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Profile Information

Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,803

Journal Archives

Take a deep breath before you open this thread.

A line of roses down the centerline of the street where Michael Brown died.

I have no idea who did it. But it happened.

It happened.

"It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots."

"It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard."

Martin Luther King, Jr., 14 March 1968

Ferguson Medical Examiner didn't photograph Mike Brown's body because...wait for it...

..."My battery in my camera died."

Straight from the Grand Jury testimony: https://twitter.com/grasswire/status/537261193736368128

“Atticus–” said Jem bleakly.

“Atticus–” said Jem bleakly.

He turned in the doorway. “What, son?”

“How could they do it, how could they?”

“I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it — seems that only children weep.”

— "To Kill A Mockingbird," Harper Lee

For those of you who have lost someone dear to you...

I'm not sure how according-to-Hoyle this is as a GD post, but here goes.

I found out on Monday that one of my oldest and dearest friends - my college roommate, Jamaica Plain roommate, South End roommate, and partner in crime for years that included a run of madness in San Francisco - had died suddenly. The news frankly obliterated me; I've lost plenty of dear people, including all four grandparents and the parents of many good friends, but Fitz was three years younger than me, and was royalty in my core crew.

I've been a pudding since I got the news...and then a friend sent me this. I'm still in utter anguish, but reading this helped to quiet the banshee scream in my head just a bit, and that is frankly a mercy beyond measure.

I know there are a whole lot of people here who have also lost someone who was utterly irreplaceable, some very recently. This really helped me. I hope it helps you. I'm not sure of the original source, but it is, basically, a eulogy from a physicist.


You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen.

-Aaron Freeman

I want to sing his name.

There was this guy I met in college who had the wicked pissah Woburn accent. He was ten feet tall, with bright green eyes, and handsome in the way that makes you hate handsome guys like that just a little bit even though he's you're friend. The funniest guy in the room, and hilariously OCD; we'd rearrange the books in his dorm room ever so slightly, and he'd walk in, put the books back in order again, sit down, crack a beer, and tell us to fuck ourselves with this megawatt smile on his face. Smart as all get-out; he took a class titled "How to Make an Atomic Bomb" thinking it was a history class, found out it was a hardcore physics/engineering class, stuck with it, and aced the goddam thing anyway.

After college, I moved to San Francisco, and bugged him to move there until he did. He bought two motorcycles and promptly wrecked them both, but made a home for himself, and we had good great grand and wild times. I left to return to Boston after two years, and he stayed, and a few years later I happened to look across the bar at the Plough & Stars in Cambridge, and big as life, there he was. We were roommates on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain, and on Wellington Street in the South End after that, and then he met a no-shit goddess, and moved out to get married.

I just found out that he died on Monday. My heart is...what? I don't frankly know. I have no words for how I feel.

His name was Brian Fitzgerald - "Fitz" to his friends - and he was one of the most remarkable people I've ever been privileged to know.

So, yeah, fuck the Keystone XL pipeline.

And fuck any politician who tries to fob this disaster off on us.

Fuck you and your re-election hopes. The Senate is already gone. Lose like a winner, and go home without "Judas" hanging around your neck on oiled chains for all of history to see.

Fuck every single politician and the petro-donations given to your campaign and your party. You're already dead to me for touching that filthy money in the first place.

Charlie Pierce:

Our old friend, the Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death-funnel that would bring the world's dirtiest fossil fuel down through the most arable farmland in the hemisphere and to the refineries along the Gulf Coast, and thence to the world, has revealed in itself an incredible capacity to make people act stupidly. It has moved beyond being a public policy issue among the ascendant Republican party, and within the movement conservatism which is that party's only remaining animating force. It has moved beyond being a financial windfall for the plutocrats whose money has been rendered the lifeblood of our politics, on both sides, but especially among the Republicans, who share a few more of the plutocracy's ultimate goals than do the Democrats. Among the Republicans, and among their most fervent political zealots, the pipeline has become an ideological fetish object, something to which fealty must be paid, a measure of loyalty and devotion to every other part of the political faith, a lasting symbol of triumph over the other side, like the steles erected in Mesopotamia or the pyramids.

Its essential utility, its negligible economic impact, the environmental peril presented by the toxic goo it will carry through the fragile breadbasket of the country, the demonstrable bad-faith and neglect of the foreign corporation that will benefit from it, the blatant disregard of all potential (and, I would argue, inevitable) catastrophes inherent in the project -- all of these are beside the point. The Keystone XL pipeline must be built because it is the Keystone XL pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline must be built only so that the people who oppose it are defeated. The Keystone XL pipeline must be built because it is no longer a construction project, it is an article of the conservative faith.

Actually, science says that the stuff that the pipeline will carry is best left in the ground. Journalism says that the State Department report was put together by a firm with close business ties to TransCanada, the Canadian corporation that is the only entity in the world that actually will profit from the project. And, when I first heard about the project, at that 2011 tent revival down in Florida, there was talk of thousands and thousands of good-paying jobs and gas prices down into the double-digits again. Now, thanks to the delay, and to the laudable agitation by the likes of Bill McKibben and the Bold Nebraska crew, even TransCanada admits that it's the permanent jobs that will total in the double digits, and Brooks can only meep about an economic impact that "isn't huge," and that the pipeline is merely a "modest-to-good" idea.

Yeah, we can't get a highway bill passed, and our bridges are falling down, and the entire rest of the world is leaving us behind on high-speed rail, but we should put in a pipeline as an "infrastructure project," and that's not even to mention the well-paying clean-up jobs that will appear as soon as the thing leaks and poisons the Ogallala Aquifer. But Brooks's muted assessment of the pipeline's benefits are not his real reason why it should be built. According to him, the pipeline should be built as a demonstration that the president "gets" the message sent a couple of weeks ago by 52 percent of the 38 percent of eligible voters who bothered to get off the couch. The pipeline should be built as a symbol of a new commitment to "governing." It should be built as the ultimate hippie punch. It should be built simply because it...is. Throw the bone into the air, David. Maybe it will turn into a spaceship.


President Lincoln used to tell an amusing anecdote about a little girl who ate too much, beginning with a bunch of raisins. She got stomach-sick and began vomiting, and kept at it and at it, and her parents asked after a fashion if she was OK, and she surveyed the damage and said, "Well, I'm down to raisins."

We are down to raisins.

They're about to start fracking the largest national forest on the East coast. They're planning a new fracked-gas pipeline through my very own back yard. Billions of gallons of fracking wastewater wound up in California's aquifers, and California has very very very very little water to spare right now.

Oh, and tar sands oil is poison. Dead-bang no-bullshit poison...and pipelines leak. All of them, every time.


Where do you stand?

That is how the actual fuck you say that.

"Every dollar that we spend on fossil fuel development and use is another dollar we spent digging the graves of our grandchildren. And I'm not going to be a part of it anymore. I'm through."

- Tom Harkin

That is exactly and precisely how the actual fuck you say that.

Period. End of file.


I like it.

Deep thanks for the invite.

Seems to be a push-back against the BOG. Can we call it GOB?

Let's get to work.

The first snow of the year in New Hampshire


...and after:

...and somehow, my front walk turned into a giraffe!

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