Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 31, 2005


idea by Cloned Poster

Tom DeLay commenting Terri Schiavos death:

"The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another."

A blood-covered girl screams after her parents were fatally shot by soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division

January 18, 2005; Photo Chris Hondros; Link

At least this girl may not die of hunger as so many others kids are now dying in Iraq and so many more will in the coming Great Iraqi Famine.

But this girl will take her revenge - slowly but determined.

The girl will follow "holy" words, more than De Lay may anticipate, following these lines:

The unit's chaplain, Capt. Ed Willis, says there's no reason to feel guilty: "If you kill someone on the battlefield, whether it's another soldier or collateral damage, that doesn't fit under 'Thou shalt not kill'."

That girl, not Terri Slave or Tom DeLay, will define where the next battlefield is. And it may not be in the Middle East.

(The sun shined today, it was quite a dark day.)

Posted by b on March 31, 2005 at 21:04 UTC | Permalink | Comments (19)

Billmon: Medicine Show

.. One of the most outrageous aspects of the whole sorry Schiavo circus was the willingness, nay, eagerness of complete idiots -- and even their inferiors, the cable news people -- to second guess the doctors. People you wouldn't trust to fix your downstairs toilet suddenly thought they know more about neurology than men and women who spent, oh, ten or twelve years of their lives learning to be doctors, and another two or three decades as practicing board-certified neurologists, and who repeatedly, over the course of ten years, two trials and more appeals than you can shake a catheter at, examined, tested and diagnosed Terri Shiavo -- making her probably the world's most over-treated patient.
For better or worse, good or evil, her time on this earth is over. But when I think of the thousands, or even millions, of lives that could ride on the next big trial-by-media -- when the topic might be war with North Korea or the reality of global warming or the copyright laws governing the music industry (I'm kidding! I'm kidding!) -- I get worried. Because right now, the corporate media (and the dumbed-down culture it's helped create) are beginning to look more and more like the intellectual equivalent of Dr. Kevorkian. And any of us -- or all of us - could be their next patient. ...


Posted by b on March 31, 2005 at 18:56 UTC | Permalink | Comments (11)

Billmon: Fighting Words

An answer to critics of Billmons grand Freak Show piece. Again a good one ...

Posted by b on March 31, 2005 at 6:49 UTC | Permalink | Comments (10)

March 30, 2005

Billmon: The Soldier Who ...

The Soldier Who Saw Everything Twice
Today's key document, I think, is former Sen. John Danforth's op-ed in the New York Times, which can be read as both his own personal declaration of independence from the religious right, and a manifesto calling upon the Republican Party to do likewise.
The fact that the movement's radical agenda can't be satisified within the rule of law, and the New Model Army's growing frustration with the lip service it is getting from the politicos, may rattle the nerves and offend the sensibilities of the Republican pundit class, but the real GOP leaders, the ones who have power and know how to use it, realize the ships have all been burned and there's no going back.

Posted by b on March 30, 2005 at 19:45 UTC | Permalink | Comments (16)

Optimist or Pessimist?

The UN has come out with its Millenium Environmental Assessment.

The Financial Times' pessimist take: World ecosystems in danger, UN warns


Meteor Blades' optimistic outlook: The Gloom-and-Doomers Say There's Hope

Which side are you on?

More content from the pessimists:

World ecosystems in danger, UN warns
The world's sources of fish and fresh water are so rundown that they can no longer sustain current or future demands, according to a first international report card on the world's environment published today.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, launched by the United Nations in 2001, said that the unprecedented changes humans had made to ecological systems in the past 50 years to meet demands for food, water and energy had helped to improve the life of billions.

But it found that 15 out of 24 types of support provided to humans by the environment were being degraded and the harmful consequences could become significantly worse in coming decades.

Overexploitation of natural resources was increasing the likelihood of abrupt changes such as the emergence of new diseases, sudden alterations in water quality, the creation of "dead zones" in seas, the collapse of fisheries and regional climate shifts.

The study also warned that ecosystem damage was a "road block" to achieving the already elusive 2015 millennium development goals to eradicate poverty and hunger, improve health and environmental protection.

The UN has already warned that in the absence of a dramatic mindshift and an increase in aid flows, the world will miss the 2015 targets on health and poverty.

The project to examine the state of forests, oceans, rivers and farmland and their impact on human wellbeing was carried out by 1,300 scientists in 95 countries.

More from the optimist side:

The Gloom-and-Doomers Say There's Hope

Prognostications of disaster - from Malthusian population scenarios to nuclear holocaust - have proved wrong in the past, so we can expect an outpouring of rightwankery labeling this latest report pessimistic buncombe. It was, after all, commissioned (primarily) by the United Nations, which is about as popular among rightists as Ann Coulter is at a mosque.

So, if you're one to venture into reactionary territory on the blogs or other media, count on reading rips of the Millennium Assessment smattered with epithetical references to Paul Ehrlich, Lester Brown, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Julia Butterfly Hill, David Suzuki and the Club of Rome.

What will be missed in all this chatter, I'm can just about guarantee, is that accompanying the report's gloomy assessment is a brighter possibility: if we take action the crises can be overcome.

Posted by Jérôme à Paris on March 30, 2005 at 12:05 UTC | Permalink | Comments (24)

March 29, 2005

Billmon: The Spirit of Enterprise

The Spirit of Enterprise plus a Coming Attraction

Why is this hard to not believe anymore?

Posted by Jérôme à Paris on March 29, 2005 at 22:48 UTC | Permalink | Comments (21)

Open Thread 05-32

News, views and visions ...

Please share yours here.

Posted by b on March 29, 2005 at 20:53 UTC | Permalink | Comments (65)

JimJeff at the NPC: Freak Show

Mr. GuckertGannon has been invited to a panel on blogging by the National Press Club.

The "professional whore" at the Whiskey Bar, Billmon, calls this a Freak Show.

Guckert is on the panel for the same reason Wonkette is: anal sex. Jeff gets paid to give it and Anna Marie gets paid to talk about it, and the "bottoms" at the National Press Club get paid to . . . well, you know. How anal sex got to be THE ticket to blogging fame and fortune (instead of just a sore bottom) I don't fully understand...
What's next? An interactive NPC panel session on masturbation? A guest lecture on bestiality and blogging? A press conference by the North American Man Boy Love Association? No, wait, the House isn't in session this week.

A great piece full of love.

Posted by b on March 29, 2005 at 19:32 UTC | Permalink | Comments (11)

Down Under

Dr. Rice, there is an urgent call from Canberra ...

From the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Sydney, a poll on public opinion and foreign policy (PDF, 500KB).

Looking beyond our shores, Australians feel most positive about the countries with which we have longstanding, deep and stable relationships. New Zealand (94%), the United Kingdom (86%), Europe (85%), Singapore (83%) and Japan (84%) are our favourites, quite closely followed by China (69%).

The glaring omission from this list is the United States, for which only 58% of Australians have positive feelings. ... So what is it about America that we don ’t like? For a start, 68% of Australians think we take too much notice of the views of the United States in our foreign policy. When we asked respondents to rate a series of potential threats, we discovered that by one measure both Islamic fundamentalism and United States foreign policies are worrying to 57% of Australians: a startling equivalence. By the same measure, China ’s growing power worries only 35% of Australians, and comes last in a list of threats.

Posted by b on March 29, 2005 at 19:00 UTC | Permalink | Comments (19)

Billmon: 03/29

Really Sick Joke of the Day Billmon sez and luaghs and goes to hell

"... to recyle an old Vietnam War slogan, it looks like it’s Sink or Swim with Abdelaziz Hakim"

Posted by Jérôme à Paris on March 29, 2005 at 6:59 UTC | Permalink | Comments (15)

March 28, 2005

Pharmacists' Rights Debated

WASHINGTON (RBN)  Some pharmacists across the country are refusing to fill prescriptions to treat erectile dysfunction, saying that dispensing the medications violates their personal moral or religious beliefs.

An increasing number of clashes are occurring in drugstores across the country. Pharmacists often risk dismissal or other disciplinary action to stand up for their beliefs, while shaken man desperately call their doctors, frequently late at night, after being turned away by sometimes-lecturing men and women in white coats.

"There are pharmacists who will only give potency enhancing pills to a man if he's married," said Adam Sonfield of the Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York, which tracks reproductive issues. "There are even cases of pharmacists holding prescriptions hostage, where they won't even transfer it to another pharmacy when time is of the essence."

That is what happened to Heather Pilz and her lifetime friend, who panicked when the condoms they were planing to use suddenly seemed extremly oversized. Their fear really spiked when the Walgreens pharmacy down the street from their home in Milwaukee refused to fill an emergency prescription for a sildenafil citrate drug.

"I couldn't believe it," said Pilz, 44, "How can they make that decision for us? I was outraged."

Wisconsin is one of at least 11 states considering "conscience clause" laws that would protect pharmacists. Four states already have laws that specifically allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions that violate their beliefs.

"What is a man supposed to do in rural America, in places where there may only be one pharmacy?" asked Bob Dole, who has had some problems corrected through such drugs after a prostate surgery. He is launching a campaign today to counter the trend. "It's a slap in the face to men."

In the end, Pilz was able to obtain her friends prescription last June directly from his doctor.

"I was lucky," Pilz said. "I can sympathize with someone who feels strongly and doesn't want to be involved. But they should just step out of the way and not interfere with someone else's decision. It's just not right."

Posted by b on March 28, 2005 at 18:13 UTC | Permalink | Comments (38)

Billmon: 03/28

Billmon scoop: Christian Soldier Bill Tierney,  torturer in Iraq and Schiavo supporter.

And let me add:

Bill Tierney, a former UN weapons inspector, said the evidence pointed directly to Saddam preparing to launch chemical attacks.
He said: "The key point is that the Republican Guard have been issued this new equipment. It would indicate that they are prepared to use chemical weapons."

there is more to google

Et Tu, Gigot?

As Helena Cobban points out.

57 ... days since Iraqis elected an Assembly with a UIA-list majority, without that list being allowed to take power. This delay eats into the time left to negotiate a Constitution, which was 213 days in all.

Billmon's Let's Make a Deal takes an even longer view.

Please allow me to introduce myself - I’m a man of wealth and taste...

The Omen

Posted by b on March 28, 2005 at 8:28 UTC | Permalink | Comments (8)

Billmon: In the Steppes of Central Asia

Fitting Jérômes Great Game piece, Billmon writes about managed democracies In the Steppes of Central Asia

Posted by b on March 28, 2005 at 8:11 UTC | Permalink | Comments (6)

March 27, 2005

The Great Game

Oil & gas in the Caspian has a long history - indeed it is one of the earliest oil production regions in the world, with Baku a major oil center in the second half of the 19th century and beyond. What makes the situation today interesting is the simultaneuous appearence of three things: (i) new reserves disovered offshore, (ii) the fact that, with the break up of the Soviet Union, the oil is located in (new) countries that are keen to have foreign investment and (iii) these countries have no direct access to the world markets, the Caspain Sea being a closed sea.


(picture from the US Energy Information Agency's Caspian area brief)

(Warning: about 200kb of maps after the jump)

"Caspian energy" actually covers 3 different things:

- the oil production in the region developped under Soviet times, and connected to Russia by oil pipelines. This concerns mostly Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and a very small volume of production from Azerbaijan. That oil is usually produced by the national oil company created in each of these countries to pick up the Soviet assets in the sector, and sold to (or through) Russia on the basis of bilateral governmental agreements. This sector is declining and is slowly being replaced by the one described in the third bullet below. Transportation issues that go with it are more and more resolved through the negotiations ongoing in the third sector instead of through the usual Head-of-State-to-Kremlin "dialogue";

- the gas production in the region developped under Soviet times, and also connected to Russia by (gas) pipelines. This concerns mostly Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. That gas is almost exclusively produced by the national company, and also sold to (or through) Russia on the basis of bilateral governmental agreements. In the absence of the new sector (below) like for oil, Russia has absolute power over these countries and their gas production, because they have absolutely no other choice. They would like to have other pipelines to export their production (for instance going South to India or Pakistan via Afghanistan), and some people seem to tell them that this would be possible, but IT IS NOT. I have written about this elsewhere, and will do so again in the comments if requested, but you need just remember one thing: the mooted pipelines through Afghanistan would be gas pipelines, not oil and they have no chance to being built for a very long time because nobody will pay for them.

- the third and most interesting sector is the new investments being made by Western Oil Majors to develop recently discovered fields, mostly in the oil sector. This is where most of our attention will focus, because that's what most of the diplomacy of the past 15 years has been concerned about, with two main topics (i) how to make the investments to develop production, and (ii) how to get the hydrocarbons to the market once produced.

It is this new sector that has created the hype around the Caspian and its new reserves, because it is one of the few areas in the world where big fields have been discovered in recent years. The excitement in big oil companies is real, because the province is probably the size on the North Sea AND it is accessible to them. Being the size of the North Sea only, it will not change the oil balance of the world either - it will account at most for 3-5% of world production at its peak, in 5 to 10 years.

I have some good news: Caspian oil is actually fairly simple to understand because there are only 5 hydrocarbon fields worth noting, and a couple of pipelines. So here they are:


(table from EIA, same link as above)

(1) ACG (formerly, AIOC)
That's the big oil field just offshore of Baku in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspain Sea. It is currently the only field in Azerbaijan with proven oil reserves, despite massive exploration campaigns in the past 10 years. It is currently being developed by a Western consortium led by BP (which includes Unocal, Devon, Amerada-Hess and ExxonMobil of the USA as well as a number of other companies), under a contract signed in 1994 (and which is public, you can download it here, along with a ton of other documents on the project). It has an estimated 5 to 7 billion barrels of recoverable oil (slightly less than what is hoped to be found in ANWR, to give you an idea). It has been producing small volumes, about 100 to 150,000 b/d, since 1998, which are exported by a small pipeline going to Georgia, the Baku-Supsa. (They also have the right to use the Baku-Novorossisk pipeline going through Russia, see the maps below).
Big investment is underway to bring production to between 800,000 and 1,000,000 b/d in the next couple of years. Whan I say big investment, I mean big: about 12 billion dollars will have been spent by 2010. Most of that oil will use a new pipeline, the BTC (see below) which is currently being built.


(2) Shah-Deniz. It's a big mostly gas field offshore Azerbaijan. It is actually the only significant discovery of hydrocarbons in the Azeri sector, but it is gas, which was not the best of news for the oil companies, as the markets are very, very far away. The consortium is also led by BP (with Total, Statoil of Norway, TPAO of Turkey and OIEC of Iran) and it has managed to go ahead with the development of the project by signing a contract for the gas with Turkey (although there are doubts about Turkey's need for that gas). BP has agreed to build a gas pipeline in parallel to the BTC oil pipeline to bring the gas to Turkey, and they are now hoping to build new pipelines form Turkey to central Europe to be able to give more value to that gas. That project is still in its early phase, but you can find more details by clicking on this link which refers to its codename: Nabucco (pdf, 280 kb), which includes this map:.


(3) Tengiz
A big onshore oil field in Kazakhstan - one of the biggest in the world, developped by a consortium led by ChevronTexaco (and including ExxonMobil, Lukoil and ENI of Italy), with about 9 billion barrels of recoverable reserves (another ANWR). Although Chevron came in in 1993, they have had a really hard time with that field, as they had no way to export the oil anywhere. They have used amazing ingenuity to sell their oil (including owning most of the railcars of the former Soviet Union - about 9,000, to sell their crude by rail, or sending barges all the way to Finland by the canals of Russia) but this has seriously limited the production of the field. Now that the CPC pipeline has finally been built (see below), they are finally ramping up production, which is expected to reach 700,000 b/d in a few years.

(4) Kashagan
The biggest oil field to be discovered in the past 30 years, it is in the North of the Caspian Sea, in the Kazakh sector (see a detailed map here), and it is being developped by a consortium including all the big majors (ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, ConocoPhillips, ENI, BG and Inpex, with ENI, the Italian group, as the operator (Exxon did not want Shell, Shell did not want Exxon, and ENI was smarter than Total to be voted in...). With 9-15 billion barrels of reserves (exploration is not totally complete), it is yet at least another ANWR fully in control of BigOil, but it is very challenging technically (very high pressures, located in an areas which is at times seawater, ice, mud or any combination in between, and far away from any transport infrastructure in an area with a very tough climate) and it will need to find export routes for its production (a combination of CPC and BTC is likely to start with).


(See here for a larger version with full explanations)

(5) Karachaganak
A big, mostly gas field in North Kazakhstan near the border with Russia, it is being developped by ENI, BG, ChevronTexaco and Lukoil. As a gas field, it is heavily dependent on Russian gas monopoly Gazprom (the gas is currently being processed at the nearby Orenburg Gazprom plant), but the consortium is strong enough to negotiate decent terms and to build its own infrasturcture. As the field contains both gas and liquids (i.e. good quality oil) which have to be produced together, the consortium has focused on selling the oil on the world markets and selling the gas at a low price to Gazprom. The oil will go into the CPC pipeline.

So this bring us to the pipelines. There are a number of existing ones, most of which go through Russia and are thus considered by the oil majors - with reason - as unreliable. They have thus made a lot of efforts to find new routes.
A simple solution would have been to ship oil to northern Iran (where Iran's refineries are) and swap it for Iranian oil produced in the south of the country. This made good sense for Iran, which would not have needed to ship its own oil for the production in the south to its refineries in the north, but it is not possible under the current US sanctions regime (ILSA). This solution would be partial anyway as the capacity of the Iranian refineries is no more than 800,000 b/d and they would have needed significant investment to ba able to use the Caspian crude qualities.
So with Russia and Iran out, this left only the Western (and at a later point Easter to China) routes. An additional problem is that of the Bosphorus, which already sees a significant volume of oil tanker traffic, which the Turkish authorities were keen to not see increase. Bringing in an additional million barrel per day or two into the Black Sea (on the coast of Georgia for instance) would have created a real danger for Istanbul and this was thus stronly opposed.

Thus came to birth the BTC, which goes West from Azerbaijan, through Georgia, and then South through Turkey to the Mediterranean. It is being built by a consortium led, again, by BP (which, interestingly, is different from either the ACG consortium and the Shah-Deniz consortium)


You can find a massive quantity of information on the project starting from here, but the main thing to know is that it will have a capacity of 1,000,000 b/d, a good chunk of which will be used by ACG oil to start with, and all the liquids Shah-Deniz can produce. It is currently being built and is expected to come into service by the end of this year. It has cost 3-3.5 billion dollars to build, more than half of which was financed by international banks with the participation of the World Bank and the EBRD.

You've probably heard nasty things about the project because it has been used as a target by a number of NGOs that absolutely want the World Bank to stop financing the energy sector, and they tried to show that such projects were tremendously damaging to the environment and to the local populations. They've put pressure on the World Bank, on the commercial banks and on the oil companies, thankfully to no avail (this is not the topic here, but I do intend to write more about this and explain that "thankfully". In the meantime, you can go see the envirionmental reports on the BTC site linked to above, and otherwise google "Extractive Industries Review" or "Equator Principles")

The other big pipeline in the region is the CPC (Caspian Pipeline Consortium) which, as you can see on the maps above, does go through Russia and does bring oil into the Black Sea. It nevertheless has the particularity of being the only privately owned pipeline on the territory of Russia (something that they really don't like and are trying to undermine at every turn, especially these days as an extension is being discussed). It was built (and paid for) by a consortium led by ChevronTexaco, and currently has a capacity of 450,000 b/d, due to be increased to 1,300,000 b/d. It is used for oil from Tengiz and soon from Karachaganak.

So, what can be learnt from that?

- Big Oil fully controls the operations of the 5 major oil fields, so the region clearly falls in the sphere of influence of the "West". The two producing countries have made an explicit decision to welcome foreign investment and will be richly rewarded for it. The revenues is split using a standard instrument, the PSA (production sharing agreement), which allocates the oil produced first to repay the initial investments ("cost oil") and then as profit ("profit oil"). Host countries get a growing share of the oil as the fields produce and as prices go up. The marginal split usually gives more than 90% to the host country.

- Oil transit is also pretty much solved, with the CPC in service and the BTC about to be. These two pipelines will bring significant new volumes of oil into the Mediterranean oil markets and are enough to transport the expected oil volumes from the existing fields. Oil majors have been smart enough to lead in parallel the investments in the upstream (production) and midstream (transport) and have thus been able to ramp up the production of their fields as fast as was possible under the circumstances (it still took time - more than 10 years for both ACG and Tengiz, with the same expected for Kashagan).


- Gas is still an almost completely blank field for the Western oil majors. They have not been really happy to find gas when they did, as it is a lot harder to manage (infrastructure is a lot more important and more expensive) and they have to face a much stronger adversary in Gazprom, the Russian monopoly, which controls both the existing infrastructure and the downstream markets in Europe. (The outcome of the Nabucco project will be interesting thing to see, as it would create a new (smallish) competitor for Russian gas in Europe)

- the Caspian oil will go entirely West for the next 10 years, but it is likely that the next route will go east to China. China is making a lot of efforts, especially in Kazakhstan, to procure some oil, but with uneven results. They have tried to buy out BG's stake in Kashagan, but the other shareholders exercised their preemption rights despite strong Chinese pressure (they even threatened to kick Shell our of the Chinese refining business, to no avail). Nevertheless, there is a strong strategic rationale for it to happen eventually.


- don't be impressed by big numbers. We're talking close to 50 billion dollars of investments in a few years. Upfront. (That's what you spend, almost, before getting any revenue)

- please, please be wary of what you read on this topic. Too many people have other interests that you may not be familiar with and their public announcements should be taken with a grain of salt; don't believe that everything which is announced will happen; don't even believe that everything signed will happen. It's not because Halliburton is involved that it is necessarilty a big plan to scam us off (KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary, is one of the biggest contractors for big oil projects, and one of a few to be in the competition. Please remember that they are paid by Exxon or ChevronTexaco and thus will not scam them like they seem to be able to do with the US government).

- finally: don't forget that people are going to these God-forsaken places to get the oil that YOU will be burning today, tomorrow and again. Before blaming them for providing a valuable service, remember that they are providing that service ultimately to YOU.

There is a lot more to write on the topic; I am not avoiding any subject and would be pleased to provide more info in the comments at your request.

Posted by Jérôme à Paris on March 27, 2005 at 21:56 UTC | Permalink | Comments (20)

Billmon: 03/27

Parental Guidance Suggested

That the Judges May Judge Them

Posted by b on March 27, 2005 at 20:23 UTC | Permalink | Comments (4)


So far Moon of Alabama does not have a blogroll. A blogroll is a collection of hyperlinks to other blogs of interest and usually only of affiliated direction.  I do think this concept falls short, but I do want an equivalent.

A blog should carry a link list that includes blogs, but also news sources and encyclopedias.  It should only include those that are of repeated interest and regularly updated. It should be categorized and not just alphabetically sorted. It should not include pay sides. It should reflect the blogs author and visitor interests but also include contrary views.

Each link should have some indication of the content, the update cycle and the author.

News blogs:
Flogging the Simian (daily)
by Soj, a US girl professionally piece-blogging from Romania on World News and conflicts in lesser known countries

I am working on converting my browser bookmarks right now. You may want to add links in the comments. I will aggregate them and come up with a collection that then can be reviewed again during the next days.

Categories I have so far include:
General News Sites; General News Blogs; Economy&Finance; Technology; Wars; Fun; Others

Let me know what you would find usable.

Posted by b on March 27, 2005 at 19:56 UTC | Permalink | Comments (23)

Open Spring Equinox Thread

Happy Newroz, Purim, Easter, Nouruz, Shunbun no Hi  or your favorite spring equinox festivity.

We had fun on the beach with traditional Easter fires at the river Elbe in Hamburg.

Posted by b on March 27, 2005 at 10:49 UTC | Permalink | Comments (63)

Billmon: Outside Agitators

"Steinbeck's message, I think, was that there are worse things than injustice, even when the stakes are very high. And one of them is fanaticism -- the kind of by-any-means-necessary mentality that's willing to grind ordinary human decency, and honesty, into the dust in the pursuit or some supposedly higher moral purpose."

Terry and Terri - Mac and Jim

Posted by b on March 27, 2005 at 9:53 UTC | Permalink | Comments (2)

March 26, 2005

Billmon: 03/26

Lobbying for Halliburton: A Family Affair

Moral Relativism - indeed

Sanitation Measure - wash hands, its easter, Pilatus did so - any evidence ...

Posted by b on March 26, 2005 at 21:43 UTC | Permalink | Comments (10)

Billmon: The Passion of Terri

"But it definitely fascinates me, much as the charismatic rituals of the evangelical churches -- talking in tongues, faith healing, snake handling -- have always fascinated me. These are symptoms of mental states I've personally never been able to attain without the use of powerful psychedelic drugs, and I've always been a little jealous of people who can get there for free, every Sunday, simply through the power of group suggestion."
"..the emotional intensity of the event -- and the depth of the self-righteous hatred it has stirred on the religious right -- will be hard to forget. It feels like we've passed another milestone in the descent of our deeply divided, culturally inflamed society towards . . . well, I'd rather not think about what."

The Passion of Terri

Posted by b on March 26, 2005 at 11:17 UTC | Permalink | Comments (37)