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The Zen of being screwed

I was talking to my dying friend today. Once again, she said she wants information about exactly how she’s going to go, and her doctors won’t tell her. “Didn’t you get that stuff I emailed you?” I said. But then I remembered she has trouble reading now.

So I said as soon as I get back from Netroots Nation, I’ll bring her some printouts and read them to her. “It’s not pretty,” I said, hesitant.

“I know,” she said. “I just want to know.”

It’ll be a lot better when you’re in hospice, I tell her. They don’t pretend, they answer questions.

“I have this headache that won’t go away, it hurts all the time now.”

“Well, you know: brain tumor,” I said, and we both cracked up.

She speaks so slowly and carefully now, like a stroke victim. When I call her house and get the answering machine, it’s a shock to hear the old outgoing message; she sounds so different.

The nice thing about realizing you’re fucked, we both agreed, is how it frees you up to enjoy the rest of your life. You know? These bastards have fucked up the air, the water, the food and the economy. Our children are screwed, and our children’s children.

Which realization, for some reason, really quiets the monkey chatter in my head. It frees you up so that you can sit and look at a flower, or a sunset. It’s a lot easier to live in the moment, at least some of the time.
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Cure for plutocracy


46 years

Griswold v. Connecticut, yet another ruling the fundies wish to overturn.

When the tornado touches down

Lovely, funny essay on anger and where does it go — especially when you live in a Buddhist monastery:

“First Law of Thermodynamics: Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It simply changes forms!” So went the mantra of an erstwhile Zen peer, one of those quasi-scientific mystic types forever trying to link quantum physics with whacked-out spiritual mumbo-jumbo. If you ever disagreed with him, he trembled, his jowls purpling: “That’s… just… your… ego!” A regular fury farmer, this sower of hate seeds was one of those unfortunate American Zen sangha fixtures whose respect and admiration for the teacher is in inverse proportion to his resentment and suspicion of his peers. Once, a fed-up nun, ornery and pugnacious in her own right, shot back: “Listen, you! In a universe that wastes nothing, where does the butthead energy go when you lose your temper? What form does it change into?”

In about a week she got her answer. One morning, this troubled monk we’ll call “Tirade-san”—towering over six feet, girthy, garbed in his turquoise stretch pants and a T-shirt with a picture of the cosmos and an arrow indicating You Are Here—exploded at the densu (monastery greeter) when she forgot to fetch a student from the airport. She in turn barfed a curdled remark on the tenzo (cook), after he misplaced her laminated chant sheets. The tenzo then went Vesuvius on the shoji (zendo mother) when she innocently swung through the kitchen door to brew some green tea.

“Knock before entering!” the normally mild-mannered Pisces roared.

“Have a fucking cow!” the grandmother of three and part-time caregiver blasted back.

Go read it all. You’ll feel better!

High gas prices

Blame the Koch brothers.

These are so addicting:

Attacking from the left

Of course they are. They’re better at reading the public mood than Obama!

Evan Bayh

That lying, worthless piece of shit has signed on as a lobbyist with the Chamber of Commerce. Remember when he said he wanted to quite Congress to be in a “more honorable” line of work? Hah.

Not too shabby

The next relief boat to Gaza is one-quarter Jewish.

U.S. tries to crush corporate whistleblower

It’s complicated, but worth reading. David Sirota:

As if we needed any more evidence that the United States is fast becoming aCorporate Police State (i.e., systematically deploying police power to protect narrow corporate interests), make sure to check out this jaw-dropping storythat broke in Canada late Friday. It details how the Canadian Supreme Court uncovered what it says is a massive collusion between computer giant Cisco and U.S. law enforcement — a collusion that seems designed to use criminal prosecution to stop a whistle-blower’s antitrust case against a powerful politically connected corporation.

The machinations in this case are complicated, but the basics go like this: Ex-Cisco exec Peter Alfred-Adekeye filed a whistle-blower suit against his former employer Cisco in civil court — a suit that could compel the company to pay millions in damages for allegedly “forcing customers to buy maintenance contracts,” according to the Vancouver Sun.

Cisco subsequently responded with two moves designed to intimidate Adekeye: First, the company filed a counter civil suit against him for allegedly “using a former colleague’s computer code to illicitly access Cisco services worth ‘more than $14,000.'” Then, the corporation had its allies in U.S. law enforcement cite the civil counter-suit to issue a whopping 97 criminal charges against Adekeye. In other words, instead of following Adekeye’s civil case with criminal antitrust charges against Cisco, U.S. authorities were convinced by the corporation to add criminal charges to Cisco’s counter civil suit against Adekeye (this move to add state-sanctioned criminal prosecution to a corporation’s civil action, of course, is a textbook definition of a Corporate Police State).

Ultimately, U.S. authorities demanded the Canadian government extradite Adekeye for prosecution, and Canadian officials proceeded to follow U.S. orders by arresting and detaining him. However, on Friday, a top Canadian court rejected the extradition request, issuing a stunning ruling that goes way beyond one whistle-blower dispute.

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