Ink & Paper

Saturday, June 18, 2005

From Yahoo News...

Culminating years of frustration with the performance and behavior of the United Nations, the House voted Friday to slash U.S. contributions to the world body if it does not substantially change the way it operates.

The legislation would withhold half of U.S. dues to the U.N.'s general budget if the organization did not meet a list of demands for change. Failure to comply would also result in U.S. refusal to support expanded and new peacekeeping missions. The bill's prospects in the Senate are uncertain.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., won backing for an amendment under which the United States would use its influence to ensure that any member engaged in acts of genocide or crimes against humanity would lose its U.N. membership and face arms and trade embargoes.

Hyde was joined by lawmakers with a litany of complaints against what they said was the U.N.'s lavish spending, its coddling of rogue regimes, its anti-America, anti-Israel bias and recent scandals such as the mismanagement of the oil-for-food program in Iraq.

Eight former U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations, including Madeleine Albright and Jeane Kirkpatrick, also weighed in, telling lawmakers in a letter that withholding of dues would "create resentment, build animosity and actually strengthen opponents of reform."

U.S.-assessed dues account for about 22 percent of the U.N.'s $2 billion annual general budget.

More info from BBC...

Where to start? Should I point out the obvious hypocrisy of a Republican accusing the UN of "its coddling of rogue regimes" when we all know that dictator-led Uzbekistan is a primary detention site for enemy combatants and is known to use torture when it comes to dealing with prisoners?

Or should I address the fact that the US already ignores the UN (see: Iraqi invasion without UN support, April 2003 for example #1) unless the UN mandates serve some US purpose?

Or should I address the good, yet hypocritical idea that the US wants to be able to revoke membership status to countries that are "engaged in acts of genocide or crimes against humanity" (good) even thought the US has dragged its feet when it comes to labeling the suffering in Darfur, Sudan as a genocide, as that would require specific actions and specific funding to be directed towards Darfur?

Or should I look into the two-faced statement regarding the implementation of "arms embargoes" against countries "engaged in acts of genocide or crimes against humanity" even though "most major recipients of U.S. arms sales in the developing world are undemocratic, as defined by our own State Department. And U.S.-supplied weaponry is present in a majority of the world's active conflicts"? (Newsday)

Or should I just smile and nod, knowing that the UN, which is far from perfect, is going to do whatever the US wants simply because losing 1/5 of your funding is simply not an option.

The idea that this newly proposed bill would "create resentment (and) build animosity" has merit. Not only would member countries be upset that the US is taking their ball and going home whenever they don't get their way on some issue, but it would strengthen the belief that countries could effectively follow this precedent of withdrawing funding if they don't like the lay of the land.

While the withholding of funding by one or two countries will not bankrupt the UN, it will add to the delays of bureaucracy that the UN is already known for, as additional funding will have to be secured before any action is taken. No doubt this would add to an atmosphere of animosity, as individual agendas bog down real actions.

The UN is not perfect. As I write, Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, is embroiled again in the back door dealings surrounding the soiled Oil-for-Food program that was being run in Iraq in the 1990s. His actions further highlight the need for some kind of independent watchdog to ensure that programs such as the above do not get sullied by underhanded dealings. But, again, the idea that a Republican member would be in support of an independent watchdog reeks of hypocrisy.

There needs to be people watching the UN. But to risk the survival of the UN, even if this is nothing more than blowing smoke, indicates just how far the US is willing to go to see that it gets what it wants. It also shows just how little the US has learned when it comes to dealing with its peers in a non-confrontational way. The UN needs to be reformed but it needs to be a process that is collective and not held hostage to US threats.

And all the while, as governments hum and haw about saving face on the world's stage and the politics of looking dumb "acute respiratory tract infections are the most frequent illnesses in western Sudan's troubled region of Darfur, while severe malnutrition is the most reported cause of death among children under the age of five years in the area, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has said." (IRIN Africa)

Progress, ain't it something? One wonders when it will finally be time to stop having meetings, stop bickering, and wake up to the fact that people are dying because they are underfed. Perhaps it is not only the UN morals and ethics that need to be reformed.

Oh, and I found this article. Then I went and looked up "tolerance" in the dictionary. It wasn't there.

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Ah Canadian soil, how I love thee. Got in on Friday at about 630pm, after having been in the same clothes and without a shower for about 42 hours. Ugh. No wonder that baby was crying on the plane....

Hilights of the return trip included

- finding out that the plane was overbooked out of Kuwait, causing the Dear Author to say: "Just get me out of this goddamn country" amid his now-routine basketcase of a life in Kuwait.

- drinking beer(s) in Frankfurt at 7am in the morning, which was 8am according to my now screwy internal clock.

- me drinking beer(s) on the flight from Frankfurt to Toronto, not knowing the guy sitting next to me was Muslim. I found out when he asked if the pizza had pork in it. Oops. Ah well. "Another round please..."

- having a shower once I got to Edmonton.

Of course seeing Megan and the folks was nice too, but I was expecting that. Off to RedDeer today, pick up my dawg (who I really miss) and get settled. I'll post more over the next few days.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Today I'm leaving
This bullshit one horse town
Full of cowboys and indians
Who only have balls when there's a camera around

Matt Good-- Long Way Down

This will be my last post from Kuwait. I am soon to be on a plane, flying over oceans and sand, ice and forest, towards what has always been home. If I have learned one thing in this year away from home is that I am more of a homebody than I first cared to admit. And I'm okay with that.

I don't think one should go through life without taking a chance here and there. Not everyone has to move to the Middle East, but to completely avoid the unknown simply because you fear it, whatever your own personal "unknown" might be, stops you from having to examine just who you are and what makes you tick. It would be a shame, in my opinion, to have gone through a life of ease only to find out that it wasn't much of a life at all.

I learned. I learned that I can handle what at times seemed like too much chaos. I learned that new friends can be the most loyal people you have ever known. I learned that I need Megan in my life more than I'd ever imagined before. I learned that family is family and that I have a good one, even if Yahoo Messenger still proved to be a battle for some of us nine months into the saga. I learned that dog poop on the living room floor isn't the end of the world.

I think I have changed. While I am often stressed out here about the daily exercise of life, I have learned that Canada offers a fairly low-stress life in comparison, if one chooses it. I don't think I'll be so impatient about the little hangups in Canada anymore. I hope to be a little more relaxed about almost everything except shopping at Michael's.

I have changed because I have learned that what makes me smile isn't a new set of clothes or a new stereo or anything like that. I came over to Kuwait with two bags of clothes and books and I come back with less clothes and more books. I learned that I was happier more with a good book than with a tv show. I made-do with a lot less material things here and I found I preferred it that way. Perhaps less is more.

I have a better understanding of life outside Canada, outside a first-world nation, and this understanding has led me to appreciate Canada far more than I ever would have if I had stayed there my entire life. To be born into middle class Canadiana is perhaps one of the true winning lottery tickets the universe has ever come up with. It has also led me to want to stay informed about what is going on outside of the squeaky clean world of the west, as I feel that we as a species still have a long ways to go in understanding and tolerating our differences.

I have learned what true bitterness is and how I feel about myself when I am bitter. I don't like it and I am washing myself clean of negativity. It can become too heavy a burdern to carry with oneself for too long. Constructive criticism, on the other hand, well I still have that in spades.

So I'm on my way home, a concept that has been so far in the future that to have it so close at hand has left me rather confused. Should I be excited? Yes, I am, but almost in a "I don't believe it" sense of mind. I made mention of this headspace before I came home in April, the idea of having to wrap your mind around the fact that what you have been counting down towards for so long has indeed finally arrived and has left you feeling a little unsteady.

And I am coming home to Megan, something that I feel truly blessed to be able to say. I don't think that too many other women would tolerate such an adventure as Kuwait. I knew that she loved me before I left, but I don't think I knew just how much. I won't get all sappy here, but I will say that as of Friday night at 630pm when I am hugging her, I am going to be the luckiest man on the planet

I don't know what is going to happen in the next few years. I mean, I'll get hitched and stuff, but in terms of where I will be or what I will be doing, those things at this point remained unplanned. And before Kuwait, not having a plan in place would have resulted in me being moody and depressive. But not so much anymore. I have some ideas, some thoughts, but they will remain my own for the time being. I could be in Red Deer for the rest of my life, or I could be moving to England next summer. I don't know, I'll deal with life as it comes along because I know now that no matter how much I plan ahead, life doesn't always play within the rules I have set down on paper. Perhaps I have become a little more willing to live in the moment than I was in the past. I hope so.

I like who I have become over this past year and I aim to keep what I see as positive attributes. I don't think I will regress, that doesn't seem to be a habit of mine. But I hope that I can keep in mind the organized thoughts I have collected in this year of solitude. I've done a lot of thinking and I feel more together than I ever have.

I will be, at some point this summer, be announcing the release of a small book of poems. I'm not signed to any book deal or anything notable like that, but I will be offering a (hopefully) rather professional looking collection of poetry for people to buy if they are interested. I will keep you posted via the blog, and if you aren't in the least bit interested, you shouldn't have read this last paragraph.

And that, loyal bloggies, is the end of this chapter in my life. I want to thank Neil & Lori, Jan, and Marc (my roomie) for creating a really honest sense of community here. They are good people and I am lucky to know them. Three cheers for all of them.

Everyone has the obligation to ponder well his own specific traits of character. He must also regulate them adequately and not wonder whether someone else's traits might suit him better. The more definitely his own a man's character is, the better it fits him.
Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

I'll see you all soon. Thanks for reading.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

*sound of insane, manic laughter*

I told you this blogging thing was like a drug. Thank god the internet at the skool is back up and running or I would be curled up in the fetal position, shaking from the withdrawl effects.

I'm basically ready to go, bags are packed, money has been sent, just waiting for the clock to tick. Another 41 hours as I type until I am on the plane.

The plan is to spend the night in Edmonton on Friday and then head down to Red Deer on Saturday, start getting settled in and beat the hell outta Monday in a series of wrestling matches. Oh, and keep looking for work, that too.

In the meantime, check out this great article, sent to me by the future mother in law, on the crucial line between bullshit and lying. It is a good read. I'm off to chase signatures, maybe I'll be back, maybe not.

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Blog will most likely be down for the rest of the week. My internet here is almost up and the skool's internet went down today, probably for good. Not much I can do.

The saga is ending well (for me) by the looks of it, but not without a whole hell of a lot of hassle and a few crossed fingers. My stomach is killing me and if I had any hair it would have fallen out by now. But it is looking better.

The running saga story is now at 12 pages in length and will probably have to be posted in 2 or 3 series, starting on this upcoming Monday. I don't think all this build up will disappoint.

Anyway, that is about it from here. This may be the last post in Kuwait, and for that I am happy. I'll write a few more "post Kuwait" blogs when I get back and am unemployed. Oh speaking of jobs, a thank you to Marjorie for posting that link. More fingers to cross, but I appreciate it Marjorie. Thanks.

Ok, so we'll see. Check back in over the remaining part of the week, maybe I'll weasle an internet connection somewhere. It's like a drug, this blogging....

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So they found Jacko not guilty. They probably waited until after I had posted my last blog just to make me look slackass. Jerks. It is all about me, you know.

I'm not surprised that he was acquitted. I mean, money does circumnavigate the justice system in the US, for the most part. But if he hasn't been found guilty in the court of law, he has surely been found guilty in the court of public opinion, save for the few nutcases that live on believing that he is the next messiah.

Some quotes from said nutcases...

Fan Tara Bardella, 19, who came from Arizona two weeks ago to wait for the verdicts, said: "This proves that justice can prevail in America."

Raffles Vanexel, 29, from Amsterdam, said: "I cried as a little baby, it was the most beautiful day of my life. "America is celebrating, this is a party and Michael Jackson is going to come back with something incredible."

Anyway, I think I have given enough ink to this sad saga. I'm sure Jacko will only get weirder and weirder as the years go by. We may even see the third merrygoround of child abuse charges come by our way in 10-15 years, who knows? It is all so far outside of reality that I wasn't even surprised by the verdict. Not much surprises me anymore, not in this day and age.

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Monday, June 13, 2005

As I write this we are in the midst of perhaps two of the greatest examples of the seedy and unpleasant underbelly of North American hero worship.

Just this past weekend we saw Mike Tyson, arguably once the best boxer of all time, tired and beaten at the hands of Kevin McBride, a nobody from Ireland who wouldn't have been fit to clean Tyson's spit bucket in the late 80s and early 90s.

And we are also waiting to see what will happen to Michael Jackson. The jury has retired over the weekend to consider whether or not he is guilty of child molestation. As I write, no verdict has been announced for the former King of Pop.

But before we get all in a sweaty heap about the upcoming verdict or Tyson's seemingly bottomless fall from the pinnacle of boxing, perhaps we should ask ourselves a simple question. Did we ever wish for these two lives to peter out in a quiet manner?

Jacko has been on stage since he was about 6 or 7, maybe even earlier. His father beat the living shit out of the entire family and the media pressure on the Jackson Five was unheralded and unrelenting. And there was no one around to look out for Michael's best interests. Not when the family was rolling in cash. You gotta strike while the iron is hot when it comes to pop fame.

Jackson then went on to release Thriller, one of, if not the, best selling albums of all time. If the media spotlight was bright before, now it was supernova. He had millions of dollars, all the material things that one could ever want. He could have put out a record of him mowing the lawn and it would have gone platinum 20 times over. He was bigger than Jesus.

Mike Tyson was a dynamo when he burst onto the scene in the mid 80s. Here was a storybook tale, one of a tough and uneducated street punk who didn't get gunned down but instead channeled all that aggression into a multi-million dollar career. Perhaps he was better than Ali, if you can compare the two. Again, like Jackson, Tyson had it all in the materialistic sense. But much like Jacko, Tyson didn't have anyone looking out for him, unless you count Don King. And that is kinda like having a crocodile watching your back while you're in the shark tank.

In a way, the two Michaels aren't that different. They both went super huge. Both of them have a child-like view on the world. Both of them have a weak to non-existent history of formal schooling. Both of them had no idea what they were getting into and when they got there, they had no one to turn to but snakes and serpents, who did nothing except whisper sweet nothings in their ears while helping themselves to a cut of the moola. Both of them turned to self destructive habits in a misguided attempt to seek guidance and help in dealing with their fame.

And now they have fallen. Again, as they both had fallen before in the early to mid 90s. But this time it is a different kind of fall. Unlike the previous charges against Jacko or the ear biting episode against Holyfield, this fall seems to be ending with more of a pathetic wheeze. Oh the media will have their heyday here too, when Jacko's verdict is read or when Tyson ends up on some reality TV show. But there is a different sense here, as if the population truly is watching the final gasps of these once iconic matadors.

But this is what we love. We love to build up someone so high, to almost make them immortal. And we love it even more when we see them come crashing back to earth, be they guilty of something or not. Of course Jacko is guilty of some kind of molestation of kids, I think we all know that. And now we see Mike Tyson is $40 million US in debt with no way of paying it back. We revel in these collapses. We bathe in them.

Perhaps we like the falls more than we like the climbs. Everyone loves a hero but eventually everyone gets a little tired of the worshipping. And to drag someone down, to rip them apart and point at what used to be something special, now reduced to dirt, well, we love that too. It shows us that even gods can suffer like us mere mortals.

We are a sick little species, ladies and gentlemen. We talk a lot about helping the less fortunate and the brotherhood of man, but we don't mean it. We want chaos and if that chaos can be contained to a few once-great icons and played out on our living room TVs, well that is just peachy. We have a celebrity bloodlust that runs through us. O.J. is exhibit #1. And we are remarkably good at forgetting that we, the dirty unwashed masses, were the ones that created and fed the icon in the first place.

I make fun of Megan's youngest sister, who isn't so young anymore. I tease her about the time a few years ago when all she wanted was to be a Spice Girl. As they usually do, this phase passed and now she hates it when I remind her of the CDs she owned and the posters she had. She denies it, ignores it, tells me I'm being dumb.

And you are thinking to yourself, "Well yeah, but that is kid's stuff. All kids like and hate bands, sometimes within the space of a week."

But are we, the adults in this society of celebrity, any different? I bet there are more than a few of us out there who grooved to Thriller, who bet on a Tyson first-round KO. And I bet that those same people are now in some form, be it mild or extreme, of denial about their part in the past hysteria surrounding our two Mikes.

They remain "our" two Mikes, although it isn't hip to associate ourselves with fallen has-beens nowadays. But without us, the adoring consumer, we wouldn't be wondering where these two will end up in the years to come. They would have never existed, never had the chance to get so high and fall so low. Sure they had everything they could dream of. But it wasn't a gift. It was a loan and now the public bank has come to collect.

Are we guilty? Yes. But would any one of us honestly reject that kind of fame and fortune if it came our way? Probably not. In a society that worships a rock star more than a doctor, a society that watches reality TV more than the nightly news, we have been bred to believe that fame and fortune are the brass rings with which we must strive for evermore. To merely be a good dad or a good mom isn't anything anymore, no one gets famous for that. Fame, glory, money and beauty, that is the way to self worth. Isn't it?

The two Mikes are guilty of failure, one kind or another. I won't sit here and say that Jacko isn't a messed up child abuser, or that Tyson isn't a psychologically unbalanced suicide-to-be. But they are not alone in their guilt. The old adage of "nowhere to go but down" could not be more accurate. They had to fall eventually. We wanted it to happen and when it did, boy, did we feast on the carcasses of their careers. We dove right it, got good and bloody. And when the bones are finally stripped bare, when they are nothing more than a weak after-dinner joke in a third rate Christmas party speech, we will turn our backs on them. We will gaze at the next big thing, circling around them in worship that only a few will ever know.

Circling like sharks in a tank.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:09 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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I pay Kneal about $120 Cdn a month. In return he lets me ride in the trunk of the car, abuses my liver with free alcohol, and occasionally sends me (and my loyal bloggies) a good link to some story he found while surfing his Gordon Lightfoot fan sites. What a guy.

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From CBC

Dick Cheney, VP....

"The important thing here to understand is that the people that are at Guantanamo are bad people," he said in an interview to be aired Monday on Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes.

"I mean, these are terrorists for the most part. These are people that were captured in the battlefield of Afghanistan or rounded up as part of the al-Qaeda network."

I love that part where Cheney says: "...these are terrorists for the most part."

In other news, all black people can dunk for the most part.

You can draw some links between Cheney's ambivalence towards detainee rights and the seemingly endless supply of new information leaking from Gitmo regarding prisoner abuses...

From the Independent Online

A top al-Qaida suspect in Guantanamo Bay was stripped, forced to bark like a dog, and subjected to the music of Christina Aguilera, it emerged as debate intensified in the US capital over the future of the detention camp in Cuba.

The latest disclosures come in a prison log of the treatment of Mohammad al-Kahtani, a Saudi citizen whom many US investigators believe was the missing "20th hijacker" of 11 September 2001. The document, extracts of which appear in the new issue of Time magazine, covers a 50 day spell in 2002-03 - a period when additional interrogation techniques were approved by Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary.

They included a "sissy slap" with an inflated latex glove, ordering Mr Kahtani to "bark to elevate his social status up to that of a dog," and rejecting a request that he be allowed to pray. On other occasions, water was poured on his head and Aguilera music was played to keep him awake in midnight sessions.

Mr Kahtani was questioned in a room decorated with pictures of 11 September victims. He was made to urinate in his underpants, and at other times to wear pictures of scantily clad women around his neck. At one point, according to the log, he asked to commit suicide.

A Pentagon official was quoted by the magazine as saying that the log was "the kind of document that was never meant to leave Gitmo."

But Vice-President Dick Cheney said in an interview to be shown today that there was "no plan to close" the prison, and Mr Rumsfeld insisted that information extracted from prisoners had saved American lives.

Now whether or not this guy was the 20th hijacker, he is still entitled to human treatment as a prisoner. Imagine the uproar, the chaos, if these incidents were occurring to an American prisoner. Hell the world damn near stopped when Jessica Lynch was captured in Iraq, and that information was 90% fiction anyway. But because this guy is being held outside of international law, he is subjected to treatment that makes him beg to commit suicide.If a man begging for suicide doesn't indicate torture, then I don't know what does.

Making him bark to "elevate his social status up to that of a dog" is insulting from a western standpoint, degrading when considered within the realm of Islam, which sees dogs as filthy animals. When I used to take Monday out for walks here I would be consistently amazed at the lengths people would go to in order to be as far away from her as possible. That's fine, I understand that it is a cultural/religious thing. And I respect that. The US doesn't seem to understand how many toes they are stepping on.

The hanging of a picture of a scantily clad woman around his neck is also a slight against Islam, where women are expected to dress fairly conservatively. As is the refusal to allow him to pray at specific times. If the US was looking to frame this war on terror as a war on Islam, they are doing a hell of a job of it.

What the US is doing is making this prisoner (and others detained at Gitmo) into martyrs. Within the small extremist Muslim sect that feel the US is out to get them, these examples and stories only serve as a recruiting tool. This behaviour by the US is not stopping terrorism, it is merely creating more and more excuses for anti-western actions.

The US is continuing to act far outside of international law. As were the terrorists who attacked New York and Washington. Perhaps the war it truly lost when one cannot tell one side from another.

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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Listen to Blackie & the Rodeo Kings. Bark is a great album. Great guitar, great lyrics, nice flow.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 11:02 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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If I didn't read this story on the reputable Independent Online, my BS-detector would have been going crazy....

Secret plans to postpone solving Britain's nuclear waste crisis for up to 1,000 years are being drawn up by the nuclear industry, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

The government-owned British Nuclear Fuels is developing a scheme for indefinitely storing the intensely dangerous material in giant "millennium domes" around Britain, leaving it for generations far into the future to work out what to do with it.

The scheme - to be floated at a closed meeting of nuclear experts and local authority officials in London this week - runs counter to conventional wisdom. Most experts insist that the safest way of dealing with highly radioactive wastes is to bury them at least 900 feet underground. Storing them increases the chances that they will leak out, leading to health risks and making them vulnerable to terrorists.

I'm not going to focus on the science of storing nuclear waste, even though it was my minor when I did my dust-collecting English degree. What got me thinking was the idea of a sort of 1000-year plan as something feasible. Now I realize that it is mainly the construction of these proposed "domes" that is to last for 1000 years, but along with that is the implication of a plan of sorts to talk positively about the issue in hopes that the seriousness of it will be plowed under during all the back slapping.

They did allow in the article the idea that future generations will (hopefully) have come up with a better way of dealing with the waste, but a lot can happen in 1000 years. And I know that we have created this monster and that we need to deal with it today. But I think it smacks of arrogance that they will blindly assume that there will be some distant generation of relatives in 3005 that can deal with the (then) collapsing structures. Who is so blind as to say that there will be anything remotely resembling a habitable environment in a 1000 years?

I mean, why don't they just come out and say it.

Science Guy: "We have no idea how to deal with this goo, so we are gonna sweep it under the rug and hope everyone forgets about it."

Reporter: "What about future genetic mutations?"

Science Guy: *awkward pause* "Uh, well perhaps that will be more as a result of natural evolution than nuclear goo."

Loud bang as George bush invades Britain, claiming that evolution is worse than Islam. People in Alabama rejoice. World falls to pieces.

I don't know, I'm no scientician. But I do know the idea of a nuclear time capsule that suddenly cracks open in 1000 years ain't going to contribute to the warm and fuzzy history chapters that will have been written about us. Hell, someone could easily lose the plans or locations of these domes and then one day, whammo, massive sinkhole of nuclear ooze.

But maybe that won't affect the history books. By then we will have for sure burned up every fossil fuel known to man, perhaps tossed a few nukes around. I'm pretty sure that mad cow will be a staple in everyone's diet and that we will have been reduced to living like our distant Neanderthal ancestors, scrounging for food amidst the rubble heaps of cities with no names.

But we don't like to hear about ideas like that, so they don't tell us about all the damage that is being done to today's environment in the name of politics and money. It makes it easier to sleep tonight when we pretend that a 1000 year problem can easily be dealt with by our future relatives.

And in closing, you know what really pisses me off? Is that I can't even write about this kinda shit without coming across as an environmentally hypocritical self-serving bastard. A few people here and there aren't going to make one lick of difference by composting or recycling. It won't matter. What will change the world is a prolonged and concentrated effort by top governments to promote environmentalism not with a selfish mentality, but with a true desire to see that a change is made on a wide societal scale.

But don't count on it anytime soon. Governments do not care about your health. Not until it is too late and ANWR is trashed and Kuwait has long since become an exotic dive locale. Perhaps then some government will wake up to the fact that their citizens are breathing diesel and shitting acid. And maybe, if the economy still exists, some sort of focused, unimpeded, non-political effort will be made to improve the environment.

Don't hold your breath. It just might kill you in the long run.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:18 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Net surfing with a political slant, of course.

Via Smirking Chimp
- Be very glad that your son doesn't live in the USA right now. Madness.
- Even though it won't happen, it is starting to make some noise in the media.
- I wonder if spin alley can take care of this story.

Via Juan Cole
- Every week we hear another revelation, yet every week we remain silent.

Via Matt Good
- An excellent article by Naomi Klein on the impending (and still up in the air) plan of debt elimination for the world's poorest countries. You must read this.

Random Wikipedia page of the day.

Got my fellow teacher's kitty passports all done today, much smoother than when I did it for Monday. So the last big hurdle here is the paycheck cashing, which should be on Tuesday. Here's hoping for a smooth last few days. Today the temperature is pushing 50 degrees. Ugh.

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