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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
I never know when the phone will ring and it’ll be my old friend, Leon Despair, calling from who knows where. just when I least expect it. This time the phone rang at 2:30 a.m. He had some questions for me, and they couldn’t wait till morning. Leon can never wait for anything. He’s not […]

Bring Me the Head of Nostradamus

by David Vest

I never know when the phone will ring and it’ll be my old friend, Leon Despair, calling from who knows where. just when I least expect it. This time the phone rang at 2:30 a.m. He had some questions for me, and they couldn’t wait till morning. Leon can never wait for anything. He’s not the kind of guy you want to put on hold, either. Do that and he’ll come to your house.

Here’s what he wanted to know:

How come the FBI don’t pick up this Nostradamus guy? Or Notre Dame-us or whatever they call him. He’s all over the Internet, like weevils in grits. You can’t open your goddamn e-mail without reading one of his crazy poems. You’d think he was Shakespeare or Ed McMahon or something.

He’s got a helluva organization, lotta people pimping for him. See, you don’t never get the message direct from him. You always get it from somebody in between you and him. I’m talking slick.

He’s got people working for him, they never even seen the guy. I got two e-mails yesterday from pals of mine. What do you think they were doing? Passing on this guy’s crap, like they was on the payroll. What’s up with that?

Unwittin’ accomplices, that’s what I’m talking about. This guy don’t need television. He’s got half the country running his goddamn errands.

You get mail from somebody, they don’t even ask you how ya doin’. It’s just “you gotta read this!” Half the time it’s been forwarded from 200 people. You think you gonna track this guy down? Forget about it!

He keeps on predicting disasters, one right after the other. What the hell? What does this bum know, and when did he know it? That’s the thing.

If you want my opinion, it’s high time they brought him in for questioning.

They oughtta use a sap on him, if need be. Uncover his sources. See what I’m saying?

“You got something to say, say it right now. Otherwise, I’m gonna have to make a prediction of my own, Mr. Wise Guy. And you ain’t gonna like it.”

That’s how you gotta handle these bums. Let ‘em know you mean business.

Apparently Leon had said his piece, because the line went dead. I went to the kitchen for a glass of milk, knowing Leon Despair had probably dropped straight to sleep the minute he hung up the phone.

David Vest is a writer, poet and piano player for the Cannonballs. A native of Alabama, he now lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit his webpage for samples of the Cannonballs’ brand of take no prisoners rock & roll and other Vest columns: http://www.mindspring.com/~dcqv