The Friends of California Libre...

31 December 2007

So a Wampanoag and a Puritan Walk into a Bar...and Wake Up in 2008

Greetings, friends,
As you can tell by the title of this SCREED, it started out as a Thanksgiving rant...then, well...  Anyway, I blame some of the delay upon my 5 year old computer suddenly croaking early in December.  My new machine arrived 20 December, and in the last week I've been laboriously reloading software, transferring files, coaxing programs to life, and learning a completely new operating system.  Oh yeah, and dealing with HOLIDAYS at the same time.  Now it's New Year's Eve, and I'm ready to call it a year at sundown.  Goodbye, 2007.  YOU SUCKED.

Anyway, because of the incompatibility of Eudora with this new computer system, it is even more IMPERATIVE that you subscribe to California Libre via my web host.  It's easy...just click on the link you'll see in the message shortly following this screed...or go to and enter your name and e-mail in the two boxes just below the top of the page, and click "subscribe".  Easy!

Hey, at least I can afford to buy myself a new computer, right?:

Computer Storage (1956)

Photograph shows a 1956 computer disk memory storage unit.

Part of my ennui, of course, is also the depression of being seriously underemployed, stuck in the apartment night after boring night.  Although I like to look on the bright side, I mean, I am a white male living in California with lots of nice friends and "stuff", I tend to posit said optimism in the wrong way, such as "at least I didn't get blown up by a fanatic in Pakistan" or "at least I'm not as painfully anti-social as some of my colleagues."  When I have that cushy balcony overlooking Lake Merritt and a thick pension plan just waiting to be dried up by some unanticipated medical expenses, I'll start bitching about something else, like "oops, I forget to get married and have kids."  Maybe.

At least we dodged this holiday bullet, eh (thanks, Robert)?
Subject: Heads Up!, Al-Qaeda prepares to blast USA on Christmas Eve - Pravda.Ru

That's good, considering some of the nuts we're up against:
UK court agrees radical cleric's U.S. extradition

If you're looking forward to my rant about Benazir Bhutto, you'll be disappointed.  All I will say is this:  Back in 1988, when I was an angry 23 year-old fresh from Berkeley, she was 35 with a newborn son, and 9 years after they hung her father, she became the first woman to lead a Muslim nation (and one of the youngest.)  With all the other evil crap going on that decade, we could at least sit back and think, "Well, at least THAT country is getting their shit together."

Oh yeah, right.

Obituary: Benazir Bhutto, 54, Weathered Political Storm
By John F. Burns
The New York Times
The Battle After Bhutto
By J. Sri Raman
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Anyway, her assassination also obscured the passing of a beloved figure here in Los Angeles:

Stu Nahan, 81; longtime L.A. sportscaster,1,4620765.story?coll=la-headlines-sports

I would also be remiss if I didn't mourn the recent "accidental" coke overdose of Quiet Riot singer Kevin DuBrow, who you see here getting his mask off in "Metal Health", better known as "BANG YOUR HEAD":

For you music geeks, Quiet Riot was originally a party band in my hometown of Burbank, led by the great Randy Rhoads who later recorded with Ozzy, then died in a plane crash during my sophomore year of high school, forever to be immortalized with RANDY RHOADS LIVES carved into every desk in the school.

And lastly, I must point out a demise that, for a child of the 1970s like me, is almost impossible to wrap my head around:

That all said, it would be petty, and a week later no less, to do a retroactive slam on Christmas, so instead I'll just treat you, rather archly, to my favorite holiday song, Cristina Monet's "Things Fall Apart" it is, 26 YEARS LATER:

You might prefer this happy Glasgow bar band covering the Waitresses' classic "Christmas Wrapping":

For me, there is always something to ruin Christmas...this year, starting as it did the DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN, it was so commercialized that even the Christians here in America gave up on their "no happy holidays" campaign and retreated to the dark shadow of Mike Huckabee.  They finally began to agree with me that Jesus was BORN IN SEPTEMBER and maybe, just maybe, we should return Christmas to its roots as a pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice.  Light a fire, cut down a tree, bay at the moon (which was providentially full this solstice), give gifts, but keep the wretched Church out of it.  Did no one pay attention to the atheist morality of "The Golden Compass"?

The Golden Compass

About the film The Golden Compass and the claim that it is based on books containing anti-religious themes.

Just to put ol' Saint Nick to rest for the remainder of this SCREED, if anything ruined Christmas 2007, it was this obnoxious commercial for Dolce & Gabbana:

Which by the way, is NOT "gay" or "lesbian" in theme.  Those are doppelgangers...the correct description of this advertisement is simply VAIN.

Yeah, I'm afraid I've been forced to create my own party this year, and the trend continued in December...sorry if you missed the gig when I didn't send out the screed, but maybe it's better to get out of the house under your own power.  With nearly 100% no-shows since, hell, since 2005, let's say this quirky alone plans on more "alone" in 2008 and less begging for companionship.  So what did you miss?  Well, I was the only unaccompanied white male to witness Mexico City New Waver Maria Daniela at the Knitting Factory, and I can't imagine better fun than watching a pop star in her 20s dance around for an hour:

Just a few days later, my friends in Momma Stud reunited for one night...look for it on my YouTube site soon, but in the meantime, here's "Stormy" from 1991:

Yeah, a little context for Momma Stud...I was pushing 26, Jeffrey Dahlmer got busted for killing and eating 17 men, "Twin Peaks" was the rage, we kicked Iraq's ass and then got the hell out, the Giants won their most recent Super Bowl, Magic got AIDS, four cops beat the shit out of Rodney King at Osborne and Foothill, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia both came to an end, a fire burned almost 3500 houses above Oakland, Freddie Mercury, Serge Gainsbourg, Dean Jagger, Miles Davis, Artie Mitchell and Dr. Seuss died, and my friend Andreas Floer committed suicide in Germany.

How about 2007?  Well, other than the folks previously mentioned, Karl Heinz Stockhausen, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, Pavarotti, Max Roach, Bergman, Antonioni, Lady Bird, Yeltsin, Tom Snyder and Artie Mitchell's brother Jim all died and left us.  Led Zeppelin played a gig, I turned 42, Sergei and Dorothy joined the parents' club, and the year was pretty much a wash.  The most exciting thing that happened, other than getting a book published, was probably "Get Smart" coming back in reruns:

Kill, kill, kill
Thrill, thrill, thrill
Make a scene
Bump off the Dean
Yeh, yeh, yeh
Knock off the squares
Take to the street
Kill everyone you meet
Just kill, kill, kill


Introducing the Groovy Guru

Hey, hey, hey
Dig what I say,
Get a gun
And kill your mum
Woh, woh, woh
Don't you know
Love is out
Hate's what it's about
Just kill, kill, kill


The Sacred Cows

Don't just stand there being placid
Get into some psychopathic acid
I'll take you to a place that's purple and paisley
There's no problem everybody is crazy
Come on get rid of your frustration
Get into our hate generation
If you are ready...


Max takes a shot at the evil Guru

Kill, kill, kill
Thrill, Thrill, thrill
Make a scene
Bump off the Dean
Woh, woh, woh
Don't you know
Love is out
Hate's what it's about
Just kill, kill, kill

And that sums up my opinion of 2007.

Anyway, one nice way to avoid your problems, as Julie Andrews say in "The Sound of Music", is to blindly chant some of your favorite things.  While digging through some of the truly apocalyptic global warming articles I've been perusing, one silver lining I've discovered - Greenland is NICE.  I mean really f***ing nice.  Check out some of this photographs:

There's a lot more where that came from; if you explore Flickr or Google images, you'll find some amazing ones of Greenland interspersed between all the "icy Greenland from our airplane" photos taken by jet passengers.  One silver lining to destroying all of our major coastal cities with a rising ocean would be revealing the interior of this massive island (the black areas are below sea level):

You see that Greenland is not so much a single island, as kind of huge atoll of mountains around a low central lake or sea:

This answers the question to the curious, why is there a Greenland Ice Sheet?  Why is Greenland so obviously covered by miles of ice when Siberia and northern Canada are not?  Because Greenland is a shallow basin with few outlets to the sea; once those were blocked by ice, the entire center of the land mass filled up with ice.

If you want to see how far your own city will go underwater, you can explore this site from the University of Arizona: I sense a screed coming on?  Well, it's late in the day, so maybe just a short one.  How are we doing at saving the Earth THIS year?
UN Issues "Final Wake-Up Call" on Population and Environment
By James Kanter
The International Herald Tribune
Scientists Beg for Climate Action
By Seth Borenstein
The Associated Press
A World Dying, but Can We Unite to Save It?
By Geoffrey Lean
The Independent UK

That's not too good, but at least up in San Francisco we got see some "people power" in action (and PS, there is plenty of hair AND mushrooms in the City!)
Hair and Mushrooms Create a Recipe for Cleaning Up Oily Beaches
By Meredith May
The San Francisco Chronicle

Still, we need to all get on the ball:
Remember This: 350 Parts Per Million
By Bill McKibben
The Washington Post
Global-Warming Gases Set to Rise by 57 Percent by 2030 - IEA
Agence France-Presse
Global Warming "Is Happening Faster"
By Paul Eccleston and Charles Clover
The Telegraph UK
Ominous Arctic Melt Worries Experts
By Seth Borenstein
The Associated Press
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Up for Cars, Trucks in 2006
By Justin Hyde
Detroit Free Press

Success is actually a possibility:
Kyoto Protocol Parties to Meet Targets
The Associated Press
Bali Conference: Climate Change Is Security Issue, Not a Green Dilemma
By Daniel Howden
The Independent UK
In Bali, Germany Takes Dramatic Step on Climate Change
By Mariah Blake
The Christian Science Monitor

The Chinese, in words at least, are rising to the occasion:
Wen's Challenge on Climate Change Raises Stakes for Bali Talks
By Ying Lou

And maybe so is the United States:
Broad Energy Bill Passed by House
By Jonathan Weisman and Steven Mufson
The Washington Post
US Edges Towards Cap on Greenhouse Gases
By Suzanne Goldenberg
The Guardian UK
Senate Energy Bill: First Skirmish Over US Greenhouse-Gas Regulation
By Mark Clayton
The Christian Science Monitor
US Key to Balanced Carbon Budget, UN Says
By Haider Rizvi
Inter Press Service

We'd better start cooperating, or things will get even "hotter" for us:
Then There Was One: US Now Alone as Kyoto Holdout
By Richard Ingham
Agence France-Presse
Climate Deal Runs Straight Into Trouble With US
By Shaun Tandon
Agence France-Presse
US Under Mounting Pressure at Bali
By Joseph Coleman
The Associated Press
US Rejects Stiff 2020 Greenhouse Goals in Bali
By Emma Graham-Harrison
Bitter Divisions Exposed at Climate Talks
By Thomas Fuller and Elisabeth Rosenthal
The New York Times
US Pours Cold Water on Bali Optimism
By John Vidal
The Guardian UK
Hard Choices on Climate Can Wait for Next President, Aides Indicate
By Juliet Eilperin
The Washington Post
Republicans Plan to Hammer Climate-Change Bill With Amendments
By Avery Palmer
Congressional Quarterly
Senate Blocks Energy Bill
By John M. Broder
The New York Times
Senate Republicans Block Energy Bill
By Steven Mufson
The Washington Post
The Widening Chasm on Energy
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t | Environment Editor
Industry Flexes Muscle, Weaker Energy Bill Passes
By John M. Broder
The New York Times
Climate Sanctions Sought Against US
By Judy Dempsey
International Herald Tribune
Paris Suggests EU Tax on Imports From Non-Kyoto States
By Lucia Kubosova
EU Observer

Here in California, we continue to fight back on our own:
EPA Says 17 States Can't Set Emission Rules for Cars
By John M. Broder and Felicity Barringer
The New York Times
Cheney Accused of Blocking Californian Bid to Cut Car Fumes
By Dan Glaister
The Guardian UK
Schwarzenegger: California Will Sue Federal Government
By Brian Todd and Dugald McConnell
Bush Faces a Long Legal Battle With California
By Marianne Lavelle
US News & World Report
California Sues EPA Over Auto Emissions
The Associated Press
California to Sue Bush Administration Over Law to Limit Emissions
By Bob Egelko
The San Francisco Chronicle
Federal Judge Upholds Law on Emissions in California
By John M. Broder
The New York Times

Because the consequences are grave for California:
Rising Seas Will Swamp America's Shores, Study Says
By Seth Borenstein
The Associated Press

The beaches might go under water, but not a drop to drink:
The Future Is Drying Up
By Jon Gertner
The New York Times Magazine
Much of US Could See a Water Shortage
By Brian Skoloff
The Associated Press
Source of Water for West at Risk
The Arizona Republic

Our trees might save us:
Forests, the Great Green Hope?
By Stephen Leahy
Inter Press Service
Norway to Spend Billions on Preserving Rainforests
Voice of America News
The Tropical Global Warming Solution
By Glenn Hurowitz
Governors Take Action to Save Rainforests
By Mark Forbes
The Age, AU

If we have any left here in the West:
California's Age of Megafires
By Daniel B. Wood
The Christian Science Monitor
Expert: Warming Climate Fuels Mega-Fires
By Scott Pelley
CBS News
Wildfires Rekindle Global Warming Debate
By Adrianne Appel
Inter Press Service

Even the most conservative parts of the United States see the danger better than the Bush "Administration":
Midwest Governors Sign Climate Change Accord
By John Rondy

But it won't be as easy for them as it is here in California:
Kansas Denial of Bigger Coal Plant Fires Up Backlash
By Carey Gillam

Still, the future of the world has always been one that would be decided in towns and cities, not in the high offices of government:
World's Local Governments Vow to Combat Climate Change
By Lee Jong-Heon
UPI Asia
Silver Lining to Climate Change - Green Jobs
United Nations Environment Programme

Besides global warming, we have enormous pollution to clean up (thanks again, Robert):

Island of trash larger than Texas floats in the Pacific Ocean
Oceans' Growing Acidity Alarms Scientists
By Les Blumenthal
McClatchy Newspapers
Acidic Seas May Kill 98 Percent of World's Reefs by 2050
By Ian Sample
The Guardian UK

Perhaps we need a lesson in CRAP?  This is a cute site about how we find our planet sinking under the weight of our "stuff":
The Story of Stuff
By Robert Weissman

We are, after all, not the only sentient beings living on the planet:

Dolphins used to look like humans and lived in Atlantis

Well, maybe not like that; but once again there is some hope for our fellow travelers in the oceans of the world:
Court: Navy Must Lessen Sonar Harm
The Associated Press
Japanese Whalers Chafe Under Curbs
The Associated Press
Australia to Shadow Japan's Whalers
Reuters: "Australia will send a fisheries patrol ship to shadow Japan's whaling fleet near Antarctica and gather evidence for a possible international court challenge to halt the yearly slaughter, the government said on Wednesday."

There is hope we can help our winged companions:
Progress on "Collapsing" Beehives
By Moises Velasquez-Manoff
The Christian Science Monitor

For good or ill, our world is about to change:
Give Thanks for Oil - and OPEC
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t | Environment Editor
Beyond the Age of Petroleum
By Michael T. Klare
The Nation

Even the tight-lipped Feds are coming clean about the potential for disaster:
The Peak Oil Crisis: Our Government Is Speaking
By Tom Whipple
The Falls Church News-Press
Reaching Our Peak Oil Supply
By Rod Dreher
The Dallas Morning News
Steep Decline in Oil Production Brings Risk of War and Unrest, Says New Study
By Ashley Seager
The Guardian UK
Experts Say Climate Change Threatens National Security
By Deborah Zabarenko

And good riddance to oil and all its friends:
Oil producers see the world and buy it up
By Steven R. Weisman
The New York Times
Flush with petrodollars, oil-producing countries have embarked on a global shopping spree.

If we take the cheap way out, other problems will plague us:
The Western Appetite for Biofuels Is Causing Starvation in the Poor World
By George Monbiot
The Guardian UK
Ethanol Craze Cools as Doubts Multiply
By Lauren Etter
The Wall Street Journal
Juliette Anthony | Corn Ethanol and Its Consequences
Juliette Anthony writes for Truthout about the growth of the corn ethanol industry: "The Federal Energy Bill, with its fivefold mandate to increase ethanol production, is headed for the president's desk without threat of veto, now that all requirements to support tax credits for solar and wind systems have been removed. The impact of the ethanol mandate promises to be particularly severe on California."
Senators Demand European Moratorium on Biofuel
By Gaëlle Dupont
Le Monde
Rising Food Prices to Hit Consumption
By Javier Blas
The Financial Times

That should cheer you up for 2008.  Vive le screed!

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