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Profile Information

Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 58,142

Journal Archives

"I'm changing my name to Nevada Jones"

For the Win.


My daughter.

Apropos of nothing in particular.

And everything.

Stigmatizing depression

It is becoming clear that the pilot who apparently deliberately crashed the Germanwings flight suffered from severe depression. Just a quick, quiet note of reminder that this must not become an excuse to stigmatize people who deal with this malady. Don't do it yourselves, and if you see/hear someone doing it, very gently correct them. Blaming "depression," thus putting all who deal with depression under suspicion, is a shortcut to thinking. Don't indulge it.


William Rivers Pitt | To Know the Darkness and the Light

Jesus is dead, hooray! A somewhat sideways take on Easter...

OK, not to make a bad joke, but GOD DAMN IT, can someone please explain to me why the death of Jesus Christ was a bad thing?

I like to keep the TV on in the other room while I'm working, and I've heard this commercial for a show called "Killing Jesus" three or four times today - turns out it's a Bill O'Reilly thing - replete with dark and dramatic doom music, which keeps reminding me of all those "The Jews killed Jesus!" pogroms over the centuries...and I'm just like, "What the actual fuck?"

Forget about whether Jesus actually existed - and if he did, he was in all likelihood a socialist Jewish carpenter who couldn't afford shoes - and focus on the According-To-Hoyle gospel narrative.

The dude was sent to Earth by God FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF BEING MARTYRED. That was the mission. That was the point of the exercise: to die in agony so as to relieve the rest of us of our sins. I've spent ten trillion hours in Catholic churches listening to, reading and reciting the incantations: he came to die for our sins. THAT'S WHY PEOPLE PRAY TO HIM.

It was, basically, a suicide mission...and yet Christians cascading through the ages, right up to this present day, treat the death of Jesus as some kind of massive tragedy, and I just don't get it. Logic dictates that his death should be celebrated, as that death devoured the sins of the world...but noooooo...these bucketheads have to become martyrs in the name of the martyr.

Good Friday to Easter is this solemn run of days when Christians lament the death of Jesus and then celebrate his resurrection (OMG ZOMBIE RUN YOU GUYS). If the death of Jesus was THE REASON HE SHOWED UP TO BEGIN WITH, Good Friday should be like the Fourth of July. HE DID IT, FUCK YEAH, WE'RE ALL SAVED! and Easter should be even better: HE GOT AWAY WITH IT HOLY SHIT HE CAN FLY TOO! It's like finding out Batman is still alive right before he saves Gotham. Epic shit.

But nope. They killed him, those bastards. The death of Jesus was, according to the story, totally God's plan and the reason for his very existence. His death was absolutely necessary, but let's all get verklempt about the fact that he died, because we don't like to brain here.

The Pope is considered infallible because God is considered infallible. My thinking? God left an awful lot of stupid lying around, along with tornadoes and shit. Seems pretty fallible to me. Creation is a Marx Brothers skit in the main.

On the topic of near misses

Between work, family and vacation travel, I've probably logged close to a million miles on airplanes of every kind. I've had my fair share of close shaves, most notably with wake turbulence from other planes. Wake turbulence, as a dear departed friend once explained, is left behind by the passage of a large aircraft. It is essentially a large log of hard roiled air falling through the sky, most often encountered around airports for obvious reasons.

The last flight I was on was a 20-seater from DC that was banking hard left at about 8,000 feet on approach to Logan airport. We were canted over at about 45 degrees when one of the wings clipped a log of wake turbulence. The plane rolled hard on its left side, nearly flipping over, and I smashed my face into the window because, lucky me, I had the left-side window seat and was looking outside to see my beloved Boston. BONK. The plane was righted, we landed safely, and I went home to Cailen with a nifty little mouse on my cheek.

The dear departed friend I mentioned was named Gary Rhine, who ran the excellent Rhino Blog. Besides his political activism, Gary was a pilot, and a trainer of pilots. In 2005, I was asked to give a speech in Berkeley CA, and then in LA, and then in Santa Rosa, all within about 30 hours. Gary, who owned a two-seater plane, volunteered to get me to LA and then back to Santa Rosa.

...and holy shit, what an experience it was. Breaking through the clouds into the vast blue in a wee plane...seeing the California coastline from 8,000 feet...seeing San Francisco and the Bay Area from 5,000 feet...and best of all, this: Gary was already a flight instructor, but was in school to become an instrument trainer, and so during the whole flight, he basically taught me everything he had learned, because he had his test the next day. I'm pretty sure I could fly a plane if I had to because of him.

We hit a belt of wake turbulence over SFO that drove us both into the roof of the plane and knocked our earphones sideways. The plane went WHEEEE and then righted itself, because it was on auto-pilot, thank God. Gary got his bell rung but good. When I got home, I told people we crashed into Jesus over San Francisco.

A few months after that trip, I got a call from my friend Kevin. Gary Rhine was dead. He had been teaching touch-and-go maneuvers to a trainee pilot, and the kid lost it, and augered them into the side of a California mountain. I found a local news story on the crash online, and there was a picture of the very plane I'd spent such a wonderful time in shattered across a dun-colored hillside.

I know people who have taken that Germanwings flight. I know that near-miss feeling they are experiencing, looking at the plane you were on in pieces. I miss my friend Gary, and all of my thoughts are with the family and friends of the people who, it appears, were murdered by the pilot on flight 9525. Suicide, the song notwithstanding, is not painless. The flight recorder picked up the sound of the passengers screaming before the destruction.

Not sure what I'm driving at here. Just writing, basically. And I'm taking trains from now on. Enough of this shit.

Jeb Bush wants to invade Iraq. Again.

If Jeb Bush does run to be 45, he says he is prepared to be the third Bush to employ American military power in Iraq.


He said the United States should “reengage with some small force level who can help continue to train the Iraqi army, to be able to provide some stability.”

He also said he envisions carving out a combat staging area in Syria to support international military operations against the Islamic State, with the support of US air power.

-- Boston Globe, 3/26/2015


"There is no present or future - only the past, happening over and over again - now." -- Eugene O'Neill

The Single Most Important Question Of Our Time

I hereby propose the following be the official Ted Cruz 2016 campaign song

Viable alternative, as it aptly represents not only Ted's approach to the decision to run, but how the decision will ultimately end:

...and of course, they could always go with the reaction of every sentient being to this development:

Just a thought.

Ted Cruz9h&dfxqqqqqqq

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, March 23, 2015.
Cruz on Monday formally announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
(Photo: Travis Dove / The New York Times).

Ted Cruz9h&dfxqqqqqqq
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Tuesday 24 March 2015

We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.

- The Doctor

Life, I have been repeatedly told, is not fair. I accept this, and do not resent it most of the time, because it is axiomatic, and so any effort spent resenting it is a waste of calories. One may as well resent gravity, or thunderstorms, or giant potholes on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. They happen, they hit, you move on ... and if you should have a limp on the far side of the encounter, well, that's what the good folks of Wisconsin would call "tough cheese."

Most of the time, I said. Every once in a while, though, there is an event so bombastically preposterous that you are left staring at the sky with fearful eyes waiting for the locusts and the rain of frogs. Ever yell at a tree? I did, just this morning. I had to yell at something, because five minutes before I shouted at the utterly indifferent birch bark, I'd found out that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had announced his run for the presidency, which means I'm going to be required to write about him for at least another year.

In a just and decent world, all that would be required of me in such an effort would be to slam my face into the keyboard, resulting in a work-product that read:

" ... 9h&dfxqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq ... "

...because that is all this utter, blithering, obnoxious waste of my time deserves. But it is not a just and decent world, evidenced vividly by the fact that a greasy huckster fraud cretin Batman-villain-looking human clown car is not only running for President of the United States, but is actually being taken seriously by the "news" media. That does not mean I have to take him seriously - with every fiber of my being, I do not - but now that he is officially on the board, I am no longer able to enjoy the comfortable fiction of pretending he doesn't exist.


Back in September of 2013, as part of the GOP's endlessly fruitless quest to submarine the Affordable Care Act, Cruz spent more than twenty-one hours yipping and yapping like a poorly-trained seal on the Senate floor. In the midst of this mind-numbing aria, he read "Green Eggs And Ham" by Dr. Seuss, and drove home the point as he understood it to all and sundry: this story means "Don't try new things" like the ACA.

My daughter will be all of two years old in a couple of weeks. She can't read, she can't write, she falls down for no particular reason at least a couple of times a day, her vocabulary is measured in minutes, and she poops in her pants without thinking twice about it. This is all fine - she's a toddler, and that's what toddlers do - but my illiterate, clumsy, incomprehensible poop-factory of a child has a better grasp of the moral behind "Green Eggs And Ham" - Try new things, duh! - than the Senator from Texas who would presume to sit in the most important chair in the land.


Not to put too fine a point on it, but Ted Cruz is - to all intents and purposes - the true demon spawn of Joe McCarthy, Phyllis Schlafly, several small rocks and an under-watered cactus that nobody ever really loved... and now he is going to be in my kitchen for at least a year. Life is not fair, and this is not a just and decent world, and if I ever needed affirmative, irrefutable proof of this, now I have it.

The 2016 Republican presidential race is officially underway.


The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/29826-ted-cruz9h-dfxqqqqqqq

If this turns out to be true...holy shit.

US accuses Israel of spying on Iran nuclear talks

The US has accused Israel of spying on international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme and using the intelligence gathered to persuade Congress to undermine the talks, according to a report on Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal cited senior administration officials as saying the Israeli espionage operation began soon after the US opened up a secret channel of communications with Tehran in 2012, aimed at resolving the decade-long standoff over Iran’s nuclear aspirations.

The apparent decision by the White House to leak the allegations is the latest symptom of the growing gulf between Barack Obama’s administration and Binyamin Netanyahu’s government over the Iran talks, in which the Israeli leader suspects US officials of being ready to make too many concessions at the expense of Israeli security. Intelligence analysts suggested that the leak reflects the degree of anger in Washington at Netanyahu’s actions, and could mark a more serious blow to the already tottering relationship.

The leak has come exactly a week before a deadline for the US-Iranian negotiations in Lausanne to produce a framework agreement.

The rest: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/24/israel-spied-on-us-over-iran-nuclear-talks?CMP=ema_565
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