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Friday, February 26, 2016

Inside the February podcast.

Rain, snow, freeze, thaw ... this freaking winter is a climatic yo-yo, full stop. The walls of the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill are buckling under the strain of expanding and contracting water. Fun fact: water gets fatter when it freezes. Maybe it needs to add a few extra layers to keep warm - I don't know. What the hell am I, a hydrologist? (The only genuine hydrologist I ever knew talked like Elmer Fudd. Think about THAT for a minute.)

Okay, so I'm wrapped in some old burlap, sitting in a distressed easy (or not-so-easy) chair, trying to weather the ... well ... weather against which the crumbling masonry of the mill offers little resistance. Sounds like a good time to give you folks a rundown on our recently-posted February installment of THIS IS BIG GREEN, our podcast. Imagine me opening the front cover of a well-worn volume, illuminated by the warm glow of a nearby fireplace ... ahem ...

Ned Trek 27 - Who Mourns for Science? - Goodness me, is it 27 episodes already? (Matt will remind me at this point that the first few were test shots; blanks, essentially.) This installment is based on the classic Star Trek 2nd season episode, Who Mourns for Adonis? Instead of the Greek god Apollo, however, the Free Enterprise crew are taken captive by a reanimated Carl Sagan, who compels them to sit through general science lectures. Chaos ensues, as it always does. (Sometimes it sues, too ... chaos is very litigious.) Special guest appearance by the ghost of Strom Thurmond, who talks a distressed Doc Coburn into remaining on the show for the sake of all of those crackers out there (an ironic twist on Dr. King's reported efforts to encourage Nichelle Nichols to continue in her role as Lt. Uhura). Episode is introduced by Clinton adviser Dr. Henry Kissinger.

Howdy, kids!Put The Phone Down - Matt and I start out with a song about a leprechaun, then go south from there, believe it or not. We talk about Scalia, song poem anthologies, and Matt's experiences in the field.

Song: Kublai Khan - A Matt number from back in the day, re-recorded a couple of years ago. I leave it to him to explain the lyric, though if you listen carefully you will notice some allusions to the creation myth of Reverend Moon.

Song: Quality Lincoln - Our Lincoln suite, this version of which was recorded specifically for the podcast back in 2011. Still half-baked, but a fair representation of this collaborative effort between my brother and me.

Song: All I Want (live version) - This is another Matt/Joe collaboration from decades ago. This version was rendered in impromptu fashion as we recorded our "Put The Phone Down" conversation. The song loosely follows the ego-tale of Sylvester Stallone in Rambo, his insane shoot-up-Vietnam movie - here's a sample lyric:
With three arrows strapped to my back,
I'll defeat their combined armed forces
And with those same three arrows
I'll save those guys
And bring them back in movies
Then I'll make those commies sift through their bones
And send back all the white ones
All I want is what they want
I want everyone to love me
Anyway, that's February. Now let's learn about wunoff. I mean, runoff.

Blind justice.

As promised, I wanted to scribble a few lines about the loss of Justice Scalia and the consequent shit-storm that has engulfed our nation's political landscape. I'm sure that most of your conservative friends have shared 10 and 20-year-old speeches by Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden as support for the insupportable position taken by the G.O.P. leadership in the Senate. You could do worse than to remind them that (1) both of those speeches were made in a year when there was no vacancy on the court, and (2) both speeches came something like a year after extremist justices were appointed by a Republican president and approved by the Senate without filibuster - in the case of Biden's speech, it was Clarence Thomas, who was approved by a Democratic controlled Senate. (Though it's hard to tell because he's so deathly quiet, Thomas is to the right of their sainted Scalia.)

The neocon establishment's new little tin car.All that said, Obama's natural inclination will be to offer an olive-branch appointment, something like the one he trial-ballooned this week, namely the Republican governor of Nevada. Seriously ... what is it with this president's Pangloss-like insistence on attempting to curry favor with the Republicans? Hasn't he been burned enough times in the last seven years? He's like freaking Charlie Brown trying to kick the football again. Earth to Obama: they hate everything you want to do ... doesn't matter what it is. Best to nominate someone that might energize the Democratic base for the upcoming election; make the point that the election is, in substantial measure, about this issue. It's about a lot of things, but the Supreme Court is a biggie.

The remaining G.O.P. candidates discussed this during the CNN debate on Thursday night. I say "discussed", though it was more a pissing contest. Apparently John Roberts is now too liberal for Donald Trump's taste. I wish I could say that this food-fight was the worst display of the entire debate, but that's not even close to being true. Anyone watching was treated to a rehash of John McCain's health plan (i.e. let insurance companies sell their products across state lines), resurrection of the ultimate neocon foreign policy (apparently Marco Rubio is now the little tin car Bill Kristol drives around in), and rabid celebration of trickle-down economics. And a lot of good yelling and screaming, of course.

One thing's for certain, people ... if anyone on that stage in Texas gets anywhere near the White House, don't buy any green bananas. You'd just be throwing your money away.

luv u,

jp