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Creeping inanity

  This week Glen Canyon Dam engineers deigned to turn on their taps for the benefit of the Grand Canyon ecosystem. Environmentalists and academics call for the simulated flash flood to be conducted yearly, but the hydroelectric folk want to wait another several years to study the results. Relinquishing water to the Grand Canyon costs them millions in lost energy revenue. Can you bet that when the dam was first conceived, there would have been no question of threatening the health of the Grand Canyon. Today conservationists have to beg for scraps where originally there was no businessman at the table. How many assumptions must we safeguard in anticipation that bean counters will eventually challenge the cost, regardless the original parameters? It could no doubt be decided that ambulances would operate more cheaply if they waited for patients to expire before transporting them. No EMT training would be necessary, and insurance rates and gas consumption would be lower because with a deceased passenger there's no need to hurry. Soon enough we'll have accountants weighing in, not about whether to adopt a dead-body-only policy, but asking us to justify how live-bodies would merit the extra expense. We think Communism came up against the harsh reality of human nature, look where Capitalism is hitting the wall. Inanity hath no rival like greed unglued. Smart people can build an institution, but if they don't chains the managers to a strict constitution, heavy on the ethics and what to smart people would have been common sense, you can expect antithetical calamity. Look at the rationalizations being made for global warming, toxins, inhumanity, disparity, war, torture. You could tell Alberto Gonzalez to his face, excuse me, but he's got his boot on your foot, and he'll respond impassively that it's neither your, nor his, concern.

Gold Hill blows arsenic and lead our way

Greedy developers finally got permission to build a suburban tract community on the tailings of a gold mill rich in toxins. Charged with keeping the mounds watered while the poisons were exposed by the earth-moving equipment, the developer let it slide to save money, until winds blew the carcinogens into the lungs of nearby residents.

Ralph Nader white knight on dark horse

If a picture is worth a thousand words, there are no end of terrible words which corrupt opinion shapers want to throw at Ralph.   A consumer/citizen advocate would indeed look sinister in the eyes of corporate malfeasance and to those interests who have pirated our democracy. The media portraits are consistent with dark shadows and a scowl, even though Nader's only special interests have been ours. If Citizen Nader wants to run for president and dedicate more of his life to public service, we should be so lucky. The only party he's pooping by stepping into the ring, is the two-party fraud perpetrated by the beltway television lying bastards. The charlatans so smugly think the American political spirit should be satiated by the choice between their stooge on the right and their stooge on the left. Asked if his candidacy would serve as a spoiler, Nader replied: "If the Democrats can’t landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form."

Living better at the expense of others

Perhaps you thought it couldn't get worse. Colorado College hosts speakers who deny global warming, or dismiss the "one or two degrees." They have speakers who champion imperialism by debt. Coming up, on February 26th at Packard Hall, CC has asked Wal-mart VP of public relations Ray Bracy to address economic development. I kid you not, his address is: "Saving People Money So They Can Live Better: A Global Perspective."   Do you almost want to hear this pitch? Materialism to live better. Exploitation the means to an end. A global picture of happiness? Now that's going to take balls.   In the meantime, consider the bronze statue Survival of the Fattest, and this WTO lament, for Art In Defense Of Humanism: I'm sitting on the back of a man He is sinking under the burden I would do anything to help him Except stepping down from his back.

Stephen Johnson auto industry minion

There it is, the Neocon ensemble: black suit, red tie and US flag lapel pin, the mark of graft, greed, and audacious insincerity.   EPA Chief Stephen Johnson defended his decision today to deny California a waiver to set its own automobile emissions standards. (The progressive CAFE standards and the pending LCFS regulations.) His rationale? Climate change threatens no significant adverse effect on the state.

Bill Gates and a better class of friends

"There is nothing that indicates more clearly the magnificence of great princes than their superb palaces and their precious furniture." -Louis XIV (1638-1715) I saw the Artisans and Kings exhibit at the DAM. A veritable cornucopia of gilded age, literally. A picnic basket comprising a chocolate warmer and a bell to summon the servants was considered a "necessaire." Many of the collected paintings and drawings were never even seen by the King. Two of the most ornate chairs are known to have been delivered after the royals were guillotined. We can only yet dream of serving justice upon our latter day robber barons. Until then we can have a laugh at their attempts at gilded trappings. US News & World Report features a virtual tour of the Bill Gates mansion. Have a look-see at his palatial compound of wood, glass and stone. I was amused by the indoor/outdoor pool which featured "guest lockers." I can imagine having a home big enough to host lots of friends, but if they need lockers I shouldn't invite them.

Give a man a candy bar…

Give a man a fish and you can feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he could live to challenge your fishing license monopoly. Give the man luxury consumer goods and hook the ignorant bastard.

The Lysol toilet bowl game

You probably know that I'm a big sports fan. I grew up watching football with my dad and cut my teeth on the traditions, the rivalries, the pageantry of college football. Some of my fondest memories are of college bowl games that were played during the holiday season. Bowl games presented matchups that were not seen in the regular season. From the weary television console came team histories, funny mascots, famous coaches, bright college colors, and excited pennant-waving crowds. It seemed to me that life came to a halt while the entire world focused on football for a few days. The Tournament of Roses game, now known as the Rose Bowl, started in 1902. It was a classic East-West battle, and was the only bowl game held outside of the South until 1971. Paired with the beautiful early morning parade, it has been part of every New Year's Day that I can remember. In 1933, the first Orange Bowl game was played. Its purpose was to draw attention to the unknown city of Miami and help build a tourism industry. Next came the Sugar Bowl (1935, New Orleans), the Sun Bowl (1936, El Paso), the Cotton Bowl (1937, Dallas), and the Gator Bowl (1946, Jacksonville). The associations behind these bowl games had altruistic beginnings. Most benefited charities, many which were recently formed to help people in the wake of the Great Depression. Today they still have 501(c)(3) status but their exempt purpose is fuzzier, bringing economic impact to a particular area. Most current bowls still contribute a large portion of revenue to worthy causes. For example, the Gator Bowl gives 75% of game revenue to support educational pursuits in Jacksonville. Of course they do, and I'm sure the money is put to good use. But if hard truth be told, I'll bet that much of the money given to charity is a payout to preserve their nonprofit status, to keep the IRS at bay. The late 1950s saw a proliferation of new bowl games hoping to make money from television coverage. The first bowl game to sell corporate naming rights was the US F&G Sugar Bowl in 1988. The move generated an adverse reaction from the public. No matter, it has now become commonplace. I personally loathe each and every corporation that co-opts tradition in the name of profit. Naming rights are even sold for half-time reports. The most memorable was an attempt to reach out to female viewers, the Stayfree Maxi-pad Half-time Report. At least that one made me laugh. I can't say the same for my dad who quickly left to stir the chili. I suppose I should be more understanding. With competition from the new bandwagon bowl games, which offer team payouts in the millions, the old timers have to play by the same rules. After all, bowls can't make money if the teams don't show up. And