Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Amazing Disgrace Part II

Having read

How Presidents and citizens react to disaster.

I have to say I am humbled and find my previous Blog to be callow, callous, and mean-spirited. The New Yorker account and it's stories of those who suffered Katrina, and for that matter, Hurricane Betsy, offer a lesson we should never forget.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Amazing Disgrace

As we hear the amazing stories of survival from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we ought to consider just why God has saved those poor souls whose homes were destroyed. Our heart strings play a familiar sad song as Joan Doe stands before the rubble, the debris, and the tattered remains of her home. A fallen tree smashed her bedroom ceiling. Brown water pools around her and mold grows up what remains of a wall.

"I am lucky. God saved me. Thank God I'm still alive."

Should we? Thank God? What about the thousand plus who died? Why didn't God save them? What about the ones who were seriously injured or who lost family and loved ones? Are they lucky?

The hurricanes blow us right into the Problem of Evil, solved by the likes of Billy Graham and son who tell us that we shouldn't judge those who are killed or hurt, but just be glad for the good things that the rest of us receive. You know, God works in mysterious ways. We cannot understand the mystery. Just be good and you will get to heaven. Maybe.

For a definitive grasp of the philosophical Problem of Evil, click. What concerns me now is the immorality of thanking God for saving me when so many others are suffering or dead. It is the ultimate selfishness in the moment of crisis. It is no better than the athlete-- who has just won a competition-- thanking God. Why, we wonder, did he make losers of all the others?

Of course, if one really does believe in heaven and the blessed afterlife, one should logically thank God, the Christian-Judeo God that is, if ones loved ones do die. "Thank God. My wife died and now she's happy in Heaven. I wish He'd chosen me as well to go to that blessed Home in the sky." How cruel of God to leave all these good Christians in the swamp-- still prey to the Devil and the alligators.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Out of the Frying Pan

As the world's glaciers and ice caps melt, as the seas rise and grow hotter, those who deny the reality of global warming look ever more foolish, more deceitful, and more immoral. The hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico are evidence of the gulf between the Bible-toting politicians and life. Even ostriches will lift their heads from the sand if you torch their asses.

Melting glacier Moreno in Patagonia
photo by Jameson

At long last many Americans are admitting that the Emperor has no clothes. Bush is in the Hot seat. And journalists are revealing to us all the corruption of Halliburton and other companies close to the president and vice-president's wallet. The horrific profits of the oil companies, ripping off those fleeing the hurricanes, are more fuel for the heat gathering around Bush.

In Nevada this week we watched the 20th Burning Man fire celebration. Never has the Burning Man seemed more an emblem of our world. And our foolish leader, thinking himself the oracle of the Burning Bush, offers no wisdom. He knows nothing of science. He is the living refutation of evolution.

Yesterday it was 100 degrees in Houston-- the hottest day before the autumnal equinox ever in that city. And 5 million people jumped in their cars and tried to leave. Only the roads jammed and the stations emptied of gas. And what do our leaders promise. More money. Lots more money. For Halliburton, Shaw, and Bechtel that is.

The flames of Hell -- they may not be myth anymore.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Geyser Music: Sigur Ros Flows

Last Tuesday Dar and I attended the transcendental performance at Atlanta Symphony Hall of Sigur Ros. It was not our first encounter of the band. We had seen and heard them before and Dar saw them first in Iceland. The review below "Like Sucking God's Cock" pretty much gets it. I think hearing them is like being transported to Iceland and the dramatic nature there-- far away from the cacophany of Bush's Ahmurikaa. Away from the pollution and the noise and the bravado. No war. No hurricane. But a sadness from afar at what is happening to the World. You can hear virtually the same perfomance at

Icelandic Geysir; the Original Geyser
photo by Dar


NPR has a nice overview: Sigur Ros

My Favorite Video

Their latest video (click)

Here's my favorite review:

Sigur Ros : Takk

NME rating: 8/10

Like sucking God's cock. Or something

They play fewer gigs than Jesus throws "coming home" parties, their last record had no song titles and Jónsi Birgisson could walk around with "I'm the singer in Sigur Rós" stencilled on his forehead and still you'd have no idea who he was or what he did for coin. Not only that, but his band make music that sounds like elves rutting in ice castles or dragons bathing in geysers. Meanwhile, they win the award for "band least likely to break into a giggle mid-xylophone solo" with unrivalled ease. Oi! Work experience flunky! File them away in the "anonymous, glacial, misery gut muso" drawer. And shred that Oceansize review while you're at it.

Except saying such a thing is like hearing biology teachers giving sex education lessons – there is magic woven within the facts. Tagging them so neglects the love, grace and breathless passion that this, the Icelandic quartet's fourth album, has bolted to the girders of its monumental beauty. Choice cut 'Svo Hljótt' sounds like the bit in Lord Of The Rings when Gandalf dies reinterpreted by operatic mythical winged beasts, while the broody 'Glósóli' contains more nervous system-shaving shivers than a blowjob from an "up fer it" Archangel. If you imagine the noise God makes just before he eats a slice of cheese on toast, then comparably, that's how satisfyingly yearning the 65 minutes of 'Takk...' sounds. Ordinary people. Extraordinary songs.

James Jam

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Here come the Vultures

As the slime dries on the streets of New Orleans, another kind of slime is appearing. Funded by billions of dollars from Bush and the Congress, Halliburton and other big spenders are snatching up contracts to rebuild the Gulf Coast. To top off the windfall, Bush has proclaimed that these companies need not worry about paying workers a decent or competitive wage. Law suspended.

Enter Dick Cheney, Halliburton personified. Touring the area laid low by Katrina, that wry smile widened on the VP's face as he saw dollar signs everywhere he looked. What better thing to see after looking over a three million dollar vacation home as Katrina blew ashore. This was well worth flying back from Wyoming. Opportunity in the land of the free-- and unrestrained.

Exit the evacuees, aka, refugees. There in the big, generous state of Texas the poor-- and now homeless-- still await promised, undelivered relief. When will they be able to return to the city they love? Only after Halliburton gives them the green light.

Two weeks after FEMA failed to rescue the people of New Orleans, bodies still float in the sludge in the streets of the city. Vultures circle overhead. No, not birds, helicopters carrying Halliburton execs and political pals. What a banquet awaits them. They give a new and horrid twist to the words of Auntie Mame. Even Anne Rice did not imagine such vampires.


Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Bush

Will America be able to dig itself out of the
damages wreaked by Hurricane Bush, the most
destructive unnatural disaster to ever hit this

Let's retrace the path of this storm:

First, Bush ignores the memo that says Bin Laden
determined to attack the USA. Ooops, he did what he
said he'd do.
Second, Bush ignores information from Army Corps of
Civil Engineers saying that Lake Ponchatrain levees
need immediate repairs to protect the city. Worse,
he slashes $26 million from their budget. Ooops,
they knew what they were talking about.
Fact: Meteorogists have been saying for years that
tropical storms are getting worse because of global
warming. Bush's first act as President was to pull
the US out of the Kyoto hearings and to fight
tooth-and-nail any actions to reduce our impact on
the environment. He and his cronies won't even admit
global warming exists -- bad for bidness. Ooops, the
weather men got it right.

Next, Bush squanders a sizable national surplus by
giving tax breaks to super-rich buddies and by
starting a war-of-choice in Iraq. That'll show Daddy
whose balls are bigger.
Fact: following Hurricane Katrina there are now
untold billions of dollars in damages in New Orleans
and other Gulf cities; in NO, much of that damage is
caused not by the storm but by flooding from
ruptures in the aforementioned levees. Too bad
there isn't still a surplus to pay for
this. You can't prevent a hurricane, but
that's why we *save money* -- "for a rainy day." Too
bad we don't have a President with any sense of
fiscal (or, apparently, moral) responsibility; this
should come as no surprise, since every personal
business venture he has been involved in has ended
in bankruptcy -- the US economy is just another in
the long list.

Thousands of Americans gave their lives in an
attack on New York City that could have been
prevented were our President able to read and
inclined to do his job. Oh, well, he was on
Thousands of Americans are giving their lives in a
war of choice based on lies and decit as Bush goes on
a lot of nice bike rides in the country.
Thousands of Americans now give their lives and all
their possessions in the aftermath of flooding that
could have been prevented were our President able to
read and inclined to do his job. Their
suffering could have been eased somewhat, and lives
saved, had our National Guard not been largely
deployed in the Middle East. Instead, the
President saws logs in Crawford and avoids talking
to Cindy Sheehan.

Where will our country be in 2008?
Billions and billions and billions of dollars in
debt, hated by a big percentage of the world and
distrusted by even more, perhaps still mired in a
war or involved in others, and trying to deal with a
crumbling infrastructure at home that we can't
afford to fix because of wars and tax breaks. Oh,
well, at least the oil guys and Haliburton execs
will be richer than ever.