Saturday, November 04, 2006

An Unprecedented Step In America's Military History

It could just be me. I'm a grandmother and an energy lawyer and a priestess, not an expert on military history. But I imagine that, following the coordinate publication of this in all the military papers, the next step is a military coup.

Time for Rumsfeld to go

“So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed public opinion ... it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth.”

That statement was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins more than a half-century ago during the Korean War.

But until recently, the “hard bruising” truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington.

One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “mission accomplished,” the insurgency is “in its last throes,” and “back off,” we know what we’re doing, are a few choice examples.

Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors.

Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war’s planning, execution and dimming prospects for success.

Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee in September: “I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it ... and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war.”

Last week, someone leaked to The New York Times a Central Command briefing slide showing an assessment that the civil conflict in Iraq now borders on “critical” and has been sliding toward “chaos” for most of the past year. The strategy in Iraq has been to train an Iraqi army and police force that could gradually take over for U.S. troops in providing for the security of their new government and their nation.

But despite the best efforts of American trainers, the problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition.

For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don’t show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves.

Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops. Service chiefs have asked for more money.

And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand.

Now, the president says he’ll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.

This is a mistake. It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation’s current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.

These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail. They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority.

And although that tradition, and the officers’ deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it.

Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.

This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:

Donald Rumsfeld must go.

Pink - U And Ur Hand

Atrios started this.

Yeah. Only the eighties were silly. Right.

Saturday Goddess Blogging

So, I generally write something about the Wiccan Sabbats, but I just couldn't get inspired to write anything this time about Samhein. Samhein, when the veil between this world and the world of our ancestors is thinner than thin. Almost at the stroke of midnight on Samhein, all the dead people in my family came waltzing into my dreams. We danced around until almost 3:00 am, when I had to tell them, "Enough is enough," and cast a circle so that I could get some real sleep.

Samhein is the witches' New Year's Eve. It's when I make my new year's resolutions and wipe away whatever's gone before in preparation for what's to come. This was a key Samhein for my circle of witches; we joyously initiated five (five!) new women. Our circle, which had shrunk to four, will continue. It will go on. It will not slip into oblivion. We will continue to do magic, to support each other, to recognize the imminence of divinity within this natural world, here, in this sacred spot at the base of the Potomac River, where the center of worldly patriarchal power-over imagines itself immune from the effects of women and witchcraft.

In my circle, we always do divinitation at Samhein. This year, with all the energy of nine magnificent women -- ranging from maiden to crone, from multiple PhD's to recent MBAs, from human resource Apaches to polyamorous moms, from editors to bridge fanatics, from divas to screen writers, from S&M devotees to bloggers, from witches of twenty + years to complete noobs-- with all of that magnificent female energy swirling around -- of course we did divination. We each followed a set of clues in order to pull a card from The Goddess Oracle to guide us through the new year.

I pulled Baba Yaga, elemental Wild Woman extradornaire. Wikipedia says that Baba Yaga is the wild old woman, the dark lady, and mistress of magic. She is also seen as a forest spirit, leading hosts of spirits. My impression is that Baba Yaga started our more as a figure of fairy tale and only recently became, perhaps thanks to Zuzanna Budapest, a figure worshipped by Dianic Wiccans, but I may be mistaken.

Wiki goes on to note that: In Russian tales, Baba Yaga is portrayed as a witch who flies through the air in a mortar, using the pestle as a rudder and sweeping away the tracks behind her with a broom made out of silver birch. She lives in a log cabin that moves around on a pair of dancing chicken legs. The keyhole to her front door is a mouth filled with sharp teeth; the fence outside is made with human bones with skulls on top -- often with one pole lacking its skull, so there is space for the hero's. In another legend, the house does not reveal the door until it is told a magical phrase: Turn your back to the forest, your front to me.

Baba Yaga's house isn't as strange as you might originally assume. A "cabin on chicken legs with no windows and no doors" in which Baba Yaga dwells sounds like pure fantasy. In fact, this is an ordinary construction popular among hunter-nomadic peoples of Siberia of Uralic (Finno-Ugric) and Tungusic families. This was an ingenious invention to preserve supplies against animals during long absence. A doorless and windowless log cabin is built upon supports made from the stumps of 2-3 closely grown trees cut at the height of 8-10 feet. The stumps, with their spreading roots, give a good impression of "chicken legs". The only access into the cabin is via the trapdoor in the middle of the floor. Bears are strong, smart and stubborn enough to break into any door, but they cannot use a ladder or climb a rope to reach the trapdoor.

A similar, but smaller construction was used by Siberian pagans to hold figurines of pagan gods. Recalling the late matriarchy among Siberian peoples, a common picture of a bone-carved doll in rags in a small cabin on top of a tree stump fits a common description of Baba Yaga, who barely fits her cabin: legs in one corner, head in another one, her nose grown into the ceiling.

Next weekend, I'm going to grind herbs in my mortar and mix them with chicken feet, to be buried at each of the four corners of my property. I want to find out what living like Baba Yaga will mean. I want to find out what is left of the dark and the wild within me.

You come, too.

PS If you know of a good charity that supports the survival of bears, I'd love to hear about it. Thank you. Tarot cards gladly read in exchange for information.

What Winston Churchill Said*

A while back, I asked if the Democrats have a plan for November 8th through November 12th in case -- surprisingly, somehow, in spite of all the polls -- the Republicans steal the upcoming election. Just as I think it was retarded for Rumsfeld not to have a contingency plan in the event that the Iraqis didn't shower our troops with flowers and candy, I think it's retarded for the Democrats not to have a contingency plan in the event that (as they have for the last three elections) the Republicans Diebold us. As far as I can tell, we've got no contingency plan. We're just going to count on the Republicans playing fair and being willing to hand over power graciously.

Good luck with that.

Now, I'd like to ask another question. (Socrates, as my dad used to note, went around asking people questions. They made him drink hemlock.) What's our plan for the evening of November 7th?

Here, in my most optimistic imagination, is how that evening is likely to play out. There will be stories all day long about voting machine snafus. These "glitches" will result in incredibly long lines that somehow are concentrated in key areas where the Republican candidate is only a few points behind the Democrat. Working people will have to peel out of line and get to work, go pick up their nannyless children, go cook dinner. There will be other "human" glitches that curiously involve more African American voters finding their names inexplicably left off of voter rolls. Those folks might get "provisional" ballots. We won't get any exit polling because the Republicans and their wholly-owned media have figured out by now that it's kind of embarrassing for the exit polling to ALWAYS predict a Democratic victory that the Diebold machines then take away. Along about midnight, there will be a fairly large handful of races that are "too close to call."

I AM WARNING YOU, DEMOCRATS (and I'm looking at you, Jim Webb). DO NOT DO "THE HONORABLE THING" AND CONCEDE. CONCEDING TO VOTER THEFT AND VOTER FRAUD IS NOT HONORABLE, NOR IT IS "BEST FOR THE COUNTRY NOT TO DRAG IT THROUGH A CONTENTIOUS BATTLE." The Republicans won't concede a single one of these races. There will be tremendous pressure on the Democratic candidates to concede, but the Democrats won't have a plan to put similar pressure on the Republicans to concede. The Republicans will mount recount battles and court challenges to every single close race, especially after their tactics have "made" the race close. The fact that this seems hypocritical after they did everything they could to stop recounts in Florida in 2000 will mean absolutely nothing. They are far more interested in retaining power than they are in not looking like hypocrites. So the Democrats better be ready to do the same. They'd better be ready to demand recount after recount on the races they "lose" and they'd better be ready to play serious defense on the races they win. We'd better be ready for a battle that lasts at least from the evening of November 7th until the evening of January 3rd.

Swear to Shakti, I'm going to put a hex on the first Dem that I see come out on Tuesday night and graciously concede. People's lives, in fact, the life of our entire planet, depend upon the outcome of this election. Let's drop the lace gloves and put on our boxing gloves. Let's get ready for the upcoming real fight to win this election. It starts on Tuesday.

*"[N]ever give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Babe, You Been Used.

So, this is likely futile, but I'd like to talk for a minute to the fundamentalist, "evangelical," xians out there.

Babe, you been had. Exploited. Used.

The Republicans and the Dobsons, Fallwells, and Haggards of the world have used you. They've taken your faith, your desire for union with divinity, your hope for meaning in life and salvation from death, and they've used them in order to make themselves powerful and rich. And they've laughed at you behind your back while they were doing it.

This was obvious to some of us a long time ago and, I suspect, you yourself must have had inklings of this that you've had to ignore time and time again.

Karl Rove, we learn from Adventus, has no religious faith. He just saw some demographics and realized that he could use you to put George Bush in power, thereby making himself feel powerful and Haliburton rich. You ever see Dick Tax-Breaks-Are-Our-Due Cheney worship anything except the almighty dollar? Me either.

The faith-based-initiatives that Bush and Rove rushed through during their first days in office weren't a sign of their deep commitment to, say, Jesus. They were a cynical tool cynically used by a bunch of cynics in order to conduct cynical political manipulation under cover of "faith." The first director of that program, an erstwhile "man of faith," quit years ago, announcing that politics always trumped faith with the Bush junta, but you didn't want to hear that, did you? Nor do you especially want to hear it now, even though the man telling the story in even more detail is, again, a "man of faith."

When the rest of us look at you and wonder why you've allowed yourself to be used so shamelessly by the Bush junta, here's what we see. We see that your weird obsession with and hatred for gays (something startlingly missing from all of Jesus' teachings in the New Testament) and your determination to prevent women from having abortions (something again not found anywhere in the New Testament) and, let's be honest, access to any kind of birth control, has overcome any other issue or instinct for you. Why is that? Don't you think it's kind of weird? You've got a holy book chock full of instructions to heal the sick, feed the hungry, love your neighbor, and judge not, and you get yourself all worked up over other people's sex lives. The rest of us think it's really weird. And sick. And that it's allowed cynics such as Karl Rove to use you over and over and over again.

Look. The Bush junta has been in power for six years. They control the WH. They control the Congress. They control the courts. And they control, at the very, very least, Fox News. Yet they still haven't banned gay marriage nor have they criminalized abortion. Why? Because if they did those two things, it wouldn't be as easy for them to lead your around by the nose the way that they have for the past six years. No, it's in their interest to keep those two golden rings just out of your reach.

And, besides, as some of us have known all along, lots of powerful Republicans ARE gay. March Cheney? Gay. Lynn Cheney? Author of gay novel. Ken Mehlman? Almost certainly gay. Foley and now Ted Haggard are only two of the most recent examples. They take your money and your support and then they laugh about you behind your back with their gay boyfriends.

So, I'm a witch. And your holy book, at least in its current translation, does tell you not to suffer me to live. So you don't have to take advice from me. But you might, you just might, want to go off and think and pray a bit about the kind of people to whom you've so willingly given your trust and your support. And, while you're at it, ask yourself, why ARE you so obsessed with sex? Jesus sure wasn't.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fucking Shame

If you think about headlines that you never thought that you'd see, I imagine "ALL FISH GONE FROM EARTH'S SEAS" would be one of them. Well, here we are. We've finally fished all the fish out of the sea.

If fishing around the world continues at its present pace, more and more species will vanish, marine ecosystems will unravel and there will be “global collapse” of all species currently fished, possibly as soon as midcentury, fisheries experts and ecologists are predicting.

That's right. No. More. Fish.

I'm going to say this slowly. This planet is an island. Once we eat up all the fish on the planet, there won't be any more.

And there are way too many people on this planet. Hungry people. We've overpopulated ourselves into a real corner here.

NYT reports further that: Dr. Worm [Get it? Worm? Who says Gaia doesn't have a sense of humor?] said he analyzed the data for the first time on his laptop while he was overseeing a roomful of students taking an exam. What he saw, he said, was “just a smooth line going down.” And when he extrapolated the data into the future “to see where it ends at 100 percent collapse, you arrive at 2048.”

“The hair stood up on the back of my neck and I said, ‘This cannot be true,’ ” he recalled. So he ran the data through his computer again. And then he did calculations by hand. The results were the same.

“I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t know what the future will bring, but this is a clear trend,” he said. “There is an end in sight, and it is within our lifetimes.”

There's an end to fish in the sea. It's in our lifetimes. It's 2048.

What a fucking, fucking shame. What a fuckng shame that we can't control ourselves or cooperate for the long-term good of our species, our oceans, our world. Maybe, if we'd had a bit more time, we could have learned how to be human.

First (Almost) Of The Month Bazooms Blogging

See how easy it is to forget?

It's (almost) the first of the month. That means that it's time for women to do a monthly breast self-exam.

BSE is easy. Here's how to do it.

BSE can provide early detection of breast cancer. Early detection saves lives.

Men, are there women you'd miss if they were killed by breast cancer? Now's a good time to remind them to do a monthly BSE. Offer to watch the kids, do the dishes, or file the reports so that she has some time to do her BSE.

I Love The Weekly Newsletter That I Get From My Farmers' Market


Nov. 5, 8 & 9, 2006

'Beirut has lost almost all of its public gathering places, which makes the farmers' market so vital. Without a place to sell local products, farmers lose hope. And without local food traditions, people lose hope. If you don't dream, you don't exist. So, let's dream together.'
~Spoken by Kamal Mouzawak, founder of the farmers' market in Beirut (Lebanon's first) at Slow Food's Terra Madre gathering inTurin, Italy this week.

The full moon is rising this weekend. Our market foods are the full peak of fall bounty with winter squash (buttnernut, acorn, blue hubbard, turban, pumpkin), parsnips, leeks, carrots, potatoes (sweet, white, red, blue), horseradish, greens (kale, collards, mustard, spinach, arugula, tender salad greens), broccoli and cauliflower, apples (Pink Lady and Gold Rush are among the favorites), and pears (bosc, comice, bartlett). Seafood is plenty good with fresh caught fish, oysters and crab (oh, those crabcakes!). Find sweet and salty butter, handmade cheeses and yogurt (cow and goat's milk), and fresh milk. Pasture-raised meats are always in season; place your holiday turkey order with Cibola Farms or Eco-Friendly Foods. Hearty breads, sweet pastries and pies, homemade granola, cookies, handmade pasta and sauces, and seasonal soups or stews are at all markets. Find your favorite holiday wreaths, seasonal table decorations (who knew kale could be so beautiful?!), cut flowers and potted plants. Handmade soaps make perfect holiday gifts. Markets are open rain, wind, snow or shine and our market farmers and producers appreciate your support.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Via M. Macha Nightmare:

Whether we are creating a ritual, writing a poem, or building an altar, the point is to honor the gods and not to stroke our own egos. Then our priorities will be properly in place and we will generate worthy art.

~ Steven Posch and Sparky T. Rabbit

Getting The Lay Of The Land

Via Witchvox:

This is America today. This is the country that we live in. This, this, this is where you live. There's no sense denying it. You can't change anything until you wake up and decide to face that with which you are actually dealing. You may have grown up believing that you lived in a mythical country called "America." You may wish that you actually lived there. But you don't. Here, here, here is where you really woke up this morning:

A Colorado Springs woman who sported a button that read: "Grandmothers for Peace" as she cast her ballot early this week said she was pitched from the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office.

Election officials said 63-year-old Rita Ague violated a law against campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place when she tried to vote Monday.

The county's acting director of the election department said it's the law. No one is allowed to wear anything political at a polling place.

Now that we know where we really are, maybe we can find a map to help us get out of here. But we're never going to get out of here pretending that we live somewhere else. And it doesn't matter if the only map we've got is a map of someplace else. That's not going to help us here.

Let's Begin To Respond To The Actual Message For A Change

Lately, the LAT's gotten far too conservative for my tastes, but today's editorial makes a good point.

Of course, no one with the brains that the Goddess gave to a garbanzo bean actually believes that Democrats want "the terrorists" to "win." (Lynn Cheney, bite me.) But that's not what the Republicans are "really" saying. What they're really saying is that the Democrats, unlike the Republicans, don't love, love, love, love, love a state of perpetual war. And that makes them less "tough" and, (thanks Zoraster for that dualism thing, it's working out real well) therefore, in the patriarchy, it renders the Democrats the "women" and the Republicans the "men." And we know who is always supposed to win in the patriarchy. Even many women believe, at their core, that men must win in the patriarchy. And, in the patriarchy, men adore war. The person who adores war the most, who adores the most war, who most of all, adores war, that person is the "man" and the person who even seems to suggest that, perhaps, if, for example, stopping terrorism is our objective, well then, perhaps, just maybe war is not actually the answer, well, that person is the "woman."

Of course, this is so because "stopping terrorism" is not, and never has been, the goal of the patriarchy. In fact, terrorism is one of the patriarchy's prime tools. I'm at a loss for even one example of a time when an all-women's group has used terrorism and don't you dare suggest Lysistrata or I'll turn you into a toad and you won't get better. You can't sustain a patriarchy without resort to at least some subtle forms of terrorism. No, patriarchy's only goal is subjection of the other; there's no room for "fighting terrorism." Women, brown people. Moslems, the poor, other men who aren't as "tough" and "resolute" and as frantically, personally, religiously, ecstatically
devoted to war as you are; in patriarchy, the other must be subjugated.

So let's don't pretend that responses that point out Democratic attempts to actually address terrorism can effectively respond to the Republican propaganda about how Democrats love terrorists and want Osama to win. That's not what Bush and the others are really talking about. Karl Rove knows it and I know it.

Qui Bono? Hmmmm?

Via the EEI newsletter:

Times Union: Why Not Raise Energy Efficiency Standard to 90 Percent?

The Albany Times Union, in an editorial, charged the U.S. Department of Energy with failing taxpayers by not making energy efficiency the hallmark of its standards for furnaces. Wrote the newspaper: "The federal government could help lower your natural gas bill, but isn't inclined to do so. That's the only way to explain the weak furnace efficiency standard being promulgated by [DOE]. It requires all furnaces to convert 80 percent of gas into heat by 2015. That sounds like an impressive efficiency standard - until you realize that the current standard is 78 percent."

Since at least half the new furnaces sold in the Northeast come with an efficiency rating of 90 percent, wrote the newspaper, why doesn't DOE make that the standard? Northeast homeowners "will pay a heavy price for the weaker standard," wrote the Times Union. "According to the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, a regional nonprofit group that promotes environmental goals, the average Northeast household stands to lose $250 a year in energy cost savings under the 80-percent rule, while the Northeast as a whole will lose more than $1.6 billion in savings over the next 15 years. That's too high a price to pay - both in dollars and in wasted energy."
Albany Times Union, editorial , Oct. 31.

Have We Reached A Tipping Point?

From today's EEI newsletter:

Boulder, Colo., Aims to Be First City in U.S. to Adopt Carbon Tax

Residents of Boulder, Colo., are scheduled to vote next Tuesday on a referendum that could make it the first city in the United States to impose a carbon tax "on homeowners and businesses to fund efforts to reduce emissions" that contribute to climate change, USA Today reported today.

Wrote the newspaper: "If approved, the ballot measure would tax electricity usage and add about $16-$20 a year to the average residential electric bill. Businesses would pay an additional $46 a year on average, and industries an extra $3,226, according to Yael Gichon of Boulder's environmental affairs office. The tax could raise $860,000 in the first year." There has been no organized opposition and the local Chamber of Commerce endorsed the measure.
USA Today , Nov. 1.

I haven't examined this bill and the amounts involved sound rather low if the goal is to cause people to conserve energy rather than simply create revenue for the city. But the amazing thing, to me, is the final sentence. "There has been no organized opposition and the local Chamber of Commerce endorsed the measure."

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy, Happy Halloween.

Divination was once a large part of the Halloween festivities.


by Robert Burns

Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the route is ta'en,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up the cove, to stray and rove,
Among the rocks and streams
To sport that night.

Among the bonny winding banks,
Where Doon rins, wimplin' clear,
Where Bruce ance ruled the martial ranks,
And shook his Carrick spear,
Some merry, friendly, country-folks,
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, and pou their stocks,
And haud their Halloween
Fu' blithe that night.

The lasses feat, and cleanly neat,
Mair braw than when they're fine;
Their faces blithe, fu' sweetly kythe,
Hearts leal, and warm, and kin';
The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs,
Weel knotted on their garten,
Some unco blate, and some wi' gabs,
Gar lasses' hearts gang startin'
Whiles fast at night.

Then, first and foremost, through the kail,
Their stocks maun a' be sought ance;
They steek their een, and graip and wale,
For muckle anes and straught anes.
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift,
And wander'd through the bow-kail,
And pou't, for want o' better shift,
A runt was like a sow-tail,
Sae bow't that night.

Then, staught or crooked, yird or nane,
They roar and cry a' throu'ther;
The very wee things, todlin', rin,
Wi' stocks out owre their shouther;
And gif the custoc's sweet or sour.
Wi' joctelegs they taste them;
Syne cozily, aboon the door,
Wi cannie care, they've placed them
To lie that night.

The lasses staw frae 'mang them a'
To pou their stalks of corn:
But Rab slips out, and jinks about,
Behint the muckle thorn:
He grippet Nelly hard and fast;
Loud skirl'd a' the lasses;
But her tap-pickle maist was lost,
When kitlin' in the fause-house
Wi' him that night.

The auld guidwife's well-hoordit nits,
Are round and round divided,
And monie lads' and lasses' fates
Are there that night decided:
Some kindle coothie, side by side,
And burn thegither trimly;
Some start awa, wi' saucy pride,
And jump out-owre the chimlie
Fu' high that night.

Jean slips in twa wi' tentie ee;
Wha 'twas she wadna tell;
But this is Jock, and this is me,
She says in to hersel:
He bleezed owre her, and she owre him,
As they wad never mair part;
Till, fuff! he started up the lum,
And Jean had e'en a sair heart
To see't that night.

Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,
Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie;
And Mallie, nae doubt, took the drunt,
To be compared to Willie;
Mall's nit lap out wi' pridefu' fling,
And her ain fit it brunt it;
While Willie lap, and swore by jing,
'Twas just the way he wanted
To be that night.

Nell had the fause-house in her min',
She pits hersel and Rob in;
In loving bleeze they sweetly join,
Till white in ase they're sobbin';
Nell's heart was dancin' at the view,
She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't:
Rob, stowlins, prie'd her bonny mou',
Fu' cozie in the neuk for't,
Unseen that night.

But Merran sat behint their backs,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;
She lea'es them gashin' at their cracks,
And slips out by hersel:
She through the yard the nearest taks,
And to the kiln goes then,
And darklins graipit for the bauks,
And in the blue-clue throws then,
Right fear't that night.

And aye she win't, and aye she swat,
I wat she made nae jaukin',
Till something held within the pat,
Guid Lord! but she was quakin'!
But whether 'was the deil himsel,
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en',
Or whether it was Andrew Bell,
She didna wait on talkin'
To spier that night.

Wee Jennie to her grannie says,
"Will ye go wi' me, grannie?
I'll eat the apple at the glass
I gat frae Uncle Johnnie:"
She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt,
In wrath she was sae vap'rin',
She notice't na, an aizle brunt
Her braw new worset apron
Out through that night.

"Ye little skelpie-limmer's face!
I daur you try sic sportin',
As seek the foul thief ony place,
For him to spae your fortune.
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!
Great cause ye hae to fear it;
For mony a ane has gotten a fright,
And lived and died deleeret
On sic a night.

"Ae hairst afore the Sherramoor, --
I mind't as weel's yestreen,
I was a gilpey then, I'm sure
I wasna past fifteen;
The simmer had been cauld and wat,
And stuff was unco green;
And aye a rantin' kirn we gat,
And just on Halloween
It fell that night.

"Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen,
A clever sturdy fallow:
His son gat Eppie Sim wi' wean,
That lived in Achmacalla:
He gat hemp-seed, I mind it weel,
And he made unco light o't;
But mony a day was by himsel,
He was sae sairly frighted
That very night."

Then up gat fechtin' Jamie Fleck,
And he swore by his conscience,
That he could saw hemp-seed a peck;
For it was a' but nonsense.
The auld guidman raught down the pock,
And out a hanfu' gied him;
Syne bade him slip frae 'mang the folk,
Some time when nae ane see'd him,
And try't that night.

He marches through amang the stacks,
Though he was something sturtin;
The graip he for a harrow taks.
And haurls it at his curpin;
And every now and then he says,
"Hemp-seed, I saw thee,
And her that is to be my lass,
Come after me, and draw thee
As fast this night."

He whistled up Lord Lennox' march
To keep his courage cheery;
Although his hair began to arch,
He was say fley'd and eerie:
Till presently he hears a squeak,
And then a grane and gruntle;
He by his shouther gae a keek,
And tumbled wi' a wintle
Out-owre that night.

He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,
In dreadfu' desperation!
And young and auld came runnin' out
To hear the sad narration;
He swore 'twas hilchin Jean M'Craw,
Or crouchie Merran Humphie,
Till, stop! she trotted through them
And wha was it but grumphie
Asteer that night!

Meg fain wad to the barn hae gaen,
To win three wechts o' naething;
But for to meet the deil her lane,
She pat but little faith in:
She gies the herd a pickle nits,
And two red-cheekit apples,
To watch, while for the barn she sets,
In hopes to see Tam Kipples
That very nicht.

She turns the key wi cannie thraw,
And owre the threshold ventures;
But first on Sawnie gies a ca'
Syne bauldly in she enters:
A ratton rattled up the wa',
And she cried, Lord, preserve her!
And ran through midden-hole and a',
And pray'd wi' zeal and fervour,
Fu' fast that night;

They hoy't out Will wi' sair advice;
They hecht him some fine braw ane;
It chanced the stack he faddom'd thrice
Was timmer-propt for thrawin';
He taks a swirlie, auld moss-oak,
For some black grousome carlin;
And loot a winze, and drew a stroke,
Till skin in blypes cam haurlin'
Aff's nieves that night.

A wanton widow Leezie was,
As canty as a kittlin;
But, och! that night amang the shaws,
She got a fearfu' settlin'!
She through the whins, and by the cairn,
And owre the hill gaed scrievin,
Whare three lairds' lands met at a burn
To dip her left sark-sleeve in,
Was bent that night.

Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays,
As through the glen it wimpl't;
Whyles round a rocky scaur it strays;
Whyles in a wiel it dimpl't;
Whyles glitter'd to the nightly rays,
Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle;
Whyles cookit underneath the braes,
Below the spreading hazel,
Unseen that night.

Among the brackens, on the brae,
Between her and the moon,
The deil, or else an outler quey,
Gat up and gae a croon:
Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool!
Near lav'rock-height she jumpit;
but mist a fit, and in the pool
Out-owre the lugs she plumpit,
Wi' a plunge that night.

In order, on the clean hearth-stane,
The luggies three are ranged,
And every time great care is ta'en',
To see them duly changed:
Auld Uncle John, wha wedlock joys
Sin' Mar's year did desire,
Because he gat the toom dish thrice,
He heaved them on the fire
In wrath that night.

Wi' merry sangs, and friendly cracks,
I wat they didna weary;
And unco tales, and funny jokes,
Their sports were cheap and cheery;
Till butter'd so'ns, wi' fragrant lunt,
Set a' their gabs a-steerin';
Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt,
They parted aff careerin'
Fu' blythe that night
OneClimate Island November 2006

You really ought to go to the island.
Two Guys on Jobs & Outsourcing

The Tragedy Of The Commons

U.K. Report Shows Critical Need to Address Climate Change Issues

The U.K. government today released a 700-page report calling for broad steps to be taken to address climate change, the New York Times reported today. "The evidence gathered by the review leads to a simple conclusion: The benefits of strong, early action considerably outweigh the costs," the report said, according to the newspaper. Crafted by Britain's economics service, and led by Sir Nicholas Stern, the so-called Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change contends that there needs to be an accelerated transition away from fossil fuels.

The Associated Press quoted Stern as saying: "Our actions over the coming decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century."

Bloomberg quoted Stern as saying: "If we take no action to control emissions, each ton of carbon dioxide that we emit now is causing damage worth at least $85. These costs are not included when investors and consumers make decisions about how to spend their money."
Associated Press via the Toronto Star , Bloomberg , New York Times , Oct. 30.

The above, from today's EEI newsletter, makes an important point. Each ton of CO2 emitted is causing at least (I think that's conservative by any means) $85 damage. That's $85 of costs that investors are externalizing to the rest of us. I'ts got to stop.

I'm also glad to see this report and the NYT article discussed in my post below beginning to note that "disrpitions to social activity" -- aka wars and refugees -- are an entirely predictable consequence of not paying attention RIGHT NOW to the global climate change caused by CO2 emissions. Maybe the threat of war will motivate people who can't get too upset over the death of thousands of species of plants and animals.

Now, if we could only get people to address the other big elephant in the room -- the relationship between this problem and the size of the human population . . . .

Would Someone Please Pay Attention?

The EEI newsletter summarizes an important NYT article:

N.Y. Times Examines Commitments to Spending Money on Climate Change
The New York Times today reported that government budgets around the world are failing to keep pace with the need to address climate change issues. The newspaper interviewed more than four dozen scientists, economists, engineers, and entrepreneurs as part of its coverage of the issue, reporting that "unless the search for abundant non-polluting energy sources and systems became far more aggressive, the world would probably face dangerous warming and international strife as nations with growing energy demands compete for increasingly inadequate resources. Most of these experts also say existing energy alternatives and improvements in energy efficiency are simply not enough."

W. David Montgomery of Charles River Associates was quoted as saying: "We cannot come close to stabilizing temperatures" unless humans, by the end of the century, stop adding more CO2 to the atmosphere than it can absorb "and that will be an economic impossibility without a major R&D investment."

The Times quoted James A. Edmonds, a chief scientist at the Joint Global Change Research Institute of the University of Maryland and the Energy Department, with saying: "A sustained push is needed not just to refine, test and deploy known low-carbon technologies, but also to find energy technologies that don't have a name yet."

Wrote the Times: "At the same time, many energy experts and economists agree on another daunting point: To make any resulting alternative energy options the new norm will require attaching a significant cost to the carbon emissions from coal, oil and gas." Henry D. Jacoby, a climate and energy expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was quoted as saying: "A price incentive stirs people to look at a thousand different things."

In a sidebar article, the Times reported on research at Princeton University that focused on seven critical steps that should be taken to reduce "human influence on the climate. These included: Capture 90 percent of the carbon dioxide from 800 new billion-watt coal-burning power plants." In the short term, space should be left for equipment that could "be invented and installed later that could capture carbon dioxide. Scale up testing of existing plant designs that produce streams of storable carbon dioxide." In the long term, "conduct large- scale tests of systems for pressurizing and piping carbon dioxide long distances." The researchers suggested displacing planned coal-based plants with about 880 new nuclear plants that feature safer, more flexible, reactor designs. The analysts also said that the efficiency of 1,600 full-sized power plants should be raised from 40 percent to 60 percent while cutting 25 percent of the power used in homes, offices, and commercial establishments.
New York Times , Oct. 30.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Things That Make Me Smile

Via Witchvox, here's another of a series of articles in small-town (this time, Ashville, North Carolina) papers that do a pretty decent and respectful job of reporting on Pagans. I'm fascinated by the fact that papers in the middle of the Bible Belt are able to do such nice jobs, while the WaPo and NYT, for example, almost always muff reporting about Pagans -- when they bother to cover them at all.

Interestingly, the Pagan group discussed in the article apparently meets every year at a xian center: [the] Unity Center for Christianity on Fanning Bridge Road in Fletcher. North Carolina has always seemed to me, on an anecdotal basis, to have a large Pagan community, so maybe the xians have grown to accept them.

Monkeyfister Rules

Go. Now. But only if you want to laugh until you pee.

Sunday Akhmatova Blogging

A bit of Akhmatova for this week, when scary things are all about:

Terror, fingering things in the dark,
Leads the moonbeam to an ax.
Behind the wall there's an ominous knock

Translated by Judith Hemschemeyer.

Insight In Strange Places

It's not often that I expect to find wisdom from, of all places, Dick Armey. But his column in today's WaPo, ostemsibly about the Republicans, has a section that I think brilliantly describes what those of us in the netroots despise so much about many of today's Democratic leaders:

In 1989, Newt Gingrich rose to the number two leadership position in the House after a contentious three-way race pitting young backbench conservatives such as myself, Bob Walker, Joe Barton and others against old bulls such as Minority Leader Bob Michel and other ranking members. We thought they suffered from a minority party mindset and were too accommodating of the Democrats. Out of congressional power for nearly two generations, Republicans had become complacent. Senior members of the party were happy to accept the crumbs afforded by Democratic chairmen. Life was comfortable in the minority as long as you did not rock the boat. Members received their perks -- such as travel abroad and special banking privileges -- and enough pork projects for reelection. The entire Congress lived by the rule of parochial politics.