil, because these billion-dollar corporations claim they can't possibly afford to develop sufficiently advanced technology in your lifetime to create a 100-percent emissions-free, oil-free, ultragreen vehicle that still has all the comforts and performance of a regular car.

We've been lied to? Bastards! They swore They had changed.

While I think our situation on the planet is dire, the Tesla gives me hope, because this is what we, as humans, do. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, and sometimes when it's most needed, we step up to the plate and knock one out of the park. The Tesla is not a perfect solution; it requires electricity, which typically reqires coal, which produces CO2. But it's a step, a start, and a fine looking one at that.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

If you don't like what the Big Chief say....

Years ago, I worked at New Orleans Convention Center, as a tech in the audio and lighting department. Like the rest of New Orleans, the NOCC was a wonderfully diverse mix of people.

There was a carpenter who worked there named Jake Millon. To the white folks, he was just Jake the carpenter, but to the blacks, he was, by God, Big Chief Jake of the White Eagles Mardi Gras Indian tribe. From a newspaper article about New Orleans refugees:

In New Orleans, the Millon family has a sort of royal status, because their late brother was Big Chief Jake Millon, a highly respected leader of the White Eagles, a Mardi Gras Indian gang.

One Mardi Gras, I asked:

Jake, where you gonna be on Mardi Gras Day?

I don’t know, bro, around.

Well, where’s around?

Somewhere Uptown, off of Claiborne.

So, on a sunny Mardi Gras morning, I hopped on my bicycle (the best way to dodge the Mardi Gras traffic) and headed to the neighborhood where I thought I might find Jake. I rode around for a while, enjoying the warm weather, looking up and down the streets. A few blocks down, I noticed a commotion, and there were the White Eagles, making their way through the crowd under 50 lb. costumes. I saw Jake.

Big Daddy Doug!


Ain’t I pretty?

Yeah, Jake, you’re pretty!

Ain’t I the prettiest?

Jake, you are the prettiest chief of them all.

Then, he shook my hand and moved on. I moved on too; although I didn’t feel threatened or in danger in this poor neighborhood, this wasn’t my place. This wasn’t for me; it was for them. It grew out of that fertile and trembling earth, this strange tradition that happens nowhere else.

It’s been almost a year since Katrina ripped a hole in the fabric of our country, but for me and my family, that wound is still raw. A few bars of the right music, or a photo on the Web, and I feel that knot in my chest again. The tears still come at the drop of a hat. New Orleans is still there, but the Big Easy is gone, receding into the past.

Maybe it’s selfish, but at least there’s this: I lived there for 6 years, and I got it. I soaked it up. It changed me to my core, changed my ideas about life, about music and art, about culture, about family. It crawled up under my skin like no other place.

Jake died a few years ago, and I guess I’m glad that he was spared Katrina. But I’ll always be grateful to him for that sunny day when he let me, a guy from Indiana farm country, take a peek, just for a moment, into a world where black people dress like Indians and sing and dance in the streets.

Fever in the mornin', fever all through the night

I try not to go there; I try to stay away. Really, I do. But sometimes the links conspire against me, and it’s click, and click, and there you are, in the fever swamp of the rightwing blogosphere.

You see, the folks over at Confederate Yankee, (via Little Green Footballs. No links, you can search out those fetid paths on your own) think that there may have been some Funny Business surrounding the deaths of all those civilians at Qana. Maybe it was staged; maybe the pictures are phony. OK, we’ve heard it before. But then this comment wrapped its icy fingers around my throat:

Not sure if this has been flagged yet, but is it me, or does that pacifier connected to childs shirt by a plastic chain look too clean?


Has this been flagged!? Does the pacifier look too clean?

While my religious affiliations are tenuous and ever-changing at best, I do believe there is a Great Accounting at the end of our ride, a Karmic Toteboard of some sort.

And when that day comes, I’ll take comfort in the fact that I didn’t spend my time on a computer in my parent’s basement, sitting in a fog of Cheeto dust and Little Debbie debris, poring over photos of dead children.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.