Saturday, July 05, 2008

Ode to Jesse Helms

"...between the legs hung the entrails; the vitals appeared, with the foul sack that makes excrement of what is swallowed."

Dante: Inferno, Canto XXVIII

Ah, but those words come to mind when reading of the death of Jesse Helms. Bring them forth, the limousines covered in the filth of the day. Riding on the rims, on the side of the highway, escorted by the Hell's Angels, the far right. The Minute Men down from the valley of good shooting, the natural lifers, the recent win for the NRA, let 'em gather and celebrate the death of one of their own.

- Chris Mansel

Friday, July 04, 2008


Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has called for an incentive program in which the government pays half the cost of installing solar panels on homes (10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2008). While useful and a dramatic improvement on the status quo, the proposal still requires the homeowner to make a significant investment at a time when money is tight. An alternative proposal would be to have the government provide solar panels on houses and other structures free of charge by renting the roof space in exchange for energy savings. There is no reason the program cannot be extended to other spaces (such as parking lots) public or private.

Taxpayers would provide the funding and reap the benefits of lower energy costs as well as cleaner air. The government would assume the responsibility of maintenance and improvements as technological advances allow. With the price of oil at an all time high and showing no signs of abating, the substantial initial costs would soon be transformed into a perpetual dividend.

There is no reason such a proposal need wait for the federal government. It can readily be implemented at the state or local level funded by selling bonds with a compelling return. The social benefits and economic return on such an investment is compelling indeed. In fact it is the only kind of investment that makes sense in these trying times.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008


We are living in an age where the consequences of past mistakes and excesses are coming to account. We have squandered our resources and attempted to hand the debt to future generations but the bill is due now and we can only pay by suffering foreclosure, homelessness, foregoing medical care, on and on. We have filled our atmosphere with the toxic wastes of the industrial age and now we suffer an endless chain of "natural" catastrophes from drought and fires to hurricanes and tornadoes, on and on. We have globalized the economy without globalizing labor and now we watch the decline of the working class both here and abroad. The decline of the working class is the decline of the consumer which will inevitably drag down the corporate beast responsible for the disaster. We have gone to war for oil and accelerated a rise in the price of gas, the price of food, the price of everything that requires fuel to produce and deliver goods to market. On and on.

We have lived under the delusion that our debts could be passed on but the Age of Reckoning is here. We cannot escape it. We must pay and future generations will pay as well.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fear and Loathing on McCain's Pierrepoint Express

This campaign is one for the books if that book was soaked in the blood of a child whose first word was gut and last was duck. John McCain is playing catch and release with the truth so bad that the fish are just swimming by the boat, a trail of excrement clogging up the Straight Talk Express exhaust. Every redneck in the country, and some in San Juan it seems are sending in letters to McCain and including racial slurs which McCain greedily answers and some he even includes in press releases.

McCain is searching, through Google and to find the descendants of Pierrepoint, the famed British hangman because he plans to open an Abu Ghraib in Puerto Rico after he gets elected. He's consulted with Donald Rumsfeld who still holds court in a Denny's in Pennsylvania off the main interstate. The cells will have four foot deep holes at the center to coil the chains which will be iced. Uniforms of the day will be blood mesh and there will be no windows.

McCain is not trying to quell any of the rumors and even trying to add to them as the wire reports come in. It is said he has begun calling reporters at home not unlike Lyndon Johnson used to call editors to try and get everyone to back his message. Just recently he called in Rev. Dobson to commit some of his underage followers to hold signs outside a rally supporting McCain but not in Denver. It's too soon for that.

- Chris Mansel