On this day in 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius erupted burying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in nearly thirty feet of ash and pumice. The toxic gases killed at least 2200 people who remained in Pompeii after the evacuation.
After centuries of dormancy, Mount Vesuvius erupts in southern Italy, devastating the prosperous Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing thousands. The cities, buried under a thick layer of volcanic material and mud, were never rebuilt and largely forgotten in the course of history. In the 18th century, Pompeii and Herculaneum were rediscovered and excavated, providing an unprecedented archaeological record of the everyday life of an ancient civilization, startlingly preserved in sudden death.
At noon on August 24, 79 A.D., this pleasure and prosperity came to an end when the peak of Mount Vesuvius exploded, propelling a 10-mile mushroom cloud of ash and pumice into the stratosphere. For the next 12 hours, volcanic ash and a hail of pumice stones up to 3 inches in diameter showered Pompeii, forcing the city’s occupants to flee in terror. Some 2,000 people stayed in Pompeii, holed up in cellars or stone structures, hoping to wait out the eruption.
A westerly wind protected Herculaneum from the initial stage of the eruption, but then a giant cloud of hot ash and gas surged down the western flank of Vesuvius, engulfing the city and burning or asphyxiating all who remained. This lethal cloud was followed by a flood of volcanic mud and rock, burying the city.
The people who remained in Pompeii were killed on the morning of August 25 when a cloud of toxic gas poured into the city, suffocating all that remained. A flow of rock and ash followed, collapsing roofs and walls and burying the dead.
Those that did not flee the city of Pompeii in August of 79 AD were doomed. Buried for 1700 years under 30 feet of mud and ash and reduced by the centuries to skeletons, they remained entombed until excavations in the early 1800s.
As excavators continued to uncovered human remains, they noticed that the skeletons were surrounded by voids in the compacted ash. By carefully pouring plaster of Paris into the spaces, the final poses, clothing, and faces of the last residents of Pompeii came to life.
n the only known eye witness account to the eruption, Pliny the Younger reported on his uncle’s ill-fated foray into the thick of the ash from Misenum, on the north end of the bay:
“. . .the buildings were now shaking with violent shocks, and seemed to be swaying to and fro as if they were torn from their foundations. Outside, on the other hand, there was the danger of failing pumice stones, even though these were light and porous; however, after comparing the risks they chose the latter. In my uncle’s case one reason outweighed the other, but for the others it was a choice of fears. As a protection against falling objects they put pillows on their heads tied down with cloths. ”
“You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men; some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore.”
Fear not, wanderers in this WTF Wilderness. Be not dismayed, let not your hearts be troubled. Lift up your eyes like you never have before, and behold the shiny objects flashing around the White House and the DNC. Look upon them in wonder and sing hallelujah, for salvation is at hand. Again.
I hope Obama and the clap louder crowd at Kos Communications will forgive me, but I’m not fired up. I’m not ready to go. The idiocy on full display every hour of every day on the campaign trail exposes how far gone this country’s political system is. We don’t see any real political debate, we don’t hear any real political commentary, there’s no dialogue about the fundamental problems we’re facing, no real solutions are offered. It’s not a campaign. It’s a beer commercial.
Tastes Great! Less Filling!
Corporate capitalism tastes great. No, it’s less filling. Gosh, I just can’t decide who’s right, it has so many appealing features. It’s not perfect yet, but perfection is so close the Beltway binge-drinkers can almost taste it.
Their friends at the five-hundred billion dollar Beltway Brewery are really cranking out the suds, the bipartisan beer trucks are rumbling down the highways of America, driven by austerity alcoholics with places to go and people to see.
It’s Happy Hour, it’s always Happy Hour here at the Trickle Down Tavern, so drink up everyone, order another round, put another trillion dollars in the jukebox. Yeah, I know, Too Big To Fail is the only song on it, but what the hell, get over it, quit pouting and grow up, be a patriotic patriot and praise the plutocrats, they created this paradise of prosperity and are disappointed because we haven’t been grateful enough, so grab a beer-soaked flag and wave it on high.
On numerous of occasions I have been accused of “bashing Democrats,” “hating Obama,” as well as, some outrageously, vile charges that won’t be repeated here. The accusations have been in response to criticism of President Barack Obama’s policies which have been not just disappointing for a Democratic administration but, in some instances, worse than any neo-con Republican. It’s baffling that the Republican party is bothering to oppose his reelection, he’s done most everything they would have done short of starting another war unless one considers the expansion of the “war on terror” to Yemen and Africa. My guess would be that the Republicans are jealous that Obama isn’t a member of the GOP.
I was asked the other day by my former precinct captain why I don’t criticize Republicans. My answer was that I do. It’s just that today they are called Democrats. On that note, I give you the Black Agenda Report‘s managing editor, Bruce Dixon, who says it quite succinctly:
[..] The fact is that 120% evil Republicans offer the only justification for our support of 100% evil Democrats. And with the dissolution of what used to be the black consensus for equality, civil liberties, full funding for public education, and opposing war spending and corporate privilege, Obama-era Democrats continue to flee rightward toward war, privatization and austerity.
This deformed puzzle is not the political logic of free and responsible people. It’s the cramped and twisted reasoning of someone trapped in a box urgently trying to convince himself that it’s not really a box, that pragmatic acceptance of the box as the whole of the great and free universe is really all that can be hoped, struggled and strived for. It’s not. Only a beaten, cowed and enslaved people can imagine their forbears sacrificed and struggled for them to choose among greater and lesser, but both still monstrous evils.
We at Black Agenda Report spend more time denouncing Democrats because they act like and enable Republicans. We don’t spend as much time denouncing the party of white supremacy because Republicans rarely bother to pretend to be anything else. African Americans haven’t voted Republican in 50 years. But we’re more unemployed than we’ve been in seventy years, and more imprisoned than we’ve ever been.
That’s what choosing “lesser evils” has earned us. It’s time to chuck the fake choice between evil Republicans and slightly less evil Democrats. It’s time not just to think, but to climb outside the two-party, lesser-evil box, to breathe the free air and get ready for something new.
What Bruce said applies to all Americans regardless of race, gender, religion or national origin.
Actor and activist, John Cusack, in his conversation with Constitutional law professor, Jonathan Turley, questions where are the “lines” that the “progressive left” will not cross and what it means in terms of voting for Obama.
Now that the Republican primary circus is over, I started to think about what it would mean to vote for Obama…
Since mostly we hear from the daily hypocrisies of Mitt and friends, I thought we should examine “our guy” on a few issues with a bit more scrutiny than we hear from the “progressive left”, which seems to be little or none at all.
Instead of scrutiny, the usual arguments in favor of another Obama presidency are made: We must stop fanatics;-he’s the last line of defense from the corporate barbarians-and of course the Supreme Court. It all makes a terrible kind of sense and I agree completely with Garry Wills who described the Republican primaries as ” a revolting combination of con men and fanatics…the current primary race has become a demonstration that the Republican party does not deserve serious consideration for public office.”
… there are certain Rubicon lines, as constitutional law professor Jon Turley calls them, that Obama has crossed.
All political questions are not equal no matter how much you pivot. When people die or lose their physical freedom to feed certain economic sectors or ideologies, it becomes a zero sum game for me.
This is not an exercise in bemoaning regrettable policy choices or cheering favorable ones but to ask fundamentally: Who are we? What are we voting for? And what does it mean? [..]
The entire transcript of the conversation was posted in this article by poligirl. It’s quite long but quite thought provoking assessment of Barack Obama’s presidency and how many of our principles of law and the constitution the “progressive left” has compromised and abandoned supporting him.
The line for me was Obama’s vote, as Senator, to renew FISA with all its unconstitutional provisions, after saying that he would filibuster if it were not fixed. I knew then that the “we’ll fix it later” line was the grand lie to a tired, desperate electorate that was in need of relief from years of war and economic stress.
Along with Bruce Dixon, John Cusack, Jonathan Turley and others, I will continue to criticize Democrats for pushing a right wing agenda. I’m still not ready to make nice.