October 19, 2010

Off-Key Teabag Republican Candidates Headed For Doom


October 17, 2010

The Political Pundit’s Weekend Off

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , — Bob Patterson @ 12:34 pm

This column will not contain any political commentary and, instead, will be about a fan’s reaction to attending Bouchercon 41 in San Francisco Oct. 14 to 17, which is the annual convention for mystery writers and fans and is named after William Anthony Parker White (AKA Anthony Boucher) who was a pioneer in the fields of both writing hard-boiled fiction and reviewing mystery novels.

The annual event is held in a different city each year and the selection of San Francisco as this year’s host city was appropriate because “Baghdad by the Bay” has a rich history for fans of detective novels starting with the fact that both Daschiel Hammett and his PI (Private Investigator) Sam Spade worked in the northern California city that is located at the Southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

A large subgenre of detective novels features an amateur sleuth who works full time and solves mysteries on a part time basis. The day job background is an amazing smorgasbord of fascinating jobs, which often reflect the novelist’s past work history. While at the Bouchercon we learned of novels featuring a detective who is a geologist (Susan Cummins Miller), a scrap booker (Joanna Campbell Slan), a travel writer (Hilary Davidson), and a former nun (Alice Loweecey).

Many police procedurals are written by former cops. A sizable number of lawyers have decided to augment their retirement fund by writing fictional crime novels base upon their real life experiences.

This columnist noticed a woman in a very conspicuous hat and asked her: “Are you Miss Marple?” It turned out she was Jeanne M. Dams whose next book will be titled: “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night.” When she said she wanted to write a Tea-cozy thriller novel, we blurted out a concept for a plot that her phrase conjured up. She said it had merit and would take the suggestion under advisement.

We encountered four folks who were part of the staff of the Mystery Book Store in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, which has been a personal favorite of ours since before they moved to that particular section of town. We learned from one of them that the Los Angeles Times’ Festival of Books which has been held annually at UCLA will be held in 2011 on the campus of the Bruin’s cross town rivals at USC.

We have been a fan of Doug Lyle’s non-fiction books about forensics and chatted with him several times during the SF event. We intend to conduct an investigation into his new series of fictional adventures by a sleuth who is well versed in forensics.

It was at the aforementioned L. A. book store that we became aware of the novels of Tim Dorsey, who writes about criminals living in Florida, and so we were delighted to find a copy of Electric Barracuda in the goodie bag.

Lee Child was honored at Bouchercon 41 for Distinguished Contributions to the Genre. Now we are going to add his novels about the knight errant named Jack Reacher to our “Must Read” list. He was born in Great Britain but has become sufficiently Americanized to predict that the World Series will be a match-up between the Yankees and the Giants. Although he himself is a Red Sox fan.

Rebecca Cantrell writes mysteries set in Hitler era Berlin (she knew about the evening TV newscasts during the Third Reich period) and so we will want to read all her novels.

Cara Black lives in San Francisco but her crime novels are based in Paris and so we put all her books on our literary “to do” list.

James R. Benn writes mysteries featuring a soldier in World War II and since one of our personal obsessions is life in occupied Paris, we’ll have to take a test drive (read) in one of his novels.

For a variety of reasons (to be elaborated in a future column about some news from the Maynard Institute), this columnist has become interested in the topic of prisoners who are innocent of the crimes that caused their arrest and so we spoke with Laura Caldwell, who took up the cause of a fellow who spent 5 years in a Cook County (Chicago) holding cell without a trial. She and others proved him innocent. That inspired her book Long Way Home.

A segment of the mystery genre is occupied by former newspaper reporters who use the legends and lore they picked up on their beats to add authenticity to their tales of crime. A smaller number are veterans from the wire services. We were surprised (and showing our age) to learn from a former AP employee that AP is no longer Headquartered at 50 Rock. Time marches on!

What political pundit wouldn’t be proud to boast that he (or she) had attended Nancy Drew’s 80th birthday party?

The titles for the Bouchercon 41 panel discussions were a bit baffling until it was revealed that they were titles of episodes from the TV series Streets of San Francisco.

An odd tidbit of information, for this columnist, is that a reference to a personal TV series favorite, San Francisco Beat, was not heard once during the weekend event. Then again, neither was Paladin.

San Francisco was touted as leading the nation in two categories: the number per capita of Independent book stores and the per capita number of barrooms.

Due to a clerical error on the columnist’s part, we botched the chance to meet and talk to Kelli Stanley about her novel City Dragons, which is about events in San Francisco’s Chinatown, during the 1940’s.

The 2011 Bouchercon will be held in St. Louis and it will be held September 15 to 18. The following year it moves to Cleveland followed by Albany New York in 2013, and then Long Beach in 2014.

There were folks at Bouchercon 41 promoting the Ninth Annual San Francisco Film Noir Festival (AKA Noir City), which begins January 21, 2011, but the list of films to be shown has not been announced yet.

Mystery fans and columnists had to contend with a tsunami of information and so any write-up (such as this column) will have to be subjective, random, and capricious in nature and thus be a disservice to the many deserving authors who didn’t get a plug. (Sorry!) Such a column will, however, be a way to set out some Google bait which will cause a great number of mystery writers to find this particular web site.

There is enough information about crime fiction set in San Francisco to fill a book, which is precisely the reason why the book titled Golden Gate Mysteries is being published by the University of California at Berkeley.

The 125 Anniversary edition of Bartlett’s saw fit to include this quote from Dashiell Hammett’s hard-boiled classic, The Maltese Falcon: “That’s the part of it I [Sam Spade] always liked. He [Flitcraft] adjusted himself to beams falling, and then no more of them fell, and he adjusted himself to their not falling.”

Now the disk jockey will play the soundtrack albums from the movies: Bullitt, Vertigo, and Dirty Harry. We have to go to the Berkeley Public Library and start whittling down our now gigantic sized “must read” list. Have a “Go Giants!” type week.

What if Teabagger and Nazi Re-Enactor Rich Iott Was a Democrat?


Note: GOP Rep. Eric Cantor has publicly repudiated Iott, as has part of the MSM, but that’s about it.

October 16, 2010

zombie pictures wanted

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peregrin @ 6:43 pm

I’m building a video. If anyone would like to send me pictures of zombie republicans, ceo’s, pundits — please do.

The Tattlesnake – More Toast and Coast Edition

Because once was not enough…

Given their deep concern over budget deficits, someone in the Noose Media should ask one of these Tea Party candidates if they are willing, once in office, to save the taxpayers a little money by taking no more than $50K per year in salary, buy their health insurance the same way the average prole does, and forgo their housing allowance, generous government pension, and other perks for Congress members. Oh, right, they can’t ask them that because they run in terror from all but the ‘GOP friendly’ media.

With rumors circulating that the GOP Money Machine has quietly given up on Christine O’Donnell after her pathetic “do I need to know that?” debate performance; Sharron Angle’s bizarre Valley-of-the-Dolls, all-you-need-is-the-free-market mutual press conference with Harry Reid (where has Sharron been the past 30 years?), and Carl Paladino’s further fattening of his job resume for a gig with The Onion News Service, it’s become clear how weak the Republican Party really is these days. They are being led around by vacuous political shock-jocks like Limbaugh and Beck; their Teabagger candidates are ignorant, barely-coherent dingbats pushing stink-bomb Gilded Age economic cure-alls; and the only things keeping the sinking GOP dinghy afloat is Fox News, their dutiful handmaidens in the Big Media, and piles of undisclosed corporate cash for negative ads. If not for the aforementioned, the Know-Nothing Party would be curled up in a ball in the corner, mewling for mercy. They have no constituency except that 20 percent of the country that is uninstitutionalized wingnut – and that’s not enough to get anyone elected. Americans may be angry with the Democrats, but that doesn’t mean they want to move in with a family of moon-howling morons.


Consider that a month ago, every MSM pundit with an AFTRA card was assuring us plebes of Big Wins for the GOP in such states as Nevada, Delaware and Alaska, based on the polls and past off-year electoral history. Now, not so much — toss-ups everywhere as the Dems have come even in polls and, in the case of DE, shot up about 20 points ahead.

With that said, the Tattler again consults his Toast and Coast flash cards on some of the prominent races of Pax Americana:

Toast: Joe Miller, GOP candidate for US Senate from Alaska.
Tea Party Joe’s enthusiastic endorsement by multi-millionaire Sarah Palin probably didn’t help him much with Alaskans – she’s not well-liked in the Great White North anymore. On top of that, the hits just keep coming that he has a bundle of regressive views on Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance, which basically amount to telling the serfs to “suck it” while doling out tax cuts for the well-heeled heels. Not good. Then there are the recent embarrassing revelations that his wife collected evil unemployment benefits, his refusal to answer questions about his past hypocrisies, and a write-in challenge from Preferred Establishment Republican and sitting senator Lisa Murkowski, and you have Joe melting faster than a Bering Sea glacier in an Al Gore film.
Coast: It may be a squeaker but Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams, who has risen to within six points of Miller, will pull out this upset victory in what once was a Deep Red State.

Toast: Mark Kirk, GOP candidate for US Senate from Illinois.
Just because I can’t resist the rhyme, let me say Kirk is a jerk, but it’s true. Aside from inflating his US Navy service beyond recognition, he’s had a whole FUBAR political career as a Congressman. He’s not a Teabagger, he’s a spoiled little pain-in-the-ass from a suburban district of Chicago who apparently has never taken the time to understand what the big metropolitan neighbors his constituents depend on need and then wonders why things aren’t working better. He’s also not great at discerning what’s important to downstate farmers and blue-collar workers with whom he feels no affinity or compassion. He’s a vacant tax-cut-crazy political dilettante who votes as instructed by the GOP Elite. It’ll be a relief to wave ‘bon voyage’ to this political parasite. His Dem opponent is no prize, but it’s hard to imagine how he could be worse than Kirk.
Coast: Alexi Giannoulias, but only by a couple of points.

Toast: Michael Bennet, Democratic Senator from Colorado.
Sorry to say, but Bennet has run a soft, inchoate campaign against Tea Party goofball Ken Buck, and it’s showing. Meanwhile, Republican Ken has been Strong and Wrong, which sells well in the Rocky Mountain State, and even told the Birthers to stop asking him stupid questions in public, all of which resembles manliness to those deprived of oxygen in high altitudes. Colorado is a mixed bag with progressive enclaves such as Denver, Aspen and Telluride, but then there’s uber-Christopublican Colorado Springs and the Pine-Tree Yahoos and Desk-Set Mountain Men and SUV Cowboys who inhabit the rest of the place. They’re all for Buck and Bennet just doesn’t have the testicular appeal to overcome it.
Coast: Ken Buck, by a thread-narrow margin.

Toast: Linda McMahon, GOP candidate for US Senate from Connecticut.
Linda is, for lack of a better term, a knuckle-dragging dimwit who hilariously thinks she’s worked in the ‘real world’ because she ran a pro wrestling organization. She’s as phony as a Ric Flair knee-drop. Joe Lieberman notwithstanding, CT’s a Blue State and AG Richard Blumenthal is still popular despite artificially-enhancing his Marine Corps war record.
Coast: Blumenthal in a walk.

© 2010 RS Janes.

October 15, 2010

Sarah Palin On ‘The Female Danger Zone’


October 14, 2010

The Durango-Silverton Steam Train & postal workers who pay for war

I just had the honor of riding the Durango-Silverton stream train. Wow! And just before the train pulled into to Silverton, I got into a discussion with a former mailman, another railroad buff. “My father worked in the post office,” I told him, “back in the old days when everyone still sent out Christmas cards. During the whole month of December, Pop was always at work — but it’s not like that any more since they invented the internet.”

“I myself was forced to quit the post office early,” said my new railroad enthusiast friend, “because of knee injures from walking my route for so many years.” Yeah but — why didn’t you just get your knees treated? Doesn’t the Post Office still have workers comp programs to deal with that kind of stuff? Apparently not.

“No, it’s not like that any more. In the past few years, the Post Office has been throwing people off workers comp left and right. If you are injured on the job and you work for the postal service, you are basically [screwed].” That fits the pattern of how too much of America’s money is getting vacuumed away into the pockets of oligarchs, out-sourcers, corporatists and supporters of unnecessary foreign wars instead of being used to take care of much more urgent business here at home.

Maybe it’s my imagination, but doesn’t it seem like every single cent that the federal government saves by cutting down on services to us taxpayers goes straight into the pockets of weapons manufacturers, corporate welfare queens, advocates of “globalization” and Wall Street? The next time you get a letter in your mailbox, think about how many injured and maimed postmen are being sacrificed on the altar of greed.

But I digress. Let’s get back to talking about steam trains.

The Durango-Silverton train is rated as one of the top ten steam trains in the world — and that’s an obviously well-deserved rating. Not only is it totally fun to be riding on a genuine old-fashioned steam train, but this small-gauge railway meanders through some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. Pristine wilderness. Clear air that smells like honeysuckle and pine trees. Sparkling streams. The whole Deep Nature enchilada.

Riding this train also reminded me of James Howard Kunstler, a well-known author who writes about stuff that will probably comprise America’s future once our current “cheap oil fiesta” is over. And here’s what Kunstler says about trains:

“People are talking about building a high-speed railway these days but that’s not going to happen — if for no other reason than that we can no longer afford to lay the required new track. However, what we do need to consider is our current rail system in the face of increasing oil scarcity. As we face the increasing destability of America’s suburban living arrangement, we HAVE to come up with better public transit.”

And guess what? According to Kunstler, our original railway tracks are still there, just waiting to be utilized to our advantage. And according to Kunstler, all we need now to get this efficient rail transportation system up and running is more rolling stock.

“When we bailed out General Motors, we should have told them that one of the conditions of the bailout is that they’ve got to build rolling stock too. Dick Cheney even tried to eliminate Amtrak. We are in the twilight of Happy Motoring right now and nobody realizes this. We’ve got to stop pretending that we can keep running America the way that we have up until now. We’ve got to stop being crybabies, put our shoulders to the wheel and do what needs to get done.”

I’m all in favor of bringing back the railroads!

And then when I finally did get to Silverton after three and a half hours of railroad heaven, the big steam engine pulled into a delightfully authentic old-time mining town that sported three (3) different ice cream parlors. I owed it to myself to sample each one. And the one with the sign in front of it that read “chocolate-covered insects” got my vote.

But then, just before I was about to hit the road to Grand Junction on the Million-Dollar Highway, someone told me that I had missed a fourth ice cream parlor in Silverton. Wait! Stop! I gotta go back!

PS: I don’t really usually live on ice cream all that much but sampling the ice cream parlors of The West has been a rare vacation treat for me, despite the fact that, in real life, I live only seven miles away from the legendary Fenton’s yet rarely go there.

However, I just read where New York City’s mayor Michael Bloomberg is currently trying to ban sodas and other unhealthy soft drinks — ones that are well-known to cause obesity and diabetes — from squatting on the list of real foods that you are allowed to buy with food stamps.

That makes good sense to me. Why should our government be paying for junk food of the worst type? But apparently it’s not that obvious to others. It seems that Mayor Bloomberg is meeting with a whole lot of opposition from soda manufacturers’ lobbyists — and the FDA appears to be supporting the soda manufacturers on this one. Say what?

PPS: The high, narrow, winding, cliff-hanger road between Silverton and Ouray is called the Million Dollar Highway because, according to the local legend, it cost a million dollars a mile to blast it out of the Colorado Rockies back in the day.

PPPS: While riding this wonderful train, I also got to sing my favorite U. Utah Phillips song. “Railroading on the Great Divide…nothing around me but Rockies and sky!”

PPPPS: Here’s the rest of what James Howard Kunstler had to say about the future — during a talk he recently gave at Books, Inc. in Berkeley:

“Tonight I want to catch you up on what’s been happening since I first wrote ‘The Long Emergency’. We are now witnessing a progression of fiascoes in our culture. Here in America, we can’t even generate a consensus as to what is happening to us now — let alone act on it. Delusional thinking is everywhere, not just in the Sarah Palin class.

“There are three forces at work here in America now. First there’s the financial fiasco — banking, government spending, the financial market and investment schemes — which may put us out of business even before the oil crisis, which is always going on in the background.” Oil is the second force at work.

And the third force at work on creating chaos in our future, according to Kunstler, is climate change. “Climate change is effecting our food production. We now have the lowest grain storage in recent history. And repercussions from this shortage will generate geo-political anger and resentment.

“Oil, financial problems and climate change all have their effects, but when these forces enter the political realm, they transmogrify into rants on unrelated topics like Jesus, Nascar, etc. And then we end up with issues that are nuts.”

Kunstler then gave climate-change issues a closer look. “In the last two years of the Aspen environmental forum, all they want to talk about are nifty alternative ways that you can run cars.” No one there seems to be trying to wrap their brains around a possible car-less world, which Kunstler seems to think is going to have to happen next, whether we want it to or not. “And if you can’t count on these people, experts in their fields, then who can you count on? One man I talked to there simply wants to convert the whole American car fleet over to electricity.” That’s not going to solve this problem because electricity mainly also depends on cheap oil. We have to prepare ourselves for a car-less world — and we have to do it ASAP.

Another big problem right now in America, according to Kunstler, is the disappearance of capital. “Car loans, jobs, incomes, etc. are going way down, and as a result, motoring becomes more of an elite activity. When you can’t even afford to keep your beater running — there’s going to be major resentment here too.”

Kunstler then reviewed the sorry state of our highway infrastructure and the need to get our railroad passenger rolling stock both geared up and repaired — as a more efficient form of public transportation. “We currently have an elaborate road hierarchy that is stuplifying, but even with stimulus packages, our roads are going to hell very rapidly. That infrastructure deterioration is going to be another major problem [regarding the use of cars]. And nobody in the higher-ups is even realizing this.”

The bottom line of Kunstler’s talk was even more scary. “We’ve got to stop pretending that we can keep running America the way that we have so far. We can’t. For instance, techno-grandiosity causes us to think that we are going to be able to run high-speed rail systems. That’s not going to happen either. We’re also too broke to do that. And in five or ten years the airlines will be done as well. We are in the twilight of Happy Motoring and nobody even realizes this. We just keep saying, ‘Give us some magic so that we can keep doing what we are doing.’ But now is not the time for crybabies and nuts. We need to do what we need to do. But will we? No. There’s a remarkable increase of delusional thinking instead.”

Kunstler than signed copies of his latest book, The Witch of Hebron, which is a sequel to his other books on the subject of “What Happens Next” — including World Made By Hand and The Long Emergency.


To see some of my photos of the steam train, click here:


Carl “Glory Hole” Paladino’s Last Shot?


October 13, 2010

Ye Olde Scribe Presents: Another Edition of “Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ye Olde Scribe @ 4:35 pm

“No not on a lamb, or from Bam, Bam, just spam from the inbox of some old fart HAM.”


Cell Phone for old farts like Scribe

Another Republican Pledge Break?


October 12, 2010

Ye Old Scribe’s Retort Report

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ye Olde Scribe @ 7:40 am

Responding in style every digital inch or mile to the nonsense and “some sense” comments of the day

“Rich Iott – second from right- likes to dress up in Nazi regalia.”- Posted on BC


Who says he’s just playing “dress up?”

And what’s with the Scottish garb? Is he a member of the infamous please Luft-up-my-kilt-waffe?

(Instead of iron crosses they have iron “members.”)

The GOP Nazi Club


October 11, 2010

The Tattlesnake – Even More New Entries for the (Politically) Askewed Dictionary

Aspigmatism: The inability to see that wealthy elites are making a sucker out of you. (See ‘Tea Party Express.’)

Atwatering: Throwing up so many specious charges that your political opponent is forced to spend all of his or her time responding to them, thereby destroying any chance they have for election by leaving the impression in the minds of the impressionable that some of it must be true, even though each charge is found to be false. (See ‘Swift Boat Veterans.’)

Cantstitutionalism: Inventing parts of the Constitution that, in your imagination, prevent a Democratic president from exercising the same powers you approved of when the office was held by a Republican. (See ‘Issa, Darrell.’)

Deficitmock: A conservative who only worries about the deficit when Democrats are in control of Congress. (See ‘Boehner, John.’)

Freedumbery: The notion that attaching the word ‘freedom’ to any half-baked conservative idea or title, especially when used in the form of ‘protecting freedom’ by incarcerating innocent people or naming your corporate-funded Washington Astroturf group ‘FreedomWorks,’ magically confers a patina of true American patriotism on your efforts, rather than exposing you for the greedy fascist sneak you really are. (See ‘Armey, Dick.’)

Hyde-rophobia: Rabidly denouncing a sitting Democratic president for the same sins committed by senior Republicans in Congress. (See ‘Gingrich, Newt.’)

In Flagrante Demento: Displaying an embarrassingly excessive number of American flags at your speeches and rallies, as if you needed a visual reminder of what side you’re supposed to be on, but aren’t. (See ‘CPAC Convention.’)

Noonanery: Pretending to be an objective and rational political observer while maintaining the late Ronald Reagan could do no wrong, no matter how you have to inflate his record. (See ‘Noonan, Peggy.’)

Quaylery: Making an egregiously stupid statement – e.g.: “Social Security is welfare” or “Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya” — and then retracting or denying it when it might hamper your chances of winning an election, only to later repeat it when among a friendly crowd. (See ‘Angle, Sharron.’)

Teabuggery: Demonstrating your ardent belief in freedom of speech for all Americans by shouting down those who disagree with you. (See ‘McCarthyism.’)

Xetgeist (pronounced ‘Zeet-geist’): The conviction that changing your name will also eliminate your past criminal record. (See ‘Blackwater.’)

© 2010 RS Janes.

October 9, 2010

The Tattlesnake – New Entries for the (Politically) Askewed Dictionary

Almightyosis: The bizarre egomaniacal conviction that the creator of hundreds of billions of galaxies in a universe of vast unknown dimensions personally wants you to run for office and takes time out to tell you so. (See ‘O’Donnell, Christine.’)

Anglephile: A strange, pathetic creature, usually elderly, who, although dependent on Social Security and Medicare for their well-being, will nevertheless vote for those who would gladly take it away. (See ‘Lemmings.’)

Diptheoria: Maintaining a comically contradictory opinion on a subject with a straight face, such as bringing peace by starting wars, believing in Republican morality, or balancing the budget by incurring $700 billion more in debt to give tax cuts to yourself and your wealthy friends. (See ‘Bush, George W.’)

Fecktrescent: Describing an idea so outstandingly stupid it glows like moonlight on a fresh turd. (See ‘Palin/Beck 2012.’)

Foggle: A combination of Fox News, fearmongering, fog and mind-boggling. To foggle is to use egregious disinformation and unconscionable exaggeration to appeal to the basal ganglia or ‘reptilian brain’ in lower orders of ‘non’-homo sapiens with the goal of swaying by sheer panic and bigotry an individual or group into voting against their own best interests. Usage ex.: “We need more foggle to convince those tea partiers into rallying against health care reform!” (See ‘White Citizens Council.’)

Journabalism: Reprinting press releases from a corporation, lobbying firm or political party and calling it news. (See ‘The Washington Times.’)

Kochcrapola (pronounced ‘Cokecrapola’): The desire of spineless billionaires to fund far-right Astroturf causes for their own benefit while hiding that information from the public so as not to offend customers of their consumer products, such as Brawny paper towels or Northern bathroom tissue, and thereby lose business. Named after the Koch brothers. (See ‘US Chamber of Commerce.’)

Murdochism: A mental trick wherein you pretend you aren’t aware of what pestilent self-serving propaganda appears in your media outlets on a daily basis while still insisting they are actual news organizations nonetheless. Named after Rupert Murdoch. (See ‘Bozell, Brent.’)

Odontestry: The appearance of ugly gaping truth as a candidate’s false Tweets fall out, reduced as she is to campaigning solely on Twitter since she’s terrified of facing any reporter who might dare to ask her a tough question. (See ‘Grizzly, Mama.’)

Palmystery: Stage magic wherein the performer makes $100K disappear in return for a tepid speech based on hoary, imbecilic talking points written on her hand. The mystery is why anyone would pay for this bum fodder. (See ‘Pledge to America.’)

© 2010 RS Janes.

October 8, 2010

The GOP Super Circus Tea Party Freak Show


October 7, 2010

America then & now: Mesa Verde, Van Jones & Big Oil

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 9:31 pm

I just went over to see Mesa Verde today, a dream come true for me. My parents went to Mesa Verde on their honeymoon back in the 1930s and when I was a kid I used to look at their photos taken during that time and dream that someday I too would go there. And now I’m actually here! But the descendants of the people who built Mesa Verde are not — not here. They are gone.

So. Where did they go? What happened to the Anasazi, the old-timey Ancient Pueblans? Rumor has it that they had to leave here because of various adverse changes in climate, including a severe drought and a mini-ice age. “Climate change drove them out,” said a ranger. Now does that sound familiar or what!

I once wrote a sci-fi novel about Mesa Verde — about how the folks there had to leave due to threats from neighboring raider-warriors and from man’s inhumanity to man. But then, in my book, the refugees from Mesa Verde became immortal and lived in the stars for centuries and only returned to Earth 5,000 years later — after some of its radioactivity had worn off. And will that happen to us too — a repeat of the Mesa Verde story? Let’s hope not.

Anyway, back at the real-life Mesa Verde I got to go down into a sacred ceremonial pit at Spruce Tree House — which was totally cool and spiritual and mind-bending. Then I bought a whole bunch of souvenirs at the gift shop and ate traditional fry bread. I did it! I was actually there! And Mesa Verde lived up to all of my expectations too. But now I gotta go home and revise my novel.

The Ancient Pueblans apparently had to leave their homes because of climate change — but what did they know? Not much. They were just pre-Colombian farmers from before the age of The Weather Channel. However, modern mankind knows a lot more about climate change than they did and we also know how to stop it from snowballing before it’s too late. BUT. Will we act in time? Will we actually do what we know that we have to do in order to save the planet? Or will we too, like the Anasazi, be forced to leave our abandoned cities (and suburbs) behind?

I’m tending to be kind of pessimistic here.

“But, Jane, why are you being so negative about our ability to stop climate change?” you might ask.

I can instantly tell you why. “Because of California’s Proposition 23.” That’s why. “And because of Van Jones.” Van Jones, Obama’s former Green Energy Czar? Yes, THAT Van Jones — the alternative energy expert that was positively pilloried and crucified by Big Oil last year. Jones is one of the few men today actually standing up to protect us modern-day people from a deja vu re-play of what happened at Mesa Verde.

The other day, Jones gave a talk in Berkeley about the disastrous consequences for all of us Americans if California’s Proposition 23 passes. Here’s my almost-accurate recreation of that talk. Either read it and weep — or read it and go out and DO SOMETHING!

“We need to make sure that people hear the truth about this state proposition. This isn’t about us losing jobs in California like the TV commercials in favor of it would lead you to believe. It’s about Texas oil trying to take on Silicon Valley.” Why Silicon Valley? Because people in Silicon Valley are trying to develop a huge new alternative energy program right now and this intention has got the guys from Big Oil running scared.

“It isn’t as if the Texas oilmen who are sponsoring this proposition are crying their eyes out because people in California don’t have jobs.” Remember the Texas oilmen who ran Enron? They weren’t trying to help Californians either. They just saw us as suckers. And the same thing appears to be happening here.

“They claim that they are sobbing now, ‘boo-hoo,’ because they have to spend 20 million dollars just to give those poor Californians some jobs.” That’s just not true. Big Oil could care less about us — us suckers and marks.

“Less than two years ago, both McCain and Obama agreed on one thing — that we need to prevent radical climate change. The only common ground between both parties was that we had to do something about global warming. So. What happened?” Jones asked. “Special interests decided to knock out Silicon Valley — by lying to us.” And by lying about Van Jones too.

I’ve known Van since 2001 when we worked together to plan Robert Treuhaft’s funeral (Bob was a founding member of the Lawyers Guild, co-wrote “An American Way of Death” with his wife Jessica Mitford — her biography, “Irrepressible,” just came out BTW — and Bob was my boss for a few years. But I digress). Jones is a good guy. I believe what he says. And I recommend that you believe him too.

“For the past two years, we’ve found that [lobby-based and Republican-based] lies to us have gone uncontested — and so these lies grew. And now we find ourselves fighting these lies, even here in California. And the politics of hope are now fighting the politics of fear — even here.”

You want politics of fear? I’ll give you politics of fear! If we don’t stop the Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Weapons, etc. corporatists who now pretty much run America in their tracks ASAP, we’re all gonna end up like the folks at Mesa Verde: Wandering, homeless and DEAD. And our grandchildren will be dead too. Is that scary enough for you? Apparently not.

“And in 2008, we connected the politics of hope to one man — Barack Obama. And if he doesn’t live up to your expectations, you blog against him. You Tweet against him. But. Hope started much earlier than 2008. Hope didn’t start with political superheroes.” Hope started with us.

“Then came Katrina.” And the mask was stripped away and we saw just how uncaring the Bush dynasty really was. “And in 2006, something broke and something decent and honorable and good started moving in America. And that movement inspired Obama. But let’s get this clear. Obama may have inspired us — but you inspired him first. Obama is one of the most inspirational people on this earth — and YOU inspired HIM.” Go us!

“Then when you came home from the victory parties in DC, you expected change. But here’s what we learned together in the past two years. They assassinated hope back in the 1960s when they assassinated John and Bobby and Martin and it has taken all these years to bring it back. But we need MORE than hope. We need change.” Go you!

“When you see someone on television with flat abs and you think, ‘I could look like that,’ that’s called hope. But when you actually go to the gym and work out? That’s called change.

“Do we actually mean what we say when we talk about hope and change? Who are we as a movement?” And what kind of movement are we? I wanna be a movement that expedites the evolution of the human race into something we can be proud of — not just an evolution into even more and better types of war, greed and hate.

“This is our summer of crazy climate. We had one-third of Pakistan under water. We had one-eighth of Russia on fire. Call anyone on earth and ask them if they have seen crazy weather this year and they will say that they did. This is for real. Al Gore’s predictions have already come true.”

Then Jones talked more about what us liberals need to do next.

“Was Obama’s campaign a movement or a moment? The answer is in our hands. It’s a ‘moment’ if you give up, if you walk off the field, if you cover 98 yards and then quit. Or you can keep running with the ball.”

But, for me, this was the most important part of Jones message: “These people are not spending 20 million dollars on their Proposition 23 campaign because you have no power. They don’t spend 20 million dollars on losers and nobodies. They don’t have all these crazy people all shouting on cable TV because you are nobody.”

If they had American voters in the bag and under their thumb, they wouldn’t have to spend billions on campaigns, shock jocks and right-wing nuts like Limbaugh, Palin and Beck!

“You may think it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do. This is what they hope you will think. There’s a lesson to be learned from the BP oil spill, when BP made 62 billion dollars in profit yet someone decided to not spend $500,000 on safety, just to save money. And a decision based on greed created a completely catastrophic disaster. And one lesson to be learned here is that that you have no idea who you are and what your power is.” Think of all the millions of dollars worth of ads that BP has run to try to convince you that they are a good company and that your gut feelings are wrong.

“And you don’t have to go back to the New Deal or the 1960s to find your glory. One small act based on love can result in a huge positive outcome” — just as one small act of greed had such a negative effect. “Now is the time for action.”

Screw the corporatists! Screw Big Oil! Let’s show our power! Let’s speak up now — before we too end up like those poor schmucks at Mesa Verde.

PS: Back in 2005, I turned the first chapter of my sci-fi novel about Mesa Verde into a play and posted it on YouTube. Fabulous acting! Fabulous script! I deserve a Tony award! (Or not.) In any case, here it is:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

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