Friday, May 28, 2010

Gushers In The Gulf

The latest word from the Gulf of Mexico says that the undersea oil volcano has stopped erupting for now, but BP officials don’t know whether they have permanently sealed the rupture, or if it will re-open and resume gushing.

Either way, the price of gasoline has somehow gone down in the past week, so I’ll be celebrating Memorial Day with a little road trip to soak in some scenic New England beauty, and wonder how long someone in my socioeconomic bracket – either lower-middle-class or upper-lower class, depending on how you calculate my income – can afford to burn gasoline for such luxurious reasons.

Gas taxes are bound to rise to pay for the damage the spill has done to Gulf Coast residents and businesses (BP’s liability is limited to only $75 million thanks to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The oil giant’s not even facing all the bad publicity it deserves, since it has legal authority to decide whether or not the media may document the goings-on.) No surprises there; in America bad legal consequences are reserved for people like pot smokers, not corporate billionaires who trash economies or ecosystems.

One possible silver lining to this toxic cloud: in a press conference President Obama effectively admitted the reality of Peak Oil without actually using those words. Listen around the 49:30 mark:
The fact that oil companies now have to go a mile underwater and then drill another three miles below that in order to hit oil tells us something about the direction of the oil industry. Extraction is more expensive, and it is going to be inherently more risky. And so that's part of the reason you never heard me say, "Drill, baby, drill." Because we can't drill our way out of the problem…. the easily accessible oil has already been sucked up out of he ground, and as we are moving forward the technology gets more complicated, the oil sources are more remote, and that means that there's probably going to end up being more risk.
It’s a start. Let’s leave the deepwater oil fields for future generations to extract – not just because they’ll have better, safer technology than we do, but they’ll use that petroleum as a raw material for manufacturing useful things, whereas we’d just burn most of it for fuel.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Silly Sister Margaret

A few months ago Sister Margaret McBride, a nun who served as administrator of a Catholic hospital in Phoenix, authorized an abortion for a pregnant patient with heart problems. The patient could've died without it. Now Sister Margaret has been excommunicated for what the Bishop of Phoenix called her "evil action."

Silly Sister Margaret. Had she wanted to stay in the Church's good graces she should've ignored the whole "saving lives" bit and gone out to rape some sexy little altar boys instead. The Church never excommunicates people who do that.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It’s A Good Life

North Korea might start a full-out, even nuclear, war against South Korea, after torpedoing a South Korean vessel without provocation some days ago. I saw this on TV but can’t remember if it was the news or sci-fi disaster porn, for I’ve been sick and watching lots of shows all blended together with cold meds. I do recall a Twilight Zone episode about a psychotic little monster of a child whom everyone felt they must appease at all costs, lest he cause great suffering and destruction; I just can’t remember if the little monster was played by Billy Mumy or Kim Jong Il.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I've spent the last three days chugging generic Ny-Quil and making trumpet noises into enormous handfuls of tissue paper, which annoys me immensely because the whole point of quitting my low-paid go-nowhere job was to leave me free for more productive activities, not curled up on the couch watching documentary reruns on TV. (What's worse, in my feverish state the documentaries all started blending together, so I now have this vague idea Lake Erie was formed in the crater left by the explosion of Krakatoa after comets in the early solar system brought liquid water to the infant Earth.)

I just downed another shot of the 'Quil and am waiting for it to kick in so I can sleep, but it seems I've developed a tolerance for it. Tolerance is great when it's applied to other cultures and sexual proclivities and what have you, but it really sucks regarding drugs.

EDIT: To fix grammatical errors that should've been spectacularly obvious. Rather than myself, I blame the fever and the 'Quil.


For the most part I don't pay attention to Miss USA or any other beauty pageants, but I thought it was funny a couple days ago when the OMG SHE POLE-DANCED stories came out; the implication was, being in a beauty pageant is fine but stripping is beyond the pale. I'm an ex-stripper with the opposite view: nothing wrong with getting on the pole, but I always thought beauty pageants were degrading.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Deepest Sympathies To Residents Of America's Wang

The Republicans have decided to hold their 2012 presidential convention in Tampa, Florida.

Poor Floridians. Tons of filthy toxic poison sludge threatening to stink up their state, and there's that Gulf of Mexico oil spill too.

Flagrant Name-Dropping

Last Friday, New York Times columnist Gail Collins gave a speech at a local university; I attended the speech and dashed out the second it was done so I could write about it for the newspaper and get it in before deadline. As usual, space constraints forced me to leave out many interesting details, but I wrote the best story I could in the time and space allotted, filed it and largely forgot about it.

Five minutes ago, Ms. Collins called me at work to say she's given that speech hundreds of times, and my write-up of it was the best one she'd ever read.

Ahem. I need to figure out how to work that into my resume.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hey, Rocky! Watch Me Pull A Convict Outta My Hat

I’ve given notice at the daily newspaper where I’ve worked since 2008, after finally accepting what should’ve been obvious months ago – my working 80 or 90 hours a week, every week, simply can’t continue.

So I’ve been extra-busy these past several days, tying up loose ends before I leave, but when I paused long enough to take a news break I saw that Obama has nominated Elena Kagan to fill the upcoming vacancy John Paul Stevens will leave on the Supreme Court. The president said of Ms. Kagan: “While we can’t presume to replace Justice Stevens’ wisdom or experience, I have selected a nominee who I believe embodies that same excellence, independence, integrity and passion for the law, and who can ultimately provide that same kind of leadership on the court.”

Most of the debate surrounding Kagan involves her judicial experience or lack thereof, but I don’t care that she’s never served on the bench before; I care that in Pottawatomie vs. McGhee, Kagan argued that prosecutors should not be subject to lawsuits if they manufacture fake evidence which results in innocent people going to jail.

Let me reiterate that: Elena Kagan believes prosecutors who lie in court to convict innocent people should not be penalized for their actions. Elena Kagan believes perjury is a crime only for ordinary citizens, not for officers of the court. And Obama wants “that same kind of leadership” on the Supreme Court.

In the Pottawatomie case, the crime in question was murder. Not only did innocent men spend a ridiculously long time in prison, the actual murderer went free. Did he go on to murder other people? We don’t know, because we don't know who he is, because prosecutors were too busy railroading innocent people to find the actual guilty party. And Kagan is fine with that, and Obama praises her “integrity” and “passion for the law.”

In other news, the economy still sucks and every level of American government – federal, state and local – is broke. So in honor of Elena Kagan, Barack Obama and their firm commitment to justice for all, I’d like to offer a modest proposal to cut government costs: let’s abolish the criminal court system altogether, and replace it with a big red-white-and-blue top hat of the sort Uncle Sam wears in patriotic posters. Next time a crime is committed, we’ll collect the names of all minority men in the area (and a few especially unpopular white people), dump their names in the hat and then pick a name or two out at random. Whichever name we pick will thus be dubbed “the guilty party” and locked in prison for however long the crime they never committed warrants.

Why not? If the American court system is fine with imprisoning innocent people, why force prosecutors to waste time and money creating a frame job first? Let’s just cut out the middlemen and put the innocent directly in jail. And Kagan can file an amicus brief explaining why this is just fine, and Obama can praise her for her integrity, excellence and passion for the law.
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