Friday, September 30, 2005

Why is this woman smiling?

This is Judith Miller. She refused to testify about her "source" in the Valarie Plame scandal even though the source, Scooter Boy, had given her and others permission to do so. Because of the outing of Valarie Plame, it is highly likely that some of her assests were "compromised." That means assassinated. That means dead.

I repeat, why is this woman smiling?


A certain fellow blogger (The Green Robin)has suggested that we convert to biodiesel and away from fossil fuel. Sounds good to me. But, I don't know squat about biodiesel. So, I rolled over to and read about the oily stuff. Sounds interesting, since around here we are up to our coronal sutures in soybeans.

Here are some calculations (from a previous post, August 16, 205):
- World Oil production (and consumption) 30 billion barrels a year
- 20 gallons of gasoline per barrel
- World Consumption 600 billion gallons of gasoline a year.

United States Consumes 1/4 of this (7.5 billion barrels a year)
United States Consumes 150 billion gallons of gasoline a year.
(at $3.00 a gallon, that's $450 billion a year; a handy piece of change)

From the above link on biodisel:
- 1 gallon of oil per 7.6 pounds of soybeans
- would require 7.6 x 150 billion = 1,140 billion pounds of soybeans a year for USA;

Or, about 1 trillion pounds of soybeans for fully converted USA biodisel supply!

Now, from here we find that:
- average yield of soybeans is about 50 bushels per acre
- from a friend, a bushel of soybeans is about 90 pounds
- an acre of soybeans yields about 4,500 pounds
- 1,000,000,000,000 lbs/4,500 lbs/acre = 222,000,000 acres

Now, 1 acre = 0.0015625 square mile
So, 222,000,000 acres = 346,875 square miles
Or, a land mass about 600 miles on each side of a square:

Now this isn't such a big deal to become gasoline independent, especially if we had efficient cars.

Chaulk one up for the Green Robin:

Friday Crab Blogging

Rick Santorum and Arnold Schwarzenegger achieve a moment of intimacy.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hello, George?

Hello, George? This is your Brain Speaking. Yea. That one. Hey, I'm on the way to the airport. Thought I'd take a little break. Where? Like where'm I going? Oh, you know, that little get-away place in South America. You know, the Germans developed it. What? Fitzgerald? Naw, I'm not worried. Heh? Did I tell him? No, thought I would let it be a surprise. When? Oh, in a few years...

Occasional Notes from across the Pond

We never really hear the interesting stuff. At the same time I am writing about Cindy Sheehan being arrested, Recividist is telling us that:
An 82 year old jewish gentleman - who moved to Britain in the 1930’s to escape the horrors of Hitler’s Nazi Germany – an elected official and member of 56 years standing in Tony Blair’s Labour Party, was today violently manhandled and ejected from the Labour Party’s national conference .. and was then arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, for nothing more serious than uttering just one single simple word – “NONSENSE” – during a speech in which the British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, was defending government policy over Iraq.
My guess is that its starting to unravel in Britain just like it is here. Now, all we need is the heads of the House of Lords and the House of Commons to be indicted for screwing the pooch (that would be poodle Blair). Ah, well. The Brits always did have a strange way of going at things.

Our Dear Gov


Why is this man smirking?

I guess he knows he has put something over on the American people.

I am sorry, but this man does not represent the whole of America. In fact, he represents a very small fraction of ultra conservatives. He has been appointed as the Chief Justice in the highest court of our land and will be there for the next 30 years. The only way to remove him will be by impeachment. We are already satiated with impeachment (the Republicans made sure of that with Clinton).
There are many issues that will come before the Court about which he will be the deciding vote. Women, children, the poor and the black should be weeping in sorrow for this appointment. It is another sad day in a string of sad days for America. Long after G.W. Bush has been buried in History, he will be wrecking his havoc.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hello, George?

Hello, George? George? This is Big Time. Yea, I know. Hey, wanted to ask you about Brownie. Yea, I know he knows horses. Yea, I know. George, George its the HOUSE race, not a horse race. Yea. Anyway, wanted to say that you used the Blame Game perfectly. Yea, I know. You're a genius. No, not you, Karl. I know you're listening. O.K. Back to St. Michaels.

Republicans still plan to cut spending

Posted on Fri, Sep. 09, 2005
Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Republicans are going ahead with long-standing plans to trim Medicaid, food stamps and other benefits, even though party moderates are balking at cutting programs that aid the poor while hundreds of thousands are homeless from Hurricane Katrina.

The amount of savings - no more than $35 billion spread over five years - is modest at best, but it is the first time in eight years that Congress has shown any seriousness about reining in the automatic growth of such benefit programs.
I know ths is pre Rita, but still.

Billions for tax cuts but not one penny for the poor.

Anomie and The Bull

Social instability caused by erosion of standards and values.

Alienation and purposelessness experienced by a person or a class as a result of a lack of standards, values, or ideals.
Some would say that our country is in the grip of a national anomie. They would point to supposed breakdown in moral standards that permits abortion, gay marriage, teen sex and drug use. They would argue that this is the result of liberal values and movement away from traditional ideologies espoused by Conservatives.

(Cartoon by Pat Oliphant - 09/19/2005 at

On the other hand, the New Yorker recently had an interesting article on Bull. Or, why not use the more colorful term, Bullshit.
The word bull, used to characterize discourse, is of uncertain origin. One venerable conjecture was that it began as a contemptuous reference to papal edicts known as bulls (from the bulla, or seal, appended to the document).
Now I'm a great fan of bulla, or bullous as it appears in medicine. Another way of putting it is "blister" (as Bertie Wooster would refer to a particularly off-setting individual.)

What the New Yorker article focuses on is that elusive entity, "Truth" and its obverse, "Bullshit." There are actual philosophers who now specialize in this area.
"One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit," Harry G. Frankfurt, a distinguished moral philosopher who is professor emeritus at Princeton, says....We cannot really know the effect that bullshit has on us, he thinks, until we have a clearer understanding of what it is. That is why we need a theory of bullshit.
There is much more in the article about truth and bullshit, I urge you to read it. However, for our purposes, I would like to consider the relationship of Bullshit to Anomie. I think there is a direct correlation. The more prevelant the former, the higher the titre of the latter.

And, of course, the highest titre of bullshit comes from our politicians. I would contend that the current crop in Washington have no ability to distinguish the truth. This started long before they took office in 2001. I would furthermore contend that it is this that has led to the anomie of our populace. The mechanism here is that, in spite of what our leaders think, people see through the lies that they are fed in the media. Maybe even if they want to believe them. That is, most people have a built in bullshit filter that is activated in spite of their desire to believe what they are told.

At some point, the filter becomes so overburdened with debris that the psyche can't deal with it and withdraws. That withdrawal is called anomie.

To summarize: we are afloat in a sea of bullshit. This is spewn out by politicians with the ultimate aim of retaining and wielding power (and in America, wealth is power). At some point this overwhelms our ability to suspend belief and, since all men are intrinsically rational at the core (that is how we survived evolution), we have to do something to retain our sanity. What many of us do is to descend into a trance-like state of indifference to everything moral. I would call this anomie.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Where's the Lemmings?

Cartoon from:

Cindy Sheehan was just arrested outside the White House. Apparently the Rove machine was quick off the mark:
"I would like to say to Cindy Sheehan and her supporters don't be a group of unthinking lemmings. It's not pretty," said Mitzy Kenny of Ridgeley, W.Va., whose husband died in Iraq last year."
Lemmings? Excuse me, Mitzy, just who are the lemmings here?

Friday, September 23, 2005

OK, End of discussion

Friday Crab and Sushi Blogging

Penguin Baseball

Alright, the challange is out there:

Hello, George?

Hello, George? George Bush? This is Sparky. Hey, hope you got your haircut. Eh? O.K., That's great. Just wanted to let you know we're down here in the Houston Free Enterprise Drowned in the Bathtub Government Get Away Zone. Eh? Oh, O.K. You share my pain. Great. Well, got to siphon some gas here. Talk to yaaa!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hello, Bill?

Hello, Bill? Bill Clinton? I was wondering if you had the number of that barber. You know, comes out to Air Force One.. Yea! That one.

Oh, Oh ^ 2

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What the Candidates are Wearing

Martha Stewart called me this morning because she was struck by this report out there in the media:
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a potential presidential candidate in 2008, sold all his stock in his family's hospital corporation about two weeks before it issued a disappointing earnings report and the price fell nearly 15 percent.
Now, Martha is pretty familiar with these things:
JUNE 4--Martha Stewart was named today in a nine-count indictment charging her with obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators in connection with a government probe of her alleged insider trading of ImClone stock.
She wanted to point out that ImClone wasn't even a family firm (but she was a Democrat). And, after she did her time in jail:
For the next five months, Stewart must wear an electronic anklet so authorities can track her every move.
Martha said that she thought the ankle apparel that she was issued by the Feds was a little gauche and therefore she sent the following to Dr. Frist as a bracelet that is a little more, eh, elegant:

Oh, oh....

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

On Being There

It is a little bit strange living in these times. I think we just saw the American polity unravel on the Gulf Coast. Since so many in our Cheney Administration believe in an Old Testament God, it is puzzling why they haven't connected the current plethora of nastiness in the South Atlantic (and one should include the Gulf of Mexico) with a vindictive God (or Goddess, to be fair. After all, Katrina was a "She"). Of course the victims are, as usual, the peons, though old White Beard did go after Nebucadnezzar when he didn't heed the writing on the wall.

It is also interesting that we no longer speak of "the Gulf" and mean that unfortunate region fed by the Tigris and Euphrates. Sometimes history is farce.

And Pharoh looked out of his window in the Oval Office and sawest there a great plague of hurricanes. And he did worry about his poll numbers. And the Israelites didst decamp across the Mississippi River to the Astrodome (when they weren't stopped by Egyptians with AK 47's). And Verily, their leader Jesse Jackson didst part the waters with his nifty remote. And they saw the Promised Land: Texas.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Dear President

Dear President Bush,
There is a tropical depression in the Atlantic that will soon become hurricane Rita. It might reach the Gulf of Mexico and it might hit the area already hit by Katrina. Could you please get your ass in gear and make sure you are ready for this one. O.K.?

Parachuting In - Cop(ter)ing Out

From a correspondent of Juan Cole's:
In the meantime, the embassy people act as if nothing in Baghdad is wrong (except that they cannot walk in the Green Zone without body armor and they have to take precautions against kidnapping).

Recently, a group from State and the military parachuted in from Washington [with fatuous advice] . . . It is a fantasy world."
If this doesn't sound like Saigon in 1975, what does?

Unfinished Business

On page four of our local newspaper:
Car bomb kills 30 at market outside Baghdad.
Baghdad, Iraq (AP) - Four days after al-Qaida in Iraq declared all-out war on the country's Shiite majority, more than 250 people have been killed, 30 of them in a massive car bombing Saturday outside a produce market in a poor Shiite suburb east of Baghdad.
In all, at least 52 people were killed or found dead throughout the country Saturday, victims of mounting sectarian killings promised by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of the terrorist organization and a moving force behind the Sunni-dominated insurgency.
On page one of the same newspaper, discussing what to do with animals during a hurricane emergency:
"I'm thinking that, perhaps, there are a lot of folks here that are attached to their animals. We're not going to leave them," he said of the pets......"It's all animals. And it's not just furry friends. It's scaly friends, feathered friends..."
So there you have 21st Century America. A nation that we invaded and invested, that we cannot protect against its own marauders, that suffers casualties on the order of the London terrorist attacks every day, is consigned to page four while concern for our "scaly, feathered" friends makes it to the top of page one.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday Crab Blogging


Durst at the Progressive, via Kos, deals us some daily snark. I'll let you go enjoy but one thing he does remind us of is:


JANUARY 21 2009!


You Know You're Getting Old

Dear Customer,

We've noticed that customers who have purchased Audio CDs by Paul & Mary Peter also purchased One Day at a Time. For this reason, you might like to know that One Day at a Time is now available. You can order your copy at a savings of 18% by following the link below. (emphasis added)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Roberts Rules of Order

One can't keep up with everything. So, what I know about the debacle unfolding in the Senate isn't very much more than what I glean from quick blog reading (I read the paper, but only to see how it must have been to read Pravda). In any case, it appears that "Judge for Two Years Roberts" is refusing to tell us what he thinks about the nitty gritty issues that will come before our Supreme Court. He refuses to do this knowing that he has every chance of remaining on the Court for thirty years as its Chief. It doesn't bode well for our Republic to have this kind of intransigence. But then, this could have been predicted. It will be worse with the next candidate.

I thought that things had changed with Katrina. They haven't. In the same way that many now believe that the Iraq War was due to an "Intelligence Failure" when even a first grader could have seen that it was being cooked, Bush is going to blame someone else for the post Katrina mess and then reap all the harvest of the lucrative reconstruction contracts. You can bet your booties that Democrats and the poor will be cut right out of the ring when those come rolling down the pike. [Oh, and yes, I was going to say that there was an Intelligence Failure but in the brains of our leaders, but you have to have Intelligence before it can fail.]

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bush Declares New Flag

Due to the spectacular success of his administration's response to Katrina, President Bush today has decided to adopt the flag of the Isle of Man as the National Flag of the United States of America. (He did not feel that he had to consult the Congress, they were too involved in stare decisis.)

President Bush felt like the symbolism of this flag indicating an Administration "going in the right direction" was worth abandoning the knitting endeavors of Ms. Betsy Ross.

Ms. Ross could not be reached for a comment.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Our Dear Gov


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sunday Morning

Time for reflection. The Gulf Coast slowly digs itself out from under the worst disaster of a lifetime. It is unclear if New Orleans will return to being a functional city. All this because a two hundred yards of a levee didn't hold. The Liberal Avenger sends us to this link which gives a street level before and after. It is pretty clear that this is a failure of our government to live up to its most basic responsibility, the safety of all its citizens. It is shameful that those who suffered most were, as usual, poor and black. It is my hope that this will be a catalyst for change. We cannot go back to pre NOLA.

Today we will have a parade on the Mall commemorating the victims of the 9/11 disaster. Once again the Cheney administration (to use Billmon's terminology) will try to establish its bona fides with respect to this tragedy. Sorry Dick, that dog don't hunt. The world has changed in the last two weeks, and you had better get on the last boat out of the pre-Katrina world. And, by the way, go f**k yourself.

Message for Karl Rove: I hope you have been getting some pointers from Judy, I think your turn is next, there are only 19 days left in September and Mr. Fitzgerald is getting mighty hungry.

Finally, how badly will the children of Katrina (and I would expect that there are at least 200,000) be affected by the horror they have seen? It is hoped that the outpouring of good will be the people of the United States, as opposed to its government, will mitigate the post traumatic stress. Only time will tell.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Katrina Death Toll May Not Hit 10,000

Why should this be considered good news?

Is 9,999 an acceptable figure?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Get Some Bloody Mouthwash, Sailor

This is a picture of our Treasury Secretary, John Snow. He has his hands on the national purse. In a previous life he diddled with Arabian Stallions.

Sorry, wrong guy.

In a previous life he greeted you at the local funeral parlor.

"Oh, I'm Sooooooooo Sorry. I feel your pain."


Marching to Pretoria Sorta

From that great rag, the WaPo via Atrios:
Organizers of the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial Freedom Walk on Sunday are taking extraordinary measures to control participation in the march and concert, with the route fenced off and lined with police and the event closed to anyone who does not register online by 4:30 p.m. today.

The march, sponsored by the Department of Defense, will wend its way from the Pentagon to the Mall along a route that has not been specified but will be lined with four-foot-high snow fencing to keep it closed and "sterile," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense.

The U.S. Park Police will have its entire Washington force of several hundred on duty and along the route, on foot, horseback and motorcycles and monitoring from above by helicopter. Officers are prepared to arrest anyone who joins the march or concert without a credential and refuses to leave, said Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford. (emphasis added)
First of all, one has to be impressed with the planning that is going into this by the Department of Homeland Security. And you can bet that the police officers won't be turning in their badges.

But, one has to wonder exactly what this march is all about. I think that they want protestors, to cause a scene, so they can say "ya, ya, ya, ya" look at all the terrorist hippies trying to crash real 'mericans celebrating War.

Well, sorry to break your bubble Rummey (I was going to post a pic of Mount Misery, but had second thoughts), all the real 'mericans are slogging through the shit in NOLA and Biloxi, saving lives. Have a good time at your "outing."

Actually, I am reminded about that scene from "Brazil" where the hero and Jamie Lee Curtis go riding off in a truck. There are fences on both sides of the highway with wonderful scenes painted on them, but beyound the fences it is desolation. Then again, it isn't much different than the Capitol Beltway with the high "noise" fences on both sides. Food for thought.

Friday Crab and Bug blogging

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush

I would like to warn you of something that is going to happen in the next few weeks. If you think that Cindy Sheehan was a pain in the wazoo, camping out on your front lawn in Texas, wait until 10,000 Cindy Sheehans who are pissed off about losing loved ones in New Orleans and Mississippi start raising a ruckus. I'd get some ear plugs.


An Irate Citizen (which has some simularities to an Iraq Citizen)

P.S. And tell your Vice President that he can go f**k himself. Maybe he'll catch Herpes.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

All Right, They Got Me

From the L.A. Times:
BATON ROUGE, La. — In the chaos that was Causeway Boulevard, this group of refugees stood out: a 6-year-old boy walking down the road, holding a 5-month-old, surrounded by five toddlers who followed him around as if he were their leader.

They were holding hands. Three of the children were about 2 years old, and one was wearing only diapers. A 3-year-old girl, who wore colorful barrettes on the ends of her braids, had her 14-month-old brother in tow. The 6-year-old spoke for all of them, and he told rescuers his name was Deamonte Love. The picture is also from the LA Times (Mark Boster)
So, as usual, kids get the upper hand. Just when I was feeling sorry for myself because my world is going down the tube to oblivion, kids show me up again. They just don't know defeat. And, out of the mouths of babes, the hands of kindergartner in this case, comes ironic wisdom (it can't be just wisdom, it has to be ironic wisdom). Its significance for the state of America is obvious:

Monday, September 05, 2005

Beyond Snark

Most of us have no emotional response left. We watched in horror as the planes hit the Twin Towers. We watched in disbelief as our Country was dragged into an immoral War. We watched with consternation as the War took the lives of Iraqi children like a reaper on a rampage (and, yes, our own children too). What do we have left in watching the devastation that is NOLA and the Gulf Coast? Nothing, that's what.

Its not that we got something wrong when it comes to children, we've got everything wrong. From health care to education, from child care to jobs, we are in deep trouble. We need strong leaders. We've been dealt wimps. Game. Match. Set.

History will deal us another hand soon. God forbid his name is not Josef, Benito or Adolph.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Death Toll May Reach 10,000

The Children of Katrina

Sunday Morning and a beautiful day. Here.

The horror that is New Orleans will be a long time abating. Even a week later we are unable to get even an estimate of a death toll. This is strange since in other disasters the lead story in the next day's paper is usually X thousands die in tsunami/earthquake/train wreck/ferry sinking. Anyway.

Of the people that died in New Orleans, there must have been a number of children.
They did not need to die. This is a shame that we will live with for a very, very long time. They were disproportionately black. The true story of Charity Hospital, one of the inner city hospitals that serve the poor that exist in any large, American city (Grady in Atlanta, Boston City, D.C. General (until it closed), etc.), has yet to be told. It will be distressing in the extreme.

The leaders of our country don't give a damn about children.

What about the survivors, are plans being made to get them into schools at the earliest possible time?
If not, why not? School for these children would be the single, best, stabilizing factor. It would give them a sense of continuity and it would let their parents and the rest of us know that our Country cares.

I doubt this will happen. There were no plans for it. There were no plans for anything. If reports are to believed, the flooding of New Orleans was the result of a 300 foot breach in levees that stretched for miles. All our government knows how to do is kill in Iraq(the link is from 2003).

The people of America have rallied many times to disaster. At this point, I do not consider 9/11 a disaster. I consider the devastation of the Gulf Coast by Katrina a disaster, particularly for children.

Several days ago I posted information on the American Red Cross. Yesterday I learned that they were forbidden to enter New Orleans by our government. I am sorry, but their explanations for why they were not allowed in ring hollow. If you ever thought before that we didn't live in an upside down world, you better change your thinking quick.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Lions and Christians

Concerning the observations below about Nero throwing Christians to the lions to distract the angry multitudes of New Orleans, an alert correspondent has offered to provide 140 lions if I would provide the Christians. This has posed a serious quandry because, while there are plenty of "Christians" around (and I submit the photo on the left of that great "man," Pat Robertson, a Christian preacher who recommended blowing away the President (of Venezuela, but still a President)),
there is a definitive lack of the authentic commodity in amongst the professed these days. In addition to Pat Robertson, I would direct you to the action of that stalwart "Christian" leader, Dr. Frist. At a time when we need all the charity we can get, he is preparing a stealth vote on the Estate Tax which will remove somewhere on the order of $15 Billion to $25 Billion from the coffers of charitable organizations (people give to charity because it is a tax write off. This is another story).

Mind you, there are real Christians in America, I just don't think that they are the ones who bruit it all over the already saturated airways. Real Christians are working on the problem of NOLA and don't have time to spout off.

All this balderdash has directed me to a new hero, Diogenes of Sinope. Most people are familiar with the following:
(Diogenes) used to stroll through the Agora with a torch at full daylight. When asked about it, he would answer "I am just looking for a real Christian".

So I have spent a lot of time looking for the the real Christians around here to feed to the hungry lions. When I observe the carnage that is Iraq, and the black disaster that is NOLA (it is hard to find a white face amongst the refugees of that bedamned city), I really do wonder.

So, not being able to provide the appropriate Christians, I duly request that I be allowed to provide the lions. I cannot come up with 140 but here are a few of the ones I could rassle up:
I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it."
- TERRY MALLOY (Marlon Brando) in On the Waterfront (1954)

"We all go a little mad sometimes."
- NORMAN BATES (Anthony Perkins) in Psycho (1960)

"Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me."
- BEN BRADDOCK (Dustin Hoffman) in The Graduate (1967)

"Open the pod bay doors, HAL."
- DAVE BOWMAN (Keir Dullea) in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

"Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape."
- TAYLOR (Charlton Heston) in Planet of the Apes (1968)

"And I say, 'Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.' And he says, 'Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.' So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."
- CARL SPACKLER (Bill Murray) in Caddyshack (1980)

"Hitler was better-looking than Churchill, he was a better dresser than Churchill, he had more hair, he told funnier jokes, and he could dance the pants off of Churchill!"
- FRANZ LIEBKIND (Kenneth Mars) in The Producers (1968)

"No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!"
- AURIC GOLDFINGER (Gert Frobe) in Goldfinger (1964)

"Kid, the next time I say, 'Let's go someplace like Bolivia,' let's go someplace like Bolivia."
- BUTCH CASSIDY (Paul Newman) in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

"And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper."
- MARGE GUNDERSON (Frances McDormand) in Fargo (1996)

If and when Diogenes finds a real Christian, we'll feed him a line, though I wouldn't mind having them snack on Pat Robertson and Bill Frist in the meantime.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Nero and the Burning of Rome, 64 A.D.

Something to ponder from here Comments in italics:

Nero was at Antium (Crawford). He returned to the city only when the fire was approaching the mansion he had built to link the Gardens of Maecenas to the Palatine. The flames could not be prevented from overwhelming the whole of the Palatine (New Orleans), including his palace. Nevertheless, for the relief of the homeless, fugitive masses he threw open the Field of Mars (Superdome), including Agrippa's public buildings, and even his own Gardens. Nero also constructed emergency accommodation for the destitute multitude. Food was brought from Ostia and neighboring towns, and the price of corn (gas) was cut to less than ¼ sesterce a pound. Yet these measures, for all their popular character, earned no gratitude. For a rumor had spread that, while the city was burning, Nero had gone on his private stage and, comparing modern calamities with ancient, had sung of the destruction of Troy (played the guitar).

By the sixth day enormous demolitions had confronted the raging flames with bare ground and open sky, and the fire was finally stamped out at the foot of the Esquiline Hill. But before panic had subsided, or hope revived, flames broke out again in the more open regions of the city (explosions on 9/2). Here there were fewer casualties; but the destruction of temples and pleasure arcades (Bourbon Street - Casinos) was even worse. This new conflagration caused additional ill-feeling because it started on Tigellinus' estate in the Aemilian district. For people believed that Nero was ambitious to found a new city to be called after himself (no comment could suffice here).

In spite of the bad press for Nero:
Rumors soon arose accusing the Emperor Nero of ordering the torching of the city and standing on the summit of the Palatine playing his lyre as flames devoured the world around him. These rumors have never been confirmed. In fact, Nero rushed to Rome from his palace in Antium (Anzio) and ran about the city all that first night without his guards directing efforts to quell the blaze. But the rumors persisted and the Emperor looked for a scapegoat. He found it in the Christians, at that time a rather obscure religious sect with a small following in the city. To appease the masses, Nero literally had his victims fed to the lions during giant spectacles held in the city's remaining amphitheater. (emphasis added)
How very strange.

Friday Crab Blogging

Before and After

Hurricane Survivor Sites

Here are the updated survivor sites.

It Can't Happen Here

For God's Sake, DO SOMETHING!

Explosions Fill New Orleans Sky With Smoke

AP - 35 minutes ago
NEW ORLEANS - An explosion jolted residents awake early Friday, illuminating the pre-dawn sky with red and orange flames over a city where corpses rotted along flooded sidewalks and bands of armed thugs thwarted fitful rescue efforts.

8/29 Changed everything!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Disaster Relief

The major conduit for disaster relief should be the American Red Cross:

One idea that we had was to sponser a classroom in the local school. The business will match anything that the children raise. Its not much, but it also energizes the kids.

A fellow blogger asked me to post sites that allow you to search for (and add) the names of survivors. Neither of the links he provided worked, but I did find this one:

How W Diddled While New Orleans Drowned


Now I want all you guitar players out there to notice that W is playing a rather unusual chord. In fact, it is not a real chord. It is dissonance. So, what's new.

Click to Hear W Play the Guitar.

You have to be amazed at the strange threads of History. Even, History, as in Deliverance. I would wager that a large number of people over the age of 40 believe that Dickey's story of primal fear on the Chattahoochee actually happened. They see people like these as the usual inhabitants of the North Georgia hills.
They are not. The Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph
is more like it. But then, unless you have lived there it is hard to imagine.

But what are we to make of our president playing the frigging guitar while people are dying in the fetid waters of Louisiana and Mississippi. It is just wrong. Flat out wrong. But then, there was that other Emperor.