I wonder which mine this group represents?
With democracy losing ground everywhere in the world, including Western Europe and Russia, you have to wonder–is the political cartoonist going the way of the dinosaur?
Say what you will about them but you can’t say you don’t feel a tinge of sorrow, or at least embarrassment, for all those fabulously wealthy Greens–known to millions as the Global Warming Elites–who increasingly find their fabulous lifestyles staring down the muzzle of the internet itself, replicated with hi-res zoomable image loads on Digg or You Tube. It isn’t long before they find themselves suddenly having to engage in a rigorous defense of it all.
Case in pixel point: greenman John Travolta’s back yard. Every last blade of grass is online, but it’s all the stuff on it that causes the commotion. The man is telling people to conserve resources (he encourages his fans to “do their bit to tackle global warming”). but there it is– his Florida estate filled with custom jet aircraft–a 707, two or three Gulfstreams, a Lear jet–all parked along the neat golf course-like landscaping, somewhere near the huge swimming pool (though at first you might mistake it for Lake Okeechobee), not too far from the SUV fleet which is sort of intermingled with the Yankee Stadium class array of lighting equipment.
At first—from an overhead– the vehicles look like so many children’s battery powered plastic riders but then, well, no, those babies are real. The cars, the planes, the pool lake. But the aircraft! The man has a damn air force. John Travolta’s air corp could seriously jeopardize the governmental stability of at least thirty percent of the world’s nations. He could, I’m sure, wipe Peru or Guatemala off the map, that is if he were some megalomaniac like Dr Evil intent on conquest. But no, not to worry, this flying actor ace just likes flying big fuel guzzlers above the clouds. Evidently, he has a different plane for nearly each day of the week (notice how his house resembles an airport terminal).
John Travolta’s estate in Florida, showing a few of his planes.
Before the heavy duty hyper-linking raised awareness about such things, being an armchair green used to be like living and breathing in a hypocrite’s paradise. You could have your huge carbon footprint and eat it too. You could talk a good green old-forest talk and really feel good about yourself (and others about you) and your cause, but use as much carbon emitters as you wanted. Like Al Gore they could laugh at that spinning electrical dial on the outside of the mansion. No one was looking. Not really looking. But now not even the muscle bound green Arnold can use his gluttonous Hummer like some skateboard anymore.
In case you didn’t know the defense is called “carbon neutralizing”, an amorphous term which goes something like this (and this is just an oversimplified example, so allow for some latitude): Let’s say Arianna Huffington gets up in the morning and is flown in her Lear Jet down the street to Seven-Eleven for coffee and a cream cheese bagel. That’s a lot of fuel but, wait, she carbon offsets it. Dutifully, each night, she makes up for the fuel intake of the winged breakfast run by turning off maybe a couple of hundred lightbulbs in her home during the evening.
Of course the problem with this, which is something probably even the most dense dolt is now beginning to realizes, is that their carbon neutralizing always takes place within their own gluttonous context: their neutralizing only offsets one excess for another .
But you figure the Green Elites love their Lear jets and limos and Hummers, their mansions, motorized yachts and driveways and parking lots long enough to pave the whole country of Zimbabwe. The carbon offset is an essential mask on their hypocritical way of life. But with hyperlinking becoming more invasive by the moment carbon offsetting must become equally more sophisticated. Environmentalists are more and more being called on the ecological carpet.
From the LA Times: “The Oscar-winning film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ touted itself as the world’s first carbon-neutral documentary. The producers said that every ounce of carbon emitted during production — from jet travel, electricity for filming and gasoline for cars and trucks — was counterbalanced by reducing emissions somewhere else in the world.” How?
“Co-producer Lesley Chilcott used an online calculator to estimate that shooting the film used 41.4 tons of carbon dioxide and paid a middleman, a company called Native Energy, $12 a ton, or $496.80, to broker a deal to cut greenhouse gases elsewhere. The film’s distributors later made a similar payment to neutralize carbon dioxide from the marketing of the movie.”
Unfortunately for the Greens the sophisticated online calculating is no different than Ms Huffington flying down the block for a bagel in the morning and then turning off her lights. You see, the ever so sophisticated offsetting turns out to be “a ridiculously good deal with one problem: So far, it has not led to any additional emissions reductions. Beneath the feel-good simplicity of buying your way to carbon neutrality is a growing concern that the idea is more hype than solution.”
So what does it all boil down to? ” ‘If you really believe you’re carbon neutral, you’re kidding yourself,’ ” says Gregg Marland, a fossil-fuel pollution expert at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee who has been watching the evolution of the new carbon markets. “You can’t get out of it that easily.” But that of course is exactly what the jet set Global Warming Elites want to do.
Here’s an UPDATE.
Here’s the latest UPDATE (11/30/09).
Update: Harrison Ford, another fabulous greenboy offsetter.
We all know the veiling and covering of the female form is, so we’ve been told by Islamists, for the woman’s own good, since a mere glimpse of flesh may prove too much of an ordeal for a normal man to control the sexual beast within himself. In her book Infidel, Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes “I found it remarkable how many esteemed Muslim thinkers had philosophized at such length about precisely how much female skin could be bared without causing chaos to break out across the landscape…This was because her bare skin would involuntarily cause men to feel an uncontrollable frenzy of sexual arousal…Some scholars held that the eyes of women were the strongest source of sexual provocation: when the Quran said women should lower their gaze it actually meant they should hide their eyes. Another school of thought held that the very sight of a woman’s lips…could bring a man into a sexual state that could cause his downfall…other thinkers spent pages and pages on the sensual cure of the chin, a pretty nose, or long slender fingers and the tendency of some women to move their hands in a way that attracted attention to their temptations.”
Of course the very nature of such obsessions turns on itself, as if this hidden sexuality is being reflected in a mirror as an assortment of intense fetishes. Ali, again in Infidel, quotes a male friend who tells her “Before the [Muslim] Brotherhood came, you could see everyone’s arms and legs. We never used to notice. But now that women are covering so much, all I can think about is those round calves and silky arms and the hair…I never used to think about a neck before, but ooh, a neck is so sexy now.”
Traveling through Muslim Khartoum, it didn’t take Paul Theroux (Dark Star Safari) long to discover this fetishistic effect. “I saw a man and woman heading to the mosque…they were both dressed up for the occasion. Without question they were husband and wife, for she was decorated with henna…the privilege of a married woman. The woman was very attractive…tall and black and slender, in a gold-colored gossamer veil. Parting it with the toss of her head, she gave me a glimpse of her face. Her figure was apparent in the sinuous movement of her gown, and she wore black high-heeled shoes. The hem of her gown became entangled in one stiletto heel, and as she stopped to disengage the wisp of silken cloth from her heel point with a gloved hand, lifting her gown a bit higher, I saw the filigree of dark henna on her foot and her ankle and reaching up her leg, delicately painted, as though she were wearing the sexiest French tights. In addition to the pretty shoe and naked foot, the principal fascination of this lovely painted leg was that it belonged to a woman that was veiled. The explicit fetishism of her feet, her only exposed flesh, left the hidden charms to the imagination. Nothing to me was more erotic.”
Note: I once tried to get a girlfriend to wear a veil while she was naked but she wouldn’t go for it (and she wouldn’t go for the threesome either).
Laura Bush shows that she’s definitely not going to play the politically correct game (so far). Unlike Nancy Pelosi on her trip to the middle east, Laura Bush has not been seen wearing a submissive head covering (so far) and the contrast with the Muslim women is stark. She’s seen here in the fascist state of Saudi Arabia attending a breast cancer awareness conference. Links: LGF , Debbie Schussel, Gates of Vienna. [Correction--though it's somewhat confusing in news reports, evidently her first visst above was to not the fascist state of Saudi Arabia but to the fascist state of the UAE.]
Here she meets another Saudi (UAE?) woman. The pressure must be on to cover the First Lady up a little. After all, this is the land of dark matter. I’m sure Dumbya’s calling her up too–dress more Islamo, get on one of them there Islamo veils, girl. I have to admit though, Laura’s hanging tough; with that open collar she’s only about two inches from cleavage status.
Oh but we knew this was coming didn’t we? Laura Bush with head covering (another link). This is in Saudi Arabia. Yeah, I guess I have to eat that sentence above (underlined) favorably contrasting her with Nancy Pelosi. And she’s certainly given up on that promising cleavage. What a change of pace! (though i must admit she looks quite beautiful in that pic below–angelic).
________dark matter descends___________________updates______________________updates
Update: Laura Bush endorses tyranny. “Because she has no statutory power, the American First Lady’s actions are wholly symbolic. So when last week First Lady Laura Bush embarked on a visit to the Persian Gulf to promote breast cancer awareness in the Arab world as part of the US-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer, she traveled there as a symbol. And the symbolic message that her visit evoked is a deeply disturbing one.” This is incredible. In this single post we’ve gone from the First Lady, seemingly holding her own against the dark matter, then herself becoming dark matter. The article from the J [at the link] continues:
TO THE extent that women in Saudi Arabia are allowed leave their homes, they are prohibited from actually being seen by anyone through the rigid enforcement of Islamic dress codes. As the State Department 2006 report explains, “In public, a woman was expected to wear an abaya (a black garment that covers the entire body) and also to cover her head and hair. The religious police generally expected Muslim women to cover their faces and non-Muslim women from other Asian and African countries to comply more fully with local customs of dress than non-Muslim Western women. During the year religious police admonished and harassed citizen and noncitizen women who failed to wear an abaya and hair cover.” Perhaps it is because it is so offensive to the Western eye to see women covered like sacks of potatoes, the abaya has become a symbol of Islamic oppression and degradation of women. Although outlawing their use, as the French have attempted to do in recent years, is itself a form of religious oppression, the sentiment informing their ban is certainly understandable. The fact is that a free society should not be able to easily stomach the notion that women should be encouraged, let alone obliged to wear degrading garments that deny them the outward vestiges of their humanity and individuality. Due to the fact that the abayas convey a symbolic message of effective enslavement of women, Mrs. Bush’s interaction with women clad in abayas was the aspect of her trip most scrutinized. In the United Arab Emirates, Mrs. Bush was photographed sitting between four women covered head to toe in abayas while she was wearing regular clothes. The image of Mrs. Bush sitting between four women who look like nothing more than black piles of fabric couldn’t have been more viscerally evocative and consequently, symbolically meaningful. The image told the world that she – and America – is free and humane while the hidden women of Arabia are enslaved and their society is inhumane. But then Mrs. Bush went to Saudi Arabia and the symbolic message of the previous day was superseded and lost when she donned an abaya herself and had her picture taken with other abaya-clad women. The symbolic message of those photographs also couldn’t have been clearer. By donning an abaya, Mrs. Bush symbolically accepted the legitimacy of the system of subjugating women that the garment embodies, (or disembodies). Understanding this, conservative media outlets in the US criticized her angrily. Sunday morning, Mrs. Bush sought to answer her critics in an interview with Fox News. Unfortunately, her remarks compounded the damage. Mrs. Bush said, “These women do not see covering as some sort of subjugation of women, this group of women that I was with. That’s their culture. That’s their tradition. That’s a religious choice of theirs.” It is true that this is their culture. And it is also their tradition. But it is not their choice. Their culture and tradition are predicated on denying them the choice of whether or not to wear a garment that denies them their identity just as it denies them the right to make any choices about their lives. The Saudi women’s assertions of satisfaction with their plight were no more credible than statements by hostages in support of their captors. As the First Lady, Laura Bush is an American symbol. By having her picture taken wearing an abaya in Saudi Arabia – the epicenter of Islamic totalitarian misogyny – Mrs. Bush diminished that symbol. In so doing, she weakened the causes of freedom and liberty which America has fought since its founding to secure and defend at home and throughout the world.
Hell, I guess it’s true. Pictures don’t lie. As the Washington Post puts it, “When Captain America returns to the pages of his comic book in January, it won’t be his star-spangled new duds getting all the attention. Instead it will be what he’s wielding in his right hand, the one once reserved for pummeling the jaws of evil. Come next year, he’ll be gripping cold, hard steel.Since when does an American superhero need a lousy gun.” For Captain America to have a gun sort of makes a mockery of his super hero outfit. I mean why not just wear regular clothes, like Mr everyday common crime fighter who carries a gun. Imagine seeing Boy Wonder packing a piece strapped to his leotards. Or superman with a holster secured over his red speedos. I’ve always believed our Superheroes had more going for them, contained some innate, beyond mere human, capability. Using a crude gun doesn’t cut it. I remember the deep disappointment I felt a few years ago when I discovered Batman couldn’t actually fly, but he has other powers (cunningness, incredible stamina, incredible array of survival inventions and a Batmobile). The whole idea behind a superhero is to be more than just human or using human accouterments (like a gun). The Flash isn’t particularly strong, but the man can run. Likewise for Aqua Boy. He’s not exactly Superboy–but he can at least breath under water. Wonder Woman may look very humanly feminine but she’s only about a step and a half from all-powerful Goddess status. And look at Spiderman; no mere human can spin a web and crawl up the side of a building. Captain America should ditch the gun and rely on his extra human speed and his indestructible vibranium alloy shield, which can be thrown with laser like accuracy and rebound in a flash.
A well-publicized recent poll concluded what we already suspected–that a lot of people don’t read anymore, at least not the longer stuff, which is why short-short-short fiction (I mean short–say six words) may become the new bathroom lit. Short short stuff isn’t new. On Pete Lit there’s several samples of this stuff from oldsters, including a six word story from Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” The end. Irvine Welsh chimes in with another six-worder: “Eyeballed me, killed him. Slight exaggeration.” Back in Hemingway’s time it was a novelty, but now could become the perfect length for modern readers to work up a sweat as they slog through stubby plots.
Update: This concept is starting to get serious. Check here for a whole series on six-word concoctions.
Once when I was a kid I lay in bed wondering what it would be like to be dead. What would it feel like? I stiffened up under the blanket. I put my hands at my side and closed my eyes. I stopped breathing for a full twenty seconds or so. I tried not to think about anything. I suppressed all thoughts of naked women (as best I could). That was my simulation. That was what I imagined death would be like. At New Scientist there’s an article entitled Death special: How does it feel to die? “Is it distressing to experience consciousness slipping away or something people can accept with equanimity? Are there any surprises in store as our existence draws to a close? These are questions that have plagued philosophers and scientists for centuries, and chances are you’ve pondered them too occasionally.” The article gives us descriptions–simulations–of drowning, heart attack, bleeding to death, fire, decapitation, electrocution, falling, hanging, lethal injection, explosive decompression. Turns out my own simulation wasn’t even close. Check here too.
“Beheading, if somewhat gruesome, can be one of the quickest and least painful ways to die – so long as the executioner is skilled, his blade sharp, and the condemned sits still. The height of decapitation technology is, of course, the guillotine. Officially adopted by the French government in 1792, it was seen as more humane than other methods of execution. When the guillotine was first used in public, onlookers were reportedly aghast at the speed of death. Quick it may be, but consciousness is nevertheless believed to continue after the spinal chord is severed. A study in rats in 1991 found that it takes 2.7 seconds for the brain to consume the oxygen from the blood in the head; the equivalent figure for humans has been calculated at 7 seconds. Some macabre historical reports from post-revolutionary France cited movements of the eyes and mouth for 15 to 30 seconds after the blade struck, although these may have been post-mortem twitches and reflexes. If you end up losing your head, but aren’t lucky enough to fall under the guillotine, or even a very sharp, well-wielded blade, the time of conscious awareness of pain may be much longer. It took the axeman three attempts to sever the head of Mary Queen of Scots in 1587. He had to finish the job with a knife.Decades earlier in 1541, Margaret Pole, the Countess of Salisbury, was executed at the Tower of London. She was dragged to the block, but refused to lay her head down. The inexperienced axe man made a gash in her shoulder rather than her neck. According to some reports, she leapt from the block and was chased by the executioner, who struck 11 times before she died.”
Hermes, Aphrodite, Apollo–we will now go among the mortals…
“NASCAR fans might seem rabid, but are they actually contagious? Getting a hepatitis shot is standard procedure for travelers to parts of Africa and Asia, but some congressional aides were instructed to get immunized before going to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord and the racetrack in Talladega, Ala.” Elite Washingtonians among the rabble? Breathing in the germs? Passing through the realm of the beasts? Does the head God Zeus know about this? Read, Read more
“The Grand Prairie store’s employees, perhaps unforgivingly after hearing the sob story, insisted that the new iPod had to be purchased before opening it. The family finally agreed, purchased the iPod, and opened it in front of Target employees. Again, the box that should have contained an iPod contained rocks. The woman once again asked for her money back, but again was denied.” Read more.
Of course we’re talking of this day back in the all too human year of 1283. Back then on this very day Prince Gruffydd became the very first person to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Yes, “he was hanged, revived and disemboweled. His entrails were thrown into the fire as he watched, symbolic penance for ‘his sacrilege in committing his crimes in the week of Christ’s passion.’* Then he was beheaded and his body cut into quarters ‘for plotting the king’s death.’ ” The event is also notable for its punishment for a secular and a religious crime. We should never underestimate the creativity of human beings who lived centuries ago–or for that matter now.
Hey, no concession stand for refreshments? How you supposed to watch this without popcorn and ale?
Note: see previous post.
* I’m sure Jesus really appreciates the honor.
“Several of the “Beebo” books recently reprinted by Cleis Press. Written by Ann Bannon, they were first published from 1957 to 1962 as pulp novels depicting lesbians’ lives.”
“The series opener, “Odd Girl Out,” was the second-best-selling paperback of 1957, and since the 1970s at least one new edition has been released every decade. From 2001 to 2003, Cleis Press gave five of the novels their sixth and most current printing, and all five are still available. ” Read the article in the NY Times: Sapphic Pulp Fiction
“Not surprisingly many of the canonical images of early war photography turn out to have been staged, or to have had their subjects tampered with. After reaching the much shelled valley approaching Sebastopol in his horse-drawn darkroom, [Roger] Fenton made two exposures from the same tripod position: in the first version of the celebrated photo he was to call ‘The Valley of the Shadow of Death’ (despite the title, it was not across this landscape, that the Light Brigade made its doomed charge), the cannonballs are thick on the ground to the left of the road, but before taking the second picture – the one that is always reproduced – he oversaw the scattering of the cannonballs on the road itself.” This is a quote from Susan Sontag, referenced in the article by Errol Morris ( NY Times).
For Mr Morris, however, this quote is a starting point for the chicken or the egg syndrome: “While I was wrestling with these questions, it occurred to me that there was an even deeper question. How did Sontag know the sequence of the photographs? How did she know which photograph came first, OFF or ON? Presumably, there had to be some additional information that allowed the photographs to be ordered: before and after. If this is the basis for her claim that the second photograph was staged – that the landscape was posed for the second photograph – shouldn’t she offer some evidence? Fenton takes one photograph (OFF), oversees the scattering of the cannonballs and then takes another photograph (ON).” But in order to understand this you really do have to read the whole article.