Monday, November 30, 2009


Not having a major purpose for your life is like trying to navigate without a chart. You may eventually get somewhere you like, or you may drift aimlessly, always hoping-but never finding-the place where you would like to be. As you grow as a person, so will your major purpose. It is the natural order of things that, when you reach the top of one mountain, you will look around for higher peaks to climb. In life, either you are moving forward or you are going backward. When you plot your course carefully and thoughtfully, you can ensure that you are going in the right direction.

Non avere un obiettivo importante per la tua vita è come cercare di navigare senza un grafico. Si può finalmente arrivare da qualche parte che ti piace, oppure si può deriva senza meta, sempre con la speranza-ma-non trovare mai il luogo in cui si vorrebbe essere. Come crescere come persona, così il tuo obiettivo principale. È l'ordine naturale delle cose che, quando si raggiunge la cima di una montagna, si guardano intorno per cercare di scalare vette più elevate. Nella vita, o ci si sposta in avanti o si sta andando indietro. Quando si stampa il tuo corso di attenzione e pensieroso, è possibile garantire che si sta andando nella giusta direzione.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Operación Grial - Suspects

Besides Walter Virú, some of the names of the accused in Operación Grial can be found here - if you don't know them already. Full article in Spanish from is below. Are we surprised? No, of course not.

"La Guardia Civil requisó EPO y otras sustancias dopantes en el domicilio de Guadix (Granada) del marchador Paquillo Fernández, subcampeón olímpico en 2004, en uno de los quince registros que se efectuaron el martes durante la operación antidopaje bautizada como Grial, según desvelaron fuentes de la investigación. Pese a ello, Paquillo no fue detenido ni está imputado. El atleta rechazó ayer valorar estas nuevas revelaciones "hasta el pleno esclarecimiento de los hechos". El día anterior negó que los medicamentos fueran dopantes.

La lista de detenidos se va aclarando, pese a que la operación continúa abierta. Son once: nueve en Valencia, y uno en Murcia y en Barcelona.

En Valencia fueron detenidos el cabecilla de la trama, el médico Walter Virú, junto a su mujer y dos hijos, uno de ellos farmacéutico. También el entrenador Vicente Natividad y el ciclista aficionado José Ortega, que compite en categoría Master-30 y frecuenta clásicas cicloturistas con el Club Pub Tribus, de El Puig. Además, hay tres distribuidores.

Cristina Navarro, ciclista del Lointek, y Pedro José Vera, del Contentpolis, fueron detenidos en Barcelona y Murcia. Vera es el único deportista profesional arrestado. Ayer se le tomó declaración durante dos horas en San Javier y fue puesto en libertad hasta nuevo aviso.

Los detenidos comenzaron ayer a prestar declaración y terminarán hoy. El Juzgado de Instrucción número 14 de Valencia dirige la operación."

8 Things On Lance Armstrong From The "Other Side Of The Grass"

From Cozy Beehive, an L.A. post worth the read...the opening is below. Click through to the Beehive for the remainder.

"A great person once said that history is written by the victor. The one who is smart and cunning, who wins and has the money, who is extremely powerful and has a throng of followers around them, who can literally decide your fate if you turn your back on them...these are the people who have the muscle to bend a true story to their liking and ultimately to their advantage.

It's all too easy to be star-struck watching the hundreds of video clips of Lance Armstrong on Youtube. Yeah, it looks all so cool and inspiring, no doubt. And its easy to buy a bunch of books written by him and his lieutenants and believe what he invariably asks you to slurp in. And it's easier going with the fan following based around him and his brand and do exactly what they're all doing.

But it's difficult to go out against the tide and exercise some independent critical thinking skills to challenge the root of the system. We're often times lazy to explore or plainly just narrow minded to accept the other half of the story. When we believe in something, we fix it in our world view and build castles around it to protect it. But if castles are built on loose foundation, like the story of the man who built his house on mud, it will topple sooner or later. When it crashes down, that will be a mind-blowing experience.

So what is the other half of the story for those of you who haven't heard at all? Join in this post as I amass together a few facts, figures and audio clips that are absolutely critical if you are to have a "balanced knowledge" of the persona of Lance Armstrong. Some of these I collected over from some who were bold enough to only share, talk and write. By all means, this is a re-pollination of facts but done so as to never let people forget the past. So get yourself a cup of tea or coffee and focus for a while from the 'other side of the grass'..." More

For Some, This Photo Sums Up The Six-Day Season

Photo (c) Ed Hood
[Editor's note: If you didn't click "Ed Hood" above, click here to see more from the Sixes.]

Friday, November 27, 2009

“The Year of Loving Dangerously” by Ted Rall

I just finished Ted Rall's “The Year of Loving Dangerously." Forget the sex - Rall's story makes clear why our society needs safety nets. As Rall himself writes, the book is "a chronicle of desperation, of how easy it is for anyone — even a white male attending an Ivy League school — to fall off the merry-go-round of U.S.-style laissez faire capitalism." Though Rall turns things around, his story is the exception, and is testimony only to the fact that he lived to tell the tale. Millions of others aren't so lucky, and there but by the grace of God go I. Though a graphic novel, I'll be excerpting from “The Year of Loving Dangerously" over the next several weeks in hopes of attracting you to a copy of this wonderfully-illustrated, non-navel-gazing work.

"The Year of Loving Dangerously" is Ted's first collaborative effort. Ted wrote and scripted the book, based on his experience getting arrested, dumped, expelled and evicted onto the mean streets of Manhattan in 1984 (the book's title tells you what he did after that), and "Bluesman" artist Pablo G. Callejo provides lush, full-color painterly artwork. The introduction is by Xaviera Hollander, author of "The Happy Hooker."

"Year" is an allegory for the economic collapse, showcasing what can happen to anyone, even a white Ivy-educated male, who suffers a run of bad luck. It's also a shot across the bow of other male graphic artists who wallow in self-pity and alienation.

Excerpts coming soon...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hi Pappillon - exclusively from the Ghent Six

Michael Morkov and Alex Rasmussen at the Ghent Six.

Read Hood's interview with American six-day racers Carroll and East here. Did Pappillon share the link to this interesting salary-centric piece by Hood? We can't remember, nor can we be troubled to look - sooooo: repeat! Listen to the Money Talking.

Navel Gazer Paul Kimmage

Felix Lowe, laying-low and commenting on cycling as Blazin' Saddles, recently twatted a link to his current Eurosport blog post, which includes the following gem [delivered at Paul Kimmage's expense]:

"...elsewhere, soup-spitter Paul Kimmage (interviewer of the year, no less) managed to write another navel-gazing piece about himself and just how good and clever he is when sending text messages, masquerading as an interview with Brailsford, in last weekend's Sunday Times..."

It's a slow Thanksgiving, yes, but there's something genuinely fun and entertaining about one cycling journalist dissing another via the 'net. The offending interview/text message exchange can be read here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jesus Manzano: "Then one day all of the sudden it stops and you become dramatically depressed."

Excerpt from l'Equipe interview with Jesus Manzano, June 5th, 2007:

"You mentioned Jose Maria Jiminez, el Chava, who died in 2003 from a heartattack. Was it the drugs that killed him?"
-Of course, like it killed Pantani. The drugs lead you to other addictions. The anti-depressants almost automatically accompany other doping treatments. I took up to 8 pills of prozac a day when I was racing.

-Prozac cuts the appetite, keeps you in another world, a world where you're not afraid of what you're doing. You're no longer afraid to inject yourself with all the crap. It takes you to a world where you don't ask any more questions especially you don't ask your doctor questions either or your sporting director. Then there are periods where you must stop doping you feel like superman. Then one day all of the sudden it stops and you become dramatically depressed. Look at Pantani, Vandenbroucke and all the others we don't even talk about. They are numerous other cyclists and former cyclists that are addicted to cocaine, heroin and other medications. It's not just in the world of cycling..."

Full translated article at NY Velocity

Monday, November 23, 2009

VDB: The Weight

Editor's Note: The Weight, an original piece by Flandrian, is Pappillon's final blog post dedicated to the enigma known as "VDB".

The Weight

As a young boy he was special. At sign tables and start lines fathers would point him out and whisper to their boys, " That's him, the special one I told you about." Greetings and praise met him at the start of even the smallest races.The big events were like coronations for the young Prince. "This one is going to be something special, you'll see." A Messiah had been born in Belgium.
The Weight of Possibility.

It all seemed so easy so preordained. His victories grew and appeared so effortless to the mere mortals that worshiped Him. When He won, He won in grand style, with spectacular attacks that disposed of his competition and drove the hero starved masses into a frenzy. They cheered , they cried, they drank Belguim dry. A culturally divided nation was now united under one God.
The Weight of Responsibility.

As much as they willed him to be a God he was as fragile as any other man. The Wind, Rain, and Cold wear down even the hardest stone. He looked to the shadows and to those who prey on self doubt to ease the suffering and fear. When He succumbed. The spell was broken. Adulation soured to disenchantment. " He was a fraud,He made us believe. How dare he assume the Crown and all our hopes.
The Weight of Expectation.

It ends for him much as it started.
In a misty rain, as they carry the coffin past the silent faithful, a father whisper to his young son.
"That's him, that's the special one I told you about."
Entombed below the dirt of Flanders -
The Weight of Belgium Upon Him for Eternity.


Though it may not seem so when you first encounter a serious blow, you can never lose two of the most important assets you have. These are the power of your mind and your freedom to use it. Once you have turned them to understanding what laid you low, you can begin forming new plans. You may not have the money you once had; you may lack the allies you had cultivated. But you still have the benefit of a universe that eventually rewards honest effort, as well as gaining the experience of mistakes you will never make again. Remember, no matter where you are now, whatever you can conceive and believe, you can achieve. Protect the most important thing you have.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

World Press Cycling Championship

Though still nearly a year off, look for at least one Pappillon contributor - if not more - to compete in the World Press Cycling Championship in Lierde, Belgium in 2010. Details to follow.

Racing with the stars in Curacao

Editor's note: This story, written by Edmund Hood, originally appears at Pez Cycling News.

"We've said it before; if the stars are out, Pez won't be far away. The recent Amstel exhibition race on the Caribbean island of Curaçao, was contested by the likes of Mark Cavendish and Thor Hushovd - with Alberto Contador running out as winner. American Patrick Lyons was on the scene, mingling and racing with the stars. Here's what he had to say...

PEZ: A little background on you first, please, Patrick?
Patrick: I've been a cycling journalist since 2005. Prior to that, I have been involved in cycling since 1980. I raced a few seasons in Europe in the mid 80's with some moderate success. I competed for the Military during my enlistment in the Army.

After that, I was a pro for two seasons with the now defunct National Cycling League; which was a city based professional criterium league that had a lot of potential but kind of fizzled out. Since then, I have competed in the World Police & Fire games in 2001 and had a top 20 placing.

PEZ: How did you land such a tasty gig?
Patrick: I interviewed the promoter Leo Van Vliet in 2005, and he invited me to the race.

PEZ: Tell us a little about Curaçao.
Patrick: Curacao is 45 miles north of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea. It's the 'C' island of the 'ABC' chain. The island is 38 miles long and approximately 7 miles wide. Year-round average temperature is 81 degrees. The terrain varies a fair bit across the island. The majority of the island's residents speak Papiamentu, which is a Creole language influenced by Portuguese, English, Spanish, and Dutch. The capital is Willemstad.

PEZ: How did the race come to be?
Patrick: Leo had spent time in Curacao in the past and with his relationship with Amstel in Europe he was able to continue their involvement by promoting a race that featured the big stars. It's good for tourism on the island and the riders get an opportunity for a working holiday with their fans.

PEZ: Who chooses the field?
Patrick: Leo Van Vliet, the promoter. He also promotes the Amstel Gold Race. Leo also has won 2 stages of the Tour de France & Gent-Wevelgem during a very sucessful career. Last year, he was named Coach of the Dutch Professional Squad for the World Championships.

PEZ: Did Lance get an invite?
Patrick: Yes but could not attend due to prior engagements. Plus it would have been a little awkard with Bert being there.

PEZ: What's the course like?
Patrick: There were actually 2 races this year. The first one was the Jan Theil Criterium at the Zanzibar Beach & Resort (won by Tour hero, Kenny Van Hummel of Skil.) That course was a 1.8 km circuit with a very fast descent and a false flat climb up the back stretch.

The Amstel Curacao Race is an 80 km out and back course that features a climb of the Grote Berg, the highest point on the island, and a climb over the Queens bridge that spans the harbor in the Capital city Willemstad. A lot of heat, wind usually accompanied with rain and rough road conditions.

PEZ: Is there a good crowd, are they enthusiastic?
Patrick: It's the biggest sporting event on the island of each year. Fans come from around the world to spectate and participate in the race. It's also covered by Television in Europe and a live radio broadcast on the island. So the answer is YES they are enthusiastic. The climb up the Grote Berg is like a TDF mountain stage with crowds packing the road on both sides and you ride up through a tunnel of screaming fans. Pretty cool.

PEZ: Are there decent standard local riders?
Patrick: Yes; the two big hitters on the island are Quentin Winkle and Barry Bakker. But you can see the difference between the Europeans and the local riders.

PEZ: How serious is it?
Patrick: For the pros, it's a working holiday of sorts. But for the local amateurs, it sets the pecking order and bragging rights for the next season. The amazing thing is that you get to race with all of the stars that you see in the magazines and Television. It's the ultimate fantasy for a club racer.

PEZ: You finished top 20.
Patrick: In the Jan Thiel Criterium yes; I had a very good day.

PEZ: Did you get to 'hang with the stars?' Who's coolest?
Patrick: The coolest thing about the event is that you get to interact with the riders in a way that would be impossible during the season at the high pressure World Cup events. As far as the coolest, that's tough. I've met some of my cycling heroes over the past few seasons, Francesco Moser, Johan Van Der Velde, just to name a few. But of the current riders, Frank and Andy Schleck along with their agent Orlando Van Den Bosche are by far the coolest. Mountain bike star, Bart Brentjens, is also extremely down to earth and cool.

PEZ: Who's the best swimmer?
Patrick: From what I hear, it's Frank Schleck. But they are all amazing athletes.

PEZ: Who looks least scrawny, with his shirt off?
Patrick: Tom Boonen by far is the most buff of the crowd and Thor Hushvold is pretty thick.

PEZ: Was there much scuttle butt about Alberto/Astana and Brad/Sky?
Patrick: No, there was no real talk about the business end of the sport. While all the rumors were circulating, about money and contracts, Contador was swimming with the dolphins. I'm guessing he's pretty confident of his financial future.

PEZ: How many years younger do wish you were?
Patrick: I'm 45 now; it would have been nice to get a result like this at 25-30. But just being part of it the past 5 years is enough. I've made my bones."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Empathy and Sympathy

Empathy and Sympathy are relationships based on Shared Emotions & Understanding. Empathy is understood as the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others without them being directly communicated intentionally.

Sympathy is a feeling of care and understanding for suffering beings.

Both have similar usage but differ in their emotional meaning.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Daryl Impey (soon-to-be Radio Shack) Rides his Bike (turbo) PURE and Remarkably Fast!

Daryl Impey-Barloworld, now Radio shack rides his bike(turbo)... on Twitpic"Daryl Impey - Barloworld, now Radio Shack, rides his bike(turbo) pure and remarkably fast" - BikePure

My comments: Bravo, Daryl. But the real achievement will be made when supporting anti-doping in cycling as a pro means more than just wearing the blue band or inserting the blue headset spacer. Action is the ultimate gesture of solidarity and commitment to the fight against sporting fraud, doping in sport and the protection of the athletes' physical and mental health and well-being. Don't get me wrong, it takes balls to sign for LA, Inc's team and sport the BikePure logo, but it takes even more balls to NOT have been caught doping but still rat out other dopers or expose corruption in the system.

My only fear is that the BikePure brand is going to be co-opted by the dopers themselves, who will sport the BP Blue as a badge that, at first glance, may deflect suspicion and buy them some tenuous, top-level credibility and allow them to escape scrutiny. I know Myles and Andy are reading this and are probably three steps ahead of my thinking at this point, but it would be crushingly demoralizing if a current pro and BikePure supporter were to ever test positive. Let's hope for the best, eh?

In the meanwhile, hustle on over to the BikePure Store and pick-up your own BP gear. And Bike Shops especially should consider the BikePure Shop Pack:

bikepure shop pack: Show your support for the future of cycle sport. Pack contents:- 30 bands (both sizes) - Plus shop window sticker, - 3 bands and spacers for staff. For Sale @2 each. 30*2= 60 -Cost from BP = 30... [Editor's note: Sounds like a good deal.]

So troops, make your voice heard in the fight against doping in cycling by displaying the BikePure wristband and headset spacer!

And yes, I did race against at least one of the BikePure founders! See if you can find him in this results sheet from the Irish Rás!

UPDATED: Looking for the Kenny Williams Doping Post, with Comments?

Are you looking for the Kenny Williams Doping Post, with Comments? I'm not going to make it a "sticky" yet, not unless Kenny himself wants to drop by and respond, but until then, just click here.

Some folks aren't waiting for Kenny to pop his head up again, like the blogger who wrote a letter TO Kenny Williams, opening with:

"Dear Kenny Williams, If you’re reading this, which I hope you are, I wanted to let you know that you are unequivocally the biggest bag of douche I have ever heard of. You have stooped to a all-time rock bottom low; you haved doped to compete not only in amateur cycling, but in masters racing. You have knowingly taken a banned performance enhancing supplement in order to best the likes of weekend warriors, guys who have full time jobs, who have mortgages and families. You’re a scumbag..."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bike Pure - And Why the Athletes Must Speak

I had a great anti-doping heart-to-heart with BikePure earlier this afternoon. I wish I had $1,000,000 so I could donate part of it to support BP and propagate their message...I don't, but I'm still trying to help by contributing to BP the details of my sordid affair with EPO and doping in general. I hope other cyclists who've taken similarly misguided paths will consider working with BikePure to drive the grassroots fight against doping - which has to start with free, open dialogue and a realistic assessment of what the hell has been going on not just in cycling, but in sport in general with regards to the use of performance enhancing drugs and illegal methods of preparation.

I believe that it is vitally important for athletes who've doped and are seeking redemption to tell the truth about what they did, what they gained by doping, and perhaps most importantly, what they may have lost. Doping is something that pays almost immediate dividends, but apart from perhaps the monies spent on actual doping products or medical supervision, it doesn't reveal its full cost in terms of harming the well-being of the athlete and his sport until much later - and usually only after the wheels have come off. Scientific studies and research, including as the work done by Birekeland KI, Stray-Gundersen J, Hemmersbach P, et al. Effect of rhEPO administration on serum levels of sTfr and cycling performance. Med Sci Sport Exerc 2000; 32:1238-43, have confirmed that EPO can improve athletic performance in as little as four weeks, but there is little data or even informed discussion of the long-term adverse effects of EPO use on the physical and mental health of athletes. Patrick Mignon of France's CESAMES - the Research Center on Mental Health, Psychotropics, and Society - writes:

"If the knowledge of the physiological effects of doping has progressed, this is not the case for that about the long term consequences of doping on the state of health of former athletes, whose physical dependency might be one of the characteristics. This calls for the appropriated apparatuses for observation that could link the careers of athletes to their health history (wounds, consumption of psychoactive substances, recourse to mental health) and quantitative studies (combination of grids for questionnaires, elaboration of questionnaires aimed at targeted groups or at the general population). The analysis of the pharmacological effects of a substance is not enough. To it must be added the sociological analysis of dependency as a dependency on a life style that supposes the involvement in the career of top level athlete. This must be carried out through the analysis of the organization of time and of the relations between an athlete and the actors in charge of them. The analysis of high level sports as a life style thus leads back to a reflection risk behavior, to analyze the question of drugs i sports as both an aspect of this life style and a way of managing the exit from the world of sports..." [Editor's note: The Research Center on Mental Health, Psychotropics and Society (CESAMES) is a mixed research unit of France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the University René Descartes Paris 5.]

Though I've had some opportunity to speak on the dangers of doping and retell my own story as a warning to others, I hope that over time I will be able to play a more active role in the anti-doping movement, especially with regards to educating young athletes on the full spectrum of risks they face by involving themselves in doping.

More on the Birkeland study:

"BIRKELAND, K. I., J. STRAY-GUNDERSEN, P. HEMMERSBACH, J. HALLEN, E. HAUG, and R. BAHR. Effect of rhEPO administration on serum levels of sTfR and cycling performance. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 32, No. 7, pp. 1238-1243, 2000.

Purpose: We assessed the possibility of using soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) as an indicator of doping with recombinant erythropoietin (rhEPO).

Methods: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted with the administration of 5000 U of rhEPO (N = 10) or placebo (N = 10) three times weekly (181-232 U[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]wk-1) for 4 wk to male athletes. We measured hematocrit and the concentration of hemoglobin, sTfR, ferritin, EPO, and quantified the effects on performance by measuring time to exhaustion and maximal oxygen uptake ( O2max) on a cycle ergometer.

Results: Hematocrit increased from 42.7 /- 1.6% to 50.8 /- 2.0% in the EPO group, and peaked 1 d after treatment was stopped. In the EPO group, there was an increase in sTfR (from 3.1 /- 0.9 to 6.3 /- 2.3 mg[middle dot]L-1, P < 0.001) and in the ratio between sTfR and ferritin (sTfR[middle dot]ferritin-1) (from 3.2 /- 1.6 to 11.8 /- 5.1, P < 0.001). The sTfR increase was significant after 1 wk of treatment and remained so for 1 wk posttreatment. Individual values for sTfR throughout the study period showed that 8 of 10 subjects receiving rhEPO, but none receiving placebo, had sTfR levels that exceeded the 95% confidence interval for all subjects at baseline (= 4.6 mg[middle dot]L-1). O2max increased from 63.6 /- 4.5 mL[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]min-1 before to 68.1 /- 5.4 mL[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]min-1 2 d post rhEPO administration (7% increase, P = 0.001) in the EPO group. Hematocrit, sTfR, sTfR[middle dot]ferritin-1, and O2max did not change in the placebo group."

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Photo Blog: A Cuban Sitting-Room

For a moment I could hear the lizards scampering about outside.

"Photo Blog" is my generic title for those posts featuring a cool or otherwise interesting photo about which I could write several paragraphs, but which I usually get around to too late in the day to really work on - but still want to share.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Classic: Dog Diary vs. Cat Diary

Excerpts from a Dog’s Diary

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Milk Bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!


Excerpts from a Cat’s diary

Day 983 of my captivity...

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed
hash or some sort of dry nuggets.

Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am. Bastards..

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking.. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now …

[Editor's note: This was an Oldie But Goodie, deemed worth repeating. Hope you enjoyed it - Classic!]

Cuba: A Gangland Style Kidnapping - by Yoani Sánchez

Yoani Sánchez writes:

"Near 23rd Street, just at the Avenida de los Presidentes roundabout, we saw a black car, made in China, pull up with three heavily built strangers. “Yoani, get in the car,” one told me while grabbing me forcefully by the wrist. The other two surrounded Claudia Cadelo, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, and a friend who was accompanying us to the march against violence. The ironies of life, it was an evening filled with punches, shouts and obscenities on what should have passed as a day of peace and harmony. The same “aggressors” called for a patrol car which took my other two companions, Orlando and I were condemned to the car with yellow plates, the terrifying world of lawlessness and the impunity of Armageddon.

I refused to get into the bright Geely-made car and we demanded they show us identification or a warrant to take us. Of course they didn’t show us any papers to prove the legitimacy of our arrest. The curious crowded around and I shouted, “Help, these men want to kidnap us,” but they stopped those who wanted to intervene with a shout that revealed the whole ideological background of the operation, “Don’t mess with it, these are counterrevolutionaries.” In the face of our verbal resistance they made a phone call and said to someone who must have been the boss, “What do we do? They don’t want to get in the car.” I imagine the answer from the other side was unequivocal, because then came a flurry of punches and pushes, they got me with my head down and tried to push me into the car. I held onto the door… blows to my knuckles… I managed to take a paper one of them had in his pocket and put it in my mouth. Another flurry of punches so I would return the document to them...". Continued

Friday, November 13, 2009

From the Archives: Christian Vande Velde 1996

Back when we thought it was all the rage to have trading cards, and that the EDS track sponsorship would be forever, comes this piece from the archives: a signed example of bike racer humor from Chistrian Vande Velde, from when he was a pursuiter with the US National Team.

[Ed. note: The dedication "To Joe, With All My Love, CVV" is a joke...]

Joe Papp and Christian Vande Velde (l-r) after the 1996 UCI Pan Am Championships (c) Pappillon

[Ed. note: Concerning EDS and its sordid involvement in track cycling in the United States during the run-up to the 1996 Olympics, don't miss the VeloNews piece "Fear and loathing in Plano - Chenowth hurls charges as prison time looms". An excerpt follows:

“I’m now bankrupt and going to jail for things that people were applauding me for five years ago. I’m going to jail for paying Marty Nothstein a fraction of what he was worth. I’m at a point I could never have imagined when this whole thing started.” - Nick Chenowth (link to Chenowth's deposition)]

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Correspondence - the Value Therein

Correspondence is sometimes a pain, often enjoyable, and occasionally provides unexpected and valuable insight. Today I received a message that caught me off-guard but was probably one of the most fascinating examples of the power of the internet. Maybe Flick has a point...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Andreas Knickman, son of cycling great Roy Knickman, Has Cancer

Remember US Cycling Legend Roy Knickman? Recently, his 13 year-old son Andreas was diagnosed with cancer.

"Sep 11, 2009 – NEWBURY PARK, CALIF.--Newbury Park teen Andreas Knickman was diagnosed with bone cancer on July 8, 2009 and immediately underwent surgery to repair his leg and to remove a nodule in his lung. He is now receiving chemotherapy at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles."

Roy talks about what it has meant to him and his family over at competetor radio. Thanks to Doucheblog for the head's up.

You can learn more about Andreas's current state via

Folks interested in making a donation to help the Knickman's can get more information here, or they should contact Jill Shaffer at 805-480-0309 (e-mail:

[Editor's note: yes, a special thanks to Doucheblog for the heads up and for reposting information on this tragic story, which is an unjust companion to the illness of the son of another cycling great who is also a friend of Pappillon.]

The Random Rantings of a Madman - Why the Blue on Blue at Ft. Hood?

The Random Rantings of a Madman which follow were submitted by a loyal Pappillon reader, with the request that they be published, though anonymously. Whilst we do not normally allow unattributed work here, in this case I am making an exception and I hope you'll support my decision, read on, and challenge yourself to address the issues that "Mr. X" raises in his commentary.

"I feel somewhat guilty that the events that took place in Texas yesterday [5 November 2009] neither surprise nor have much of an emotional effect on me. If anything, the only emption that I've been able to drudge up is surprise as to the number of people that are outraged.

It seems that there is a logical disconnect, in otherwise intelligent people, that I have a hard time understanding. They can see where "we" are at war with "them", and they believe that there is a justification for torture, bombing and killing as means to a greater moral end. But they are absolutely stunned that anyone opposing culture acts in similar ways, under similar rationalization.

Now please don't jump to the easy conclusion that support the murder of the people down in Texas, or that I find it in any way justifiable. Quite the opposite, I find it absolutely morally reprehensible and if I wasn't so emotionally exhausted by the last 8 years of horror I think I'd be devastated by the loss of life.

My purpose in writing this is to try find a better understanding of WHY this happened (happens). You see, I think this is our greatest failure as a country. Worse than "weapons of mass destruction", or worse than fucking up in Iraq, or worse than losing ground to the Taliban in Afghanistan, is that fact that - in our haste, and in the emotional confusion post 9/11, that we failed to discuss "why?" Instead, we permitted rage and thirst for retribution to trump logic and clear thought and, I believe, allowed those who would ultimately benefit from the tragedy to take even greater advantage of us.

We can predict what is going to happen, and what has already started to happen next. During the process of public analysis, a his will be parsed down to its most sensationalist detail. Families, friends, and FaceBook entries will be trotted out and poured over. Catch phrases and images will be drilled into our minds. Dem and GOPs will argue over who's fault it is, and pundits will analyze what this could possibly mean to the next election or piece of legislation. No one, however, will want to talk about why.

Why would someone choose to die? Why would someone choose to kill? What would drive an otherwise seemingly intelligent, capable, and rational person...who trained and worked and dedicated himself to helping other people, to dive off the precipice of so called "sanity" and randomly and summarily execute other living human beings?

Insanity, right? I mean - that's the standard answer, isn't it? I'm sure evidence of insanity will be shown to us by the "authorities" when convenient or necessary to do so. I'm sure that this is just another one of those anomalies. This is like the Unabomber, and Oklahoma City, and the Twin Towers, and the USS Cole, and the African Embassy Bombings, and so no and so on. These are just random anomalies in the system, right? Just crazy fanatics acting suddenly, unpredictably, and without provocation.

But when does that explanation cease to satisfy even the least critical of us?

At what point are we prepared, as a culture, to look beyond the simple and seemingly illogical explanations and search for the root causes of our national troubles (as manifested in attacks on America and "The American Way")?

I look to my Catholic friends and find men of science who believe unequivocally - and will attempt to convince you of the same - that bread and wine turn into actual flesh and blood. I look to my Christian friends who condemn the banking industry for our ills, but who then reach out to third world countries with mirco-financing programs (banking is banking, right?). I look to my atheist liberal friends and see them dismissing the moral authority of government only moments before they lead their troops into the battle for state-sanctioned marriage rights.

I don't even know what I don't know, but I can start with what I do know.

- We are good at selling things. Really good at it. There are people....businesses...corporations and entire industries dedicated to one thing and one thing only...getting YOU to buy their shit [Editor's Note: this opinion is of the author and the author alone - it does not represent the views of this website or any other contributor or commentator.]. This isn't' a secret; at this point its not even an embarrassment. Implausibly, this has become one of the very basic core beliefs of GOOD in our society. The good man, the good American, the successful person that we all admire and strive to be is the guy who can get MORE OF US to buy MORE OF HIS SHIT.

- Those concepts have been extended and integrated into the fabric of our society to the point that one doesn't even really need any shit to sell in order to be "successful." Fame, pride, ego, love, politics, and even religion are all out of the ether. That's perhaps one of the greatest coup's of all. Once we got really good at selling THINGS....once we realized which buttons to push, which emotions to manipulate, which innate desires to play upon....someone realized that sometimes that's just enough. Why bother with pet rocks when you can sell patriotism? You'll sure save a bundle on shipping. And with the age of electronic media and the internet, The Ether became The Ethernet - do you really think that was an accident?

- We also "know" that our success is based on growth. Stagflation, recession, "the worst economy in 50 years!" Right? Sure, we all have heating, houses, indoor plumbing, medicine, flat screen TV's, and The Internet, if you're reading this, while the greater portion of the world is working on clean drinking water. We have PROBLEMS-with-a-capital-"P" because we are not experiencing any GROWTH. Our economy needs to expand, markets need to grow, and our economy...our 401Ks....our safety and security depend on it. This we know. This is why banks can't fail. This is why, regardless of what we know about finance, we're as acutely aware of the Dow as we are the weather forecast. But this is also why war is measured in both the body count and economic cost/dollars spent.

- What else do we know? Well, we know that "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle." WAIT, WTF?!?! Yes, we all know that blessed are the poor, and money is the root of all evil, and whatever other platitude of religious conviction that we know to be true out of a sense of religious indoctrination, but which we also know to be true because it is inherently true to our soul. But where in this world do we see those platitudes acted out. Where do we actually see dedication and obligation to family manifested? Likewise to religion, to community? Well, we do see it in the Amish community, peaceful and contrite [Editor's Note: Floyd Landis snark averted, since he wasn't Amish.]. We see it in the Shakers and Quakers, who have all but disappeared but for whom our laws allow exceptions. But we also saw it in the community in Texas last year who had families broken apart and children taken away based on charges that were never brought and information that was proven false. We saw it at WACO. We saw it at Ruby Ridge. Some would say that we saw it at Jonestown.

And what have we learned. What do we know? We sure as hell know that if you try and withdraw, that if you choose not to participate in corporate America, that if you prefer to choose your family and your faith over fashion and fast food, that you better be really fucking careful.

So we KNOW that we use a pervasive media and culture to indoctrinate ourselves into this ever growing, ever expanding cloud of commerce and success. We know that anything that gets in the way of that growth, whether it be religion, or stagflation, or closed markets, or bank failures, is a threat to our security - collectively and as individuals. And we know we're good at it....damn good at it. So God Bless America.

But despite this cynicism (or these truths that should make us cynics), we delude ourselves into believing that we will all get a fair shake. That somehow, the rich, powerful plutocrats who control the media, the corporations that finance the elections, the elite that fund the junkets and lobbyists and the payoffs and board seats.... that somehow those guys are looking our for US - for You and Me. We believe that they're AMERICANS! That they're on OUR side. We cling to the notion that our government, our companies, OUR banks, OUR elite, OUR politicians - no matter how corrupt and evil that we already assume they are - would NEVER consider trying to sell us a war based on making next months quarterly numbers, using the same tools they deploy to hock us Ipods and Sham-Wows.

That's the stuff that communist Russia did. That's the stuff the Nazi's did. That's the stuff that Hugo Chavez does. You see, OUR elite are immune from the temptation of absolute power. The Founding Fathers were talking about Kings and England's of a different time and a different place that is no longer relevant. And besides, even if the elite tried to pull the wool over our eyes again, we're too smart, too advanced, and have too much technology available to be fooled.

Errr...., I mean, since the Gulf of Tonkin, we've become too smart, too advanced, and have too much technology available to be fooled.

Do I have an answer? Sadly I don't. [Editor's Note: Shit.] Is there even an answer? Boy....I'm not sure. Right now, I drown my troubles in a steady diet of tortilla's and Corona, and I distract myself with sports and online porn. Is that enough? Usually. Now granted, there is often a nagging feeling that it's not, but after the shit I see on some days, even I start to pray that it will be enough to keep me from asking too many questions.

What causes an otherwise a otherwise rational man to shoot-up a waiting room? Maybe its better that I never find out.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Whizzinator - Not Just for Doping Control Doctors Anymore

At first I resisted the ads for HGH, steroids, anti-aging medicine and call girls. Now I embrace them. And so it was this morning when I caught a glimpse of an an ad for what I thought was the infamous "Whizzinator." I remember how so many euro-pro's wanted this device (along with the synthetic urine it dispense) because they thought they'd be able to fool the UCI testers. While I can attest to the fact that the synthetic urine works, I never got around to buying a strap-on flaccid, fake penis and trying to pass it off as my own tackle before peeing in a cup with a sweaty Turkish doctor trying to fondle my balls.

I never forgot about it, however (how could you?), so I clicked through the ad, and much to my chagrin, The Whizzinator is no longer dedicated to beating those pesky doping controls! Nope! Now it's for satisfying your girl's perverted need for a Golden Shower. Why you couldn't just do that with your own flaccid penis and a liter of water with which you filled your own whizzinator by pouring it into your mouth (aka "drinking a lot of water") is beyond me, unless you were worried that your urine contained metabolites of EPO, DHEA, Testosterone, CERA, DynEPO, etc. and that you beloved was actually one giant, writhing organic sample collection vial about to burst out the door and run for USADA just as soon as you finished peeing on her.

It might not be Dario Frigo's Whizzinator, but the ads are a helluva lot better.

Ah yes - The Whizzinator - only in America. To quote from the new manufacturer:

"The Whizzinator Strap-on XXX is the cleanest way to get dirty. This ultra hygenic and sterile ultimate wet sex simulator is designed with sensual pleasure in mind. Complete with one Whizzinator, one syringe, one synthetic urine pack and four heat packs, the Strap-on is clean, synthetic, STD Free and effective. ALS does not promote or endorse illegal use of this product. Please follow all applicable local, state and federal laws when using this product. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED FOR DRUG TESTS OR OTHER ILLEGAL USE. PLEASE FOLLOW ALL APPLICABLE STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS WHEN USING THIS PRODUCT."

Sunday, November 08, 2009

FLASH: Crappy Weather Interrupted

Nice day... Hope you get to spend it with someone special :)
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

FLASH: We interrupt this blog... bring you the breaking news:

Friday evening Burt Hoovis' Shaler Titans beat Joe Papp's Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils 23-21. It was the second time that Shaler beat Mt. Lebo this season, putting their record at 9-1.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

"That rock star comment was supposed to be metaphoric."

From the archives at BKW, on the topic of Tom Boonen and cocaine:

" ...To be fair, a cyclist of Boonen's stature in Belgium is a rock star, which is a sort of demi-god, and like other figures of mythical status can generally get away with acts that would be criminal by mortal standards. Think Apollo.

A Belgian King of the Classics. Yes, he's supposed to drive a Porsche. And yes, he's supposed to get stopped for speeding; he's a bike racer! But cocaine? That rock star comment was supposed to be metaphoric. Oops."

Rhabdomyosarcoma - Cancer in Kids - My Friend's Son Has It (frown)

Much to my dismay, I just found out that the son of a friend and fellow cyclist is suffering from the childhood cancer Rhabdomyosarcoma. My dad died of liver cancer, and my mom survived her own bout with the "C", so I know the devastation that this disease can cause. To protect his privacy, I won't publish my friend's name or that of his son, but if you'd still be willing to send some positive energy to "The Son of the Friend of Joe's who has Cancer," it would be greatly appreciated.There's nothing like Childhood Cancer to make one's own personal problems seem small by comparison, eh?

[Ed. Pause while readers send positive energy.]

OK! Having sent your positive energy, and with a new perspective on life (thankful for what you have, right?) you now want to know what is Rhabdomyosarcoma? Well, according to the Internet:

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a fast-growing, highly malignant tumor which accounts for over half of the soft tissue sarcomas in children. Less frequently, other soft tissue sarcomas are found in children: fibrosarcoma, mesenchymoma, synovial sarcoma, and liposarcoma.

Rhabdomyosarcoma often causes a noticeable lump on a child's body. If the tumor is located internally, the symptoms depend on its location. For example, tumors in the nasal passage may put pressure on the eustachian tubes; a bladder tumor can cause trouble urinating; an orbital tumor may cause the eye to protrude.

About Rhabdomyosarcoma

Rhabdomyosarcoma tumors arise from a cell called a "rhabdomyoblast", which is a primitive muscle cell. Instead of differentiating into striated muscle cells, the rhabdomyoblasts grow out of control. Since this type of muscle is located throughout the body, the tumors can appear at numerous locations. The four major sites in which rhabdomyosarcoma is found are:

* head and neck; around the eyes -- 35-40%
* genitourinary tract -- 20%
* extremities -- 15-20%
* trunk (chest and lungs) -- 10-15%

Depending on the "histology" of the cells (how they look under a microscope), the tumors are classified as one of the following:

Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. Most common type, usually found in children under 15 and in the head and neck region and genitourinary tract.

Botryoid type. A variant of the embryonal type; the tumor arises as a grape-like lesion in mucosal-lined hollow organs such as the vagina and urinary bladder.

Alveolar type. A more aggressive tumor which usually involves the muscles of the extremities or trunk.

Pleomorphic type. Usually seen in adults and arises in muscles of the extremities.

Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma is considered the most treatable form of the disease. The prognosis is also affected by the location of the primary tumor. Orbital and genitourinary track rhabdomyosarcomas have a better prognosis than do tumors which originate in the head and neck, extremity, pelvic, and trunk locations.

Prognosis also depends on the stage of the tumor. The Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study Group has defined a set of guidelines, which assign the tumor to groups 1-4 depending on the extent of the disease. For more information, see the PDQ on the staging of rhabdomyosarcoma.


Rhabdomyosarcoma is treated by a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Surgery. Resection (removal) of the primary tumor. If necessary after chemotherapy or radiation has shrunk the tumor.

Chemotherapy. The following chemotherapy agents are commonly used: vincristine, cyclophosphamide, dactinomycin, adriamycin, ifosfamide, VP-16.

Radiation. External beam radiation is used in some cases of rhabdomyosarcoma.

  • Accounts for 5-8% of childhood cancers.
  • 70% of all rhabdomyosarcoma cases diagnosed in the first ten years of life.
  • Usually affects children the ages of 2 to 6 and 15 to 19.
  • The peak incidence in 1-5 age group.
  • Overall, 50% of the children diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma survive 5 years.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Love Hurts, but so does Pittsburgh's Dirty Dozen

Think-a to za future: itza Saturday dopo Thanksgiving eeeeen Pittsburgh...Love Hurts, but does it-a hurta worse-a than za Dirty Dozen, Pittsburgh's hardest percorso in bicicletta? Non lo so and itza better that-a youa ... deeeecide! Ciao ciao!


I-a personally think-a they'll both a-leave you tired-out in-a zee end...

Love Hurts

Love hurts, love scars, love wounds
And mars, any heart
Not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud
Holds a lot of rain
Love hurts... ooh,ooh love hurts

You are young, I know, but even so
I know a thing or two
I've learned from you
I really learned a lot, I really learned a lot
Love is like a flame
It burns you when it's hot
Love hurts... ooh,ooh love hurts

Some fools think of happiness
Blissfulness, togetherness
Some fools fool themselves I guess
They're not foolin' me

I know it isn't true, I know it isn't true
Love is just a lie
Made to make you blue
Love hurts... ooh,ooh love hurts
Ooh,ooh love hurts

I know it isn't true, I know it isn't true
Love is just a lie
Made to make you blue
Love hurts... ooh,ooh love hurts
Ooh,ooh love hurts...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

There is NO Freestanding Constitutional 'Right Not To Be Framed.' - Really?

From NPR: "Do prosecutors have total immunity from lawsuits for anything they do, including framing someone for murder? That is the question the justices of the Supreme Court face Wednesday.

On one side of the case being argued are Iowa prosecutors who contend "there is no freestanding right not to be framed." They are backed by the Obama administration, 28 states and every major prosecutors organization in the country.

On the other side are two black men — Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee — men who served 25 years in prison before evidence long hidden in police files resulted in them being freed."

The Washington Post weighs-in: "'THERE IS NO Freestanding Constitutional 'Right Not To Be Framed.' So states a brief filed by Iowa prosecutors hoping to persuade the Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit against them for allegedly fabricating evidence that led to the 25-year incarceration of two innocent men. It's a breathtaking proposition that the justices should roundly reject when they hear the case Wednesday."

Monday, November 02, 2009

Guest Post: Neighbor, Are You Ready to Listen?

Editor's note: the following is another in a series of guest posts authored by various contributors who've been invited to write on the topics of their choice for Pappillon. Read on to the words of Flick and find yourself challenged to think critically about mass media, politics and the trustworthiness (or perhaps Truthiness?) of government in the United States - as opposed to just "buying into" the "party line." Flick reviews the words of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright in the context of an Obama Presidency that is now 12 months old, and against the historical backdrop of what one might describe as some of the "shadier" dealings of the US Government.

We're nearly one year into President Barack Obama's government, and I hope that the months that have passed will allow a more dispassionate, reasoned evaluation of the presidential election of 2008. Can we evaluate the veracity of the popular understanding of components of the Obama/McCain contest without the high emotion and polemic that followed in real-time the twists and turns of the campaign? I think so. In this short post, I will revisit the infamous statements of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and the mainstream media's reporting of the same. I'll take Rev. Wright's comments at face value and then test their truthfulness against the historical record, while also reviewing how they were covered by the press.

Any random sampling of US citizens might deliver the resulting description of Rev. Wright as a "racist minister who hates America." It's my belief that, given the chance to espouse their views on Wright (assuming they had some), those polled would be able to recite - line and verse - their "party's" take on whatever detail of Wright's statements is in question. But I sincerely doubt that they could critically evaluate those same details against the historical record and devoid of political bias, regardless of their ultimate position on whether or not Obama was affiliated with Wright and his America-hating ways.

Furthermore, I believe it highly unlikely that you'll be able to find people who would be able to tell you anything about the Jeremiah Wright controversy other than it involved the acerbic phrase,"God Damn America."

So, instead of rehashing the old campaign-centric debates, lets take a look at what Wright actually said (writes words, in blue, are taken from such reliable sources as Wikipedia). In a sermon, Wright first makes the distinction between God and governments, and points out that many governments in the past have failed:

"Where governments lie, God does not lie. Where governments change, God does not change." 

Wright then states:

“[The United States] government lied about their belief that all men were created equal. The truth is they believed that all white men were created equal. The truth is they did not even believe that white women were created equal, in creation nor civilization. The government had to pass an amendment to the Constitution to get white women the vote. Then the government had to pass an equal rights amendment to get equal protection under the law for women. The government still thinks a woman has no rights over her own body, and between Uncle Clarence who sexually harassed Anita Hill, and a closeted Klan court, that is a throwback to the 19th century, handpicked by Daddy Bush, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, between Clarence and that stacked court, they are about to undo Roe vs. Wade, just like they are about to un-do affirmative action. The government lied in its founding documents and the government is still lying today. Governments lie.”

I don't think that there's anyone who would disagree with these points. Governments lie. It's the truth.

“The government lied about Pearl Harbor too. They knew the Japanese were going to attack. Governments lie. The government lied about the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. They wanted that resolution to get us in the Vietnam War. Governments lie. The government lied about Nelson Mandela and our CIA helped put him in prison and keep him there for 27 years. The South African government lied on Nelson Mandela. Governments lie."

The Pearl Harbor issue is debatable at best. The one to really look at in this section is the Gulf of Tonkin. Declassified documents show that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident - the event used by the Johnson administration as moral cover for America's full-scale entry into the Vietnam War - was fabricated. The US Government doesn't even bother to deny the truth (that the Incident did not take place as originally claimed), but rather simply lumps it in with other unfortunate transgressions made by previous administrations and US leaders. As far as Mandela goes, the evidence of the CIA's cooperation with the South African government on the imprisoning of Mandela for 28 years - 28 years - is considerable. [Ed.: you'll have to take Flick at his word here, as he didn't include any links to the evidence.]

Wright continues:

"The government lied about the Tuskegee experiment. They purposely infected African American men with syphilis. Governments lie. The government lied about bombing Cambodia and Richard Nixon stood in front of the camera, ‘Let me make myself perfectly clear…’ Governments lie. The government lied about the drugs for arms Contra scheme orchestrated by Oliver North, and then the government pardoned all the perpetrators so they could get better jobs in the government. Governments lie.... The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. Governments lie. The government lied about a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and a connection between 9.11.01 and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Governments lie.”

In my semi-professional opinion, this is the meatiest portion of Wright's diatribe, and Tuskegee is one of the most shameful acts of deception and cruelty this country has ever committed - and against its own citizens, at that. If you don't know the history, agents of the US Government (acting through the U.S. Public Health Service) recruited 399 impoverished African-American sharecroppers with syphilis for research related to the natural progression of the untreated disease, in hopes of justifying treatment programs for blacks. In this Dr. Josef Mengele-like research project, the U.S. Government allowed the study participants to suffer for upwards of 40 years without treatment, just to see what would happen. Even after it was determined that penicillin was an effective treatment for syphilis, the study continued and the subjects remained UNTREATED, for no appreciable reason. Unaware they had been affected, these men went on with their lives, in many cases spreading the disease to their wives and children. This isn't fiction that forms the basis for some conspiracy theory, nor is it ancient history. The Tuskegee syphilis experiment (also known as the Tuskegee syphilis study or Public Health Service syphilis study) was a documented clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama, by the U.S. Public Health Service. It is also something that the US Government waited to acknowledge and apologize for until 1997. 

On May 16, 1997, President Bill Clinton formally apologized and held a ceremony for the Tuskegee study participants: "What was done cannot be undone. But we can end the silence. We can stop turning our heads away. We can look at you in the eye and finally say on behalf of the American people, what the United States government did was shameful, and I am sorry ... To our African American citizens, I am sorry that your federal government orchestrated a study so clearly racist." As has been reported previously, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study significantly damaged the trust of the black community toward public health efforts in the United States, and provided clear evidence of the ability of our Government to do intentional harm to its own citizens while at the same time denying that anything was amiss!

But moving on, we KNOW that President Nixon lied about Cambodia's neutrality during the Vietnam War. We KNOW that Bush/Reagan/North lied and were pardoned for Iran-Contra. And at this point even Bush and Cheney admitted that there was no effective collaboration or even link between Al Queada and Saddam Hussein. These are all facts...truths...and proof that the Government of these here United States has lied to its own people.

But back to Rev. Wright: it's no accident that he slips an HIV-bomb into the sermon. Alas, it's also no accident that this reference was the only one to enjoy wide-spread media coverage. But rather than report on Wright's accusations about HIV in the context of other examples of the US Gov't's willingness to turn the cross hairs of destruction upon this nation's citizens, the mainstream media carved-up the Wright sermon and omitted all but the HIV accusation, which was then dismissed as unproven rhetoric. You see, the Government of the United States of America doesn't do that sort of thing.....Hitler's Germany allowed such horrors...Russia did that sort of thing...but never in AMERICA could such ghastly deeds occur at the government's own hand! Except, of course, for Tuskegee, MK ULTRA, human radiation and other examples of government-sanctioned experiments on human subjects.

He spoke about the government's rationale for the Iraq War:

"The government lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq being a threat to the United States peace. And guess what else? If they don’t find them some weapons of mass destruction, they gonna do just like the LAPD, and plant the some weapons of mass destruction. Governments lie.”

"And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating her citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains, the government put them on slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton field, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America..."

There's not a lot of value in beating the dead horse here. As embarrassing as it is...true, true and true. But as terrible as these failings of the state are, they should not be ignored or put aside. Even the intentional denial of care to humans infected with a treatable disease - as in Tuskegee - does not mean that our country is not great. What these failings illustrate is a phenomena that our Founding Fathers were aware of: that unbridled power in the form of government promoted tyranny, if left unchecked, will always manifest itself as oppressive, vindictive and exploitative. These transgressions of the United States Government aren't an indictment of America as a concept, or an indictment of Americans as a people. Rather, these acts were all ILLEGAL and UNCONSTITUTIONAL - and the acts of corrupt, fallible men who were able to subvert the controls that should have held them in check.

A review of the more shameful moments of our nation's past, should, however, serve as the proverbial wake-up call to each and every one of us that GOVERNMENTS DO LIE. What I find so ironic is that its the VERY SAME people who condemned Rev. Wright a year ago are the same ones who now attend town hall meetings on health care and modern day tea parties to condemn the Obama administration for conspiring to mislead the masses in order to promote a partisan agenda. Yes! Government has the capacity to LIE, you are correct. But the US Government under President Barack Obama hardly has that market cornered.

"No, no, no, not God Bless America. God damn America — that's in the Bible — for killing innocent people. God damn America, for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America, as long as she tries to act like she is God, and she is supreme. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent..."

Probably the only segment of the Wright sermons to receive widespread media coverage... But perhaps what is most troubling to me is the fact that if one conducts an online search for actual news coverage of the above statements, what is returned ad nausea are discussions about poll numbers, accounting's of how many times Obama and family went to church, missives about racism, and details on the cost of Rev. Wright's house. What doesn't turn-up, however, are any readily-apparent examples of critical analysis by the mass media of the factual veracity of Wright's speeches, or any reporting on the disturbing truths that he harnesses in the service of his anti-US message.

It is this lack of critical evaluation and analysis that causes me the greatest concern, because it is reflected at the micro-level by discussions between neighbors, co-workers and even drinking buddies at the local brew pub. Rev. Wright raises what should be considered seriously-damaging events from US history that portray Government as an agent of misinformation, manipulation, or outright immorality and unethical behavior (especially in the case of Tuskegee). This is not happening, however, and in writing this piece, I hope to challenge my neighbors to think critically on issues of great import to this country; to stop regurgitating the preformed ideas of their respective political parties and realize that silent actors within the most powerful branches of the US Government are able to act with impunity on a global scale, whilst avoiding detection by miring the common folk in endless, circular debates about whether or not Barack Obama did enough to denounce the statements of his former pastor, clarify his relationship with Wright, or respond rhetorically with his view of America under the US Government (such as with the speech, "A More Perfect Union").

I appreciate the opportunity to share my views with you, Dear Reader, via this interesting and, at times, controversial blog - Pappillon. I hope to further develop the themes of this post at a later date, and look forward to your feedback.
[Ed. Thanks, Flick! Readers, please leave feedback as comments, that, while moderated, will be published as quickly as possible.]