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It was an heart-wrenching moment today when Wolf Blitzer asked Admiral Thad Allen on the air as he read a fresh NYTimes article about the Top Kill operation being suspended to hear the Admiral say he hadn’t heard that because he had been out of cell phone range. The President was asked about the resignation or perhaps firing of the head of M.M.S and he had no answer because he had just heard about it this morning. Fear is in the air and on the air and in the water, in the marshes and probably every kitchen table now. People ask me what Hunter would be writing now about the Gulf Oil hemorrhage. I don’t know. But we do know what he wrote about 9/11 and lack of information:


The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the U.S. or any other country. Make no mistake about it: we are at War now — with somebody — and we will stay at war with that strange and mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives…."

 — Hunter S. Thompson, Hey Rube


You don’t need any history lessons from me, but anyone who has been even remotely paying attention to the warning signs from experts on climate change can grasp that during a global social and economic crisis knows that one thing we don’t want is war with the Planet. Bill Clinton said something interesting to Walter Isaacson several years ago at the Aspen Institute. He said something like "Terrorism will not change life as we know it, but environmental change will change your life in a big way."


Somebody asked why on earth BP is drilling so close to American shores with no back up plan might be answered with something as simple as the regulations were lax and easy. Who knows. We do know that older, more advanced Norway engineers have regulations such as the requirement that expensive but logical protections be in place including relief wells in place in case of a burst of the main line. Hmmm. I’m no expert, so I sit glued to the TV and online newspaper reporting of what looks like a long, devastating summer.


We will see what happens tomorrow when the President shows up in the Gulf to make a statement. What will he say? What will he do? God only knows.


Since I’m on this gloomy riff as it is, after clicking over to Fox news, seeing a creepy Glenn Beck trying to give a history lesson about the federal government, I couldn’t help remembering a passage from one of Hunter’s favorite books, "How the Irish Saved Civilization," by Thomas Cahill. He acknowledges all the different theories of the reason for the collapse of the Roman Empire.


"These earlier interpreters — first the pagan critics of Christianity, then Augustine, Petrarch, Machiavelli, and Gibbon — have defined the limits of all interpretation: Rome fell because of inner weakness [decadence, gluttony, etc] either social or spiritual; or Rome fell because of outer pressure — the barbarian hordes.  What we can say with confidence is that Rome fell gradually and that Romans for many decades scarcely noticed what was happening."

 Thomas Cahill, "How the Irish Saved Civilization."


Ah, I’m being dramatic perhaps. But one can’t watch this and not feel responsible at least on a collective level for this happening on our watch.


 But I do take some hope from James Carville and Doug Brinkley and many others who say (or hope) that things will change in the Gulf when the President actually sees the sludge and devastation. We shall see.


Tomorrow a brighter post and wisdom from Bob Dylan.


Your gloomy friend in Woody Creek,

Anita Thompson




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