Charles Olson:

It is a nation of nothing but poetry . . .

It is a nation of nothing but poetry
The universities are sties John Wieners
has suffered the most Catholics
have a shame of the body The soul
lives in the body until it escapes Main Street High Street Court
where my auto
threw itself over
the crosswalk The sign read

your body
is to drop
its load

Your body
is a holy

Your body
is a wave
of Ocean

Your eyelids
will reveal your soul, your mouth will
your clothes will fall
as you do





“Clemenceau famously declared that war is too important to be left to the generals. It’s a no-brainer to see that war is too important to be left to the likes of Bush… ” Robert Higgs, Senior Fellow in Political Economy at The Independent Institute and editor of The Independent Review, is concerned that

President George W. Bush has been reading a book. At least, he claims to have been reading one. I know what you’re thinking, but the First Shrub swears that he has been reading more than just the funny papers lately. We’d all be better off, however, if he had stuck to the comics.

In an interview with an Associated Press reporter, Bush said that on his vacation he had been reading a recently published book by Eliot A. Cohen, The Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen and Leadership in Wartime. Cohen is a well-known neocon war-hawk and all-around armchair warrior who professes “strategic studies” at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and, in his spare time, ponders mega-deaths (his own not included) with other lusty members of the Defense Policy Board. The quintessential civilian go-getter, he never met a war he didn’t want to send somebody else to fight and die in.

The Supreme Command consists of case studies of how four “statesmen” — Abraham Lincoln, Georges Clemenceau, Winston Churchill, and David Ben-Gurion — successfully managed to make their generals act more vigorously than those officers really wanted to act. By spurring their too-timid generals, these four micro-managing commanders-in-chief supposedly got superior results from their war-making efforts. The common soldiers who were fed into the consuming maw of war under these worthies might have given us a different opinion, but dead men don’t make good critics.

So what are we to make of Bush’s reading of this book, assuming that he really has been reading it? The short answer is that this is not good news for the world. Such reading seems calculated to bend the president’s mind, never a mighty organ in any event, toward thinking of himself in Lincolnian or Churchillian terms. Indeed, those of us who have had the stomach to observe his public strutting and puffing since September 11 might have suspected that his juvenile sensibilities would be drawn all too readily toward such a grandiose self-conception. After all, does he but speak, and mighty armadas are launched on a global war against evil? AlterNet [thanks, Walker]

Caffeine ‘lotion’ protects against skin cancer. The experiments were done with mice; human trials are pending. “Although caffeine itself filters out UV, (the researcher) thinks the main effect of the substance is biological, triggering cancerous but not healthy cells to wither and die through a process called apoptosis. But how caffeine selectively targets cancerous cells is not known. Despite the success of the tests in mice, (the author) warns people against smearing their bodies with coffee or tea potions..” New Scientist

Years ago, a medical resident friend of mine died of disseminated testicular cancer for which he had rejected medical treatment in favor of the Gerson Diet, which relied heavily on raw vegatable and fruit juices but also on coffee enemas. As usual, extraordinary claims were made by proponents, and maybe the claims will turn out not to have been so misguided if caffeine turns out to be a robust anti-carcinogen, if it works systemically as well as cutaneously, etc. etc. From my vantage point at the time, however, it was a tragic direction for a father of two young children to take at a time when his cancer would have been readily treatable and was not rethought by him until it was far too advanced to salvage anything with conventional treatment. During medical school, I’d been one of those who had constantly harried the professors with disciplined skepticism about the dominant paradigms in medicine and polemicized about ‘complementary pathways’. But watching him die was one of the things that embittered me toward alternative medicine (especially when used in an alternative rather than a complementary fashion to conventional allopathic techniques) and emboldened me to start confronting the unsystematic, flaky thoughtlessness with which many evaluate their options when facing important medical decisions.

Wooshful Thinking?

Row erupts over danger of ecstasy:

Warnings that ecstasy causes long-term brain damage are premature because the supporting evidence is too weak, say three psychologists… (T)he claims echo a New Scientist report in April. They appear in a review of ecstasy research in The Psychologist, the journal of the British Psychological Society.

But their criticisms are robustly challenged in the same publication by mainstream ecstasy researchers. “It’s insane to propose that ecstasy is not damaging” in the long term says Andy Parrott of the University of East London.

New Scientist