The Donegal Express

The calling of the Rosary
Spanish wine from far away
I’m a free born man of the USA

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

I am the most wanted man on my island; but I'm not on my island. More's the pity.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

"I am with you, Puppet Master!"

-- Andre Toulon

Economic talk bores me, like most people. At the same time, who can resist some whacky protest action?

Deroy Murdock's latest article at National Review Online looks at both. There's nothing in the world to spice up a stockholders meeting, in my opinion, like your basic environmentalist craziness. Apparently, the next skirmish will be held at the ExxonMobil stockholders meeting in Dallas.

The swarms of left-wingers will congregate at the Radical Encuentro Camp. As you can tell, these people identify with the poor and oppressed, since one of the words is in Spanish. An action packed, fun-filled extravaganza is in the offing. Browsing through the event schedule brings up the following sampling:

"Climbing" -- Sponsored by the Ruckus Society.

This isn't a matter of getting some excercise to a group that is in dire need of sunlight and fresh air. Far from it. The type of climbing to be taught is of the variety necessary to scale structures to plant large banners, scramble over fences onto private property, and other barrier evasion techniques. Consider it a course in "trespassing facilitation".

Think fast. When you hear "The Ruckus Society", do you think of an organization that should be under investigation by a.) The FBI or b.) Sherlock Holmes? However much they want to identify as identifying with the oppressed and disenfranchised, they sound like a bunch of Victorian noncomformists who take delight in reading saucy Oscar Wilde novels. They need to translate one of the words of their name into Spanish. I'm thinking, "El Sociedad de Ruckus".

"Exposing Corporate Greed" -- by David Cobb

Apparently, David is going to reveal that corporations exist to make as much money as possible for their shareholders. After that, he'll reveal that politicians want to get re-elected, commercials are produced to get people to buy things, and many sophomore males take women's studies courses to meet chicks. Parents may wish to remove their children before David reveals what bears are up to in the woods.

I can imagine David ending his presentation with "Didn't Michael Douglas teach us anything in 'Wall Street', people?"

"Women and the Zapatista Struggle" -- by Melissa, of the Monkeywrench Collective

These model T enthusiasts suffer the same problem as their ruckus loving counterparts. Colectivo Monkeywrench, at first blush, would appear to have nothing whatsoever with oil companies, corporate greed, or environmental concerns. So why the course on "Women and the Zapatista Struggle"? If I learned anything in college, it's this. The left will always include speakers on topics that are in no way related to the main thrust of the protest. This is a show of "solidarity". Like a kid doing his algebra homework, I flipped to the answer section. The website states:

"Folks from various Tejas cities have built on the foundations of previous camps organized by REC (the Radical Education Community). Our main medium is a "camp" that includes workshops and activities which explore skills for activists and organizers to take back to their communities. A fundamental part of our work is to confront oppression and racism within "the movements" as we build both statewide and broader solidarity struggles."

Please note that this is a "solidarity" struggle, not a "Solidarity" struggle. "Solidarity" was a movement of simple Polish workers, doing their best to resist the tyrrany of communism. This "solidarity" is formed by a group of pretentious post-college students seeking to implement a lot of what those Polish workers were opposing.

Rule of thumb: "Solidarity" -- simple workers risking much to oppose communist tyrrany. "solidarity" self-involved young people who chant on cue, many of whom do so out of a fear of not having the most fashionable of worldviews.

"The People vs. ExxonMobil" -- a mock trial

You have to give credit for truth in advertising. I'm certain it will be a mock trial, with mock evidence and a mock impartial verdict.

"Festival of Resistance" -- Puppets and Banners and Drums. (Oh my!)

This ought to grab those greedy corporate types' attention. We're serious, we've brought puppets!

Puppets? What in God's name is this all about? If corporations were such corrupt and powerful entities, you'd think they'd be able to make a covert strike or something to knock out the puppet-making workshops. Could you imagine the conversation the head of the covert strike team would be having with his handlers?

"Well sir, we were able to confiscate and destroy massive volumes of banners and drums, but the underground puppet factories have thus far eluded us."

Puppets. At least we now know what happens to socially conscious Theatre Arts majors after graduation.

I bet the festival doesn't have one good dunking booth, either.

If corporations were such soulless, greedy forces of destruction, how can you explain guys like Robert A. G. Monks, a shareholder much in line with the green aspirations of those who'll be camping out? Stating that embracing a more environmentalist tone in conducting operations will rise stock prices, he and those like him commissioned a report by Claros Consulting, a firm specializing in "Socially Responsible Investing".

The head of Claros, Mark Mansley, recommends support of carbon taxes. In the report, he notes the increased costs would not cause too much of an effect on the corporate bottom line, since "the oil and gas industry is able to pass much of the cost of taxes or permits onto consumers"

That's awfully white of him. So much for the progressive left looking out for us little people; no matter how they fashion it, we're the ones to pay the bill.

Five bucks says David Cobb doesn't mention this while "exposing corporate greed".

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

"My advice to you is to start drinking heavily."

-- "Bluto" Blutarsky

Last night was fun. At around 10pm West Coast time we had an earthquake. Unlike most of the denizens of California, I'm not going to refer to this earthquake with some quaint down-home euphemism. The people who try to seem folksy about these things out here, who sound as if they are trying to downplay the whole thing, those are the people who actually try to draw the most attention to themselves. Knock it off already. Wil Rogers is high in heaven, and Garrison Keillor is far away in Minnesota.

However, it was my first major league earthquake in the five years of living out here. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked. If all earthquakes could be 5.2 on the richter scale, and located near Gilroy (where there are no buildings taller than four stories) I'd ask God for one each week.

I'll answer the big question first.

Yes, at first I did think it was a big truck rumbling down the street. That much is true, according to the standard lines we hear about earthquakes. There were a couple things that stood out afterwards, though.

My legs felt odd, somewhat tingly in fact, after the quake. The closest I could describe the feeling as being would be like this: do you know how your legs feel when you've been roller skating for a few hours, then you take the skates off? It was a very similar sensation.

The other interesting thing was this, my mind went directly from really big truck, to earthquake. It wasn't till this morning, in fact, that I even thought about a possible terrorist attack. Realizing that terrorism never occured to me at the time, it made me wonder how people living in different areas would react first.

It's my understanding that the "Large earthquake" line of thought is common for the South Bay Area. Those of us who live in places like San Jose, Los Gatos, Morgan Hill and Gilroy are pretty familiar with earthquakes, but not as paranoid about them as say, San Franciscans. In talking with people out here, it seems most of us were prepared to give the tremor the benefit of the doubt, as it were, at first. It took a good five or six seconds for the earthquake to register.

The people who live up in the North Bay, in places like Daly City, San Francisco and Redwood City (as well as their East Bay neighbors in Oakland) are more attuned to the earthquake vibe, as opposed to the really big truck heading down the street vibe. This stands to reason since even though we will both feel the same tremors usually, the people in San Francisco are the ones who have to worry about really large buildings falling on them. I wonder if their first thoughts were "earthquake" or "terrorists". The Golden Gate bridge could be a tempting target, or so we're told.

I'm told that when an earthquake hits Los Angeles, the populations' first thought is, "The mother ship has arrived to take us all home". After five or six seconds of scanning the air, it is followed by "earthquake".

If an alien civilization ever decides to invade and enslave us, coastal California is a ready made fifth column. The eight legged, purple skinned, twelve eyed Prrrrgek'ai could take from San Francisco to San Diego and inland to Sacramento, without firing a shot.

The Prrrrgek'ai would have to be smart about it though. They couldn't just drop down a couple saucers and blast out their sound systems, "PEOPLE OF EARTH, YOU WILL BOW DOWN BEFORE OUR EMPEROR AND WORK THE MINES OF KARTEK IV AS HIS SLAVES."

Instead, they'd have to land a shuttle in Los Angeles, and ask to speak to someone from the UN. They'd declare they were concerned about our environment and the state of animal servitude on Lotar III, or as we parochially know it 'earth'. Then they'd roll out an enlightened model for our society, which would include "enhanced awareness training" for those who refused to abide by it, on some remote planet. The Prrrrgek'ai ambassador would look a lot like Jimmy Carter, for some reason. They would control the world through their puppets, who would be headquartered in Portland, Oregon and Vichy, France.

So, if you are ever abducted by aliens, and they have literature from the Sierra Club, your best bet is to open fire. If unarmed, try to rush the bridge and rip some wires out, or hit the self destruct button or something. Your sacrifice will be unknown, but of immeasurable worth.