Roaming Charges: That Oceanic Feeling

Wildfire smoke shrouds the wreck of the Peter Iredale, Clatsop Spit, Oregon. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

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“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.”

– Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us

+ A report by the British Antarctic Survey concludes that the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet is now inevitable. Even under the best possible scenario of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the ice sheet will continue to melt, at a speed three times faster than during the 20th century, causing global sea levels to rise by 3.9 feet by 2100. The melting of the entire ice sheet would raise sea levels worldwide by 17 feet.

+ For 223 straight days, Earth’s sea surface temperatures have been at record warm levels.

+ As of mid-October, 78% of the global oceans were experiencing a marine heatwave.

+ A new study in Nature asserts that these changes in ocean temperature and the associated loss of oxygen are causing a centuries-long irreversible loss in the habitable zone of the upper 1000 meters of the world’s oceans: “These results suggest that the combined effect of warming and deoxygenation will have profound and long-lasting impacts on the viability of marine ecosystems, well after global temperatures have peaked.”

+ North Pacific marine heatwaves – super-charged by climate change – killed 10 billion snow crabs, largely through starvation.

+ We have the clearest evidence to date that the Gulf Stream is weakening and may ultimately collapse, with catastrophic implications for the marine life of the Atlantic and the global climate. According to research conducted by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, over the past four decades, the flow of warm ocean water through the straits of Florida has slowed by four percent. Not only does the Gulf Stream distribute oxygen, nutrients, carbon, and heat around the Atlantic, but its sweeping currents also regulate sea levels, keeping near-shore water levels as much as up to 5 feet lower than the ocean farther off-shore.

+ Hurricane Otis, which seemed to materialize almost full-grown out of the eastern Pacific, is one of the fastest-intensifying hurricanes in history, growing from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in just 12 hours. It made landfall at Acapulco, Mexico as a Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 165 mph and gusts to nearly 200 mph.

+ Fishing boats that trawl the ocean floor with heaving nets release more than a gigaton of carbon dioxide every year, roughly much as the entire airline industry, according to a study published in Nature.

+ By 2035, the steel, cement and chemical industries will overtake both transportation and electricity generation to become the largest sources of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

+ 41 percent of the land base in the continental US is consigned for the production of meat, dairy, and eggs.

+ In 2020 wind was usually the cheapest energy source.  By 2030, solar will be the cheapest nearly everywhere,  even in Greenland.

+ In response to a story about the toxic nitrate discharges from his family farms, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, smeared Yanqi Xu, the Guangzhou-born journalist who wrote the story: “The author is from communist China. What more do you need to know?”

+ Wild mammals account for only about 4% of biomass compared to livestock (62%) and humans (34%), and global poultry weighs more than twice that of wild birds.

+ Climate Brink: “Nearly every single day since mid-June 2023 has been warmer than any prior days since the JRA-55 record began in 1958 – and, potentially, much further into the past.”

+ One in three children worldwide–roughly 815 million–suffered lead poisoning, a condition linked to heart and kidney disorders, impaired intelligence, violent behavior and premature death. A recent paper in Lancet Planetary Health estimated that in 2019, 5.5 million people died because of cardiovascular disease caused by lead poisoning, about three times the number killed by lung cancer: “More than 90% of those born between 1950 and 1980 experienced [blood lead levels] in excess of 5 µg/dL, the threshold considered ‘safe’ for children. The legacy of early life lead exposure will stay in the United States for decades to come.”

+ We still haven’t eliminated lead from fuels. In 2023, more than 170,000 smaller planes still use leaded gasoline and, predictably, a study found high levels of lead in children who lived near a general aviation airport.

+ Half of the world’s economies (107 countries) are already five years past a peak in fossil power generation.

+ In both the US and Canada, methane leaks were roughly 50 percent higher than reported. In Mexico, they were double.

+ There has been a dramatic increase in the number and intensity of bushfires across Australia since August, producing the highest smoke emissions for August through October in the last 10 years.

+ The five-year average of US annual wildfire acres burned has nearly tripled in the past 20 years.

+ Brazil’s July through September precipitation was the lowest in 50 years. And the recent trend is getting worse.  Much of the moisture source for Amazon precipitation is from plant transpiration. A shrinking rainforest means less transpiration; which leads to less precipitation.

+ In 2010, oil giant Occidental Petroleum opened the world’s largest carbon-capture plant. It never operated at more than a third of its capacity. In 2022, Oxy quietly sold the plant for a fraction of the cost of its construction.

+ Malte Meinshausen, Professor in climate science at the University of Melbourne: “The high cost of carbon capture and storage technology makes it very clear that avoiding the emissions in the first place is economically the wisest thing to do.”

+ A 1980 law prohibits rural Arizona communities from controlling their groundwater. However, mining companies, many of them owned by foreign corporations, can extract as much groundwater as they want, and they do.

+ More than 80% of the wild macadamia trees that existed when European settlement started in Australia have been lost. Fewer 8,800 trees remain inside isolated remnants of sub-tropical rainforest in Queensland and New South Wales.

+ Alaska authorized a mass slaughter of 99 bears (including 20 cubs) from a helicopter gunship in order to increase the population of a Caribou herd the bears weren’t threatening…

+ 2.08 billion gallons: amount of water per year used to keep golf courses in the US green.

+ If you care about wolves, this is your chance to tell the State of Montana to stop killing them

+ In some good news, here’s the first photo of the mystery jaguar spotted this April in southern Arizona’s Huachuca Mountains…

Photo: Center for Biological Diversity.


+ I don’t think the election as House Speaker of evangelical Christian Mike Johnson, who called his tour of the Temple Mount the “fulfillment of Biblical prophecy,” ended the “chaos in the House” so much as shifted it into political overdrive. It’s not clear whether the prophecy involved Megiddo.

+ In September 2004, new House Speaker Mike Johnson wrote in support of a Louisiana amendment banning same-sex marriage warning it could lead to people marrying their pets:

“Homosexual relationships are inherently unnatural and, the studies clearly show, are ultimately harmful and costly for everyone. Society cannot give its stamp of approval to such a dangerous lifestyle. If we change marriage for this tiny, modern minority, we will have to do it for every deviant group. Polygamists, polyamorists, pedophiles, and others will be next in line to claim equal protection. They already are. There will be no legal basis to deny a bisexual the right to marry a partner of each sex, or a person to marry his pet.”

+ Johnson, a virulent opponent of abortion, has repeatedly argued that if women are forced to bring more “able-bodied workers” into the world they wouldn’t need to slash Social Security and Medicare.

+ In 2015, Johnson told New York magazine’s Irin Carmon that abortion is a driving factor for school shootings: “Many women use abortion as a form of birth control, in certain segments of society… When you break up the nuclear family, when you tell a generation of people that life has no value…then you do wind up with school shooters.”

+ Johnson is one of the most prominent critics of “no-fault” divorce, instead advocating the religious concept of “covenant marriage,” which makes it hard for women to get out of broken relationships, even in cases of extreme physical and mental abuse.

+ As an evangelical, Johnson has pushed for schools to teach the Bible as “an accurate record of history.”

+ Johnson: “I believe that scripture, the Bible is very clear, that God is the one who raises up those in authority.” Did God raise up Nancy Pelosi, too?

+ When asked why his wife Kelly wasn’t in attendance for his election to House Speaker, Johnson said: “She’s spent the last couple of weeks on her knees in prayer to the Lord. And, um, she’s a little worn out.” Nancy Reagan spent a lot of time on her knees on the MGM backlot, according to Kitty Kelley. But she wasn’t “praying.”

+ Johnson, who someone called “Jim Jordan in a jacket,” in action…


+ According to the FBI, last year the violent crime rate was the fourth lowest it has been in America in the last 50 years. Moreover, the  homicide rate in the U.S. fell significantly in 2022 and has declined even faster this year, “putting the country on track for one of the biggest declines in killing ever recorded.”

+ On the other hand, the number of people police have killed in the US has remained steady. Police have killed at least 920 people through the first 9.5 months of the year.

+ Myles Cosgrove, the Louisville cop fired for killing Breonna Taylor who was then rehired by another police agency, recently rammed a pickup truck with his police cruiser, then pointed his gun at the occupants and witnesses. The driver and passenger he rammed were then arrested.

+ Bettersten Wade searched for her missing son for seven months, before finding out that Dexter Wade had been run over and killed by a police SUV driven by an off-duty cop as he tried to cross a highway in Jackson, Mississippi. Police knew Wade’s name and address, but never contacted Bettersten, even after she had reported him missing. Instead, they let his unclaimed body sit in the morgue for months, then buried him in an unmarked pauper’s grave in the Hinds County penal farm. His mother had been reluctant to report him missing to the same police department, which employed a cop who had killed her 62-year-old brother Robinson by slamming his head into the ground in 2019. There’s speculation in Jackson that the Department decided not to notify Bettersten about her son’s death because her family had filed a wrongful death suit over Robinson’s killing. Dexter Wade was the father of two young daughters.

+ Casey McWhorter is scheduled to be executed by the State of Alabama on November 16. Casey McWhorter was sentenced to death by an Alabama trial judge in 1993 even though two of his jurors voted for a life sentence. Only Alabama and Florida permit judges to impose the death penalty based on nonunanimous votes by the sentencing jury.

+ As he was shopping for food with his kids, Silvester Hayes was violently arrested by Dallas cops who mistook him for someone with a similar name. The police officers pushed Hayes to the ground and knelt on him as he yelled for help. After noticing their error, the cops can be heard on a body cam recording making up bogus charges against him: resisting arrest and unlawful carrying of a weapon. Hayes was jailed for days and lost his job as a security guard. He couldn’t pay his car bill, or his mortgage or support his four kids, who moved in with their mother. It took a year for the trumped-up charges against him to be dropped.

+ At least 27 current and former Chicago police officials’ names appeared in leaked rosters for the Oath Keepers. Nine of those cops remain on the police force.

+ Colin Eaton, a Vallejo, California cop who was caught on video punching a woman after a car chase last week, is the same police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Willie McCoy in 2018, while he was sleeping in his car at a Taco Bell drive-thru. Two months later, Eaton was one of two cops who tasered McCoy’s niece during a traffic stop. In 2020, Eaton was cited for stepping on a man’s head during a search. He was suspended from duty for 80 hours.

+ NYPD officer Willie Thompson started an affair with a witness in one of his cases. When the witness broke it off, Thompson threatened her to keep quiet and lied to the DA about the affair. After the DA learned the truth, Thompson threatened the woman again. Ultimately, Thompson was found guilty of misconduct and was recommended for termination. But NYPD commissioner Edward Caban intervened, overturned the decision and put Thompson back out on the streets.

+ Justin Lee, a cop in Montgomery County, Maryland, who fatally shot a suspect in a stabbing in July, was arrested by the FBI last week on charges that he assaulted a police officer during the January 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol. Lee had been hired by the department a year after the riots. The Police Department claims it thoroughly investigates the background of all job applicants.

+ Gregory Rodriquez, a guard at the Central  California Women’s Prison, has been charged with 96 counts of sexual abuse over a fifteen-year period, after 22 women accused him of sexual harassment, assault and rape. Several of the women were punished with longer sentences for reporting Rodriquez’s abuse.

+ In an attempt to undermine a reform-minded District Attorney, St. Louis detective Roger Murphey sabotaged several murder cases in which he had served as lead investigator. His department did nothing to stop him

+ Scott Jenkins, a self-proclaimed “constitutional sheriff” in Virginia, asked people for cash or campaign donations in exchange for making them ‘auxiliary’ sheriff deputies, with the right to carry sheriff-issued firearms. He collected tens of thousands of dollars.

+ Briana Erickson, a reporter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, obtained an email in which the Henderson (NV) Police Department’s public information officer, Sgt. Daniel Medrano, brags that his office “vets each news reporter” to see which ones “make the department look good.” When Erickson called the PIO to ask about this, Medrano refused to return her calls. The police sergeant made more than $227,000 in pay and benefits last year.

+ The estranged son of Nashville’s police chief is the suspect in the shooting of two police officers outside a Dollar General store.

+ Eight years after pointing a loaded gun at a black man in his courtroom, Robert Putort, a white judge in upstate New York, has been removed from office. Putort’s lack of contrition for the incident was cited as one of the reasons for his removal.

+ In 2002, Sedrick Moore was sentenced to 50 years in prison for a rape and armed robbery in Moultrie, #Georgia. After more than two decades in prison, Moore was exonerated in August 2023 by evidence showing that a co-defendant had falsely accused him and that the forensic DNA analysis presented at trial was flawed.

+ Patrick Heron, a now-retired Philadelphia police officer, pled guilty to sexually assaulting 48 women and girls over 17 years. Heron filmed himself doing it, while he was in uniform, in the back of his police car.

+ City officials in Newton, Iowa ordered the police to arrest city resident Noah Peterson for calling the mayor a “fascist” thus proving his point.

+ Last year, the new Governor of Louisiana, Jeff Landry pushed a bill to make public the criminal records of children as young as 13, but only in the three parishes that have large Black populations, and nowhere else in the state.

+ Reporter: You said Sidney Powell wasn’t your attorney. Are you concerned that won’t be covered by attorney-client privilege?

Trump: “No. Not at all. We did nothing wrong. This is all Biden…All of these indictments that you see. I was never indicted. You practically never heard the word. It wasn’t a word that registered.”

+ The State of Mississippi only gives property owners 10 days to challenge a blight finding that could lead to their house being seized through eminent domain. This rule is applied largely in the state’s poorest and blackest neighborhoods.

+ New York City spends $1,200 per day on each detainee held at the Rikers Island jail, a total of nearly $450,000 per person per year.

+ After begging to be taken to a hospital, an Alabama woman was left to give birth in a jail shower.

+ Elizabeth Wince, an incarcerated woman at the Topeka (Kansas) Correctional Facility, fell, breaking several bones. When she tried to seek medical treatment, prison staffers laughed at her and mocked her, calling her “lazy” and “fat” in front of other prisoners. The guards did nothing to help Wince, as she struggled for two hours to crawl back to her cell. Instead, one officer, who had accused Wince of faking her injury, patted her patted her own knee and said, “Come on, you can do it!” Wince was later hospitalized for her injuries.

+ According to the Prison Policy Institute, 80% of women in jails and 58% of women in prisons are mothers, and most are the primary or sole caretakers of young children.

+ The state of Florida is set to forbid the discussion of “social issues” at public universities, which the new rule defines as “topics that polarize or divide society among political, ideological, moral, or religious beliefs, positions, or norms.”


+ So an Army reservist slaughtered 18 people and injured another 13 with an assault rifle in Maine. What kind of death cargo cult keeps doing this to itself, week after week, month after month, year after year? Among the wounded…

+ 10-year-old Zoey Levesque on being hit in the leg while at a bowling alley during the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine: “I never thought I’d grow up and get a bullet in my leg. And it’s just like, why? Like, why do people do this?”

+ David Wallace-Wells: “The rate of gun homicides is 22 times higher in the US than the EU. Americans die much more often in car crashes, work accidents and fires. Our maternal mortality rate is three times as high. Our infant mortality rate is the highest in the rich world.”

+ Chuck Schumer on Maine shooting: “How many more gun deaths must we suffer before this country comes to its senses?”

Chuck Schumer on Gaza: “How many more missiles do you need, Bibi, to wipe out half the population of northern Gaza? Just a round number will do. We can always add more in the Conference Committee.”

+ According to the Economist, the world experienced an estimated 5.3 million excess deaths in 2020, 12.6 million in 2021, and 6.9 million in 2022. So far in 2023, the number is 2.3 million, a rate which would make Covid still the world’s third biggest killer, even though most of the world’s politicians have consigned the pandemic to the dustbin of, if not history, at least policy. Total global Covid deaths: 26.1 million.

+ Pediatric deaths per year from Influenza and COVID

2018: 183 Influenza deaths. 0 COVID

2019: 212 Influenza deaths. 0 COVID

2020: 178 Influenza deaths. 198 COVID

2021: 21 Influenza deaths. 609 COVID

2022: 222 Influenza deaths. 743 COVID

2023: 76 Influenza deaths. 151 COVID

+ The German state of Rheinland-Pfalz has been doing detailed COVID-19 surveys for the past year, which show that about 1% of the population gets infected every week; the infection rate is 50 to 100 times the reported case rate. They conclude that people are likely to get reinfected every 1.5 to 2.5 years.

+ The Ohio medical board denied the anti-vax Dr. Stella Immanuel a medical license after learning she wrote 69,000 prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine and 32,000 prescriptions for ivermectin in 2021. That works out to 189 hydroxychloroquine prescriptions per day and 88 ivermectin prescriptions per day.

+ With the help of 10 Democrats to push it over the line, the US Senate voted to ban mask mandates on public transportation. The SuperSpreader 10 are: Baldwin (WI), Bennet (CO), Brown (OH), Kaine (VA), Kelly (AZ), Klobuchar (MN), Manchin (WV), Rosen (NV), Shaheen (NH) and Tester (MT).

+ Monthly price of weight loss and diabetes drugs in the US, Germany, Canada and the UK:

US: $936 Germany: $57

US: $1,349 Canada: $265

US: $1,023 UK: $170

+ Pharmo Sapiens Americanus: In 2019 newborn babies in the US could be expected to take prescription drugs for roughly half their lives, according to a new demographic study out of Duke: 47.54 years for women and 36.84 years for men.

+ If it can happen in Portugal, one of Europe’s poorest countries, why not here? (You know why)…

US: 85 million
Portugal: 0

Spending on healthcare per person
US: $12,914
Portugal: $2,720

Deaths due to lack of health insurance
US: 68,000 a year
Portugal: 0

Life expectancy
US: 76.4
Portugal: 82

+ For children ages 5-14, motor vehicle accidents were the largest cause of death in 2022. This has been the case since 1999 (falling only during the first two years of the Covid pandemic.)

+ The US ranks 41st in the world in mass transit ridership at 1.66 million riders/km. But NYC (which would rank about ~11 globally at 4.6) makes up most of that. The rest of the US  averages only 0.46m riders/km.

+ In 1840 the mean age at menarche in girls was 17 years. By 2000,  this had fallen to 12 years in most developed countries.


+ At one of the Gitmo pre-trial hearings last month, Frank Pellegrino, the 33-year veteran of the FBI who interrogated Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, was asked why he was so disdainful of the CIA’s black site program. His answer: “I think the whole thing from the beginning was a flaming bag of crap that we got stuck with.”

+ According to Politico, the Biden White House has been urging leaders of both parties on Capitol Hill to sell the wars in Ukraine and Gaza to constituents as a “potential boon to economic growth.” Has Larry Summers prepared a memo on this? How many Palestinian, Ukrainian and Russian deaths will it take to balance the inflationary pressures from the new UAW contract with Ford?

+ Looks like Ukraine can’t get too much of a malign thing and is replenishing its stockpile of cluster bombs with shipments of the limb-shredding munitions from Turkey.

+ The car bomb that killed Daria Dugong, the daughter of Putin’s ideological mentor Alexander Dugin, was smuggled into Russia by an operative with Ukraine’s SBU spy agency, an outfit with deep historical ties to the CIA. The bomb was concealed in the hidden compartment of a cat crate.

+ Someone challenged me to come up with anything “nice” to say about Ronald Reagan. I thought for a minute and replied, “Yes, He cut-and-ran as fast as he could from Lebanon after 241 US troops (mostly Marines) were killed in a bombing, instead of starting another Middle East war.”

+ After nearly a century, the Royal Navy is finally ending its “tradition” of having Chinese servants on warships. Another example of military wokeness run amok? Hardly. Apparently, the Admiralty worried that they could be forced to spy for Beijing.

+ The Global South is facing the worst debt crisis in history: “Debt service is absorbing an average of 38% of budget revenue and 30% of spending across the Global South, rising to 54% of revenue and 40% of spending in Africa.”

+ China’s main stock index is down nearly 10% this year and is lower than any point during the three years of zero-Covid

+ The Gap between the US and European economies is widening to the decisive advantage of the US. The US economy has been propelled by hefty COVID stimulus spending and the economic impact of the war in Ukraine has been low.

+ In the last two years, China has gone from running a $30-40 billion deficit in finished car exports to running a $50 billion surplus.

+ According to a new report from the UNDP, at least 185 million people in the Asian-Pacific live in extreme poverty surviving on under $2.15 a day. At least one billion people remain societially poor, another 500 million are multidimensional poor, and 185 million are extremely poor.

+ Largely as a result of apartment combinations and conversions of buildings with several units into single-family homes, New York City has lost more than 100,000 apartments since 1950, even as the city’s population increased from 7.8 million to 18.9 million.

+ Stephen Schwarzman, founder and CEO of private equity firm Blackstone, griped at the Saudi Arabia Future Investment Initiative conference this week that employees who work at home don’t “work as hard” and are costing their firms money: ”It was actually more profitable for [workers] to stay at home because, one, they didn’t work as hard regardless of what they tell you. And the second is they don’t spend money to commute. You know, they can make their lunch at home. They don’t have to buy expensive clothes. And so their incomes are higher.” Schwarzman’s net worth: $32 billion.

+ Migrants living in skid row shelters in LA are being recruited by hotels near LAX and in Santa Monica to work as scabs to replace striking workers. a 17-year-old migrant student at Belmont High School told the LA Times that he skipped two days of school to clean rooms at the Holiday Inn by LAX airport.”

+ Jim Cramer, the histrionic business anchor on CNBC’s Mad Money and Squawk Box, has been on a rampage against the UAW strike and union head, Shaun Fain, whom Cramer has falsely accused of making $400,000. Fain’s salary is fixed by the UAW’s constitution at half that much. But it is true that the CEO of General Motors pockets the unbelievable sum of $30,000,000 a year.

+ What stage of capitalism is this?

+ Grandma and Grandpa can mop up the blood on the killing room floor from the sliced fingers of the 12-year-olds working the midnight shifts at the slaughterhouse. The work’s not too demanding and they get to be close to the grandkids, which is a kind of paycheck in its own right.

+ + +

+ Trump vowed this week that when he’s re-elected he’ll implement “strong ideological screening” of all immigrants to the U.S. One of his top criteria: “If you don’t like our religion…then we don’t want you in our country.” Immigrants better be ready to kneel and kiss the golden toes of Mammon.

+ Nikki Haley in Iowa last weekend: “I’m tired of talking about a Department of Defense. I want a Department of Offense.” She’s an offense to human dignity.

+ School vouchers are expected to blow a $900 million hole in the state budget for Arizona.

+ Denver has now generated more than $500 million in marijuana revenue. The half-billion dollars in cannabis money supports affordable housing, education, and opioid intervention.

+ California’s DMV has revoked Cruise’s license to operate self-driving taxis, determining that the “vehicles are not safe for the public’s operation.” The ruling came after DMV investigators found that the company had concealed footage of one of its cars dragging an injured pedestrian 20 feet while making a “pullover maneuver.”

+ Last Sunday, Minnesota held the state’s annual  Youth Deer Hunt, during which two men were shot in separate incidents by their daughters, both of whom are in elementary school.

+ Sean Hannity on the Maine mass shooting: “What is your plan? What do you do? I have a personal security plan. I train in mixed martial arts.” Hannity uses his Krav Maga moves to evade and deflect incoming AR-15 rounds?

+ Schools in the University of North Carolina system will no longer award distinguished professorships to faculty in the humanities. The UNC Board of Governors says the honors “will now only be given in STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.”


+ Aleister Crowley chief: “Take Shark’s fin, Kangaroo tails, Bêche de Mer (sea cucumber), and Wombat kidneys with—if possible—Ornithorhynchus (platypus) livers. Mince finely and add Chinese Birds’ nests. Boil in Shark’s belly. Serve as a haggis.”

+ From Katherine Mansfield’s journal: “I am so damnably thankful that I did not allow J. to kiss me. I am constantly hearing of him, and I feel to meet him would be horrible. But why? It is ridiculous. I used him merely for copy. I am always so supremely afraid of appearing ridiculous–the feeling is fostered by Oscar–who is so absolutely the essence of savoir-faire. I like to appear in any society entirely at my ease, conscious of my own importance, which in my estimation is unlimited–affable and very receptive.  I like to appear slightly condescending, very much du grand monde, and to be the center of interest. Yes, but quelquefois to my unutterable chagrin, unmistakeable shyness seizes me. Isn’t it ludicrous? I become conscious of my hands, and slightly inclined to blush. I thank Heaven that at present, though I am damnable, I am in love with nobody except myself.” October, 1907.

+ Irish novelist Flann O’Brien to his agent, A.M. Heath, after delivering the manuscript of At Swim-Two Birds to his publisher: “I’m rather surprised that Longman’s don’t like the title SWEENY IN THE TREES. It certainly seems preferable to AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS, which I now like less and less. Surely it is defective from the commercial viewpoint. I would be very glad if you could persuade them to part forthwith with the advance. I desire to buy a black hat and other accessories. I suppose you have no information as to when the book is likely to appear.

+ From Phillip Norman’s new biography of George Harrison, The Reluctant Beatle: “Even Paul was pushed from the foreground of John’s attention by Stu Sutcliffe, not only a brilliant painter but an intellectual omnivore who was awakening John’s torpid senses to art in all its forms, literature and even philosophy. The two now lived in a large mixed-gender flat where a ‘college band’ rehearsal would often turn into one of John’s informal tutorials from Stu on anything from van Gogh and Benvenuto Cellini to Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, Kierkegaard or Sartre, and George, with his abhorrence of book learning, would feel himself excluded in yet another way.”

+ Mick Jagger on Keith Richards’s Beatles obsession: “Originally, Keith was the pop person, really. I mean, I used to just write lyrics to his pop tunes, and he wrote all these pop tunes because he listened to The Beatles all the time.”

+ Gore Vidal: “Celebrities, as you call them, tend to flock together largely because they have the same sorts of problems. Criminals are the same.”

+ Bob Dylan on Scorsese: “Martin Scorsese, he’s out there. He’s one of probably the best directors, ever. My favorite movie, I told him before, is The Last Temptation of Christ. I think he’s gonna make one for the *First* Temptation one of these days. Right, Marty? You just got to, for me.”

+ James Cameron: “In Star Wars the good guys are the rebels, they’re using asymmetric warfare against a highly organized empire, I think we call those guys terrorists today.”

George Lucas: “When I did it they were Vietcong. That was the whole point.”

Dead heroes!  That’s the price you pay Dead heroes!  For the U.S.A.

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Einstein in Time and Space: a Life in 99 Particles
Samuel Graydon
(Simon and Schuster)

Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Big Oil
Timothy Mitchell

Bird Day: a Story of 24 Hours and 24 Avian Lives
Mark E. Hauber

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Condition Red
Red Rockers
(Liberty Spike)

The Darker the Shadow, the Brighter the Light
The Streets

Into You

When the Perpetrator Becomes the Victim

“Time and again we have come across phenomena eminently worthy of being investigated – only to have them disappear before we could make even a visual record. Without being unduly pessimistic, I would say that, for every success we have had in filming or recording a matter of scientific interest, we have had ten failures. It is possible–indeed, it is likely–that, unless there is a great change in the near future, disaster will follow. And it will be a disaster of which man himself will be not only the perpetrator but also one of the victims.” – Jacques Cousteau, Life and Death in a Coral Sea

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3