Saturday, March 20, 2004

SATURDAY MORNING FEVER (A buncha stuff for the weekend)

In fact, it’s a whole mass of bits and pieces served up pretty much as they come...


First a quick quiz, as in, who said the following?

“Naturally the common people don't want war, but after all it is the leaders who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”

Anne Coulter?
Don Rumsfeld?
No my friends, it was that old transvestite junkie Nazi and Hitler’s fattest henchman, Hermann Goering, who was reflecting on his political life in Allied captivity shortly before he offed himself.


From MSNBC A steep decline in birds, butterflies and native plants in Britain supports the theory that humans are pushing the natural world into the Earth's sixth big extinction event and the future may see more and more animal species disappearing.


(From AOL news) ...that would put presidential spending in the $455 million range - not counting the tens of millions of dollars the Democratic and Republican parties and outside groups will pour in.


(From kaymo) For those who missed it, Joe Klein, Time Magazine's leadoff hitter ran a column he must have been saving up for months this week."Bush and 9/11: What We Need to Know." Klein points out that the GOP propaganda machine wants the US public to focus on the plush monkey on his most memorable day as Resident. Sept 14 2001, when with bullhorn in hand he stood atop the rubble among firefighters etc. This is why the White House has been so reluctant to cooperate with the independent commission investigating Sept 11 2001. But soon Bush will have to face some questions. So Klein asked around Washington, among those who know stuff, to find out what questions they would ask. These are them.

1/ Why didn't you respond to the Al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole (Oct 12 2000) ?After that attack the Clinton Admin concluded that Al Qaeda had to be smashed. But they thought it best to leave the job to the incoming Bushies. Apparently Condi Rice believed that China was the biggest threat to the US, not Al Qaeda.Did Bush know about the Clinton determination re: Al Qaeda? Did he consider an aggressive response to the USS Cole attack, or the foiled plot directed at LA International Airport in Dec 1999?

2/ Why didn't Bush deploy the armed Predator drones in Afghanistan in early 2001? The technology was ready and would have offered the best chance of killing Osama. The CIA and the Pentagon were squabbling over who would be in charge of pulling the trigger so nothing happened until after 9/11. Was Bush aware of this dispute? Why wasn't he able to resolve it and get the job done?

3/August 6 2001.. Bush was told that Al-Qaeda were planning an attack in the USA, perhaps using airplanes. What was his response to this? How closely was he following the reports on Al-Qaeda, which had taken on an extremely urgent tone by late spring? Was Bush aware that Ashcroft had opposed increasing counter-terrorism money for the FBI?

4/ In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 why did Bush allow planeloads of Saudi nationals including members of the Bin Laden family to leave the US? Who asked that the Saudis be given special treatment? Was Bush aware that members of the Saudi Royal family contributed to charities that
funded Al-Qaeda?

Naturally, these are not the questions the Republicans want Americans to be thinking about come November 2004.


Also from MSNBC Some 100 Bahraini Islamists shouting "God is Greatest" stormed a French restaurant serving alcohol in the pro-Western Gulf Arab state and threatened diners with knives. The assailants, opposed to the consumption of alcohol banned by Islam, also threw gasoline bombs at customers' cars parked outside the restaurant near the capital Manama late on Wednesday, damaging nine vehicles.

LINK – Our pal hipspinster has a blog on fog –

CRYPTIQUEThere’s never a penguin when you need one.


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Friday, March 19, 2004


After yesterday’s rant of wolves, (or wolfs if you prefer the Doc40 creative spelling) I turn the forum over to kaymo, for a short saga of rock and ice and sulphur eating bacteria by the black smoker taking advantage – and doesn’t that sound like a perfect weekend in Las Vegas.

Okay, here's something to lighten our darkness, or just for a moment dispel that disturbing vision of the plush monkey on Chuckie Demon batteries that's running for reelection.

So yesterday we all heard the news about Sedna. We now have a 10th planet in the solar system, albeit a frozen mini-world out there on the fringes of the Oort Cloud. What's to say about Sedna that hasn't been said about Pluto? Not much. It's even further away and probably a tad colder. However, it may be just the first of a plethora of similar ice balls yet to be found that are out there on the distant fringes of the system. But a report last month concerning the planetary systems that are being detected around nearby stars was much more fun.

Everyone has now picked up on the grim thought of inward migrating Super-Jovians, that is-- great big gas giants that suck up stuff in youngish solar systems laden with asteroids and suchlike and thereby lose orbital momentum and thereby spin inward to take up orbits close to their stars. On the way they either absorb any Earths or Marses, or knock them out into interstellar space to freeze and die. Super-Jovians have been detected orbiting a number of nearby Sun-like stars now.
Definitely not good for the chances of life evolving in such solar systems.Except that, just as in our system we have a Jupiter, we also have a Saturn parked out there beyond it, and beyond that we have Uranus and Neptune. In a system with a migrating Super-Jovian the possibility exists that as it moves inward it will tug the outer planets in behind it.

An outer planet like Uranus or Neptune pulled into the inner reaches of a solar system would then undergo some interesting changes. The hydrogen in the atmosphere would boil off, the ice would melt, so would the methane and ammonia. A lot of the atmosphere would bleed off as it
heated up. And down at the bottom, above the rocky core, there would form an ocean of water, anywhere from 20 to 50 miles deep.

Of course the atmosphere would start out like Earth's did, heavy on ammonia and methane, without oxygen. But life on Earth probably started around "black smokers" on the ocean bottom where sulphur eating bacteria evolved to take advantage of a ton of their favorite food being spewed out of volcanic vent. Those kind of bacteria are still doing their thing down at the bottom of our oceans today. The geology that leads to black smoker type vents spewing sulphur rich gas into the bottom of the ocean is likely to be the same on all planets that are warm enough to have liquid water and an active mantle.And once you have halogen feeding bacteria it's only a matter of time, quite a lot of it, before you have all sorts of other kinds of bacteria and eventually other things too.

Since we're finding a lot of systems with these huge Super-Jovians parked close to their stars, it's quite possible that in some of them there will be warmed up Neptunes covered in vast oceans fifty miles deep, in which life can begin and evolve.

Okay, fun's over, back to the plush monkey

CRYPTIQUEThe roof is on fire.

Thursday, March 18, 2004






(Luckily this story was written yesterday, before Doc40 became as sick as a dog and AOL (and it’s India-based tech support) started to do their level best to destroy both my mind and my computer. Fortunately that had now been put to rights – mainly by the Doc’s blind intervention rather than any effort of corporate support, and I’ll be catching up on work and email forthwith.)

I have always been inordinately fond of wolves. I think the romance started with Kipling’s Mowgli books, which were handed to me before I could actually read, but it was really cemented during the summer that I worked at the London Zoo in Regents Park in my transition phase between student and wastrel. I was having an affair with a girl called Jane, who was kinda conflicted about why she was spending too many of her nights with me. On one hand, I guess I functioned as some kind of low-budget Bob Dylan surrogate, but, on another, I was way to the weird, bohemian left of what she still thought of as her middle class station. Thus there were bouts of off and on, and, during the off times, I would sit and feel depressed and lovelorn, smoke a covert joint, and look at the wolves on their enclosure, while the wolves looked at me.

I don’t know if it’s the same today, but back in the 1960s the wolves in London Zoo were confined in a long narrow enclosure that ran all the way down the east side of the zoo, which allowed the wolves to gallop, but also provided a major deterrent against human unlawful entry. Thus it was easy to see them from the outside of the zoo – and, indeed, the same scene is played out in the movie Withnail and I when the washed-up Withnail stands in the pouring rain, staring at the wolves much as I did.

With all this personal history going on, I was therefore mad as hell when I read that the wolves were being legally exterminated in Alaska, as part and parcel of the Bush administrations opening up of the wilderness to the rankest capitalism. For the dispassionate facts, let’s go to the NY Times of 3/15/2004..

For 30 years hunting lobbyists have campaigned for what is euphemistically called wolf "control." Thanks to the compliance of Gov. Frank Murkowski and the state's official game board, the legal protections for Alaska's 7,000 to 9,000 wolves have been seriously eroded. In nearly 20,000 square miles of the state it is now legal for private citizens to shoot wolves from airplanes and helicopters. In one district the limit has been increased from 10 wolves a year to 10 wolves a day.
In these districts, the new regulations call for an 80 percent "temporary" reduction in the wolf population. But a reduction on that scale is merely likely to be the first step towards the total elimination of wolves. This isn't sport hunting – there's nothing sporting about deploying an air force to unt animals. The real spirit of hunting has always been about working within the balance of nature. But not in Alaska. There is already a hunting and trapping season for Alaskan wolves, and some 7,500 wolves have been legally killed in the past five years. But hunters want more moose meat on the table, and the state has promised them unnaturally high numbers. Instead of setting sustainable limits for the moose hunt, the game board has decided simply to kill the animals that prey on moose – wolves and bears. According to the game board, "moose are important for providing high levels of harvest for human consumptive use." In other words, moose are important, wolves are not. Wildlife biologists disagree, and so do most Alaskans, who have voted against aerial shooting twice, in 1996 and 2000. But now the extremists have taken over. Any notion that wolves and moose are part of a functioning ecosystem has been abandoned. The hunting lobby demands that moose be managed as livestock destined for harvesting by hunters – the more the merrier, with anything that gets in the way destined for destruction. In Alaska, wolves are now merely competitors seizing valuable human resources.

The final sentence is what pisses me off about the general attitude to wolves. “Wolves are now merely competitors seizing valuable human resources.” That has essentially been the bad rap against wolves for centuries. The Big Bad Wolf, the Boy Who Cried Wolf, and bloody Red Riding Hood, on close examination, all turned out to be little more than evil, 19th century agri-business propaganda. The legend has always been that wolves ate people; that they were one of the few species that disputed the human place at the top of the food chain, but, in reality, the incidence of wolf attacks on people run zero to minimal. On the other hand, wolves do not make distinctions between fair game and domestic livestock, and a propensity for carrying off sheep and cattle made them a threat to the farmer and his profit margin. Not content to make the case on that level, however – to simply state that the wolf was bad for business and had to go – faux-primal fear was injected into the story, and the myths of wolves carrying off babies, of wolf packs chasing one horse open sleighs through the forest, of the gleaming hungry eyes around the trapper’s campfire, were inserted into the folklore, particularly of Central and Eastern Europe, and then brought to America with the waves of immigrants. (And one might note an ugly similarity to the mythology employed in organized anti-Semitism.) In the twentieth century, the fiction of the killer wolf was nailed into the culture by both Bram Stoker and Lon Chaney Jr.. Dracula morphed into a white wolf, the werewolf grew fur and fangs at the full moon. Wolves were evil and must die.

The saga of saving the wolf is another of those battles that we thought had been fought and won in the 1960s when folksinger Pete LaFarge and sections of the American Indian Movement protested the strychnine killing of wolfs and coyotes, and, gradually, the thinking – especially behind wildlife management in the National Parks – came round to the idea that predators like wolves and bears were an essential part of a balanced ecology, and, in the lower 48, wolf populations have been growing. But Murkowski and these bastards in Alaska, have turned all this around and seem once again happy to extinguish a entire species if it suits their corporate agenda.


Our pal Belle de Jour has become famous, has a book deal, and is being outed, and all kinds of other exciting stuff.


Wednesday, March 17, 2004


AOL would appear to have crashed Doc40's computer. We wonder what happens next.


Tuesday, March 16, 2004


I have a lot to say about wolves, but, the way the day has gone, it doesn’t seem as though I’ll have the thing fully written until tomorrow, so I’m going to have to leave you with a clip of inspired Bush bashing from Maureen Dowd in the NY Times. I hope all of the Doc40 crew from outside the US will bear with these constant assaults on the president. It’s illegal for a bunch of senators to emulate the assassination of Julius Caesar and stab the bastard to death (not that they’d have the balls to anyway) so it’s down to we the people to spend the next eight months making the malignant simian look so pathetically absurd that he will be voted out of office, and some relative normality restored to our lives.

Mr. Bush's subtext is clear: If it weren't for all these awful things that happened, most of them hangovers from the Clinton era, I definitely could have fulfilled all my promises. I'm still great, but none of my programs worked because, well, stuff happens." It's as if his inner fat boy is complaining that a classic triple cheeseburger from Wendy's (940 calories and 56 grams of fat, 25 of them saturated, and 2,140 milligrams of sodium) jumped out of its wrapper and forced its way down his unwilling throat, topped off by a pushy Frosty (540 calories and 13 grams of fat, 8 of them saturated).Mr. Bush has been in office over three years. It's time to start accepting some responsibility. Republicans have a bad habit of laying down rules for other people to follow while excluding themselves. Look how they beat up Bill Clinton for messing around with a young woman, while many top Republicans were doing the very same thing. Mr. Bush's whingeing was infectious. The very House Republicans who greased the skids for the cheeseburger bill got in a huff over John Kerry's overheard comment to some supporters in Chicago that his Republican critics were "the most crooked, you know, lying group" he'd ever seen. These tough-guy Republicans, who rule the House with an iron fist, were suddenly squealing like schoolgirls at being victimized by big, bad John Kerry. J. Dennis Hastert, the House speaker, said Mr. Kerry would have his "upcomeance coming." Tom DeLay sulked that the public was getting "a glimpse of the real John Kerry." The Hammer was talking like a nail. Marc Racicot, Mr. Bush's campaign chairman, accused Mr. Kerry of "unbecoming" conduct and called on him to apologize. Oh, the poor dears.

For the full story –

(Except the NY Times seems to be dicking around with the web link. It's been checked so if you have a problem, the story was on the editorial page of Sunday's edition.)


Seems like we have a new planet or planetoid in the solar system. It's been given the name Sedna, which is supposedly that of an Inuit godess, although it looks a lot like Andes spelled backwards. And they were never my favorite mountain range, not after those Rugby players ate each other. Could it not have been called something cool like Joe, or Betty -- or maybe Elvis?

CRYPTIQUESwing on a star, Monkey Boy.

Monday, March 15, 2004


This came in from fidicen, and I figured that the only thing to do was to post it without comment, except that I had never seen the full lyric in print before, plus to do this is probably illegal, but fuck whatever media corporation thinks they own the poetry. Let ‘em sue me. I’m in the mood for conflict. I cry at Spanish Civil War movies, and so did Joe, so I doubt he'd mind. I also hear that Aznar's out and the socialists took power in the Spanish elections, and will pull their troops out of Iraq -- but at what a hideous price.

SPANISH BOMBS (Strummer/Jones)

Spanish songs in Andalucia
The shooting sites in the days of '39
Oh, please, leave the vendanna open
Fredrico Lorca is dead and gone
Bullet holes in the cemetery walls
The black cars of the Guardia Civil
Spanish bombs on the Costa Rica
I'm flying in a DC 10 tonight

Spanish bombs, yo tequierro y finito
Yote querda, oh mi corazon
Spanish bombs, yo te quierro y finito
Yo te querda, oh mi corazon

Spanish weeks in my disco casino
The freedom fighters died upon the hill
They sang the red flag
They wore the black one
But after they died it was Mockingbird Hill
Back home the buses went up in flashes
The Irish tomb was drenched in blood
Spanish bombs shatter the hotels
My senorita's rose was nipped in the bud

The hillsides ring with "Free the people"
Or can I hear the echo from the days of '39?
With trenches full of poets
The ragged army, fixin' bayonets to fight the other line
Spanish bombs rock the province
I'm hearing music from another time
Spanish bombs on the Costa Brava
I'm flying in on a DC 10 tonight
Spanish songs in Andalucia, Mandolina, oh mi corazon
Spanish songs in Granada, oh mi corazon

CRYPTIQUE – They shall not pass.

Sunday, March 14, 2004


Shall we all get right with God, brothers and sisters?

I suppose if we were truly devout we’d be spending Sunday doing absolutely nothing, which would come a major relief to me, at least, since I appear to spend all my time writing until my typing hands hurt. Also, since there would appear to be no biblical proscriptions against smoking weed, we could be doing nothing plus being as high as kites, which is, if I recall correctly, is how I spent a considerable part of my youth, when, I swear, things were a great deal fucking easier. (No worries about God on the reefer count, though, the marijuana laws are just a matter of rendering unto Caesar that about which Caesar is irrationally demented.)

Okay, so here we are, Sunday, stoned, and totally doing nothing, exactly as the Bible instructs, except maybe scratching our feet. Shall we take it a stage further and try for a vision? Let’s pretend that GWB was reelected, and, while we’re waiting for the prime time death-stoning of evil-doers on Fox, hosted by Jay Leno, what better moment to review the brand new Federal regulations governing marriage. Strictly biblical right? Well, my friends, our good pal kaymo has sent us a resume of just what these new rules of bible-based marriage would need to include to make them 100% guaranteed devout...

Just in the hope of elevating the debate, I note that a constitutional amendment to codify marriage on biblical principles would need to include these provisions:

1. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5)

2. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines, in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)

3. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If she is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)

4. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:109; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30

5. Since marriage is for life, neither this constitution nor the constitution of any State shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

6. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall either be slain or pay a fine of one shoe. (Gen 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

So there you have it, oh ye of little faith. Maybe a tad hard on unbelievers, wives, sluts, and brothers in law, but weren’t we always warned that God was fucking mysterious? Now if anyone has chapter and verse on the biblical strictures against homosexuality and fornication, we can really get jiggy wit’ it.


Up on the comments board, a debate over fun v politics seems to be gathering momentum. Join in, enjoy, that’s what the thing’s there for. (And both by default and because the majority seem to like the anarchy of it all, the comments will remain as they are until they finally explode. Which I guess is the basic Doc40 theory of blog maintenance.) You can also email –

QUOTE FOR THE DAY – A true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. – Che Guevara

CRYPTIQUELay down in green pastures.