Wednesday, August 31, 2005


It's not so much the relentless photographs
of floods, the debris of our lives smashed
and scattered, or even the obsession I have
developed to read something -
anything, about Lessepps Street
where Lee Grue lives.

Kalamu ya Salam made it to Houston, is mostly
off line, Ahmos ZuBolton died last year,
so it's not personal ties or the memories I have
of the Big Easy, or the story this morning about
the Crescent Hotel in the Quarter that brought
up generators one last time to cook a hot
breakfast for everyone, anyone, a piano player
performing Stormy Weather.

It's not sweet memories -- eating
Eggs Benedict at Brennans when I was ten.
My parents took us on a long car trip from Illinois
to California then down through Texas, across to New Orleans
and then back home through the Smoky Mountains,
America the Beautiful, and now devastation,
or walking into a perfume shop
and buying a bottle of White Shoulders
which lasted well into my teens because Mother
insisted it was just for special events,
like church, weddings, graduations, funerals.

It's not the poetry conference in New Orleans
where I met Lee Grue, or the honor
of knowing Tom Dent even slightly,
or the sweet way Ahmos ZuBolton
called me "Little Sister," or the Maple Street Bar
where I read poems with the New Orleans poets,
or the way Ken Fontenot gave us an insider tour
of town that produced incredible and cheap fresh oysters,
or following Lee Grue around the French Quarter
stopping in to hear her neighbors play, the Marcellus
crowd, in a grill across from a confection shop
where we got the best pralines in the world.

I read in the Picayune online edition blog that water
was waist deep on Lessepps Street this morning.
Lee's shot gun house is elevated four or five feet
above street level, so it may be all right, for now.
The long hallway front to back is painted with a mural
of the Mississippi River. Her ex-husband is a Riverboat
Pilot. Her stories and poems are passionately in love
with New Orleans, The French Quarter. Lessepps Street
dead ends into a levee. We walked to Bourbon Street.

It's not the crawfish in huge kettles in any café, po boys,
and delicious Louisiana Red Sauce, Red Beans and Rice.
It's not the food, or even the music that won't ever die
that has me frantic today, wakes me up in the middle
of the night inside a house filling up with water -
to the rafters in the attic. Would we have an axe?
Could we find it?

It's not even the inferno of the Super Dome,
full of sweltering people, thirty thousand, more -
toilets overflowing the way they do in a disgusting
nightmare, but you have to add the stench to that,
and darkness, and tropical heat, and mosquitoes,
exhausted panic setting in, and reality -
real lives to re-build, how?
And will they even survive?
And if they don't, who will go down for criminal

And it's not reservists in Iraq who could be flying
helicopters also in Iraq on rescue missions in New Orleans
or the waste of that, or the atrocity even.
It's more than my own sweet memories,
or the empathetic way I have of living in the world
that has my stomach tied in knots
and a deep fury shaking me like a rag doll.
It's not even the absurd insult
of Martial Law from leaders who should say,
"Take what you need, share what you have."

It's not airlines who stopped flying out of
New Orleans eight hours before they needed
to, who could have staged an heroic evacuation,
and chose not to fly empty planes in to a city
everyone was trying to leave.

Here's the thing.

What if Katrina isn't a 500 year freak?
What if the hurricane scientists are right?
They are saying the temperature of the water,
up two degrees, feeds the rash of
monster hurricanes we've seen this year and last.

What if this is just the first great coastal city
to be buried under water, only the first of many
draughts of petrochemical poison to be jettisoned
into the waters of the earth?

What if this is our last chance to mediate
the horrific effects global warming will have on
everything we know, love and understand?
What if it's too late?

©Susan Bright, 2005

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.


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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Multinational Cooperation

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. ... corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. -- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864

Today we know that corporations, for good or bad, are major influences on our lives. According to this report by the Institute for Policy Studies, of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries. To put this in perspective, General Motors is now bigger than Denmark; DaimlerChrysler is bigger than Poland; Royal Dutch/Shell is bigger than Venezuela; IBM is bigger than Singapore; and Sony is bigger than Pakistan.

The world's top 200 corporations account for over a quarter of economic activity on the globe while employing less than one percent of its workforce.

Here is the Forbes list of companies.

Four have gross revenues of over 200 billion.

Eighteen have revenues of over 100 billion.

Fourteen of those have something to do with cars

or the gooky stuff that goes in them.

But the largest in revenues makes its money selling Chinese goods

to poor Americans under the cover of their Flag,

while sucking their communities dead dry and paying no benefits.

Pretty good trick actually.

Multinational Corporations operate all over the globe.

They are very much global citizens.

They sell us cars, war, drugs, pollution, debt, narcisism, and sex.

We think it has to be this way, because, well, this is the way it is.

But we can do better.

Imagine a world of Multinational Cooperations that respond to the needs

of their member owners.

Imagine a Multinational Cooperation that provided, managed, or facilitated

Communication, Transportation, Housing, Food, Health, Energy,

and Financial Services, as well as Diplomatic Services.

Imagine a Multinational Cooperation that provides the Computer Power

we will need to remain free in a future world of Corporate Hegemony

and Governmental Fiat.

Imagine a governing structure that is inherently Democratic,

One that might even occassionaly be free of the plutocrats.

Imagine 10 million people of conscience and vision working as a family.

Now imagine 100 million.

A world run by bottom liners and top downers,

in a time of resource depletion and environmental degradation,

is a recipe for some calamitous unintended consequences.

And it will make us all wonder what cockeyed conductor

was in charge of this Train Wreck.

Truth is

We are.

And we need to get a new train and get with the new program.

That means forget about almost everything you thought was important.

There was a TV show that was on forever.

It was called Truth or Consequences.

There was a monkey with a horn on it.

The Beulah Buzzer told you when the time was up.



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Monday, August 29, 2005

Connect the Dots

There is a class five storm coming in. The morning will reveal how it treats those parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama that are in the track of the eye. As the day progresses, the states to the north will probable see some pretty severe weather.

Earlier this month I posted a story about how Climate Change is making hurricanes more severe.

It won't do much good to study Climate Change today.

The oil production facilities in the gulf and in and around Louisianna will probably be shut down for a while. This will effect oil prices. They will probably go up. Unless, or course, the big traders decide to take the market the other way just to take the smaller traders with the long positions out.

There is a war and there has been a war in the Middle East for a good while now. Almost anyone with an ability to look between the lines of the official news pronouncements knows that it has to do with the resource that propels our economies. Its a resource that they have and we need.

This resource, although plentiful, is now about half used up. Even Chevron says it.

There are good people who want to stop this war. Many will even say that this war is for oil.

But they don't seem to have a plan to continue our present energy consumption patterns if we don't continue to secure these strategic resources.

We may be against Hurricanes, but we cannot stop them.

We can build higher dikes. We can build stronger homes. We can choose to not build so close to the sea. But we cannot stop them.

And if we want to put an end to this war, or any other war, and bring the troops home,

We must find a way to provide the energy, the food, the water, the housing, and the other basic human needs for all of the peoples of this earth.

If we want to stop war, we must change our views of ourselves, our worn out sense of nationalism, and all the archaic mind forms that divide us.

We must deal with the roots of war.

If we humans are at the midpoint of our oil resource,

And if the atmosphere is so full of carbon, our climate is changing,

we have but one choice.

Humankind must use the energy that we have been given.

And that energy is all around us.

Someday, every roof, every surface that sees light,

can become part of the solution.

We need an International Manhattan Project

to provide energy for all of earth's crew members

with the light of our days.

We can do this.

Through global cooperation,

not global competition.

We can do this,

nonviolently not violently.

There is a saying that humans will make the right decision,

once all the other alternatives have been exhausted.

They are.

We can do this.


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Sunday, August 28, 2005

In her Shoes

I was at a party Friday night for a guy who was having his 65th birthday. At our table, there was a couple with their 30 something year old son who was a percussionist with a symphony orchestra. As we were visiting over potato salad, beans, and bar-b-que, they volunteered that they had just gone out to Crawford to support Cindy Sheehan.

It was beyond refreshing.

It turns out that others at the table had gone too.

And others planned to go this weekend.

Here is Cindy on the Bill Maher Show.

If you live in that part of the world, today might be a good day to go express your solidarity for peace and against war.

If you need something to replace the Sunday Morning dribble,

Watch this.

And here is a piece from Christine Rose, who just finished a film called Internationally Speaking

“At first, I thought ‘How dare you say that about my America,’ she said looking at me through squinted eyes, “but then I saw it, our arrogance will be the end of us.” She explained to me how she and her husband voted for Bush.

She said they were conservative and watched Fox News regularly; however, something touched her in seeing and hearing everyday people from around the world talk about her beloved country as a bully; a hypocrite.

Something touched her when faced with the sobering charge of War Crimes and the images of torture at the hands of Americans under orders from the US Government. Something touched her that day that made her think about what she thought she knew.

More and more American citizens are losing support for Bush and losing support for this war in Iraq. They are learning certain things, with increasing speed. These things the activist community knew before the war started: that we were opening a dangerous can of worms by attacking Iraq.

Last week at the post office I was speaking with a Postal worker about Camp Casey. “I respect what she’s doing,” the woman had said to me, “but he’ll never talk to her. He can’t, because then he’ll have to talk to everyone.”

I said. “Exactly. Cindy Sheehan deserves answers. This country deserves answers.” “I have three sons in Iraq,” the woman told me, “one of them – it’s his third time over.”

You should go to Crawford!” I replied.

“Well, my sons aren’t dead… yet

I told her that was the best time to go – before they died.

It’s getting to that point, folks.

People are starting to wake up and speak up

before it hits their little box of reality."


Speaking of hits and reality.

The eye of Katrina is headed for New Orleans

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Saturday, August 27, 2005


Here is Jon Stewart on Talking Points.

And here is an excellent propagandist.

And this is the discussion of propaganda from Wikipedia

"The aim of propaganda is to influence people's opinions actively, rather than to merely communicate the facts about something. For example, propaganda might be used to garner either support or disapproval of a certain position, rather than to simply present the position.

What separates propaganda from "normal" communication is in the subtle, often insidious, ways that the message attempts to shape opinion. For example, propaganda is often presented in a way that attempts to deliberately evoke a strong emotion, especially by suggesting non-logical (or non-intuitive) relationships between concepts.

An appeal to one's emotions is, perhaps, more obvious a propaganda method than utilized by some other less overt and perhaps even more insidious forms. For instance, propaganda may be transmitted implicitly. Propaganda can be transmitted as the presupposition or presuppositions within an ostensibly fair and balanced debate or argument. This can be done to great effect in conjunction with a broadcast news format.

Here is an example of a hypothetical situation in which the opposing view points are supposedly represented: the hawk says, "we must stay the course", and the dove says, "The war is a disaster and a failure", to which the hawk responds, "In war things seldom go smoothly and we must not let setbacks affect our determination", the dove retorts, "setbacks are setbacks, but, failures are failures."

As one can see, the actual validity of the war is not discussed and is never in contention. Brief, succinct, and reductive arguments like these are often referred to as sound bites. In giving the appearance of representing opposing positions and view points, a debate (of what is really aspects of the actual, genuine, argument worthy issue) in which the debaters argue from the same basic assumptions, implicitly inculcates the presupposition(s) as sacrosanct truth, thus, establishing it as an accepted fact about the given issue.

The method of propaganda is essential to the word's meaning as well. A message does not have to be untrue to qualify as propaganda. In fact, the message in modern propaganda is often not blatantly untrue. But even if the message conveys only "true" information, it will generally contain partisan bias and fail to present a complete and balanced consideration of the issue.

Another common characteristic of propaganda is volume (in the sense of a large amount).

For example, a propagandist may seek to influence opinion by attempting to get a message heard in as many places as possible, and as often as possible. The intention of this approach is to reinforce an idea through repetition, and/or exclude or "drown out" any alternative ideas.

It was formerly common for political organisations to refer to their own material as propaganda."

We all use our minds and words to shape.

Some of us are better at it than others.

Some of us do it to it gain power.

Some of us do it to retain power.

Some of us do it to make money.

Some of us do it to make sense of it all.

As the POTUS says,

You've got to catapult the propaganda


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Friday, August 26, 2005

The Micro House


Years ago, way before I started building solar homes, I mentioned to an interior designer friend of mine that I would like to design a house that was a cube. I never did do it. But she told me several years later that she did, and that she won a design award for it.

Earlier this week, I came across this link thanks to Flying Talking Donkey, a peak oil site.

The serenity of the photograph and the Zen nature of it are striking. And it makes you understand that the possiblities ahead of us are endless.

Just like we can strive for beauty and balance in our daily lives, we can also strive for beauty in our habitations. Unsurprisingly, we can often achieve success in surprising and unexpected ways, whether the house is big or small, expensive or frugal, urban or rural.

This micro house would surely turn into a jail cell if it were not for the outdoor environment around it. But, because it is so compact, this house is easily powered by today's photovoltaics at a reasonable cost.

I like the feel of the language of the design objectives of this house:

The micro compact home is a lightweight, modular and mobile minimal dwelling for one or two people. Its compact dimensions of 2.6m cube adapt it to a variety of sites and circumstances, and its functioning spaces of sleeping, working - dining, cooking, and hygiene make it suitable for everyday use.

The design of the micro compact home has been informed by the classic scale and order of a Japanese tea house, combined with advanced concepts and technologies in Europe.The tiny cube provides a double bed on an upper level and working table and dining space for four or five people on a lower level.

The kitchen bar is accordingly arranged to serve these two levels. The entrance lobby has triple use and functions as a bathroom and drying space for clothing. Storage is provided off each of these four functioning spaces.

We are used to spending time in compact spaces - in our cars, or when we travel by air. The micro compact home is informed by both of these in its incorporation of advanced technology and design. Living in it means focusing on the essential - less is more. The use of progressive materials complements the sleek design.

The low energy concept, providing a high level of insulation and low emission coated glass, contains heating and air conditioning that is easy to operate and adjust. Surfaces are chosen for their warmth and clean feel to touch, and windows have privacy blinds.

Lighting consists of the latest LED low temperature technology, and communication and entertainment is provided by an integrated sound system with two flat screen TV monitors with broadband connection. The kitchen integrates a double radiant hob and microwave oven and a double compartment fridge / freezer combination.

Our Houses have grown in size over the last 50 years by a factor of two. After World War II, the average house was less than 1000 square feet. Today, the median is over 2,000. The microhouse idea is not new. Here is an article from Mother Earth News. But, the Zen like simplisticity of the Austrian design is clearly lovely.

And, in bunches they may even make a community.


As we move into the uncharted horizons of climate change, peak oil, and accelerated technological advancement, we may be happily surprised to find that necessity is a fine mother.

And we will be reminded

that our true mother,

the earth,

is a fine invention.

And the human being,

fits just fine in it.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Pearl

My eyes popped open this morning when the cell phone vibrated off the bedside table and crashed to the wood floor. It just moved around there on the floor as if there was an earthquake happening. There wasn't. It was a good friend informing me that she was having a party tonight. I told her I needed something to get me out of this now terminally fowl mood, and that I would get back to her.

NPR was going on with their usual prattle. I used to love to listen to the "Morning Edition" and rarely would I ever miss "All things Considered", but they have not withstood the pressure of the times well. They have never been the same since they were privatized by the R s. National Private Radio just didn't sound right either. I still listen of course, hoping for the return of real news, but in all fairness, it just isn't in vogue, or I guess more accurately, almost everyone has forgotten what real news is supposed to sound like.

I sat on the little green saddle bench with the little bells on it. It supposedly came from Persia, and perhaps it did, but I saw one the other day in a junk shop in SOCO. They didn't want very much for it.

As I put my foot in my boot, I felt a little bump, actually a big one. I slipped my foot out and turned the boot upside down. Now, these shoes are Blundstones and if you know what that means, you know what that means. These are magic shoes.

As I turned my shoe upside down, a small round ball came rolling out of the sole. It bounced for a minute on my mail order rug and settled just below my feet. I looked at it as it came to rest on the black wool that supposedly came from the winter coat of some shaved creature on the other side of the earth.

The small ball was white, very white. And it had a shine to it. And it was not just a normal shine, it had a rich luster that made it feel like it might really have been somewhere.

I picked it up and brought it close to my left eye, the one I can see up close with. I thought, this looks real to me.

Now, I had taken my boots off right there the night before, and I can sadly but confidently assure you there had been no visitor in this night that might have somehow left part of their wardrobe in my boot as a keepsake of our delirium.

I stuck it in my left pocket and went to work. As I walked out the door, I noticed how this day was clear and clean and crisp and it somehow had a good smell to it. I said hello to the morning dove sitting in the poor pecan tree that is so leaning sideways, I fear it will just fall over some day. The dove seemed to give me a coo and little wink.

At work, I finished the report that had been driving me a little crazy. Mostly, I looked forward to my lunch with my good friend Gabriel who had just come back from Turkey.

We hugged as we met at the old lunch counter with the the swivel chairs.

"You look thin."

"Istanbul is a crazy place these days to be an American."

We sat down and began to chat it up.

He had been on assignment at the Embassy at Istanbul.

"So anything new", I said.

"Not really,"

He seemed like he wasn't sure.


"Well, this morning, I found this in my shoe.

It's a pearl I think."

I just looked.


"Yeah it was in my right shoe."

"Where did it come from?"

"I haven't the slightest idea."

"Is it real?"

"Who knows."

I let it go.

I went back to work. I held my Pearl in my hand, feeling it, rubbing it.

After a few minutes, I got restless, so I walked to the mens room.

James, my best friend, managed to Vulcan mind merge meet me there.



"Everything going OK."

"Sure, sure. "

"Going to the party tonight?"

"Probably, but Jeezus, I just wish we could celebrate for a change."

I noticed that as he walked out, he had his hand in his pocket.

"What's in your pocket?"

"Well, it's weird but I found this Pearl in my shoe this morning."



"Don't know quite what to make of it."

This was way too much for me now, like synchronicity on steroids, so I showed him my Pearl and then I told him that Gabriel had found a pearl in his shoe too.

James followed me to the bat cave. We called Gabriel and brought him in on the deal.

We turned on NPR.

We could not believe our ears.

Fitzgerald, the Special Prosecutor on the Plame Affair was talking.

He was talking about indictments,

Serious indictments against Bush, Cheney, Rove, the whole lot.

He had a list of lies and misdeeds as long as the summers in Georgia.

Democrats and Republicans were calling for the resignations of them all.

The most corrupt, most mendacious, most dangerous force to peace

in the history of the American Experience was collapsing

before our eyes.

And not a moment too soon.

We each held our Pearls in our hands.

Silently, we wondered.

We wondered.

But that night,

We had a Party.

Later in the evening.

Pearl drops fell like angels.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Brother Pat is either into the sauce big time,

or his old age is coming to take him away.

If you haven't seen his call to murder the elected president of another country, because they have oil, then you missed a real doozy yesterday.

He is a perfect example of the American Taliban.

This is what Jesus said on the Mount:

"Stop judging, that you may not be judged.

For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?

How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,' while the wooden beam is in your eye?

You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye.

"Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish?

If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.

This is the law and the prophets.

"Beware of false prophets,

who come to you in sheep's clothing,

but underneath are ravenous wolves.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'

will enter the kingdom of heaven,

but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

Many will say to me on that day,

'Lord, Lord,

Did we not prophesy in your name?

Did we not drive out demons in your name?

Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?'

Then I will declare to them solemnly,

'I never knew you.

Depart from me,

you evildoers.'


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illustration courtesy of Jason Stout

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Enlighten Up

There is some good news today about the development of a ''Ideal'' Carbon Nanotube Diode.

Now don't run off for the technophobe hills just yet, because you don't need to understand what a diode is to understand the importance of this.

Here is the story:

GE Global Research Develops ''Ideal'' Carbon Nanotube Diode
August 18, 2005
Niskayuna, NY, USA

GE Global Research, the centralized research organization of the General Electric Company has announced the development of an ideal carbon nanotube diode that operates at the "theoretical limit," or best possible performance. This is a significant improvement upon the original nanotube diode device that GE developed and announced last year.

This latest breakthrough will enable even smaller and faster electronic devices with increased functionality.

In the course of its research, the GE team led by Dr. Ji Ung Lee made a related discovery when it observed a photovoltaic effect in the nanotube diode device. This is a very significant development that could lead to new approaches and breakthroughs in photovoltaic research.

"GE's success in developing the 'perfect' carbon nanotube device has not only ushered in a new era in electronics, it has potentially opened new doors in solar energy research," said Margaret Blohm, GE's advanced technology leader for nanotechnology. "The discovery of a photovoltaic effect in our nanotube device could lead to exciting breakthroughs in solar cells that make them more efficient and a more viable alternative in the mainstream energy market".

Blohm added, "Photovoltaics research is already a major component of GE's Ecomagination initiative, and this latest discovery will only further the company's quest to find alternative sources of clean, sustainable energy to benefit our customers and society at large."

Unlike traditional diodes, GE's carbon nanotube device has the ability to perform multiple functions - as a diode and two different types of transistors - which should enable it to both emit and detect light. In addition to opening new doors in photovoltaics research, GE's carbon nanotube diode device could have many applications in computing, communications, power electronics and sensors. "

This is the kind of thing that Richard Smalley, the Nobel laureate, has been saying that nanotechnology can lead to. Smalley believes that we can find solutions to our fuel problems if we just make it the priority it should be.

And there are plenty of other encouraging discoveries occurring everyday.

Labs and Industry are developing power paints that can change everything.

If we would only see what we have been given,

We would see that we have all we need in the surrounding light.

But we languish in our predicament.

We are like the child who would rather bask in his victimhood,

than grow up.

Let me see if I can say this relatively succinctly.

Humankind presently believes that we are individuals

and that we have been given certain rights,

such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Some of us think that God gave us these rights.

Some of us think otherwise.

Some of us believe that we know who this God is.

Which would be alright I guess, if everyone agreed,

but we don't.

Christ, we can't even agree on what side of the road to drive.

We as individuals believe that we are part of larger things.

We are part of our city, part of our state, and part of our nation state.

I don't know anyone who would die for their City.

I only know a few who would die for their State.

And they are mostly Texans.

But it is common knowledge that you should be willing to die

for your Country.

And many many brave young men, and now women

have done so.

If the individuals which comprise these nation states

continue to believe that they must die for their country,

instead of live happily and in peace for their mother ship,

we will continue to plunge ourselves into these countless

perditions as we struggle for the last deposits of dead fish bones,

even as our unsustainable, outdated capitalist economic model unravels.

Or, we can honor our creator, our lives, and our true home,

the earth,

and live as a family,

Free from our nations, free from our gods,

Free from our prejudices, free from our archaic mind forms.

Today, just after crossing a bridge, I got a red light.

Often, that is when I know the universe is telling me to pay attention.

In front of me was a bumper sticker.

It said.

Enlighten Up.

I couldn't see the driver.

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Will you join us?

I got my September issue of Wired this week, but I didn't take a look at it until last night. It's the one with Jon Stewart with a remote control unit in his mouth. Somehow, I don't think he is happy with that cover, but that's another story.

As I took off the wrapper and thumbed through, I was immediately caught by a two page ad on the back side of the contents page, which is pretty pricey ad real estate. The lead says:

It took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil.

We'll use the next trillion in 30.

So should you care?

I swear I said those same almost exact words 2 weeks ago in a presentation to the Sierra Club.

Then, on the next page, there is a letter. In it, it says, How do we meet the energy needs of the developing world and those of industrialized nations? What role will renewables and alternative energies play? What is the best way to protect our environment? How do we accelerate our conservation efforts?

And then the letter closes with:

We call upon scientists and educators, politicians and policy-makers, environmentalist, leaders of industry and each one of you to be a part of reshaping the next era of energy.

The letter is signed by Dave.

Who to heck is Dave?

Is Dave with Environmental Defense, or Greenpeace, or Public Citizen?

No, Dave is the Grand Fufu of these guys.

Now, when these guys jump on the peak oil bandwagon, you know several things. You know that someone in strategic planning must have had lunch with someone in finance and they saw a real opportunity here to be public spirited. You know that Peak Oil, as Ram Das used to say, is probably going to be here now. You also know that any pretense to be in the Middle East to free people from brutal dictators is soon going to begin to ring a little hollow for those of you who didn't know this to begin with. The MBAs in that group are going to take it a step further and come to this conclusion:

My God, what are we doing worring about Democracy when we are running short of the strategic supplies we need to keep our economic leviathon forever growing?

Later in the morning, after thinking about some really dumb dialogues on PBS this week about oil prices, and wondering just how long the Peak Oil story will stay out of the mainstream news, I found this in the New York Times Magazine and practically every other peak oil site.

The Breaking Point
New York Times Magazine
Published: August 21, 2005

"The largest oil terminal in the world, Ras Tanura, is located on the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, along the Persian Gulf. From Ras Tanura's control tower, you can see the classic totems of oil's dominion -- supertankers coming and going, row upon row of storage tanks and miles and miles of pipes. Ras Tanura, which I visited in June, is the funnel through which nearly 10 percent of the world's daily supply of petroleum flows. Standing in the control tower, you are surrounded by more than 50 million barrels of oil, yet not a drop can be seen.

Down later in the story the author says,

Concerns are being voiced by some oil experts that Saudi Arabia and other producers may, in the near future, be unable to meet rising world demand. The producers are not running out of oil, not yet, but their decades-old reservoirs are not as full and geologically spry as they used to be, and they may be incapable of producing, on a daily basis, the increasing volumes of oil that the world requires. ''One thing is clear,'' warns Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, in a series of new advertisements, ''the era of easy oil is over.''

In the past several years, the gap between demand and supply, once considerable, has steadily narrowed, and today is almost negligible. The consequences of an actual shortfall of supply would be immense. If consumption begins to exceed production by even a small amount, the price of a barrel of oil could soar to triple-digit levels.

This, in turn, could bring on a global recession, a result of exorbitant prices for transport fuels and for products that rely on petrochemicals -- which is to say, almost every product on the market. The impact on the American way of life would be profound: cars cannot be propelled by roof-borne windmills.

The suburban and exurban lifestyles, hinged to two-car families and constant trips to work, school and Wal-Mart, might become unaffordable or, if gas rationing is imposed, impossible. Carpools would be the least imposing of many inconveniences; the cost of home heating would soar -- assuming, of course, that climate-controlled habitats do not become just a fond memory."

Gas rationing?

Two car families unaffordable?

Oil at triple digit levels?

Jumping Jehosephat Johnnie Juniper.

I thought this Peak Oil stuff was conspiracy theory?

What can we possibly do?

Well, there is a local utililty in Texas, Austin to be exact, that is actually doing something about it. The leaders of Austin understand that there is a way to deal with this problem. And, they understand that the above article has at least one big mistatement in it, or at least one big misleading statement.

"cars cannot be propelled by roof-borne windmills. "

No, but plug-in hybrid cars and other electric transportation appliances can be propelled by highly efficient Wind Turbines and other renewables from the high resource areas of Texas.

And today, the City of Austin is initiating it's efforts to get car manufacturers to make plug in hybrids with the kick-off of a petition drive and campaign. If you are from that part of the world, you are invited to join them.

Plug in Hybrids will provide its owners the ability to choose between gasoline at 3 or 4 or 5 dollars a gallon or electric fuel from wind and other resources at 60 cents per electric gallon of gas.

Plug in Hybrids can help clean the air.

Plug in Hybrids can help with local economic development.

Plug in Hybrids can help create a unified transportation system.

Plug in Hybrids and other advanced transportation appliances could some day even provide energy back to the electric grid when it is most needed, thus reducing the amount of peaking power plants that must be built.

As Wired is fond of saying,



Plug in Hybrids?


Like the high-tech version of the bumper sticker says,

"Keep Austin Wired."

Join Us.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Wild Pitch

from Next to the Last Word,

Plain View Press, 1998

The comet passes close to earth tonight, slips almost
through lunar eclipse, but we will not be fertilized,
will not anguish to dust or turn to finer creatures
with sharp teeth for tearing meat-and heavy bones.

Vegetation will hold its own tonight.
There won't be a collision, oceans won't turn to deserts.
Ice caps won't move to the equator.
Our center will not become our rim. The comet is just
a fuzzy, yellow presence in the northern sky, tail-wiggling
across our window to the universe, which could be anything.
It will pierce something, sometime, but not us, not tonight.

The Firebird, whose heat we cannot imagine,
will be less hot than we are looking up at city lights
beneath a full moon-

Jesse leading off to third,
the pitcher faking a pick-off-

by this small comet that passes close enough for us to see-
a wild pitch, yellow star fuzz.
Someone is going to have a broken jaw.

But we will not be pierced tonight, are lucky tonight.
Our sun won't be obscured. We will not vanish
beneath layers of silt or petrify as pieces of us are replaced
by flint. Tonight somebody's safe.

And the ancient ball game we created won't be called tonight

by this wild pitch with its flirting journey to the great egg of space.
We'll play on tonight without a clue to the size or form,
meaning, origin or function of the game.

©copyright, Susan Bright

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005


Here is a major league new democrat

who got 48% of the vote,

in a district that went 64% for Bush in 04.

He is Major Paul Hacket.

He was on the Bill Maher show,

because Cindy Sheehan had to cancel.

And here is Jon Stewart on the sucker pitch Iraqi Process

that the Iraqis are completely, totally in charge of.

It's their process, not ours, its a process.

We were just walking by one day,

and noticed that we needed to spend 2 or 3 hundred billion dollars,

waste 20 or so thousand lives,

and privatize their oil reserves while we are at it.

And here is the fastball.

Watch how Michael Scheuer, the author of Inside 9 11 burns this fastball right past hardball pinch hitter O'Donnell in his interview last night. The pitch comes in with such speed and accuracy that it hits the glove, and is called strike three before the always infuriating O'Donnell can get her lameass bat off her lazy brained shoulder. It's a thing of beauty. Scroll down to War in Iraq, a disastrous decision.

O‘DONNELL: And, finally, the president has made the case that winning the war in Iraq is central to winning the war on terror and making sure that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda cannot take—harm the United States. Is that true, if we win there, will that help?

SCHEUER: No, ma‘am. The war in Iraq has broken the back of our counterterrorism effort. I‘m not an expert on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, but the invasion of Iraq has made sure this war will last decades ahead and it has transferred bin Laden and al Qaeda from being man and an organization into being a philosophy and a movement. We‘ve really made sure that the war against us is going to be a long and very bloody one. Iraq was an absolutely disastrous decision.

I clock that fast ball at well over 110.

That's well over Hardball IQ.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Code Blue

We walked over to the edge of the cliff and looked down. Down below we could see the strong waves crashing on the rugged rocks. We looked up at the sky and it was a pinky blue almost turquoise.

The sea breeze was blowing the loose fabric on our sleeves like one of those little flags on a speed boat. Even the sea gulls were having trouble negotiating the gale.

We stared off into the horizon and then, as if we were on cue with the director, we looked at each other.

We had looked at each other a thousand times before. But this time, it was different. This time we looked deep into each other's eyes, past that little glint, past the color, past the little familiarity we had grown accustomed to.

The day had started like any other.

We were both running late. I drank my orange juice, and cut up a little apple. Jeanelle couldn't find her self, but that was no new thing. I told her that I loved her and headed out the door.


"What Babe?"

"Come back."

"I'm in a hurry sweetie."

"No really, come back."

I made that little noise I make when I'm frustrated. It's a little release of the breath with a little cymbal noise on the front.


"It's the signal. My communicator is making the signal. Is yours?"

I dug deep in my bag for my communicator which I had placed on mute. And there it was, the green light was glowing while the red light was blinking rapidly.


I walked over to the closet where we kept our travel bags. I threw off the dirty laundry and pulled them out. Our two packpacks were there ready to go. Jeanelle's bag was a little smushed, but it didn't matter.

Even though we had trained for this moment all these months and years, and even though we knew this day would surely come, we didn't really believe it would. I loaded the car with the supplies and the extra fuel.

And we were off.

Everything on our block seemed normal. We didn't see any signs of much of anything strange. We drove past the driveways and the parked cars. Many of them had been parked in the same place for some time now since the carbon allowances had kicked into full gear. Even if you could afford to pay for the gas, your allowance just wasn't enough to run the old two car family anymore.

Before we got to the freeway, we noticed that there were a few more patrol cars than normal. And we were stopped both at the neighborhood check point and at the district check point, but everybody was polite, and it was pretty much the same old same old.

Eric, our block Officer did ask where we were going, which was a little weird, and I told him what I had always said before.

"I'm going to run away and start a new life."

He always seemed to like that one.

He did look in as if we had a stowaway on board or something, but then he waved us through.

By the time we did hit the freeway though, things were not right. There were not any trucks. There was this eeriness and it was beginning to settle in my bones.

"OK Babe, here we go."

I drove at the 50 MPH speed limit pushing it just a little. We played that Coldplay album, the one that everybody liked so much that it broke all the sales records.

There were quite a few stops, but our permit on this car was a good one. We had access to all sectors, even in condition red. Of course today, we were still at orange. But, if we were to believe our EFA communicators, that was going to change in a matter of hours.

By the time we got to the designated site, it was early afternoon. The direction for the last few miles were super detailed, and of course we had our EFA satellite guide with us. We drove into this big red barn which stood at the end of this unmarked ungraded road. It had rained the night before, so I concentrated to not get stuck. There were several ruts in the road already. We were obviously behind other EFA members, but not by much.

As we approached the barn, the doors opened and then closed behind us with a precise whurr. We parked in our marked stall, got our things, and hustled downstairs. There, we were so relieved to find our good friends and family members. We hugged and kissed, but we really didn't say much, other than the obvious.

Jeanelle made her way over to the prep room. I punched in the arrival code on the communicator. It responded affirmatively. It knew we were here anyway. It just needed to be sure it was us. Double sure.

We boarded our cruiser about three.

It shot out of the barn like a Kentucky Derby winner.

By five, we could see our new home down below through the small rectangular windows. And by seven we were in our new place. We decided to take a walk to the water. As we were walking, my communicator announced the news of the inevitable.

Martial Law had been declared and all movement was now under the new code color. Apparently some other pretty unsavory things were going on. All potential enemies were being rounded up and placed in detention camps. Dear Leader was apparently going to make his announcement to his trusting minions later in the evening. I imagine that the chocolate allotment would be temporarily increased. All internet had been disrupted for security reasons. The war had finally become what it was supposedly fighting.


I don't know who in the administration picked the color,

but it is like the only thing that they got right.

Code Blue.

It was indeed perfect,

Perfect for our new very very imperfect world.

We stared over the edge.

The water, the sky, our mood,

It was all blue.

The world had turned blue.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Comfortably Numb

Hello, hello, hello

Is there anybody in there?

Just nod if you can hear me.

Is there anyone at home?

Pink Floyd

Here is the last part of a piece by Dr Paul Craig Roberts who is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy, and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.

He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

"Gentle reader, do you realize the danger of having a president so disconnected from reality that he plots to attack Iran – a country three times the size of Iraq – when he lacks sufficient forces to occupy Baghdad and to protect the road from Baghdad to the airport?

Despite all the high profile "sweeps" of US forces through insurgent strongholds, US commanders report a doubling of insurgent attacks.

The Bush administration is insane.

If the American people do not decapitate it by demanding Bush’s impeachment, the Bush administration will bring about Armageddon. This may please some Christian evangelicals conned by Rapture predictions, but World War III will please no one else. "

Think this is far fetched?

I noticed yesterday that a guest on PBS was talking about oil prices and he said that Iran had resumed building nuclear weapons.

No one on the program corrected him.

Then last week, the POTUS repeated his threat while on Israeli TV.

Bush Menaces Iran with Threat of Military Attack
By Peter Symonds
World Socialist Web
18 August 2005

"President George Bush’s inflammatory comments last Friday menacing Iran with military attack have again underscored the lawless character of the US administration. His declaration that “all options are on the table,” that is, including the military one, directly undermines European efforts to negotiate a deal with Iran over its nuclear programs and signals that Washington is moving toward unilateral military aggression.

Like the US-led invasion of Iraq, any US military action against Iran—either strikes on its nuclear facilities or a full-scale attack—has not a shred of justification in international law. Iran has repeatedly declared that its nuclear programs are for peaceful purposes and has complied with the demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including intrusive new inspections of its sensitive facilities.

In fact, it is Washington rather than Tehran that is breaching the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The US, along with the so-called EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany), is demanding that Iran dismantle its uranium enrichment programs—a clear infringement of its right to develop all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle for peaceful purposes.

The US, on the other hand, is adding a new generation of nuclear weapons to what is already the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, in flagrant disregard of the NPT’s requirement that existing nuclear powers progressively disarm."

And if it is far fetched, why is Iran issuing its own warning?

Tehran Warns US Against Military Action Over Nuclear Program
By Stephanie Ho
New York Jewish Times
August 2005

"Iran is warning the United States that any military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would backfire. At the same time, Tehran says it will not suspend conversion of uranium ore, days after the International Atomic Energy Agency appealed for the country to halt all nuclear activities.

In a news conference in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said any U.S. military action to stop Tehran's nuclear program would be a mistake.

Mr. Asefi said, if Iran were attacked, it has what he described as "options for defending the country."

The Iranian comments came after President Bush told Israeli television the United States is keeping all options on the table to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The U.S. leader said these options include the use of force, but only as a last resort.

Speaking on the U.S. television program Fox News Sunday, Republican Senator John McCain said he supports efforts to resolve the issue diplomatically, but he added that he agrees with President Bush's position."

And finally, if it is so far fetched, why is the German Chancellor telling the US to back off.

Germany Tells U.S., Bush to Back Off When Dealing With Iran
Egypt election Daily News
August 14, 2005

"German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has warned the US to back away from the possibility of military action against Iran over its nuclear programme.

His comments come a day after President Bush reiterated that force remained an option but only as a last resort."

Earlier today, someone told me that he can't go to sleep

after reading this blog.

So he can't read it at night.

And he said that if he goes to work after reading the blog,

he can't concentrate.

So he can't read it in the morning.

I promised him I would come up with some Bunnie Slopes.


When I was a child, I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look, but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child has grown, the dream is gone.

I have become comfortably numb.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Rest in Peace

All of the media seemed to think that the Gaza story was the big one yesterday. I could not forget the image of the young Israeli girl talking about how they had conquered these lands fair and square and they should not give them up. She even said, what do you expect us to do? Go back to 1947? The announcer spoke about their right to own the land based on prophesy. Her father was surely one of those in the back of the frame in religious garb praying fervently.

The other story was the red neck who got a chain and a pickup and decided it was a real good idea to mow down those memorial crosses with the names of the slain soldiers on them. Cindy had placed them along the road to the POTUS's ranch in Crawford.

Then, I heard someone say on national TV news that the Islamo- fascist want to take over the world and set up a grand caliphate that would take away our freedoms and make us all live like the Taliban. He said that we must defend ourselves from these oppressive forces who would take away our very way of life and that to cut and run in Iraq would only embolden these oppressive forces.

That reminded me of something I had just read in Rigorous Intuition.

Here is an excerpt from William Shirer's journal entry for August 10, 1939:

"How completely isolated a world the German people live in. A glance at the newspapers yesterday and today reminds you of it. Whereas all the rest of the world considers that the peace is about to be broken by Germany, that it is Germany that is threatening to attack Poland over Danzig, here in Germany, in the world the local newspapers create, the very reverse is being maintained. (Not that it surprises me, but when you are away for a while, you forget.)

What the Nazi papers are proclaiming is this: that it is Poland which is disturbing the peace of Europe; Poland which is threatening Germany with armed invasion, and so forth. This is the Germany of last September when the steam was turned on Czechoslavakia.

You ask: But the German people can't possibly believe these lies?

Then you talk to them. So many do. "

Today, the average American believes it is acceptable to take a military gun and kill your adversary. He believes it is acceptable to use precision tomahawk missiles on urban populations. He believes it is acceptable for a superior occupying army to lay seige on a town of 375,000 and practically level it. It is acceptable to use torture. It is acceptable to lie to your citizens and whip them into a frenzy of fear.

Daily, we bathe in a set of beliefs and concepts that make this kind of thinking and behavior acceptable.

Clearly, bathing in this kind of thinking will not bring us to Peace, no matter how long we scrub.

Here is a small part of J Krishnamurti's address to the UN as he received the Peace Medal in 1984.

"The present is not only the past, but also contains the future; the past modifying itself constantly through the present and projecting the future.

If we don't stop quarrels, struggles, antagonism, hate, now it will be like that tomorrow. And you can stretch out that tomorrow for a thousand years, it will be still tomorrow.

So it behoves us to ask ourselves whether we, as human beings, single or a community, or in a family, whether we can live peacefully with each other? Organizations have not solved this problem. You can reorganize but war still goes on.

So organizations, whether it is world organization or a particular kind of organization to bring about peace, such organizations will never succeed because human beings individually, collectively, nationally, are in conflict.

So peace cannot possibly exist on this earth if there are nationalities, which, as we said, is glorified tribalism. Nationalities give certain security, man needs security and he invests in nationalism, or in a particular ideology or belief.

Beliefs, ideologies and so on, have separated man. And organizations cannot possibly bring about peace between man and man because he believes in something, he believes in certain ideologies, he believes in god and others don't.

And we are asking deeply, if you are serious at all, whether you and I, and those of us who are involved in organizations, can live at peace with each other?

Peace requires a great deal of intelligence, not just demonstrations against a particular form of war, against a nuclear or atom bomb and so on. Those are the products of minds, brains that are entrenched in nationalism, in some particular form of belief, ideology, so they are supplying armaments - the powerful ones, whether it be Russia, America, or England or France - armaments to the rest of the world, and they also talk about peace, supplying at the same time armaments.

So there can only be peace when mankind, when you and I, have no conflict in ourselves. And you might say, "If one achieves, or comes to an end of all conflict within oneself, how will it affect the rest of mankind?"

If one applies, looks, observes, with great attention, as you look with considerable attention when you are combing your hair, or shaving, with that quality of attention, heightened, you can observe yourself - all the nuances, subtleties.

And the mirror is your relationship between human beings, in that mirror you can see yourself exactly as you are. But most of us are frightened to see what we are, and so we gradually develop resistance, guilt, and all the rest of that business.

So we never ask for total freedom - not to do what you like, but to be free from choice.

Where there are multiple choices there are multiple confusions.

If you have been going north all the days of your life, as humanity has been going in a particular direction, which is conflict, and somebody comes along and says, "That leads nowhere". He is serious, and perhaps you are serious.

Then he says, "Go south, go east, any other direction but that". And when you actually move away from that direction there is a mutation in the very brain cells themselves because you have broken the pattern.

And that pattern must be broken now, not forty or a hundred years later.

Can human beings have the vitality, the energy, to transform themselves to civilized human beings, not killing each other?

Perhaps in this case,

We should throw the baby out,

with the bathwater.

For the Earthfamily.

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