LOS ANGELES. I'm headed there today, to join a humanitarian aid program replacing poor homeless peoples' worn-out eyeballs.

Well, no. I'm actually visiting as an official Earth Day observer, to make sure everybody is thinking good Earth Thoughts.

Er … not exactly. I'm sure Welch and Layne will explain the real reason once I arrive. In the meantime, no posting from me for a day or so.

THE TREACHER man has yet more Mosque-See TV. Included is …

Mohammed in the Middle

Wisecracking teen Mohammed contends with pressures of puberty, loud-but-lovable family, itchy bomb-belt.

BRAND NEW BLOGS: From the right, Australia's Mathew Bates, and from the left, an American named Atrios.

Atrios isn't from the crazy psycho Chomsky left. Among his earliest posts is this:

"We don't care what you say, intifada all the way." - chanted today at at the Rally Against War and Racism.

And they said that after 9/11 irony would be dead.


WHATEVER BECAME of the McDonald's restaurant that was attacked by French publicity farmer Jose Bove? The Australian's Peter Wilson has an update (no link available):

Cedric Pourcel manages the McDonald's that was flattened by Bove in 1999. Sitting on a mountain ridge overlooking the town, it is thriving, with two McDonald's flags waving at the same height as the town's own flag atop the 12th-century tower in the middle of the old town.

"Bove gave us great publicity. We are the most famous McDonald's in all of France," he says. "But do you know what the strangest thing is? Bove, who so fiercely opposes the globalisation of food, has managed to globalise himself as a protester."

AL-AHRAM'S Mohamed Hakki interviews Lyndon LaRouche, as part of the ongoing process by which the world's multiple idiocies are becoming one giant, useless force (suggested slogan: "United, Retarded, We'll Never Be Defeated!"). A typical exchange:

Hakki: "Many people that I met in Egypt asked me a very honest question: 'Why do they hate us?' And I said, you know, the average American is totally ignorant. They are living in a completely different world. They don't read. They don't see. They don't listen. The European media is much better."

LaRouche: "Yes."

Via reader Norman McGreevy.

WELL, the neighbourhood preparations for Earth Day 2002 are almost complete, but not without a hell of a lot of hard work. It took me all week to get ahold of the old car tyres we need for the bonfire. Memo to self: start planning earlier next year!

Then John from over the road buys kerosene – about 40 gallons of it! – instead of diesel fuel. Sure, kerosene lights easier, but it burns practically clear. For a traditional Earth Day fire, you need the rich, lustrous, black, roiling clouds that only diesel can provide. Am I right or am I right?

Luckily, Dave from number 25 had a diesel connection out Penrith way, or our street would've been a laughing-stock.

A big thanks to the ladies for all their food preparation. We're going to have a whale of a feast! Lamb, veal, chicken (battery-farm fresh) and about 14 different types of threatened shellfish are all waiting to be fried or grilled or boiled or whatever it is you women-folk do in the kitchen. Three cheers, girls!

Now, a quick word to any ex-neighbours who are planning on dropping in: there's no car-pooling available, and anyone in possession of a train or bus ticket won't be allowed to eat. You know the rules. Let's not have a repeat of last year's trouble.

I'd better get a move on – I still have to install the daytime floodlights and get the Garbage Mountain ready for the kids. I've got a feeling this Earth Day is going to be the best Earth Day ever!


But what kind of small town is it?

" … a redneck, racist town …"

" … a small town in Ontario's tobacco belt."

" … an upland town where power lines are few and far in between …"

" … a small town located about 20 miles north of New York City in the affluent county of Westchester."

" … a quiet farming community whose routine was rarely, if ever, interrupted by such a climatic event as child murder."

" … a small town where unemployment, prejudice and domestic abuse were common."

" … a town of quiet neighborhoods and leafy parks, an idyllic place …"

"There's those people out there that think this town is immune; that nothing's going to happen here because this is a small town."

" … underneath, Belle Haven was a place of considerable sorrow …"

"I always thought of this area like a small town, like Mayberry."

" … a wonderful place to raise kids."

"It was a fairly undistinguished little town of about 20,000 - until the shocking school yard killings and the bizarre allegations that followed."

a "close-knit community"

"It's a little town. Everybody knows everybody."

" … a place with manicured lawns and princely mansions …"

"It's a small town …"

" … one of the most dangerous places on earth."

THE GLOBAL anti-global, anti-war, anti-Israel, anti-Bush rallies have achieved their main aim: making Karen Dugger happy. The LA Times reports, after a fashion:

"What primarily brought me here was an extreme sadness for the state of the world," Dugger said as she stood on the grassy Ellipse behind the White House during Saturday's rally supporting the Palestinian cause and opposing the U.S. war on terrorism.

"That sadness comes from empathizing with the pain of people who are being slaughtered, oppressed and degraded. It comes from compassion, from understanding how we're all connected." Dugger, a self-styled "old lefty from the '60s," said her current antiwar stance has been a lonelier experience. But she found solace Saturday, surrounded by tens of thousands of kindred spirits.

"You can't really speak out," Dugger said, referring to the overwhelming public support for the Bush administration's military response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "Here we can speak out because we're all together."

Otherwise, of course, Dugger would be executed by the government's stealthy "lone dissident" liquidation squads. More from Dugger the hugger:

She said she was horrified by the Taliban's subjugation of women well before Sept. 11. And she said the United States was justified in freezing the assets of those with links to Al Qaeda and going after those directly responsible for sending hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"But doing it at the cost of what they call collateral damage--the killing of innocents--is too high a price," Dugger said.

Does anyone besides the likes of Dugger still use the phrase "collateral damage"?

Moreover, she said, "Sept. 11 created a justification for fascism. Fascism is permeating American society right now."

For example, she said, Jewish students accused her of being anti-Semitic when she discussed "the history of colonization of the Palestinians" while teaching about women of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And one student suggested she was anti-American for challenging the war in Afghanistan.

A few accusations and a suggestion … yep. Sounds like fascism to me.

"It has been difficult because it questions your soul," Dugger said, trembling visibly.

And whining audibly.

"I feel good being here today," Dugger said. "I was really worried riding the [subway] down here that there wouldn't be enough people. . . . This restores your hope. It was a day for me that has broken the silence."

Marching and chanting as therapy. Was it ever about anything else for these foam-skulled '60s peace guppies?

SPEAKING OF the LA Times, check a couple of paragraphs from a recent story on illegal drag racing:

These machines--Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans and a dwindling number of American muscle cars that remain popular with purists--have been rebuilt with special exhaust systems and fuel tanks that turbocharge the engine.

Fuel tanks that turbocharge the engine? Man, the LA Times has done some deep research on this one.

Some nights, it's pure "four-banger" imports, four-cylinder Japanese cars featured in movie "The Fast and the Furious" that cover a quarter-mile in 17 to 20 seconds. Other nights, it's a nod to America and the six-cylinder Camaros, Mustangs, Corvettes and Thunderbirds that finish the same stretch in 12 to 14 seconds.

Incredible. The LA Times, based in a city with more cars than any other, has never heard of the V8 engine. I'd bet that none of the competing Camaros, Mustangs, and so on were equipped with anything less. And I sure would like to see a six-cylinder Thunderbird cover the quarter in 12 seconds … must have one of those trick turbo-tanks.