Futures bright and terrible

Table Talkers delve into waste-eating cicadas, the Bush presidency from the vantage point of 2104 and songs only our kids could make up.

Published June 19, 2004 12:18AM (EDT)


THE LIARS' CLUB: The Lying Liars lay one on ya.

Jeff H - 10:12 am Pacific Time - Jun 14, 2004 - #122 of 156

Since Yucca Mountain became unpopular, scientists are now researching alternative methods for storage of nuclear wastes. One of them is called "bioremediation." In this technique, nuclear waste is treated with a chemical which makes it smell like food to cicadas. The cicadas will appear, eat all the radwaste, and carry it with them when they burrow back down into the ground, where they will remain for 17 years. At that point, the technique calls for the scientists to be retired and living in a country without an extradition treaty. They won't have to stay there forever, though, because America will rapidly be eaten by ravenous mutant cicadas.

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Vinca Minor - 12:43 pm Pacific Time - Jun 14, 2004 - #123 of 156

I like it. It provides work for unemployed millions. There are far too many layabouts in the insect world and it's about time someone put them to use. People don't understand that there are no limits to the ways in which we can profitably use the natural world, and there are no problems which can't be solved by creative restatement of inconvenient facts. The many are best served by creating immense profits for the few.

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White House

George W. Bush: Public Enemy No. 1, part XV

Buzzerman - 05:24 pm Pacific Time - Jun 17, 2004 - #9893 of 9897

None of us has any idea what the North American continent is going to look like a hundred years from now. The US might still exist, or it might not; it might be a progressive and peaceful Dutch- or Canadian-style democracy, a backward Brazilian-style oligarchy, or an impoverished but bellicose Nazi-style dictatorship. Mankind will either have found a way to reliably and safely generate energy without oil, or it will be living in caves. We'll either have resolved many of our present intractable problems, or we'll be re-enacting Rapa Nui on a continental scale. Life expectancies will be either 90 or 40.

The next election will strongly, if not decisively, nudge us in one direction or another.

But I am certain of one thing; scholars and historians living in the year 2104 will be looking back at this era in American history, and scratch and re-scratch and re-scratch their heads trying to figure out how such an accomplished society could completely lose its reason and fritter away 200-plus years of growth and democracy so quickly, and so effortlessly.

Historians are going to look back at a people who tormented and crippled a perfectly capable and visionary President over the banalities of a sexual affair. And they will look back at the same people allowing a morally and intellectually bankrupt stooge to steal the office without as much as a peep, then stand idly by while this stooge and his coterie proceeded to destroy America's international credibility, plunder its treasury, and wreck most of its institutions.

They will wonder why Americans were so outraged over oral sex, but didn't seem to mind when the succeeding administration heaped lie upon lie to plunge the country into an unnecessary and damaging war; when it exploited a major national tragedy to advance a reactionary agenda; when it continued to lie and stonewall after its mendacity was finally (however timidly) exposed by the media.

The eighth-grade students of 2104 will be asking questions that their teachers will probably never be able to adequately answer.

A baseball writer once said, while explaining why some organizations hold on to failed strategies even as the losses mount, "it's not too much of a stretch to believe in a delusion; indeed, whole countries go quite mad from time to time". But who ever thought it would be us?

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Mothers Who Think

Words to live by: the kid soundbite of the day

Jen - 04:02 pm Pacific Time - Jun 11, 2004 - #763 of 798

James was just singing this song to Milo in the car:

I love you
I love you so very much
I'll keep you
I'll keep you with me always
You can play with me when you grow up
You can play baseball with me and TBall
(and not go in the road)

Another song he made up and sings frequently is simple but catchy (I'm sorry I can't notate it somehow)

There is no-THING to be afraid of!
There is no-THING to be afraid of!
There is no-THING to be afraid of!
(Dogs bark . . . )

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