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Dispatches from Boulder the Damned
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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Paul Bremer finally admits we didn't have enough troops.  At least, when he was in charge.  Now we do.  And of course, he supports Bush.  Like Bush, this is very different from what he said back then, which was that we had plenty of force available.

The White House is thrilled, of course, for this stab - yet another one - from their long line of people in the know who've spoken out.  See: O'Neill, Clarke, Powell, various military men.......  

You know, I think we need to buff up our collective memory and refuel our cynical engines.  Krispy Kreme, a concern that sells donuts, for God's sake, has attracted at a rather late and after the fact date the attention of the SEC.  Reduced to essentials, there is some concern that the company went too big, too fast, and is now facing bankruptcy and this will collapse around the ankles of small but greedy investors who will complain, with some correctness, that those responsible deceived them and the public.  Buy backs at reduced or inflated prices involving nepotism and family ties and yada yada.  The public smacks its forehead and the finance writers are ecstatic they have something to write about involving a firm most people know about.  

This all sounds so very familiar, so very eerily familiar, so very Boston Chicken, then Boston Market, then Chapter 11, then.......well, who knows.  Another sure fire quality product that exploded in growth, the executives took huge paychecks and left or tried to leave and then everything collapsed.   Greed cometh before a collapse.  Sometimes the SEC comes before that.  All to the good, but what the hell were people thinking?

Donuts, people.  Unless laced with drugs, there is only so much a donut can do, you know?  

Next suspicious collapse afoot?  Starbucks.  Going good, too good, it's just coffee and there's a lot of competition and its been too popular too long.  It's about time people start smirking and rolling their eyes about Starbucks as old hat.  A complete generation of Americans, kids associate it with the folks......  

Well, what do I know.

Okay, Mt. St. Helens has let me down.  Two days of build up and nothing.  Bathtub farts of steam (you ever taken a whiff of sulphur?  HOT sulphur?).   Ash.  But nothing worth the effort of watching on television so far.  I'd rather it came sooner than later.  It's the whole idea of gathering strength that's unnerving.  Beneath your feet.

The media is building some indignation over the court decision to keep the Grand Jury testimony and report secret because of Nathan Maxcey's indictment.  Today's Daily Camera adds an editorial to those in Denver of the last few weeks.  It should be done, and the Regents ought to be excoriated along with the Foundation.  

I'm relieved to know Gordie Bayley died of alcohol poisoning rather than the other suspicions: ax murder and hanging.   Was there any doubt?  There have now been four of these deaths that we know of and are admitted across the nation this pledge season, two here in Colorado.  One in Arkansas.  One in Oklahoma just last week.

Four deaths of young people with a pretty great future before them.  There's all this idiotic talk of pacing off liquor stores from the boundary lines of schools and universities - Richard Bynny's exercise in stupidity here takes the cake - but really, the only thing that's going to bring this around is to treat alcohol - a dangerous drug - like other dangerous drugs and their pushers.  Yes, it's nature's way when idiots drink too much and die, but it's a criminal way when adults in charge of them 'encourage' or force more booze into them - an illegal act - and don't care for them in their death rattles.  And how else can you describe it?    

You want to change the culture of this stuff?  Have a few Pledge Masters up on manslaughter charges, a few national fraternities liable for financial penalty.  That'll do it.  I can promise you that.
Monday, October 04, 2004

Just so you don't miss it.  The Sloganator Memorial site is worth a visit if you 1.) hate Bush/Cheney or 2.)like a good laugh.  I ran some of them here, but there are too many.  Very clever, some of them.  But I hate Bush/Cheney.

The iconoclast proves enough when he proves by his blasphemy that this or that idol is defectively convincing - that at least one visitor to the shrine is left full of doubts. The liberation of the human mind has been best furthered by gay fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe - that the god in the sanctuary was a fraud. One horse-laugh is worth ten-thousand syllogisms.  - Mencken

  When Mt. St. Helens briefly looked like this twenty-four years ago, we grew impatient and allowed people to putter back in near the mountain and retrieve some items and then banned them.  A lot of complaints, and the evening news was full of them.  The next morning, the mountain blew away its top 1300 feet and killed at least 57 people and a biosphere of wildlife.  It threatens to do so again, but the warnings are carefully caveated and vague.  They don't 'expect' an eruption like 1980.

Of course, they didn't expect an eruption in 1980 like 1980, and for all the furrowed brow assurances, I'm not convinced we've mind melded with volcanoes to know what and when they're going to do.  For all we actually know, it's going to be worse than 1980.  That's a sobering thought, no?  

The problem is, you never know what the meta cycle is: you only know what's happened in the relatively recent past.  Further, you can't know if the cycle is still valid, because the earth changes beneath us.  You can't ever 'know' based on the past.  You cannot.
Sunday, October 03, 2004

Mt. St. Helens!  Mt. St. Helens!  

I'm so glad I live not near Mt. St. Helens!  I've never felt an earthquake, I don't think.  It would scare me as surely as a shark in deep water seen from the safety of a reef.  A volcano would leave me incontinent, I'm afraid.  That's a power that suggests we only have about twenty miles of safety between us and a core of molten magma, hot as the sun or close enough.

But, that said, it sure is a beautiful and exciting event from afar.  I write that reflecting on Yellowstone, the world's largest known caldara a beautiful and short seven hour drive north.  Where my nephew, his wife, and Kristina Colleen - the world's most adorable child - currently live.  

Still, I await an eruption with lava and that white/orange/red stream of light down into Spirit Lake to cork forever Harry Truman's remains and that of his Lodge.  The bottom of Spirit Lake is now about two hundred feet higher than its surface previous to 1980, filled with rotting wood, and dead.  Life, though - as Crichton says - does find a way.

We got ash in Colorado, I know.  I can still recall the dusting overnight of what looked like all the world was the last contents of a cremation urn dumped from a plane.   For all I know, it was, but it would be too coincidental, I'd think.

So while I hope it does erupt in beauty, I hope it is safe and behaves, like Hawaii, and channels its lava constructively down the slopes and kills nothing.  

The weekend's almost over.  Hurry, will ya?  What's the holdup?


Saturday, October 02, 2004

A secondary editorial in the Denver Post explains a lot about the decision to keep the Grand Jury testimony hidden from the public that paid for it.    CU must be thrilled, as the incompetencies of various officials won't be out before the election as it should be, just to stir the waters.  It still amazes me that Jim Martin of all people, and the one Regent retiring, is still the go-to guy for the press, when at this point his opinion is of even less importance to the Regents than before.

I'm hoping the bifurcated charge approach works, and that Nathan Maxcey isn't employed as a buffer yet again between the hypcritical estate of the football team and the law.

A death by drugs in Nederland has apparently closed the Youth Hostel up there.  A guy staying in the hostel overdosed, the current thinking, and was found last Monday.  The Hostel had been a source of much conflict between the town and Ron Mitchell, its owner, over the years.  I used to work for Ron, and the animosity between he and Nederland is deep.   He must be disappointed that the hostel is gone, but it was probably to his detriment to keep it open, since the property could be more profitably used for something else.  It is, of course, the people who stayed there that will be at risk now, and with winter coming - well, here - it won't necessarily be pretty up there.  Low cost housing is an unpleasant subject and one that people don't want to deal with, but one way or the other - usually the other if by other you mean 'police' and 'jail' - we all pay for it.
Friday, October 01, 2004

Kerry snowed Bush.  It wasn't close.  Bush looked like a whipped animal at the end, and he was.  

I don't understand why Kerry, confronted with his changing opinions, doesn't simply say that on the war we were all provided with information by the President's administration we were told was correct.  It turned out not to be correct, and we have the right to change our mind based on that.

In any case, man was it good to see Kerry shine a bit and remove the image that he was being carried by the hate for Bush only.  He sounded and looked pretty good last night.

And I can use the good news, because Boulder and CU aren't providing any.   Richard "The Hammer" Bynny, Chancellor of CU, has come out against any more liquor licenses in the city, saying it contributes to 'binge drinking.'  But wait!  An update......

Three.   The University of Oklahoma, shamed that Colorado is leading in any athletic category, sprung into the Big Time and provided its own young corpse from excessive drinking.

Anyway, Bynny is bogus on booze.  The issues surrounding booze ought not to be tainted by any thought or nod to legality.   The three collegiate deaths (In a month!  Pretty impressive, guys....) featured underaged kids snockered with booze illegally provided by alumni or fraternity members.  All three.  A brace of prison terms ought to shape that up, pretty quick.  But of course, college kids tend to have wealthy parents who can hire attorneys who can bleed the public sector beyond point.  And no support from alumni if they cannot get snockered at football games, and drive home and pinch the cheerleaders.   We know the drill.........

But, because Nathan Maxcey is going to trial, the Grand Jury Report cannot be made public, at least according to the judge in the matter.  Attorney General Ken Salazar objects, but on reflection it's probably the legal call.  Too bad.  Would love to be sure, though.  There are more important matters here than Maxcey's reputation (not that it's shining now....)

We need to pay prosecutors more and thin out the ranks of incompetents.  The Maryland Sniper just lost a slam dunk prosecution because there is a statute of limitations covering when charges can be brought.  And they blew it, it seems.  The defense and the police somehow 'disagree' on when the arrest was made.  How, for the love of god, is that possible?
Thursday, September 30, 2004

I would guess if we had gone in there, I would still have forces in Baghdad today, we'd be running the country. We would not have been able to get everybody out and bring everybody home....Once we had rounded [Saddam] up and gotten rid of his government, then the question is who do you put in its place? You know, you then have accepted the responsibility for governing Iraq. -- Dick Cheney, 1992 (from Garry Trudeau)
  Ah, yes, the debate's tonight.  I'm scared bonkers.  If Kerry doesn't do well, I think it's over.  I'm so annoyed.

I was heartened to find I'm not alone.  There is a group called Kerry Haters for Kerry, and that about describes me at this point.  I just hate Bush far, far more.

The Case is going to trial in May, we're to believe.  Lisa Simpson, et al, and her charge that the University of Colorado fostered a climate of misogynism to the nth degree led to her rape.  It's not the quick trial both parties say they hoped for, being eight months in the future, but it beats the 2006 court date.  Simpson's lawyers want to re-interrogate Coach Barnett, who said he'd handed in everything in the way of notes, but who later said he was keeping notes for a book about the issue.  Seems pretty clear this is in violation of his testimony, but the point was made that he was not using CU pens or paper and was done on his own time.  This is the sort of squiggly stuff that usually connotes guilt in the specifics, but the choice was a quick trial or pursuing that.  Simpson's attorneys decided to let it go.

Merck, the drug giant, has recalled an arthritis drug because, after 18 months, patients on it had clear increases in heart attacks.  This was a big deal, because it made money for them - $2 billion a year - and because it surrenders percentages in the market to bigger rival Pfizer.  It's hard not to be impressed that they would do this.

Until, upon reflection, you realize that the only reason they did it - and not just put increased warnings on the label - is because of those horrible lawyers who'd sue and win huge amounts for their, often, dead clients.  In the fifties and sixties the record is replete with questionable or outright dangerous drugs being put on the market without sufficient testing, nor honesty in labelling, nor unseemly amount of guilt in so doing.  The doctors and pharmaceutical companies behind Thalidomide and other gems never were sufficiently punished for endangering children and their mothers, for example.  They'd not done relevant investigation, and just transferred a successful drug to a new set of users.

But it does bring up questions about why drugs aren't ranked by danger.  For example, why not have an 'A' rating for drugs we have a lot of experience with (aspirin, say) and the dangers and benefits of which are known.  Then all the way down to D drugs: out of the hopper experimental and only available to those in extremis with no other choice but death.  Why not?  It removes much unnecessary culpability from the doctors, encourages research, and only nails those who aren't truthful about the risks of certain drugs to their patients, who'd have to sign off on them.  It seems like a doable and clean method that would alleviate unnecessary conflicts between doctors and lawyers.  People have to stop being patsys between professions.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I think it's unquestionable that Republicans are more likely to prevent the next attack. However, I will grant that John Kerry will improve the economy in the emergency services and body bag industry.-- Conservative columnist Ann Coulter.   There is something wrong with this woman, I agree.

Firmness in decision is often merely a form of stupidity. It indicates an inability to think the same thing out twice. Henry L. Mencken, a guy who's hard not to like these days.

In 1957, on this day, an explosion at the Chelyabinsk-40 complex, a Soviet nuclear fuel processing plant, irradiates the nearby city of Kyshtym with strontium-90, cesium-137, and plutonium in about twice the radioactivity of the Chernobyl incident.  It's never admitted, and alarms the US enough to give teeth to nuclear regulation in the civil sector.  Admiral Rickover, the head of the nuclear navy, had already established the safest regulation on the planet, which is why our submariners have normal lifespans and the Soviets....did not.  And maybe, the Russian nuclear navy isn't living long or well either.

Richard Bynny, in his State of the Campus address to faculty yesterday, managed to find time to address the alcohol death of Mr. Bailey.  In lightening response, the University proposes to delay freshman rush for one semester, in order for Freshmen to get their sealegs, so to speak, before getting their grog legs.  

It's a great plan, hampered somewhat by the fact the University has little or nothing to say what happens off campus, and it's just another cya pledge by authority to stave off parental lawsuits when their darling if drunken children are killed under the concerned eyes of fraternity brothers.  Enough cannot be condemned about this revolting hypocrisy which, actually, cannot be enforced anyway.

Tommorow is the first debate for Kerry and Bush, and if the big K doesn't make a good impression, I'm afraid it's all over.

I love this.  "We all like to talk to someone who looks good. It is the same for dogs."  This from Brazilian veterinarian Edgard Brito, on his canine Botox and plastic surgery procedures   Got it?  Plastic surgery for pets?  From Brazil, of course, the leader in this sort of thing.  And they're going nuclear as well.
 
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