Friday, July 30, 2010

heart of the city

It's a beautiful and peaceful day here in the heart of the city. However, it's nearly four, and traffic is starting to pick up out in the street. I'll soon have to saddle up and ride home.

Right now the street looks just as you see it in the picture, except it's high summer here, of course, and not autumn as is shown in the photo.

I'm going to have to learn to ride the buses, so that when winter comes I won't start driving the car again. They actually look pretty comfortable, and if I get a senior citizens' pass I can ride for I think 50 cents a day. One of those long, articulated buses is stopped at the light out front of this place right now. I think all of those things are diesel hybrids in this town.

My yoga teacher just walked in the door. It seems odd to see her walking around the neighborhood and buying tea like a regular human being. Usually I only see her up in front of a class or working at her desk.

I'm spending less time on the computer and more time interacting with other humans these days. It's better that way.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

angry vehicles

Mukluk Island. I was living up in Anchorage when they built that thing in the '80's thinking it was going to yield 1,000,000's of barrels and then it came up a dry hole.

Now 25 years later BP, who built it, wants to use it to drill a really deep well, that'll go two miles down and then horizontally another six or eight miles. They're dodging the offshore drilling ban because they're siting the well on this island they built, an artificial mound they put in the Beaufort Sea. So the horizontal drilling plan, which is risky, is the really important part.

But I guess they have to keep trying. Got to justify that big investment. it cost them millions to build Mukluk and they got nothing from it so far.

It's really up to us. We need to refudiate our car-dependent culture and the morans who keep trying to sell it to us as the only way to live.

For me, the big test comes this winter. Will I still ride only the bike 5 days out of 7 when it's 40 degrees out and raining? Maybe I can learn to ride the (ugh) bus.

This afternoon I biked down to Greenwood to teach a yoga class. I didn't notice it while we were moving through the postures, but when we went into Savasana I was acutely aware of the horrible sound of angry vehicles just on the other side of the front windows as they roared along 85th Street, looking for pedestrians to crush and cyclists to maim and kill.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

coming soon: judgment day

Evangelical fundamentalist Christian minister Tim LaHaye says Obama's "raw socialism" is bringing this country closer to the apocalypse.

He said so appearing as a guest on Mike Huckabee's TV talk show.

He should be happy about that, right? I mean, he and his will do OK on that day, according to the blueprint he's working from.

But he doesn't sound too pleased about it.

Story at Huffington Post.

Oil painting, "The Last Judgment," by Hieronymus Bosch; Flemish, 15th century. Click on the image for a larger view.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The ecologically uncompromising architecture movement, so beautifully documented in the film "First Earth" by David Sheen, is concerned with a lot more than just ecological integrity.

It uncompromisingly rejects the traditional roles of banks, moneylenders, insurance companies, and all other the agents of usury and "protection money" who have poisoned the home-buying process. These are owner-made dwellings, rising out of the earth and fashioned by hand from renewable and recyclable materials -- cob, rammed earth, mud brick, hay bales, or whatever ecologically harmonious resource is suitable for a given environment. The cost of building such a house is low; it requires no bank loan, and the "no mortgage" part is essential. The pace of construction is open-ended, and it doesn't have to be completed in one season. Because these houses are architecturally conceived and grounded in curved surfaces and irregular, sculpted spaces rather than straight lines and 90-degree angles, some builders find it best to proceed with the master plan of building a single room first, then adding another each successive year.

The movement uncompromisingly posits land as the source and basis of all wealth. If worked energetically and lovingly, the earth will yield our food and our shelter. Since nobody can live without some money, it also easily gives us a cash crop which shall not be named here. Land is cheaper than today's houses, but depending on the location it can be a lot more valuable, doubly so if it contains a source of clean running water. If in possession of a small patch of clean earth, clean air, and clean water, a person becomes a kind of mini-monarch.

This movement pays no respect to building codes, zoning laws, permit applications, or any of the other bureaucratically imposed rules, regulations, and artificial, materials-manufacturer-friendly standards which more often hinder rather than encourage us to create wholesome and livable spaces. Most locally-enforced rules impede progress, at great expense and unnecessary bother.

The environmentally uncompromising architecture movement breaks all the rules, much to the consternation of those who make the rules. Our rulers have a thing or two to learn, for they are as yet unaware of the power of an aroused populace.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

the strip mall in winter

Not wanting to ride 25 blocks to the markets in Greenwood and then lug back up the slope with a backpack full of groceries, I went looking for a supermarket closer to home. That's how I ended up at the Albertson's store, in the enormous Big K-Mart strip mall at 130th and Aurora.

It's certainly a big enough store, especially considering how few people were in there. Here it is Sunday afternoon and only one check stand was open -- and not crowded. It seemed to me there were a lot of cars in the strip mall, but not that many people. One guy came up to me to try to bum a cigarette, but of course I had none to give. That made me feel pretty good.

I didn't go into the K-Mart, which lives up to its name -- it's truly enormous. But it didn't look like it was very crowded either. I coasted past it and parked my bike outside a Staples store and went in to buy a couple of their excellent Staples™ brand thick-grip ball-point pens. Beyond the Staples store there's a huge L.A. Fitness facility, and across from this row of very large retail outlets, backed up against the sidewalk next to Aurora, is another row of businesses. These are smaller than the behemoths on the east side, and quite a few of them are restaurants.

I surveyed my surroundings, and found myself looking over a vast, two-thirds empty parking lot. It was just one big lot for the whole, blocks-long strip mall, and I wondered how many football fields would fit into it. Then I wondered how many of these retail outlets would still be open two years from now -- five years from now.

Where are we? Where have we been; where are we going?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

non-governmental leaks

On a slow news day -- and Saturday usually is -- I tend to go with local topics, and this one is about as local as you can get.

My refrigerator leaks, or rather, the landlord's refrigerator in the apartment I rent does. Sometimes when I wake up at five and stagger out to the kitchen to put up water for coffee, I first have to mop up a puddle that formed overnight which I have just stepped in.

The refrigerator works and the seal is good, so this is a repair job rather than a malfunction which makes this an appliance that needs to be disposed of. And as if on cue, AOL this morning ran an article from the website on how to repair a leaky refrigerator.

The first thing I learned is that the problem is either with the ice maker or a frozen drain in the automatic defrosting system. This machine doesn't have an ice maker, so that narrows down the possibilities to one.

There is a tube which runs from the freezer to a condensation pan in the bottom of the unit. Most likely it's clogged. I'll have to move the machine from its nook and unplug it, take the cover off the back, disconnect the tube, and put something through it, probably a high-pressure jet of water from a garden hose. That should do it.

Sunday is my idle day, and now I have a useful activity to fill it. I'll keep you posted. Anyone out there with a leaky refrigerator, take note, and check the link. This is apparently a very common problem, although I've never encountered it before.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

of mice and weasels

I'm sitting here in the Edmonds Senior Center between classes watching the ferry boats sailing into the dock, filling up with cars and trucks, and then gracefully re-launching onto the gentle ripples of the Puget Sound, headed for Kingston.

I suppose I could say something about L'Affaire Sherrod, but too many people have said too much about it already. It seems everybody weighed in on this one, first before they knew what they were talking about, then in the aftermath to register their mea culpas.

When the Sherrod story first broke I ignored it. It seemed to me that it came up over the horizon so fast that there had to be more to come. And there certainly was.


The U.S. Senate voted 59-39 yesterday to restore unemployment benefits to the millions who have been out of work for more than six months. The measure includes retroactive payments for the 2.5 million people whose benefits expired after June 2, when Senate Republicans and Senator Ben D. Nelson of Nebraska began stonewalling this crucial legislation. The "D" is for "Dover."


The first time I shot rats in my back yard with my new AK-47, it added a whole new dimension to my life, and I realized what my hapless, mundane existence had been missing.

I killed three rats and also accidentally puréed the cat. But I never liked that cat very much anyway.

Plus, it's been very quiet in the yards of my back-fence neighbors since then.

Thou shalt not restrict the right of the people to possess and use firearms. It's right there in the 12 Commandments, which were handed down to Moses on Mt. Cyanide by God himself.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

dancing queen

Historical video of the beginning of a live vaudeville show, "Le Serpent Rouge," in Seattle last year, featuring a real live string band, the Crow Quill Night Owls, and genuine oriental dancers.

First, the Night Owls perform their rollicking rendition of "Wake Up, Sinners," and are followed by dancers in the Mohammedan style, The Indigo (Rachel Brice, Mardi Love, and Zoe Jakes).

Shot in May, 2009, at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard.

Monday, July 19, 2010

banksy wuz here

The famous graffiti artist Banksy visited our fair city of Detroit not too long ago, and left something at the ruins of the old Packard plant that people are now fighting over. It's a low day for "high art" and a big victory for us proles when the work of a vandal is valued enough to be coveted the rich and famous among us.

I've written about stencil graffiti before, here and here. It's an important artistic, social, and political development, an original and highly competitive form whose proponents often approach their subjects with a raw edge of anarchic wit. Banksy is the universally acknowledged leader of this pack, and undebatably its most gifted practitioner.

The product of Banksy's Motown endeavor didn't stay in place long. It was chopped out of the cinder block wall upon which it was rendered and carted away by a local band of art activists who call themselves the 555 Nonprofit Studio and Gallery.

But since Angelina Jolie is said to have paid half a million big ones for a few of Banksy's pieces, and the Detroit fresco is now valued at around 100k, potential claimants are popping out of the woodwork. The city of Detroit has been trying for years to figure out who actually owns the 3-1/2 million square foot Packard plant (nobody wants to pay for the demolition and cleanup), so this is getting interesting.

From the Auto Blog site (via AOL) article on this humungous crangleschnazzle over a piece of graffiti vandalism:

The best anyone can figure, the plant is currently owned by a company called Biosource, Inc, and the only person on that company's books is Dominic Cristini. Cristini is currently serving a prison term in California on drug charges, leaving the local government to try to decide how best to go about cleaning up the site.

Of course, now that there's some value to the property and a lawsuit, other potential players have worked their way into the picture. Interestingly, the name on the legal documents is Romel Casab, not Cristini. And Detroit now has another person to question regarding the site and its potential cleanup.

As it currently stands, 555 has placed the graffiti in a protective enclosure and has it safely displayed at its gallery on West Vernor Highway in the shadow of I-75.

The author of the AutoBlog piece, Jeremy Korzeniewski, also comments that "It's a simple message, but it's also a somewhat profound statement when viewed from the ravaged surroundings in which it exists."

The "profound statement" I get out of it is that here in the U.S., a country which has devolved into a seedy ruin of its former self, we're now reduced to wrangling over the leavings of some furrin vandal, a hit-and-run artist who is attempting to tell us what we've become by employing subtle references to our former grandeur. He tagged a wall in a gargantuan, now-derelict facility where Americans used to produce tangible objects of real value, something we no longer know how to do in this age of "creative finance."

We don't produce anything here any more except collateralized debt obligations and meltdowns. It took a damned Hinglishman to actually produce something valuable enough to generate lawsuits disputing ownership, and I find all of this too delicious.

Click on the image for a larger view.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

moby willy

I got into a conversationette today with someone who believes in the equality of all life, which belief seems to posit that the existence of a tapeworm is worth no more or less than the creature in whose intestine it dwells.

This elegant and extremely comprehensive trope planted a movie idea in my mind. It would be called "Moby Willy," about a gigantic white cockroach that rises steaming out of the New York City sewers. A big hummer -- about five foot long -- it would be a sort of metaphorical examination of the theme of humankind vs. nature, you know, with the bloodthirsty humans hollering "Get those goddam cockroaches," and various profane oaths. Except they're not bloodthirsty exactly, since cockroaches don't have blood that I've ever seen; it's more like a sort of a viscous yellow juice.

Anyway, this roach, Moby Willy, is being pursued through the tenement blocks of Harlem and the Bronx by the famous Etruscan Orkin man, MacStrna, who carries a spray tank of whatever toxin they use nowadays to poison bugs and kids. But the great white cockroach has all the advantages on his side, especially the ability to traverse walls and ceilings and hide under the sofa.

I'm not going to tell you how it turns out. Wouldn't want to spoil it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

on the trail

There's the signpost up ahead -- you're entering...the Shoreline section of the Interurban. This is at 145th street where Linden Ave terminates and the trail resumes. 145th Separates Seattle from the City of Shoreline, where I was partly raised and went to high school.

There's kind of a little parklet there, with a canopy and seats and water fountains and flowers. One biker thinks it looks kind of like a miniature train station, appropriately enough.

It's an aesthetically pleasing sign; it and the little train station remind us that the name "Interurban" refers to the history of the trail, which was originally the trolley track right-of-way for the line that ran all the way from Everett to Tacoma, about 70 miles through the heart of what today is a metropolis, but was then a patchwork of cities, towns, and rural stretches with farms.

Seattle, like most other U.S. cities, once had an excellent and comprehensive electric trolley system. I've seen the trolley map from 1913, and it's impressive. You could get anywhere from anywhere else, cheaply and safely. But people preferred to have their own cars after the mid-twenties, or at least they were told by the automobile builders of Detroit and the oil refiners of Oklahoma and California and the tire makers of Akron that that's what they preferred, and the people believed them.

So we tore up our trolley tracks and bought our own Fords and Chevies. Silly people.

I would like to see all the 1913 trolley routes in Seattle become bike and walking trails. That would be justice.

Coming along the sunshiny trail this afternoon after my late-morning volunteer teaching gig, between 125th and 115th, the grass on both sides was bursting with dandelion flowers. With all the late rain we had this spring, the greenness of the grass and yellowness of the beautiful weeds zaps you like a cup of coffee. In a month the dandelions will turn to puffballs, and then the little white parachutes will float off onto the breeze and alight somewhere. With the usual rainy winter, we should have a bumper crop next year.

Dandelion leaves are very good in salads, and were the favorite food of my pet land tortoise.

Friday, July 16, 2010

green bean

The Green Bean coffee house re-opened today on Greenwood near 85th in Seattle, almost facing its old temporary quarters in the Sip 'n Ship coffee house across the street, and around the corner from its original location, which was destroyed in an arson fire last October.

It's big and beautiful inside, full of mis-matched donated furniture, all Salvation Army style, and featuring a big food prep area. The building is an abandoned McDonald's which had been standing unused, neglected, and graffiti'd-upon for several years. So the Bean moving in and reviving the place accomplished two things at once, remediating a neighborhood eyesore and perpetuating the life of one of Greenwood's most important charitable enterprises.

The Bean is owned by a local church, the Sanctuary, and is a for-profit business, but all the profits go to charitable works, such as feeding the hungry and homeless. Both the church and the coffee shop help a lot of people in the neighborhood, and the Bean should prosper in its beautiful and roomy new location.

I thought I would enjoy my first visit there, but I guess I'm turning into an old grouch -- a curmudgeon as we're sometimes called. I was sitting near a couple parents who had five little ones between them, four active and one sleeping infant, but the four active ones started driving me nuts after about 15 minutes. I can't take the noise any more.

I'll just have to make sure to visit my favorite haunt earlier in the day from now on.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

miss representation

Allrighty then. Here's something from the Catboxx cookbook: how to make a big batch of propaganda out of next to nothing except a cup of slightly used kitty litter. The secret isn't what you put in; it's what you leave out.

Fox News has been reporting this week that the NAACP is calling the Tea Parties racist organizations. I'm paraphrasing the message because I don't own a TV and so can't watch Fox News or anything else, but you can see a pertinent segment from "Fox & Friends" here.

Compare it to this, from the NAACP's own web site:

Today, NAACP delegates passed a resolution to condemn extremist elements within the Tea Party, calling on Tea Party leaders to repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches.

The NAACP's page is furnished with photographs which prove that some Tea Party types are racists. Please note that neither I nor the NAACP claims that all Teepers are racists, or that the Tea Parties are racist organizations.

See the difference?

I don't know who besides Steve Doocy has been delivering the story, but I'd bet that it's been prominently aired by Fox's foxes -- a platoon of fetchingly-shaped bottle blondes, all of whom are banquets for the eyes and like public-address-system feedback to the ears. I suspect Miss Representation herself, Megyn Kelly, played a prominent part here.

Is the Fox story a lie? No, not exactly, but it is a deliberate misrepresentation of what the NAACP actually voted on and said, cooked up by leaving out key aspects of the organization's statement. And that's how the right-wing noise machine works.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


There were a couple recent passings, worthy of note, both in New York City.

George Steinbrenner, the long-time owner of the Yankees died at 80. It will be interesting to see whether he is widely eulogized. I suspect a lot of people who knew him will have little to say about his life and death. To speak ill of the dead is unacceptable, and I have heard he was a philanthropist.

Also, Tuli Kupferberg, singer, songwriter, poet, artist, cartoonist, lifelong revolutionary, and a New York City fixutre for many years joined his ancestors yesterday, if they haven't disowned him. He was 86, and older than most of the people associated with sixties counter culture -- 41 at the time he and Ed Sanders founded the Fugs in '65.

I sometimes find myself wishing Green Day was a little more like the Fugs. But history doesn't repeat; it merely rhymes, as did this Kupferberg song.

Monday, July 12, 2010

facts and opinions

It was a poll taken by Democrats James Carville and Stan Greenburg, but respondents included everyone. So what I got out of it is that 55 percent of adult Americans who are "likely voters" think Obama is a socialist. Does that prove that he actually is a socialist, as The National Review Online article of July 9 implies?

Of course it doesn't. It proves only that a majority of "likely voters" think that he is. That's not the same as demonstrating that he actually is a real socialist, or anything close to that.

A Time Magazine poll taken in the 90's showed that 70 percent of Americans believe that angels actually exist and, presumably, intercede in their daily lives, preventing them from falling down the stairs and gently reminding them where they left their car keys. Now, whether angels actually do exist, in reality, has nothing to do with what people believe, of course. That's another issue altogether, and the same principle applies to Obama's supposed socialism.

And I'd like to remind everyone that during the middle ages, virtually everyone in Europe believed the sun revolves around the earth. It would have been blasphemous to believe otherwise. And yet, despite the universality of this strong belief and foregone conclusion, the sun never revolved around the earth even for a fraction of a second.

So if 55 percent of "likely voters" in America believe Obama is a socialist, I suppose the next question the pollsters should have asked is, "Do you know what socialism is?" And personally, I have absolutely no interest in who "likely voters" believe is a socialist, or a fascist, or an angel, or an agent of satan. Now if Carville and Greenberg were to do a poll of American socialists, and ask them whether they think Obama is a socialist, that might prove instructional as well as interesting.

But if you believe Obama is a socialist, and if you believe that for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows, I hate to tell you this, but as a debate topic this is what people and other conscious primates think of as "low-hanging fruit."

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I heard my daughter using the word "permaculture," and figured it had something to do with the environmental activism implied in cob building. But I got curious thinking about all the possible ramifications of a word which combines "permanent" with both "culture" and "agriculture," and realized I didn't know what it means.

The Wikipedia article on Permaculture tells us that it "is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies," adding that it's not one specific thing or another, but a system of interrelated design principles which would enable people to live ecologically sustainable lives while reducing their reliance on the industrial methods of production and distribution which have all but destroyed the earth.

So permacultural approaches to food, shelter, clothing, and transportation could potentially change everything we have and do. A cob cottage is a manifestation of permaculture; a suburban tract house isn't. Organic gardening, bicycles, composting toilets, and acoustic string bands are all vehicles for permaculture; factory farming, automobiles, modern bathrooms, and rock concerts are the opposite of it.

Permaculture could very well be a non-violent revolution waiting to happen. Its rejection of industrial methodology and its handmaiden, consumerism, implies a rejection of capitalist ideology and all its attendant commercial, mercantile, and financial relationships as well, not to mention the corrupt and violent political system which serves the plutocrats in charge of those relationships. Its widespread adoption in what used to be called "the first world" (the industrialized world) might lead us to think differently about the earth's human carrying capacity. We tend to assume the planet is overpopulated, but what would be the effect if a hundred million people currently living lives of profligacy and waste lived much more lightly upon the earth?

This movement has a longer history than I would have thought, having originated in Australia in the '60's and '70's. (The Wikipedia article includes an excellent historical overview) But as with so many things in the world today, such as the prospect of nuclear disarmament, the future of this new paradigm is much more important than its past. Among other things, permaculture provides a possible scenario for the future of the human race, which might otherwise not have a future. And if the overwhelming majority today disdains the idea of living in a self-made mud hut, or growing their own food, or abstaining from meat, or riding a bike to the store instead of driving, many of them are going to feel differently five years from now when there's no gas and no money.

Just one more thing, for those who may be inspired by these ideas: nobody goes from living as a consumer of industrial goods to a permacultural existence overnight. The bridge from our current destructive and unsustainable living arrangements to more sustainable, small-scale, and decentralized modes is necessarily accomplished incrementally, in discrete steps. We need to adopt the new paradigm piece by piece, incorporating each major part of the design into our lives before moving on to the next. On the other hand, since time is growing shorter, we need to apply deliberate and daily effort to the task, and avoid procrastinating.

Photo: the roof frame of a cob cottage; building and photo by Ziggy Fresh.

Friday, July 09, 2010

howls of rage

It's not only impossible to write about politics any more; it's getting very difficult to read about anything political as well.

The problem is that everyone who's not carrying water or writing propaganda or bending over for our cognitively challenged rulers sounds the same. There is a limited number of topics on everyone's mind now: the BP spill specifically and the environmental crisis generally; the "Great Recession" specifically and the re-distribution of all available wealth upward to the ruling class generally; the Afghan War specifically and the perpetual war being run by an increasingly parasitical war machine generally; Obama's bad-faith betrayal of his base specifically and the control of our political system by lobbyists funneling corporate money to the politicians generally.

The screen behind which the wizard (or in this case, wizards) hid as they manipulate the clanking machinery of global capitalism's empire is fallen, but despite increasingly shrill howls of rage from virtually everyone who's both conscious and not sold out, they refuse to acknowledge that we're even here. Feelings of outrage over what's happening combine with helplessness and frustration, making for a volatile state of mind. This is not going to continue forever.

As the days wax hot they seem longer. Time slows down in the summer, and autumn may be too far away for the benefactors of the status quo to maintain their arrogance without incurring damage.

Drawing by Pat Moriarity.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

off line

A bad situation has arisen due to someone gaining access to records of my private correspondence. Therefore, I'll be off-line for a while.

But I'll be back.


Tuesday, July 06, 2010


I was planning to write something today about the terrible unemployment crisis that's ruining so many lives in this country right now, and how it's been enabled by the dishonesty and insane lust for power that typify the elites who rule us, but the sun finally came out in Seattle and my mind won't go there.

It's been a strange year. We had spring in the winter and winter in the spring, and the first two weeks of summer were cancelled as the air warmed up, but at the same time the clouds rolled in. The gloom has been oppressive and perpetual-seeming, but now it's gone at last. Yesterday afternoon the clouds rolled off to the east in dramatic, Hollywood-movie fashion; the sun came out, and now it's starting to warm up. The weatherman promises a "heat wave" (Seattle style -- that's why I put it in quotes) that's going to stick around for a while.

So out came the bike, just for an idle ride around the neighborhood "with no particular place to go," as Buck Cherry once sang, People were out clearing weeds and the accumulated leaves, pine needles, and dead grass from their front yards. Others were walking their dogs who seemed friskier than usual. The world seemed right for a change, and with any kind of luck we'll get about 90 days of this, with occasional interruptions, before the gloom sets in again. This means it's bicycle season, and tomorrow early I'll pedal over to Tarjay to pick up a fan, since it's going to actually get hot here tomorrow. The outdoor temp is supposed to be close to 90, which is fine with me, but I think it'll probably get pretty stuffy in this apartment.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

U.S. Blues

I want everybody for be happy today, OK?


On this national high holy day, Howard Zinn speaks to us from the grave.

Friday, July 02, 2010

conned again

You've been had. You've been took. You've been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok. - Malcolm X

From the Huffington Post's Huffpost Hill column for July 1, news of America's two wars, the foreign and the domestic.

Perptual War Dept. A few in Congress are starting to tell the unvarnished truth. "Progressive Democrats challenged Republican and Blue Dog backers of the wars today to pay for the wars as long as they'll insist on paying for unemployment insurance and anything else. Raul Grijalva: 'And here we are, prolonging a war that most of the American people oppose and not paying for it. That's the essential hypocrisy. We are required to offset anything for education, we are required to offset anything for jobs, and now this war is reaching $280 billion for taxpayers, all under an emergency supplemental category which doesn't require offsets of pay-fors. You know this, from the time of the Tonkin resolution to the end of the end of that conflict in Vietnam, 103 months. We are now at our 104th month in Afghanistan, right now, with no end in sight. So the people that have been going around that the sky is falling because of the debt and the deficit, we're asking them to put up.'"

Meanwhile, class warfare continues stateside: "After the House approved a moot measure to reauthorize lapsed benefits for the long-term jobless, bill sponsor Jim McDermott told HuffPost's Arthur Delaney that the Deficit V. Unemployment fight is 'a class warfare issue.' He said the GOP's obstruction amounts to an assault on the New Deal: 'The Social Security Act of 1935 made these entitlements, Social Security and unemployment insurance and welfare," he said. "The Republicans have been after all three of those programs ever since 1935. They got welfare a few years ago, because that's poor people. They could jump on them. But unemployment and Social Security is middle-class people -- they haven't been able to get them, but it isn't because they're not willing to try.'"

Malcolm is speaking to us from the grave, and his constituency has multiplied like the loaves and fishes; nearly all of us are his people now.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

outta my tube

Back in 2006 Ted Stevens, the former US Senator from Alaska, described the internet this way: Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.

[...] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

Stevens was criticizing an amendment to a communications bill which would have prohibited service providers such as AT&T and Verizon from charging internet users for the privilege of higher-priority access, and was ridiculed at the time for having no understanding of the medium despite his position as chairman of the committee regulating it. The Senator is now retired, his career derailed by ethically questionable relationships, but his quote lives on. I wonder if I should write him and ask for his help in determining who hijacked one of my internet tubes.

What happened is that someone used one of my e-mail addresses to forward a message to the 61 people listed in my Yahoo roster. Afterward, my inbox filled up with a flurry of mail-daemon notices informing me of all the obsolete and discontinued addresses the message had dead-ended into.

The message was short, consisting only of a link to this page, unaccompanied by any text or explanation. I very much doubt that U.S. Drugs had any motivation to do this, and assume it was an some sort of childishly malicious act, though a fairly harmless one.

I'm not worried, but I am curious, and wonder if there's some way I can find out who the sender was.

Anyway, if you're reading this, and you were one of the recipients of this mysterious communication sent via the internet tubes, now you know why. And if you're having trouble sending outbound messages, it might be because your tube is clogged by this spurious message, sent to everyone by some Cheeto-stained knucklehead toiling away in the obscurity of his parents' basement, and attempting for reasons known only to him to ruin my reputation and make the world think I'm a sex maniac.