The Friends of California Libre...

02 April 2007

April Fools, Jew Boy...Now Get Up on That Cross

Greetings, friends,
Let's dive right into bad taste this 1 April with a little irreligious nonsense. Maybe it's because today I watched "The Greatest Story Ever Told" and "Mad Max" in close proximity, realizing how similar they really are. No wonder that short Aussie bastard made "Passion of the Christ" (which I have still managed to avoid.) The allegory behind "Mad Max", however, is more subtle. What other movie could begin with this phrase:
"I am the Nightrider. I'm a fuel-injected suicide machine. I am the rocker, I am the roller, I am the out-of-controller! Ask the Toecutter who I am! I am the Nightrider!"

I love Aussies. Seriously, though, Palm Sunday is upon us...hard to believe a year passed since my last trip to Spain, where right now an empty bottle of Manzanilla is slipping out of someone's hand into the gutter. Pretty soon the parades begin...but instead of celebrating my savior with alcohol, big dresses, dolls and plenty of dead bulls in Sevilla, I'm going to that New Jerusalem, LAS VEGAS, for Easter this year. Yikes! Hey, if it was good enough for my parents, it is good enough for me.

Too bad I didn't put any hot Vegas money down on NCAA basketball. Only about three of you out there will give a damn, but this year I picked 6 of the "Elite Eight", ALL of the "Final Four", AND the two teams in the Finals, Ohio State and Florida (sorry, UCLA fans.) This is a personal best for me and makes up for my crappy showing in my Oscar picks. PS If I go all the way, Florida will beat Ohio State this evening.

Well, fate and some "natural causes" conspired to keep my Spanish friends and me out of New York City last week, alas. They're back in their psychedelic-sacred homeland, and I took an afternoon jaunt up to San Francisco instead. Much as I love New York, there is nothing so sublime as lifting off from Oakland International as dusk, the plane curving up over the City, the red sea fog pushed up against the mountains. I must have done it dozens of times, by plane, train, car and bus, but for we Californians, cruising the length of the state is always educational. This time I was greeted by the long Santa Cruz pier, suddenly popping out of the fog, and then the swollen bulk of Salinas, which gets larger every year, all lit up except for a mysterious dark patch in the center (which somebody out there might explain to me.) I can usually pick out each town down the coast until the yellow glow of LA fills up the horizon...even a jet plane is insufficient to take in this monstrosity of a megalopolis; you'd need a spaceship for that view.

Sigh, to be in New York during spring...

That said, I did get one of the most abusive and humiliating airport searches of my life at Oakland this time. When the bond for the high-speed train between LA and San Francisco comes up for election (November 2008, the same time we get to vote for our next Fed idiot), you'd BETTER VOTE FOR IT! If you live in California, of course:

This weekend I stood in the back of Safari Sam's on Sunset Boulevard with the elusive Ray Pettibon, watching some giants of the 1980s play a benefit for musician Richie Hass. For you Los Angelenos, it was a great old timey gig, with the Bellrays and Saccharine Trust among others, although most of the fans are too old to slam or even pogo any more. Still, we worked up a little energy for Mike Watt, and if you weren't there you can be thanks to YOUTUBE:

I had another nice little flashback on Thursday, when some dumb tourists from Illinois lit a fire that burnt up the back of Mount Lee (where the HOLLYWOOD sign lives.) One of my earliest memories (I was about six) is of a fire in the same place, seen at night from the other side, Burbank, with everyone out in Hollywood Way watching the mountain burn up. Even so, these were both "good" fires, no buildings in danger, old brush burning up, with promises of "fire flowers" next spring (if we get any rain; we are on track to record the driest year EVER in LA.) Ironic, considering that two years ago we almost broke our WETTEST record. We have really fucked up our weather. Anyways, I took a nice walk over to Barnsdall Park and observed the fire from that hilltop.

So much for the idle speculation. We are all suffering together...I also noticed that San Francisco has less rain than LA does in a normal year, and the desert had practically none, meaning no wildflowers this year (or lakes in Death Valley.) Them's the breaks. On with the SCREED.

First, I am reminded that little photographs of Mars (which went out a month or so back) are nothing compared to VR panoramas of the Red Planet! If you have Quicktime VR, you will be able to see and spin this 360; you can see where Spirit, our loyal robot on Mars, has one stuck wheel from the whitish scratch in the dust (thanks, Geri):

I also discovered that Eudora screwed up my St. Patrick's Day missive. I must, of course, resend the photo I took of the friendly "gorls" of Sligo, who were so excited to meet a real person from Hollywood.

Apparently a lot has changed in Ireland since I was there in 2001; I saw a photo of Rev. Ian Paisley with Gerry Adams which blew my mind. It would be nice to see my Scot-Irish ancestors, an historically violent bunch, get along with their Irish neighbors, but I'm not holding my breath. Still, things have changed dramatically:
A Wind of Peace Rises Over Northern Ireland
By Stéphane Bussard
Le Temps

There is even a real estate boom going on in Belfast, which I find truly strange; it was a uniquely depressing city for me to first enter Europe by:
From the gun to the school run - the new Belfast
To view the full article go here

Of course, Los Angeles will never change. My hometown was, is, and will always be the capital of bullshit. Hey, you gotta aspire to something. For example, our friend Mad Max recently came back out swinging; I guess everyone forgot about his DUI and "sugar tits":

Mel Gibson's verbal volley over 'Apocalypto' jibes

"Washington, Mar 24 :Oscar winning director Mel Gibson took to task a professor who was trying to create trouble for him during a meeting at Cal State University Northridge in SoCal's San Fernando Valley."

Perhaps Mad Mel should take this test (thanks, Dorothy; the answer is at the end of the Screed):
Psychopath test
Read this question, come up with an answer and then scroll down to the bottom for the result. This is not a trick question. It is as it reads. No one I know has got it right.
A woman, while at the funeral of her own mother, met a fellow she did not know. She thought he was fascinating and fell in love with him there and then, but didn't d are to ask for his number and could not find him afterwards. A few days later she killed her sister.
Question: What is her motive for killing her sister?
[Give this some thought before you answer, see answer below]
Some of your favorite celebrities are more dangerous than you give them credit for:

Ruthless Ruth

Sexpert Dr. Ruth Westheimer served as a sniper in Israel.

Don't you love it?

Let's take a tangent momentarily; lately I've been engaged recently in several conversations regarding the "cutting edge" in archaeology, which is the Bronze Age, and wanted to distribute the appropriate links widely. Most of you know, natch, that outside the Muslim world a Dark Age took hold of Europe between 500 and 1300. Less known is the Dark Age between 1000 and 400 BCE. After the fifth century BCE (as you lucky ones who saw "300" can attest) the Greek city-states rose up, and along with them "Western Civilization", an unbroken line through Rome and the Catholic Church which persists to this day, as my friends in Sevilla know.

Only with modern technology is the Bronze Age coming to light; this is the time of the Trojan War, the Egyptian Pharoahs, the Celtic invasion of Europe, Assyria and the Hittites. In the New World, this was when the early Maya, the Toltecs and the Tiwanaku peoples were building the great structures that freaked out the Inca and the Aztecs a thousand years later. It is fascinating to speculate that a global culture was in effect, with trade across the oceans and the continents, connections that disappeared into myth and superstition. These stories survive in the Bible and in the work of the Classical Greeks, like Homer, Herodotus and Plato. Plato especially recounted the stories of his ancestor, Solon, who travelled to Egypt as a retired diplomat two centuries earlier:

From Solon we have the legend of Atlantis. I've seen some interesting documentaries and read a bit on the latest research, much of which places Atlantis in South America. Along the way one scientist discovered the "lost" kingdom of Tantalus on the Turkish coast:
Smyrna - Tantalus

It's old news that some very advanced civilizations were active in the Americas during the Bronze Age, especially Tiwanaku, on the shores of Lake Titicaca:

It's worth noting that the people of Tiwanaku built hundreds of miles of drainage canals, so efficient that when the poor Bolivians in the region dug some of them out, previously fallow ground returned to production, almost three-thousand years later! Another ancient relic (usually employed in flying saucer movies) are the nearby lines drawn across the Nazca Plain:
Nazca Lines

More recently discovered are some magnificent pyramids in northern Peru:
Tucume Pyramids

And most mind-blowing, a huge plain drained by a sophisticated series of canals, crossed by long causeways, that may be the model for Atlantis, now hidden in the Bolivan part of the Amazon watershed:
Prehispanic Earthworks of the Baures Region of the Bolivian Amazon

Didn't learn about that in school, did we? Nor did we learn that sea travel between the Americas and the Middle East may have been common three- or four-thousand years ago:
American Drugs in Egyptian Mummies
The Pyramids of Guimar, Canary Islands, Spain

Even the most famous Bronze Age artifacts have surprises for us; many of you may have learned, for example, that the Pyramids at Giza were built with slave labor. On the contrary, they were constructed by a well-paid group of workers who came after the harvests were finished. Likewise, the mysteries of Stonehenge are diminishing:

Stonehenge Settlement Found: Builders' Homes, "Cult Houses"

This January 2007 news release explains how "a major prehistoric village has been unearthed near Stonehenge in southern England." The settlement is believed to be housing for the builders of the famous monument and a ceremonial site. Includes photos of the site, an animated map showing the site, and possible descriptions of worker homes and "cult homes" of chiefs or priests. Also includes links to related material. From National Geographic News.

If I have an affinity for these ancient peoples, I think they may have been less barbaric and more sensible than the "classical" people who came later. After the Ice Age, there were few people and room to grow. More people = less resources, and then you have war, slavery, and a reduction of global trade. Eventually you get to our state, the world stretched to the limit. Just try getting from Santa Monica to Downtown LA at 3 PM. Just try. Remember to vote for that Goddamn high-speed train!

Phew. Well, speaking of ancient artifacts, here's some small scale construction by a Russian Jew with a lot of time (and sand) on her'll need broadband and Windows Media Player to enjoy the weirdness (thanks, Aunt Nona and Dana):

Pondering these ancient worlds makes me despair for the stupidity of our own. Only a year and a half until we get to vote on a new President (and a HIGH SPEED TRAIN in California.) Well, at least we have good least four Democrats (Joe Biden, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Christopher Dodd) who are superbly qualified for the job, not bad. Ooh, did I leave your favorite out? I dare you to ask me why.

I love the fact that people started donating money to John Edwards after they discovered his wife had a relapse from cancer. Yeah, that's a good reason to elect someone President. How this country hasn't accidentally nuked itself remains a mystery to me. Here's more solid reasoning:
Edwards Pushing Universal Health Care
By Larry Margasak
The Associated Press
Edwards Steps out Front on Health Care
By Dean Baker
t r u t h o u t Columnist
Edwards Gets It Right
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

That's in case YOU or I get cancer, rather than Elizabeth Edwards.

I have some good news for John Edwards, besides the fact that I'm going to vote for him:
Cheap, Safe Drug Kills Most Cancers
By Andy Coghlan
New Scientist Magazine

More good news for John Edwards:
Gore pulled off Oscars stage before presidential 'announcement'

Thanks to the Governator, we Californians will get to make a difference for once:

Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Legislation to Move California's Presidential Primary to February

Official announcement from March 2007 about the passage of California SB 113, which "will move California's presidential primary to February, from its current June date." Includes a speech transcript, fact sheet, photos, and video clip of the signing. From the California Office of the Governor.
Presidential Nominations Could Be Decided by February
By Steven Thomma
McClatchy Newspapers

This is only good news for those of us who are not ready to see the Democrats implode three elections in a row:

The HildaBeast

E-mail reproduces various statements reportedly made by Hillary Clinton.

Not that things could get any worse:
Al Neuharth: Bush Is Worst President of All-Time
Editor & Publisher
"Find the Illegal Immigrant" Game Sparks Massive Protests
By Ashley Phillips
ABC News

I mean, how fucked up do you have to be?
Mayan priests purify ruin after Bush visit

It's like the whole world is against us...
Bolivia could put coca leaves on coat of arms
UK, US Worst Places for Children, UN Study Says
By David Altaner

Worse than what German kids are up to?
Youths probed for daubing swastikas on sheep

Here in Amerika, our Federal Government is very concerned about children, have no doubt about it:
Worth a look and a letter and a phone call:

More bad news for libraries. According to THOMAS, the latest iteration of DOPA is b-a-a-ack. That's the bill that would require libraries with e-rate to block MySpace in libraries and schools. DOPA (Deleting Online Predators Act) is now part of S 49, Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act <> introduced by Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) Jan. 4, 2007. It's now in referral to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

No, let's ignore all that and get ridiculous instead:
The recommended page is:
Sharpton, Thurmond: Related?

Christianists on the March
By Chris Hedges
America's Holy Warriors
By Chris Hedges
Man tries to cash $50K check from God - Yahoo! News

But let's be fair (it is EASTER after all.) I'm a believer in the Resurrection (just ask me about Jesus!) and I do agree with a Christian occasionally:
Evangelical Christians Attack Use of Torture by US
By Ed Pilkington
The Guardian UK
Evangelical's Focus on Climate Draws Fire of Christian Right
By Laurie Goodstein
The New York Times

It's the freaks who do their bidding who scare the shit outta me:
The Private Arm of the Law
By Amy Goldstein
The Washington Post
Military Is Expanding Its Intelligence Role in US
By Eric Lichtblau and Mark Mazzetti
The New York Times

Or, like the idiot who frisked me at Oakland Airport and said "think of it as a free deep-tissue massage", they make me wonder why terrorists haven't destroyed the country yet:
Man questioned about Bush yard artwork

I saw the great job these clowns did in person; they arrested a naked guy in a barrel and raided a bar by Union Square:
New York Police Spied Broadly Before GOP Convention
By Jim Dwyer
The New York Times

And we persist is playing the fool's game:
US Doesn't Sign Ban on Disappearances
ANCOSO Development GmbH Press Release
Czechs Give Go-Ahead for US "Son of Star Wars" Base
By Ian Traynor
The Guardian UK
Justice Department Says FBI Misused Patriot Act
The Associated Press
Report Says FBI Violated Patriot Act Guidelines
By Brian Ross and Vic Walter
ABC News
Treasury Casts a Wide Net Under Patriot Act
By Kevin G. Hall
McClatchy Newspapers
W Pushes Envelope on US Spying
By James Gordon Meek
The New York Daily News
New postal law lets Bush peek through your mail.

The Democrats we elected last November are trying to put the brakes on the insanity:
House Overturns Bush Order on Papers Secrecy
By Peter Szekely
Call to Expand Union Rights Could Derail Antiterror Bill
By Eric Lipton
The New York Times

Good luck:
Cheney's Handwritten Notes Implicate Bush in Plame Affair
By Jason Leopold and Marc Ash
t r u t h o u t Report

Privacy Lost

Collection of stories from October 2006 examining "the steady erosion of Americans' privacy, whether people are concerned and what impact other new technologies might have on your right to be left alone." Topics include technology (such as email and wireless video recorders), smart driver's licenses, comparison between U.S. and European laws, and celebrities and aggressive paparazzi. From MSNBC.
Blogger in Jail Longer Than Any Journalist in History
By Adam Schreck
The Los Angeles Times

Meanwhile, the rest of the world spins out of control without our help. Here's an update on the Darfur region of the Sudan, and it makes a lot of sense:
Chad and Sudan Indulge in a Vicarious War Through Rebels: An Interview of Le Nouvel Observateur Reporter Sara Daniel
By Simon Piel
Le Nouvel Observateur

With our army being destroyed in Iraq, the UN is limited, but hardly powerless:
UN Condemns "Pathetic" Global Response to Darfur
By Steve Bloomfield
Inter Press Service
World Court's Big Move on Darfur
By Robert Marquand
The Christian Science Monitor
Darfur and the International Criminal Court
Le Monde Editorial

In this country we can start to ask for divestment; a very successful tactic that I am pleased to say I engaged in at UC Berkeley against South Africa, and violently so. We can do the same against the Sudan:

Can't I just run away to Paris?
Please click on the link to see the corresponding content:

Or Greece?
US Embassy in Athens Hit by Rocket Attack
By Anthee Carassava
The New York Tmes

Maybe not Greece...
Greek anarchists snatch baby Jesus

Gee, the only thing worse would be a recession:
The Housing Bubble Starts to Burst
By Dean Baker
t r u t h o u t Columnist
The Subprime Dominoes in Motion
Read This News ::
Greenspan Warns Subprime Woes Could Spread
By Ros Krasny
La crise des "subprime mortgages" entraine-t-elle un risque systémique ?
La hausse des taux de défaut sur les prêts immobiliers les plus risqués risque-t-elle d'ébranler la solidité du système financier américain et à terme l'économie des Etats-Unis ? Démontant les mécanismes du marché hypothécaire, Christian Parisot, économiste d'Aurel Leven, conclut que s'il existe un risque financier, le risque systémique doit être écarté.
Pour lire cet article,
cliquez ici .

Davos forum ponders decoupling of U.S., world economies
DAVOS, Switzerland (MarketWatch) -- The world economy is less beholden to the U.S. as an engine of growth, but a "hard landing" in America could still spell trouble for global prospects, according to a panel of high-profile international economists. ... Read the rest of the story
London shares rocked by US crisis
To view the full article go here

Euro notes cash in to overtake dollar

By Ralph Atkins in Frankfurt
The US dollar bill's standing as the world's favourite form of cash is being usurped by the five-year-old euro. The value of euro notes in circulation is this month likely to exceed the value of circulating dollar notes, according to calculations by the Financial Times. Converted at Wednesday's exchange rates, the euro took the lead in October.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2006
This article can be found at:,_i_email=y.html
Euro Notes Cash in to Overtake Dollar
By Ralph Atkins in Frankfurt
The Financial Times

Euro displaces dollar in bond markets

By David Oakley and Gillian Tett in London
The euro has displaced the US dollar as the world's pre-eminent currency in international bond markets, having outstripped the dollar-denominated market for the second year in a row. The data consolidate news last month that the value of euro notes in circulation had overtaken the dollar for the first time. Outstanding debt issued in the euro was worth the equivalent of $4,836bn at the end of 2006 compared with $3,892bn for the dollar, according to International Capital Market Association data.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007
This article can be found at:,_i_email=y.html

Well, that's good for my European friends, I guess. Now if only they could agree on their drivers licenses:
Please click on the link to see the corresponding content:

And maybe, just maybe, not to take themselves so seriously:
Mob burns house of village thug in Spain

Finally, the answer to the psychopath test:

She was hoping the man would reappear at her sister's funeral.
If you answered this correctly, you think like a psychopath. This was a test used by a noted American psychologist to see if one has the same mentality as a killer.
Many arrested serial killers took part in the test and answered the question correctly.
If you didn't answer the question correctly, good for you.
If you got the answer correct, please let me know so I can drop you from my email list...
Vive le screed!


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