Saturday, September 02, 2006


I want to, once, before I die, vote for a woman candidate for president, and see her win. After that, I swear, the breast cancer can have me. But, before I go, I want to see a woman in the White House. Hillary Clinton looks to be my best chance.


As usual, what Jamison Foser says. Of course, the devil will wear Prada.

This Shit Gets Really Old

I'll just say, straight up, that I love LA. I love LA and I love the surrounding area -- the San Gabriel Mountains, Duarte, Rosemead, Hollywood, Santa Barbara, and the city where, were it not for the presence of an earthquake line there and of Grandson here, I'd probably live, Pasadena. So it's always a bit of a shock for me how disappointing the LAT can be.

Today, the LAT disappoints bigtime. Like the WaPo and the NYT, they say shit about Hillary Clinton that they'd never say about a man. What's weird, and we've now seen enough of these articles to call this a trend, is that the articles have to start off by admitting that she basically rocks and has the political skills that most men only dream off. Check out the first few paragraphs of the LAT article that quote one-time determined foes now voting for her and community activists who can't say enough good things about her, after she's been in office for only one term.

But then, since she's, you know, a (ewwww! scary!) powerful woman, they have to try and turn that into a negative. I love the quote from a bobo in the south who says there isn't enough money in the world to get out the good word on her between now and 2008. Dude, in 1996, I'd never HEARD of Bill Clinton. And she's, you know, raised a shitload of cash and has, you know, a lot of star power. But, hey, she's a chick, so no way can we just admit that she's done an amazing job of almost every task she's ever attacked.

I get tired of the double standard that many liberals apply to Hillary Clinton. As the LAT points out: her voting record places her to the left of 80% of her Senate colleagues, according to [what the LAT terms] the nonpartisan National Journal. Almost half of the those colleagues are Democrats, but I don't hear many of them coming in for the kind of criticism from liberals that Hillary gets. That said, she, just as was John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and every other Democratic candidate for president in my lifetime, is to my right.

Yet, "The bad news is she's not going to prove a whole lot running up the score in a strongly Democratic state in a strongly Democratic year." You know, fuck you, LAT. Fuck you. It's clear that Hillary Clinton is a skilled politician, a skilled campaigner, someone who -- as you touted for George Bush when he first ran for office and as turned out to be completely untrue for him -- can reach across the aisle and work with former enemies to get things done. But, fuck her. She's a smart, powerful woman and that scares the crap out of everyone in this country.


When Mamma Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

And, speaking of the hole in the ozone, this article, which, inexplicably shows up in the Style section, rather than above-the-fold on Page One, is definitely worth reading all the way through. It discusses James Lovelock, who was one of the first to note the thinning of the ozone and to propose a solution for it. Lovelock, however, is more famous for his Gaia Theory, which he developed as a result of studying the Martian atmosphere.

In 1961 Lovelock worked with NASA. The space agency wanted to design a lander to search for life on Mars. That, Lovelock thought, was silly. What if a lander set down in the wrong spot? What if Martian life wasn't bacterial?

Lovelock took a conceptual leap. If Mars bore life, bacteria would be obliged to use oxygen to breathe and to deposit their wastes as methane. Lovelock found that Earth's atmosphere contained massive quantities of oxygen and methane, gases that are the very signature of life. Mars's atmosphere was thick with carbon dioxide, the calling card of a dead planet.
That discovery changed his life. He came to see Earth as a self-regulating biosphere. The sun has warmed by 25 percent since life appeared, so Earth produced more algae and forests to absorb carbon dioxide, ensuring roughly constant temperatures.

Focusing on Lovelock's newest book, The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity, released last month in the U.S., the article paints a grim picture of the next two to six decades.

"It's going too fast," he says softly. "We will burn."

Why is that?

"Our global furnace is out of control. By 2020, 2025, you will be able to sail a sailboat to the North Pole. The Amazon will become a desert, and the forests of Siberia will burn and release more methane and plagues will return."

"Maybe 200 million people will migrate close to the Arctic and survive this. Even if we took extraordinary steps, it would take the world 1,000 years to recover." . . . It begins with the melting of ice and snow. As the Arctic grows bare -- the Greenland ice cap is shrinking far faster than had been expected -- dark ground emerges and absorbs heat. That melts more snow and softens peat bogs, which release methane. As oceans warm, algae are dying and so absorbing less heat-causing carbon dioxide.

To the south, drought already is drying out the great tropical forests of the Amazon. "The forests will melt away just like the snow," Lovelock says.

Even the northern forests, those dark cool beauties of pines and firs, suffer. They absorb heat and shelter bears, lynxes and wolves through harsh winters. But recent studies show the boreal forests are drying and dying and inducing more warming.

Casting 30, 40 years into the future, Lovelock sees sub-Saharan lands becoming uninhabitable. India runs out of water, Bangladesh drowns, China eyes a Siberian land grab, and local warlords fight bloody wars over water and energy.

In the end, though, Lovelock remains optimistic. "People say, 'Well, you're 87, you won't live to see this,' " he says. "I have children, I have grandchildren, I wish none of this. But it's our fate; we need to recognize it's another wartime. We desperately need a Moses to take us to the Arctic and preserve civilization.

"It's too late to turn back."

Myself, I can do without another Moses. But the chaos that global climate change will produce often leads to wars and an increase in patriarchal thought and authority. That's only one of the reasons why it concerns me so much. Of course we'll see the breakdown of societies, warlords feuding, as Lovelock predicts, over water, arable land, and declining sources of energy. Of course we'll hear that the increasingly hostile climate and the increasingly frequent storms, wildfires, and oceanic deadspots are due to our failure to propitiate the angry/sky/father/mountain/thunder god du jour by failing to hate sex/ control women's sexuality/abstain from alcohol, etc. It won't be pretty. But I'll keep working for as soft a landing as is possible.

What else can anyone do?

All We Are Saying, Is Give Earth A Chance

The Environmental News Network has an encouraging article that shows how Mother Earth can heal herself when we give her a chance.

In the early 1980s, scientists noted that the layer of ozone in Earth's atmosphere was thinning. This was thought to be due, at least in part, to human use of chemicals, in spray-cans for instance, that depleted the ozone. In 1987, the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to limit the emission of ozone-depleting chemicals went into effect. Now, scientists are seeing a recovery of the Earth's atmosphere.

"These results confirm the Montreal Protocol and its amendments have succeeded in stopping the loss of ozone in the stratosphere," said Eun-Su Yang of the Georgia Institute of Technology, who led a team that analyzed the data.

"At the current recovery rate ... the global ozone layer could be restored to 1980 levels -- the time that scientists first noticed the harmful effects human activities were having on atmospheric ozone -- sometime in the middle of this century," Yang said in a statement.

Helen Of Troy Does Countertop Dancing By Margaret Atwood

The world is full of women
who'd tell me I should be ashamed of myself
if they had the chance. Quit dancing.
Get some self-respect
and a day job.
Right. And minimum wage,
and varicose veins, just standing
in one place for eight hours
behind a glass counter
bundled up to the neck, instead of
naked as a meat sandwich.
Selling gloves, or something.
Instead of what I do sell.
You have to have talent
to peddle a thing so nebulous
and without material form.
Exploited, they'd say. Yes, any way
you cut it, but I've a choice
of how, and I'll take the money.

I do give value.
Like preachers, I sell vision,
like perfume ads, desire
or its facsimile. Like jokes
or war, it's all in the timing.
I sell men back their worse suspicions:
that everything's for sale,
and piecemeal. They gaze at me and see
a chain-saw murder just before it happens,
when thigh, ass, inkblot, crevice, tit, and nipple
are still connected.
Such hatred leaps in them,
my beery worshippers! That, or a bleary
hopeless love. Seeing the rows of heads
and upturned eyes, imploring
but ready to snap at my ankles,
I understand floods and earthquakes, and the urge
to step on ants. I keep the beat,
and dance for them because
they can't. The music smells like foxes,
crisp as heated metal
searing the nostrils
or humid as August, hazy and languorous
as a looted city the day after,
when all the rape's been done
already, and the killing,
and the survivors wander around
looking for garbage
to eat, and there's only a bleak exhaustion.
Speaking of which, it's the smiling
tires me out the most.
This, and the pretence
that I can't hear them.
And I can't, because I'm after all
a foreigner to them.
The speech here is all warty gutturals,
obvious as a slab of ham,
but I come from the province of the gods
where meanings are lilting and oblique.
I don't let on to everyone,
but lean close, and I'll whisper:
My mother was raped by a holy swan.
You believe that? You can take me out to dinner.
That's what we tell all the husbands.
There sure are a lot of dangerous birds around.

Not that anyone here
but you would understand.
The rest of them would like to watch me
and feel nothing. Reduce me to components
as in a clock factory or abattoir.
Crush out the mystery.
Wall me up alive
in my own body.
They'd like to see through me,
but nothing is more opaque
than absolute transparency.
Look--my feet don't hit the marble!
Like breath or a balloon, I'm rising,
I hover six inches in the air
in my blazing swan-egg of light.
You think I'm not a goddess?
Try me.
This is a torch song.
Touch me and you'll burn.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Dangerous Human Disruption Of The Global Climate

A report from BBC makes clear a point that I've been hoping to hammer home. In his first broadcast interview as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, John Holdren told the BBC that the climate was changing much faster than predicted.

"We are not talking anymore about what climate models say might happen in the future.

"We are experiencing dangerous human disruption of the global climate and we're going to experience more," Professor Holdren said.

He emphasised the seriousness of the melting Greenland ice cap, saying that without drastic action the world would experience more heatwaves, wild fires and floods.

He added that if the current pace of change continued, a catastrophic sea level rise of 4m (13ft) this century was within the realm of possibility; much higher than previous forecasts.

To put this in perspective, Professor Holdren pointed out that the melting of the Greenland ice cap, alone, could increase world-wide sea levels by 7m (23ft), swamping many cities.

The report makes clear where much of the blame lies: [Professor Holdren] blamed President Bush not only for refusing to cut emissions, but also for failing to live up to his rhetoric on harnessing technology to tackle climate change.

"We are not starting to address climate change with the technology we have in hand, and we are not accelerating our investment in energy technology research and development," Professor Holdren observed.

He said research undertaken by Harvard University revealed that US government spending on energy research had not increased since 2001. In order to make any progress, funding for climate technology needed to multiply by three or four times, Professor Holdren warned.

And, the BBC report indicates that the UK, like other nations, is getting fed up with Bush's head-in-the-sand strategy: Last year, the UK's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, held a science conference to determine the threshold of dangerous climate change. Delegates concluded that to be relatively certain of keeping the rise below 2C (3.6F), CO2 levels in the atmosphere should not exceed 400 parts per million (ppm) and the highest prudent limit should be 450 ppm.

In October, at an international conference in Mexico, UK environment and energy ministers will try to persuade colleagues from the top 20 most polluting nations to agree on a CO2 stabilisation level.

Professor Holdren expressed doubt that progress could be achieved because if the US administration agreed that there was a need to limit CO2, this would inevitably lead to mandatory caps. President Bush has already rejected that option.

For more than a year, the BBC has invited the US government to give its view on safe levels of CO2. Our request is repeatedly passed between the White House office of the Council on Environmental Quality and the office of the US chief scientist.

To date, we have received no response to questions on this issue that Tony Blair calls the most important in the world.

Says It All

Thanks to Moonbotica for the tip.

Longevity For People Who Don't Believe In The Future.

This week, two of the smartest, most thoughtful people that I know -- my friend Elizabeth and my friend Prior Aelred -- sent me the same article. It's definitely worth a read.

A Plan to Save the Country

by Garrison Keillor

It's the best part of summer, the long, lovely passage into fall. A procession of lazy, golden days that my sandy-haired, gap-toothed little girl has been painting, small abstract masterpieces in tempera and crayon and glitter, reminiscent of Franz Kline or Willem de Kooning (his early glitter period). She put a sign out front, "Art for Sale," and charged 25 cents per painting. Cheap at the price.

A teacher gave her this freedom to sit un-self-consciously and put paint on paper. A gentle, 6-foot-8 guy named Matt who taught art at her preschool. Her swimming teachers gave her freedom from fear of water. So much that has made this summer a pleasure for her I trace to specific teachers, and so it's painful to hear about public education sinking all around us.

A high school math class of 42! Everybody knows you can't teach math to 42 kids at once. The classroom smells bad because the custodial staff has been cut back. The teacher must whip his pupils into shape to pass the federal No Child Left Untested program. This is insanity, the legacy of Republicans and their tax-cutting and their hostility to secular institutions.

Last spring, I taught a college writing course and had the privilege of hanging out with people in their early 20s, an inspirational experience in return for which I tried to harass them about spelling and grammar and structure. My interest in being 21 again is less than my interest in having a frontal lobotomy, but the wit and passion and good-heartedness of these kids, which they try to conceal under their exquisite cool, are the hope of this country. You have to advocate for young people, or else what are we here for?

I keep running into retirees in their mid-50s, free to collect seashells and write bad poetry and shoot video of the Grand Canyon, and goody for them, but they're not the future. My college kids are graduating with a 20-pound ball of debt chained to their ankles. That's not right, and you know it.

This country is squashing its young. We're sending them to die in a war we don't believe in anymore. We're cheating them so we can offer tax relief to the rich. And we're stealing from them so that old gaffers like me, who want to live forever, can go in for an MRI if we have a headache.

A society that pays for MRIs for headaches and can't pay teachers a decent wage has made a dreadful choice. But health care costs are ballooning, eating away at the economy. The boomers are getting to an age where their knees need replacing and their hearts need a quadruple bypass - which they feel entitled to - but our children aren't entitled to a damn thing. Any goombah with a Ph.D. in education can strip away French and German, music and art, dumb down the social sciences, offer Britney Spears instead of Shakespeare, and there is nothing the kid can do except hang out in the library, which is being cut back too.

This week, we mark the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the Current Occupant's line, "You're doing a heckuva job," which already is in common usage, a joke, a euphemism for utter ineptitude. It's sure to wind up in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, a summation of his occupancy.

Annual interest on the national debt now exceeds all government welfare programs combined. We'll be in Iraq for years to come. Hard choices need to be made, and given the situation we're in, I think we must bite the bullet and say no more health care for card-carrying Republicans. It just doesn't make sense to invest in longevity for people who don't believe in the future. Let them try faith-based medicine, let them pray for their arteries to be reamed and their hips to be restored, and leave science to the rest of us.

Cutting out health care to one-third of the population - the folks with Bush-Cheney bumper stickers, who still believe the man is doing a heckuva job - will save enough money to pay off the national debt, not a bad legacy for Republicans. As Scrooge said, let them die and reduce the surplus population. In return, we can offer them a reduction in the estate tax. All in favor, blow your nose.

Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Patrick Stewart Still Doesn't Have A Pentacle On His Memorial

I had to blog this. It has my friend Katrina Messenger front and center in the audience.

Why Webb Won't Be Campaiging On Labor Day

Jim Webb, Democratic candidate for Senate in Virginia won't be attending the Labor Day events that normally kick a candiate's campaign into high gear. It's not lack of finances nor a lack of interest. It's just that this is his last chance to be with his son before his son, a Marine Lance Corporal, deploys to Iraq.

Virginia's News Leader reports that: [b]ecause Webb knows combat firsthand as a Marine who fought in some of the bloodiest engagements of the Vietnam War, the experience is particularly painful. When asked about it in an AP interview, tears glazed his eyes and he was momentarily unable to speak.

Webb, 60, said he saw his father, a tough career military man, cry just once: the day he left for duty in Vietnam.

"I can look at it as a father and as a Marine, but, for better or for worse, I am just more visible than other fathers," Webb said.

"I'm going through the same mental and emotional process as thousands of other parents," he said.

G. Felix Allen, Jr., of course, will be walking in a Labor Day parade. Maybe he can avoid calling his fellow Americans nasty names for a change.

Webb's campaign realizes that Webb is losing a chance to compete with Allen, However, in Webb's case, voters will understand, said Mark Rozell, a political science professor at George Mason University.

"If you weren't there because you just wanted to get a few more days' of vacation out of the summer, then that would be a problem. But I think with this, most voters will look into their hearts and understand," Rozell said.

Bidding farewell to a child bound for combat also immunizes Webb from criticism for his absence from his opponent, he said.

"It would look pretty crass for an opponent to try and make an issue of it," he said.

Well, we all know that G. Felix Allen, Jr., who spent Viet Nam on a dude ranch while Jim Webb was fighting in Viet Nam, is as crass as crass can be.

Meanwhile, the General has some information on how the children of prominent Republicans like to spend their holidays.

First of the Month Bazooms Blogging

Women! It's the first of the month. Now is a great time to do a breast self-exam. It's easy; here's how. Breast exams help to save lives. If you prefer to do your breast self-exam at a specific point in your cycle, now's a good time to calendar it so that you don't forget.

Men! Are there any women who you'd miss if they died from breast cancer? If so, now's a good time to remind them to do a breast self-exam.

And, on the topic of breasts, talk about practicing your love on women! Can anyone imagine trusting her mammograms to Bush to read? Hmmm. If things get much worse here, maybe Uruguay is a possibility.

My annual mammogram is scheduled for later in September. Wish me luck!

Not Gradually

The WaPo reports that the World Bank is reassessing how it does business based upon global climate change. "Much of the damage [to developing countries] would come not gradually and incrementally through the years, but in the form of severe economic shocks," [the Bank's report] added." Further, Poorer nations, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where agriculture acounts for about 70 percoent of employment, would be the hardest hit. Also likely to suffer are developing countries on small islands that are subject to rising seas caused by global warming.

You know, they're not exactly a bunch of Birkenstock-wearing tree-huggers over at the World Bank. If they're beginning to modify their plans based on global climate change, it's pretty ridiculous for Americans to still be debating whether or not global climate change is here. It's here.

When climate and economic impacts hit large sections of the Planet "not gradually," people don't have time to adjust to the change and they don't just sit down and die. Large groups of them begin moving to areas where there is food, water, economic aid. And the people already living in those areas often aren't happy to see them. Remember what happened in our own country when Katrina survivors were met at the bridge by people with rifles? Now imagine it on a global scale.

We need to address the problems of overpopulation and global climte change seriously RIGHT NOW. Otherwise, the 21st Century will be a century of wars and refugees.
Nathan Thurm interviewed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

It would be funny, if it weren't so true.


California, as you've undoubtedly heard, will be passing legislation designed to cap greenhouse gas emissions. The version of the bill adopted appears to be a victory for environmental groups and Democrats, who reportedly met with the Governor Schwarzenegger yesterday and told him that they had the votes to pass their version with or without his support. Facing an upcoming election in a state where four out of five residents believe that urgent action on climate change is needed, the Governor, who recently held an environmental "summit" with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, jumped on the bandwagon.

I'd like to be more excited about this bill. It's the first in the nation to go this far, exceeding even the recent efforts of some Northeastern States, and it's a significant slap in the face to the Bush junta, but I'm afraid that it's still too little, too late.

The bill provides for a two-year period in which a state agency (whose members are appointed by the governor) will measure carbon emissions from every major pollution source in California, including power plants, oil refineries, and cement kilns. State regulators will then set limits for each polluter; those limits, however, do not begin to become effective until 2012, and, even then, there could be an extension in the case, for example, of serious economic harm. The limits on greenhouse gas emissions would become gradually more stringent, with the goal being a reduction by 2020 only to 1990 levels -- when such emissions were already way too high to be sustainable. The bill contains one element that Mr. Schwarzenegger had wanted: a "market" that will allow the purchase, sale, and trade of emission credits.

As the NYT reported: Ralph Cavanagh, the co-director of the energy program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a telephone interview: "This is not an act of altruism. This is an act of enlightened self-interest. By accelerating the effort to reduce global warming pollution, California will benefit its own economy and environment and in so doing will set the best possible example for other states and nations." Mr. Cavanagh is correct. As NYT also noted: Aside from its long coastline, which could be vulnerable to sea-level rises due to global warming, the state depends on the Sierra Nevada snow pack for much of its water. A study in 2004 by the National Academy of Science showed that unchecked global warming would cut the size of the snow pack by at least 29 percent by the end of the century. It also predicted a doubling in the number of heat waves, like the record-breaking one in July that killed 139 people statewide. As I recently reported, this Summer's intense heatwave killed people in California.

The reaction to the bill was interesting in a very retro/metro kind of way. Republicans, other than the Governor, opposed the bill. The Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill and oil companies, according to the LAT, were irate and said they felt abandoned by the republican governor, who had pledged to work for a bill they could support. They accused Schwarzenegger and Democrats of cobbling together behind closed doors a haphazard bill that could create unintended economic chaos." However, as the NYT noted, leading venture capitalists from Silicon Valley openly stump[ed] for [the bill's] passage, saying the measure will create new industries and new jobs.

It's a start. I hope it works and that it encourages other states to take even more stringent measures. I hope it also shows Republicans that protecting the planet isn't a "liberal" issue. Businesses, one of the Republicans' "bases," can and do support measures that protect our planet, at least those businesses that can look beyond the way that they've always done things and see the opportunities. We need both parties to get behind the environment. This is the only planet we've got.


P.S. NRDC is touting this as a very big win. Here's a bit from their e-mail: Co-sponsored by NRDC and Environmental Defense, this breakthrough bill will put a market-based system in place that provides incentives to businesses to comply with the new law and, just as important, that compliance will be closely monitored.

I don't have to tell you that old-line polluting industries fought this bill tooth and nail. But thanks to your support, NRDC spearheaded a new and exciting coalition of clean-tech companies, venture capitalists, local governments, faith-based leaders and tens of thousands of citizens that won the day.

California's leaders saw the future and it was green. Global warming controls won't just be great for the environment, they will be great for the state's economy. This bill will allow California to start breaking its expensive dependence on fossil fuels and lead a revolution in energy technology that will create tens of thousands of jobs.

Who can doubt that other states will soon be racing to follow suit? A decade from now, we'll look back at this historic agreement as the turning point in America's long-overdue reckoning with catastrophic climate change.

So mote it be.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

George Allen Debate Prep

The General Rocks
George Allen: A Troubling Future

Virginia doesn't need any more racists. Go away, G. Felix Allen, Jr.

Rudy, Stay The Fuck Out Of My State

Rudy Giuliani should stay the fuck out of Virginia.

The New Leader reports that:

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani endorsed U.S. Sen. George Allen's re-election bid as he joined the senator Wednesday for a briefing on port security and a private fundraising luncheon - the second time in two weeks that Allen has appeared with a possible rival for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.

Showing what a one-trick pony he really is, Giuliani spewed that: he could think of about 100 reasons why he supports Allen's re-election. Foremost, he said, was that the senator "understands what's at stake in the war against terrorism, the danger we're in, the multifaceted effort that is necessary to reduce the risk of terrorism."

Rudy and G. Felix Allen, Jr., here's a clue, the KKK, and the CCC as well, were terrorist organizations.

Now, bite me.

Allen said he and Giuliani are friends and McCain is a colleague.

"You can tell a lot about people by the folks they stand with," Allen said. Asked whether he and Giuliani would be standing together during the 2008 presidential campaign, Allen gave no reply and walked off.

We all know who G. Felix Allen, Jr. likes to stand with -- known racists.

We Are Not Safer

Of all the insane propaganda to come out of the Bush junta, perhaps the bit that I find most inexplicable is the notion that Bush is "keeping us safer." Forget the fact that he's gotten a complete pass for the fact that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon happened on his watch. He's done absolutely nothing since Sept. 11, 2001 to make America safer. In fact, from winning enemies in the Middle East to losing every real friend that America ever had, he's gone out of his way to do things that endanger us.

Now, from my local radio station, WTOP, comes the startling news that: the number of police officers guarding the nation's icons is now at its lowest level in more than a decade, WTOP has learned. In its most recent annual report, the National Park Service said it had 625 sworn officers nationwide. An internal staffing document obtained by WTOP shows as of August, the U.S. Park Police has 601 sworn officers, nationwide -- the lowest number since at least 1994.

The number will likely go down before it increases again, as U.S. Park Police canceled their most recent training class, which would have produced new recruits.

Budgetary reasons forced the cancellation, says David Barna, Chief of Public Affairs for the National Park Service.

Overtime needed for the Fourth of July, various demonstrations and the recent crime emergency prevented the Park Police from having enough money to run the class, Barna says.

If the Department of Homeland Security declares a "Code Red" terror alert, U.S. Park Police Chief Dwight Pettiford has options to bolster staffing, Barna says.

"Chief Pettiford has the authority to call in park rangers from across the country, to assist in the nation's capital. We did that for two years after Sept. 11," Barna says.

(Copyright 2006 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

That's right; the nation's monuments, some of the most symbolically attractive targets a terrorist could ever hope to hit, are now protected by fewer officers than they were in 1995 -- six years before 9/11. And the reason? Budgetary concerns. The Bush administration was more concerned with providing a tax cut for Paris Hilton and the president of Exxon Mobile than with protecting the Washington Monument, the Viet Nam War Memorial, or the National Archives, which houses the Constitution of the United States.

If Americans understood this, would the "Security Moms" still think that Bush was "keeping us safer"?

Unbelievable. And, Yet, No Rioting In The Streets.

Obscenity. You know it when you see it.

Via the Daou Report: In 2005, the CEOs of the largest 15 oil companies averaged $32.7 million in compensation, compared with $11.6 million for all large U.S. firms, according to the study, released today by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy.

Amid reports of multimillion-dollar pay packages, shareholder activists have sponsored resolutions to limit compensation at companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Home Depot Inc. In May, three members of the House of Representatives criticized the retirement benefits of former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond and asked the company to fill a gap in its workers' pension fund.

``Instead of lining the pockets of executives, they should be investing the money into new sources of energy that go beyond fossil oils,'' said Sarah Anderson, director of the global economy project at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies, and a co-author of the study.

My Free Campaign Advice To Mark Warner

Mark Warner, needs to shut the fuck up. I'm sick of hearing Democratic candidates characterize our party in ways that can only hurt it. You want to run in Iowa, Mark, that's dandy. Shut the fuck up and run in Iowa. You want to tout the fact that you were a Southern governor, fine. Do it. You had a lot of success as a Southern governor. But quit mouthing the opposition's characterization of us.

WalMart -- Bad For Workers And Bad For Business

WaPo carries a great column by Harold Myerson on what's wrong with America's economy. Go read the whole thing. Here's just a snippet:

Wal-Mart's reach extends into manufacturing and shipping as well. Thousands of workers have been let go at Kraft, Lynn shows, due to the economies that Wal-Mart forced on the company. Of Wal-Mart's 10 top suppliers in 1994, four have filed bankruptcies.

NYT has more dismal news on the economy. As usual, they give Bush a pass.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Songs To Accompany A Trip To The Underworld

Ah, synchronicity! The Goddess' gift and most effective way of thwacking her children! On the heels of the NYT article on harps in emergency rooms comes M. Macha Nightmare's blog about playing ocharinas for the dying. I'd completely forgotten until this very moment that my dad used to play the ocharina. I wonder whatever happened to that small brown clay jug?

They Get Letters

Virginia's News Leader, the paper of the Central Shenandoah Valley prints letters to the editor:

Congressman Bob Goodlatte wants to "run these Democrats right out of town" (by sundown?), according to Saturday's News Leader. I don't know what town Goodlatte has in mind, but if it's Staunton, he'll have a hard time. Half the folks here vote Democratic — in other words, if Goodlatte doesn't mean to run you out of town, it's the guy next to you. And he's supposed to represent us all?

Actually, the only person run out of Staunton lately appears to be junior Sen. George Allen.

Allen was scheduled to visit Staunton Friday to meet economic development officials and businesspeople. He never showed his face on Beverley Street.

His spokesman said, "There wasn't anyone specific he was meeting." Tell that to Staunton's mayor, city officials and business leaders who were standing on the steps of City Hall. Tell that to merchants who had been told he would visit their stores.

Readers can safely blow off the spin from the Allen party about schedule delays and "crowds" elsewhere — the word on the street from the media, a member of the official greeting party, and a small band of Allen supporters was that Allen didn't come because of a group of demonstrators.

There were six costumed demonstrators peacefully assembled along Beverley Street, four depicting key issues (minimum wage, affordable health care, political contributions by Big Oil, and the Iraq war) and a giant monkey and a giant banana decrying racism. The junior senator who tells us how he stands up against Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and Iran's Ahmadinejad won't walk the same street with six (not 60 or 600) peaceful demonstrators? Just maybe we need to think about getting a new junior senator.

Reportedly, Allen will be back in October. I hope he'll bring Sundown Bob and they'll be willing to talk with all the people they represent. Maybe Allen will feel safer if he rides his horse, but city ordinances require that he clean up his manure after him.



Originally published August 29, 2006


I'm a reasonable woman. I understand that SOMETIMES THINGS HAPPEN. All that I am saying is that when Adrienne was at the Tyson's Hermes, i always got my little book BEFORE the new scarves came out. Trinna?

My Wish List

OK, so first, I want an end to global climate change and the institution of a culture that values the imminant divinity of our Planet.

And, second, I want world peace.

And, third, I want a Washington, D.C. restaurant critic who, you know, reviews restaurants in, well, Washington, D.C. (Where have you gone, Phyllis Richman, a city turns its lonely eyes to you. Wooo, wooo, wooo.)

But fourth, definitely fourth, I want Robin Givhan to get a career to which she is more suited, say, perhaps, saleslady at Gap, and for the WaPo to hire a style writer who (1) has a sense of style and (2) can write.

Exhibit A for the prosecution:

Sandra Oh wore a frothy lilac ruffled gown by Vera Wang. And then she embarked on fashion anarchy by piling on a mass of gold and platinum chains and sparkling ropes. Oh described the jewelry as being a blend of a czarina and Run-D.M.C. The effect was fabulous if only because of that description.

Your Honor, the prosecution rests.


I've always thought, as a person with absolutely zero musical talent, that I'd love to learn someday how to play the harp. Now, the NYT is reporting on a study concerning the effect of live harp music on patients in a hospital recovery room. One research project by a doctor at the Carle Heart Center in Urbana, Ill., has suggested that harp music in particular helped stabilize irregular heartbeats.

I think that's a lovely combination of ancient healing techniques and modern science.

Maybe when I retire . . . .

When In Doubt, Choose To Live!

From a DC Pagan ListServ that I'm on:

From: Maureen []
Subject: Caroline Casey : The Pluto Report - Micro Virgo Missive #7

Micro Virgo Missive


Pluto Responds -

The Pluto Report

The god of the Underworld, was amused by being called "Dead as a planet."

"Of course I'm dead, I'm the god of the dead."

And used to being dissed, exiled, albeit at tremendous cost to cultures that
do so.

Of course human dementors would like to stick their fingers in their ears,
and say, "no, no, no, we deny the invisible. We deny the dead, the invisible, the principle of power, the abuse of power known as plutocracy, now rampant." Death is cheap, not valued, marketed wholesale, so that even the god of death is appalled. And if it's invisible - we'll ignore it, which is the essence of the ridiculous concept and reality of waste and garbage. (Pluto loves compost, decay in service to new life.)

Let's remember the astrologer's witty quip that "there is absolutely no astrological evidence that science is anything but a primitive medieval superstition."

And also, the Groucho Marxist quip we like to use whenever possible, even when it doesn't really fit: "I've had a lovely evening. This wasn't it. But I've had a lovely evening." (One can fill in the blank of "evening," with so many other options, "democracy," for instance.)

From the sacred text of Terry Pratchett's profound and funny* novel 'Thief of Time,' (*akin to the genius of reggae music which lies in its rhythmic art : the darker the lyrics - the jauntier the tune) even death recoils at humans undervaluing its enormity, the ending of so many unique experiments and miraculous stories.

In contemplating humans up to no good in messing with time and death, the heroine says, about humans planning unspeakable harm to creation : "they wouldn't be that stu.". But then she stopped. "Of course someone would be that stupid. Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it, saying 'End-of-the World Switch.

PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH,' the paint wouldn't even have time to dry."

It is the Katrina anniversary.

As the Irish say, "God created the potato blight, but the British created
the famine."

Well humans and their irreverent waste and burning of fossil fuels (more
dissing the dead) create cataclysmic climate change, which creates the
mega-storms, but then humans really created the ongoing disaster in New
Orleans, due to callous indifference.

Any country with a modicum of soul would pull all its resources from war (Iraq etc. and the ridiculous crusade to conquer more oil) and devote everything to alleviating the misery of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, spiraling on out to consider the true art of life - creative, compassionate, ingenious response in recognition of our kinship in this one large pulsing dream.

Martin Prechtel reminds us, "for want of grief - we go to war." We have allowed our grief to be kidnapped and taken hostage by plutocrats. Until now.

No Scorpio (dedicated to the Underworld) city more honored the dead than New Orleans.

And no Scorpio city currently less honors the dead than Washington D.C., as embodied in the obscene jocularity of a Donald Rumsfeld, as the corporate press corps rolls over and pees in the air as a token of its subservience. And whenever the public gets close to sniffing out the hidden truths, the dementors pull out a bit of distracting pornography - "Look over there, Jon Benet's killer. Oops, no." When we know there are people right in front of us, to whom we have surrendered our Saturn, our leadership, who are guilty of the murder of countless little girls (and boys and men and animals and oceans.)

Let's vow to be undistractable, aided by Neptune stationing at the unmasking degree.

("An ominous silence falls as the last man is unmasked at a masquerade

Here we go, heading into this season of revelation, with so much on the line, let us vow to be agents of revelation.

Pluto and the Mythic News.

February 26, 1993 - as a beautiful snow storm swirled outside, I pondered the Mythic News, how the gods were trying to help us out by staging things in such a succinct symbolic manner that even the most dunder-headed humans would notice, and heed.

I noted that Pluto was stationing (apparent motion stops, the god beams down it's literalized symbolism) that day, and that this god embodies the principle that whatever is suppressed becomes volatile and toxic due to its disrespectful suppression. One hour after the exact station, the news reported the 1st attempt to blow up the World Trade Towers from the Underworld parking garage. Whoowee.So literal.

I told this story at a speech at Herbfest Iowa in late August of 2001, saying, well Pluto's now stationing again. Let's see what we've all learned.

Pluto does station often in late August - early September. Last year, on September 1st, 2005, Pluto squared the U.S. Neptune, (where Neptune was when this country was born - representing) the soul of this country. And it was on that day that a British paper published the most apt cartoon, of the Statue of Liberty floating dead, face down in New Orleans, while disinterested troops with guns gazed dispassionately from an overhead bridge.

Well Pluto is stationing NOW, exactly on Labor Day, September 4th at 7:20PM ET.

So team of dedicated democracy-philes, sane and reverent people, let's work with it.

Pluto says, "planet, schplanet," in the words of ally Steve Bhaerman, "Sure it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

The instructions of now, encourage us to be active agents of Pluto, composting death in every imaginative, visualizing, practical manner that synchronicity affords us, to suck the "g" out of "kingdom," and exhale the energetic chi into the animating of the resulting "kindom."

Pluto would like us to collaborate in every way, sucking the energy out of any death-dealing up to no good irreverent violent plot, so that it is fully revealed, rendered harmless and collapses like a souffle'.

As Vipassana meditation suggests, inhale the world's grimy plutocracy, and exhale radiant beauty, now, forever, every day, together, for a few minutes, and especially this strange Labor Day weekend. Inhale death-dealing tyranny, exhale creative democracy.

And Terry Pratchett adds: "When in doubt - choose to live!"


Addendum: This Virgo season assigns us the task of cultivating Mercury as Hermes, the power of language, wedded to intention and ritual.

Marie Laveau, the great Voodoo Queen of New Orleans was a Virgo, a great Medicine Woman and a collaborator with Pluto.

When faced with against all odds tyranny, it is said that first she'd scrub her steps, then clean her house, set her altars, do her conjure dance, and then go kick butt and set the world to rights. As ally Michael Ventura wrote, "She did not create social movements, but a woman of her substance understood what was at stake. She saw a role to be played and played it to the hilt, helping to coalesce a scattered and oppressed people into a culture. It was a moment of cultural ecstasy." And may it be so for each one of us.

Marie is the Southern Bureau Chief of Coyote Network News, and is particularly available to guide us through the upcoming Lunar Eclipse, when the earth's shadow is projected onto the Moon - more revelation - in two weeks on September 7th.

The ensuing Solar Eclipse, pre-Equinox, of September 22nd, takes place at 29+ Virgo whose image is "An emergency call, a woman calmly cleaning the house in the midst of an earthquake." That would be Marie, and the Marie in us.

P.S. Terry Pratchett adds "Time was a resource. You could learn to let it move fast or slow, so that a monk could walk easily through a crowd and yet be moving so fast that no one could see him. Or he could stand still for a few seconds, and watch the Sun and Moon chase one another across a flickering sky. He could meditate for a day in a minute." We can do a lot in
a little.

Kind Of Says It All

Thanks to Prior Aelred for sending this to me.

Gee, Ya Think?

MarketWatch reports that:

U.S. consumer confidence falls sharply in August

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. consumer confidence weakened sharply in August, the Conference Board said Tuesday. The consumer confidence index fell to 99.6 in August from a revised 107.0 in July. This is the lowest level of confidence since last November, when hurricanes battered the southern United States. The fall was sharper than expected. Economists expected the index to drop to 102.7 from the initial estimate of 106.5 in July. Expectations for inflation in the next year rose to 5.5% from 5.1% in July. This is the highest level since last October.

Welcome To The World Of Global Climate Change

NYT reports:

“We don’t have any record of anything like this happening before,” said Mark Schilling, the director of the Corn Palace, a campy, 114-year-old landmark promoted on highway billboards with endless corn puns.

“But if there’s not a crop, there’s not a crop,” Mr. Schilling said quietly.

After weeks and weeks with little rain and high temperatures, one farmer, Terry Goehring, watched the mercury spike to 118 degrees in his Mound City, S.D., field one day in July. That was it. Mr. Goehring, who has farmed since 1978, sold half his 250 head of Angus cattle.

“There was no corn,” he said. “There was no hay. We had nothing. And in that moment, I knew there was no choice.”

Climatologists with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said scientists deemed the weather conditions and its effects in the areas of the worst drought a once-in-50-years experience.

In some cases, it has been worse than that. On July 15, a weather station in Perkins County, S.D., near North Dakota, recorded a temperature of 120 degrees. That matched the highest ever reported in the state since the start of such record-keeping in July 1936, said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the Nebraska center.

Given such conditions, it is hardly a surprise that crop estimates are so gloomy. Steve Noyes, deputy director at the South Dakota field office of the government’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, said the winter wheat crop here had shrunk by 43 percent from last year’s; alfalfa hay is expected to be down by 35 percent; and 22 percent of pasture land is deemed “very short,” with 35 percent “short,” figures significantly worse than those of a year ago.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I Feel Very Sorry For Sam Walton's Heirs. Don't You?

Barbara Ehrenreich smacks Andrew Young and WalMart around and it's a thing of beauty.

The WaPo, on the other hand, gives column inches to WATB Sebastian Mallaby, who wishes that those terrible Democrats wouldn't be so mean to that nice WalMart:

How can supposedly centrist Democrats defend this betrayal of their principles? Some claim that their beliefs are consistent, but that the company has changed: The Wal-Mart of the early 1990s mainly bought American, whereas today's irresponsible monster buys cheap stuff from China. But this argument merely illustrates how far Democrats have come. Since when did the party's centrists believe that trading with China is evil? It was the Clinton administration that brought China into the World Trade Organization.

Other Democrats reaffirm their centrist credentials while calling upon Wal-Mart to pay workers more. "We are not here today because we are anti-business," Bayh asserted in Iowa recently as he demonstrated against Wal-Mart -- a contention that the retailer's shareholders, who have spent millions defending their brand against Wake-Up Wal-Mart, may have a hard time swallowing. But the idea that Wal-Mart pays below-market wages is false. Otherwise nobody would work there.

Hillary Clinton and Sen. John Kerry have attacked Wal-Mart for offering health coverage to too few workers. But Kerry's former economic adviser, Jason Furman of New York University, concluded in a paper last year that Wal-Mart's health benefits are about as generous as those of comparable employers. Moreover, Clinton and Kerry know perfectly well that market pressures limit the health coverage that companies can provide. After all, both senators have proposed expansions in government health provision precisely on the premise that the private sector can't pay for all of it.

The truth is that none of these Democrats can resist dumb economic populism. Even though we are not in a recession, and even though the presidential primaries are more than a year away, the DLC crowd is pandering shamelessly to the left of the party -- perhaps in the knowledge that the grocery workers union, which launched the anti-Wal-Mart campaign, is strong in the key state of Iowa.

Ah, yes. If more Democrats would just run as Republican-lite, why, we could . . . well, we'd start, no, wait, we could keep on losing, that's what.

No Gentleman, Smug Fratboy, Boorish, Bullying, Racism, Nostalgia for Segregation

Speaking of running the rascals out, Virginia's News Leader, "Serving the Central Shenandoah Valley," calls on Virginia's voters to send George Allen packing.

It's been said that leopards can't change their spots. This metaphor refers to the belief that once "hard wired," no amount of polishing, education or deception can mask a person's true character.

Sen. George Allen recently revealed his true spots — and they weren't pretty. At a fundraiser in rural Virginia, he singled out one of his Democratic opponent's campaign staffers, S.R. Sidarth, for ridicule and insult. Referring to him as "macaca," he got in some cheap jabs in front of a friendly crowd by "welcoming him to the United States and the real world of Virginia." Never mind that the staffer was born and bred in the state and currently attends the University of Virginia. Much fun was had by the all white crowd at Mr. Sidarth's expense. His sin? He is dark-skinned, sports an unusual haircut and of South Asian background. It probably never occurred to the good Senator that the Mr. Sidarth could possibly be a native Virginian not to mention an American citizen. Such is Mr. Allen's narrow worldview.

The term "macaca" may be seemingly innocent to the uninitiated but it packs a formidable racist punch in many parts of the world. Derived from "macaque", it refers to a monkey native to both North Africa and South Asia. It is also a common racial slur used by French speakers to describe non-whites (Arabs, South Asians and Africans). It was especially popular among the French of North Africa.

You see, Mr. Allen's mother is French and originally from Tunisia (probably an inconvenient fact not shared by Allen with the Francophobes at FOX Network News). No doubt Mr. Allen has heard this nasty insult before and thought it cute (and safe) to use it in front of a largely clueless audience. His later denial to intend to insult was insincere. No, the jibes were meant to insult, marginalize and disrespect! The video clip and accompanying transcript very clearly shows this. Here we have a member of our esteemed Senate acting like a smug frat boy mocking the class nerd.

Longtime political observers of our junior Senator shouldn't be surprised by Mr. Allen's boorish behavior. Mr. Allen's career has been dogged by allegations of bullying, racism and a nostalgia for segregation. Judging by his past use of racist language and imagery, he apparently has no place for non-whites in his world. He has largely dismissed the minority vote as unimportant to his reelection. As a public servant, Monsieur Allen needs to be a representative of all Virginians. Anything less would be a dereliction of duty. He needs to realize that "his Virginia" is becoming increasing multicultural and racially diverse. The nation is also experiencing a rapid "browning" of its population and the "white is right" demagoguery that passed for good politics 40 years ago is gone...or at least I hope it is?

In short, Senator Allen is no gentleman and doesn't deserve to represent Virginia. His past actions have brought shame to the state and we deserve better from our legislators. The fact that Mr. Allen has openly expressed being "bored by the office of Senator" and even entertains plans of running for the presidency should give us pause. An appropriate response from the voters should be to send him packing to anywhere but Washington, D.C.

Originally published August 27, 2006

In short, Senator Allen is no gentleman. If you're from Virginia, you know: that's gotta sting.

Here Comes Winter

WaPo reports that the Farmers' Almanac is calling for a frigid winter. Get ready for the price of oil, natural gas, coal, and wood to start heading upwards.

Now's a good time to weatherstrip, insulate, buy storm windows, etc.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Just Because

The Charge of the Goddess

Written by Doreen Valiente

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old also called amongst men Artemis, Astarte, Diana, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Dana, Arianrhod, Isis, Bride and by many other names.

At my altars, the youth of most distant ages gave love, and made due sacrifice. Whenever you have need of anything, once in a month, and better it be when the Moon is full, then shall you gather in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me, who am Queen of all Witcheries.

There shall you assemble ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will I teach things that are yet unknown. And you shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that you be really free you shall be naked in your rites. And you shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love all in my praise; for mine is the ecstasy of the spirit, and mine also is joy on Earth, for my law is love unto all beings.

Keep pure your highest ideal, strive ever towards it; let naught stop you or turn you aside, for mine is the secret door which opens upon the door of youth. And mine is the cup of the wine of life and the Cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of Immortality.

I am the gracious Goddess who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man, upon Earth I give knowledge of the Spirit eternal, and beyond death I give peace and freedom and reunion with those who have gone before; nor do I demand sacrifice, for behold I am the Mother of all living, and my love is poured out upon the Earth. Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess.

She in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of Heaven, whose body encircles the universe. I who am beauty of the green Earth and the white Moon amongst the stars. And the mystery of the waters, and the desire of the heart of man, call unto thy soul. Arise and come unto me, for I am the souls of Nature who gives life to the universe.

From me all things procees, and unto me all things must return. And before my face, beloved of Gods and men, thine inmost divine self shall be enfolded in the rapture of the infinte.

Let my worship be with the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

And you who think to seek for me, know your seeking and yearning shall avail you not, unless you know the mystery, that if that which you seek you find not within you, you will never find it without. Behold I have been with you from the beginning and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

Plan C

I agree with needlenose, except, Plan B won't eliminate the need for abortion. Just as an example, some women who want a child will need abortions when they find out -- well past the horizon of Plan B's effectiveness -- that the fetus they're carrying has birth defects. Some women will find out -- well past the horizon of Plan B's effectiveness -- that their partner doesn't really want a child or has been cheating on them or just got killed in Iraq.

So I'm hugely happy to have Plan B available and I believe everyone needs to keep a few doses in their medicine cabinet, just as they'd keep aspirin, band aids, hydrogen peroxide, and an ace bandage.

But we still need to fight for abortions.

Has Any Other American President Presided Over The Permanent Destruction Of An American City?

I've been meaning and meaning to say something about New Orleans, but everytime I try, I wind up so angry that I don't make much sense. I love New Orleans. I've been there by myself and I've been there with Son and Daughter-in-Law. Every trip was fantastic. George Bush deliberately sat back and allowed it to be ruined. That's what they should put on his obituary and that's what they should carve on his tomb. I don't know what else there is to say.

Scout Prime, fortunately, has lots more to say over at FirstDraft. You should go read her. Scout started blogging Katrina when it happened and she hasn't stopped. The Bush junta would like us all to forget what they did to New Orleans, but Scout helps us to remember. She's back there for the anniversary of Katrina. Today, she's working with a group repairing the homes of musicians in the city so that the music can come back to New Orleans.

She reports that: We will be working with the Arabi Wrecking Krewe, a group which is focused on gutting and cleaning the houses of local musicians so that the music can move back to the city.

The house we will be gutting is that of 84-year-old Mrs. Cora Foster. While Mrs. Foster herself is not a musician, her daughter is. She is a pianist, organ and choir teacher. She began her studies at the Greater First Zion Baptist Church. She now resides in Detroit Michigan. Her uncles are Sam and Honore Dutrey. Sam was a Preservation Hall coronet player and Honore played in the famed King Oliver's band aside Louis Armstrong. Other great uncles include Buddy Bolden and Jelly Roll Morton. Truly a family who have had an impact on the music of New Orleans.

New Orleans without music is unimaginable.

Thank you, Scout.

I Am Not Amused

Goddamn it. Is there NOTHING that this religion won't destroy? I seem to remember lots of wailing and moaning about how shitty the Taliban was for destroying ancient statutes. (And they were shitty, not only for destroying the statues, but also because of the way they treated women.) Will we hear the same criticism of xians for destroying ancient petroglyphs?

Via Witchvox: Canada's only major Arctic petroglyph site -- a 1,500-year-old gallery of mysterious faces carved into a soapstone ridge on a tiny island off of Quebec's northern coast -- has been ransacked by vandals in what the region's top archeologist suspects was a religiously motivated attack by devout Christians from a nearby Inuit community.
For years, heritage advocates have sought special protection for the ancient etchings at Qajartalik Island, located about one hour by boat from the 500-resident village of Kangiqsujuaq. Experts believe they were created by the extinct Dorset culture, an artistically advanced civilization that occupied much of the eastern Arctic before they were killed or driven away by the Thule ancestors of modern Inuit.

More than 170 mask-like images, animal shapes and other symbols have been recorded on the island since the 1960s. Studies suggest Qajartalik was a sacred place, used for Dorset spiritual ceremonies and coming-of-age rituals.
But the site has been dubbed "the Island of the Stone Devils" because some of the faces -- possibly depicting a Dorset shaman in religious costume -- appear to be adorned with horns. In the past, crosses have been scratched on the "pagan" petroglyphs and some area residents have told researchers they believe the site is infested with evil spirits.

Sunday Akhmatova Blogging

The Sentence

And the stone word fell
On my still-living breast.
Never mind, I was ready.
I will manage somehow.

Today I have so much to do:
I must kill memory once and for all,
I must turn my soul to stone,
I must learn to live again—

Unless . . . Summer's ardent rustling
Is like a festival outside my window.
For a long time I've foreseen this
Brilliant day, deserted house.

Translated from the Russian by Judith Hemschemeyer