Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Better Explanation of Peak Oil

I have only recently started reading about peak oil, but there is a great page about the theory here. The basic argument is clear and sound. As the world population increases and more countries become heavily industrialized, we will need more and more oil. Oil is a finite resource, so this has to catch up to us at some point. The only solution would be to cut energy use or find new ways to create energy. I know we have nuclear power plants, solar panels, flexible fuel vehicles, and wind generators, but nothing is prepared to fill the gap if we were denied the amount of oil we have become accustomed to using.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Buffet Gives it Away

Warren Buffet recently decided to give his fortune to charity (story here). This is significant because he is the second richest man in the world, and doubly significant because he is donating to the Gates Foundation. When coupled with the donations of Bill Gates and his wife, this charity will have a bigger budget than the UN, the CDC, the WHO, and many small nations. Let's see what they can do with it.

Peak Oil

I have been looking at some articles discussing the theory of peak oil. It hypothesizes that after we use half of the world's oil, then we will see production decrease and prices increase as we try to squeeze out the last half. It seems logical. The main point of argument is when we are going to reach that point. Some people think we are there now. Other say it is not far out. However, people live like it won't be met within their lifetimes. We have discussed some alternative energy sources before, and the general concensus is that there isn't anything that can replace oil right now. So what would you do if the shit hit the fan next year? Gas is 9 bucks a gallon, home heating oil is absurdly expensive, airlines start to shut down en masse due to prohibitively high fueling costs. I just ordered a book called The Long Disaster that discusses what this new world would look like. I know it is kind of sick and twisted, but I am the kind of person that looks forward to these major world changes. Am I the only one?

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Today while reading the Skeptical Optimist, he finally put into words something that I have always felt, but have never been able to express.

Link: "Any given generation will need to pay down the debt only if the economy starts shrinking. In a growing economy, we do not need to pay down the debt; we can continue to add to the debt, without hurting our financial condition. That is not an egregious policy, that is a mathematical fact that has been tested over and over again in private sector business as well as public sector government. The debt burden for a nation is indicated by the ratio of its debt to the size of its economy. To maintain a constant ratio, a nation's debt must grow no faster than its economy grows -- or its debt must shrink at least as fast as its economy shrinks. (I shudder to contemplate the latter scenario; it would probably lead to an overthrow of our government.)"

I fully agree with the that Debt to GDP ratio is the correct measurement, but we do disagree on what the correct level of debt is. Unlike the Skeptical Optimist, I believe that hard times are a coming. They could be in my lifetime, they could be in my children's lifetimes, or my grandchildren's lifetimes. The severity of the disturbance could be as mild as the recession a few years ago, as bad as what is happening in Zimbabwe or even worse, right now. If you believe that hard times are a coming and you also think that they debt could cause problems WHEN the economy tanks, then it makes sense to maintain as small amount of debt as possible. The good times will never last and I feel that the good times are a gift from God to get us through the bad times.


Something unexpected

I can't stand the sound of Anne Coulter's voice. Her voice is exactly the type of accent that I would associate with a New England liberal. Hearing her voice, ruined anything I ever read from her. I now think that she is a undercover democrat. I doubt her voice sells her many books in middle America.

Link: "In an extraordinary show of toughness against one of their own members, Democrats voted 99-58 Thursday evening to strip Rep. William Jefferson, a Democrat from New Orleans accused of accepting bribes, of his seat on the Ways and Means Committee. The vote allows Democrats to maintain that they do not tolerate impropriety, yet the sanction already has placed a strain on the caucus."

Go democrats...of course I would like to see the republicans do the same thing if any charges are brought against any of their members that are on committees. I wonder what would have happened if this was not an election year. The democrats played it right politically and morally on this one. I wonder what morons voted against this measure. I hope they loose next time they are up for election.

Link: "Republicans want to avoid a minimum wage floor fight, where Democrats would point out that House members Tuesday, for the eighth straight Congress, raised their own pay. The latest $3,300 increase puts the House's annual salary at $168,500. "

The article does not say if the raise was a vote or whether it is tied to another indicator, like inflation. If it was a bill, the article does not offer any information on who voted for or against. Though, I doubt it could have passed with republican support, so I blame the bastards in charge for this. They could have saved the money and paid off the national debt a little bit, but no, they had to line their own pockets.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Fat tax

I really like the idea of the "“new urbanism” style of planned communities" I have heard about. They sound great. Easy access to all the cities pleasures, less people, and a more relaxed environment. My only question is who would the local goverment would kick out to build them? Or maybe they would tear down the ghettos and build a nice middle class place to live. I guess the biggest problem is the people who would live there, like Sallis, below.

Link: "Sallis contends change will come only when the public demands walkable development, more federal money for parks and bike paths and even a tax on industries that promote sedentary lifestyles (he pointed to video game makers, movie theater chains and even electric Segway scooters). "

First, if you want a more walkable community why does the federal government pay for it. Why don't you pay for it yourself.

Secondly, a tax....come one. If you tax sedentary lifestyle products, i probably would not have read anything this guy said. The phone lines would have been taxed (why call someone when you can just walk to talk to them), my chair would have been taxed, my computer would have been taxed, and the newspaper that published the article in the first place should have been taxed because it encouraged me to be still.

His statements are really odd considering the fact that "Doctors are planning to declare war on America's soft drinks industry by calling for a 'fat tax' to combat the nation's obesity epidemic."

Stop providing free buses to poor people and take away their food stamps, I bet that would solve half the obesity problem. For everyone else, make them pay for their own heart surgeries, that would solve most of the other half. The rest you can't really do much about.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Why is Bush's rating so low?

Where the hell is my tax reform?
What about my social security reform?
You are giving who a nuclear power plant, WTF man?
Pedro is knocking at my door, "Hi, I am a illegal immigrants will you go to the polls and vote for my man." A wall won't work and taking them back home won't work either, well hell let them in.

The freaking Chinese are having a huge build up of arms over there and we should be investing more in our army, just in case. There are like 1 billion of those suckers, I hope they fall down easy when out guys shoot them, it is going to be like fighting a zombie invasion, except they probably will run faster.

Man, what they crap is going on out there.


Green healthy poop

Well, my girlfriend and I are on a diet. And not just any diet my, real life web friends, I am on the trendy and heart friendly South Beach Diet. It was her idea (that phrase been around since Adam and Eve). Normally, I would have fought this change tooth and nail, but several things conspired all at once to make me more inclined to give the diet a try.

The first was my move to Tulsa, over the past two years I have gained about 20 pounds. It was a combination of big lunches and a lack of exercise. When I moved to Tulsa, I decided to drop a few pounds. I started eating smaller lunches and I started running again. I lost about 6 to 8 pounds with no major effort on my part. I really have not put on any real distance on running, but I expect once I start hitting three miles on a regular basis, I will probably drop a few more pounds.

Recently I got a routine blood test for free, from a third party that was hired by either my company or the insurance company my company uses. Basically, the insurance company gets generalized statistics on the group that took the test. I think my company could get price breaks based on that information. I get a free blood test and a chance to win a prize. The results of the blood test did not tell me anything I did not already suspect. I am my father's son and I inherited his genetic tendency toward high triglycerides. Mine were hanging around the 300 range, they should be less than 150. My dad's, when he first got tested a few years back and started his heart medication, was around 700. His has since returned to normal My cholesterol was borderline, at 201, but I had low HDL (good cholesterol) and high LDL (bad cholesterol). Otherwise I was normal. The blood pressure fine. As of the test, I could lose a few pounds ( which I had already started on that)

Based on the information from test, I made a few small dietary changes fairly quickly. For breakfast, I changed from skim milk to soy milk, which has heart healthy fats. It also omega-3 fatty acids, which your body does not produce naturally. I cut out cheese from my lunch sandwich, bought a leaner meat and incorporated carrots into my lunch routine. I started eating more fruits - apples and bananas mostly. I also started avoiding some potential sources of cholesterol for dinner. I started eating some frozen salmon with frozen vegetables for some dinners. I switched popcorn to a non-buttered variety. For snacks during the day, I bought some almonds and I try to eat a handful daily. If I don't eat almonds, I try to have some dark chocolate, I eat a few squares of. I also bought some oatmeal breakfast squares. My goal was to lower my total cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Once I made these changes, I continued running and I lost another 5 to 7 pounds.

The third piece of information that pushed me even further closer to the line was anecdotal. Recently, the girlfriends younger sister graduated from college and moved back home. She convinced her parents to give the south beach diet a try. My girlfriend's dad, who is in great shape (He is 65 and ran a 5k run in about 25 minutes a few weeks back) was able to cut his heart medication in half after being on the diet for about a month or a month and a half. Her mom lost some weight, her dad may have also lost some too, though he really didn't need to.

In addition to those reasons, my girlfriend wanted to go on the diet after catching the bug from her parents. She said that I didn't have to, but we all know that means I had better do it. Her reasoning is long term. If we eat healthier now, we will avoid many of the problems out parents have or at least delay them. I personally suspect that I will probably be placed on a statin eventually, no matter how healthy I eat or how far I can run. Also, I am not opposed to anything that makes my girlfriend hotter. If I have to eat a salads and low fat plain yogurt to make that happen, then I consider it a pretty good trade.

The diet's stated goal is heart health, but it also archives weight loss. The diet operates in phases, with phase one being the hardest and most drastic. This lasts for 2 weeks. Phase two is more gentle and lasts until you reach your target weight goal. Phase three, is the maintenance phase where you just maintain the weight lost. The diet operates on a several simple principles. Eat good fats over bad fats, eat good carbohydrates over bad carbohydrates. That is the first basic idea, the second idea is the concept of the glycemic index. You goals is to avoid foods with high glycemic indexes, because these foods cause your blood sugar to spike higher. That causes your blood sugar to crash lower later on, when the insulin does it's job too well. Which you then eat other foods with high gylcemic indexes to feel better, and so the cycle continues and you consume more food than you need in the process. The diet also stresses the importance of fresh foods over canned or heavily processed foods.

For phase one, the foods consist mostly of salads, low fat dairy, fish, eggs, and other lean meats. Fried food, bread, alcohol and fruits are out. For breakfast on day one I had, an omelet, with green and orange bell peppers, fat free plain yogurt, and some V-8 juice. For lunch I had a tuna salad, fat free cottage cheese, and some more V-8 juice. Tonight, salmon is on the menu. Phase two, you can start adding back in foods that you enjoy, but slowly and with an eye on the weight. If a particular food makes you crave more of it in a few hours you should consider not eating it as much.

I would say that I did feel a little different on day one, but not hungry or tired, which is good. What I am missing the normal rush of energy that I normally received from my meals. This isn't saying eating did not make be feel better, it just did not make me feel as good as quickly. So I guess the diet is working. As of day 5 of phase one, I have removed some of the reactive hypoglycemia that I was getting a lot. I can now be hungry with out my blood sugar crashing, which feels different than I am used to. Now I am just waiting for my poop to turn a healthy green color.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Firearms Caching

Recently, there have been several letters or articles at Survival Blog on caching your firearms in case they are needed. Obviously, I have no experience in this area, but several readers have written in about tests they have done. Apparently, there are several keys to long term storage of firearms underground. First you must store them properly, to protect them from the moisture. The key with this trick is a completely waterproof container and a backup plan of moisture absorber. When burying, you do not want to bury the tube vertical, it is harder to get out of ground that way. You can also seed the area with scrap metal to hide the signature of the tube. You can also store ammo and other essential gear, because if you are digging up your guns, you will probably need other gear also.

(I will leave the discussion of what kind of situation would necessite such drastic action to another day, but I am sure you will understand that if such drastic action is needed then what I am about to say would be a sane response to insane times.) I had another idea on the long term storage of guns, that is a little more expensive than the military sonar buoys mentioned. What is large, perfectly normal to have one of, and is guaranteed to keep the contents protected like tupperware in a refrigerator. A burial vault (above ground would be best) of a loved one would make a perfect place for long term storage of weapons, ammo, and gear. If you don't have time to prepare such an elaborate scheme you could possibly break into a graveyard and bury a casket underneath a current one in the dead of night or preferably bribe the caretaker to do it for you. The gravestones would make an excellent long term marker to find your cache later.


Joining the Order of the Jedi

A few weekends ago I performed the sacred rite of passage for a gunnie. I disassembled and reassembled my pistol, a Springfield XD. The only parts that were not removed were the sights and the extractor, so i did almost a complete break down. I followed the steps and procedures lined out in this DVD, which i purchased online at cheaper than dirt, so i was not flying blind in the least.

Primary, I wanted to gain a better understanding of how the internals of my pistol worked. This knowledge can come in handy if something breaks on the gun. I will be able to perform a more detailed analysis of the problem and determine if i need to send it off or if a part can be ordered, this could save me money and time. Which presently Springfield's policy is quite restrictive on what can be ordered, but I figure the knowledge, skills, and tools I gained will help when I standardize my defense pistols in other guns, where parts can be ordered without sending the gun into the manufacture.

As a side note, I probably will standardize in 9mm (Glock) and .45 (1911). Both he Glock and the 1911 have tons of parts that can be bought on the open market, which will is a necessity in preparation for a SHTFS. I have chosen two different calibers to have a choice for potential shooters, to hedge my bets against choosing just one caliber, and because I could not make a final decision between the two. The more choices the better, as far as I am concerned, when it comes to handguns, mainly because of their versatility and ease of carry. I doubt I will use this reasoning with long guns.

Back to the topic at hand, I also wanted to clean and oil every single metal part. Which as I got into the process, I realized that the frame will seldom ever need that level of detail stripping. Though my trigger has always felt gritty and it now feels a lot smoother, which just goes to show that a little cleaning and oil never hurt metal. The slide is a different story entirely, I can honestly see the need to break down the slide regularly if you use it in harsh conditions (heat, sand, mud, etc.). Fortunately, the slide is the easy part to break down, unlike the frame. I can also see the need to break down the slide every X number of rounds, though I have no idea what that number might be. If you have any suggestions on that number or would like to leave your personal philosophy on disassembling and cleaning you gun, please comment below, because I would love to hear your thought on the matter. I will probably break down the slide once or twice every two years, to check for unusual wear and keep my knowledge current.

The only advice that I can over for breaking down your XD is to be inventive when it comes to the magazine release assembly. I was able to do everything, but that part in one afternoon. It took me a couple of tries with different tools, over several days, to get it magazine release assembly back in. Another thing that might help, is a vise to hold the frame while your other hands are free. I used my knees as a vise and that made my inner thighs and back sore the next day. I bought a pick and hook set from Wal-Mart to try to get the last leg of the spring under the magazine catch, but that did not work. The spring leg was too strong and I could not push it far enough over. As a another effort, I bought some cheap guitar string and looped it through the hole in the magazine catch and around the spring leg to pull the spring leg in close and then move it over with a pick. This worked a lot better, but I still had problems getting the spring to move far enough over. At that point I could either give up and take it into a gunsmith or try a risky idea I had. My idea was to cut a small amount of the spring leg off, so that when the leg was moved over, I would not have to move it as far to get it under the magazine catch. I removed about 2 millimeters of the spring leg, and was able to pull the leg in using guitar string easy in ONE TRY. I tested and retested the magaize catch with empty and full mags and it seemed to work fine. I am fairly sure that the gunsmith would have probably ended up doing the same thing, of course I could be wrong on that.

Even though it took quite awhile and caused a lot of hassle, I still felt it was worth it. Better to gain the knowledge now, rather than in other more stressful situations. All in all i felt like a jedi, who built their first lightsaber. Though i did not build anything and I had a DVD guiding the way instead of a wizened old man or short green alien.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Thompson on Nixon

This was originally published in Atlantic Monthly. It is reproduced without their permission.

'He was a crook'

Jun 16, 1994


DATE: MAY 1, 1994




"And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is becoming the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit and a cage of
every unclean and hateful bird."--REVELATION 18:2

Richard Nixon is gone now and I am poorer for it. He was the real thing--a political monster straight out of Grendel and a very dangerous enemy. He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time. He lied to his friends and betrayed the trust of his family. Not even Gerald Ford, the unhappy ex-president who pardoned Nixon and kept him out of prison, was immune to the evil fallout. Ford, who believes strongly in Heaven and Hell, has told more than one of his celebrity golf partners that I know I will go to hell, because I pardoned Richard Nixon."

I have had my own bloody relationship with Nixon for many years, but I am not worried about it landing me in hell with him. I have already been there with that bastard, and I am a better person for it. Nixon had the unique ability to make his enemies seem honorable, and we developed a keen sense of fraternity. Some of my best friends have hated Nixon all their lives. My mother hates Nixon, my son hates Nixon, I hate Nixon, and this hatred has brought us together.

Nixon laughed when I told him this. "Don't worry," he said. "I, too, am a family man, and we feel the same way about you."

It was Richard Nixon who got me into politics, and now that he's gone, I feel lonely. He was a giant in his way. As long as Nixon was politically alive--and he was, all the way to the end--we could always be sure of finding the enemy on the Low Road. There was no need to look anywhere else for the evil bastard. He had the fighting instincts of a badger trapped by hounds. The badger will roll over on its back and emit a smell of death, which confuses the dogs and lures them in for the traditional ripping and tearing action. But it is usually the badger who does the ripping and tearing. It is a beast that fights best on its back: rolling under the throat of the enemy and seizing it by the head with all four claws.

That was Nixon's style--and if you forgot, he would kill you as a lesson to the others. Badgers don't fight fair, bubba. That's why God made dachshunds.

Nixon was a navy man, and he should have been buried at sea. Many of his friends were seagoing people: Bebe Rebozo, Robert Vesco, William F. Buckley Jr., and some of them wanted a full naval burial.

These come in at least two styles, however, and Nixon's immediate family strongly opposed both of them. In the traditionalist style, the dead president's body would be wrapped and sewn loosely in canvas sailcloth and dumped off the stern of a frigate at least 100 miles off the coast and at least 1,000 miles south of San Diego, so the corpse could never wash up on American soil in any recognizable form.

The family opted for cremation until they were advised of the potentially onerous implications of a strictly private, unwitnessed burning of the body of the man who was, after all, the President of the United States. Awkward questions might be raised, dark allusions to Hitler and Rasputin. People would be filing lawsuits to get their hands on the dental charts. Long court battles would be inevitable--some with liberal cranks bitching about corpus delicti and habeas corpus and others with giant insurance companies trying not to pay off on his death benefits. Either way, an orgy of greed and duplicity was sure to follow any public hint that Nixon might have somehow faked his own death or been cryogenically transferred to fascist Chinese interests on the Central Asian Mainland.

It would also play into the hands of those millions of self-stigmatized patriots like me who believe these things already.

If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.

These are harsh words for a man only recently canonized by President Clinton and my old friend George McGovern--but I have written worse things about Nixon, many times, and the record will show that I kicked him repeatedly long before he went down. I beat him like a mad dog with mange every time I got a chance, and I am proud of it. He was scum.

Let there be no mistake in the history books about that. Richard Nixon was an evil man--evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it. He was utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Nobody trusted him--except maybe the Stalinist Chinese, and honest historians will remember him mainly as a rat who kept scrambling to get back on the ship.

It is fitting that Richard Nixon's final gesture to the American people was a clearly illegal series of 21 105-mm howitzer blasts that shattered the peace of a residential neighborhood and permanently disturbed many children. Neighbors also complained about another unsanctioned burial in the yard at the old Nixon place, which was brazenly illegal. "It makes the whole neighborhood like a graveyard," said one. "And it fucks up my children's sense of values."

Many were incensed about the howitzers--but they knew there was nothing they could do about it--not with the current president sitting about 50 yards away and laughing at the roar of the cannons. It was Nixon's last war, and he won.

The funeral was a dreary affair, finely staged for TV and shrewdly dominated by ambitious politicians and revisionist historians. The Rev. Billy Graham, still agile and eloquent at the age of 136, was billed as the main speaker, but he was quickly upstaged by two 1996 GOP presidential candidates: Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas and Gov. Pete Wilson of California, who formally hosted the event and saw his poll numbers crippled when he got blown off the stage by Dole, who somehow seized the No. 3 slot on the roster and uttered such a shameless, self-serving eulogy that even he burst into tears at the end of it.

Dole's stock went up like a rocket and cast him as the early GOP front-runner for '96. Wilson, speaking next, sounded like an Engelbert Humperdinck impersonator and probably won't even be re-elected as governor of California in November.

The historians were strongly represented by the No. 2 speaker, Henry Kissinger, Nixon's secretary of state and himself a zealous revisionist with many axes to grind. He set the tone for the day with a maudlin and spectacularly self-serving portrait of Nixon as even more saintly than his mother and as a president of many godlike accomplishments--most of them put together in secret by Kissinger, who came to California as part of a huge publicity tour for his new book on diplomacy, genius, Stalin, H.P. Lovecraft and other great minds of our time, including himself and Richard Nixon.

Kissinger was only one of the many historians who suddenly came to see Nixon as more than the sum of his many squalid parts. He seemed to be saying that History will not have to absolve Nixon, because he has already done it himself in a massive act of will and crazed arrogance that already ranks him supreme, along with other Nietzschean supermen like Hitler, Jesus, Bismarck and the Emperor Hirohito. These revisionists have catapulted Nixon to the status of an American Caesar, claiming that when the definitive history of the 20th century is written, no other president will come close to Nixon in stature. "He will dwarf FDR and Truman," according to one scholar from Duke University.

It was all gibberish, of course. Nixon was no more a Saint than he was a Great President. He was more like Sammy Glick than Winston Churchill. He was a cheap crook and a merciless war criminal who bombed more people to death in Laos and Cambodia than the U.S. Army lost in all of World War II, and he denied it to the day of his death. When students at Kent State University, in Ohio, protested the bombing, he connived to have them attacked and slain by troops from the National Guard.

Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism--which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.

Nixon's meteoric rise from the unemployment line to the vice presidency in six quick years would never have happened if TV had come along 10 years earlier. He got away with his sleazy "my dog Checkers" speech in 1952 because most voters heard it on the radio or read about it in the headlines of their local, Republican newspapers. When Nixon finally had to face the TV cameras for real in the 1960 presidential campaign debates, he got whipped like a red-headed mule. Even die-hard Republican voters were shocked by his cruel and incompetent persona. Interestingly, most people who heard those debates on the radio thought Nixon had won. But the mushrooming TV audience saw him as a truthless used-car salesman, and they voted accordingly. It was the first time in 14 years that Nixon lost an election.

When he arrived in the White House as VP at the age of 40, he was a smart young man on the rise--a hubris-crazed monster from the bowels of the American dream with a heart full of hate and an overweening lust to be President. He had won every office he'd run for and stomped like a Nazi on all of his enemies and even some of his friends.

Nixon had no friends except George Will and J. Edgar Hoover (and they both deserted him.) It was Hoover's shameless death in 1972 that led directly to Nixon's downfall. He felt helpless and alone with Hoover gone. He no longer had access to either the Director or the Director's ghastly bank of Personal Files on almost everybody in Washington.

Hoover was Nixon's right flank, and when he croaked, Nixon knew how Lee felt when Stonewall Jackson got killed at Chancellorsville. It permanently exposed Lee's flank and led to the disaster at Gettysburg.

For Nixon, the loss of Hoover led inevitably to the disaster of Watergate. It meant hiring a New Director--who turned out to be an unfortunate toady named L. Patrick Gray, who squealed like a pig in hot oil the first time Nixon leaned on him. Gray panicked and fingered White House Counsel John Dean, who refused to take the rap and rolled over, instead, on Nixon, who was trapped like a rat by Dean's relentless, vengeful testimony and went all to pieces right in front of our eyes on TV.

That is Watergate, in a nut, for people with seriously diminished attention spans. The real story is a lot longer and reads like a textbook on human treachery. They were all scum, but only Nixon walked free and lived to clear his name. Or at least that's what Bill Clinton says--and he is, after all, the President of the United States.

Nixon liked to remind people of that. He believed it, and that was why he went down. He was not only a crook but a fool. Two years after he quit, he told a TV journalist that "if the president does it, it can't be illegal."

Shit. Not even Spiro Agnew was that dumb. he was a flat-out, knee-crawling thug with the morals of a weasel on speed. But he was Nixon's vice president for five years, and he only resigned when he was caught red-handed taking cash bribes across his desk in the White House.

Unlike Nixon, Agnew didn't argue. He quit his job and fled in the night to Baltimore, where he appeared the next morning in U.S. District Court, which allowed him to stay out of prison for bribery and extortion in exchange for a guilty (no contest) plea on income-tax evasion. After that he became a major celebrity and played golf and tried to get a Coors distributorship. He never spoke to Nixon again and was an unwelcome guest at the funeral. They called him Rude, but he went anyway. It was one of those Biological Imperatives, like salmon swimming up waterfalls to spawn before they die. He knew he was scum, but it didn't bother him.

Agnew was the Joey Buttafuoco of the Nixon administration, and Hoover was its Caligula. They were brutal, brain-damaged degenerates worse than any hit man out of The Godfather, yet they were the men Richard Nixon trusted most. Together they defined his Presidency.

It would be easy to forget and forgive Henry Kissinger of his crimes, just as he forgave Nixon. Yes, we could do that--but it would be wrong. Kissinger is a slippery little devil, a world-class hustler with a thick German accent and a very keen eye for weak spots at the top of the power structure, Nixon was one of these, and Super K exploited him mercilessly, all the way to the end.

Kissinger made the Gang of Four complete: Agnew, Hoover, Kissinger and Nixon. A group photo of these perverts would say all we need to know about the Age of Nixon.

Nixon's spirit will be with us for the rest of our lives--whether you're me or Bill Clinton or you or Kurt Cobain or Bishop Tutu or Keith Richards or Amy Fisher or Boris Yeltsin's daughter or your fiancee's 16-year-old beer-drunk brother with his braided goatee and his whole life like a thundercloud out in front of him. This is not a generational thing. You don't even have to know who Richard Nixon was to be a victim of his ugly, Nazi spirit.

He has poisoned our water forever. Nixon will be remembered as a classic case of a smart man shitting in his own nest. But he also shit in our nests, and that was the crime that history will burn on his memory like a brand. By disgracing and degrading the Presidency of the United States, by fleeing the White House like a diseased cur, Richard Nixon broke the heart of the American Dream.


It is Nixon himself who represents that dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character that almost every country in the world has learned to fear and despise. Our Barbie-doll president, with his Barbie-doll wife and his boxful of Barbie-doll children is also America's answer to the monstrous Mr. Hyde. He speaks for the Werewolf in us; the bully, the predatory shyster who turns into something unspeakable, full of claws and bleeding string warts, on nights when the moon comes too close....

At the stroke of midnight in Washington, a drooling red-eyed beast with the legs of a man and head of a giant hyena crawls out of its bedroom window in the South Wing of the White House and leaps 50 feet down to the lawn ... pauses briefly to strangle the chow watchdog, then races off into the darkness...toward the Watergate, snarling with lust, loping through the alleys behind Pennsylvania Avenue and trying desperately to remember which one of those 400 iron balconies is the one outside Martha Mitchell's apartment.

Ah...nightmares, nightmares. But I was only kidding. The President of the United States would never act that weird. At least not during football season. But how would the voters react if they knew the President of the United States was, according to a New York Times editorial on Oct. 12, presiding over "a complex, far-reaching and sinister operation on the part of White House aides and the Nixon campaign organization ... involving sabotage, forgery, theft of confidential files, surveillance of Democratic candidates and their families and persistent efforts to lay the basis for possible blackmail and intimidation?"

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I am packing this weekend, and then I will be in Greece for two weeks. I will blog more when I get back.