The Friends of California Libre...

30 January 2006

George W. Bush Celebrates the Year of the Dog

Greetings, friends,
Over the last two weekends I've been wallowing in my apartment with a cruel, lingering cold, looking up from the couch at the windy sunshine with the kind of self-hating depression any Californian gets in the winter. I'm just starting to feel better and now the clouds are coming in. Alas, alas, but the new moon is gone, it's Chinese New Year (Year of the DOG, in case you didn't get it, and we've got the bite marks to prove it) so get out and celebrate, damn it.

I promised around my 40th birthday to "live in the future" as promised by the Monsanto Corporation, a future full of tasty artificial foods, cities under the sea, space platforms, Paris Hilton's new club on the Moon, my book in all the stores, your band a big hit, your opening sold out, etc. It was nice while it lasted, but I gotta admit it seems to be more fun to live deep in the past. When you lay around watching old episodes of "Hawaii 5-0" and listening to the B-52s, this is what you get.

One reason for my Chinese Ennui might be my latest "project", scanning 30 years of my accumulated photographic negatives into the computer. This was supposedly one reason I bought a scanner a few years ago, and only now am I finally getting around to it...that's really ennui in action. Anyway, I've started with the oldest negatives first, and am surprised by two being the condition of the negatives, which after the decades have developed a weird grainy texture, cut by rainbows. I have to say I like it. The other surprise, natch, is the emotional reaction I have to these images. Some are obvious, like pictures of my sister in the Girl Scouts, or any of my exes when I was first exposed to their incredible hotness (and exposed them to silver nitrate, natch), or even myself looking thin and fit with a full head of hair. Other images demand a subtle reaction...there is, for example, a whole roll of film I shot when I graduated high school in 1983, with wonderful photos of our old house on Wonderland Avenue, the reopening of the Santa Monica Pier, and the Hollywood Hills full of the thick smog that we've since eradicated, sort of. It's very disturbing, and not less disturbing that I can feel the sunshine and the adventure of those heady days (1983!!) more than I can remember last weekend. AAARGGH!

I had another such weird feeling when I stumbled upon the strange Australian kids' series "The Tribe", which just premiered here on UHF channel 44 (who knows where the hell that is on cable.) It's one of those post-Apocalyptic bits the Aussies are so skilled at, with groups of feral but cute teens of both sexes fighting and cooperating in the burnt shell of an abandoned city. The clothing and makeup of the kids is so "Mad Max" I was amazed to learn this show began in Australia in 1999. Since you probably don't get channel 44, you can at least see what I'm rambling about here:

I don't know if I really miss the 1980s or not, or miss being 20 or not, but I know I don't miss having assumptions made about me by hippies or worse, my contemporaries:
Lingering Myths about Generation X:

Now I have the pleasure of young children, many of whom can barely remember Bill Clinton, making assumptions about my life. Well, kids, under the sign of the Dog, lemme tell you: life ain't worth a plugged nickel:
Hiccups lead to two deaths

In the Year of the Dog, I plan to stare enviously across the Atlantic, awaiting my turn to drink and dance again:
Subject: european idea of happiness
You can access it at the following url:

And they can stare right back:
Click the following to access the sent link: - Unhappiness has risen in the past decade*

But anyway, in this Year of the Dog, I've gathered plenty of droppings from our most benevolent beast, Man's best friend, our guard dog. He watches you day and night, and he protects you from yourself. My god, is he CHEWING ON YOUR KID'S HEAD???
NSA Whistleblower Alleges Illegal Spying
By Brian Ross
ABC News
Justice Deptartment Opens Inquiry into Leak of Domestic Spying
The Associated Press
Bush-NSA Spying in Defiance of Congress, Court
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t Investigative Report
Looks Like Bush Knew Wiretaps Were Wrong
By James Ridgeway
The Village Voice
Bush Welcomes Probe of Domestic Spying
By James Gerstenzang
The Los Angeles Times
Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Before 9/11
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t Perspective
Secret Surveillance May Have Occurred before Authorization
By Dafna Linzer
The Washington Post
NSA Spied on UN Diplomats in Push for Invasion of Iraq
By Norman Solomon
t r u t h o u t Perspective
Congressional Agency Questions Legality of Wiretaps
By Dan Eggen
The Washington Post
US Officials Cite Legal Rationale on Spying Effort
By Eric Lichtblau and James Risen
The New York Times
NSA Destroyed Evidence of Domestic Spying
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t Report
ACLU Sues to Stop Illegal Spying on Americans
t r u t h o u t Press Release

It's not like we should be surprised, and in fact, they continue to spy, admit to it, and refuse to stop:
Bolton Testimony Revealed Domestic Spying
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t Investigative Report
US Accused of Spying on Those Who Disagree with Bush Policies
By William E. Gibson
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Are You Ready to Be Bugged and Tortured by George W. Bush?
By Harvey Wasserman
The Free Press

They come after you in ways you never dreamed of:
Feds After Google Data
By Howard Mintz
The San Jose Mercury News
US Obtains Internet Users' Search Records
By Joseph Menn and Chris Gaither
The Los Angeles Times

Here's the new record-breaker for the 2006 Olympics...the worst President we've had since the 1920s, and beyond:
The Unrestrained President
By Tom Engelhardt

Even the worst leaders the world has to offer couldn't sound this stupid (thanks, Mrs. Chance):

How about refering to your own Constitution as a "goddamned piece of paper" (thanks, Mike)?

Nope, time's up, Dog, time to GO:
George W. Bush as the New Richard M. Nixon: Both Wiretapped Illegally, and Impeachably
By John W. Dean
Impeachment Calls Grow Louder
By Matthew Rothschild
The Progressive
More Americans Favor Impeaching Bush, Poll Says
By Jim Puzzanghera
Knight Ridder
Impeachment Buzz
By Ruth Conniff
The Progressive
The Impeachment of George W. Bush
By Elizabeth Holtzman
The Nation
Feingold Won't Rule Out Bush Impeachment
By Shay Totten and Kathryn Casa
The Vermont Guardian
Impeach or Indict Bush and Cheney
By Ronnie Dugger
The Texas Observer

It's no wonder that the "American Empire" is becoming a bad joke to the rest of the world:
to access the sent link: - USA losing its advantage drawing foreign students*
Behind the smiles, trans-Atlantic bile
International Herald Tribune
Behind the positive talk, deep tensions still threaten trans-Atlantic relations.
US-German Relations: Berlin's Concern about America's Image
German Chancellor Angela Merkel can look forward to the red-carpet treatment in Washington next week as US President George Bush -- who never got on with her predecessor Gerhard Schröder -- hopes to signal a fresh start. But a top German official warns that despite improving trans-Atlantic ties, America's reputation among the
European public is waning.
By David Crossland in Berlin,1518,393499,00.html

The ignorance of the government about the rights of their own citizens is matched by their ignorance over the rest of the world:
God versus the State: What American Conservatives Need to Know about Europe
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent trip to Washington has a lot of people talking about "common values" among conservatives. But a US conservative is a different species from a European conservative. And the neo-cons just don't get it.
By Alexander Gauland,1518,395120,00.html

Bush team attacks critics as .... Swiss?

Even some of George Bush's harshest critics, sad to say, are caught up in some pretty stupid dog-tricks themselves:
** Galloway joins Big Brother house **
MP George Galloway and entertainer Michael Barrymore are among the stars who enter the Big Brother house.
< >

And meanwhile Planet Earth falls to pieces around them...

But I always include positive news when I find it:
Senate Blocks ANWR Drilling
By H. Josef Hebert
The Associated Press
Seven States Agree on a Regional Program to Reduce Emissions from Power Plants
By Anthony DePalma
The New York Times
California Solar Power Proposal Gets OK from Regulators
By David R. Baker
The San Francisco Chronicle
Studies Support California Emissions Plans
By Usha Lee McFarling
The Los Angeles Times
Two independent analyses say an effort, opposed by business, to cut greenhouse gases could be beneficial for California's economy.

Good news:
Paris Public Toilets Will Soon Be Free

Better-than-you-expected news:
United States Ranks 28th on Environment, a New Study Says
By Felicity Barringer
The New York Times

...and of course, I must give you the original report:
2006 Environmental Performance Index

In many parts of the world, science was honored, not reviled:
Evolution Takes Science Honors
By Paul Rincon
BBC News
Survival of the Unfittest
By Gordy Slack

...even in the unlikeliest places:
In 'Design' vs. Darwinism, Darwin Wins Point in Rome
By Ian Fisher and Cornelia Dean
The New York Times
Italian court to decide whether Jesus existed

The Christians have more important things to worry about:
Family values movie awards launched by US conservatives

And I would just like to see this environmental effort:

U .S. Environmental Protection Agency: Management of Scrap Tires

Collection of resources about waste management and recycling of scrap tires in the U.S. Features background information, statistics, a FAQ, information about scrap tire markets (such as tire-derived fuel, civil engineering applications, and rubberized asphalt), laws and statutes, regional resources, a page on tire fires, publications, and related links.

But there's plenty of bad news as we begin this Dog Year, plenty to worry about...and don't think you'll hear about it in George's speech on Tuesday:
Ex-EPA Chiefs Blame Bush in Global Warming
By John Heilprin
The Associated Press
Planet Earth, Year 2050
By Traci Hukill
Racing Toward Climate Disaster
By Stephen Leahy
Inter Press Service
Climate Shock: We're on Thin Ice
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t Review
Extreme Weather in Asia: The Big Freeze
By Justin Huggler
The Independent UK
Warmer Seas Will Wipe Out Plankton, Source of Ocean Life
By Steve Connor
The Independent UK
The recommended page is:
Nation's Snowmen March Against Global Warming
Global Warming to Speed Up as Carbon Levels Show Sharp Rise
By Geoffrey Lean
The Independent UK
Earth Could Warm Up Fast
By Robert C. Cowen
The Christian Science Monitor
Environment in Crisis: 'We Are Past the Point of No Return'
By Michael McCarthy
The Independent UK

Although you certainly wouldn't know the Earth was in peril from this video of crazy jumping fish in Brazil:

Yet another denizen of the briny deep is getting the shaft from us surface-dwellers, again:
Whales: In Deep Trouble
The Independent UK
20 Years On and Whales Are Under Threat Again
By Michael McCarthy
The Independent UK

But I have some good "fish stories" too:

California Caviar

This article discusses caviar (sturgeon roe) from sturgeon farms in California, an increasingly popular alternative to the caviar from the endangered beluga sturgeon of the Caspian Sea. Includes facts about the Caspian caviar industry, North American sturgeon and domestic caviar, and related topics. From California Wild, a magazine of the California Academy of Sciences.

Unlike California, though, the US won't play ball with the rest of the world:
US No Longer Promoting Landmine Abolition
By Haider Rizvi
US Opposes Litany of Global Treaties in 2005
By Haider Rizvi
UN Threatened with Budgetary Shutdown
By Thalif Deen
Inter Press Service

...but the US isn't always going to be the Top Dog:
China Signals Reserves Switch away from Dollar
By Geoff Dyer and Andrew Balls
The Financial Times
China and India Forge Alliance on Oil
By Richard McGregor, Jo Johnson and Carola Hoyos
The Financial Times

With radicals coming to power on the left and the right, it makes you wonder if people will ever get along, eh? I see some positive signs; I liked this essay by a leader of the Union of Jewish Students in France, directed towards his countrymen:
Neither a New Barbarian nor Master of the Universe
By Benjamin Abtan
Le Monde

There is also, of course, the Japanese way to world peace:
Robot receptionists to debut in Japan
Man says 'spell' won him harem of 10 wives
Man with 11-woman commune had stun gun?

And finally, our idea of fun here in the Golden State:

Uniquely Californian

This site, originally created for Labor Day 2005, profiles 13 Californians with unusual occupations, such as 19th century ship captain, animal forensic scientist, arcade repairman, sand carver, and vintner. The "Job Match Challenge" provides a link to brief information about offbeat occupations based on the 1939 edition of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (occupations include gandy dancer and river pig). From the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

...and speaking of uniquely Californian, check out the sick Disney ride (photo enclosed, thanks again, Mike) and the sick Hollywood movie poster!
Vive le screed!

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