Monday, December 31, 2012

Obama will go down in history as The Ungreat Compromiser

We can only pray the Republicans will reject the deal -- they are crazy enough to do that.  But Obama will compromise again and again and again.  Even when he has all the cards and is sure of winning, he gives away his hand and goes begging.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS MAN????? After making big promises he doesn't intend to keep, he always deserts his base!!!

EXCERPT:  Obama could afford to be unyielding because the economic consequences of going over the cliff for a few days or weeks would be relatively minimal and almost entirely reversible. And doing so would immediately demonstrate to the GOP that public opinion was emphatically not on its side—polls showed that the public reaction to going over the cliff would be both intense and heavily trained on Republicans. Throw in Obama’s post-election bump in approval ratings, and there was never a better time to hold out.

Instead, the emerging deal will reinforce the convictions that have made the GOP such a toxic presence in Washington. If Obama will cave even when he’s got all the leverage, when won’t he cave? Never, the Republicans will assume. If Obama’s too scared to stop bargaining and let the public decide who’s right in this instance, when the polls appear to back him, then he must think our position is more popular than he lets on. Suffice it to say, these are not sentiments you want at the front of Republicans’ mind as they prepare to shake him down over the debt limit in another two months. The White House continues to maintain that it simply won't negotiate over the limit. After this deal, why would any Republican ever believe this? I certainly don’t, and I desperately want to.

As in previous rounds of Obama-GOP negotiations, a lot of liberals are surely hoping that the lunacy of the House Republicans will save us from Obama’s overly generous offers. And, it’s true, House Republicans can normally be relied upon to reject a deal that’s absurdly generous by any objective measure but falls short of their virtue-police standard of purity. They may well do so again tonight, inshallah. But that doesn’t solve the broader strategic problem. Obama has already shown his cards on the parameters that will define his negotiations with Republicans throughout his second term. And there’s no one to save us from that.


Right wingers don't understand they have been totally misled by FOX

Judging by the e-mails I get from right wingers, they walk in lockstep with Fox and Limbaugh and will never allow truth to enter their world. It's useless to try to educate them. They will stick with Roger Ailes for their news source and will believe whatever he wants them to believe.  Even when it is proven to be oh so wrong (Dick Morris telling Repugs it will be a landslide victory for Romney), the Limbaugh/Fox "dittoheads" keep on believing what they are told. I have to laugh at some of the tall tales they spin out, hoping against hope that others will believe them, too.

By Eric Boehlert

Suffering an election hangover after having been told by Fox News that Mitt Romney's victory was a sure thing (a "landslide" predicted by Dick Morris), some Republicans have promised to break their addiction to the right-wing news channel in the coming year. Vowing to venture beyond the comforts of the Fox News bubble, strategists insist it's crucial that the party address its "choir-preaching problem."

Good luck.

This grand experiment of marrying a political movement around a cable TV channel was a grand failure in 2012. But there's little indication that enough Republicans will have the courage, or even the desire, to break free from Fox's firm grip on branding the party.

For Fox News chief Roger Ailes, the network's slash-and-burn formula worked wonders in terms of catering a hardcore, hard-right audience of several million viewers. (Fox News is poised to post $1 billion in profits this year.) But in terms of supporting a national campaign and hosting a nationwide conversation about the country's future, Fox's work this year was a marked failure.

And that failure helped sink any hopes the GOP had of winning the White House.

From the farcical, underwhelming GOP primary that Fox News sponsored, through the general election campaign, it seemed that at every juncture where Romney suffered a major misstep, Fox misinformation hovered nearby. Again and again, Romney damaged his presidential hopes when he embraced the Fox News rhetoric; when he ran as the Fox News candidate.

Whether it was botching the facts surrounding the terrorist raid on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, parroting the Fox talking point about lazy, shiftless voters who make up "47 percent" of the electorate, or Romney's baffling embrace of reality TV show host-turned Fox News pontificator Donald Trump, the Republican candidate did damage to his chances whenever he let Fox News act as his chief campaign adviser.

Fox viewers didn't fare much better. Fed a year's worth of misinformation about the candidates, and completely misled about the state of the race (all the polls are skewed!), Fox faithful were left crushed on Election Night when Romney's fictitious landslide failed to materialize.

"On the biggest political story of the year," wrote Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic, "the conservative media just got its ass handed to it by the mainstream media."

Indeed, Fox's coverage of the campaign has been widely panned as an editorial and political fiasco. The coverage failed to move the needle in the direction of its favored Republican candidate, and the coverage remained detached from campaign reality for months at a time. (Megyn Kelly in July: The Obama campaign is "starting to panic." That was false.)

Following another lopsided loss to Obama, Republican strategist Mike Murphy urged Republicans to embrace a view of America that's not lifted from "Rush Limbaugh's dream journal." (The Fox News dream journal looks nearly identical to Limbaugh's.)

And San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll wondered if Romney's defeat marked the end of a Fox News era:

You had to wonder about Fox. This is the third presidential election in which Fox has been a major player, and the Democrats have won two of them. A combination of big money and big propaganda was supposed to carry the day for Romney and the Republicans, but it didn't. Could it be that the Fox model has played out?

Is the Fox model of a cable paranoia played out in terms of ratings? It is not. Is the Fox model of cable paranoia played out as an electoral blueprint? It sure looks that way.

Of course, conservatives should have thought that through before handing over the control of a political movement to Ailes and his misinformation minions. They should have thought twice about the long-term implication of having irresponsible media outlets like Fox supersede leadership within the Republican Party, and should have figured out first if Fox News had an off switch to use in case of emergencies.

It doesn't.

Yet as Fox News segued into the de facto leader of the Republican Party, becoming the driving electoral force, and with Ailes entrenched in his kingmaker role, candidates had to bow down to Fox in search of votes and the channel's coveted free airtime.

And Andrew Sullivan noted in January:

The Republican Establishment is Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes, Karl Rove, and their mainfold products, from Hannity to Levin. They rule on the talk radio airwaves and on the GOP's own "news" channel, Fox.

There's a reason New York magazine labeled Ailes "the head of the Republican Party." And that's why a GOP source told the magazine, "You can't run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger Every single candidate has consulted with Roger."

That meant campaigns were forced to become part of the channel's culture of personal destruction, as well as to blanket itself in Fox's signature self-pity. (Here was Mitt Romney adopting the right-wing whine that the conspiratorial press was out to sink his campaign.)

Still, the right-wing bubble was a comfortable place to inhabit if you thought of Obama as an historic monster, or if you required to be reminded of that fact many time a day, every day of the year. The bubble is the place where followers for four years were fed the feel-good GOP narrative about how Obama's presidency was a fiasco, that the Americans suffered a severe case of 2008 buyer's remorse, and that the president's re-election defeat was all but pre-ordained.

The one-part-panic, one-part-denial message may have cheered obsessive Obama-haters, but it didn't prepare conservatives for the reality of the campaign season. And it cost the GOP a lost year in the Fox News bubble.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Two books on fracking: NY Times review

EXCERPT:  the industry’s biggest excitement has come in the East, where a boom has been underway for several years in the so-called Marcellus Shale that runs from West Virginia into upstate New York. This gas-trapping shale formation has been estimated to hold as much gas as the whole United States consumes in a century. (The estimates are highly contested; some analysts are insisting that new data show them to be considerably smaller, though still vast, and indeed at the end of January the federal government slashed its earlier predictions in half.)

The gas is also ideally situated along the route of many existing natural gas pipelines and near the heavy-consumption eastern megalopolis. If you’re an energy company, it’s about the best place on the planet to find a huge pool of gas—it’s like discovering an underground deposit of beer directly beneath Yankee Stadium. Because of the potential profits, the agents of various companies have fanned out across the back roads of the region in a remarkable land rush, seeking to lock up drilling rights on the hitherto not-very-valuable acreage of marginal dairy farms and cut-over woodlots.

The two books under review tell the story of that land rush. In fact, they manage to tell exactly the same story, with exactly the same set of characters—a few neighbors along a rural road in Dimock, Pennyslvania. Pennsylvania has been the very epicenter of this boom, less for geological than for political reasons: the powers that be in Harrisburg have been remarkably congenial hosts to the new fracking industry, rolling out the red carpet. (They’re so generous that, unlike Louisiana or Texas, they don’t even charge a severance tax on the gas that’s generated in the state. In fact, they’ve even offered up official state forests for use as drill sites.)

That means that some people have come into unexpected riches, including McGraw’s mother, who leased her land for a large sum—for some farmers looking for an easier retirement it’s been a blessing. But the money has also divided communities in painful ways, since those who don’t reap a bonanza suffer the side effects: the noise and squalor of an industrialized countryside, the danger of quiet roads now overrun with trucks. And even the fortunate run the risk that something will go wrong with the wells on their land.

For example, Victoria Switzer and Ken Ely, neighbors who leased their land to Cabot Oil and Gas in the early days of the boom, then turned into adversaries of the company that did the drilling. They had good reason: before long, drinking water from their wells had turned brown. A neighbor’s well exploded, apparently because of “methane migration” from the fracking operations. Cabot insisted it wasn’t at fault; for a while it bought bottled water for the neighborhood, but eventually it stopped doing even that. It was, in other words, a kind of horror show, the sort of tragedy that usually accompanies largely unregulated booms. (And this one has been largely unregulated—the Pittsburgh newspaper reported in January that the state doesn’t even know where many of the wells in the state have been drilled, because companies, which are supposed to report on their operations, often don’t bother.)


PROMISED LAND -- new Matt Damon movie about fracking    (Everyone should see the documentary GASLAND -- available on streaming Netflix.  If you live in Pennsylvania, upstate New York or central California, Gasland is especially important to view.)

I live in a fracking area

I live in Binghamton NY, epicenter of the fracking debate in New York State, and when I drive 10 miles into Pennsylvania, I can see the results of fracking very vividly there: roads crumbling from heavy trucks, 100 feet blue flames shooting out of the tracking sites to burn off the excess gas, and hill tops leveled for drilling derricks. Since Binghamton's water comes from the Susquehanna river that flows through Pennsylvania before coming into New York, the city is now testing the water quality regularly--at taxpayer expense. My mayor is advocating that New York State seek out clean industries such as solar panel companies to help with our depressed economy rather than the terrible economic promise that fracking offers.

– Richard Stoner, Binghamton New York


Gasland was the sledgehammer. If you've seen Gasland, this movie will serve as a very well intentioned followup that doesn't preach too heavy. Which is why Matt Damon deserves so much credit for trying in almost gentle way to keep this subject up front and in everybody's face. Gasland is 3 years old, and not everyone has seen it, so there's a better chance that this movie will introduce people to the subject, in an almost balanced way. I live in NY, and I've spent 3 years trying to alert everyone I can reach about the dangerous 50,000 wells they want to drill in the upstate watershed, and the threat it poses to NYC's water supply. The best tap water in the country.

– Michael M, New York, NY


Friday, December 28, 2012

Fracking in California in mainstream news

Lots of info. here for the general public and for anyone wanting to inform themselves about what is taking place in our state, just as it is in New York and Pennsylvania -- and MANY other states across our nation. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sadly, this author is correct

Obama has proven over and over again that he is not interested in the opinions of his base. He wants us to vote for him, but then forgets us after the election.
By Cenk Uygur

The Republicans have put themselves in a holy mess with this Plan B debacle. They now have less than zero leverage. They are a national laughingstock. A majority of the country now thinks they are "too extreme." They just got walloped in the election. And with the tax cuts set to expire the laws are rigged against them as well.

There is only one person who can rescue the Republican Party now -- Barack Obama. And he will. I have been saying for over two years now that President Obama is dying to do the Grand Bargain. He will do it at any cost. In fact, he actively wants to cut Social Security and Medicare. He can't wait for that pat on the back from the establishment when they finally call him post-partisan, above party politics, and a statesman for screwing over his own voters. This is by far his greatest wish.

I couldn't believe that people couldn't believe that President Obama offered to cut Social Security again in this round of negotiations. What are you still surprised at? The man has offered to cut these so-called entitlements every time. When are you going to get it through your head -- he wants to cut them!

Ok, I'm raining on everyone's parade here because this is the moment when the partisans are supposed to be reveling in Republican failure. The Republican Party is split and in tatters. Yes, but to what end? In order for that to be relevant, the Democrats would now have to offer a very different deal where the terms are changed in our favor. If they do and they get a deal where taxes are actually raised on people making above $250,000 and Social Security and Medicare are protected, then I will be dead wrong. I will be wrong now and I will have been wrong for all of these years. You can rub my face in it. And since the Democratic partisans are now feeling triumphant, get that crow ready for me to eat.

But it's not going to happen. I'm telling you this even in the Republican Party's darkest hour, the president will still give them most of what they want. My guess is that liberals will be stunned at the concessions President Obama makes even when he had the Republicans in a corner and totally defeated. Here's what you have to understand -- it's because he doesn't want to "win." Winning is different for him than it is for me and you. To us, winning is passing progressive priorities. To him, it's passing a deal where he seems like he is above party politics. In order to do that, he must cut entitlements (and corporate taxes, too, by the way).

We're going to find out who is right soon enough. I just wanted to make sure you knew what was coming ahead of time, so that you understand President Obama's real motivation. Understand that next time around, and remember he's still here for another four years, asking the president politely doesn't get you anything. He isn't a progressive in his heart, he is an establishment pleaser. The only way he acts like a progressive is if you make him. Next time, instead of applauding so much, put all of the pressure on the world on him. That's what Republicans do all of the time and it is what will allow them snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Mark my words.

I think we can all at least agree that if ever there was a time to press progressive priorities this would be it. So, this will be a true test of who he is and what he believes. Let's see what he does. You shall know him by his works.


Friday, December 21, 2012

How it is in our country -- living and dying here


3 Shot And Killed In Mich... 18-Year-Old Shot Multiple Times, Dies... Man Kills Wife, Teen, Himself... Man Shoots, Kills Own Son... Cops Shoot Teen Dead... Man Gunned Down In Parking Lot... 5 Dead In Spate Of Shootings... 2 Murdered In Philly... 2 Kansas Cops Shot Dead... Shooter Killed... 4 Die In Apparent Murder-Suicide... Ga. Cop Dies From Gunshot... Argument Leads Teen To Shoot Friend... Man Shot To Death... Teen Dies After Being Tied Up, Shot... Man Shot Dead In Street... Drug Deal Leads To Shooting Death... Mother Of 2 Killed In Road Rage Shooting... Man Shoots, Kills Intruder... 1 Killed In Coney Island... Man Dies From Gunshot Wounds... Cops Investigate Gun Death... Shooting Victim's Body Found On Bike Trail... Man Charged With Shooting Own Brother Dead... Man Dies After Being Shot In Chest... Body Of Shooting Victim Found In Pickup... Teen Arrested For Robbery Shooting Death... Man Carrying 2-Year-Old Son Shot Dead... Man Fatally Shot Near Home... Parolee Dies In Shooting... 1 Killed In Buffalo Shooting... Man Shot Dead In Apartment Complex... Street Gun Battle Kills Grandma Bystander... Man, Woman Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide... Woman Shot Dead By Intruder... 14-Year-Old Arrested Over Fatal Gun Attack... Man Found Shot Dead In Parking Lot... Woman Shot In Face By Ex-Boyfriend... 1 Woman, 3 Men Shot Dead... 2 Die In Attempted Robbery... Army Reservist Shot To Death In Alley... Man Shot To Death In Bodega... 2 Shot Dead In Burned House... Man Shot During Break-In... Man Fatally Shot... 20-Year-Old Gunned Down... Man Shoots Self During Police Pursuit... 1 Killed In Baltimore Shooting... Cops ID Shooting Victim... 60-Year-Old Man Shot Dead... Shot Man's Body Found In Vacant House.... Woman Shot And Killed Outside Her Home... Shooting Victim Was 'Trying To Turn Life Around'... Slain Shooting Victim Found In Street.... Driving Altercation Leads To Shooting, 1 Dies... 3-Year-Old Dies In Accidental Shooting... Man Turns Self In After Allegedly Shooting Wife... Man Shot Dead Outside Home... 3 Slain In Separate New Orleans Shootings... Cops Investigate Shooting Death... Man Shot Dead In Ohio... Teen Shot To Death... Man Dies After Being Shot Multiple Times... Man Charged Over Son's Shooting Death... Cops Find 2 Men Shot Dead... 1 Dies In Shooting... Man Charged Over Gun Killing... 1 Shot Dead In Confrontation... Man Charged With Murder Over Shooting... Motel-Owner Shot And Killed... Husband Shoots Estranged Wife Dead... Suspect Arrested Over Deputy's Shooting Death... Police Probe Fatal Shooting... Cops Kill 2 Suspects In 3 Shooting Deaths... Man Killed Fighting Back Against Robber... Man Killed In Home Invasion.... Nightclub Shooting Kills 1... Child Brain Dead After Drive By Shooting... Man Charged Over Shooting Of Ex-Wife... Body Found In Vacant House... Teen Fatally Shot...

And the NRA says, "HEYI WHAT WE NEED IS MORE GUNS!"  And the Tea Party nuts clap their hands and yell, YES, YES, YES!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oops -- asteroid pass too close for comfort

Asteroids Toutatis and XE54 give Earth
a close flyby last week. Toutatis passes
by Earth every 4 years at a distance of
4 million miles and it's clearly visible
with a telescope.

The new asteroid, XE54 discovered just
last week, came "a little too close for comfort,"
within 140,000 miles of our planet. It came
"about as close to crashing into Earth as an
asteroid possibly can, without actually doing so,"
according to The Washington Post. Astronomers
say that XE54 was small enough that most of it
would have burned up in the atmosphere but noted that the fact that it was not
spotted until it was basically upon us is a
"troubling sign."

It is estimated that there are over 4,000 Near
Earth Objects (NEOs), which are big enough to
take out a chunk of land the size of a state, that
routinely pass close to the Earth, of which only
30% have been identified.

Video (about 1 and a half mins):


Monday, December 17, 2012

The Politics of Learned Helplessness -- sad but true

By Marty Kaplan

"We have got to get Michelle to make this her priority."

It was my friend Judith, a wise woman, a mother and grandmother, on the phone from across the country, the evening of the day of the Newtown massacre, trying to figure out how to enlist the first lady in a campaign against gun violence.

From the email Judith wrote her: "Unless from the top with unyielding outrage we rein in and destroy the gun lobby -- unless we stigmatize the NRA as we stigmatized the Ku Klux Klan -- we will be robbed of any claim we have to our children's and grandchildren's respect."

She was calling to get my help to get Michelle Obama's attention. I was appalled by how effortlessly cynical was the response that came out of my mouth.

This one is different, I said. That's what everyone is saying, and it's true. Mowing down first-graders with a Bushmaster ("for us, building rifles and carbines is more than a job -- it's a passion") turns a new page in hell.

But even if Michelle Obama does take this on; even if her husband, freed from the calculus of re-election, summons us in a soaring second inaugural to curb the culture of gun violence; even if in his State of the Union address to Congress he demands a ban on assault weapons, on high-count magazines and on armor-piercing bullets, and he calls for an end to firearms sales at gun shows, and requests funds for mental health screening and violence prevention -- no matter what the first lady or the president or millions of mothers marching on Washington or the rest of us may say or do, neither the House nor the Senate will pass such a law. The NRA is simply too powerful. There are too many cowards in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, who will protect their seats before they protect their fellow citizens.

By the end of the weekend, I realized that "cynical" isn't the right word to describe my reaction to Judith's idea to recruit Michelle Obama. Nor is Realpolitik. Here's what it is: learned helplessness -- a 21st century disease of the American soul, born of the dysfunction of our political system. It's the sinking admission that we are powerless to be the change we've been waiting for. It's the painful evidence that the Washington deck is stacked against the kind of gun regulation that even cops and most of the NRA's own members favor. It's the gut-punching recognition that no horror, however unspeakable, will turn that around. This wail is a civic sickness, and I got it bad, and that ain't good.

And it's not just about guns.

The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy was widely characterized as a wake-up call on climate change. It dragged the global environmental crisis into the U.S. presidential campaign at the eleventh hour, after its disgraceful absence from national debate. It was hailed as a shot of courage for timid lawmakers to consider a carbon tax, and to abjure the myth of "clean coal," and to confront the real risks of exploiting oil shale and tar sands. It was an opportunity to alert the public to the fraudulent claim that scientists differ on climate change, a hoax financed by the fossil fuel industry and modeled on the phony controversy over cigarettes causing cancer that was manufactured by Big Tobacco. At the end of August, in Tampa, Mitt Romney got laughs for saying, "President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet"; only two months later, when Sandy brought misery and death to the eastern seabord, it became clear that the joke was on us.

Public opinion polls bear that up. The same day as the Sandy Hook slayings, an Associated Press-Gfk poll was released; it found that 4 out of 5 Americans say global warming will be a serious U.S. problem unless action is taken to reduce it. "Belief and worry about climate change," said the AP,

"are inching up among Americans in general, but concern is growing faster among people who don't often trust scientists on the environment. In follow-up interviews, some of those doubters said they believe their own eyes as they've watched thermometers rise, New York City subway tunnels flood, polar ice melt and Midwestern farm fields dry up."

Reporting this poll, The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, told its congressional readers that "57 percent of adults believe the U.S. government should do a 'great deal' about global warming." Will it? I can imagine inspiring words about climate change from the president in January. I can believe that grass-roots efforts like Bill McKibben's will continue to gain traction on college campuses. I have no doubt that the more stories about climate change that Americans hear and see, the more they will demand action from their representatives.

But as things stand, it is virtually inconceivable to me that our lawmakers will rise to the challenge. The petroleum industry swings as big a bat in Washington as the gun lobby. Even if the president has the second-term courage to propose it, our corrupt campaign finance system won't make an enlightened exception for a cap-and-trade bill. The fear of losing a race exceeds the fear of losing a planet.

Are special interests invincible? No, and each counter-example is a ray of hope, something we could all use this season. Last August, in the heat of the campaign, President Obama courageously doubled fuel efficiency standards by 2025, which will cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half. When the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 was passed in 1994, it was called "a blow to the credibility and power of the nation's gun lobby," proof that the "NRA is no longer bullet proof." Still, I can't help noting that the CAFE standards were raised by executive action, and didn't require the assent of the Tea Party Congress. Or that the 1994 assault weapons ban was able to pass the House (by a razor-thin margin of 216 votes) because the NRA suffered 38 Republican defections, led by GOP leader Bob Michel of Illinois, who arguably was able to reverse his previous opposition to the ban because he -- like several NRA-friendly Democrats who also voted for it -- was about to retire from Congress. That fall, when Newt Gingrich and the Republicans took over the House, the narrative was born, and persists to this day, that bucking the NRA is political suicide.

This time around, I'd love my pessimism to be proven wrong. I'd be thrilled if Michelle Obama were the answer. I'd be grateful to rekindle my confidence in democracy. Learned helplessness is the status quo's most pernicious enabler, and I welcome any ladder out of this pit. But whether it's guns or climate change, poverty or plutocracy, war or water: whatever problem most troubles any of us, I'm convinced that the way forward requires a transformational solution to the power of money and fear to determine our national fate.

About author Martin Kaplan, research professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, holds the Norman Lear Chair in Entertainment, Media and Society. He has been a White House speechwriter; a Washington journalist; a deputy presidential campaign manager; a Disney studio executive; a motion picture and television producer and screenwriter

End of the world scheduled for Friday


Subject: End of the world scheduled for Friday

New York, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012
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In honor of The End, everyone in the world is now an honorary subscriber to Planet Waves. For those who always wished they would chip in but did not, whilst reading all our free stuff religiously around the clock, we won the game anyway -- we made it to The End without taking a single advertisement, ever. Haha.

End of the World Scheduled for Friday

Dear Friend and Reader:

Preparations are now underway for all things to end at 6:11 am EST on Friday, when 2012 actually happens.

Did the freaks who built this antiquated temple know something we didn't? That's the question as we prepare for The End.
Despite a number of recent setbacks, The End of the World was proceeding on schedule for Dec. 21, according to a long-standing plan previously known only to astrologers and people who ate a lot of mushrooms.

The original proposal was set in motion 1,871,995 days ago by a tiny cabal of shaggy-haired coca-chewing aborigines with mathematical skills eminently superior to other local savages and all future civilizations. 

"Man, those guys could count," said the late Terence McKenna, who first turned the world onto 12/21/12 in his 1974 book The Invisible Landscape, speaking via a CD left in a time capsule for this moment, which was recently dug up next to his old apartment in Hawaii. 

"By the way, this whole thing was a joke. We actually put that writing on the stairs at Chichen Itza," he said in the recording.

Corporations Prepare for the Worst

Despite this fact, as of press time, sources confirmed that the world was still Ending. Companies were proceeding with their preparations. Walt Disney Productions on Friday filed 70,456 lawsuits against U.S. and international media, claiming copyright infringement in all uses of the phrase, "The End of the World," and various derivatives, such as "World Ending," "It's Over," and "Oh, Well."

If you've been a lazy, no-good sloth your whole life, you can finally stop judging yourself. The End is near.
Monsanto filed a variety of patents for oxygen, nitrogen and hemoglobin, so it could sue any potential future survivors for breathing.

Speculation that The End might be preempted by global enlightenment, the New Age or a merger with the 5th dimension has turned out to be premature.

The End will come as a relief to everyone who is in debt, regrets how apathetic they've been for so long, or who is envious of anyone young and successful. Those struggling to start a diet or quit smoking can finally relax. If you received a broken speedometer ticket recently, there's no need to sign and return it.

Allstate, Prudential and Mutual of Omaha are engaged in a vicious price war, offering massive discounts on life insurance premiums. In a tsunami of insider trading, stock exchanges are flooded with investors selling short in the three-day SEC deadline before The End.

The Vatican issued a Papal Bull, the "Dispensatio Pro Continens Usum in Ultima XLVIII Horas, Sicut Finis," which granted dispensation for condom use in the final 48 hours, as The End would preclude the mortal sin of preventing conception. Oral sex will also be permitted for Catholics, under the decree, though theologists at major universities were debating whether this included to orgasm, or not.

The Steroid League, a secret organization operating behind the scenes of Major League Baseball, said that it would play its first and only sudden-death World Series on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. Tickets sold out in 45 minutes.

And at press time, Lance Armstrong was riding the Tour de France route on a unicycle, aided by the top-secret performance-enhancing drug that he hoped would be named for him.

Republican Backlash

As the big moment approached, Republicans were working hard to disrupt plans for The End. A visibly distraught House Speaker John Boehner said Friday that he was deeply saddened that a Democrat would be in office for The End. He sobbed poignantly as his tears flowed freely, causing a momentary short circuit in the podium's electronics.

John Boehner weeps as he admits that a Democrat will be in office for The End of the World, which was a Republican plan.
"This is our side's issue," he said, as the speakers crackled and the lights flickered. "We've worked for a generation to bring on The End, and we're not going to allow Pres. Obama to get all the credit."

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, threatened to filibuster The End, or at least put it on hold. He said he and his colleagues would read out loud from Zombie Apocalypseparts 1-41 rather than the traditional use of the Manhattan telephone book.

"They say they've been trying to save the planet all this time," McConnell added. "Now they want it all To End. It was our idea, but I'm against it."

The Republican conference hastily put together a bill to delay The End until at least Jan. 21, 2017, when Obama would be out of office. But some said it would take more time to plan. "The world is large," the Sierra Club said in a statement. "This will take many more years."

Tea Party members objected to the expenses involved, funds which would have to be borrowed from China or Cuba. "It's cost trillions to cause the apocalypse, and it's going to cost more to clean up from it," said Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who is not really in the Tea Party, but pretends. "We already have a spending problem."

Democrats accused them of kicking the can down the road. "There's no further to kick it," said Bernie Sanders, who is actually a Socialist. "This time it's going to go right off the edge."

Survivalism Abounds

Texas last week ran out of lethal injection drugs, and resorted to axes and machetes in its race to execute its entire roster of death row inmates before The End does it for them.

Are you ready? If you don't want to eat tuna fish for the rest of your short life, think: diversity.
Meanwhile, survival websites were trending vigorously on Twitter. Prepper News ranked the highest, getting more than a million hits a day, featuring instructions for how to make a homemade rabbit trap at #catchbunny. 

"People think there will be hamburger at the store forever," said Melissa Suculent, the website's editor. "I have bad news for them. They're going to need Bunny Helper." 

Meanwhile, Preppers were trading tuna fish recipes in record volume, getting ready for the inevitable -- that they would get sick living on the stuff after a week. "Wv bn Prpng fr yrs. Bg momnt arvng," twted one. But one commenter to the site asked, "If it's The End, why prepare for it?"

Walmarts across the country were selling out of Minute Rice, diapers and batteries, and were peppered with the sound of gunfire in the aisles as customers competed for merchandise. Radio Shack's national headquarters said that every store was out of walkie-talkies, and that customers were even buying Morse code keys, and asking how to type S-O-S.

Debate Rages On

Continuing the tradition of debate associated with 2012, a diversity of intellectuals continued to bang their heads against one another. 

Pinchbeck, the editor of Reality Sandwich, said he would drink a gallon of ayahuasca and "finally figure out this whole 2012 thing."
Over the weekend, expert panels debated how The End might arrive. At the Javits Center in Manhattan, one group of professors, moderated by John Major Jenkins, pondered whether The End would come in dribs and drabs, or all at once. 

One panelist said that the world could not possibly end Friday, because there is not enough time, though others argued that we would have assistance from space aliens with advanced destructive capabilities, just like we did on Sept. 11. 

In the main hall of the massive convention center, about 1,000 participants gathered for the world's largest ever ayahuasca binge, determined to finally figure out what 2012 really means. The event, which is still in progress, is being hosted by Daniel Pinchbeck and assisted by the Bulimia Society of Manhattan. Pinchbeck said he would drink a gallon of the medicine, and "hopefully come back with some useful information."

Willow Web of Weeping Willow Astrology issued a statement in sky writing earlier this morning, which read, "This is all a crock of New Age bullshit." Sadly, it was not visible against the swarms of chemtrails crisscrossing the sky. But ascension expert David Wilcock countered that argument, saying on his podcast last night, "I told you something was happening. I knew it! Something really is happening! It really is!"

CNET, the high-tech site, was advising its users to print out their whole disk drive, in case The End arrives in the form of electromagnetic pulse from an air-burst nuclear weapon, solar flares which disrupt the power grid, or your laptop croaking.

Jim Morrison and the rest of The Doors will be back for one final concert, a tribute to The End.
"At least you will have a paper backup, if your disk drive is erased by the magnetic waves," the editors said.

Other pundits were more cryptic. "It is written in the book of NorQuest: After MyEnd Elders run the Buffaloed Buffalo-Soldier-haired Obama over cliff, then Chief BackTonO'Cash will emerge from Goldmen's Sacks, beginning a New Fiscal Age of Even More Glorious Exclusive Entitlement," said Paul Krugman.

The Doors have reserved Madison Square Garden for Thursday, Dec. 20, for their reunion concert, at which Jim Morrison is expected to play his final performance.

Apple announced last week that it would accelerate production of the iPhone 6, with an anticipated release on Thursday. Thousands of loyal customers were planning to spend their last week on Earth lined up to get one of the devices, which they would have approximately one day to use. 

"I lost my job to get the iPhone 5," one customer said. "I'll give the last week of my life to have the iPhone 6."


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